The UK must invest in mental health help

With the publication of the spending review on Wednesday (Report, 24 November), it’s imperative the government invests in psychological therapies. Failure to address mental health issues, including anxiety and depression, devastates lives, puts a huge strain on the government budget and undermines economic productivity. Psychological health problems have a worse impact on people’s happiness and life satisfaction than physical health problems. In financial terms, the cost of mental ill health in England has been estimated to be £105bn per year.

Fortunately, a number of evidence-based psychological therapies exist and are effective. Investment in psychological therapies to date has been a success, but it is a success that could be multiplied. The improving access to psychological therapies programme is only funded to reach “at least 15%” of the people who need it, and retention and recovery rates could be improved. Everyone with a need for psychological therapy should be able to access it within 28 days. We urge more research funding to show which therapies work best for which people. And we advocate training to ensure the NHS workforce can deliver in practice the full range of evidence-based therapies that it offers in theory. We believe this would go a long way towards improving the wellbeing of the nation and the state of the public finances.

Original article here.

Is Depression a Sign of Weakness? Actually It’s the Opposite – You’re Too Strong

This month we take another look at Depression…

I am not talking about the Monday morning blues or feeling down for a short period of time, which, quite rightly, can be referred to as feeling depressed but the word in this context is really a verb. I am referring to the event that is called depression in the noun sense.

About two years after the train crash I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which, because it had gone so long untreated, I now have chronically, which in turn means I will never get rid of it altogether.

One of the many symptoms of PTSD is clinical depression. Deep depression. This type of depression I can only describe as being at the bottom of deep, dark, damp well. High above you can see the sunshine and even hear people cheerfully talking which represents the normal world you’ve suddenly dropped away from. The walls of the well are too steep to climb up nor do you have energy to attempt the effort. It is truly isolating and I find I can neither talk, move nor eat anything and episodes can stretch into weeks. These days it does not happen often to me but when it does it is soul destroying and I used to get annoyed that I could not snap myself out of it.

That was until I met and was treated by Dr Tim Cantopher, one of our most renowned consultant psychiatrist’s. It was through his ministrations that I came to realise that, though labelled a mental illness, depression is in reality a physical illness. And here is the science he explained;

When a part of our brain called the limbic system malfunctions it manifests as depression. Our limbic system is a complex system of nerve fibres configured like a computers circuit board controlling numerous systems around our body including our moods. It copes with our everyday life stresses very well but it does have a limit. When pushed beyond breaking point (usually, but not exclusively, by a traumatic event) it will effectively blow a fuse. This ‘fuse’ is our transmitter chemicals, seratonin and noradrenaline, and their levels drop rapidly when the circuit blows. Without the correct levels of these two chemicals the electrical impulses that our brains nerve fibres need also drop which in turn causes our ‘circuit board’ to abruptly stop working ie. depression.

Perhaps surprisingly to some Dr Cantopher also attests that depression is ‘The Curse of the Strong’. As he puts it “what happens if you put a whole lot of stresses on to someone who is weak, cynical or lazy? The answer is that they will immediately give up, so they will never get stressed enough to become ill. The strong person on the other hand reacts to stress by redoubling their efforts, pushing themselves way beyond the limits for which their body is designed. When they start getting the symptoms of depression they still keep going, with the inevitable result that eventually their limbic system gives way. If you put 18 amps through a 13 amp fuse there is only one possible result.”

The problem is that us ‘strong’ people have always overcome obstacles or hurdles in life by tackling them head on and putting every ounce of energy we have in getting past them. The very idea of giving in to our depression goes completely against the grain and we are not very good at taking the rest the condition demands. However, once you realise that it is a physical illness, no different to a bad case of flu, chicken pox or pneumonia, it is easier to allow yourself the rest needed and stop fighting it.

If you’re dealing with depression, seeking treatment for abuse or simply seeking advice on how to be at one with yourself and would like to learn more about how a health retreat can help, visit www.breakthrough-retreats.co.uk. There you’ll be able to claim your free copy of my new guide, “Unlocking your full potential: An introduction to the incredible impact of personal development retreats”, packed with information on everything from what a spiritual retreat looks like to the benefits of getting away from it all.

