Mental Health Awareness Week: Kindness & Self-Compassion.

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, and the theme is kindness.  While a lot of the focus will probably be aimed at being kind to other people, I would like to focus on Self-kindness and the positive effects it can have on our physical and mental wellbeing.

In my last blog, Why Now May be a Good Time to Start Meditating, I highlighted how dangerous negative thoughts and emotions, such as anxiety, can be for our health. 

The further we traverse into the uncharted territories that this pandemic is presenting to the world then the more important actions such as kindness are.  As people become more afraid and stress increases, words such as kindness, love and care seem to get forgotten, replaced by anger, frustration and an urge to find someone to blame.

Numerous studies have shown that emotions such as anger and hatred can be a significant cause of premature death.  Dr Redford Williams at Duke University, and Dr Robert Sapolsky at Stanford University have conducted studies that showed how anger, rage and hostility are particularly damaging to the cardiovascular system.  Read more

Jekyll & Hyde -The Dangers of Suppressing the True You.

Every so often you come across a story that really resonates; recently this has been ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ by Robert Louis Stevenson.

I have had the book for ages, and only decided to read it because it is on a school reading list for a friend’s son.  Like most people, I know the basics of the story and so I thought it might be relevant to my current situation.

Stevenson wrote Jekyll and Hyde at the end of 1885, and at the time it was viewed simply as a ‘horror story’, including by Stevenson himself.  The idea for the story came to him in a dream, and he described it as a ‘fine bogey tale’.  His wife did not like the first draft, she thought that the story had more potential, that it might have something significant to say about human nature, rather than being a mere horror story.  How right she was. Read more

Suicide and Depression.

This is probably the most difficult blog to write, because it deals with the darkest side of mental health, which is suicide.

I wrote it a while ago, but was not sure when to post it.

Last night Kim and I watched ‘Zoe’s Hardest Road Home’, the BBC/Sports Relief documentary which charted Zoe Ball’s journey of cycling 350 miles from Blackpool to Brighton in order to raise money and awareness of mental health issues.

Zoe’s experience with mental health came when her boyfriend Billy Yates (who suffered from depression) committed suicide.  The documentary was an emotional watch, especially when Zoe described the last time she saw Billy. Read more

Time to Focus on the Present….. The Power of Now

Accept – Then Act

“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.  Always work with it, not against it”.

Eckhart Tolle

I have recently read ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle; I was introduced to his writings when I first went to ASCA and had an introductory interview with one of their therapists.

What he told me gave me an insight into my situation which literally blew my mind.

If I said to you that at this very moment you are neither anxious nor depressed, what would you say? Read more

The Importance of Listening, Part 2: Konrad Kellen – A Gifted Listener

One of the best examples of a truly gifted listener is Konrad Kellen.  Now this is not specific to mental health however, it does show the power of listening and how you filter the information you are given.

During the Vietnam War, Kellen heard something that should have changed the course of history.  It didn’t because he wasn’t listened to.

In the early part of the war the Pentagon created the Vietnam Motivation and Morale Project; it was started by a man named Leon Goure, who would turn out to be Kellen’s nemesis. Read more