Happiful February 2020





Expert insight to build

lasting connections

HAPPIFUL.COM | FEB 2020 £4.00



Her mind. Her soul.

Her voice.

Break-up with

bad habits

Slay your smoking

addiction – you've

got this!

Fight the fear

Overcome first

day anxiety

Like a boss!



It's time to rekindle your

creative spark


Tess Daly

Tom Kerridge

Dr Rangan Chatterjee

9 772514 373000



Photography | Jennifer Bedoya

Loving ourselves works

miracles in our lives


Heart to heart

As the incredible RuPaul often

says: “If you can’t love yourself,

how in the hell are you gonna love

somebody else?”

This issue really captures the spirit

of that sentiment. So often we can

look outwards at all the things we

want in life, and worry about how

we’re going to get there – whether

that’s with our relationships, careers,

personal lives, or goals. But so often,

by nurturing your truest self, all the

rest will fall into place.

her to redefine the industry, and

represent disabilities in mainstream


We never know what that focus

on ourselves can achieve. You

may find the things that once

seemed so important, actually

fall by the wayside, and new

dreams take root.

Our February cover star Meghan

Trainor knows this all too well. After

fearing she'd never sing again

following two operations on her

vocal cords, and living with panic

attacks and anxiety, she's learnt

how vital it is to work on loving

herself every day – and seen that

positivity then spread throughout

her life.

We also hear from the brilliant Dr

Rangan Chatterjee on how just

five minutes can make a world of

difference to our wellbeing, and

Tess Daly, the beauty blogger

whose passion is now helping

It’s about allowing yourself the time

and space to understand yourself,

your needs, and values – and to

cherish that person. It’s not always

a linear journey, and there’ll be

days when your confidence feels

rattled, but day by day, that inner

love can and will build.

Let’s vow to start

sowing the seeds



| happiful.com

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| @happifulhq

| @happiful_magazine


The Uplift

8 In the news

13 The wellbeing wrap

14 What's 'white coat syndrome'?

Sweaty palms and raised blood pressure?

These could be signs of a fear of the doc

82 Engineering dreams

Meet the volunteer engineers creating

custom-built items to transform disabled

people's lives


16 Meghan Trainor

The singer-songwriter opens up about her

severe anxiety and panic attacks, and how

she discovered self-love


31 Dr Chatterjee

The UK's favourite GP shares the secrets

to feeling better in just five minutes

34 Financial fears

Cash in on these tips for taking back

control of your money

51 Head to toe

Our mental health can easily be affected

by physical health, but how can what's

going on our mind affect our bodies?


Life Stories

39 Kerry: Starting over again

Years of set-backs and pretending that

everything was 'fine' left Kerry in the

pits of depression. But just when she

thought everything was lost, she found

the strength to take back control

57 Dan: A blessing in disguise

A breakdown while he was in Italy took

Dan down paths he could never have

predicted. Eventually, after recovery, he

found a new purpose and now spreads

his message as a mental health activist

87 Nicola: From the other side

Nicola was living her life to its fullest

until she experienced her first panic

attack, and everything changed. In hard

times, she found solace in therapy,

and today gives back as a qualified

counsellor herself

Food & Drink

64 Smoothies for days

Kick off your mornings with these

vitamin-boosting smoothies

66 Tom Kerridge

The Michelin-starred chef on cooking

up a storm and finding balance

Lifestyle and


27 Self-dating ideas

28 Treating trauma

Grace Victory pens a personal piece on

living with PTSD

47 Stub out smoking

Follow these tips from a hynotherapist on

kicking the habit for good

70 Tess Daly

The beauty blogger on using her platform

to be a role model for disabled people




42 Things to do in February

54 Getting real with Reiki

What really happens in the therapy room?

63 Embrace mindfulness

A quick and easy guide to welcoming

mindfulness into your day

74 Ask the experts: counselling

Thinking about counselling? Here's what

you can expect from a session

80 Creative minds

In her latest book, Sheila Chandra turns

creative chaos into a thriving career

90 Quickfire: MH matters





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Happiful Hacks

24 Build a healthy relationship

44 Carve out time for creativity

60 Shelve shopping addiction

76 Overcome first day anxiety


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Meet the team of experts who have come together to deliver

information, guidance, and insight throughout this issue


Dip Couns Reg BACP

Annabel is a humanisticintegrative

counsellor and

TV presenter.


MA Dip RGN MBACP (Accred)

Lindsay is an integrative

counsellor and psychotherapist,

as well as a trained nurse.



John is a transformational

relationship coach helping

couples and individuals.


BA MEd (Psych) PGCE BACP Reg

Paula is a psychotherapist

and clinical supervisor

with 25 years' experience.



Rebecca Thair | Editor

Kathryn Wheeler | Staff Writer

Tia Sinden | Editorial Assistant

Keith Howitt | Sub-Editor

Rav Sekhon | Expert Advisor

Grace Victory | Columnist

Ellen Hoggard | Web Editor

Bonnie Evie Gifford | Contributing Writer

Kat Nicholls | Contributing Writer

Becky Wright | Contributing Writer


Amy-Jean Burns | Art Director

Charlotte Reynell | Graphic Designer

Rosan Magar | Illustrator



Rachel is a life coach

encouraging confidence

and motivation.



MBACP (Accred) BACP Reg Ind

Graeme is a counsellor

working with both

individuals and couples.



Gemma Calvert, Lindsay George, John Kenny,

Fiona Thomas, Katie Conibear, Wendy Gregory,

Annabel Giles, Suzanne Baum, Caroline Butterwick,

Kerry Lyons, Dan Keeley, Nicola Vanlint


Paul Buller, Krishan Parmar, Charley McEwan, Karin

Darnell, Graeme Orr, Rachel Coffey, Paula Coles,

Andrew Major, Josephine Robinson

BA MA MBACP (Accred)

Rav is a counsellor and

psychotherapist with more

than 10 years' experience.

MSc BSc (hons)

Wendy is a counselling

psychologist helping

people live fulfilled lives.


Lucy Donoughue

Content and Communications





Andrew is a solutionfocused





Josephine is a nutritional

therapist, and yoga and

meditiation teacher.

Alice Greedus

PR Officer



Aimi Maunders | Director & Co-Founder

Emma White | Director & Co-Founder

Paul Maunders | Director & Co-Founder


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If you are in crisis and are concerned for your

own safety, call 999 or go to A&E

Call Samaritans on 116 123 or email

them on jo@samaritans.org

Head to


for more services

and support



SANEline offers support and information from 4.30pm–10.30pm:

0300 304 7000


Mind offers advice Mon–Fri 9am–6pm, except bank

holidays: 0300 123 3393. Or email: info@mind.org.uk


Switchboard is a line for LGBT+ support. Open from 10am–10pm:

0300 330 0630. You can email: chris@switchboard.lgbt




Discover a range of services for those with panic disorders –

including one-to-one and group sessions, a befriending service,

and free information – at nopanic.org.uk



Read others' stories about their experiences with PTSD, and find

advice for friends and family members, at ptsduk.org



Find online groups, pen friend schemes, and tools to connect with

others living with depression by visiting depressionuk.org



Learn more about complementary therapy and search for

therapists in your area by visiting therapy-directory.org.uk



Connect with online advisors, commit to drink-free days, and learn

about tackling alcohol abuse at drinkaware.co.uk



Find information on a range of anxiety disorders, tips and

information on living with symptoms, and advice on accessing

support at anxietyuk.org.uk or call their infoline on 03444 775 774

The Uplift




wellbeing blooms

In a bid to improve the mental

health of its firefighters, Hampshire

Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) has

created two, on-site, holistic garden

spaces to support staff dealing with

traumatic incidents.

And this innovative plan is

desperately needed. In England last

year, 837 firefighters took time off

work due to mental health problems.

But being in tranquil outdoor

spaces can have an incredibly

positive effect on our mental health,

and so – with the support of local

company Apollo Fire Detectors

Ltd– the HFRS created the outdoor

spaces, which feature natural

landscaping and garden furniture,

for staff to use to take quiet

moments for themselves.

The gardens, at stations in

Redbridge and Havant, the latest in

several moves by HFRS to support

the mental health of staff, including

the Trauma Risk Management

scheme, which aims to support

firefighters following harrowing

events, and training in mental

health first aid.

“I am hugely proud of the strides

our organisation has made in terms

of raising awareness of mental

health issues and supporting our

colleagues,” Deputy Chief Fire

Officer Steve Apter said. “These

tranquil spaces show the wellbeing

of our staff really is at the heart of

everything we do.”

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler


New pill could spice up your sex life

Fenugreek is a herb used to flavour curries, but research

suggests it could add zest in the bedroom, too

A libido-boosting pill containing

fenugreek has been tested on 29

post-menopausal women, with

results showing an increased

blood flow to the genitals, and

raised testosterone levels.

Researchers from the Palacios’

Institute of Women’s Health, in

Spain, revealed that when one

aspect of the participant’s sex

lives improved, others followed

in a ‘domino effect’.

The findings could be a gamechanger

for sexual wellbeing.

Using a questionnaire-based

Female Sexual Function Index

(FSFI), which is a scale from 0 to

36, anyone scoring below 26 is

considered to be at risk of sexual

dysfunction. Before the trial, the

participants had an average score

of 20 and after the trial, their score

increased to 25.

Dr Santiago Palacios, who led the

research, said: “The administration

of this product is associated with

a significant increase not only

in desire and arousal, but also in

vaginal lubrication and orgasm.”

Sounds like a great way to heat

things up in the bedroom!

Writing | Kat Nicholls



FC supports

Rainbow Laces


In a widely welcomed move,

Liverpool FC recently joined the

campaign asking sports players

to wear rainbow laces to support

LGBTQ+ players, and the wider

community. Players in two games

– one with the men’s team and

another with the women’s – got


In addition to players wearing

the laces, both team captains wore

rainbow armbands to lead the show

of support.

But the work didn’t stop there.

Laces were available for fans to

buy, and the LFC Foundation – the

club’s official charity – also held

workshops with pupils from 16 local

schools, which looked at breaking

down misconceptions surrounding

equality and inclusion, as well as

LGBTQ+ history.

The diversity and inclusion senior

manager at LFC, Simon Thornton,

sees this move as a positive sign of

things to come.

“The promotion of diversity and

inclusion is something we are

committed to and passionate about.

From being the first Premier League

club to march at a Pride parade

eight years ago, to the first club

to achieve the Premier League’s

Advanced Equality Standard, we

are continually striving to do more,

work with leaders in the field to

improve, and be the best we can be.”

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler

February 2020 • happiful.com • 9

However rare true love may be, it

is less so than true friendship



IRL connections

with friends are

key to happiness

So many of us rely on texting,

WhatsApp, and social media to stay

in touch with friends – and while this

is great, it doesn’t beat meeting up

in real life. Speaking to Well+Good

website, social-personality

psychologist Dr William Chopik

explained how spending time with

friends in person is one of the best

ways to boost overall happiness.

“Friendships are really important

for people’s happiness. In general,

[they offer] improvements on

metrics like depression and anxiety,”

he said.

The benefits of meeting in real

life, rather than digitally, include

being able to see facial expressions

and picking up on their emotions.

“You don’t always get that through a

phone call,” Dr Chopik explains.

A study from Harvard University

looked into the benefits of strong

relationships and agreed that time

with friends can improve happiness

– and even longevity. Results from

the study found that meeting with

friends is as beneficial to long-term

health as not smoking, eating well,

and getting adequate sleep.

So next time you reach for your

phone to message a friend, use it

to set a date for an IRL catch-up

instead. Writing | Kat Nicholls

February 2020 • happiful.com • 11

Take 5

Take a mindful moment to yourself with our challenging Sudoku this month.

Then try a classic riddle with your friends and family – a perfect after-dinner

conundrum. Get your thinking caps on!


Fill the grid with digits so that each column, each row, and each of the nine

3×3 subgrids that compose the grid contain all of the digits from 1 to 9.

3 7 9 5

5 4 3 9

7 5 4

1 2 8

7 3 9 8

9 4 5 2 7

7 1 5 4 2

8 6 1 4 9 3

5 7 1


What eight-letter word can you remove a letter from, and it still

makes a word? And then as you continue to remove one letter

at a time, it can still form a full word, even when you have one

letter left. What is that word? Hint: When you begin, you’ve got it

How did

you do? Search

‘freebies' at


to find the answers,

and more!

Going up

Dance fever

According to a

Japanese study,

chimps have it!

Flying high

World’s first


electric plane

has a successful


Write on time!


thank you notes

can boost

your MH

Seven hours a

year – the time

men apparently

spend hiding

from chores in



Research shows

sleeping next to

a snorer impacts

your health

Going down




Make ‘em laugh

A study from Arizona

State University found

99% of science students

appreciate a teacher

with humour. Students

reported that jokes reduce

stress, and help improve

their memory of

lessons. Sounds like the

formula for success.


Raising a dog together could be a great boost to

couples, according to research from rover.com,

where 60% of survey respondents said their romantic

relationships grew ‘stronger and happier’ after

getting their furry friend. The survey also revealed

that 88% of people agreed that teamwork was a key

factor in taking care of their new pet, and almost

50% said their pooch gave them a great excuse to

spend more time together. So it seems raising a pet

together could be the best way to say “I ruff you”...













Climate change activism is

boosting the wellbeing of

youngsters, according to

psychologists. While ecoanxiety

may have become

rife in recent years, taking a

stand is helping overcome a

sense of powerlessness,

and in doing so,

benefits people’s

mental health!


The University Hospitals of Derby and Burton

NHS Trust have become the first to introduce

disposable headscarfs. Created by junior doctor

Farah Roslan, the disposable hijabs allow Muslim

staff to respect their faith, while avoiding passing

on germs to patients. A brilliant idea, that’s just

what the doctor ordered.



A six-year-old from Georgia,

USA, might just have won the

most heartwarming moment

of the year already. Blake’s

mum shared a snap of him

wearing a homemade shirt

saying ‘I’ll be your friend’,

and revealed he requested

the top to show all the kids

who need friends that

they’re not alone.

#Give a Ruck

A new campaign,

by Tessa Beecroft from

Holt Rugby Club, is tackling

mental health stigma in rugby.

Signposting support, and

looking to secure a mental

health first aider for every

club, it’s a campaign

well worth a try!

Love don’t

cost a thing

It turns out JLo might have got

that wrong, as a study reveals

relationships cost people an

average of £3,600 a year. New

research from Lloyds Bank

suggests singletons (though not

single households) typically spend

£300 less a month on living costs.

But single or coupled up, being

happy is priceless.

Hot to trot

You may be familiar

with therapy dogs, but

another four-legged

friend has been

supporting people’s

wellbeing in Scotland.

Elaine and John Sangster are

the couple travelling around

the country, taking their eight

miniature Shetland ponies

to care homes, hospitals,

and hospices, to help people

with dementia, brain injuries,

disabilities, or special needs.

And the reactions they’ve seen

are truly moving, as people

who’ve not spoken a word in

years interact with the ponies.

Animal therapy has been

found to reduce anxiety and

stress in people, so the guests

are supporting the mental

health needs of some of the

most vulnerable people. What

a heartwarming tail...

For many of us, going to the doctor can feel daunting

and fill us with anxiety – but it doesn't have to be so

overwhelming. Here are some tips to help overcome your

fears, make you calmer, and lower your blood pressure


What is

white coat syndrome

Writing | Lindsay George

Illustrating | Rosan Magar

Does the mere thought of

visiting your doctor fill

you with dread? Despite

telling yourself that

you’ll be in safe hands

and there’s absolutely nothing to

worry about, you just can’t help

feeling anxious?

Well the good news is, you’re not

alone! A recent study revealed that

between 15% and 30% of people in

the UK experience this.

This phenomenon, known as

white coat syndrome, white coat

hypertension, or the white coat

effect, occurs when an individual

experiences higher than normal

blood pressure when they are in a

clinical setting.

It’s believed to be a symptom of

the fear of the unknown, and/or a

negative association with hospitals

and clinics. The problem here is

that, for many people, taking that

first step towards seeking help

for their health is hard enough

emotionally already, so addressing

white coat syndrome is essential to

make sure people aren’t deterred.

Despite white coat syndrome

causing a spike in the blood

pressure of individuals who are

normally deemed within the

healthy range group, some doctors

believe it might reveal people who

may develop actual hypertension,

therefore a thorough assessment is


Diagnosing someone with white

coat syndrome can be challenging,

as it’s often difficult to gain a

precise reading. In real terms, this

may mean your doctor comparing

readings taken in the clinic with

those at home. Talk to your doctor

about this if you have any concerns.

Meanwhile, there are several

things you can do to help yourself

overcome your fears.


Relaxation techniques, such as

breath exercises and meditation,

can be incredibly useful in teaching

you how to calm down. They’re

popular, easy to do, and the medical

benefits are well-proven.

14 • happiful.com • February 2020


Try focusing on something other

than the blood pressure test itself.

For example, try counting things

in the room (three things you can

see, two you can hear, one you can

touch), or even wiggling your toes

– the important thing is to take

your mind off the task in hand.


Talking while getting your

blood pressure taken can

actually raise it a little, so

maybe hold the chat until after

the reading is done.



Simply breathe in through

your nose for three seconds, hold

your breath for five seconds,

exhale through your mouth

for seven seconds, and repeat

that cycle four times. Not only

will your mind be focused

on something else, but

you are also actively

suppressing your

body’s fight-or-flight

response to stress.

Try to complete this

cycle before your

blood pressure is

taken, not during.



A short walk is enough to help you

start rhythmic breathing, which

actually decreases blood pressure by

calming the body’s stress response.


When you make an appointment,

ask for a quieter examination room

that’s out of the way of all of the

hustle-and-bustle of the main area.


Another simple tip is to drink a

glass of water. Water has a calming

effect on the nervous system, and

it flushes out sodium, too (a risk

factor in hypertension).

Try counting things

in the room, or even

wiggling your toes – the

important thing is to

take your mind off the

task in hand



You can’t undo a lifetime of diet

choices in one afternoon, but you

can try avoiding meals that are high

in fat and sodium, ideally at least

two days before your appointment. If

you’re a smoker, try to refrain from

smoking for at least one hour prior to

your appointment.