Original article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/pam-warren/depression-sign-weakness_b_5416190.html

Depression

Depression is a common mental disorder that causes people to experience depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration. 

Depression is different from feeling down or sad. Unhappiness is something which everyone feels at one time or another, usually due to a particular cause. A person suffering from depression will experience intense emotions of anxiety, hopelessness, negativity and helplessness, and the feelings stay with them instead of going away.

Depression can happen to anyone. Many successful and famous people who seem to have everything going for them battle with this problem. Depression also affects people of every age.

Half of the people who have depression will only experience it once but for the other half it will happen again. The length of time that it takes to recover ranges from around six months to a year or more.

Living with depression is difficult for those who suffer from it and for their family, friends, and colleagues. It can be difficult to know if you are depressed and what you can do about it.

 

Signs and symptoms of depression

  • Tiredness and loss of energy.
  • Sadness that doesn’t go away.
  • Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Not being able to enjoy things that are usually pleasurable or interesting.
  • Feeling anxious all the time.
  • Avoiding other people, sometimes even your close friends.
  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.
  • Sleeping problems – difficulties in getting off to sleep or waking up much earlier than usual.
  • Very strong feelings of guilt or worthlessness.
  • Finding it hard to function at work/college/school.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Loss of sex drive and/or sexual problems.
  • Physical aches and pains.
  • Thinking about suicide and death.
  • Self-harm

What causes Depression?

Depression can happen suddenly as a result of physical illness, experiences dating back to childhood, unemployment, bereavement, family problems or other life-changing events.

Examples of chronic illnesses linked to depression include heart disease, back pain and cancer. Pituitary damage, a treatable condition which frequently follows head injuries, may also lead to depression.

Sometimes, there may be no clear reason for your depression but, whatever the original cause, identifying what may affect how you feel and the things that are likely to trigger depression is an important first step.

 

Types of depression

There are several types of depression, some of which are listed below.

 

Mild depression

Depression is described as mild when it has a limited negative effect on your daily life. For example, you may have difficulty concentrating at work or motivating yourself to do the things you normally enjoy.

 

Major depression

Major depression interferes with an individual’s daily life – with eating, sleeping and other everyday activities. Some people may experience only one episode but it is more common to experience several episodes in a lifetime. It can lead to hospital admission, if the person is so unwell they are at risk of harm to themselves.

 

Bi-polar disorder

The mood swings in bi-polar disorder can be extreme – from highs, where the individual feels extremely elated and indestructible, to lows, where they may experience complete despair, lethargy and suicidal feelings. Sometimes people have very severe symptoms where they cannot make sense of their world and do things that seem odd or illogical.

 

Post-natal depression

Many new mothers experience what are sometimes called ‘baby blues’ a few days after the birth. These feelings of anxiety and lack of confidence are very distressing but in most cases last only a couple of weeks. Post-natal depression is more intense and lasts longer. It can leave new mothers feeling completely overwhelmed, inadequate and unable to cope. They may have problems sleeping, panic attacks or an intense fear of dying.

They may also experience negative feelings towards their child. It affects one in ten mothers and usually begins two to three weeks after the birth.

 

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

SAD is associated with the start of winter and can last until spring when longer days bring more daylight. When it is mild, it is sometimes called ‘winter blues’. SAD can make the sufferer feel anxious, stressed and depressed. It may interfere with their moods and with their sleeping and eating patterns.

 

Taking control of your depression

Depression often makes you feel helpless. Taking action to make yourself feel more in control will have a positive effect, whether it’s going for treatment, joining a gym, going for daily walks, or doing something that you are interested in or good at. If you don’t feel up to starting something new or joining a local group on your own, ask a friend to come with you.

There are many things you can do to help manage your symptoms and a wide range of treatments, both medical and non-medical.

