Anxiety 2 Calm – Anti-Anxiety New Year’s Resolutions. Happy New Year 2007

A very Happy New Year wherever you are!


From emails I can tell that 2006 has been a successful year for some and of course a struggle for others. Either way, we all made it through as ever and this coming year will be full of opportunities to come out of ourselves and achieve what we want.


I thought of a few good resolutions that might be worth considering in order to be calmer and happier in 2007 an onwards.


1. Decide to give yourself the time you need to recover. Take pressure off yourself and make sure others stop pressing you as well.


2. Give up wasting money on Instant Cures from “gurus”.


3. Consider from where it is best to seek help. If you think you need psychotherapy but are worried that it takes two years remind yourself that if you had started this time last year you would be half way through!


4. Make sure your doctor is fully understanding and sympathetic to your situation. If s/he is not then they must change or you must find another doctor. Neither anxiety or depression should ever be shrugged off.


5. Start a campaign with your local politician for better healthcare for mood disorders and anxiety.


6. Meditate, even if only for a few minutes.


I am sure you have more ideas! Do share them with me!


Happy 2007!!


With Love




Anxiety, guilt and finding the help and support you need

A lot of people who suffer from anxiety experience feelings of guilt and somehow think that this means they are weak. This guilt is brought about by the realisation that someone who at one time could do things so easily, now struggles to get through the day. They may be in a relationship, or have children, and feel guilty that they can no longer do the things they once could with their partner or children. They may even fight their way through the day, putting on an act to prove to themselves that this thing will not get the better of them, only to go to bed at night more tired and anxious than ever. Anxiety can affect people from every profession, even doctors, the very people we first go to for help, so let me stress that you have nothing to feel guilty about.


Some partners may be very understanding about how you feel, but some may not. They may put pressure on you to ‘pull yourself together’ and the constant strain of trying to cope can tire you further, your partner’s lack of understanding hindering recovery. Thankfully, I did have an understanding partner and I explained to her that the person she could see was not the real me. I asked her to bear with me and told her that I wanted to be the person I once was and that, in time, I would be. I lost a few friends, as I was never available to go out. Certain people at work would snub me as I hardly spoke, but I did not wallow in self-pity! I knew I had to let all this negative stuff go and because of what I had been taught, I was not going to add any more worry to the mix. I also knew that I could sort all those problems out later when I was better.


At times, I felt like I was playing a role in a film, acting to try to appear normal, while other days attempting to hide how I felt. The pressure I felt trying to maintain this act, day after day, was immense and eventually I stopped trying to be the person I thought I should be.


So if you see yourself in this way, learn to put yourself first. You cannot keep trying to be the person you once were. You need to stop putting on an act, admit that you are no longer the person you used to be and you tell yourself that you don’t have to keep up this pretence any longer.


If you have an understanding partner, then great, you have the support you need. If not, I would suggest that you start talking to each other and ask your partner to listen. You can even suggest that they read this and explain to them just how much you need their support while you recover. If they truly care, then they will understand and give you this support. A lot of their anger is caused by frustration, frustration that the person they see is not the person they fell in love with and they want you back as much as you do. A little more understanding from them may give you the freedom to start recovery.


Self-pity is another emotion that can drag you further into your illness. Again this stems from a reluctance to accept the way you are as you ask yourself the question ‘Why me?’ Constantly feeling sorry for yourself can only eat away at your spirit and cause you to feel more and more depressed about the way you feel. It is very easy to fall into this trap and I cannot stress enough just how important it is to accept how you feel and harbour as little self-pity as possible. Self-pity is a destructive emotion that will only prolong your negative feelings. You don’t need negative thinking during your time of recovery, so let all the negative thoughts go and build on the positives.


Paul has been helping people with anxiety and panic for many years now, giving people a far better understanding of their condition. You can find more information at



Cannabis ‘affecting young minds’

An interesting BBC articles about the effects of Cannabis use on future mental health. Regular “recreational” drug use is inadvisable for people with panic disorder, anxiety and depression.


Half of young people using cannabis suffer side effects such as paranoia and blackouts, a UK survey suggests.


More than 80% of the 727 young people in their teens and early 20s polled by YoungMinds had tried the drug – the vast majority before they were 18.


The charity is calling for urgent research on the effects of cannabis on the developing teenage brain.