Did you know that potassium-rich

foods could help control blood flow

and heartbeat? You can take

potassium supplements, but

those can take weeks to have any

significant effect, whereas eating

a banana, a sweet potato, or

some cooked spinach or broccoli,

can show a positive effect in just

one or two hours.



Blood pressure is likely

to be higher in the

morning. By scheduling

an appointment in the

afternoon, you may

experience lower blood

pressure without having to do

anything else.



Stress and anxiety play a significant

role in raising blood pressure.

Therefore, it is essential to try to

find better coping skills. Counselling

provides a safe space for you to talk

about issues that may be creating

additional stress in your life. In

addition, being able to offload

bottled up emotions not only allows

you to feel more relaxed, it promotes

a healthier approach to dealing

with life.

Lindsay George is an integrative

counsellor and trained nurse.

She specialises in areas including

depression, eating disorders, and

relationships. Visit lindsaygeorge.co.uk

February 2020 • happiful.com • 15

Voice of a


Rising to fame in 2014 as a global

sensation empowering people to love

their bodies, Meghan Trainor isn’t just a

new judge on The Voice UK, but has a

strong voice of her own, and

she isn’t afraid to use it.

Speaking out now about the crippling

panic attacks and anxiety that

overwhelmed her following two

operations on her vocal cords, Meghan

is shining an authentic and endearing

light on how mental illness can affect

anyone, no matter their situation...

Interview | Gemma Calvert

Photography | Paul Buller

It’s a weekday afternoon in

December, in the corner of a lowlit

bar at London’s Langham Hotel,

and against a background hubbub

of festive celebrations, Meghan

Trainor is pouring hot water on to a

bag of herbal tea, while revealing that

her new husband might just be the

world’s most perfect man.

“I am way too lucky. I got the best

guy in the world and more,” she says,

an ear-to-ear grin spreading across

her face. >>>

“I didn’t know men could be so

emotionally intelligent, and know

how you’re feeling at all times.”

Today, actor Daryl Sabara, known

best for his role in the Spy Kids film

series, has come up trumps. He’s

accompanied Massachusetts-born

singer Meghan on a three-day trip to

London from Los Angeles to promote

her new album, Treat Myself, and The

Voice UK, her new TV gig alongside

fellow mentors Olly Murs, will.i.am,

and Sir Tom Jones. While he’s not here

during our chat, he’s arranged for

Throat Coat tea bags to be delivered

to our table. It’s sweet, thoughtful

and, from the look of Meghan, who

is huddled up in an oversized coat,

exactly what she needs.

“I’m so tired, my body’s kind of

crashing because of jet lag and

exhaustion,” she confirms, leaning

forward to inhale the fragrant steam

from the tea, a blend favoured by

singers for vocal TLC. “He knows I

need to drink this.”

I offer that being so cared for,

especially in the midst of a relentless

work schedule – today Meghan’s

completed a photoshoot, another

interview, is dashing to Radio 1 after

we wrap before finishing the day in

the Happiful studio – must make her

feel safe.

“I feel safe, protected, and loved

super hard,” says Meghan of the

man she wed in December 2018, on

her 25th birthday, one year after he

proposed. The couple met in July

2016 on a blind date set up by their

mutual friend, actress Chloë Grace

Moretz, and are, Meghan insists,

“soulmates”. Is there a secret to the

strength of their bond?

“There is something that Daryl

and I do that I’ve never done with

other people, and that’s complete

100% honesty – talking to each

other, communication – and that

transparency is everything. We really

care about each other as humans,”

says Meghan, who has previously

revealed she “never really felt sexy

with guys before” meeting Daryl,

who is “obsessed” with “every inch”

of her body. And every day her new

husband persuades her to feel her


“He makes me go to the mirror and

say, ‘My name’s Meghan Trainor and

I’m beautiful, and I deserve to be

loved’,” says Meghan, stifling a giggle.

“He’ll catch me when I’m running out

the door and be like ‘Hey! Look in the

mirror!’ But it helps because I’m like:

‘That’s right, I’m awesome! Let’s go!’”

From the moment Meghan burst

into public consciousness five

years ago with ‘All About That Bass’,

encouraging women to shake their

butts and feel good while doing it,

she became a global poster girl for

body confidence and acceptance.

The track shot to number one

in 58 countries, and challenged

stereotypes by celebrating men and

women with fuller figures.

Since then, she has left nothing of

herself in the wings with her soulbaring

lyrics, which commonly

promote healthy self-confidence in

her fans. So it’s intriguing to discover,

from this mirror mantra story, that

her self-esteem is still a work in


“That’s who I want to be,” she says.

“I write my songs very much to

myself. I hope I’m helping strangers

too, but they’re to remind myself to

take care of myself, to love myself,

and to be kind to myself. Sometimes

I’m feeling really hot, sometimes

– once a month – I’m not. When I

play those songs, I’m like ‘For these

three minutes, I am a queen’, and I’m

loving myself and it’s awesome.”

I thought, ‘It’s over,

I’m not going to

sing ever again.’ I

went full dive into

the dark zone of

deep thoughts

The songs she references are

from Treat Myself, which dropped in

January 2020, almost four years after

the release of her last album, and

it’s some of her best work – raw and

honest, yet still trademark Trainor

fun. During the three-year writing

process she “adopted two dogs, got

married [and] had time for myself”,

the latter being shorthand for a

deeply personal journey of recovery

after a second emergency vocal cord

operation in December 2016, 10

months after she won a Grammy for

Best New Artist, left her so anxious

about the future of her music career

she sought therapy.

“I thought, ‘It’s over, I’m not going to

sing ever again,’” explains Meghan.

“I went full dive into the dark zone of

deep thoughts.”

Shortly before the second

procedure – 17 months after the

first – she endured her first anxiety

attack, backstage at America’s CBS

This Morning show before appearing

live to announce the 2017 Grammy


“I was so tired and had vocal

issues. I looked at my schedule and

thought, ‘I’m not going to make it,

I’m going to lose my voice.’ I started

hyperventilating, crying hard,

and shaking. I kept saying: ‘What’s

happening?’ It rocked me,” she recalls.

18 • happiful.com • February 2020

Red Blazer Dress | House of CB, Ring | Thomas Sabo, Earrings | Sif Jakobs

A friend in Meghan’s dressing

room, familiar with panic attacks,

encouraged her to focus on

surrounding objects and name them

one-by-one. “It calmed me down,”

she recalls. “When it finally settled

after 20 minutes, I was like ‘So that’s

what it is?’”

Initially, Meghan struggled to deal

with her reality. Even researching

“anxiety attack” on the internet had

the power to trigger an episode.

“One night I looked up ‘explain

what an anxiety attack is’ on TED

Talks, and within four seconds I fell

over and was like, ‘Oh God, shut it

off!’ I couldn’t hear about it for a

long time.”

Meghan became a prisoner of her

own thoughts, a problem worsened

by weeks of enforced silence –

firstly to heal her haemorrhaging

vocal cords to avoid permanent

damage and proceed with surgery,

then for weeks during recovery. The

isolation was crippling.

“Imagine not being able to speak,

or hum, or cough, or laugh – it

numbs you,” explains Meghan. “You

can’t get excited, you can’t get mad,

and you can’t tell your favourite

person in the world that you love

them. [During] arguments or if I

was frustrated, I’d just shake. A lot

of time spent in your own head is

such a terrible place to be.”

Between operations one and two

Meghan employed a therapist to

help calm her “stress”. She also

sought the help of a hypnotherapist

to cure her of repeatedly picking the

skin on her fingers.

“I’ll pick them, then get really

insecure if I have to do red carpet

and have a bloody finger. It’s still an

issue I’m working on,” she explains.

It wasn’t until Carson Daly, host of

America’s The Voice, spoke publicly >>>

February 2020 • happiful.com • 19

about his lifelong battle with

generalised anxiety disorder that

Meghan was able to articulate her

own mental health experience.

“He explained physically what

[anxiety] does to you, and I was like

‘That’s exactly it.’ I’ve never heard

anyone explain it so well.”

After finally opening up to

Daryl and her family, Meghan

retreated from the spotlight and

overhauled her lifestyle. She began

transcendental meditation, which

Daryl does every day “religiously”,

and noticed a “huge difference” by

eating more healthily and upping

her weekly quota of exercise.

I’m starting to believe

it. I’ve found beauty

in my body

“My brain is happier,” she

smiles, adding that less frequent

use of Instagram, which she says

triggered problems when she

compared herself to others, is

helping too. She satisfies her phone

“addiction” by watching YouTube

videos, and using new video

sharing app TikTok – her “saviour”.

“Rather than only show how

awesome your life is, TikTok is

[about] ‘look how goofy I am’. I don’t

have to have the perfect pose and

the best makeup, this is how I am.”

Choosing not to speak to herself

negatively is another feel-good

trick up Meghan’s sleeve.

“I got this from my mother; she

says all the time: ‘I look horrible

and I’m so frumpy today’ and I’m

like, ‘Ma! Shh! You’re training your

brain to hate yourself.’ That’s what

I grew up listening to, so I did that

too. The more you say [negative

comments] the more your brain

believes it. Your brain is a sponge.”

And so what’s her inner dialogue

like now?

“I look at pictures of myself and

think ‘Isn’t she cute?’ Or I’ll give

myself compliments out loud and it

totally works, I’m starting to believe

it. I’ve found beauty in my body.”

Prescription medication, she

admits, is also helping. Meghan,

who initially tried beta blockers to

calm pre-performance palpitations,

now takes citalopram – a type of

antidepressant sometimes used to

treat panic attacks.

“I need it. It saved my life in so

many ways,” she says, though she

does plan to come off it eventually.

“It’s the lowest milligrammes. It’s

probably placebo at this point, but

[my doctor] says ‘if you’re happy, I

wouldn’t mess with it, especially if

you’re about to go into a lot of work.’”

Right now Meghan’s schedule is

hectic, but there are no complaints.

Hard work is ingrained in Meghan,

who started out as a songwriter

signed to a country music label, not

believing she had the ‘pop star look’

to make it as an artist. She resigned

herself to writing music for others,

but within two years penned ‘All

About That Bass’ and laid down her

vocals, which caught the attention

of producer LA Reid, who instructed

his team to “just sign her”. She’s

evidently still grateful for that break.

There’s also a renewed appreciation

for her career since surgery

threatened to derail it.

“I show up to things and I’m like

‘Thank you for letting me be here,’”

says Meghan, who boasts 10.5

million followers on Instagram

alone, yet endearingly, struggles to

comprehend the magnitude of her

stardom. >>>


20 • happiful.com • February 2020

Top | Topshop, Earrings | Sif Jakobs

I feel accepted

for who I am.

That’s why I love

doing TV because

I don’t have

to go up there

and pretend I’m

someone else

Jumper | Sézane, Hair & Skincare | Rosalique and Paul Mitchell

Styling | Krishan Parmar

Hair | Charley McEwen

Makeup | Karin Darnell

“Doing The Voice, I was like, ‘What

if they don’t know me and my

music?’ I told Olly Murs and he

said ‘I know exactly how you feel.

I felt the same way, but you’ll be

surprised, everyone will know who

you are.’ He was so good to me.”

Becoming a mentor on ITV’s

music talent show was a “bucketlist

moment” for Meghan, who says

the format – not being about “what

you look like, what you’ve been

through and who you are” but “the

pure talent” – attracted her. She

instantly felt part of the “family”

and describes Olly as her “new best

friend”, presenter Emma Willis like

someone she has “known my whole

life”, and will.i.am as childlike as

she is. “He’ll be tapping a beat on

his table and I’ll start writing a song

with it, then we’ll be like ‘That’s

a smash!’” says Meghan. “It’s fun

moments like that where you don’t

feel like you’re at work.”

Meghan hasn’t had a panic attack

for “probably more than a year”.

Does she feel more resilient since

finding light after darkness?

“I feel like I conquered it,” she

says. “It sucks in the moment when

it’s happening, you think ‘this will

never end and I’ll live with this for

the rest of my life’, but you don’t

have to. You ask for help, and I

can say I’m so much better. I know

what triggers me now. If I don’t get

sleep, and my body’s exhausted, it

confuses my brain with panic. I can

listen to my body more now.”

Meghan no longer has counselling,

but is intent on finding an industry

mentor, someone who’s “been

through” what she has, to guide and

advise. Someone like?

“Kelly Clarkson,” replies Meghan.

“Every time I see her she’s the

nicest human I’ve ever met. I’m

like ‘Ah man, I want to be a Kelly


As for other plans for the future,

motherhood is calling. Loudly.

During a recent shopping trip, the

elevator doors opened to reveal

a floor-to-ceiling display of baby

products. It sparked a surge of

broodiness in Meghan.

“I always say my ovaries are crying

because they just want babies.

My body is so ready for it. I’m not

trying, but I’m learning new tips

from my mum every day. I go on

YouTube and I’ve been studying like

I’m going to school. It’s so weird!”

Family means everything to

Meghan. Every song on her new

album features appearances from

the Trainor clan and Daryl, who

pulled out all the stops for the

couple’s first wedding anniversary

before Christmas, a celebration

at their home in Los Angeles –

Meghan’s “happy place”.

As my time with Meghan draws

to a close, I question whether she’s

finally found love for the person

she’s struggled to value most over

the years – herself. Meghan smiles.

“I’m very proud of myself and,

yes, I love myself,” she says. “I feel

accepted for who I am. That’s why I

love doing TV, because I don’t have

to go up there and act, to pretend

I’m someone else.”

With a speciality in never taking

her talent for granted, Meghan

Trainor should buckle up. She’s

destined for the long-haul.

Meghan’s album ‘Treat Myself’ is out

31 January. Follow her on Instagram

@meghan_trainor, and watch her as

a judge on ITV’s ‘The Voice’.

February 2020 • happiful.com • 23

How to build a



We all seek friendship, love, and happiness with others, but it’s important

to keep nourishing those relationships over time. Here are some expert

pointers to help you create strong and lasting personal connections

Writing | John Kenny Illustrating | Rosan Magar

Every relationship needs a bit

of work, no matter how long

it’s lasted. One of the most

common things that can

affect a relationship in a negative

way is what we learn to expect.

We expect that they should know

us, know how we feel, what we are

thinking, and constantly be on our

wavelength. We assume that we

know them, what makes them tick,

what kind of mood they are in, and

how to make them feel better. But,

the long and short of it is that, well,

maybe we don’t.

Here are four things that people

in healthy relationships do:


The first and, in my opinion, the

most important thing you need

to do is to understand you. The

relationship that you have with

yourself will reflect all others that

you have.

Whatever you bring to a

relationship will determine how

you are in a relationship, and

how the other person is towards

you. Knowing yourself, and what

truly makes you happy, will help

you to live in a positive space,

and positively affect all of your


Be self-aware – get to know

yourself and how you ‘tick’. By

gaining this understanding, and

knowing your triggers, means

you can try to control them, and

address what sets them off in your


Understand your wants and

needs – most people will be able

to tell you what they don’t want,

but hardly ever what they do want.

Without this knowledge, or why

you have specific needs, then you

may struggle to feel fulfilled.

Learn what your values and

principles are. We have a tendency

to live by the values we learn

from others, and sometimes

life can feel incongruent

because of this. Living by

your own values will enable

you to live authentically, and

align with people who live

the same way.



When I first started working with

clients, we spoke a lot about the

importance of compromise. How

we all need to give something for

the relationship to be a success.

However, this had a tendency to

lead to animosity and a ‘you give, I

give’ mentality in some people.

Compromise has a negative

connotation: ‘I am giving

something up!’ Nobody really

wants to think they are sacrificing

in this way, as what they are giving

is not being given freely. So now,

nobody compromises.

This will play out differently,

depending on the type of

relationship, but remind yourself

what the best thing for you to do is.

An example is when you really

care about someone, you do

something for them just because

you care. Giving something

because you want to is a great way

to ensure a happy and healthy

relationship. It needs to feel

authentic to make it a ‘want to’ or a

‘could do’, rather than a ‘should’.

In a healthy relationship, this will

be reciprocated.



When we embark on a

relationship, we get to know one

another, and then start to assume

that we really know each other.

What’s common, however, is that

we get to know them from our own

perspective, from what we need,

and what makes us feel good.

In his book The 5 Love Languages,

author Gary Chapman says that

“your emotional love language…

may be as different as speaking

Chinese and English”.

What he means is if you feel

loved by someone telling you they

love you… and they feel loved by

receiving affection, you can tell

them you love them until the end

of the earth, and they won’t feel it.

And if they constantly cuddle you,

then you won’t feel it, either.

Take the time to understand what

the other person really needs to

feel cared for, and don’t forget to

tell people what you need, too!



How often, and how well, do

we actually communicate with

others? And how often, and how

well, do we think we communicate

with others? We have a tendency

to communicate something

when we ‘need’ to and when

we ‘need’ to, it’s generally

something negative.

Take some time,

on a regular basis, to

communicate something

positive to someone. And

when you have something

negative to say, remember to set

up a time to discuss things when

everyone is in the right frame of

mind to talk.

Relationships can be

complicated, as we are all

individuals with our own ways of

doing and seeing things.

For yours to be healthy, you need

to take the time to understand

yourself, reflect on what other

people need, and then live the best

relationships possible.

John Kenny is the founder of

Interpersonal Relationship Coaching

(IRC), and author of ‘The P.E.O.P.L.E

Programme’. Visit


for more.

Photography | Thai An

Self-compassion is simply giving

the same kindness to ourselves

that we would give to others


Spend some quality time…

with yourself

As Carrie Bradshaw said in

Sex and The City, the most

significant relationship in our

lives is the one we have with

ourselves. So why not spend

some essential you-time

with your truest soulmate?

Writing | Kat Nicholls

1 Head to a museum or art gallery

Feed your curiosity with a trip to a

museum or gallery. Visit somewhere

you’ve never been to before, and go

all out – use the audio tour, enjoy

lunch in the cafe, pop into the gift

shop before you leave. Soak up every

piece of information, and follow

whatever piques your interest.

Need some museum inspo? Head

to tripadvisor.co.uk. According to

reviewers, the top museums in the

UK include the National Railway

Museum in York, the National

Gallery in London, and the Roman

Baths in Bath.

