Stress at Work: The Overloaded Inbox

Modern technology is meant to make life easier, and while in part it does, it is also the cause of a lot of stress, especially at work.

E-mail is just one of those technological achievements.  While it is great to be able to contact someone quickly and is environmentally friendly, it also adds a lot of pressure and expectation which can mean that our minds are never ‘off-line’.

As a recipient, you can get overwhelmed with the volume of e-mails, and as the sender, you can get angry quickly because you expect a fast response, and don’t always get it.

“All those e-mails you don’t have time to deal with could be making you ill” says an article on the BBC website today.  Research has been carried out at the University of Manchester to prove this, which is great because we can’t do anything these days without scientific proof. Read more

Nadiya, Anxiety & Me – A Great Insight to Anxiety.

I really admire the courage it took for Nadiya Hussain to make the documentary about her struggles with anxiety, and I applaud the way it was presented because it showed very clearly that anxiety is complex and not always logical.

Understanding the complexities of anxiety is hard enough as it is, especially for those who have never experienced severe levels of panic, and I think this was handled beautifully, especially when Nadiya met up with her sisters.  These are the people who have been closest to her, and they had no idea how bad her anxiety was; they saw her behaviour, such as counting off the names of her family members on her fingers each night so that none of them would die, but they had no idea why she was doing it.  Their reactions were of genuine surprise; what does a voice in your head sound like? Read more

Marathon Man – My Running Journey, Part 1.

Monday 6th May 2019 will forever be marked as one of the greatest days of my life; the day I completed the Milton Keynes Marathon!

All the books and articles about mental health that I have read say that exercise is great therapy; walking the dog worked, but I wanted more, I wanted to lose the Homer Simpson gut that too much alcohol had given me; I also wanted to achieve something, anything.

I started running short distances because that’s all I could manage, the problem was that I had no idea how far I was going, so I decided to get a running app on my phone called ‘Map My Run’.  The first recorded distance I achieved was 4.75k, which was a pretty good effort.

Motivation was a big problem for me, especially when the depression got bad; it’s easy to talk yourself out of things at the best of times, but when I hit rock bottom I just couldn’t scrape myself off the sofa.  I needed a goal, something that would get me out and running. Read more

Anxiety and the Brain, Part 9: Useful Examples of Amygdala-based Anxiety.

The book I have been referencing for the Anxiety and the Brain series (Rewire Your Anxious Brain) has some examples of how anxiety can affect someone, and why amygdala-based anxiety does not always make logical sense.

The Anxious Teddy Bear:

A lady was presenting a teddy bear to her grandson, who was running happily toward her.  Then he suddenly fell and split his lip open on the driveway.

Now he experiences amygdala-based anxiety whenever he sees a teddy bear.  Because the perfectly harmless teddy bear was associated with the pain of the injury, the teddy bear became a trigger, leading to a fear of teddy bears. Read more

Anxiety and the Brain, Part 8: Learning from Experience.

“The amygdala is not logical.”

Trying to alleviate anxiety, panic, worry and avoidance of triggers with reasoned thought and rational arguments is never going to work.  Those close to you will always try to help by offering logical reasons for what is going on with you; unfortunately they have not experienced what you have, so what seems illogical to them is actually terrifying to you.  Who could be scared of a teddy bear, their so cute and fluffy!

In the same way that the amygdala has learnt to fear, EXPERIENCE is the only sure way to retrain it. Read more