 

How you see yourself

The way you think about yourself will affect your frame of mind and feelings of depression. It is common to have feelings of worthlessness or guilt with depression. Try to be aware of any negative thoughts you have about yourself and how they might be affecting how you see yourself and how you feel. If you can, try to think about how realistic these thoughts are and how you might change them into something more positive.

 

Social networks

If you feel depressed it can be difficult to be sociable. Loneliness may make you feel worse, so it’s important to keep in touch with friends and family. Having people around you or groups that you are involved in will help to reduce feelings of isolation.

 

Worries about work, money or a legal situation

Making sure that you do not feel overwhelmed by your work responsibilities is important because it gives you a sense of being in control. It’s important to make time for yourself to do things you want to do or to be with friends and family.

If you’re struggling to cope with work pressures and you have access to an occupational health department, you can speak to them about how you are feeling. They may be able to help you to review your work commitments or address specific issues that are affecting your work.

Where possible, you should always try to keep working. This is because people with depression often find that having something meaningful to do and a reason to get up in the morning is very helpful. Being with work colleagues, having a routine to the day, and the sense of achievement in getting a job done are all good for your mental health.

 

Close relationships

Problems with close personal relationships can have a devastating effect on how you feel about yourself and the world.

 

Physical activity

There is good evidence that exercise can lift your mood because it can take your mind off your depression as well as stimulate the release of endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are neurotransmitters produced in the pituitary gland in the brain that produce feelings of happiness.

 

Diet

Some studies have suggested a link between what you eat and depression, but there isn’t enough conclusive evidence to say whether or not it can definitely make a difference. There is some evidence that foods that are rich in some essential fatty acids found in oily fish, like mackerel, salmon, herring, sardines, kippers and fresh tuna can help to relieve depression.

Whether there is a direct link or not, eating healthily will help you generally feel better and give you more energy, especially if you are also exercising.

 

Avoiding alcohol and drugs

Alcohol acts as a depressant on the brain. If you drink too much or too often, you are more likely to become depressed. If you are already suffering from depression, drinking alcohol can make you feel worse instead of better. With such a vicious circle it is best to drink moderately, if at all. Recreational drugs should also be avoided.

 

Managing anxiety

Around half of those people who experience depression will also experience anxiety. Taking steps to manage your anxiety can help give you the mental space to begin to deal with your depression. Talking about what is making you anxious, as well as a healthy diet and exercising, will all help you to control your anxiety. Some people, especially those with mild depression, find that relaxation techniques such as massage and yoga help them to manage their anxiety.

 

Complementary medicine

There is some evidence that St John’s Wort can help with mild to moderate depression. However, this drug is known to interact with other substances so you need to get advice from a pharmacist or other health professional before taking it.

 

Talking Therapies

Talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and some forms of counselling and psychotherapy work well for depression. Always check that any private therapist is registered with a professional body.

There are several different kinds of talking therapy.

  • Counselling gives people the chance to talk through everyday issues that may be causing depression and to develop strategies for resolving them.
  • Cognitive therapy (sometimes called cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT) addresses the way you think and how this can cause depression. It teaches you skills to identify patterns of behaviour and thinking that are causing you problems and change them.
  • Psychotherapy can be more intensive than counselling although people and organisations often use these terms interchangeably. It often looks at how past experience may be affecting your life now, so it may involve delving deeply into early experiences and key relationships. This may take more time, although shorter more focused ways of doing this have also been developed. Interpersonal therapy focuses on how you relate and behave towards others. It helps you to build a better self-image and communicate more effectively with others.

 

If you’re dealing with depression, seeking treatment for abuse or simply seeking advice on how to be at one with yourself and would like to learn more about how a health retreat can help, visit www.breakthrough-retreats.co.uk. There you’ll be able to claim your free copy of my new guide, “Unlocking your full potential: An introduction to the incredible impact of personal development retreats”, packed with information on everything from what a spiritual retreat looks like to the benefits of getting away from it all.