2 Go for a coffee and reading date

When you’re craving some quiet

time, or even a little escapism, grab

a book and take yourself off to your

favourite cafe. Order a drink and

settle into a comfy seat.

Enjoy the bustling hum of the

cafe in the background, or put your

headphones on and listen to some

soothing music. Get lost in the

pages, and let everything else fall

away for an hour or two.

3 See something at the cinema

How often have you missed a film

you were excited about because no

one else wanted to see it? Next time,

We’d love to hear

about your solo

adventures! Tag


magazine on


head to the cinema solo. You won’t

have to worry about sharing your

popcorn (or deal with that friend

who loves talking through the

trailers), and you can go whenever

suits you.

4 Learn something new

Developing a new skill can be

incredibly fulfilling, and helps to

keep our brains healthy. According

to research, learning a second

language can increase your grey

matter and slow down brain ageing.

Why not try a class in your local

area? You could take a pasta-making

course (and enjoy the finished

product at home with a glass of

wine), an art class, or grow your

brain by learning a language.

5 Go street combing

A creativity technique devised

by Dutch innovation consultant

Richard Stomp, street combing

involves walking up and down

a street and taking pictures of

anything and everything that

interests you. It sounds simple,

but it’s an amazing way to get

your creative juices flowing while

getting you out in the fresh air –

and helping you see familiar streets

with fresh eyes.

Tackling trauma…

with Grace

As a trainee counsellor, and having experienced trauma first-hand,

Grace Victory opens up about what it’s really like to live with PTSD

There are so many

topics I want to

confront and discuss

concerning wellbeing

and trauma – the list

is literally endless. I have such a

huge passion for dissecting these

topics because, in the midst of

life, everything always feels a bit

better when you realise you’re

not alone.

I remember the very first time

I spoke openly about depression

and my eating disorder. It was

way back in 2011, in a YouTube

video, and it felt revolutionary,

like something had been lifted

and my eyes had been opened. I

remember thinking “Wow... when

you talk about your feelings, other

people talk about theirs, too.”

It was powerful. While talking

may not be the only way to heal

and recognise the difficult things

within us, it really can be a good

place to start.

As a child, I always knew

something was a bit off with me,

but I could never pinpoint what

it was exactly. I rarely felt angry,

I always felt sad, and I never felt

safe. Maybe some of you can

relate? I felt like the black sheep

who was shunned by others, so I

isolated myself.

My basic needs were met, but

many other needs were not, which

is still something I’m coming to

terms with. For a long time, I didn’t

realise I hadn’t experienced what

other people would call a ‘normal’

childhood, but I guess it was normal

for me.

I remember the first time I sat

down with a therapist and told

them what my childhood was like. I

reeled off things I’d heard, seen, and

had happen to me. I was so used to

trauma that I minimised it in my

head. If it was small and locked in

a cage then I didn’t have to feel or

deal with it. I detached so much

from myself that telling my story

became matter-of-fact, as if it wasn’t

my own story that I was telling.

It wasn’t until I was 26 that I began

to realise the effects that trauma

had had on me, and in the summer

of 2016 I received a diagnosis of

post-traumatic stress disorder

(PTSD). My initial reaction was

“Well WTF is that? It sounds like

some sort of weird disease that I

definitely do not want.” I was that

person. I had (still have) so much

shame inside of me about my

victimhood that I hated the fact I

had ‘something’.

For those of you who are unsure

what PTSD is exactly, allow me to

I am learning that

being a victim

doesn’t make me

weak, feeling pain

doesn’t make me

a burden, and

that what other

people did, has

never been my


Photography | Paul Buller

28 • happiful.com • February 2020


First steps

for support...

If you feel ready to reach out

for help, the best thing to do

initially is speak to your GP.

They can advise you on

treatment options, and

remember, you don’t have

to go alone. A friend or

family member can be

there beside you.

break it down for you. PTSD is a

mental health condition triggered

by an event, or a series of events,

that the individual experiences as

terrifying. This can be something

happening to them, or watching it

happen. PTSD causes your brain

to remain in the danger zone due

to increased stress levels. PTSD

can then manifest as flashbacks,

anxiety, and depression, when

triggered by anything from scents

to loud noises. Some catalysts for

PTSD include war, rape, domestic

violence, and severe sickness.

My diagnosis meant that I

needed to confront my issues head

on, and I felt overwhelmed with

dread. However, somewhere deep

inside of me, I also felt relief. Like

my inner child was saying: “Thank

God I’m not making all of this up

in my head.”

It’s been three years since my

diagnosis and honestly, most

days I am surprised by how much

trauma has affected my life. I

don’t tend to talk about it much

online because everything is

pretty painful still. Isn’t it weird

how much pain a person can feel,

and still smile? I smile every day,

but every day I feel confused and

lost, and like everything I once

knew was a lie. I am learning that

being a victim doesn’t make

me weak, feeling pain doesn’t

make me a burden, and that

what other people did, has

never been my fault.

PTSD keeps you in an almost

constant state of “fight or

flight” – like a ticking time

bomb that’s about to explode

into rage or erupt into tears.

And for some people this could

be disappearing (physically or

emotionally) and not feeling

anything at all.

Now that I am working on my

subconscious programming,

and learning how to re-parent

myself, I am so aware of my

triggers and internal thoughts,

so life is so much easier. Now I

know why I’m angry, or why I’m

sad, and I have the tools to sit

with those feelings, or release

them safely. Some days are

battles that I lose, some days are

battles I win, and some days no

battles exist, and I am learning

to be OK with all three.




February 2020 • happiful.com • 29





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30 • happiful.com • February 2020

Helping you find the help you need.

The heart

of health

A regular face on our TV screens,

Dr Rangan Chatterjee knows better

than most what good health looks

like. But in a time when the secrets

to wellbeing seem more convoluted

than ever, Dr Chatterjee is stripping

things back. Here, we talk about

the key to keeping up New Year’s

resolutions, the importance of making

connections, and his revolutionary

new book: Feel Better in 5

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler

Hi Rangan! 2020 has just begun

– what are your thoughts on New

Year’s health trends?

Now, here’s a thing that I’ve

noticed in my practice: a lot of

people are trying to cut back on

sugar or alcohol, and for a week

or two, they can do it. But then

normally, by week two, week

three, they’re starting to slip back

into their existing behaviours.

The reason why this is

happening, in a lot of cases, is

because that alcohol and sugar

was serving a role. It was helping

someone soothe the stress in

their life. Maybe their work was

too stressful, or they were lonely.

Whatever the stressor, they were

using sugar and/or alcohol to help

them. So, they won’t reduce sugar

or alcohol in the long term, unless

you address the root cause of why

they were using it in the first place.

Does that make sense?

It does, and that’s very much the

theme of your new book?

Absolutely. That’s why I couldn’t

write a book just on food. In Feel

Better in 5, I’ve made health super

simple. Everything in the book

takes five minutes, maximum. >>>

February 2020 • happiful.com • 31

If you look at all the behavioural

science, you don’t create a new

behaviour by making it difficult

What do you mean by ‘heart’?

When it comes to health, heart

is something that doesn’t get

spoken enough about – it’s our

connection. Our connection with

our self, our connection with our

friends or our partners. When

you miss one of these areas, it’s

very hard to make changes stick

because they all feed into one


It sounds like a gimmick, but it’s

really not, because if you look at

all the behavioural science, this

is the way that you create a new

behaviour – you don’t create a new

behaviour by making it difficult,

you create a new behaviour by

making it easy.

How does Feel Better in 5 work?

You have to choose one fiveminute

intervention from mind,

one for body, one for heart – and

do them every day, five days a

week. So, literally 15 minutes a

day, five days a week, is all you

have to do. By doing this, you’re

covering the three important


You’re working on your mental

health, which is the mind piece,

body is actually a series of fiveminute

workouts, whether it’s

strength, HIIT, or yoga – none of it

requires any equipment. The third

section is heart.

You often speak about loneliness

and its effect on our physical

health. How are they connected?

Research suggests that the feeling

of being lonely is as harmful as

smoking 15 cigarettes a day… Just

think about that for a moment.

That is a staggering statistic. So,

why could that be?

Well, our stress response

evolved a couple of million years

ago. Two million years ago, we

would have been in tightly knit,

hunter-gatherer tribes that were

communities, which kept us safe.

If you don’t have your tribe around

you, you might be attacked by a

lion, by a predator. So, your very

clever body prepares you for that.

It ramps up your stress response.

It ramps up your immune system.

It makes your body inflamed.

Why? Because that means that if

you do get attacked, you will have

your best chance of survival.

So, if we think about what’s going

on, if we’re feeling lonely, if all

32 • happiful.com • February 2020

we’re having is that electronic

communication or interaction

with other human beings, we’re

missing out on that real human

connection. Our body thinks that

we’re vulnerable to attack, so it

prepares us for our attack; we

become inflamed, we become

stressed, our immune system

goes on high alert. This is what is

happening for many of us in 2020.

Another study found 2.5 million

men have no close friends, or

believe they have none. Is that


In a way. I’m very lucky that I’ve

got a very tight group of friends.

Now, I say I’m lucky, but none of

them live near me. I don’t have

It takes the

pressure off that

I know for the rest

of the day, I’ve

done something

for myself

any good friends who live near me.

This appears to be a problem that

affects men quite a lot. As I’ve got

busier with work, marriage, kids, a

mortgage, I don’t really find that I

have time to make new friends.

But maybe it’s not good enough

anymore to say you’re too busy,

you haven’t got time. There are

things that I could do and I’m

going to work on them. But

I’m very lucky that I do have a

very tight group of mates from

university, who I meet up with

two or three times a year for a

weekend, and literally it nourishes

me on a deep level.

So, for someone who’s struggling,

I’d say, well, what do you like? Do

you like going to the gym? Maybe

go to a class. Do you like reading?

Maybe there’s a local book club.

Find something nearby where

people share similar interests, and

that’s how you’re going to start

creating these new friendships.

From your perspective, how do

you see the increase in mental

health awareness playing out

in your practice?

Things are shifting in a really

positive way, but we’re currently

not where we need to be. We need

to do much more because let’s

not forget that actually, the male

suicide rate in the age group of

30 to 45 is really shocking, really

worrying, and it seems to be


The fact that more and more

people are talking about this

openly on social media, these

things are really helping bring

these topics into the public


I’m seeing patients coming in

now, particularly men, who may

not have had the courage to talk

about their problems a few years

ago, are now openly coming in and

saying, “Hey, I heard this podcast,”

or, “I saw this thing online and I

thought that might be affecting

me. I just want to talk to you about

‘Feel Better in 5: Your Daily Plan

to Feel Great for Life’ by Dr

Rangan Chatterjee (Penguin

Life, £16.99) is out now.

it.” So, I think things are changing

in a very positive way, because

the first thing we have to do is be

aware of the problem.

What steps do you take to

support your own wellbeing?

As soon as I get up, before I do

anything else, I’ll do five minutes

of deep breathing or meditation.

Just five minutes. Then, I do five

minutes of movement. So, it’ll be

one of the workouts in the book.

Either a strength workout, or a

yoga workout, or some stretches.

Then, I do five minutes for my

heart. I’ll write down things that

I’m grateful for and the positive

things in my life.

It takes the pressure off that

I know for the rest of the day,

I’ve done something for myself.

I prioritised myself, and I give

myself that self-respect every

morning, to do something for me.

February 2020 • happiful.com • 33

How to

take care

of your



The link between money worries and mental health problems

is clear, but fortunately there are some simple steps you can

follow to keep your cash concerns under control

Writing | Fiona Thomas


single bead of sweat drips down my

clammy back, even though it’s the

middle of winter. My face is flushed,

and I feel lightheaded as my thumb

rests on the fingerprint button of my phone.

I log in and wait an agonising few seconds

for the figure to appear on the screen. The

number that will dictate the tone of my day,

the amount of cash I have to my name. As the

figure appears in black and white, I breathe a

gentle sigh of relief. Phew. My bank balance

isn’t (currently) in the danger zone, so I can

afford to get some groceries on the way home

this evening. >>>

34 • happiful.com • February 2020

Social media

creates a warped

reality that

pressures people

into spending

money on the

wrong things

This is a process I go through

almost every day. Habitually

checking and rechecking my bank

balance to make sure that I can

afford to buy the things I need in

life. Food, bills, travel costs, and

of course the little extras that

privilege provides, like a new

lipstick or a fancy bottle of gin.

Worrying about cash flow is a

horrible, sinking feeling. But it’s

one that constantly bubbles away

under the surface for many of us.

Two-thirds of those aged between

22 and 38 say that money worries

keep them up at night, with debt,

bills, and mortgage payments

ranking highly on the list. Another

survey found that one in four Brits

admitted they would struggle if

faced with a long period of unpaid

sick leave, and 23% would not be

able to cope with the expense of a

broken boiler.

The link between money and

mental wellbeing is clear, and it’s

one that we can work to strengthen

in a positive way. Money coach

and mentor Emma Maslin says:

“At its heart, financial wellbeing is

about acknowledging our emotions

around money, feeling in control of

our finances, being able to withstand

financial unpredictability and

unexpected expenses.”

With a quarter of people in the

UK believing that poor financial

wellbeing is a significant cause

of stress within their workplace,

it’s clear that many of us need

to address our relationship with



The emotions we feel towards

money are closely linked to the

beliefs that have been instilled

in us from a young age. For

example, if you were brought up

being repeatedly told you that

you shouldn’t talk about money,

then you may exhibit avoidance

behaviours as an adult. If you were

taught to be vigilant with money,

then you may find it difficult to

spend money as an adult, even if

you are financially stable.

To make things worse, social

media creates a warped reality

that pressures people into

spending money on the wrong

things. A poll commissioned by

BBC Radio 5 recently found that

more than a third of 20 to 29-yearolds

agreed that social media posts

by influencers made them spend

money they otherwise would not

have wanted to spend.

I spoke to psychotherapist and

Counselling Directory member

Paula Coles, who has observed

young people distracting

themselves with small purchases

as a way to self-medicate. “People

might compulsively shop, or try

to buy ‘the appearance ideal’,”

says Paula. “Others may find

themselves prioritising things

such as escapist holidays over

establishing an everyday home life

that they enjoy.” This inevitably

impacts future wellbeing, with

36 • happiful.com • February 2020



• Every month, record your

expenses and income, then

reflect on how you can make

small changes.

• Tackle any high-interest debt

by finding lower interest ways

to pay. Visit stepchange.org

for free debt advice.

• Open a savings account, and

put a little aside each month –

and look to increase this

over time.

• Set up a direct debit, so

that savings come out


• Contribute as much as

you can to your workplace


• Set short- and long-term

financial goals.

• To learn the basics on a wide

range of topics, including

benefits, Brexit, redundancy,

and insurance, visit


16 million people in the UK

having less than £100 in savings,

according to a Money Advice

Service survey.


Alongside unnecessary spending,

debt worries, and mental blocks,

perhaps the most frustrating threat

to our financial wellbeing is a lack

Creating a savings

pot can help you

control your spending

by encouraging you

to work towards a

specific goal

of understanding. With terms such

as ‘effective annual rate’, ‘loan-tovalue’

and ‘compound interest’ it’s

no wonder that 77% of UK adults

are confused by financial jargon.

Six million Brits have racked up

late fees due to misunderstanding

language, and others have seen

a negative impact on their credit


This can lead to further

difficulties, and general avoidance

behaviour, because people don’t

know how to make changes for the

better. Paula says that education

and awareness around financial

matters can be hugely powerful

for our wellbeing.

“In psychotherapy, we talk about

individuals flourishing when

they have a positive internal

locus of control, meaning that an

individual feels they have personal

power in their life and therefore

they make positive choices,” she

says. “By increasing awareness

of complicated topics, such as

pensions and taxes, a person

might develop a stronger internal

locus of control, be less avoidant,

and more able to make informed

choices about how to manage their


So, here are some expert tips

on how to improve your financial



“The best way I learned to manage

my finances was to write down

absolutely everything. I write down

every penny I earn and spend. I use

Google Docs to make spreadsheets

to easily keep track of my income,

outgoings, spending, and savings.

You can also find plenty of free

printable templates online. Writing

everything down has made a huge

difference to my spending habits

and my financial wellbeing. I don’t

tend to overspend so much and I

have managed to keep my savings

goals.” – Claire Roach, money

saving blogger at Daily Deals UK.


“Look at the long-term as well as

the short-term – try to look ahead

with your finances. Where do you

want to be in five to 10 years? Are

you thinking about your future

with a pension, or spending on

unnecessary things that are only

bringing you temporary joy rather

than long-term stability?” – Chloe

Rowlands from TIC Finance.


“Creating a savings pot can help

you control your spending by

encouraging you to work towards

a specific goal; this could be

anything from a house deposit,

to a holiday. By putting away

a dedicated amount of money

every month, you’ll become more

mindful with your purchases,

knowing that this self-control will

be rewarded.” – John Ellmore from


Fiona Thomas is a freelance writer

and author, whose book, ‘Depression

in a Digital Age’, is out now. Visit

fionalikestoblog.com for more.

February 2020 • happiful.com • 37

Photography | Anna Baker

Growth begins when we start

to accept our own weakness



I tore up the

script of my life

On the surface Kerry was living the dream, yet

underneath she was empty, sad, and desperate.

Personal setbacks threatened to be the final

straw – but instead they gave her just the jolt

she needed to change everything

Writing | Kerry Lyons

I’m Kerry Lyons.

The creator of

The Imperfect

Life website and

planner. And

I live with depression,

with pride.

You see, day-to-day, my

time is now filled with

coaching women through

the adventure of turning

their daydreams into their

day jobs; helping them

create the businesses

they were made for, and

designing products that

support them on their

journeys. I can say, handon-heart,

that I love what

I do. But man, it wasn’t

always this way.

Let me take you back to

2006. Justin Timberlake

was bringing ‘SexyBack’.

Gnarls Barkley was ‘Crazy’.

And I didn’t have a clue

whose life I was living.

I was 25, and ripe for

what I’d later learn was a

quarter-life crisis.

