Mental Health Revolution – A Principle Based Approach

Mental Health Revolution – A Principle Based Approach

As the client sat in front of me it dawned on my that we might need a mental health revolution. I heard about the previous therapeutic support they had received. This person had experienced an unpleasant event a few years earlier. The diagnosis they had was PTSD and they had been seeing a therapist for about six sessions. Part of their therapy was to write a script of the unpleasant event and read this on a daily basis for homework! Strange to relate, they had felt worse since the therapy began.

Mental Health Therapy Now

Unfortunately, I was not surprised by this approach to mental health. Revisiting unpleasant events as a treatment for people like this is not uncommon. I have heard many stories of this kind over the last few years.

I am not telling you this story to criticise therapists. Most therapists want to help people. The issue is that they have a misunderstanding of how the mind works. A misunderstanding about where our daily experience of life is coming from. More on that soon!

I am telling this story only as someone who now helps clients improve their mental health. I am telling you this as someone who has been there. In 2015, when I was a headteacher, I burnt out! I experienced stress for such a long time that I managed to wreck my adrenal gland. My diagnosis said depression and I was off work for a year whilst I tried everything to recover.

I spent hours talking about what was wrong with me and where it might have come from. The aim is to find answers (in the past) and move on. But poking and prodding the issue didn’t help. I had talked a lot but didn’t feel any better.

It seems to me now that talking about what is wrong with us, over and over again, doesn’t help. It’s like putting fuel at the bottom of the fire whilst trying to put it out with a hose at the top.

I spent years trying to feel okay. Even after I recovered from burnout, I still felt like there was something not right about me. I engaged in more therapy and also entered the world of self-help. This made me feel like an ongoing project. A to-do list of self-development. Can you relate to this?

Psychological Principles

But then I learnt a set of psychological principles. They have brought me to a place of confidence, clarity and deep inner peace I never realised was possible. What I have learnt has the potential to revolutionise the way we help people improve mental health.

The first principle is that we create 100% of our experience through thought in the moment.

So that’s why the approaches above often don’t help. Because they make us think more about the issue and that makes us feel worse. When you think about something, you will experience feelings associated with that. Your past unpleasant experience cannot exist other than in your thinking. So, if you want to feel better, not thinking about your past experience has to be a step in the right direction; right?

The difference between theory and principle

Psychological theories are many and there has been much research in this arena. The missing link has always been principles of psychology.

Here’s an analogy which might help. Many, many years ago, the medical world did not know about germs. As a result of this, they tried all sorts of things to stop infections in their patients. Some things helped a bit but people still died from infections in their droves.  This was because doctors and surgeons didn’t know about the principle of germs. Once they knew, they cleaned up and changed their practises. A lot less people died and the medicine moved forward with the principle of germs as a bedrock.

We create 100% of our experience through thought in the moment.

This is a principle of psychology in the same way as germ theory is a principle of medicine. It is happening all the time whether we know or believe it is. Without principles, psychologists and therapists have tried everything to help people. But they didn’t find anything which helped everyone. These principles will revolutionise mental health practises like germ theory did for medicine.

Every person working to help people overcome mental illness is doing their best. But like the surgeons of the past, it is less effective because they are missing these principles. We don’t need to know what experience in the past created a thought. We need guidance to see that we create our experience 100% of the time through thought in the moment

Imagine if we based all our help for mental illness on these principles.

Imagine how that would simplify things.

Imagine if it didn’t matter where in the past a thought originated from.

So, how does this work?

Because these are principles, they work a bit like gravity! We don’t go around thinking about how to function in a world which has gravity. We have an embodied understanding which we learnt way before covered it at school. We can get on better in life if we work within the principle of gravity and don’t try to fight it. It means we don’t spend the day walking through the remnants of the things we have dropped and broken. Life is easier.

It’s also easier when you know that you are creating 100% of your experience through thought in the moment.

But hang on a minute, I hear you cry. People just need to spend time in therapy so they can learn to control their thinking and feel better. What are the tools and techniques for this?