It is releasing guidance for young people and professionals on the effects cannabis may have on mental health.


‘Vulnerable brains’


Barbara Herts, YoungMinds chief executive, said: “Many young people are experimenting with cannabis from a young age.


“We are extremely concerned that there is still very little known about the effects of cannabis on the developing teenage brain and it is crucial that more studies are carried out in this area.”


She said virtually all of the research on both short and longer-term cognitive effects has been conducted on adults.


This is a problem as the young, developing brain could be much more vulnerable to its effects, she explained.



Ms Herts said studies show young people who use cannabis regularly or heavily are at least twice as likely to develop a psychotic mental disorder by young adulthood than those who do not smoke.


Psychosis is a type of mental health problem, which includes conditions like schizophrenia, that can seriously affect the way you think, feel and behave.


She said: “Young people, their parents and the professionals working with them need to understand the issues surrounding cannabis use and the potential dangers to their mental health and wellbeing.”


Drug helpline Frank recently launched a TV ad warning young people of the damage cannabis can do to the brain as part of its drugs awareness campaign.


A spokesman said they were particularly targeting 11- to 17-year-olds.


Martin Barnes, chief executive of DrugScope, said: “Although cannabis use has been falling among young people over recent years, and is now at its lowest level for nearly a decade, we cannot be complacent.


“There is evidence that cannabis not only worsens existing mental health problems but may trigger – although the risk is thought to be small – some conditions such as schizophrenia.


“We support calls for more research into the possible long-term effects particularly of drug use among children and young people.”




Depression versus Anxiety

Depression is the reaction to having lost something that was considered important. The roots lie in the past. For example, you can lose someone you love deeply and that can produce depression. On the other hand, if you lost ten cents and that was all the money you had in the world, that can equally produce depression.

Anxiety, on the other hand, is a fear of the future, whether known or unknown. For example, awakening in the morning and feeling fear in the pit of your stomach and yet having no idea why. Or, it could be a feeling of fear prior to making a speech to a small group of family members at a dinner party. Either way, that is anxiety.

The Symptoms:

Depression manifests itself as a lack interest in life itself, pessimism and a belief that the future holds nothing of value. Note, in true depression, fear of the future is not present, but on some occasions a depressed person will become anxious and become afraid of the unknown future.

The body slows down and certain chemicals are released. Similar chemicals (endorphins) are released when a patient relaxes deeply, for example whilst under hypnosis. As a world-wide teacher of Hypnotherapy, I always stress in my hypnotherapy training that ‘depression is a contra-indication’ to the use of hypnosis.

Should you use hypnosis with a depressed patient, you may deepen the state of depression even further because of the increased release of endorphins.

Of course, using hypnosis with a client who is suffering from anxiety is to be applauded as an induced relaxed state removes the anxiety and allows a non-critical analysis of the reason for the illness.

The Treatment:

People suffering from anxiety should always be taught a relaxation technique to allow the body to get back to normal as anxiety cannot be felt when the mind and body are relaxed.

In both cases, it is absolutely essential that the reasons for depression or anxiety is understood. With depression the sufferer almost always knows what causes it. With anxiety, if it is considered a problem, the cause is often unknown.

However, with analysis, either through a non-relaxation method such as imagery techniques for depression, or through relaxation techniques for anxiety, the sufferer can be taught to handle the situation in a more beneficial way.

Here are two examples.

With depression, a knowledge of the stages a depressive will experience as the depression takes hold, helps a sufferer to understand what is happening to him or her. This can help to get through the time it takes for the depression to ‘blow itself out’ as in the vast majority of cases, ‘time heals’.

Of course, there are other forms of depression that do not pass in time. A ‘manic depressive’ will vouch for that and the only obvious recourse is to take prescribed drugs and enter in to a long term of therapy. But, if you are suffering from depression as you read this, please remember that these are exceptional cases as the majority of depressed people get well with the passing of time.

Prescribed drugs for either depression or anxiety, must only be taken on a temporary basis as a sufferer can become dependant on them.

The treatment for anxiety are twofold. If the cause is known, for example feeling afraid of flying, then techniques can be taught that will enable you to relax (remember what I said about being unable to feel anxiety when relaxed?) in the situation that causes you the anxiety.

