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Psychological Therapy

Knit for Victory!

[Guest author - Sarah Counter, Cognitive Behavioural Therapist with Outlook South West]

We all know that exercise is good for us, research shows that physical activity can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing the chances of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  However sometimes it can be hard to engage in mainstream exercise for various reasons such as illness and as such we can find ourselves inactive with reduced mobility which can have a significant impact on mood. 

Bettering Oneself for Charity

Towards the end of July I plan to do a gruelling forty mile trek across the Pyrenees. I decided, in part, to do this walk as a challenge to raise money for the Cornwall Air Ambulance. This has brought some interesting responses. For example, my son agreed to sponsor me, but suggested that next year I could sponsor him to lie on a beach towel for two weeks off the Amalfi Coast. It was an astute remark. There is indeed something strange about doing something for yourself but asking people to give to charity at the same time. I am doing it because of my work as a psychological therapist.

Unrealistic Expectations

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.

Accepting Change

Change is inevitable. It can also be unsettling. It is also part of life. Why do so many of us do get angry when things change? Firstly, change often take us by surprise. We aren’t ready for it. In the words of Baz Luhrmann, “The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind. The kind that blindsides you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday”. Secondly, change is unsettling. We find that we can no longer rely on the familiar comforts and certainties of life. We are forced to adapt to new circumstances.

Setting Out in the New Year

What does 2016 hold in store for you? For many of us, we have some things we would like to do much more, and some things we’d like to do a lot less. So, maybe we would like to spend more time with our families, or keeping fit. Or on the other hand we’d like to be watching less TV, drinking more moderately, or to stop being so crazily busy.

Sadly, knowing what you want out of life is no guarantee that this is how it will be. There is often a mismatch between what we would like our lives to be like, compared to how our lives actually pan out.

Mindfulness by the Mouthful

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.

When Panic Attacks Take Over

Around 6,000 people in Cornwall will have a fairly severe type of anxiety called panic disorder. What is panic disorder? Imagine for a moment, if you can, that it is possible that you will have an experience of utter dread and fear whenever you venture far from the house. Furthermore, you believe that, if this happens to you, then you will need to escape as fast as you can and flee to the safety of your home.

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