I’d always been a hyper,

happy-go-lucky girl, and

my life until that point had

been filled by an almost

manic pursuit to achieve

big fat checks through the

societal tick-boxes of life.

Long-term relationship?

Tick. High grade GCSEs,

A-levels and degree? Tick.

Dream career as a graphic

designer straight out of

uni? Tick. Owning my

dream car three months

into my first proper job?

Tick. Owning my dream

home? Tick. Regular, sunsoaked

holidays? Tick.

So why did I feel the most

empty, the most sad, and

the most confused that I’d

ever felt?

Well, I’d people-pleased

myself into oblivion. On

reflection, I can see now

that I’d been a sponge;

absorbing and responding

to outer expectations, and

finding myself in a life

that society informed me

I should have, without

stopping for a minute to

listen to what I actually


But that wasn’t even the

toughest bit. You see, I

felt all this. I was aware

of all this. But I wasn’t

ready to face any of it. The

truth hurt. And the idea

of changing, outwardly

‘failing’ or disappointing

people, was so unbelievably

crippling that it kept me

exactly where I was.

For two whole years.

I remember my decisionmaking

process at the time

was to just ‘pretend I was

fine’. If I just ignored this

pull, this sadness, this

emptiness, if I just painted

on a smile and tried to

be like everybody else, it

would eventually – poof –

go away.

But, of course, it didn’t

go away. In fact, it got

way, way worse. Because,

as it turns out, when you

overrule and ignore your

feelings, intuition, and

instincts, your mind, body,

and even the universe, will

gather forces to find a way

to get you to listen up. And

boy, did they.

Towards the close of

2007, I sank into the

darkest depression of

my life. I could barely

get myself out of bed.

Washing and drying

my hair physically hurt >>>

February 2020 • happiful.com • 39

every single follicle on

my head. Getting dressed

was a mammoth task. My

favourite foods tasted of

nothing, and everything I

used to love doing just felt

hollow. It was like I’d lost

the ability to feel anything

but pain. And worst of all,

I felt like such a burden

to those closest to me

because I couldn’t explain

what I was experiencing.

The bleakest moment

came when I was

attempting to dry my hair

Kerry in her element, coaching

daydreamers to be action-takers

Slowly, with each big

decision I made, for myself,

my life-cloak of solid-black

darkness began to get shafts

of light punching through

one evening. I already felt

defeated knowing I had

to somehow get myself

up and out to work in

the morning, with tears

streaming down my face

as they so regularly did.

And a voice inside me

poked: ‘What are you

doing Kerry? This isn’t

living. Why are you even

here?’ And my response

to that was absolute

agreement; there wasn’t

any point in living the

way I was. Things would

be better for everyone if I

wasn’t here.

The thought of this being

‘the end’ shocked me. And

as horrific a headspace

as that was to be in, I’m

genuinely grateful that

things got that dark.

Because this is what

brought the fighter out

in me; my inner coach,

who had been there all

along, rooting for me.

This is what jolted me into

fighting for my life.

And that’s when things

started changing, slowly

and painfully, but

changing all the same.

I realised that I couldn’t

get better by myself

anymore, so I finally

started working with a

psychotherapist who

helped me pull out and

work through so much

‘life gumpf’ that I’d

unknowingly buried.

But as helpful and

groundbreaking as that

was, I was still filled with

so much resistance to


So, as ever, the universe

swooped in and got me

to pay attention in the

most heartbreaking of

ways. I lost my pet after 14

gorgeous years together,

my dad got unexpectedly

40 • happiful.com • February 2020

Photography | Amy-Rose Photography

sick and was rushed to

hospital, my nan passed

away, and I lost one of my

closest friends to breast

cancer at just 26 – all

within the space of a few


The trauma and acute

awareness of my mortality

jolted me into action like

nothing before. Within

weeks, I handed in my

notice at my ‘dream’ job.

I’d sold my ‘dream’ home.

I’d ended my 12-year

relationship. And I’d

moved into my dad’s spare

bedroom shortly before

running away to the west

coast of America and

emigrating to Dublin soon


It was life-changing

action. I tore up the script

of my life. And slowly,

with each big decision

I made, for myself, my

life-cloak of solid-black

darkness began to get

shafts of light punching


Fast-forward 13-plus

years and I’m out the

other side, living the

most insanely imperfectbut-gorgeous

life with

my husband David,

and our daughter Lola,

while building the most

fulfilling business I ever

could have dreamed of.

I’ve spoken at big events,

I’ve launched an online

training academy, and I’ve

single-handedly raised

more than £21,000 on

Kickstarter to bring the

flagship edition of The

Imperfect Life Planner

to life.

And this is why I live

with depression with

pride; not only because

it was the catalyst that

helped me step into the

life I now have, but also

because it continues

to challenge me, help

me grow, and help me

deeply connect with my

clients. I’m by no means

‘fixed’, and life is far from

perfect. But I now know I

don’t want perfect. I just

want a life that’s mine.

If you’re reading

this, feeling that you

can relate and you’re

wondering how you can

begin to create change,

too, please listen to

yourself. Learning and

seeking what you want

and need is not selfish,

nor is it self-serving. It’s

self-love. And there’s no

better gift you can give

to those who care about

you than a you that loves

herself, and the life that

she’s in.

Kerry is running another

crowdfunding campaign

in early 2020 for the third

edition of ‘The Imperfect

Life Planner’, with

some incredible rewards

available for her loyal

backers. Connect with

Kerry on Instagram

@kerrylyonsco, and visit


I’m by no means ‘fixed’, and

life is far from perfect. But I

now know I don’t want perfect.

I just want a life that’s mine

Who Kerry does it all for: her husband, David, and daughter, Lola


Kerry’s story shows us that

true happiness doesn’t

come from the way

others perceive us – or

even the way we think

others perceive us – it’s

what is going on inside

that really matters. We

can have all the things

we are ‘supposed’ to have

on the ‘checklist of life’,

but if there’s that nagging

feeling that things aren’t

right, we can’t brush those

feelings aside and hope

they go away – we need to

step up and do something

about it.

Kerry sought professional

help and that began her

journey to finding a way

out, and discovering who

she really was inside. As

Kerry says, if this message

resonates with

you, it could be

time to create

some positive

changes for

yourself, too!

Rachel Coffey | BA MA NLP Mstr

Life coach

February 2020 • happiful.com • 41



Make the month of romance about loving yourself, every day. Create an outside space

you can enjoy, find the courage to open up about mental health by listening to others,

and check-in with yourself on the app that helps you to take five


RHS Your Wellbeing Garden:

How to Make Your Garden

Good for You – Science, Design,


Are you curious about how the

great outdoors can enhance

your wellbeing? RHS Your

Wellbeing Garden explores the

secrets of design, plants, and

gardening itself, to help you

get the most out of your green


(Out 6 February, DK, £16.99)


Nottingham Festival of Science

and Curiosity




The National Wedding

Show, London

Are you planning the wedding

of your dreams? Start your

day with a glass of bubbly

before you walk around with

your wedding party to find

everything you need for your

special day. The show will also

be held in Birmingham and

Manchester in March,

so don’t worry if you have

other engagements.

(15–16 February. Visit


to find out more)


A week-long festival that takes

science out of the lab and into

our everyday lives. This festival is a celebration of knowledge and

curiosity, giving visitors a chance to ask questions as well as share

what they know. Interactive, fun and free events will take place across

Nottingham, with opportunities for people of all ages to get involved.

(12–19 February, for more information head to nottsfosac.co.uk)


Norbert the dog

Meet Norbert, the

very small therapy

dog with a very

big heart. A quick

glance at Norbert’s Instagram

profile is enough to put a smile on

anyone’s face, but our furry friend is

also a registered therapy dog who

volunteers at Children’s Hospital

Los Angeles.



on Instagram)



Stop, Breathe & Think

How often do you take the

time to check in on yourself?

Stop, Breathe & Think helps

you to do just that. Pause

for 10 seconds of breathing

before selecting how you’re

feeling, on a scale of great

to rough. You can also add

in your emotions, and receive

recommended breathing

and meditation exercises based

on how you’re feeling.

(Download from the App Store

and Google Play, find out more at


Images | Dolittle: Universal Pictures, Nottingham Festival: nottsfosac.co.uk, Nortbert the dog: Intagram @norbertthedog

6 9


‘Open Mind with Frankie


In her ‘Open Mind’

podcast, Frankie Bridge talks about

the mental health challenges she

has faced, and invites guests such

as Giovanna Fletcher and Andrea

McLean to share their experiences.

Frankie’s new book Open is also out

in February, where she shares her

journey with mental health.

(Listen to the podcast on iTunes

and Spotify)



A reboot of the family

favourite Doctor Dolittle will be

coming to our screens in February!

Featuring a star-studded cast,

including Robert Downey Jr, Tom

Holland, and Emma Thompson,

the animal antics are set to have

you smiling from ear to ear.


(In cinemas 7 February)


Time to Talk Day

We can all help to change the way people think

and act about mental health problems. Time

to Talk Day encourages everyone to be more open about

mental health, and this year it’s using the game ‘Would

You Rather?’ to help

break the ice and

get the conversation


(6 February, get

involved at time-tochange.org.uk)

8There’s nothing like a batch of warm home-made cookies…

or so we thought! Doughlicious ready-to-bake cookie dough

comes in a range of flavours, from classic chocolate chip to tasty

peanut butter, along with vegan and gluten-free options. Enjoy the

taste of freshly baked cookies without making a mess in the kitchen.



(£3.99, visit doughlicious.co.uk for more)




Run Your Paws Off – Love Your Dog

Run Your Paws Off are champions of

‘canicross’ – it’s all about being outside

and enjoying running with your dog.

Their ‘Love Your Dog’ event includes a

5K or 10K off-road course, so whether

you’re a keen runner, or looking for a

new way for you and your pet to get

fit, this is pawfect for you!

(16 February, find out more at



For your chance to win a selection of cookie dough from Doughlicious,

simply send us a message (competitions@happiful.com) with your

answer to the following question:

What year were chocolate chip cookies invented?

a)1938 b)1952 c)1966

UK mainland only. Competition closes on 20 February 2020, good luck!

How to rekindle your creativity

and get into creative writing

We’ve all heard about the benefits of writing for pleasure, or as a

therapeutic practice, yet getting started can feel daunting. We share five

ways you can get into creative writing right now

Writing | Bonnie Evie Gifford

It’s an old adage, yet it’s one that

many of us secretly harbour:

we’ve all got a book inside of

us. “If only I had more time.”

“Work’s too stressful to think about

starting a personal project.” “I’m

just waiting for inspiration to

strike.” Before you know it, weeks,

months, years have passed, all with

nothing to show but that untapped

feeling of “I could be creating

something, if only…”

Whether you’re new to creative

writing, or have just fallen out

of practice, we share five simple

tips to help spark your creativity,

prioritise your passions, and

start writing.


Writing communities are among

some of the most welcoming and

passionate places – you can make

new friends, gain advice and

guidance. Local writing groups

often offer weekly, bi-weekly, or

monthly sessions where you can

write together, share your work,

gain feedback, and even discover

competitions worth entering.

Some may even offer writing

retreats or regular write-a-thons,

where everyone can get together

and write with no distractions – just

a supportive environment filled with


If you don’t have a group near you,

or your confidence is holding you

back, there are plenty of online

communities for writers of all

genres, styles, and experience levels.

Facebook has many writing groups

(both private and public), as do sites

such as Tumblr and Reddit. Signing

up is free and easy. There’s no need

to feel pressured to share your work

before you’re ready, but you can

still pick up great tips from reading

others’ creative works-in-progress.


You may not have heard of it, but

each year thousands of writers

around the world take on the

National Novel Writing Month

(NaNoWriMo) challenge. Based

around the idea of writing 50,000

words in just 30 days, the goal is to

focus on getting a first draft done

without getting caught up in editing,

polishing, and restarting the bits that

aren’t quite there yet, or that you’re

struggling with.

While the official NaNoWriMo

takes place every November, many

online writing groups and websites

offer 30-day prompts to help

get you started. A great way of

challenging you to write outside

of your comfort zone, a prompt

may include writing in a different

genre, including a set theme, item,

or setting. Books such as The Five-

Minute Writer or The Write Stuff are

filled with prompts, exercises, and

inspirations to get you writing now,

rather than waiting for that elusive

‘perfect idea’.



If you’re ever stuck for inspiration,

going back and reading your

favourite book can help you

remember why you love writing.

‘You can’t be a good writer without

being a reader’ is something drilled

into writing students throughout

their time at uni, and it really holds

true. How can you know what’s

already been overdone within

your preferred genre, if you don’t

read? How can you keep pushing

yourself to do your best, if you

don’t have benchmarks to aim for?

Reading can be an important part

of the process – just make sure

you don’t allow it to consume all of

your precious time for creativity.

44 • happiful.com • February 2020

‘If your confidence is holding you

back, try online writing communities’

Try online book recommendation

sites like GoodReads to find

out what’s popular within your

genre, or to discover entirely new

subgenres of fiction you didn’t

know were out there.


Neil Gaiman once said: “To be a

good writer… read a lot and write

every day.” An ethos shared by

many successful writers, the idea

is that writing every day creates

a positive habit that can help

avoid common excuses that hold

us back. Writer’s block may feel

very real for us, but by creating

writing habits that work with

your schedule – even if that’s just

sitting down for 15 minutes with

your morning coffee and a blank

notebook – you can train yourself

to push through the parts of the

creative process that you struggle

with. With time and practice, you

will start to find it easier to write.


We’d all like to think that we could

be the next JK Rowling or Stephen

King, but the truth is, almost

no authors get it right the first

time. A first draft is meant to be

just that – a draft. When we get

overwhelmed with our need to

create something that is perfect,

we allow our worries and fears

to rule. Soon the creative process

can slow or even grind to a halt.

Instead of aiming for perfection,

challenge yourself to just get

something done. It could be a

set chapter or number of words,

or even just a paragraph. Set

yourself a goal, and start writing

without re-reading or editing as

you go. You may be surprised at

just how freeing it can feel.

February 2020 • happiful.com • 45

Who looks outside, dreams;

who looks inside, awakes


Photography | Gerardo Rojas

46 • happiful.com • February 2020

In it to


A smoking addiction can easily take over your life. But it doesn’t have to be

that way. We speak with clinical hypnotherapy expert Andrew Major to get

some tips for stubbing out this bad habit, for good

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler

According to the pressures,” Andrew explains.

Office for National “So, making the decision to stop

Statistics, 58.4% of smoking for good can seem like a

people who smoke daunting task, as it involves letting

cigarettes say that go of a crutch that smokers may

they want to quit. believe helps them cope.”

And yet 7.2 million people in the It’s true that smoking, on the

UK are still smoking.

surface, can feel like it’s benefiting

So what’s the hold-up?

our mental health – calming

When it comes to addiction, the anxious minds and relaxing our

answer is never straightforward. A bodies. Despite this, Andrew

plethora of reasons, from genetics points to studies which suggest

to the environment we live in, can that smoking can actually lead to

affect the ways that we respond poor mental health in the long

to stimulants, meaning that the term, as the cigarettes temporarily

journey to giving up the habit increase the feel-good hormone

can vary hugely from person to dopamine, encouraging the brain


to switch off its own dopamine

But, as Andrew Major – a clinical production.

hypnotherapist – points out,

“A lot of my clients say that they

making the decision to quit in the smoke to help them deal with

first place can be a big challenge stressful situations,” says Andrew.

in itself.

“But in fact, turning to chemical

“Many people believe that

substitutes to relieve stress when

smoking helps them relax, relieves you’re having a bad day actually

stress, and gives them time out increases the risks of depression

away from daily work or family and anxiety, because smoking >>>

February 2020 • happiful.com • 47


According to the NHS, on

average cravings last five

minutes. If a craving hits,

try one of these five-minute


• Go for a walk around

the block

• Play a mobile game

• Tidy up your space

• Listen to music

• Do a quick workout

• Make a round of tea or


• Suck on a hard sweet

• Do a puzzle

• Prepare some food

• Read a book

affects the hypothalamic-pituitaryadrenal

axis (the system that

controls our response to stress).

This leads to the production of

an overload of hormones like

cortisol, which affects the way

we regulate reactions to difficult

situations and experiences.”

Of course, as well as the mental

health side-effects, smoking comes

with serious physical health risks.

According to the NHS, smoking is

the cause of 70% of lung cancers,

and can also cause cancer in other

parts of the body including the

mouth, throat, liver, stomach, and

bowel. In addition, smoking can

lead to heart and lung disease, and

reduce fertility in both men and


So, when you’re ready to stop

smoking, what are the options? For

some, switching to alternatives,

It isn’t magic,

but it does help you

to use your mind in

a fundamentally

different way

such as nicotine patches and gum

can be a good way to gently move

away from cigarettes. For others,

going ‘cold turkey’ and cutting

them out immediately, spending

more time with non-smokers, or

attending support groups, can help.

In Andrew’s practice, he uses

solution-focused hypnotherapy

and neuro-linguistic programming

(NLP) techniques to help his

clients fundamentally understand

why the addiction has formed, and

ultimately kick the habit for good.

“In a single two-hour session,

we begin by talking to you about

why and how you smoke,” Andrew

explains. “Critically, we also talk

about how the mind works in

relation to smoking. This helps

you develop a different mindset

in relation to smoking, such as an

understanding of how the internal

conflict develops in your mind,

so you can overcome the fear of


Another important part of the

process, Andrew says, is reflecting

on the impact that smoking is

having on you. Are you having to

keep to a tight budget to pay for

cigarettes? Do you suffer from

nasty colds in the winter? Are you

losing out on time spent with your

friends and family?

A key ingredient for hypnotherapy

is a positive, willing mindset.

And so for Andrew, ensuring that

clients are committed to the idea of

quitting is essential.

“We then consolidate the

discussion with the use of

hypnosis to reprogram your

subconscious mind, remove any

conflict and fears that have held

you back,” Andrew continues. “It

isn’t magic, but it does help you to

use your mind in a fundamentally

different way, taking away your

desire to smoke so you will no

longer see smoking as something

48 • happiful.com • February 2020

Making the

decision to stop

smoking for good can

seem like a daunting

task, as it involves

letting go of a crutch



Andrew says:

• Understand how smoking

affects your overall health

Take the time to research the

damage smoking causes,

to boost your inner strength

and determination.

