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Owner and Managing Director ? Chakra Corporate Mental Strength Ltd. Psychotherapist in Private Practice

Chakra?s Mental Strength for the Nation Tour is in full swing. We delivered two powerful full-day events around creating mentally health workplaces during Leeds Wellbeing Week in March and launched our masterclass series with Leeds Rhinos? Stevie Ward as keynote speaker.

Last week we moved on to Manchester for Mental Health Awareness Week and had a great day exploring the most prominent mental health issues affecting workplaces and what support strategies colleagues could use to encourage mentally healthy ways of being for all staff.On Wednesday 13th June, we visit York. Men?s Health Week is fast approaching and we have another event planned to further reduce the stigma around men?s mental health. We have all heard much about the rates of suicide being significantly higher for men than they are for women and the most recent ONS data reinforces this saddening statistic again, with 75% of people ending their own lives being men and boys. Suicide is the ultimate cost of mental health difficulties and we seek to apply an early intervention approach to tackling mental ill-health at the earliest stage.

This means picking up on feelings of anxiety, depression and stress and responding to ourselves in a way which encourages feelings of control and security and eroding those of helplessness and fear. Together, we will unpick each mental health diagnosis, understanding the signs, symptoms and indicators as well as medication and treatment options and healthy coping strategies for each.

Harder to Tell

There are differences in the way men respond to situations of mental ill-health and it is important to acknowledge how we can use a range of support strategies to support male colleagues and understand what is most effective for them specifically. Problems with alienation and isolation are likely to result from damages to pride, purpose and meaning when working with men and they are coping strategies for these are again more likely to come in the form of destructive behaviours, substance abuse and involvement in high-risk activities. We know that men are less likely to use mental health support services than women due to fear of stigma and therefore more likely to suffer in silence.

Anger

Our York event will pay particular attention to issues of anger and aggression and how these feelings are often an indicator of our long-term mental health circumstances. Anger is often used to ?mask? other, more vulnerable feelings, and our exploration of what anger can tell us and how we can express it more healthily will encourage an emotionally intelligent way of thinking and promote our understanding of personal patterns to a greater degree. The outcome is the ability to monitor our own state of mental health, ours and others? indicators of poor mental health and the knowing of how to move to a more positive state of mind through greater self-awareness. Anger is a normal, healthy emotion. It is only when we hold on to angry thoughts for longer than necessary that it may become damaging to our mental health and blur the clarity of thinking.

Guest Speakers

We have an all-male guest-speaker line-up for our Men?s Health Week event and our guest speakers will share their personal stories of mental health difficulty and recovery, what helped most and expert insights into what it means to be a mentally healthy man.

We are almost a month into the New Year and many of us might be evaluating the effectiveness of our resolutions. The New Year traditionally signifies new beginnings, a fresh start and possibly a chance to even start again from something that didn?t quite go to plan in the past.

Every year, most of us set ourselves a resolution that we hope to achieve within the year. According to the recent ComRes poll via The Telegraph the most common New Year?s resolutions are as follows:

  1. Exercise more (38 per cent)
  2. Lose weight (33 per cent)
  3. Eat more healthily (32 per cent)
  4. Take a more active approach to health (15 per cent)
  5. Learn new skill or hobby (15 per cent)
  6. Spend more time on personal wellbeing (12 per cent)
  7. Spend more time with family and friends (12 per cent)
  8. Drink less alcohol (12 per cent)
  9. Stop smoking (9 per cent)
  10. Other (1 per cent)

Alas, if only it were as easy to stick to our resolutions as it was to make them. On average, according to the ComRes poll, 80% of resolutions will fail by the time it gets to the second week of February. Personally, what I find easier when it comes to resolutions is to set something realistic and small, something that you know can achieve within that year. So even if you have a big resolution it?s more achievable to break it down and create smaller resolutions or goals within that. Kind of like a tick list!

When we create a resolution that?s too big or even unrealistic it simply makes it harder for us to achieve and then this affects our mood and outlook towards the resolution. We can start to feel unaccomplished; negative thoughts enter our mind and ultimately we might decide to give up on the whole idea. Constantly thinking about not achieving the resolution or feeling like we?re not getting anywhere with it pre-determines negative thoughts which then bring our mood down, and when we feel this way, we are unlikely to be able to motivate ourselves towards achieving new things.

An article by Huffington Post suggests;

?When resolutions are too ambitious, we struggle to change our habits, become discouraged when we fail and ultimately give up altogether.?

Another reason to create smaller resolutions is that we feel less pressurised to achieve them. Where having overambitious resolutions might make us feel like we have to have an all-or-nothing outcome, ?bitesized? resolutions give us a confidence boost which often encourage us to pursue our goals further! If we miss a small target, we should be able to forgive ourselves and try to get rid of any guilty feelings as quickly as possible. Guilt will push us away from feeling motivated into disappointed with ourselves and discouraged from trying again. The point of this idea is to not create so much pressure for ourselves as this will only lead to negative thoughts and we are setting ourselves up for failure before we even begin!

According to the American Psychological Association, ways to make your New Year?s Resolution stick and stay on track is to do the following;

  1. Start small
  2. Change one behaviour at a time
  3. Talk about it
  4. Don?t beat yourself up about it and ask for support

Talking about your experience with your friends and family can have a positive effect to achieving your resolution. Using the above can help us achieve our resolutions but I would say that the most important would be to not criticise ourselves if we fall off the wagon for a moment and accept that slip-ups are completely normal and okay and forgivable! And asking for support doesn?t mean we?re less capable of achieving our goals ? it actually takes huge amounts of courage.

So what do we do if mess up our resolutions?  For example, If you have a resolution which it to lose weight and you break the resolution by eating something you shouldn?t ? an idea to come up from this is to get rid of the guilt; so doing something good for yourself which will impact your mood and hopefully make you feel better for the ?bad? that you?ve just done. But remember, not completely sticking to our resolutions shouldn?t deter us from thinking we can still achieve them!

Changing our perceptions of New Year?s Resolutions and taking time to consider what is realistic for us can form an important part of us being kind and compassionate towards ourselves; vital ingredients for self-care! Stay tuned for further insights into how we can show ourselves more self-care as we prepare for a month of self-care strategies throughout February! After all, Valentine?s Day is equally about showing ourselves love as well as our nearest and dearest

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