Safeguarding Employees from Work-Place Stress

Employers and human resources managers are increasingly looking for new ways to improve staff occupational health and safety, to meet extensive national requirements.

UK’s most unique health retreat operator, Breakthrough Retreats, specialise in assisting employers to safeguard employees from illnesses and treat wellness as an ongoing preventative tool.

Maureen Courtney, founder of Breakthrough Retreats, says the value to the employer of sending staff to health retreats is immense, as the latest statistics show.

“It is estimated more than ten million working days are lost per year due to anxiety, stress and depression linked to work, and that work-related stress is the second largest occupational health problem after back pain in terms of numbers of workers affected.”

“The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence said the cost of work related mental illness was £28bn – a quarter of the UK’s total sick bill,” said Ms Courtney.

“Apart from the medical expenses, there is the cost of losing a key person in your organisation to poor health. The question remains, should people take second place to capital equipment and processes expenditure? The provision of preventive health and wellness care, when the first signs of stress appear, can benefit both employer and employee.”

Breakthrough Retreats have been operating for several years catering not only to the corporate sector but also individuals and groups.

“The Breakthrough Retreat approach to health is to offer clients a lifestyle change opportunity using techniques such as visualisations, bodywork, Neuro-linguistic program (NLP), hypnosis, family taboo and anger release work.“

“The combination of intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual work provides an all-round and integrated approach to resolving many of life’s problems,” said Mrs Courtney.

“Workers are more relaxed and work efficiently when mind, body and soul are totally in sync. They are able to focus more effectively on the day-to-day demands of their jobs having rejuvenated, refreshed and recharged themselves.”

To live your life to the full, visit breakthrough-retreats.co.uk.

Veteran Psychotherapist publishes series of articles to detail the importance of getting away from it all

Veteran Psychotherapist, Hypnotherapist and Reiki Master Maureen Courtney of Breakthrough Retreats has recently published a series of articles in which she explains the importance of escaping everyday routines.

As Maureen explains…

“All of us have things we would love to change about ourselves, but many of us ignore these desires in the hope that they will somehow disappear in time. Rather than tackling those issues which are bothering us most, we become consumed by our day-to-day lives and begin to put personal development on the back-burners, allowing it to bow to the demands of work.

“In order to bring about lasting change it is important to tear yourself away from your daily routine. Although this can be achieved to an extent by making an effort to do something different during your lunch breaks or after work, the most effective way of tackling mental health issues is to escape the city altogether on a personal development retreat. By visiting a retreat, not only will you benefit from the peace and quiet of the countryside and the help and advice of various experts, you will also have time to identify, engage with and overcome those problems you had hidden away.

“Unlike weekly therapy sessions, a retreat will revolutionise your approach to life in a matter of days. Unfortunately, however, many of those who would benefit most from a bespoke health retreat are unaware that these retreats even exist, which is why I’ve written a series of articles on the subject. Anyone interested in exploring the articles can find them at www.breakthrough-retreats.co.uk.”

For more information email mocourtney@btinternet.com.

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/

Mental Health Statistics: Men & Women

mental health men womenWomen are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men (29% compared to 17%). This could be because, when asked, women are more likely to report symptoms of common mental health problems. (Better Or Worse: A Longitudinal Study Of The Mental Health Of Adults In Great Britain, National Statistics, 2003)

Depression is more common in women than men. 1 in 4 women will require treatment for depression at some time, compared to 1 in 10 men. The reasons for this are unclear, but are thought to be due to both social and biological factors. It has also been suggested that depression in men may have been under diagnosed because they present to their GP with different symptoms.  (National Institute For Clinical Excellence, 2003)

Women are twice as likely to experience anxiety as men. Of people with phobias or OCD, about 60% are female.  (The Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity report, 2001)

Men are more likely than women to have an alcohol or drug problem. 67% of British people who consume alcohol at ‘hazardous’ levels, and 80% of those dependent on alcohol are male. Almost three quarters of people dependent on cannabis and 69% of those dependent on other illegal drugs are male. (The Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity report, 2001)

 

If you’re dealing with mental health issues, depression, seeking treatment for abuse 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.

 

Article information from here: http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-statistics/men-women/

10 Ways to Look After Your Mental Health

anxiety awareAnyone can make simple changes that have a huge impact on their mental health and wellbeing. We’ve come up with ten practical ways to take care of yourself and get the most from life.

Mental health is about the way you think and feel and your ability to deal with ups and downs. Making simple changes to how you live doesn’t need to cost a fortune or take up loads of time. Anyone can follow our advice.

 

Talk About Your Feelings

Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled. It’s part of taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy.

 

Eat Well

There are strong links between what we eat and how we feel – for example, caffeine and sugar can have an immediate effect. But food can also have a long-lasting effect on your mental health.

 

Keep in Touch

Friends and family can make you feel included and cared for. They can offer different views from whatever’s going on inside your own head. They can help keep you active, keep you grounded and help you solve practical problems.

 

Take a Break

A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health. It could be a five-minute pause from cleaning your kitchen, a half-hour lunch break at work or a weekend exploring somewhere new. A few minutes can be enough to de-stress you.