 

Original article: http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-a-z/D/depression/

Breakthrough Retreats’ Top Tips for good mental wellbeing over Christmas

With Christmas and the New Year fast approaching, Maureen Courtney offers advice on how to cope with the pressures of Christmas and how to implement positive mental change for 2015.

 

 

Drink sensibly

The celebratory spirit of Christmas and New Year often involves social drinking and although the consumption of alcohol might make you feel more relaxed, it is important to remember that alcohol is a depressant and drinking excessive amounts can cause low mood, irritability or potentially aggressive behaviour. By not exceeding the recommended number of safe units, you will be better able to sustain good mental and physical wellbeing.

 

Eat well

The festive period has become synonymous with over-indulgence, which in turn prompts a pressing desire for many of us to lose weight in the New Year. Therefore, where possible, it is important to maintain a good balance of fruit, vegetables, carbohydrates, protein and omega 3 sources throughout the year in order to help us work towards weight loss in a sensible way. Maintaining a healthy diet and weight can improve your mood and can work towards preventing symptoms of lethargy and irritability that many of us feel during the busy festive season and dark winter months.

 

Be active

Exercise releases the feel-good chemicals, endorphins, which help you to relax, feel happy and boost your mood. By undertaking simple tasks such as cycling to work, walking in the park, or joining in with Christmas games, you can benefit from experiencing reduced anxiety, decreased depression and improved self-esteem. In addition, recent research has indicated that regular exercise can help to boost our immune systems, enabling us to better fight off colds and flu viruses that are prolific in winter months.

 

Get involved

The festive period provides us with an ideal opportunity to talk to, visit or engage with the people around us. Face-to-face communication has been shown to improve our mental and physical wellbeing as this interaction produces the hormone, oxytocin, which can benefit our immune system, heart health and cognitive function. It has been reported that a third of us have a close friend or family member we think is lonely, a Christmas or new year’s resolution to see our friends and family more often can help to boost both our own mental wellbeing, and that of others. If you are apart from your family then volunteering for a charity or local community organisation can provide that same human contact, as well as help provide essential support and encouragement for others in need. These interactions can easily be sustained throughout the coming year and need not just be for Christmas.

 

Relax

Christmas can be a very busy and stressful time as we prepare to entertain family and friends, worry about cooking a delicious Christmas dinner, and fit in some last minute present shopping. These feelings of being under pressure can produce symptoms of anxiety, anger and difficulty sleeping which, if prolonged, could have a long-term detrimental impact on your mental health and wellbeing. By exercising more regularly or practicing mindfulness – a combination of meditation, yoga and breathing techniques – you can help to both alleviate the symptoms of your stress and gain more control when coping with difficult situations. Christmas presents aside, implementing a new exercise regime or signing up for a course in mindfulness, such as our online course in mindfulness-based stress reduction, could be your best investment for a more relaxed Christmas and New Year.

 

Sleep

Despite many of us having time off work during Christmas and the New Year, our sleep patterns can be disturbed between catching up with friends and family and partying late in to the night. There is mounting evidence on the link between sleep and mental wellbeing, meaning improvements in the quality of your sleep could result in improvements to your overall mental health. There are several steps you can take towards achieving a better night’s sleep: attempting to get back in to your regular sleep routine as soon as possible after the party period, consuming less alcohol during the festivities, implementing regular exercise into your weekly routine, and taking measures to alleviate your stress.

 

If you’re dealing with depression, lonliness or having problems conquering other personal issues and would like to learn more about how our bespoke health retreats could benefit you, visit www.breakthrough-retreats.co.uk. There you’ll be able to claim your free copy of my new guide, “Unlocking your full potential: An introduction to the incredible impact of personal development retreats”, packed with information on everything from what a spiritual retreat looks like to the benefits of getting away from it all.

 

Original article here.

