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Mental health stigma can run so deep that we can second-guess ourselves when it comes to our wellbeing and self-care.
Take, for example, a rough day. You’re sitting at your desk struggling to focus on any one important thing. The anxiety kicks in, and you start to think about all the ways your next task could go wrong, how many mistakes you’ll make. The negative self-talk begins, and your depression hits you like a sack of bricks. You just know you’re about to have a panic attack and you can’t think of a single way to stop it.
Now if this were any other illness that had symptoms preventing you from functioning normally - a migraine or the flu - you wouldn’t think twice about calling it a day and going home to rest. No one could blame you for it - you’re sick, right? You don’t feel well. Go home. Feel better.
But this is not a migraine or the flu, this is mental illness. This is anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder, which don’t carry the same severity in our society as other well-known illnesses. When we’re really suffering from mental illness, people tell us to stop exaggerating or to suck it up. So when we contemplate the idea of a mental health day, we beat ourselves up for it. Tell ourselves to man-up and get over it, to stick it out, just like others would tell us.
The problem with this way of thinking is that it is not self-caring at all. We must fight the stigma to not only help others understand that these illnesses we deal with are just as severe as other physical illnesses, but to also help us be kinder to ourselves. Giving ourselves time to rest and being kind to ourselves about what our limits are helps us feel better, just like rest helps us feel better when we have the flu.
If you need some time to re-energise, do it. Your mental wellbeing is just as important as your overall wellbeing, and you must take care of your brain like you take care of the rest of your body. Your good health depends on it.
Some tips for mental health care:
Don't let stigma prevent you from caring for yourself. Get the support you need - contact me on email@example.com or on 084 779 4889. Visit my website on www.nadinetherapy.co.za.
Credit: psychologytoday, take5tosavelives
Mental health issues widely affect both men and women, so regardless of gender; we should all be taking our mental health seriously.
That said, there are certain mental health issues that affect women most, and this is due to a mixture of biological factors, socio-cultural influences, (workplace inequality, body shaming, and the pressure to "have it all"), as well as the fact the we have statistically higher chances of experiencing sexual abuse, domestic violence, rape, and attempted rape in our lifetime. It's clear that if you're female, it's imperative that you educate yourself on the gender-specific mental health risks women face.
Women are up to 40 percent more likely to develop mental illnesses than men, so women should be aware that gender does play a role in mental health.
Whether you've struggled with your mental health or not, it's important to know how your mind and body are pre-disposed to certain mental health issues so that you can better understand how to keep yourself healthy. Here are some mental health issues that affect women more often than men.
Women develop less of the feel-good chemical serotonin and process it slower. Hormone levels naturally fluctuate more than men's do, especially during the childbearing process and menopause, which affects mood.
Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to manage anxiety, from breathing techniques to medication. If you or a loved one is suffering from anxiety, know that you don't have to do it without help.
If you or someone you love is struggling with a mental health issue, don't ignore it or trust that it will get better on its own.
Please seek treatment - contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or on 084 779 4889. Visit my website on www.nadinetherapy.co.za.
Do you have limiting beliefs? Limiting beliefs constrain us in some way. Just by believing them, we do not think, do or say the things that they inhibit. And in doing so we impoverish our lives.
Some examples of limiting beliefs include:
We may define ourselves by what we do or do not do. I may say 'I am an accountant', which means I do not do marketing and should not even think about it, and consequently fail to sell my services well. Another common limiting belief is around how we judge ourselves. We think 'I don't deserve...' and so do not expect or seek things.
We often have limited self-images of what we can and cannot do. This is the crux of many 'I can't' statements: we believe our abilities are fixed and that we cannot learn.
Just as we have limiting beliefs about ourselves, we also have beliefs about other people which can limit us in many ways. If we think others are more capable and superior, then we will not challenge them. If we see them as selfish, we may not ask them to help us.
Why do we limit our beliefs?
A key way by which we form our beliefs is through our direct experiences. We act, something happens, and we draw conclusions. Often such beliefs are helpful, but they can also be very limiting. Particularly when we are young and have few experiences we may form false and limiting conclusions.
One reason we use faulty logic and form limiting beliefs is to excuse ourselves from what we perceive to be our failures. When we do something, and it does not work, we often explain away our failure by forming and using beliefs which justify our actions and leave us blameless.
Limiting beliefs are often fear-driven. Locking the belief in place is the fear that, if we go against the beliefs, deep needs will be harmed. There is often a strong social component to our decisions and the thought of criticism, ridicule or rejection by others is enough to powerfully inhibit us. We also fear that we may be harmed in some way by others, and so avoid them or seek to appease them.