• Visualise the benefits

How will your life be better

once you have quit? Write

down a list.

• Practise positivity

When we make a conscious

effort to recognise the

positive things in life, we

build new, helpful thought

patterns which help us move

forward with a more positive


you like – you will see it for the

danger it really is.”

Brighter things are on the

horizon. Within just 20 minutes

of quitting smoking, your heart

rate and blood pressure drop

back to normal. After 12 weeks,

circulation and lung function

increases. A year in, the risk of

coronary heart disease drops by

50%, 15 years down the line and it

returns to that of a non-smoker.

Breaking any kind of addiction is

never an easy feat. And yet, with

good support, and with the right

goals in mind, you can take back

control and kick the habit for good.

Andrew Major is a solutionfocused

clinical hypnotherapist

who combines psychotherapy and

clinical hypnotherapy techniques,

based on the latest research from

neuroscience. Find out more at


February 2020 • happiful.com • 49






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using code HAPPILOVE at shop.happiful.com

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50 • happiful.com • February HAPPILOVE, 2020 which expires on 19 March 2020. For full terms and conditions, please visit happiful.com



We all know that our mental health can be impacted by

physical illness, but have you ever thought about how that

connection goes both ways?

Writing | Katie Conibear


few years ago, I was notice a pattern, and that these poor mental health on physical

ill with a bout of

inner ear infections were somehow illnesses costs the NHS at least £8

depression. I felt linked to my mental ill-health... billion a year.

incredibly low, was

But the best way to understand

hardly sleeping, and HOW DOES MENTAL HEALTH the connection is on a personal

felt a crushing lack of self-worth.

I remember being at work when

all of a sudden I felt incredibly

dizzy and shaky. I was suffering

with intense migraines and felt


My doctor diagnosed me

with labyrinthitis, an inner ear

infection, and I was signed off sick

for three weeks. The only thing

that made me feel remotely better

was to lie in bed in the dark. I

spent days in bed, unable to look

at screens, or eat properly. All I

could do was sleep.

This kept happening to me.

Every few months I would develop

another ear infection.

I live with bipolar disorder and

have mania, which fills me with

energy. I’m often ‘on the go’ for

months on end, then when this

feeling goes away, I crash and

become depressed. I began to


Have you ever really thought about

all the various physical symptoms

we get with mental illness? Your

stomach twisting in knots when

anxious, migraines when stressed,

insomnia, a racing heart, catching

more colds and the flu… The list

goes on and on.

While the impact of physical

illnesses on our mental health

is more understood, the way

our mental health can impact us

physically seems less discussed –

and yet research suggests they are

intrinsically linked.

On a societal scale, understanding

this connection is important, as

when mental health problems

exacerbate physical illness, they

can affect outcomes and the cost

of treatment. In fact, The King’s

Fund and Centre for Mental

Health estimates that the effect of

level. Take Liz, who lives with

borderline personality disorder,

mixed anxiety and depressive

disorder. She believes her mental

ill-health led her to develop

irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

“It plays up when I go into crisis,”

Liz says. “When my mental health

is suffering, I also tend to get an

extreme illness – or at least that’s

how it feels. I generally feel aches

and pains throughout my body.”

Olivia, who has bipolar disorder,

noticed an impact of her condition

on her physical self as well.

“When I experience depression, I

feel it in my bones. I feel unstable

when walking. My entire body

feels cold and detached. When I

experience hypomania, my heart

races, my head spins. When I

experience anxiety, my stomach

literally knots, and it triggers IBS

episodes. >>>

February 2020 • happiful.com • 51

to be associated with an increased

risk of coronary heart disease.

Hayden, who lives with anxiety

and panic attacks, recalls being

taken to hospital with chest pains.

“It’s happened to me a fair few

times. I now suffer with sleep

anxiety, where I’m awake for three

days straight at times, because

I’m terrified to sleep in case

something happens.”

This lack of rest caused by her

anxiety, as you can imagine, is

affecting her physical health.

“The only way I can explain it is

the way some people have fear of

food, I have a fear of sleep – which

can mess up blood pressure and

general health. Now I’m finding

my hair is falling out, even walking

can be difficult.”

When I experience depression, I

feel it in my bones. I feel unstable

when walking. My entire body

feels cold and detached. When I

experience hypomania, my heart

races, my head spins

“Because of my psychosis, I take

anti-psychotics that are known

to cause weight gain and heart

conditions. I’m constantly tested

through ECG, blood tests, scans…

It’s a difficult balance to maintain,”

Olivia adds. “Mental illness has not

just affected me psychologically,

but I live with several physical

health issues. It’s like your whole

body is either completely shutting

down or revved up.”


While even short-term anxiety can

show physical symptoms, such as

headaches, increased heart rate,

and difficulty breathing, it’s the

long-term mental illnesses and

their impact on our overall health

that are the greatest concern.

A study from the British

Medical Journal reports that poor

mental health can actually lead

to an increased risk of some

conditions. In a study examining

mortality rates in cancer patients,

researchers reported that people

with the highest levels of self-rated

distress (compared to lowest rates)

were 32% more likely to have died.

Depression has also been found

Dr Natasha Bijlani, consultant

psychiatrist at the Priory

Hospital Roehampton, explains

that optimal health involves

maintaining a reasonable balance

of many factors.

“Mental and physical health are

inextricably linked. When people

become mentally unwell, they are

also likely to experience various

physical symptoms. Those with

poor mental health are less likely

to receive the physical health

care they’re entitled to, partly

because they are less likely to

seek treatment for these issues,

52 • happiful.com • February 2020

Top tips to support your mental

and physical health:

• Consistency is key, so try to

develop and stick to routines

that support your health,

such as a set bedtime, eating

healthily, and exercising


• Keep a diary or record of your

emotional state, alongside

sickness. If you notice a pattern,

you can start to think about

how to address the issue.

• Take time out to recharge when

you spot early symptoms – the

sooner you address things the

better in the long-run.

• Ask for help when you need it –

whether from friends, family, or

your workplace.

but also because professionals

tend to focus on alleviating their

emotional distress, rather than

screening for or treating physical

symptoms that might also be



Knowing we often feel run down

when our mental health is not in

a good place, it’s important to look

after our overall health. Having

a sleep routine, eating healthily,

taking regular exercise, and any

prescribed medications will

benefit general health.

“Lifestyle factors are known to

play a strong role in maintaining

all-round health,” Dr Bijlani

explains. “Those who become

mentally unwell can sometimes

either neglect such factors, or

their symptoms prevent them

from maintaining healthy habits.

These can include disturbances

in sleep and appetite, which can

affect their energy levels and

performance, as well as nutritional

status. Oversleeping, or inability

to get enough sleep, affects

bodily functions, including blood

pressure, risk of stroke, heart

attacks, diabetes, forgetfulness,

impaired judgement, and can lead

to increased risk of accidents.”

With mental illnesses, it’s

important to understand why we

become unwell in the first place.

Looking out for warning signs, the

early symptoms and triggers of

mental illnesses, help us to seek

help and make lifestyle changes.

We can ask for support, or confide

in friends and family how we’re

feeling. The more we educate

ourselves about mental health, the

more we can look after our health


Katie Conibear is a freelance writer,

focusing on mental health. She blogs

at stumblingmind.com and has a

podcast, ‘A Life Lived Vividly’, with

a focus on hearing voices.

February 2020 • happiful.com • 53



A practice founded on the belief in a ‘life force energy’ that runs

through us all, Reiki is a complementary therapy that’s thought

to aid ailments from depression to chronic pain. So what can

you expect from a session? Happiful’s Kathryn Wheeler finds

out what makes this ancient technique relevant in 2020, and

what really goes on behind the therapy room doors

54 • happiful.com • February 2020

On a mid-week

afternoon, the low

winter sun was

catching on the

leaves of a long,

tree-lined avenue leading to the

Surrey and Hampshire Wellbeing

Clinic, where I had come to try

Reiki for the first time.

Reiki is a holistic therapeutic

practice that is centred on the

belief in a ‘life force energy’. This

‘energy’ is thought to flow through

all of us, and the world around us,

and followers of Reiki believe that

the energies can be rebalanced by

practitioners – the results being a

calm, soothed, body and mind.

I arrived at the centre and was

led into a low-lit treatment room

by Reiki master Jenny Douglas.

Sitting on deep, comfortable

chairs, each holding a mug of

herbal tea, I admitted that I didn’t

have a clue what to expect from

the session. Although, in part,

this was a deliberate choice – I

didn’t want to obsess over other

people’s experiences to the point

where I created a mental checklist

for my own.

But what I did know before

the session was that this was an

unintrusive therapy, meaning

that you remain fully clothed

throughout, with little-to-no

physical contact, depending on

the therapist. And that over the

course of the hour session, the

therapist would move their hands

over your body to rebalance and

manipulate your energies.

In the centre of the room was

a massage table. I lay down on

a soft pillow and was covered

with a heavy wool blanket. As I

closed my eyes and settled down,

low ambient music played in the

background, and I instantly started

to feel relaxed.

Jenny’s role in the Reiki session is

to act as a mirror for my ‘energies’,

able to pick up on the areas of

my body where the energy is

strongest, and where it needs to be

rebalanced. Using her hands, she

began by lightly touching my head.

What happened next was


I felt as though my head was

expanding, or perhaps more

accurately, I suddenly couldn’t tell

where my head stopped and Jenny’s

hands began. It was unlike anything

I had experienced before, and yet

at no point did it feel alarming or

uncomfortable. It was a kind of

tingling, mixed with a sensation of

heat, but all of it pleasant.

Throughout the

session, I was

able to tune in

to my body in an

entirely new way

Jenny moved down to my ears and

neck, and then my chest, before

holding her hands over my legs

and feet. At points, the sensations

felt more intense than others –

especially around my ears, and

later my ankles. And throughout

the process, I felt as though I had

slipped into the state of mind

similar to when you are on the edge

of falling asleep, where you feel

warm, relaxed, and slow.

As time went on, I was able to

tune in to my body in an entirely

new way. Feeling the sensations,


At the core of it, Reiki is about

tuning in to ourselves and

the world around us. Is there

a place you’ve visited that

feels special to you? Perhaps

a historical site, or a natural

spot that you feel especially

drawn to? Make a solo trip

and take a quiet moment to

tune in to how that space

makes you feel. Let whatever

you are feeling wash over you,

and allow your mind to be

free to explore.

whatever they may have been,

moving down my body gave me

the opportunity to check in with

each part and realise where I was

holding on to the most tension.

When the session finished,

Jenny gently touched me on the

shoulder. I opened my eyes, and

stood up feeling soothed and slow,

as if I had just woken up from a

long, nourishing sleep.

Leaving the clinic, I went about

the rest of my day. But I felt

different. I felt lighter, as if my

worries had melted away. I was

refreshed and rejuvenated.

For those already some way into

their own spiritual journey, Reiki

is said to tune in to everything,

from stress and anxiety, through

to bodily pain. But for people

like me, for whom this is a whole

new world, it’s an opportunity to

understand how your body holds

on to tension. And at the end of

the day, however you choose to

do it, we all stand to benefit from

taking time to slow down, catch

a quiet moment, and listen to our


February 2020 • happiful.com • 55

Strength lies in diff erences,

not in similarities


Photography | Joseph Greve


How being

bipolar was a

blessing for me

After a dramatic breakdown in Italy, Dan stripped

his life back to the basics. For six months he may

have lost his sense of self, but gradually he found

a new purpose – as a motivational speaker and

mental health activist

Writing | Dan Keeley

Seven years ago,

I was diagnosed

with bipolar

disorder. Now I

consider it my blessing.

Let’s be 100% clear,

bipolar disorder can be a

b*tch. On any given day it

can wear you down, pump

you up, play tricks on you,

be all-consuming. It will

take you down paths you

could never imagine (some

good, some bad), and it

will make you ask yourself

the biggest questions in

life. And for that last part,

I am truly grateful.

Through the first half of

2012, my mind took me

on such a journey that I

ended up preaching from

the middle lane of a major

motorway in northern

Italy at rush hour – not to

be recommended!

After six months of

escalating moods, and

ignoring all the warning

signs – the fast talking,

the racing thoughts, the

sleepless nights, the poor

nutrition, the excessive

spending – my mind took

me from believing I was

the next Steve Jobs, to

believing in my core that I

was The Chosen One.

I was ‘the one’ who

was put on this planet to

show people how to ‘slow

down and follow your

heart’, which at the time I

believed was the answer to

all the world’s suffering.

But there were two

main issues as I stood on

that motorway: firstly,

my mind was going at

200mph; and secondly, I

wasn’t showing anyone

how to slow down and

follow their heart, I was

trying to force them to.

Combined, this was never

going to end well.

Soon I was being fasttracked

to the closest

psychiatric ward and being

pumped full of drugs to

make me slow down. Soon

I was repatriated back to

the UK, with two nurses

who had to fly out to bring

me home. I was in the

Maudsley Hospital in south

London in a crippling state

of confusion, given that

five minutes ago I thought

we’d be setting up our new

world headquarters at the

Colosseum in Rome. Soon

came the diagnoses. Then,

now home, the worst six

months of my life kicked

in. Six months where, quite

simply, I wanted to take my

own life.

If we go that high, we’re

going to crash down

with the biggest bang

imaginable, right? This

was it. And if I had to

choose just two words to

sum up this whole chapter,

they would be… to endure.

My mind had made me

believe I was ‘the one’,

100% convinced by my

ideas, my thoughts, and

every word that was

leaving my lips. Now, here

I was, completely numb,

in limbo, emotionless,

barely living, barely

breathing, overwhelmed,

crippled, debilitated,

broken, bed-bound…

done. Or was I? Not quite.

With an incredible

amount of love, patience,

kindness, and warmth

from those closest to me,

plus my professional >>>

February 2020 • happiful.com • 57

Dan raised more than

£15,000 for CALM with

his Rome to Home project

Whatever you may be going

through right now, just

remember this – that when

suffering finds meaning, it

ceases to be suffering

counsellors who guided

me through the rocky

waters, I stripped it all

back and started again.

I mean I really stripped

it all back! We’re talking

ridding myself of physical

possessions and clutter,

the apps on my phone,

email subscriptions,


responsibilities, negative

relationships… anything

that was getting in the

way of the five things that

truly mattered most: my

health (both mental and

physical), relationships,

passions, growth, and

being in service to other


See, this is the part where

I was forced to ask myself

the biggest questions in

life, namely what truly

matters most. And it really

started working.

Clearing away life’s

excess, so I could

concentrate as much of my

time, energy, and focus on

these five light bulb areas,

really started to work

for me. So much so that,

by 2013, I was going out

in public again, back in

employment, socialising,

and being open about my

experiences to others, and

I was being asked to share

my story.

And three incredible

things started to happen.

I felt lighter every time I

shared my story. I started

building an even greater

support network around

me. And on pretty much

every occasion, sharing

my story gave permission

for others to share theirs.

This was truly gamechanging.

And I knew I

had to do something more

with this.

So, what better way

to give permission to

hundreds of others to

speak up about their

experiences with their

mental health than by

creating a huge project

and platform to do so?

What if – five years on

from the motorway

incident – I were to take

on a big running challenge

to share my story on a

national scale? What if I

returned to Italy, but this

time, instead of losing

my sh*t, I were to run –

solo and self-supported

– 1,250 miles from the

Colosseum in Rome back

to the London Eye? In that

58 • happiful.com • February 2020

Find out more about Dan at

dankeeley.co, and follow him

on Twitter @iamdankeeley

I felt lighter every

time I shared

my story. And

on pretty much

every occasion,

sharing my story

gave permission

for others to

share theirs

moment, my Rome To

Home project was born!

And we smashed it!

‘We’ as in everyone who

supported me on this

mental adventure over the

years, who were with me

in spirit every step of the

way – and without whom I

could not have done it.

This was majestic. This

was an oil painting I was

lucky enough to live in for

65 days, waking up every

day with an overwhelming

sense of gratitude to be

out there, five years on,

having responded to those

big questions I asked

myself when I was pinned

to my bed for six months.

Having given myself the

time to get my mental

health in the best shape to

take on this adventure.

And this time, without

knowing it (until someone

whispered this in my ear

when I finally arrived at

the London Eye), I was

now truly showing the

world how we can slow

down and follow our

hearts, on a massive scale.

Each step of the

adventure lit up my five

light bulbs: my health (I

was in the best shape of

my life), my relationships

(imagine the people I met,

and the support online),

my passions (obviously),

my growth (beyond

words), and being in

service to other people (I

raised more than £15,000

for the Campaign Against

Living Miserably, who

were absolute rock stars

behind the scenes). This

was life-affirming.

I’ll say it again, bipolar

disorder can be a

b*tch. But without the

experiences of 2012, would

I have taken on such an

adventure, one which

kick-started my career as a

professional speaker and

mental health activist, one

where I get to wake up

every day and empower

everyone across the UK

to speak up when we’re

suffering? No chance.

What advice would I give

to anyone going through

a similar struggle? To

hold on, to know that

we’re all in this together,

to know that every single

one of us is suffering

with something and that

together – by speaking up

– we truly can show future

generations how it’s done.

So, I’m telling you that

whatever you may be

going through right now,

just remember this – that

when suffering finds

meaning, it ceases to be


We’ve got this.


Dan’s bipolar hit a

crisis with his extreme

changing moods, which

took him from euphoric

to despairing. With the

support of professionals

and his friends, he started

his journey to recovery,

slowly finding out what he

needed, and focusing on

what was core to him as a

person. Through setting

himself the challenge

of running home from

Rome, he revisited his

recovery in an emotional

way, which helped him

to have purpose. So often

finding meaning

in our lives

can help us to

cope better with


Graeme Orr | MBACP (Accred) UKRCP

Reg Ind counsellor

February 2020 • happiful.com • 59

How to

conquer your





Compulsive spending can lead to psychological problems, relationship

difficulties, and serious debt. If you find it hard to resist temptation, here are

some strategies to help control your urge to splurge

Writing | Wendy Gregory Illustrating | Rosan Magar

Addiction is defined

as a compulsive

engagement in

rewarding behaviour,

despite adverse consequences.