I can understand why you might be thinking that is the case. You might have spent years and years trying various techniques to help you feel better. I tried affirmations, gratitude journals, mediation, tapping, yoga and more. I got so caught up that I reached the point where I didn’t think I would ever be okay without those practices. Can you relate to this?

You cannot control your thinking

Have you ever noticed the randomness of your thoughts? Do you ever get a funny thought about the past pop up? You notice it and move on. Then another thought pops into your head!

This arrival of thoughts into your mind at random is the principle of mind. You might believe this is the wiring and firing of neurons or an energetic power much greater than you. Either way, you cannot control your thinking.

Some random thoughts from the past feel easy to let pass, don’t they? But have you noticed that some thoughts feel like a command or a fact about the outside world? Then we add more thinking into the mix. We get caught up in a thought storm and start to experience unpleasant sensations.

But thoughts are random. You do not get to control them. When you let them, thoughts flow through your mind. As each thought passes, another one arrives in its place. This is the nature of how we work. Trying to control your thoughts using tools and techniques is something else you can let go of.

The one thing you can do is choose where to focus your attention because …

… you are not your thinking

In fact, you can finally let go of the impact your thoughts have on you when you realise one more thing.

You are not your thinking!

You are the awareness of your thinking!

But YOU ARE NOT YOUR THINKING!

This is the third principle. The principle of consciousness. The fact that you are the one aware of the thoughts! That the thoughts are not part of you no matter how long they have been around.

When you realise that you are the awareness of thought, it’s like shining a light on your thinking. And that has an almost magical effect. It makes the thoughts melt away and seem less powerful. It’s a bit like the way the heroes in the movie defeat the Gremlins. All you have to do is expose your thought Gremlins to the light that you are and ‘poof’!

And the joy of this is that you are only ever one thought away from remembering who you are. Only one thought away from reconnecting to the mental health that is always there. One thought away from confidence, clarity and inner peace.

Every single one of us has innate mental health. It’s only ever a thought away.

No-one is anxious or has anxiety; they have anxious thinking.

No-one is depressed or has depression; they have depressing thinking.

No-one is suicidal; they have suicidal thoughts.

This is not underestimating the impact this has on those who are suffering. It’s about saying that we are stuck in a way of helping them that is never going to quite get there. It won’t whilst we work with a misunderstanding about where experience is coming from.

What next for mental health?

In a world of therapy without this understanding, there is a search for answers. There is a reliance on techniques and a sense that we need to fix people. With this understanding, there is a feeling of optimism. There is a sense that everyone is well other than their thinking sometimes takes them away from that.

And as I spend time with people guiding them towards this understanding I notice that in action. How someone who feels lost and sick can settle and find peace so fast. And as someone who has been there myself and helped so many others, that’s all I ever want. I don’t really want to start a revolution. It’s more of a gentle wave. But I do want to see things change and fewer people suffer.

So, if you are reading this as someone who helps people or someone who would like to feel different, get in touch. An hour of my time costs you nothing but could make all the difference.

You can book a 121 to find out more about my approach here or start your journey to mental wellbeing by booking a discovery session here.

Top Tips to Stop Worrying and Feel Less Stressed

Top Tips to Stop Worrying and Feel Less Stressed

In this blog, I share my top tips to stop worrying and feel less stressed. When you find a way that works for you to stop worrying and feel less stressed, you can improve your life.

We are all working and living under increasing pressure. Life is fast paced and not showing any signs of slowing down. On a day-to-day basis we have so much to think about and so much to do.

The pressures of the moment are enough to make us feel stressed.

The Problem with Worrying

The problem with worrying is that it adds pressure to your already busy life but it’s all in your head. Whilst you are trying to focus on the task in hand, your mind is galloping off into future doom and gloom.

This adds another layer of pressure in your life. Left unchecked, worrying can become extreme and lead to anxiety and stress-related illness. Worrying has no benefits to you or your mental well-being. It increases your stress levels but also stops you from enjoying what is happening right now.

