daily wellbeing

Andy Garland Therapies - Counselling Cardiff - Mental Health Services Cardiff - Cardiff Therapists - daily wellbeing - keeping mentally for life

Wellbeing is about more than just physical health - it is about caring for the Whole self and nurturing and developing creativity, expression, skills and insight. Wellbeing is not a fixed goal but a daily opportunity and no two people have the same needs. Self care is the powerful commitment to constantly choose activities and situations that make you feel healthy and good about yourself.

Self care was once seen just as managing your physical health. But physical wellbeing is now understood to be directly connected to emotional and psychological wellbeing. Most of us look after our personal daily care, such as taking a shower and brushing our teeth - these are all routine tasks that we've been conditioned to do, often with little to no conscious thought.

Approaching your mental health in this way can have a significant impact on your long-term mental and physical health.

Below you'll find suggestions on what to consider when you design your own daily wellbeing plan. Be flexible in your approach to your daily tasks, and do your best not to make 'new rules' around positive behaviours.

how much alcohol do you drink...and why?

The reason we drink and the consequences of excessive drinking are linked with our mental health. Mental health problems not only result from drinking too much alcohol, they can also cause people to drink too much. Put very simply, a major reason for drinking alcohol is to change our mood - or our mental state. Alcohol can temporarily alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression and people often use it a form of 'self-medication' in an attempt to cheer themselves up or sometimes help with sleep.

One of the main problems associated with using alcohol to deal with mental health problems is that regular consumption of alcohol changes the chemistry of the brain. It decreases the levels of the brain chemical serotonin - a key chemical in depression. As a result of this depletion, a cyclical process begins where one drinks to relieve depression, which causes serotonin levels in the brain to be depleted, leading to one feeling even more depressed, and thus necessitating even more alcohol to then medicate this depression.

Alcohol can also reveal or intensify our underlying feelings, such as evoking past memories of trauma or sparking any repressed feelings which are associated with painful events of the past. These memories can be so powerful that they create overwhelming anxiety, depression or shame. Re-living these memories and dark feelings whilst under the influence of alcohol can pose a threat to personal safety as well as the safety of others.

If the amount of alcohol that you have been drinking exceeds recommended guidelines and puts you at risk for developing alcohol-related problems, you may want to try cutting down or moderating your consumption. If you are currently drinking more than the recommended guidelines, any change that you make, even small changes, can help you reduce the harm that alcohol can cause. The less you drink, the lower your risk of developing problems.

If you feel like alcohol may be an issue for you consider talking to a friend or family member. If that isn't an option then make an appointment with your G.P or give Andy's clinic a call on 0800 612 2878.

smoking impacts your mental health too

We all know that stopping smoking improves your physical health. But it's also proven to boost your mental health and wellbeing: it can improve mood and help relieve stress, anxiety and depression. Most smokers say they want to stop, but some continue because smoking seems to relieve stress and anxiety. It's a common belief that smoking helps you relax. But smoking actually increases anxiety and tension. Smokers are also more likely than non-smokers to develop depression over time.

stopping smoking can be as effective as antidepressants: People with mental health problems are likely to feel much calmer and more positive, and have a better quality of life, after giving up smoking. Evidence suggests the beneficial effect of stopping smoking on symptoms of anxiety and depression can equal that of taking antidepressants.

smokers with mental health problems:

People with mental health problems, including anxiety, depression or schizophrenia:

> are much more likely to smoke than the general population
> tend to smoke more heavily
> die on average 10 to 20 years earlier than those who don't experience mental health problems - smoking plays a major role in this difference in life expectancy
> need higher doses of some antipsychotic medicines and antidepressants because smoking interferes with the way these medicines work

The idea that people smoke cigarettes to help ease the signs and symptoms of stress is known as 'self-medication'. Stress is very common, affecting us when we feel unable to cope with unwelcome pressure. It can cause physical symptoms like headaches or breathlessness as well as making people feel irritable, anxious or low. These feelings can alter our behaviour and feeling stressed often makes people drink alcohol or smoke more than usual. Long term stress is also related to anxiety and depression. If you'd like help to stop smoking call Andy at the clinic on 0800 612 2878.

acknowledge the good

Noticing the good in your life even when times may be challenging can make a huge shift in your mood and longer term mental health. Being grateful for the small things that most of us take for granted can be the first step to making this a part of your everyday.

Gratitude is a powerful human emotion. By conveying and receiving simple 'thank you' messages, we can truly derive the pleasure that we seek everywhere else. Gratitude, derived from the Latin word 'gratia', means gratefulness or thankfulness. In positive psychology, gratitude is the human way of acknowledging the good things of life.

Simple practices like maintaining a gratitude journal, complimenting the self, or sending small tokens and thank you notes can make us feel a lot better and enhance our mood immediately. Couple studies have also indicated that partners who expressed their thankfulness to each other often, could sustain their relationships with mutual trust, loyalty, and had long-lasting happy relationships. Gratitude impacts on mental and physical well-being. Positive psychology and mental health researchers in the past few decades have established an overwhelming connection between gratitude and good health.

staying connected

Socialising can provide a number of benefits to your physical and mental health. Did you know that connecting with friends may also boost your brain health and lower your risk of dementia? Interacting with others boosts feelings of well-being and decreases feelings of depression. Research has shown that one sure way of improving your mood is to work on building social connections.

Socialising, in general, is good for your brain health. Socialising plays a crucial role in the development and growth of an individual because it keeps the mind occupied by real, tangible thoughts and it can prevent other insecurities and dark thoughts from seeping in. For most problems, the solutions can be found by chatting with other people.

Connecting with other people is what strays us away from developing mental illnesses in the first place. As long as we fully communicate our needs, strong, supportive friends and families can offer practical advice on how to deal with certain issues, while giving us the opportunity to feel vulnerable (in a good, human way) and emotional. Research has shown that socialising prevents mental illnesses and manages existing symtoms.

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