Do you have expectations that are unrealistic? The late psychologist, Albert Ellis, said, “there are three musts that hold us back: I must do well. You must treat me well. And the world must be easy." These expectations may look reasonable enough. However, if you hold them too tightly they really can hold you back.
Some people are really down on themselves. They seem to have a constant nagging voice that is always being self-critical or planting a seed of doubt in whatever they do. This constant doubting and self-denigration makes a person anxious and miserable.
Sometimes, this way of talking to ourselves comes from our past. We forget that the way we talk to children over a period of time will eventually become their inner voice. But wherever this voice comes from, is there anything we can do to get a more positive sense of self-worth? Two strategies can be helpful.
Can you get through a whole day without complaining? I don’t mean the justifiable protest at getting shoddy service or goods. Instead, I mean the more day-to-day moaning and whinging about other people or the world in general.
In fact, we all regularly complain about modern life, our boss, the government, the youth of today, and so on. In fact, the list is endless. Sometimes, complaining acts as a kind of social glue – it gives us a common purpose and sometimes identifies a common enemy.
We all have the potential to make tiny changes in our lives. From building fitness, to learning a language or how to dance, through to practicing meditation or yoga. The possibilities are endless.
How often do you experience a real sense of gratitude? This can be either having a sense of being grateful for just being alive or being thankful to others around you for what they bring to your life.
The last ten years have seen a host of research studies looking at the benefits of gratitude. People trained to cultivate gratitude appear to deal with stress better, have more sleep and improved physical and mental health. Cultivating gratitude might sound ‘cheesy’ but it is pretty strong medicine.
Depression, unlike ordinary sadness, is something that we can’t just snap out of. It is a life-sapping condition that takes a heavy toll on our ability to live a normal life. And unfortunately it is on the rise and, at a conservative estimate, will be affecting 20,000 adults in Cornwall this year.
As Christmas approaches, we are reminded that not only is it a time for family and giving, but it is also a time when many people may feel a sense of isolation and loneliness. The John Lewis ad tugs at our heart-strings with the story of a young girl sending a message to a lonely old man on the moon. The ad’s strapline, “Show someone they are loved this Christmas”, dovetails well with Age UK’s seasonal message that, “No-one should have no-one this Christmas”.
Mindfulness has been shown to increase our resilience to stress and it can be an effective treatment for depression. So, what is it all about? It sounds mysterious but it is, in fact, very simple. Basically, it involves becoming quiet and focusing on just one thing at a time. You can try the following mindful eating exercise as an example. You just sit down at a table, switch off the TV, and slowly focus on the experience of tasting, smelling and eating a small meal.
According to a national report published last week by the Scientific Advisory Body on Nutrition, a great many of us have worryingly low levels of Vitamin D. This is a problem for one in five adults and one in six children. Vitamin D has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. Low levels are associated with a number of physical conditions, including cardio-vascular problems, obesity, cancer and osteoporosis. It is also starting to become linked with depression, although at the moment we aren't sure if low levels of Vitamin D are a cause or an effect of being depressed.