If the cause is unknown, recourse to some form of psychological treatment may be necessary. This would inevitably be in the form of analysing the problem and then learning how to deal with the anxiety.

You Are Not Alone:

In both cases, sufferers are not alone as almost everyone will at some time in their lives suffer with either depression or anxiety, or even both.

The depth of the depression or degree of anxiety depends on individual circumstances and a sufferer’s personality.

Unfortunately, those of us who are sensitive and caring suffer the most but there is always help on hand.

Robert Shields


Anxiety, stress, depression – positive steps to feeling better

Stress is everywhere at the moment. When you are feeling anxious, suffering from panic attacks, stress or depression there are relatively simple changes you can make to your life in order to improve your situation. I am not talking about specific cures or solutions for complex anxiety and depression disorders, I am talking about ways to get your body, physically speaking, to optimum efficiency and peek performance.

A healthy mind equals a healthy body and vice versa. You are likely to feel better physically after relaxing your mind and you are likely to feel better mentally and emotionally after spending some time looking after your body. There are several easy steps you can take to improve your physical well-being.

Below, we shall examine some of those methods. Of course you should always check with your doctor before making major lifestyle changes.

Your body needs more than fifty essential nutrients in order to function well under stress,. They mainly come from these four categories:

Vitamins A (retinol), B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D, E, K (this is not an exhaustive list).

Essential Fatty Acids (Specifically Linolenic acid omega-3 and Linoleic acid omega-6 )

Essential Amino Acids (E.g. Tryptophan, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Valine, Leucine, Isoleucine)

Minerals, E.g. Chromium, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Selenium, Zinc, Calcium, Phosphorus, Sodium, Sulphur (This is not an exhaustive list).

And, as if that weren’t a daunting enough list already, your body also needs sufficient antioxidants (which may help prevent cancer and promote longevity), plant sterols (to help block cholesterol and other functions) and bioflavonoids (which are thought to aid blood flow and increase vitamin c inter cellular absorption).

You could spend a lot of time trying to work out a diet that included all of the above, and by the end you would probably be more stressed, anxious and depressed than you were when you started (and much poorer!). But luckily there is an easy way to ensure that your diet gets the lions share of what you need.

Eat some fresh fruit (especially citrus) and veg everyday, separate from eating sugary foods or foods high in simple carbohydrates. Drink a splash of red wine and try and develop a taste for green tea. And if you want a sweet treat go for dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa solids.

Take a Cod Liver Oil supplement every day. Or use flax seed oil if you are vegetarian. (Does the same job but is a bit more expensive!)

Take a multivitamin and mineral supplement everyday.

Eat as much whole wheat, whole grain fresh non-processed food as possible

When we get stressed or feel anxious or low our quality food intake tends to reduce. Sugar rich food and simple carbohydrates like pizza and pasta seem extra tempting. We also look to foods which give us short term pleasure such as salty foods. We tend to eat faster, clogging up our digestive system and making us feel worse later. And of course we can’t be bothered with the preparation of all that healthy food, so low-nutrient junk and convenience foods seem much more appealing.

It is at exactly this time that you need to make the effort to eat better. Eating better will not instantly make us feel better. By and large, a good diet does not eliminate anxiety or depression, or solve stress related issues. But eating better can do one vital thing: it can ensure that we don’t make ourselves even worse by going for the junk food options. Also, long term, a good diet will build us up so we can deal with life in a relaxed and controlled fashion.

Alcohol, coffee, sugar, and simple carbohydrates are the main villains in terms of diet. It is also important to chew food and eat at a more relaxed, slow pace. Eating quickly causes indigestion and all sorts of unpleasant Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms.

Apart from diet there are other steps you can take to improve overall well-being. We can take steps to reduce our exposure to toxins by filtering water, taking time in the countryside away from air-pollution, using natural soap products and organic foods. Think about the number of chemicals around you and the emissions from electronic devices like mobile phones and computer screens.

Get into the habit of using herbal bath oils, indulging yourself with a massage and taking regular exercise. Reflexology may or may not help with anxiety and depression, it certainly does reduce stress and promote restful sleep.

A new hair cut and a clothes shopping trip may go some way to improving your self worth and making you feel more able to tackle life’s trickier questions.

One last word of advice. Don’t stress yourself out by trying to change your whole life in one go.
Take gradual steps and allow yourself time to make them habit.