Contact me on email@example.com or on 084 779 4889 to discuss your limiting beliefs. Visit my website on www.nadinetherapy.co.za.
Are you driven by fear? Is your fear stopping you from doing what you want or being who you want to be? The first step is owning your fears and then identifying them. Then, of course, the question becomes, "How do I get rid of these fears?"
Being rich is not about money, it’s about living without fear. We all have fear. If we didn't feel fear, we wouldn't be alive. But there's a big difference between having fear and being driven by your fear. Most people are driven by their fears, leading them to make (or avoid making) decisions that could be life-changing.
People have fear of poverty. Fear of not being accepted. Fear of rejection. Fear of failure. Fear of abandonment. Fear of success. Fear of people. Fear of vulnerability. The list goes on.
You will always have fears, but when you get to a place where you are no longer driven by them, something magical happens. You are in touch with your value. You feel powerful. Alive. Worthy.
Here are some tips to help you with your fears:
Notice your fears: Everything starts with awareness. Think about all the fears that are stopping you from being happy. Just observe them. Once you do that, recognize that your fears, despite seeming very powerful, are not concrete walls. They can be dismantled and are less powerful than you think.
Admit that you are afraid of particular things: Many people know what they are afraid of, but won't admit it, especially to themselves. This resistance will only give the fear more power. Denial means you're running instead of facing. Only when you admit what you are afraid of can you start dissolving your fears.
Decide you no longer want to be afraid: At some point, you must make a choice to no longer be afraid. At some point you must decide to enter the arena. Yes, you can choose to be less afraid. No, this doesn't mean your fear is just going to go away. But it will move the ball. It will create a shift. Examine where your fears are taking you in your life and decide to no longer allow those fears to drive your life.
When you are no longer afraid, you are completely free.
Let me help you work through your fears and free yourself to live a happy and fulfilling life – contact me NADINE on firstname.lastname@example.org or on 084 779 4889. Visit my website on www.nadinetherapy.co.za.
6/27/2018 0 Comments
While personal matters such as family problems and living situations might cause the most stress for women, new research shows its work issues that cause men the most anxiety.
Few of us enjoy Monday mornings. Swapping a lazy day reading the Sunday papers for a lazy manager with a sadistic streak is always a bad trade. But in the greater scheme of things, is your job really that stressful?
If you’re working in sales then yes, say scientists from the US Public Health Service. Their new study found that desk-bound sales callers are more likely to suffer from heart disease or stroke thanks to their stressed-packed workplace.
So far, so utterly scary. But there’s more. Another study conducted by CareerCast found the toughest ten jobs on the entire planet. They've all got a few things in common - jobs that require you to face unpredictable conditions, immediate dangers and high-stakes situations rank among the most stressful. Some of these include military personnel, firefighters, pilots, event co-ordinators and journalists.
But even if your job doesn't rank anywhere near the top 10, bad management, long hours and recessionary fears can make even the most serene career stressful.
It’s worrying, yes, but we’re here to deal with the question: what can be done about work stress?
If your feel like your job is completely unbearable, start looking elsewhere in a constructive manner. Try take yourself back to your childhood and ask yourself what you enjoyed doing? What brings you joy now? How do you have fun? These simple questions can often help us reconnect with ourselves and what we love to do. Over the years we have become bombarded with social pressures on what our careers should look like, status, cars, and houses that we lose sight of our true value and passion.
Apart from that there are very practical ways to combating stress which are enough to make a big difference to your mood. From self-hypnosis. Meditation, simple breathing techniques and exercise can contribute to lowering stress. Lifestyle will build a good foundation in the long run for managing stress – eating optimally, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly and having fun! These are some basic pillars but if you want to learn more about how to manage work stress or investigate a career change, contact me.
Work stress is a choice. You don't have to pick it.
Nadine@nadinetherapy.co.za or on 084 779 4889. Visit my website on www.nadinetherapy.co.za.
Credit: menshealth, webmd, businessnewsdaily, everydayhealth
6/17/2018 0 Comments
Anxiety is more than having sweaty palms and butterflies in your stomach. Symptoms of anxiety can include feelings of worry, fear and impending doom that are so severe they interfere with your ability to work, maintain relationships and get a decent night’s sleep.
Physical signs of anxiety may include:
Emotional signs of anxiety may include:
Men with anxiety feel something many women don’t - shame. Their embarrassment prevents them from reaching out for help. This means that by the time they do get a consult, their condition is more severe than that seen in women. Instead of seeking help, 30% of men with anxiety turn to substances as a way to cope with their symptoms.
