Exercise for Better Mental Health.

With my 5 in 5 marathon challenge, I’m encouraging all of you to get out and exercise as a way of improving your mental wellbeing.  We all know about the benefits of exercise to our physical health, but less is known, or understood about how exercise helps our mood, and how it can aid with managing anxiety and depression.

It’s not as straight forward as saying ‘exercise and you’ll feel better’, because sometimes it feels just the opposite.  Exercise takes effort, motivation and dedication; you can be easily motivated at the start, but as it gets harder, or winter arrives, the gloss can soon loose it’s shine.

You don’t have to struggle with a mental health disability to understand that it can be hard to motivate yourself to exercise.  Most people lead such busy lives that they don’t feel they have time to exercise, and often feel too tired when they do have time. 

It can also contribute more stress, especially if you are not confident about your ability and how you look physically.  Just one glimpse inside a gym or a quick search of social media can make you feel inferior and self-conscious.

Read more

Anxiety & The Brain, Part 10: Neurotransmitters.

Have you ever wondered what controls our mood?  What makes us feel happy, sad, or afraid?

The answer is chemical messengers called NEUROTRANSMITTERS; they are key players in helping to understand anxiety, and the physical reactions associated with it.

As we learnt in my blog Anxiety & The Brain, Part 5, the brain is made up of millions of neurons, and it’s these neurons that release the neurotransmitters in a process called FIRING.  There Are different types of neurotransmitter, and the ones that get released depends on the information received from our senses, and the emotion that our brain associates with that information.

Firstly, we need to look at the different types of neurotransmitter, and the effect each one has on our body and mind.

Read more

Depression & Positivity

At the moment I’m fighting a constant battle between depression and positivity; I can spend days with a low mood, which literally paralyses me to a point that even doing simple tasks is a challenge; I then get angry and very irritable.

I haven’t really explored depression that much, I’ve spent most of my time focusing on anxiety but as the two normally go hand-in-hand, I think it’s about time I started giving both equal attention.

It’s hard to explain what it’s like to be depressed; like anxiety, it can be quite unnerving, illogical, and pretty hard to understand if you haven’t been there.  My brain can think logically, I can be aware of what is happening, and come up with ideas and solutions, but physically doing things takes an immense amount of energy; I often compare it to wading through treacle.

I think a lot of people liken depression to boredom, or just feeling a bit sad, but it’s a lot worse than that; it lasts for long periods of time and it makes you question your whole existence; I’m constantly asking myself “what’s the point?”

Read more

Mental Health Doesn’t Pick Sides.

Once again the UK is divided (where’s the head-in-hands emoji?), this time it’s about the viability of covid-19 lockdowns, and the battlefield, once again, is the media and social media.

I’m all for people expressing views, but I still can’t get my head around the way people behave and talk to others, especially on platforms like Twitter and Facebook.  It’s what I call ‘The Kindergarten Wars’ (which is unfair on kids in Kindergarten because they’re probably more well behaved than most adults) because the arguments descend into a slagging match, where if you don’t agree with someone they simply tell you you’re stupid or start name calling.

I sometimes wonder what the country would be like if all the ‘armchair’ politicians actually got off their arses and did something?  We now have an army of armchair covid-19 experts, who seem to have all the answers.  A lot of fingers get pointed, and blame allocated, but how many people actually take physical action to change things for the better?

Read more

Plans, Hopes and Dreams for 2021.

As I mentioned in my last blog, I am going to try and enter 2021 with an air of optimism, and that means focusing on things that I can have some semblance of control over.  A lot of my plans will still be pandemic allowing, but as with this year, it’s about being adaptable so that I can keep trying to move forward.

Despite all the stress and the upheaval of moving to a new house this year, I managed to set the groundwork for things that I can take into the new year, and hopefully grow and develop them.

One thing I am really excited about is The Phoenix Enterprise Program, which is being run by Helen Roberts and Ray Lavery, with the support of Richmond Council; the program runs for a year, and is helping businesses and start-ups (that are either located in, or do business in the borough of Richmond Upon Thames) to grow; and I can’t wait to be part of it.

So, here’s what I’m taking into 2021 and how I want to develop them; I’ve also added some CAN YOU HELP? sections for areas that I basically need help with…..

Read more