Worrying can occur when you are already stressed out and overwhelmed. But it can be so out of control that you even worry when there is nothing to worry about. This takes away present joy. Like sitting on a beach whilst worrying about a meeting you are attending in 2 weeks time. Sometimes it is exhausting.

What is worrying?

Worrying is a habitual thought pattern. It is the path your mind takes you on when you think about the future. Most of us have an occasional worrying thought. It’s what happens afterwards that can cause the problem. I know some people who can go from a worry about something small to death in destruction in a few minutes. The key to stop worrying and feel less stressed is to interrupt the habitual thought pattern. You can then work on your mind to reduce the number and frequency of those worrying thoughts.

Top Tips to Stop Worrying and Feel Less Stressed

Ways to Interrupt Thinking Patterns

Techniques to use in the moment when you notice that first negative, worrying thought.

Let Go Breathing

Breathe in through your nose and think ‘let’. Blow out through your mouth (like blowing out through a straw) and think, ‘go’. Keep repeating the cycle until you feel the worrying thought has gone.

STOP

Visualise a big, red stop sign in your head, think ‘stop’ and feel the sense of your thinking grinding to a halt. Keep repeating until you feel calm.

Analyse

Ask yourself, ‘Have I done everything I can do?’ and ‘Is there anything else I can do?’. If there is action you can take to reduce the worry, then do it or write it down.

Talk

A 5-10-minute chat with someone you trust could help you reduce the worrying thoughts. Make sure it is someone upbeat and positive and not someone who will join you on the route to doom and gloom.

Postpone

Decide that you are going to worry about that thing later. Jot your worry down and then decide that you will worry at 6pm this evening for example (not too close to bedtime). Then limit the amount of time you spend on the worrying.

Long -Term Practices to Reduce Worrying

Your daily habits define who you become. If you adopt some new habits in the care of your mind, you can make a difference to how you feel day-to-day.

Write

Use a journal or fill a worry jar with bits of paper with your worries written on. There is something about writing things down which can help you release them. Once you see your worries on paper you will find it easier to see how little they make sense.

Reduce

If you are the kind of person who picks up on what is going on around you then try to stay away from the news and social media. Unfollow the negative people who always share the latest bad news. Leave those groups who are stuck in the rut of sharing all that is wrong in the world. Avoid the news, particularly as a start or end to your day. If your brain is already wired for negativity, don’t feed it any more evidence that the world is a terrible place.

Exercise

Getting moving helps reduce worrying. It helps your body produce vital happiness hormones like serotonin. Regular exercise will help you stop worrying and feel less stressed.

Meditate

The practice of meditation reduces worrying thoughts and anxiety. It is learning to take your attention from your thoughts (worrying) to your body and breath (the present). Meditation has an immediate impact on your mind, but you may not perceive that for quite a while. That is why it is vital to persist with meditation. Keep practising daily and you will see the benefits in the long-term. I use guided meditations available on APPs like Calm and Headspace but also on YouTube.

Practise Gratitude

Taking time every day to notice the things you have to be grateful for rewires your brain for happiness. The more gratitude you feel, the stronger your positive thinking neural pathway will become. Try keeping a journal where you write 5 things every day that you are grateful for. They don’t have to be big things. Flowers in bloom, the sunshine, a parking space when it is busy, a cup of tea made by a colleague or a hug from a child. Gratitude is another practice which will not change you overnight but will make a difference if you keep going.

Like every area of life, change doesn’t generally happen if we don’t take action. Changing your mindset from worrier to happy and calm is no different. All these techniques take practice and to become a habitual part of your day. On that note, start small. Chose one short and one long-term technique from the above list and give them a try. In this way you can stop worrying and feel less stressed.

If you need help or guidance with any of the above, contact me!

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Click Book Your FREE Discovery Session Here on the top right of this page to book a discovery session or call 07747 774953 to find out more.

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