Substances co-opt the brain’s natural reward system. Deep inside the brain, the mesolimbic dopamine reward system is activated by pleasurable stimuli including food and sex, producing a rush of feel-good brain chemicals.
The ingestion of substances including alcohol, opioids, marijuana, and nicotine produces identical pleasure effects. When endorphins (the chemicals responsible for the “runner’s high”) are released by natural stimuli or by substances, they bind to the same receptors as morphine, dulling emotional pain and calming the mind. It is this type of relaxation that people with anxiety are seeking when they turn to substances.
Men also often react to anxiety with anger. Everyone has heard of the stress response of fight or flight. Flight is what comes to mind when we think of anxiety: cowering in the corner, hiding in the bathroom, or making a beeline for...anywhere but here. But then there’s fight. When feeling threatened, rather than making a break for it, men may be more likely to come out swinging. Anxiety can trigger the full range of anger, from the flash of an explosive outburst to the slow burn of constant frustration.
Anxiety is an equal opportunity disorder – it affects all ages, ethnicities, social and economic standings.
But what else is equal opportunity? The fact that anxiety is changeable. It is indeed worrisome and stressful to be human, but it is also hopeful. No matter how your anxiety manifests, reach out. No matter your gender, anxiety doesn’t have to run your life.
Contact me to help you through your anxiety - email@example.com or on 084 779 4889. Visit my website on www.nadinetherapy.co.za.
Credit: betterhealth, anxietybc, tonic, beyondblue, guycounselling.
6/10/2018 0 Comments
Everyone feels sad, irritable, or tired at times. Major depressive disorder is different. Though insomnia and fatigue are often the presenting complaints, people with depression experience depressed mood or loss of interest in normal daily activities for weeks at a time. The symptoms of major depressive disorder cause significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other areas of functioning.
Major depressive symptoms include:
Depression in men is a treatable health condition, not a sign of emotional weakness or a failing of masculinity. It affects millions of men of all ages and backgrounds, as well as those who care about them - spouses, partners, friends, and family. Of course, it’s normal for anyone to feel down from time to time—dips in mood are an ordinary reaction to losses, setbacks, and disappointments in life. However, male depression changes how you think, feel, and function in your daily life. It can interfere with your productivity at work or school and impact your relationships, sleep, diet, and overall enjoyment of life. Severe depression can be intense and unrelenting.
Unfortunately, depression in men often gets overlooked as many of us find it difficult to talk about our feelings. Instead, we tend to focus on the physical symptoms that often accompany male depression, such as back pain, headaches, difficulty sleeping, or sexual problems. This can result in the underlying depression going untreated, which can have serious consequences.
In mild cases of depression, daily exercise, improved eating habits, and a specific sleep routine can assist in alleviating some symptoms. While depression can take a heavy toll on your home and work life, you don’t have to tough it out. There are plenty of things you can start doing today to feel better.
Contact me to help you through your depression - firstname.lastname@example.org or on 084 779 4889. Visit my website on www.nadinetherapy.co.za.
Credit: Psycom, Helpguide
Do you recognise the man you see in the mirror?
One emotion that most males are familiar with is anger.
Anger produces a physiological arousal in males. It creates a state of readiness and heightened awareness. It creates energy that can be directed outward in the form of protection or even as a weapon. Anger causes a fight or flight response designed to protect us. Anger is frequently a powerful tool for boys and men to use to cover inadequacies. Often anger in males is a secondary emotion used to cover underlying emotions such as fear, hurt, or frustration. You'll notice that nearly all males will react with anger when they become overly frustrated or are hurt emotionally.
The surge of adrenaline and associated arousal can be addictive to some males. Young males need to be taught how to deal with and control their anger. To do that, they must learn to own their anger and identify the source of that anger. Then they can learn how to choose to respond to their anger.
Emotions are powerful and often uncontrollable. That's why many males keep such a tight lid on their emotions - once released they are difficult to predict or control and often result in a situation ending in vulnerability. The one emotion, however, that they are relatively comfortable with, is that of anger. Anger for many men is an old friend; one they call upon in a variety of circumstances. Like all powerful emotions it can be used destructively or for good. Anger can be terribly destructive in relationships. All we need do is look at the devastation caused to women and children through a man's uncontrolled wrath and anger. Anger can lead to emotional, psychological, and even physical abuse.