 

 

Welcome to The Briers Country House; New Retreat Centre Review

We ran our first retreat at our custom Retreat Centre earlier this month. We were so bowled over by the review that we got from our very treasured Dr client that we had to share it with you. Our treasured client also provided us with some lovely pictures that we know you will appreciate. Please enjoy his words.

photo 2

photo 4

20140406_133600

 

The Retreat

The retreat was well organised and ran smoothly.  The experience sought to achieve a holistic healing of mind, body and spirit and involved a number of different psychological and holistic therapies/techniques.  In between specific therapies, there was ample time to chat with Maureen (Courtney) to explore issues and to provide feedback about therapies.

20140406_123546

Location-wise, the retreat centre could not have been better placed: The Briers is situated on the outskirts of Newcastle, County Down, in close proximity to the Tollymore Forest, the Mourne Mountains and the Irish Sea, an ideal place to “get back to nature” and a sanctuary to find peace and serenity.

photo 3

 

The Therapists

Therapists I worked with in the Breakthrough Retreats team included:

  • Gareth for Bio Cranial Sacral therapy
  • Joanne for Reflexology
  • Jacquie for EMDR
  • Janine for Massage
  • As well as Maureen for Hypnosis, reiki, journey therapy, regression therapy

All the therapists I worked with were very friendly, supportive and positive; it was very easy to build rapport with them.  Each therapist is very experienced and an expert in their field, and passionate about holistic therapy.

photo 1

As the organiser of the retreat, Maureen was the therapist with whom I spent the most time.  She was very friendly and approachable, and in between specific therapies, I found it easy to chat to her about my issues and also about my own developing interests in holistic healing.  In her capacity as hostess, Maureen was always keen to make sure that my stay at The Briers was comfortable and pleasant.

20140407_154711

 

NI Bootcamp Activities

Incorporating outdoor / adventure activities into the retreat was inspirational.  Ian, from NI Bootcamp (Who Breakthrough Retreats work in conjunction with to produce the outdoor leg of their Retreats), was a joy to work with; a gentleman, professional, passionate about what he does, he provided me with support and motivation in all activities we did together (running + circuits, mountain biking, hill walking, indoor climbing).  Ian was very easy to talk to, and share personal experiences with; we found that we had similar personalities and issues and I found chatting with him to be inspiring and illuminating.

First Retreat Kim Ian April 2014

20140406_131537

20140406_133020

 

Food, Accommodation & Hospitality

The Briers Country House was like a home away from home; very comfortable and peaceful, an ideal place to escape from the hustle and bustle of 21st Century life.  The room I had would have been able to sleep 3 people (one double bed and one single) and had an en suite toilet and bath/shower.

20140406_133029

The home-cooked food was wonderful and well-portioned: with a choice of breakfasts, including full, cooked Ulster breakfast, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, porridge, cereals, toast, fruit and yoghurt. The three-course dinners were always tasty and satisfying.

20140406_133138

Maureen was a wonderful host.  She was keen to make my stay as pleasant and as comfortable as possible. Maureen was also very kind enough to do some laundry for me (after I had got a bit muddy doing some of the NI Bootcamp activities).

20140406_131611

 

If you are interested in hearing more about our Group Retreats at The Briers then please Contact Us.

What exactly is transpersonal psychotherapy?

Having trained for five years to become a transpersonal therapist, this is an area of particular expertise for me.

Forming a large part of our health retreats, this incredibly effective form of therapy healing involves searching for the origin of your problem (be it stress, depression, anxiety or addiction) and helping you recognise negative behaviours in yourself and develop the means to tackle them effectively. Transpersonal psychotherapy sessions may also involve looking at your situation on a spiritual level. Lots of people have spiritual beliefs which are different to those of their family, which can be extremely difficult to come to terms with. Similarly, dream analysis can form an important part of these sessions.

In short, transpersonal therapy, like other effective mental therapy treatments such as hypnotherapy, is concerned with tracing everything back to its root cause. Often this won’t be immediately apparent, but will emerge gradually after several sessions at your retreat centre. For example, if you are struggling to deal with stress and anxiety, though you might initially think work is to blame, we may discover in the course of the therapy that the real cause is an inability to deal with abuse suffered in the past at the hands of parents or partners. Whatever the origin of your problem, identifying it is a huge step towards tackling and overcoming it, and essential if you are to be able to live the life you want in the future.