A bit of retail therapy might not

be the first thing that springs to

mind when you hear this, but

thanks to apps, instant pay, and

targeted advertising, shopping

is easier than ever, and most of

us occasionally make impulse

buys – especially during the

sales. Often, we regret it when

we get home, realising we’ve

wasted money on something we

don’t need. But for an addict,

shopping can be used to avoid

feelings of depression, anxiety,

low self-esteem, or boredom.

The act of buying something,

in a shop or online, produces

a surge of adrenaline and

dopamine, making it feel

exciting and pleasurable. It can

also relieve anxiety and stress,

but only temporarily. Soon after,

the shopping addict is likely to

experience guilt and shame,

leading to further low mood and

anxiety. As with all addictions,

it’s usually a secretive activity.

There will be a progressive loss of

control, and increasing compulsive

buying, even though the addict

knows it is causing them problems.

The adverse consequences are

not limited to psychological and

emotional difficulty, but can lead to

relationship problems, and serious

debt, as the addict continues to

buy things that they don’t need,

on credit. Because of the instant

gratification it brings, making

impulse purchases masks the true

cause of the anxiety, and may

prevent the addict from seeking

more long-term solutions or

treatment for their anxiety.

Because so few people with a

compulsive overspending problem

report it or seek help, it’s very hard

to know exactly how many people

experience this. Some studies,

however, estimate that between

30% and 50% of Europeans suffer

from at least mild to moderate lack

of control when spending.

Whether you feel you have a

serious problem with shopping

addiction, or whether you would

just like to resist occasional impulse

purchases, there are strategies to

help you break that pattern.


Give yourself time

If you’re tempted to make an

impulse purchase, tell yourself that

you’ll wait a couple of days and if

you still really want it and can afford

it, then you’ll go back to get it.

Make a list

Even going to the supermarket for

the weekly food shop can lead to

overspending, so do the

old-fashioned thing

and make a shopping

list before you go – and

stick to it. There is

also something

quite satisfying

about getting to

cross things out

on your list!

Just take cash

To avoid temptation when you are

out shopping, just take the amount

of cash you need. Leave cards at

home. That way you can’t make an

impulse buy.


It’s so easy to scroll through

eBay or ASOS every evening, and

many people find it extremely

hard to break the pattern, in

spite of escalating debts. Online

sites exacerbate the problem

by constantly coming up with

suggestions for items you might

also like, and it’s all too easy to

click on them. So how can you get

out of such addictive routines?

Cold turkey

The fastest way to treat any

addiction is to go cold turkey,

which means abruptly stopping

completely. To do this you would

need to delete those sites from

your devices, and seek other ways

to control the anxiety.

Gradual withdrawal

If that’s too difficult, it can be done

more gradually. You could limit

the time you spend browsing. For

example, stick to 30 minutes at a

set time every day, then browse

every alternate day, gradually

reducing it each week. Do

something constructive with the

time you’d normally spend online

(exercise, cooking, writing, etc).


If you can’t resist, then before you

hit buy, get up and do something

that distracts you for 10 minutes.

Most cravings subside in that time.

Or put it in your basket and resolve

not to check out until the next day.

You will probably find that your

urge to splurge goes.

Have a positive plan

Add up the amount you’ve spent

shopping online over the past

month. Work out what this

amounts to in a year and make a

goal to save the money instead, to

put it towards something you really

want (a new car, dancing lessons, a

deposit for a house, a holiday).

Help and support

If you’ve tried all of this and still

feel you have a problem, contact

Citizens Advice for support with

debt management. Cognitive

behavioural therapy (CBT) can

really help to find alternative, more

positive ways of managing anxiety

and low self-esteem as well.

Wendy Gregory is a counselling

psychologist and writer, as well as a

regular guest psychologist on

BBC Talk Radio.

0000 0000 0000 0000

62 • happiful.com • February 2020

Make it


Embrace the magic of mindfulness with these four easy exercises, utilising

daily activities to blend seamlessly into your day


Something we do every day, but when

was the last time you really savoured

the moment while you ate? Drop the

multitasking and step away from

screens. Focus on the texture of your

food – how does it feel in your mouth?

What flavours can you dissect in each

bite? How do you feel?


Whatever your craft – drawing,

painting, writing, crochet – take

the time to really be present in the

creation, with less focus on the

outcome. Listen to your needles brush

against each other, or the pencil on

paper. What are you feeling? Where do

your thoughts go?


Whether you’re going for a highintensity

sweat-sesh, or a walk

around the block, connect with your

body and the sensations as you move.

Can you feel your pulse quicken, or

the breeze on your skin?


A quiet moment to reconnect with

your body. Simply sit, or lie, and focus

on your breathing. What can you see,

hear, feel, smell? A gentle hum of the

heating, birds outside, a tap dripping?

Let go of all the distractions and let

your senses explore the moment.


Awareness: focus on the

moment, acknowledging all

your senses, and taking in the

detail in everyday activities.

Free your mind: allow your

mind to roam – go with it!

Return to the moment: bring

yourself back by returning

your attention to what’s

happening, either through

something you feel, your

breathing, a sound…

Embrace your emotions: open

yourself up to your feelings,

and become really aware of

them. Allow them to be, with

no judgement or expectations.



Three vitamin-boosting drinks to help you

fight off the February flu

Writing | Ellen Hoggard

While the sight of

a bright green

smoothie can set

your stomach

churning, many of them do,

in fact, taste very nice. The

trick is to find flavours you like.

Some people love the fresh

taste of celery or cucumber,

others may prefer to hide their

greens among the overpowering

flavours of pineapple or mango.

Whatever works for you.

Smoothies and juices are a good

way to get some additional fruit

and veg into your diet, and after

trying a few different recipes,

you can easily make your own.

Experiment with fruits and

vegetables, push yourself and

test your bravery. Avocado in a

smoothie may sound strange, but

it’s actually delicious.

It’s important to acknowledge

that shop-bought smoothies

often contain a lot of sugar,

and can be quite expensive.

Making your own at home can

help to reduce sugar intake and

are much more cost effective,

especially if preparing in bulk.

They are refreshing, quick to

make and can be just what you

need to kick-start your energy

levels this February.

Orange & Carrot Smoothie

Serves 2


• 1 orange

• 1 large carrot

• 2 small sticks of celery

• 50g mango

• 200ml water

• Handful of ice


Peel the fruit. Roughly chop the

orange, carrot and celery. Slice the

mango. In a blender, add the fruit,

veg and ice. Top up with water and

blend until smooth.

Berry Breakfast Smoothie

Serves 2


• 225g frozen berries

• 225g Greek yoghurt (or dairy-free


• 50ml milk of choice

• 2 tbsp porridge oats

• 1 tsp honey or agave syrup


Blend the berries, yoghurt and

milk until smooth. Add the oats

and pour into glasses. Taste. For

extra sweetness, add a drizzle of

honey or agave syrup. Enjoy.


Orange & Carrot Smoothie

This smoothie packs a ‘vitamin-C

punch’ that will give your immune

system a much-needed boost. The

stand-out star is the beta-carotene,

obtained from the bright orange

of the mango, carrot, and orange.

Beta-carotene is the precursor

to vitamin A production, which

is essential for skin, eye, and

reproductive health. Adding celery

will prevent it being too sweet,

while boosting the fibre content.

Berry Breakfast Smoothie

Berries provide a high dose of

numerous antioxidants, oats add

a good source of soluble fibre,

promoting bowel health and

balanced blood sugar levels.

Adding honey is a lovely

sweetening agent – if possible,

treat yourself to a raw and

unprocessed brand that will

contain both antimicrobial and

antifungal properties.

Find a nutritionist near you at


Zesty Green Smoothie

Serves 2


• Half an avocado, sliced

• Juice of half a lime

• Large handful of frozen pineapple

• 2 handfuls of kale

• Fresh ginger

• 1 tbsp cashew nuts

Optional: 1 small banana


Add all the ingredients into a

blender. Add a handful of ice and

blend. Add a splash of water and

blend until smooth. Serve.

Zesty Green Smoothie

Avocados are not only a great

source of healthy fats, but also

provide more potassium than

bananas. Potassium supports

healthy blood sugar levels, while

the lime, kale, and pineapple have

immune-boosting properties. It

also features an enzyme called

bromelain, present in pineapple,

that improves digestion. There’s a

great balance of fruit to veg, while

cashew nuts add a protein hit for a

very satiating smoothie.

Josephine (Beanie) Robinson

is a nutritional therapist,

yoga and meditation teacher,

and co-founder of The Health

Space. Find out more at


A menu

for change

Celebrity chef Tom Kerridge was nearing 40 when he noticed his weight had

crept up too, and realised he had been using food and alcohol to escape the

stresses of running his businesses. Now, six years later and fitter than ever, he has

transformed his life, and wants to encourage others to do the same

Writing | Gemma Calvert

Tom Kerridge is full of

apologies. He’s running 20

minutes behind schedule

after a morning in

London marking the first birthday

of Kerridge’s Bar and Grill, his

Michelin-starred restaurant at the

city’s Corinthia Hotel.

“I’ve been all over the place,”

says the TV chef, his cheerful West

Country accent diluting any hint

of lateness-fuelled panic. By the

time we speak, he’s back in leafy

Marlow, Buckinghamshire. Home.

It’s also where Tom runs his pub,

The Hand and Flowers – the only

pub to ever win a pair of Michelin

stars, and a place so popular,

customers apparently wait up to

six months for a table.

For Marlow residents too

ravenous for patience, there’s

fortunately another Tom-owned

boozer nearby, The Coach, which

also boasts a Michelin star. In this

pocket of South-east England, pub

grub has never tasted so good.

Lately, however, Tom has become

better known for making healthy

food taste extra good. Following

his 2010 foray into television on

BBC2’s Great British Menu, and

landing his own telly series Tom

Kerridge’s Proper Pub Food, in

2012, he realised his lifestyle was

putting his health at risk.

Four months before turning 40,

and weighing almost 30 stone,

Tom realised he had been eating

and drinking too much, to help

him cope with the pressure of

building the reputation of The

Hand and Flowers. Overnight, he

made drastic changes. Healthy

protein-rich foods replaced

high-fat, carb-heavy options, and

exercise – swimming and bike

riding – became a non-negotiable

part of his routine.

What’s been the greatest reward

since transforming his health?

“The ability to move, to feel that

I’m quite active, to keep up with

a four-year-old!” answers Tom,

referring to his son, Acey.

“In general life, feeling fitter is

wonderful. I can now run a 5K,

and as a 46-year-old that feels

nice, because I never used to be

able to.”

Tom considers himself very lucky

for not having experienced selfesteem

issues or anxiety.

“I’ve always been very

comfortable in my own skin [and]

communicating and talking to

people on a professional basis.

Even when I was at my biggest, and

drinking and eating, professionally

the business was succeeding.”

Yet at the helm of a growing,

thriving business where he

felt huge pressure, Tom began

playing as hard as he worked, in a

misguided attempt to find balance.

After last orders, he’d sink up to

eight pints with his staff, before

heading home in the wee hours to

eat chilli sauce-topped cheese on

toast. Just four hours of sleep later,

he’d wake up, do a full day’s work

and hit repeat. Alcohol, he admits

now, was his ‘escape’ button.

“I recognise that for some people,

when they have low self-esteem,

the comforting thing is to eat a

packet of biscuits – and that is a

66 • happiful.com • February 2020

For some people,

when they have low

self-esteem, the

comforting thing is

to eat a packet of

biscuits – and that is

a mental health issue.

It’s the same with me

and alcohol

mental health issue. It’s the same

with me and alcohol,” he says.

“It was an escape and a release

from reality. My escape from the

pressure of running multiple


Tom has now been tee-total for

six years.

“I have an issue with it, and I

wouldn’t be able to have just one,

that doesn’t exist,” he says matterof-factly,

adding that although he’s

‘100%’ happier since knocking

alcohol on the head, he has no

regrets about the part drinking

played in his life and career.

“I wouldn’t go back and do

something different, because

without being that person, without

that drive, I wouldn’t have achieved

two Michelin stars,” he says. “You

should never regret something that

you’ve done. They’re all learning

curves. Every negative can be a

positive experience.”

Did he ever have counselling to

help him on his journey?

“No, I just did it all on my own.

I worked it out for myself,” says

Tom, who wrote his new book,

Lose Weight & Get Fit, to encourage

others to be more active while

eating more healthily. It’s packed

with nutritious, home-cooked

recipes that are both filling and


“For me, it wasn’t about reaching

a target weight, but more about

getting fitter and healthier. Setting

fitness goals alongside weight-loss

goals is a win-win formula for

lasting success,” says Tom, adding

that planning healthy meals helps

him to feel more emotionally in

control, especially when work is

so busy and “things aren’t quite

balanced enough”. >>>

February 2020 • happiful.com • 67





This is a good example of the

kind of salad that you can throw

together using ingredients that

might already be in the cupboard

and fridge. Feel free to swap

things around depending on

what you have. The one thing I’d

say you need to keep is the baby

capers – they may be tiny but

they add so much flavour.




Extract taken from Lose Weight and Get Fit by Tom Kerridge / Photography © Cristian Barnett

• 4 large free-range eggs

• 400g tinned tuna in spring

water (drained weight)

• Juice of ½ lemon, plus an extra

squeeze for the avocado

• 1 tbsp baby capers, rinsed

• 50ml light mayonnaise

• 350g Iceberg lettuce, shredded

• 150g carrots, grated

• 8 cherry tomatoes, halved

• ½ cucumber, halved lengthways

and thickly sliced

• 200g drained tinned sweetcorn

• 8 radishes, quartered

• 1 ripe avocado, peeled,

quartered and stoned

• Sea salt and freshly ground

black pepper

For the dressing

• 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

• 1½ tbsp red wine vinegar

• 1 tsp Dijon mustard

• Place a small saucepan of water

over a high heat and bring to

the boil. Carefully add the eggs

and cook for 7 minutes. Remove

the eggs and immerse them

in a bowl of cold water to cool


• Flake the tuna and place in

a bowl with the lemon juice,

capers and mayonnaise. Season

with salt and pepper to taste

and mix well.

• Lay out 4 containers and cover

the base of each one with

shredded lettuce and grated

carrot. Top with the tuna mayo,

cherry tomatoes, cucumber,

sweetcorn and radishes.

Squeeze some lemon juice over

the avocado slices and add

these to the containers.

• For the dressing, whisk the

ingredients together in a small

bowl and season with salt and

pepper to taste. Spoon over the


• Peel the cooled boiled eggs,

then halve and season with a

little salt and pepper. Add the

eggs to your containers. Serve

straight away or seal and keep

in the fridge. Eat within 2 days.

68 • happiful.com • February 2020

“My life is like other people’s – I

have a young son, I have a job,

some evenings I manage to get

home on time, but not very many.

I know how it feels to get through

the door at 7pm. The last thing

you want is to then spend three

hours cooking dinner. It’s about

organised structure, and getting

your head in the right space,” he


So many parents worry about

the quality of their children’s diet

and, naturally, Tom is often asked

by mums and dads for the secret

to getting youngsters to consume

more fruit and vegetables.

“I’m not overly stressed about it,

and I don’t think parents should

be either. But parents should be

making an effort for themselves to

be eating the right stuff so they’re

leading by example,” he says,


“That’s the right way to do it. If

[Acey] wants fish fingers and oven

chips one day, that’s fine – but

we aren’t going to sit there and

eat fish fingers and oven chips

with him. We’re going to have a

lovely salad so it gets to be in his

consciousness that he’s having

something different.”

What about making sure we’re

always prepared in the kitchen to

achieve maximum flavour with our

cooking, to avoid getting stuck in

a rut and feeling uninspired to eat

healthily – is there one ingredient

every kitchen should stock?

“Honestly, it’s only one – smoked

paprika!” laughs Tom. “That

goes on everything and makes

it taste amazing! Most people

have their home repertoire of

recipes that they cook for friends

and family. You can get into

routines. But you should restock

your spice cupboard so your

cooking repertoire becomes super


He’s wealthier than most of us

dare to dream possible, but Tom’s

relatability is rooted in his appeal

as an average Joe, and the fact he

doesn’t pretend to be perfect. And

despite getting healthier in the

glare of the public spotlight, Tom

denies feeling under pressure from

anyone but himself to continue

making progress.

“I do it for me. I did it for me in

the first place,” he says. “I’m not

doing it because it’s on television

or it’s for commercial gain. I did

it because it’s the right thing to be

doing as a 46-year-old bloke who

wants to try to be a bit fitter.”

Before Tom departs, we talk

about how he’s welcomed the

public into his kitchen, but also

his private life, by being so honest

about his reasons for transforming

his lifestyle and his subsequent

journey towards better health. Has

he always felt comfortable with

that level of exposure?

“From the moment I was asked to

do TV, I promised myself I wasn’t

going to be a caricature of me.

That if I was going to do it, I was

going to be honest,” replies Tom.

“The biggest reward is helping

people. One of the nicest things

that happens is when I bump into

people on a weekly basis, who I’ve

never met in my life, and they say,

‘thank you ever so much’.

“It’s hard work putting a book

together, but my life is about food

so it’s enjoyable, and if it helps

someone else out there, then that’s


‘Lose Weight & Get Fit’ by

Tom Kerridge (Bloomsbury

Absolute, hardback £22)


For your chance to win one of two

signed copies of Tom Kerridge's

new book, simply send your

answer to the following question

to competitions@happiful.com:

In what year did Tom open his

pub, The Hand and Flowers?

a) 2000 b) 2005 c) 2009

UK mainland only. Competition closes on

20 February 2020 – good luck!

February 2020 • happiful.com • 69

Blending in

Confined to a wheelchair, Tess Daly often felt self-conscious about her

disability as she grew up. Now, the 31-year-old is proud to stand out, having

made a name for herself as one of the UK’s leading beauty bloggers

Writing | Suzanne Baum

pplying makeup

takes confidence,

patience, and a

steady hand –

traits Tess Daly is

the first to admit she doesn’t have in


In fact, it’s only through using

a robotic arm that the disabled

beauty blogger has been able to

fine-tune her online makeup posts

and tutorials that have seen her

amass more than 200,000 Instagram


Tess was born with spinal

muscular atrophy – a

neuromuscular disorder that

means she has never been able to

walk. Despite being in a wheelchair

since the age of two, she grew up

refusing to let her disability get in

the way, having from an early age

a determination to one day work in

the creative world.