 

Accept Who You Are

Some of us make people laugh, some are good at maths, and others cook fantastic meals. Some of us share our lifestyle with the people who live close to us, others live very differently. We’re all different.

 

Keep Active

Experts believe exercise releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel good. Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and help you concentrate, sleep, look and feel better. Exercise also keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy.

 

Drink Sensibly

We often drink alcohol to change our mood. Some people drink to deal with fear or loneliness, but the effect is only temporary.

 

Ask for Help

None of us are superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things go wrong. If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help.

 

Do Something You’re Good At

What do you love doing? What activities can you lose yourself in? What did you love doing in the past? Enjoying yourself helps beat stress. Doing an activity you enjoy probably means you’re good at it and achieving something boosts your self-esteem.

 

Care for Others

Caring for others is often an important part of keeping up relationships with people close to you. It can even bring you closer together.

 

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 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.

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.

What does a mental therapy retreat look like?

The Schedule

When it comes to organising your schedule, my primary focus is on providing you with the therapies and treatments which will benefit you most. Unlike other health retreats and mental therapy retreat centres, who offer largely pre-packaged deals, at Breakthrough Retreats we are acutely aware of the importance of offering a bespoke experience, whether or not you’re visiting as part of a group. What’s more, in order to ensure you gain as much as possible from your time with us, your schedule will be packed full of treatments.

For example, a typical day might consist of around four or five hours with myself, two hours with a hypnotherapist, who will help you to engage with your inner child, and yoga. Depending on whether or not I think it would help you, you may also enjoy a meditation session with one of our experts.

Some of the other treatments we offer include the following:

  • Reiki
  • Shamanic healing
  • Massage
  • Career counselling
  • Bodywork
  • Transactional analysis
  • Neuro-linguistic programming
  • Reflexology
  • Indian head massage
  • Water therapy (if in Cornwall)
  • Group psychotherapy

 

Plus, as all our retreats are all-inclusive, breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks are covered in the price of your retreat.

 

Follow-up

Although many of the people who come to us have problems that cannot be ‘solved’ during their stay – such as those who have suffered a bereavement or abuse – visiting a mental therapy retreat centre will ensure you are far better placed to deal with your problems and enable you to return to your regular life full of positivity, confidence and optimism for the future.

So as to stop clients slipping back into negative behaviours, I am also able to offer up to three follow-up sessions after the retreat has ended, which can be conducted via Skype, telephone conversation or in person.

 

Find out more…

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 Breakthrough 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.

What is a personal health retreat?

Set in the heart of the countryside, a personal health retreat offers individuals a far more effective way of coming to grips with any issues they have than is possible via traditional therapy healing sessions. In the remarkable comfort of a retreat centre, and with the help of a wide range of treatments and numerous experts, clients are perfectly positioned to experience a dramatic transformation – something that can change them for the rest of their life.

Whilst hour-long sessions of psychotherapy, hypnotherapy or other such treatments can be a great help to individuals, they simply cannot compare to the impact of a retreat tailored specifically to your needs. What we are able to do on a personal health retreat equates to around 3 years’ worth of psychotherapy sessions – making these retreats not only cost-effective, but perfect for those with particularly time-consuming jobs.

As opposed to group health retreats, a personal health retreat is just that – personal! Far from simply subscribing to a set package, each individual, whether they are with us as part of a group or not, will enjoy a totally unique experience, tailored precisely to their exact needs.

During your few days with us, we will help you get to the bottom of why you’re feeling the way you are, work out ways in which you can make a positive change in your life, and help you to recognise and eradicate negative behaviour patterns. What’s more, once you leave, we are always contactable via email or telephone.

In short, Breakthrough Retreats offer quality, valuable, accessible and cost effective therapy healing in a supportive, respectful and confidential environment specifically designed to bring about positive and lasting change in the life of the individual.

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 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.

Why a bespoke health retreat is more effective than weekly therapy sessions

No matter who we are, all of us will be guilty of developing negative habits and behaviours at some stage in our lives. As such, we can all benefit greatly from taking the time to examine ourselves with the help of an expert.

open-door

For the vast majority of people who decide to take action to improve their lives, be it personal therapy or group psychotherapy, therapy healing is the go-to solution, and has indeed been proven to produce remarkable results. However, although 1-hour or 2-hour weekly sessions at a therapist’s house might well be helpful for the individual, the effectiveness of this sort of therapy healing is extremely limited by the brevity of the sessions and the fact that clients are immediately immersed in their normal routine again after leaving a session.

Having dealt with hundreds of clients as a therapist over the years, after extensive consultation and research, I developed The Courtney Process. This process forms an alternative to ongoing appointments, instead offering clients a chance to get away from their everyday lives and focus exclusively on tackling whatever issues they are struggling to overcome. With the help of me and my team of experts, in picturesque natural surroundings, we will enable you to get to the bottom of your issues and help you to devise ways for you to tackle them in the future.

Whether you’re looking to boost self esteem and self confidence, beat depression or simply feel like you’re stuck in a rut and don’t know how to get out, a bespoke health retreat will help you to make positive and lasting changes in your life.

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.