If you’re dealing with depression, seeking treatment for abuse or having problems conquering other personal issues and would like to learn more about how a break at one of our retreat centres could benefit you, visit www.breakthrough-retreats.co.uk. There you’ll be able to claim your free copy of my new guide, “Unlocking your full potential: An introduction to the incredible impact of personal development retreats”, packed with information on everything from what a spiritual retreat looks like to the benefits of getting away from it all.

Discovering Reiki: an underappreciated form of therapy healing

Reiki (meaning ‘wheel’ in Japanese) involves looking at the 7 energy centres, or ‘chakras’, in your body.

If you’ve suffered a trauma or accident – this can be anything from a miscarriage to a shunt in your car – your chakras may well have become misaligned. Once they are out of sync, this can have a distinctly negative impact on the way you feel.

During a Reiki session (which will usually last about an hour), your practitioner will place their hands over your body whilst channelling energy through a higher source in order to realign your chakras so they can work in harmony once more. Don’t worry – you will remain fully clothed throughout!

Often clients will require more healing in one part of their body than in another. For example, if you have particularly low self esteem and self confidence, meaning that you find it difficult to cope with conference calls and speeches, your treatment might focus largely on the throat and neck.

What you experience will be unique to you and may vary from session to session. Some people experience heat coming from my hands, others may experience a tingling sensation, and some nothing more than a deep sense of absolute calm and relaxation. Despite the physical nature of this treatment it is very much a mental therapy too, and can be remarkably effective.

Although this type of treatment can often meet with a certain amount of cynicism from some clients, it can be incredibly effective, especially for those struggling with self esteem and self confidence. For example, I was recently working with a woman who had been diagnosed with a severe blood condition and after only four sessions she returned for a check-up to find that her blood was completely clear!

Suffice to say, the healing power of the mind should never be underestimated.

If you’re dealing with depression, seeking treatment for abuse or having problems conquering other personal issues and would like to learn more about other treatments available on our spiritual retreats, visit www.breakthrough-retreats.co.uk. There you’ll be able to claim your free copy of my new guide, “Unlocking your full potential: An introduction to the incredible impact of personal development retreats”, packed with information on everything from what a spiritual retreat looks like to the benefits of getting away from it all.

What results can I expect to see following my bespoke health retreat?

Although it is impossible to provide statistical evidence of the benefits of a bespoke health retreat given the extremely subjective nature of personal development, the transformative power of a health retreat is astonishing.

Having spent anywhere from 1 day to 7 days with us, every single client we have helped has achieved a breakthrough of one sort or another during their stay, whether this comes in the form of an ‘aha!’ moment or at the end of a gradual process of self evaluation and therapy.

Among the most common results clients enjoy is finally being able to let go of memories, traumas and unhelpful attitudes which prevent them from being able to fulfil their true potential. Whereas people will come to us dealing with depression, low self esteem and self confidence, anxiety, anger or other such issues, we will help them get to the bottom of their problems, confront and conquer the root cause and develop a fresher and more positive approach to life.

“Can I claim treatment on my health insurance?”

As treatments such as psychotherapy and hypnotherapy are increasingly gaining recognition in medical circles, it is now possible to claim for certain treatments on your health insurance – or even via the NHS! Indeed, many of my clients have contacted me following their stay at one of our retreat centres to inform me that their insurance were willing to cover the treatment they received – no doubt thanks in part to the fact that the transformative power of the health retreat meant that the individual would most likely need no further treatment in the future.

By checking with your insurance provider or contacting your local GP, you should be able to find out whether or not this is possible for you.

Find out more…

If you’re dealing with depression, seeking treatment for abuse or simply looking for advice on how to be at one with yourself and would like to learn more about what a health retreat can do for you, visit www.breakthrough-retreats.co.uk. There you’ll be able to claim your free copy of my new guide, “Unlocking your full potential: An introduction to the incredible impact of personal development retreats”, packed with information on everything from what a spiritual retreat looks like to the benefits of getting away from it all.