“I was always interested in fashion

and beauty,” Tess tells me as we

chat in her Sheffield home, where

she relies upon a team of carers to

help her with everyday tasks. “I had

my heart set on becoming a fashion

designer. I studied art in school, With the use of what she

and spent every spare minute nicknamed ‘the bionic arm’,

drawing clothing and shoe designs. Tess was able to teach herself

“Unfortunately, during my GCSEs, to do certain things again,

I rather inexplicably lost the use including her own makeup.

of my right hand, which meant “I found ways to make things

I was unable to do lots of things, work, and I have always

including my own makeup.”

preferred to talk about the

In a bid to feel as normal as

things I can do, rather than

possible, Tess began paying

stuff I can’t do, as there’s no

makeup artists to do her face for point thinking of negatives.”

a night out almost every weekend When I suggest that Tess is an

throughout her early 20s. “It was ‘influencer’, she’s quick to point

an expensive affair, trust me! But out she’s not. “I’d much rather

I always prided myself on looking be known as a ‘role-model’ –

good on the outside to make myself standing up for people with

feel better inwardly.”

disabilities, who don’t often see

However, things changed a few themselves represented in the

years ago when a friend – who beauty industry.”

also has spinal muscular atrophy Having perfected the use of

– shared a video of her applying the bionic arm, Tess – who

eyeliner with the help of a piece of never used social media much

equipment called the ‘neater eater’. – began posting pictures of her

It’s attached to the wheelchair progress on Instagram, tagging

and functions as a bionic arm to the makeup brands she was

manipulate the limb; although using. After a few months, she

designed for helping to feed

gained more than 10,000 new

yourself, Tess found it worked just followers after her work was

as well when applying makeup – shared by makeup guru to the

and it changed her life. stars, Anastasia Beverly Hills. >>>

70 • happiful.com • February 2020

Reading the comments

made me realise how


disabled people are

within the beauty

industry, and also how

eager people were to

see that change

February 2020 • happiful.com • 71

Tess (centre) as part of the

Isle of Paradise’s Get Body

Posi campaign

72 • happiful.com • February 2020

Images | Isle of Paradise

“The response that it got was

nothing short of phenomenal,”

Tess says.

“Reading the comments

made me realise how underrepresented

disabled people are

within the beauty industry, and

also how eager people were to

see that change. Up until this

point, posting pictures of my

makeup had just been a hobby.

Seeing this reaction, however,

really pushed me to try to fill the

gap in the industry. Growing up,

I had never seen anybody like

myself within either the beauty

or fashion industry, and I wanted

to help change this.

“I genuinely had no idea that

my platform would escalate into

what it is today. I never thought

I would have the confidence to

post photos, let alone videos.

The way I think about myself

has changed so drastically from

when I first started, it’s strange to

me now that I had such negative

feelings in the beginning.”

Despite her sudden fame on

social media – which has led to

Tess being the face of numerous

skin and makeup campaigns –

she remains down to earth.

“I’m still blown away every

single day by how kind and

supportive my followers are. I

have a community around me

that motivates and encourages

me to tackle my insecurities

head on. It is down to my

followers that I have not only

posted videos of me applying my

makeup, but I have posted bikini


“Every time I overcome one

of these insecurity obstacles,

I’m met by such love and

kindness from my followers

that any negativity pales into


By this, she means the online

trolls who regularly post nasty

comments about her appearance.

“As somebody who has been

heavily trolled, my advice

would be to completely rise

above it. It is easier said than

done, but the saying ‘don’t feed

the troll’ exists for a reason.

Unfortunately, people like this

live to get a rise from the people

they are attacking. Ignoring

them is single-handedly the

most annoying thing you could

possibly do to them.”

When it comes to posting

her makeup looks, it’s a long,

incredibly tiring process, that

can take up to four hours.

But Tess says: “The effort is

worth it as, to me, makeup is

freedom. There isn’t much I

can do ‘independently’, but my

makeup is something I can call

my own and feel proud of.”

Unfortunately, Tess feels

that there is still some stigma

affecting disabled people within

the beauty industry.

“There are still so many

stereotypes that surround us,

all of which are simply not

true. It is still heavily believed

that we don’t take pride in our

appearance, therefore why

should beauty products be aimed

at a disabled audience?

“Fortunately, I am seeing a

shift in how not only the wider

community perceives disabled

people but also how brands

represent us. I was recently

lucky enough to be selected to

feature in Isle of Paradise’s selftan

campaign, and the response

was phenomenal. Having a huge

Tess is currently fronting a body

acceptance campaign for the

Isle of Paradise’s launch of Get

Body Posi – a free download

written by Jules Von Hep, which is

a global commitment to making

body acceptance top of the

beauty agenda. The campaign

includes all shapes, sizes, skin

tones, and abilities, and is the

first tanning brand to do so.

Follow Tess on

Instagram @tess.daly

brand feature me alongside so

many other beautifully diverse

models helps to normalise

disabled people within the

industry, which really does have

a ripple effect on the rest of the


As for future projects, Tess

is working with other brand

campaigns in a bid to raise

awareness of body positivity –

something she believes strongly

in, now more than ever.

“I used to be stared at a lot, and

feel so unconfident – but I’m

in a wheelchair, that’s nothing

new really, is it? And yep, I got

comments, I still do, all over

good old Instagram! But the

difference is, now I don’t care.

I’ve got one life and I intend to

live it how I want, no matter

what anybody else says, or how

society thinks I should live it!”

February 2020 • happiful.com • 73

Ask the experts

Counsellor Annabel Giles answers your questions on

therapy and what to expert from professional support

Read more about Annabel on counselling-directory.org.uk

QI’m interested in counselling, but

I’m nervous. What can I expect?

When I first see a client,

A I explain that we’re

here to see if we want to

work together, and that it’s

OK to say no. I take a few

details, such as date of birth

and an emergency contact,

and then we talk about

what made them come to

My family are struggling. Things have been

said, and nobody can talk without arguing

Q or getting upset. Can counselling help us?


Definitely. Often a family

has become entrenched

in relating to each other in

a particular way, and as

nothing stays the same for

very long, relationships can

change very quickly. The

more people in the group,

the more changeable the

dynamic! Everyone has to be

counselling. Most people

have something they are

very keen to talk about, but

not always. At the end of the

session (we use the full 50

mins) we know if we’re going

to get on, and (usually!)

make an appointment for

the following week.

willing to do this, however.

If not, sometimes it helps

to see key individuals (e.g.

sisters) as a couple, to work

out what’s going wrong.

Sometimes it’s just one

person who needs to talk

safely and privately. A good

therapist will help you find

the best approach.


Can anyone

benefit from


even if you’re not

in crisis?

Yes! And yes again!

A I believe it should

be compulsory for

everyone to sit and look

at themselves and their

behaviour on a weekly

basis. This would bring

clarity, understanding,

and helps so much with

decision-making. It makes

sense to untangle stuff as

you go along, rather than

wait for a crisis. Where

else can you talk about

yourself and your life, in

total confidentiality, without

worrying about what the

other person thinks, or

having to listen to them?

I’ve been in therapy for the

past 32 years, and still find

it really useful, even during

the good times.



I don’t know

who I am

anymore. I’ve

recently come out of

a relationship and I’m

unhappy in my job, but

have no one to speak

to. Will counselling

help me?

AIn many ways, this is

exactly what counselling

is for. People are so busy

these days, it seems we’re

just firefighting life as it

happens, rather than taking

considered decisions. I see

many clients who feel they’ve

lost their way and need

to get back on track, but

have no idea which path to

choose. Together we look at

how they got here, where

they’d prefer to be, and the

journey in between. I always

say we’re walking through

the woods together – I’m just

holding the torch!

Counselling Directory is part of the Happiful Family | Helping you find the help you need

How to

cope with

first day



So, you’re feeling apprehensive about a new job? Don’t let nervousness hold

you back – here are some ways to help conquer those workplace worries

Writing | Caroline Butterwick Illustrating | Rosan Magar

Starting a new job

can be exciting.

It may be a

wonderful chance

to do something you

enjoy, make new

friends, develop your skills, and, at

the very least, earn a living.

But, for many of us, the build

up to our first day can also come

with increased anxiety. A new job

means learning new routines, new

places, new systems, and meeting

new people. We may be nervous

about this big change. But there are

things we can do to ease that first

day anxiety.


Make the first morning of your

new job as stress-free as possible

by preparing as much as you can

in the days before. Little things,

like choosing your outfit and

deciding what you’ll have for

breakfast, means these aren’t

decisions you’ll have to worry

about on the day.

Most importantly, decide what

time you’ll need to leave by

planning your journey in advance,

giving yourself extra time to suss

out the route. As I use public

transport to get to work, on my

first day in my current job I got

a train earlier than I technically

needed to, so I wouldn’t be

anxious about being late. When

I arrived early, I went and got a

coffee in a nearby café and read a

book for half an hour – a calming

start to the day.

76 • happiful.com • February 2020


One of the main anxieties I

have before starting a new job

is worrying what the day-to-day

routine will be like. Have a read

through the job description from

when you first applied for the

role to jog your memory about

the specifics of the job. It can also

be worth having a look online,

and reading blogs and articles by

people who work in similar roles,

to get more of an insight, especially

if you’re new to this area of work.

It’s likely that on your first day

you’ll meet your new line

manager, so have a think

in advance about any

questions you might have

for them about the role

and the workplace.


Imposter syndrome is

the feeling that you are a

fraud in your success, and

can crop up at times when

we’re growing, like taking a

step up the career ladder.

Remember, though, that

you went through a recruitment

process to get here. Your new

employer will have seen your

potential to flourish in this job.

Think of evidence that

demonstrates to you that you’re

capable – like past achievements

and positive feedback you’ve

received. If this job is stretching

your skills, try turning your anxiety

into excitement: this is a chance to

grow professionally. Accept there

will be things you need to learn in

your new job, and know that it’s

perfectly fine – and expected – that

you will need to ask questions as

you settle in.

Make the first

morning as

stress-free as

possible by

preparing as much

as you can in the

days before


Most of us have been there, being

paraded around the office as

you’re introduced to a whole host

of people while you try, and fail,

to remember everyone’s names.

Come prepared to be friendly and

open, and accept that you will

forget your new colleagues’ names

and roles – don’t worry about

asking for a reminder!

It can take time to work out

the office culture, so go with the

flow a bit on your first day. Get to

know people, asking about the

workplace and their role. This

will not only help you understand

your new surroundings, it’ll help

you get conversations started.

If the opportunity for a team

lunch or after-work drinks comes

up, take it – it’ll be a perfect

opportunity to get to know

everyone better.



According to the charity Mind,

one in six UK workers experience

poor mental health. If you

have a diagnosed mental

health problem, starting

a new job comes with

additional worries about

whether you should tell

your employer. Most

people with a longterm

mental illness

are protected under

the Equality Act. This

means your employer has

a duty to make reasonable

adjustments for you, which

could include regular breaks,

time off for medical appointments,

or flexible working.

I tend to bring up my mental

health condition in an initial

meeting with my line manager:

“Just to make you aware, I have

anxiety and depression.” This

almost always prompts them to

ask what will help me.

In the run up to your first day,

think about whether you want

to disclose, and what support

may help. We’re at work for so

much of our time, it’s worth doing

whatever we can to make it as

comfortable and enjoyable as


February 2020 • happiful.com • 77

Media partner

Live Well London

In 2020, our resolution at Happiful is to move beyond the pages of our

magazine, and connect with our readers IRL. So, to start as we mean to go

on, we’re partnering with the wonderful Live Well London Festival to get stuck

in to discussions around authenticity in the industry, bust a move during disco

yoga, and invest in intimate conversations with the best in wellbeing!

Here, we chat to festival founder Sam Willoughby about the

wellbeing weekend not to be missed…

Hi Sam, what inspired you to

start Live Well London? I’d been

working in global events and

exhibition companies for 19 years,

starting my career in marketing

and working my way up to event

director. But as a mum of two, I

was beginning to find the 50-hour

weeks at a very corporate, top

heavy organisation, a bit much.

My motivation and passion for the

job was waning, and I was starting

to lose confidence in what I was

doing. The work-life-balance,

didn’t really exist!

That sounds like quite a

relatable scenario for many

people… After seeing a personal

coach, I realised that what I really

love doing, and what I’m good at,

is events, and building something

up that culminated in a physical

experience. So, I made the leap

and left the company I’d worked

at for 13 years to start my own

events business – luckily with an

investor. Given my own struggle

for a work-life balance, combined

with knowing how important

it is to look after yourself both

physically and mentally, Live Well

Events was born.

What do you love most about

your work? Meeting some of the

truly inspirational and genuinely

lovely people in the wellbeing

industry, who are so welcoming,

so open with their advice,

generous with their time, and

genuine in their desire to spread

the message of the importance of

a balanced approach to wellbeing.

What makes this festival so

special? Live Well was founded

on the ethos that a healthy mind

is just as important as a healthy

body, and focusing on emotional

wellbeing as much as physical

wellbeing is key. We believe that

wellness is unique to each of us,

and that’s why it’s important for

people to be able to make their

own informed wellbeing choices –

based on trying out what works for

them, and learning from credited

experts and evidence-based


What makes the festival really

special, is all the people who

contribute – we’re passionate

about a balanced approach

to wellbeing, and have a

special interest in creating a

happy, welcoming, inclusive


‘Wellness’ can sometimes

be seen as a privilege – how

does Live Well London address

that? We feel that wellbeing

should be accessible to all, not

a luxury. We’ve priced tickets

Event images | Live Well Events

to be affordable, and there are

no hidden costs or extras for

booking on to classes. We have

more than 130 classes across

yoga, meditation, pilates, fitness,

mindfulness, and the Boutique

studio sessions, plus a packed

programme of daily talks and

workshops in the Knowledge Hub

and Live Kitchen – all included in

the ticket price.

And you can absolutely come

as you are! You don’t need to feel

like you have all the latest kit, or

be gym-ready and well-practised

in the moves, to join us. If you’re

not into classes, come along to

the talks, have a mindful cocktail,

relax and chill out in The Retreat,

while trying something new like a

Sound Gong Bath. There really is

something for everyone.

What has working on the festival

taught you? Being so entrenched

in this industry, you are constantly

reading and hearing about new

ways to look after yourself, both

physically and mentally – but I

think if I had to narrow it down

to just one thing, it would be the

importance of credibility in the

wellness industry. There are so

many new brands popping up,

and new advice coming out, so it’s

important to make sure you source

your information from credible

experts and brands.

What principles will you be

living well by in 2020? It’s

important when looking at

starting a new year that any


Sam Willoughby

We’re passionate

about a balanced

approach to

wellbeing, and have

a special interest in

creating a happy,

welcoming, inclusive


principles or personal pledges

must be sustainable, achievable,

and something that can be

continued across the year. It

can be something small, like

remembering to step back and

take a breath every now and again,

or trying to commit to taking a

small amount of physical activity

every day to support mental


I’ll also be taking more time

to be kind to others, as well as

remembering to be kind to myself

– especially as we head into the

last few busy weeks before the


Live Well London takes place

from 28 February to 1 March

at Old Billingsgate, London,

with speakers including

psychologist Kimberley Wilson,

sportsperson Jonny Wilkinson

CBE, and the unstoppable

Dame Kelly Holmes. Visit

livewelllondon.com and use

the code Happy15 for 15% off

tickets (excluding VIP).



Craving a

creative career?

From messy workspaces to unique challenges faced by

creatives, in her latest book, author Sheila Chandra takes

readers by the hand and helps put them on the path to success

Writing | Bonnie Evie Gifford

As a creative

person, I’d

be the first

to admit

that I’m not

exactly great when it

comes to organisation.

Planning? Sure, that I

can do, no problem. But

my haphazard home

and office desk spaces

alone are enough to

hint at just how chaotic

things get when I’m in

the zone with a writing

or research binge.

Like many creatives,

I want to focus on the

thing I’m passionate

about – which can leave

some of the important

details parked in that

precarious ‘I’ll get to

it later’ pile that never

seems to get done.

From the best-selling

author of Banish Clutter

Forever, Sheila Chandra’s

latest book, Organizing

Your Creative Career,

looks to challenge the

idea that creatives need

to be messy in order to

create. Tackling all of the

big challenges around

being a creative who is

looking to channel their

passion into a career –

from disorganisation to

how to actually monetise

what you do, personal

branding, creative

wellbeing, and support

systems – Chandra

talks readers through

everything they need to

know about launching,

maintaining, and

elevating their creative




Having a home office

sounds great in theory,

but in practice? Our

personal creative

spaces can tend to

get a little out of

hand. While Chandra

focuses specifically on

artistic creative spaces,

her advice is widely

applicable for those

from any creative field

who struggle to tame

their administrative

tasks and create some

form of order.

If you’re looking for

a prescriptive how-to,

Organizing Your Creative

Career offers some solid

foundations across the

board to help you get

started, and elevate

your career to the

next level. While the

advice shared is solid,

if you have had an

introduction to other

organising self-help

books or life coaching

sessions, it can feel

a little basic. Firmly

focusing on a particular

type of creative (one

that often relies on

visual reminders), if

you don’t fit within this

mould, the advice may

not feel as relevant.

In many areas, the

advice feels more

tailored for those with

a freelance creative

career, rather than

those following a

creative career path

within a business.

Blending together

work and life advice on

managing things like

your master to-do list,

while this can be helpful

for some, it can err on

the side of too much

detail in some places.




Looking at both

personal and career

wellbeing, nearly two

thirds of the book is

dedicated to focusing

on your headspace, over

your physical creative

space. Perfect for those

who feel like they have

a handle on the physical

side of organisation,

Chandra dives into the

complexities that can

cause confusion, or feel

like they are weighing

you down.