On the other hand, anger can be channelled into productive pathways. Anger can be used to motivate a man to achieve more than he might otherwise be able to accomplish. It can be used as a mechanism to encourage perseverance under duress or in gruelling circumstances.
Suppressed anger can be an underlying cause of anxiety and depression. Anger that is not appropriately expressed can disrupt relationships, affect thinking and behaviour patterns, and create a variety of physical problems. Long-term anger has been linked to health issues such as high blood pressure, heart problems, headaches, skin disorders, and digestive problems. In addition, anger can be linked to problems such as crime, emotional and physical abuse, and other violent behaviour.
Before anger becomes destructive, contact me on email@example.com or on 084 779 4889. Visit my website on www.nadinetherapy.co.za.
Credit: Psychologytoday, Menshealth, Guystuffcounselling, Webmd
5/29/2018 0 Comments
The choice always stays yours!
Stress can keep you from finishing tasks or chores and can negatively affect many parts of your life. It’s important to take note of when stress starts taking over your life where you can’t even do easy tasks, so that you can step back when necessary. When under extreme stress, feeling unhappy, confused or angry, we often develop bad habits which exacerbate the stress. Some of these habits include:
Sometimes, going through rough times can make you turn to food to cope with stress. But if you realise that food has become your coping mechanism for stress then it can get problematic because it can lead to you compromising your health. Dealing with emotional eating may cause you to have a poor diet leading to blood sugar imbalances and cause an even higher level of stress.
Drinking and smoking, or any addiction
Substance abuse is a common habit amongst people who are stressed out. People often turn to drugs, smoking and alcohol as a way to cope with their problems.
When you delay getting tasks done on time, you may end up panicking. This can lead to you stressing even more and becoming increasingly anxious because you end up having more work that needs to be done in a shorter space of time. The best thing to do is face each task individually, measure how long it will take you to get it done and then…just get it done!
Doing it alone
Being independent is a great characteristic because you rely mostly on yourself to get things done. But you can ask for help if you feel overwhelmed with having too much on your plate. You are not alone. You can try and do everything on your own, but it’s difficult. Getting help from your family and friends may end up being a fun experience and remind you that you are stronger as a team.
Focusing on mistakes you’ve made
The sooner you learn to accept the things you can’t change and stop focusing on your mistakes the less you will stress and become more at peace with yourself and others. Learn from your mistakes but obsessing over what you should have done will not change anything and isn’t healthy for your mental state. The only things you can change are your attitude and behaviour. Focus on doing better the next time.
If you have developed any of these habits, or others that are becoming a problem, give me a call. Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or on 084 779 4889. Visit my website on www.nadinetherapy.co.za.
5/20/2018 0 Comments
The choice always stays yours!
Have you ever made a bad decision? Some people respond well in stressful situations and some people lose focus and can make costly mistakes. Why does stress cause many people to have impaired decision making?
The survival mechanisms that make up the stress response are very primitive in origin. These date back well before the development of a cognitive process, such as decision making. In fact, humans, alone, can analyse and decide about their actions in a deliberate and logical way. Human brains still have the primitive responses for survival "hard-wired" into the mechanism of response to stress. When stressed, the more basic and primitive parts of the human brain take over. The middle and lower brain, which can react more quickly to threats by preparing you to fight or flight can become dominant. The logical, "thinking" part of the upper brain shuts down and good decisions are placed lower as a survival priority. In our complex society the non-thinking reactions to stress can get you in trouble.
When we are stressed it is common to have several reactions that reduce effective decision making including:
Pre-occupation with an idea, even if it is old or ineffective. We do this because we fear new ideas or activities as a response to being overwhelmed and stressed. We tend to do things the way we always have done, rather than using new ways or new technologies.
Our concentration is impaired. Too much internal "noise" and distraction from our thoughts because of our stress. There is deterioration in judgment and logical thinking - we become more reactive. We fall into negative self-evaluations as stress affects our self-esteem and self-confidence. Negative thinking and self-criticism are not useful to move forward in a positive direction. We have less objectivity for a reality-check that can show the overall position in the "bigger" picture.
Creativity is reduced. We see fewer alternatives and this reduces the brainstorming necessary for appropriate problem solving. Our search for input of useful information is impaired.
We fail to see and understand the long-term consequences of decisions. This can lead to serious mistakes. We do not communicate as effectively to get input, to make good decisions, and then to communicate and motivate people to get the required actions to successfully carry out a decision.
Let me help you prevent making these mistakes while under stress that could have an irreversible impact on your life. Contact me on email@example.com or on 084 779 4889. Visit my website on www.nadinetherapy.co.za.