How mindfulness meditation prevents depression and cuts chronic pain distress

Brown University scientists have shed light on why does training in mindfulness meditation help patients manage chronic pain and depression. In a newly published neurophysiological review, the scientists have proposed that mindfulness practitioners gain enhanced control over sensory cortical alpha rhythms that help regulate how the brain processes and filters sensations, including pain, and memories such as depressive cognitions.

Meditation at Breakthrough Retreats

The proposal, based on published experimental results and a validated computer simulation of neural networks, derives its mechanistic framework from the intimate connection in mindfulness between mind and body, since standardized mindfulness meditation training begins with a highly localized focus on body and breath sensations.

This repeated localized sensory focus, the scientists said, enhances control over localized alpha rhythms in the primary somatosensory cortex where sensations from different body are “mapped” by the brain.

In effect, what the researchers propose is that by learning to control their focus on the present somatic moment, mindfulness meditators develop a more sensitive “volume knob” for controlling spatially specific, localized sensory cortical alpha rhythms. Efficient modulation of cortical alpha rhythms in turn enables optimal filtering of sensory information.

Meditators learn not only to control what specific body sensations they pay attention to, but also how to regulate attention so that it does not become biased toward negative physical sensations such as chronic pain. The localized attentional control of somatosensory alpha rhythms becomes generalized to better regulate bias toward internally focused negative thoughts, as in depression.

“We think we’re the first group to propose an underlying neurophysiological mechanism that directly links the actual practice of mindful awareness of breath and body sensations to the kinds of cognitive and emotional benefits that mindfulness confers,” said lead author Catherine Kerr, assistant professor (research) of family medicine at the Alpert Medical School and director of translational neuroscience for the Contemplative Studies Initiative at Brown.

Original Article 

 

How to Eliminate Stress & Anxiety from Your Life

It seems like you hear it all the time from nearly every one you know – “I’m SO stressed out!”  Pressures abound in this world today.  Those pressures cause stress and anxiety, and often we are ill-equipped to deal with those stressors that trigger anxiety and other feelings that can make us sick.  Literally, sick.

stress anxiety free ebookThe statistics are staggering.  One in every eight Americans age 18-54 suffers from an anxiety disorder. This totals over 19 million people!  Research conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health has shown that anxiety disorders are the number one mental health problem among American women and are second only to alcohol and drug abuse by men.

 

Women suffer from anxiety and stress almost twiceas much as men. Anxiety disorders are the most commonmental illness in America, surpassing even depression in numbers. Anxiety is the most common mental health issue facing adults over 65 years of age. Anxiety disorders cost the U.S. $46.6 billion annually. Anxiety sufferers see an average of fivedoctors before being successfully diagnosed.

Unfortunately, stress and anxiety go hand in hand.  In fact, one of the major symptoms of stress is anxiety.  And stress accounts for 80 percent of all illnesses either directly or indirectly.

In fact, stress is more dangerous than we thought. You’ve probably heard that it can raise your blood pressure, increasing the likelihood of a stroke in the distant future, but recently a health insurance brochure claimed that 90 percent of visits to a primary care physician were stress-related disorders.

Health Psychology magazine reports that chronic stress can interfere with the normal function of the body’s immune system. And studies have proven that stressed individuals have an increased vulnerability to catching an illness and are more susceptible to allergic, autoimmune, or cardiovascular diseases.

Doctors agree that during chronic stress, the functions of the body that are nonessential to survival, such as the digestive and immune systems, shut down. “This is why people get sick,” he says. “There are also many occurrences of psychosomatic illness, an illness with an emotional or psychological side to it.”

Furthermore, stress often prompts people to respond in unhealthy ways such as smoking, drinking alcohol, eating poorly, or becoming physically inactive. This damages the body in addition to the wear and tear of the stress itself.

 

Find out more with our FREE Ebook from here.