Some generalisations,

such as separating

what works efficiently

for creative people

compared to ‘everyone

else’, can feel a little

frustrating, however if

you do fit within this

general ‘creative’ mould,

the advice is sound.

Offering advice on

productivity, efficiency,

balance, organisation,

strategising, and more,

sections are broken

up neatly and cleanly,

making it easy for

readers to skim and find

the sections that will

most likely help them.

One particularly useful

section focuses on the

importance of saying

no. Something many

of us struggle with, no

matter what our role,

the author delves into

the personal cost that

can come from our

inability to put ourselves

first, highlight when

our skillset may not be

the best fit for a task,

and the benefits we

can reap when we do

allow ourselves to better

police our time.


If you’re a creative

person who struggles

to balance your

workload outside of

the creative process

itself, Organizing Your

Creative Career offers a

great starting point. If

you aren’t considering

a more freelance form

of career progression,

or if you’ve already read

other career-related

organisation books, it

may be worth trying

something a little more

personalised and indepth,

such as working

with a creative or career


Organizing Your

Creative Career: How

to Channel Your

Creativity into Career


By Sheila Chandra


If you liked this, you’ll love...

I’m the Boss of Me

By Jeanne


The must-read guide to

owning your career. Sharing

career-building lessons,

strategies and tactics, with

stories of courage, resistance,

and persistence.

What Color is Your

Parachute? 2020

By Richard N Bolles

A practical manual for

those looking to make a

career change. Filled with

support, encouragement,

and advice on job-hunting

strategies that work.



So Good They

Can’t Ignore You

By Cal Newport

Focusing on why skills trump

passion in your quest for

work you love, Cal helps

readers discover how to

channel what they naturally

excel at into a career.

Great for…

• Disorganised

creatives looking

for direction

• Anyone

experiencing a

career slump

• Those looking to

launch their own

creative brand or



lightening the load

When you really think about it, after our basic needs are taken care of, it’s

the little things in life that make all the difference to our wellbeing. From

mobility solutions to quick-fixes, Remap is the charity that pairs volunteer

engineers with disabled people, to create solutions to obstacles both big

and small, so they can continue to live life to the fullest

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler


often think of us more like a

dating agency than anything

else,” says David Martin, CEO

of Remap.

But this isn’t a ‘try your luck

on a swipe-right’ kind of deal, the

matchmaking that David is talking

about is between highly-skilled

volunteer engineers and the

people who need their help.

Founded in 1964 by Pat Johnson,

an engineer whose first project

was an electric hoist to give his

sister more independence in her

home, Remap (Rehabilitation

Engineering Movement Advisory

Panel) is about pairing up skilled

engineers with people who have

needs that cannot be solved by

commercially available products.

Today, Remap covers the

whole of the UK, completing

an astonishing 3,500 projects

every year with the help of 900

volunteers. Here, David, along

with a Remap volunteer and

beneficiary, gives us the low-down

on the ins and outs of the charity.


David continues. “The volunteer

In practical terms, the way Remap gets the opportunity to meet the

works is, firstly, people get in person who has this challenge,

touch to explain what their need understand what they want, design

is. The central office passes the something, take them a prototype,

request on to local groups, that make it... They get to see the whole

assign cases to volunteers whose cycle from designing something

skills are best suited to the project. to seeing it used, and that’s hugely

“Our only requirement is that satisfying for people.”

you’ve checked to see if this is

As David sees it, the process

already out there,” David adds. is a partnership between the

“Because we’re here to fill the volunteers and the beneficiary,

gap where something isn’t

often providing a place for

commercially available.”

collaboration where both can

Beyond that, the projects Remap throw out ideas to solve problems

takes on vary between mobility in innovative ways.

solutions and electronics, to the

simple things that enhance our AT YOUR SERVICE

wellbeing in immeasurable ways. In his role as CEO, every week

From wheelchair turntables in David sees what he describes as

tight corridors, to customised endlessly interesting, challenging,

stepladders and voice amplifiers, and remarkable stories.

no job is too big, or too small.

“As the challenges come in

“What’s so nice about the process I’m left thinking, ‘I wonder how

is that there are opportunities for they’re going to solve that one.’

different people to use their skills And then you see the photos or

in different ways – because we a video and think, ‘Oh, that’s a

get asked about so many things,” cracking solution!’” he says. >>>

82 • happiful.com • February 2020

Linda’s piano

Linda is an accomplished singing and piano teacher but, following treatment

for breast cancer, she found that she was unable to support her left arm

enough to play. With the help of a Remap volunteer, Linda had a rail fitted to

the front of her piano to allow a wrist support to slide silently up and down.

Immediately, Linda was able to enjoy her hobby and continue teaching.

February 2020 • happiful.com • 83

‘It in no way interferes

in his enjoyment, but

it gives them that


Tom’s trike

“Tom’s a lad who has a three-wheeled trike which he uses for exercise,” says David.

“His parents got him this trike so he could burn up all the energy he’s got. But the

problem was that he just sped away and they couldn’t keep up with him. What they

needed was something that meant they could keep going with him, and also have an

emergency brake.

“So our volunteer built a kind-of buggy board that goes on the back. Mum or dad

rides behind him – he does all the work, but they can help and they have a brake. It in

no way interferes with his enjoyment, but it gives them that reassurance.”

James’ vocal cord paralysis

means he can only speak

quietly. With his voice

amplifier, he can now be

heard loud and clear!

Margaux’s dwarfism comes with

challenges. But her custom step

gives her the same independence

as other children

84 • happiful.com • February 2020

Brian is one such beneficiary of

the simple fixes Remap creates.

Having played bass guitar since

2000, Brian’s deteriorating

condition meant that it became

increasingly difficult for him to

continue enjoying his instrument.

In order to keep up his much-loved

hobby, Brian needed something

that would take the weight of the

guitar off of his spine.

Brian had heard about the work

that Remap do, and so he reached

out with his problem. This is where

Paul came in.

A Remap volunteer for two years,

Paul first got involved with the

charity to give something back

to his community. When Brian’s

dilemma was presented to Paul’s

Remap group, he knew it was

something he could help with.

“I went over to Brian, had a

look at the problem, took some

measurements, and then came up

with a design,” Paul explains. Over

a fortnight, he crafted a custom-fit

guitar stand, that would support

Brian’s bass while he played.

“I went back, it all fitted perfectly

and it worked first time – which

doesn’t normally happen!” Paul

adds. “Brian takes the armrests off

the wheelchair. There’s a socket

where the chair arms go in, and the

guitar rest has brackets that fix into

that slot – it’s all fully adjustable.”

Brian was delighted with the

bracket, which he says renewed his

love for the instrument.

“On the feel-good factor, it’s

quite an important thing for me

to be able to participate in, and

play, music,” Brian explains. “This

bracket has taken all the weight

off my shoulders and I’m playing

the guitar again – I’d even say it’s

improved my playing.”

Brian can now

enjoy his hobby

without limits


Brian knows all too well the

impact that being physically

limited can have on your

mental health.

“You have this little zone which

you know you can do things in,

and if things in that zone become

incredibly difficult it’s even

worse, because you feel as though

you’re becoming more and more

restricted,” he explains.

For Brian, taking back control

of something that brought him so

much joy has had a huge impact

on his wellbeing, in a way that he

believes can often be overlooked.

“Clinically, the NHS has supplied

me a chair and that’s the big

picture. But once you’ve got the

big picture solved, to really feel

the benefit, it’s the small things

that matter.”

This is something David sees

regularly through Remap’s work.

“With the medical professionals,

someone will ask: ‘Can you get

yourself in and out of bed?’, ‘Can

you make a cup of tea?’ It’s a list

of things to tick off and then on to

the next person,” David explains.

“But what gets missed is: ‘What’s

your passion in life? What do you

love doing? And can you do that?’

“For anybody, to not be able

to do the thing that you’re in

to is a big downer in your life.

But if you already have a big

restriction, it becomes even

more important that you have

some way to express yourself.”


We all deserve to live in an

accessible world where we

can move and our enjoy our

hobbies, unrestricted. There

is so much joy to be found in

the small things in life. From

making music, like Brian, to

the countless other remarkable

fixes that engineers have

created over the years – Remap

is the charity that picks up on

the things that can easily slip

down the priority list, and

bumps them to the top.

Powered by the generosity and

aptitude of volunteers, things

that begin life as dreams are

turned into reality, and so often

it’s a life-enhancing process for

all involved.

To find out more and to donate,

visit remap.org.uk

February 2020 • happiful.com • 85

Photography | Naitian Tony Wang

When admiring other people's

gardens, don't forget to tend to

your own f lowers



From client

to counsellor

Creativity had always helped Nicola Vanlint to thrive,

until panic attacks ground her world to a halt. But

now she’s combining her experiences to live her best

life, and support others on their journeys, too

Writing | Nicola Vanlint


loved my career

as a fashion

stylist – being

creative, meeting

new people, and

travelling the world – until

one day I experienced

the horror of a panic

attack, and my whole life


Growing up, I enjoyed

primary school as I

had the freedom to be

creative, but when things

became more academic in

secondary school, that all

changed. At the time I was

unaware of my dyslexia,

and thought that I was just

stupid. When I left school

in 1990, I came away with

no qualifications.

I worked in retail and

customer services for a

few years, until I was made

redundant. I didn’t know

what to do next, until I

saw a job advertised for a

part-time window dresser.

Even the interview was

fun, as I got to go around

the store and gather items

for a window display. I was

offered a full-time position

in their flagship store in

Marble Arch and was over

the moon – I still look

back at that job with fond


Through my colleagues

in the press office and PR,

I first heard about fashion

styling. I was excited that

you could have a career

in dressing people rather

than mannequins, so I

contacted some fashion

stylists and offered to

be their assistant on


From collecting and

returning clothes to

PR companies, I then

began assisting on some

photoshoots. On these

shoots the photographers

always had assistants,

like myself, who wanted

to build a portfolio of

work – in those days

a qualification wasn’t

required but a portfolio

was. I started to do ‘test

shoots’ where assistant

stylists, make-up artists,

photographers and

budding models got

together to create images

for their portfolios.

There, in 1998, my career

began; I thought I was set

up for a dazzling life in

fashion for the rest of my

career. Until one day that

all changed.

I was shopping with my

fiancé, which resulted in a

minor disagreement about

what to buy. Not only was

my reaction to him totally

disproportionate to the

event, but suddenly I felt

like I couldn’t breathe,

the world was closing in

on me, I was dizzy and

couldn’t see properly – I

was even foaming at the

mouth. I managed to

get back to the car and

collapsed on the floor,

completely terrified and

confused. I knew I had

to make an appointment

with my doctor, who

advised me to talk to

someone at Mindline – a

helpline in south east


Like my initial

unawareness of styling,

counselling was a

complete unknown to

me. I didn’t know anyone

who’d had counselling,

and couldn’t understand

how simply talking to

someone was going to stop

these horrendous attacks. >>>

February 2020 • happiful.com • 87

Find out more about Nicola by

visiting nicolavanlint.co.uk

I felt like I couldn’t breathe,

the world was closing in on

me, I was dizzy and couldn’t

see properly

Unlike now on the NHS,

where you might wait

months, this was 2002 and

I was lucky that I only had

to wait a couple of weeks

for an appointment –

although they were some

of the hardest weeks of

my life. The panic attacks

continued, I became quite

depressed, and had to

cancel work as I didn’t

want to leave the house. I

was unable to live my dayto-day

life through fear.

I attended counselling

once a week, which,

despite my apprehension,

actually started to help.

I was able to discuss my

fears and thoughts openly,

without being judged. I

started speaking about my

childhood and past. How

my dad neglected me, my

nan, who had been my

main carer at the time due

to my mum having to work

all hours, died suddenly

when I was eight years old.

My early teenage years

involved physical and

emotional bullying, and

during my late teens I was

in a violent relationship.

I now know that these

experiences are classed

in psychological terms as

small ‘t’ traumas, and an

accumulation of these,

especially in childhood,

can lead to post traumatic

stress disorder (PTSD),

which can manifest in later

life through panic attacks.

Small ‘t’ traumas are

highly distressing events

that affect us on a personal

level, causing disruption

in emotional functioning,

which we may not even be

aware of until later in life.

These distressing events

are not inherently life

threatening, but can cause

an overwhelming amount

of stess that exceeds our

ability to cope, or integrate

the emotions involved with

that experience.

I started to build my

confidence back up

through journalling and

therapy, but I was still

unable to go on jobs abroad,

or be in large crowds. I had

to give up my career as a

stylist because I couldn’t

attend the shoots, and took a

local admin job instead.

My counsellor suggested

I go on a self-awareness

counselling course, and

that is where my journey to

become a counsellor began.

I was intrigued as to how

my suppressed emotions

had manifested and erupted

at a time when I felt most

settled in my life.

I’ve always been interested

in how the mind works,

but never pursued it due

to my struggles at school

88 • happiful.com • February 2020

I was intrigued as to

how my suppressed

emotions had

manifested and

erupted at a time

when I felt most

settled in my life

– it wasn’t until I actually

attended college that my

dyslexia was diagnosed,

with help from a very

supportive tutor. During

the course I developed

severe psoriasis all over

my lower body and in

my hair. The psoriasis,

like the panic attacks,

was a symptom of my

suppressed emotions.

To gain experience as

a therapist, I returned

to Mind as a volunteer. I

went on to become a crisis

counsellor with them,

and then set up my own

private practice in 2010.

My personal experience

has shaped my way of

working as a therapist,

and I still like to see my

work as being creative –

counselling is like fashion

and one style of therapy

may not suit all.

Unknown to me at the

time, my performance in

my career was affected

by the little ‘t’ traumas I

experienced in childhood,

and held on to in my

body. I learnt that our

mental health affects our

performance in every

aspect of our lives –

including our career.

In working this

way, I came to notice

that in addition to a

client’s improvement

in mental wellbeing,

their performance and

productivity at work

increased. This has led

me to offer performance

therapy to sports people,

and workshops within

organisations on how

to perform better in all

aspects of life.

Although counselling is a

collaborative and creative

process, I realised that

when I stopped working

as a stylist, that creative

part of me had gone

stagnant. I started to look

at the psychology of the

creative process, and how

this affects our wellbeing,

and found studies

showing that artistic

self-expression might

contribute to maintenance

or reconstruction of a

positive identity.

I have come to realise

that for my own wellbeing

I have needed, and still

need, to be creative –

whether it’s through

changing my hair colour,

my clothes, making

greeting cards, taking

photos, gardening or

home interior projects.

The latter creative

activities also help my

stress levels, as I am being

mindful in the process.

It’s been a journey to get

to this point, and I will

always be aware of how

my past, the dyslexia,

panic attacks, and

counselling have formed

my life to be what it is

today. No matter what

path my life takes in the

future, I know that I need

to continue to tap into

my creativity, and selfexpression,

for my mental

health and wellbeing.


Nicola’s inspiring journey

highlights how our life

experience is truly with

us forever, and if we do

not have opportunity to

explore such difficulties

that we have experienced,

they can impact our lives

negatively in the future –

and in her case manifest

as severe panic attacks.

Nicola courageously

explored what was

happening for her, to

understand and also

grow, via the process of

counselling. Thankfully,

Nicola was able to navigate

her way through her

trauma to a place where

she now draws upon

her experience

as a source

of strength,


and positive


Rav Sekhon | BA MA MBACP (Accred)

Counsellor and psychotherapist

February 2020 • happiful.com • 89

Mental health


Lucy Sheridan, the first and only comparison

coach, knows what it’s like to feel to be crippled

by self-doubt. Now, it’s her mission to help

people all over the world to break free from the

comparison trap. Here, she opens up about her

own experience, and shares words of advice...

Follow @lucysheridan

on Instagram and Twitter

Mental health matters to me

because… it colours every part

of my life. More and more,

people are feeling safe to discuss

their experiences, and realising

that we don’t have to wait until

things feel unbearable before

recognising we need support.

I’d like to see things progress

to the point where we express

our mental health as freely as we

do with physical health, and are

met with the same compassion,

understanding, and empathy.

When I need some self-care, I…

take myself offline and retreat

from the world for a few days.

The best lesson I’ve learned in

life is… the timing will always

be perfect. Setting goals is great

for our focus, but sometimes,

no matter how committed we

are, things don’t work out as

planned. The tendency is to let

self-doubt creep in, and yet often

the progress we seek is unfolding

as it needs to. Years ago, I was

unhappy in my job, but expected

that it might be a few years

before I could leave. Suddenly big

changes came in at the company,

and I ended up leaving within

a few months! Although I felt

worried and unprepared, it was

just the push I needed.

Three things I would say to

someone experiencing mental

ill-health are… to share how

you’re feeling with someone that

you trust. It’s OK to seek therapy

– we each deserve to heal. Take

time out from the internet – the

stimulus rarely helps when we

are not feeling ourselves.

The moment I felt most proud of

myself was… a couple of months

ago, when I created a new course

– after too much time thinking

about it – called The Good

Gram, that taught social media

confidence and strategy. Seeing

it out in the world was a big

moment that highlighted to me

what I can do when I set my mind

to it. It silenced the inner critic

that had dominated my thoughts

for too long.

Being a comparison coach has

taught me is... there is always

more work to do, and I’ll continue

to be a prime case study.

‘The Comparison

Cure’ by Lucy

Sheridan is out

now (Orion

Spring, £14.99)

The main thing I want people to

know about the comparison trap

is… it will take a while to free

yourself, but if you stick at it you

can and will. There isn’t a switch

to flick, rather it’s a process we

can tailor to our own needs. It’s

so important to have an open

mind and set new standards for

yourself. I used to feel constantly

in comparison, and it was like a

dull ache that permeated my life.

I still compare myself, but today

those episodes are short-lived

and spread out, which feels like

great progress.

When I’m lacking motivation I…

check what day of my cycle I’m

on... When I have PMT I know

I need to listen to my body and

rest rather than bully myself into

being productive. At other times

when I need a boost, I look at my

vision board to remind myself

what rewards are in store if I stay

the course!

Photography | Christian Buehner

By being yourself, you put

something wonderful in the

world that was not there before


December 2018 • happiful • 91

We’ve helped more than

1 Million

people connect with a therapist

using Counselling Directory

You are not alone


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