It used to be considered the done thing to keep a stiff upper lip no matter what, but this caused untold suffering to people who were only trying to do what they thought was the right thing.
Nowadays we are much more aware of the benefits of being honest about our mental health and about watching out for our friends, colleagues, family members. We know that too many people still feel unable to share how they are feeling or seek help, often with catastrophic results. In 2019 for example there were an average of 18 suicides a day in England and Wales.
Of course, many people suffer from poor mental health without taking such a drastic step. Unfortunately, getting help can be difficult, with many services around the country swamped – meanwhile people stuck on waiting lists may be further damaged, with mental health worsening, relationships breaking down, work suffering.
It can be easy to give up and just focus on trying to get through the day.
There are things people can do to give themselves a chance of better outcomes. These are often not rocket science, but perhaps difficult to implement if you are already feeling down.
Having said that, things like meditating, exercise, proper breathing, getting a good night’s sleep, making healthy food choices, not drinking excessively, getting outdoors as much as possible really can help. And having supportive people around you who can be there for you when you need them can be crucial – friends and family are important here, but sometimes you may benefit from seeing a professional who is less involved in your day-to-day life and who can help scaffold your way through. This might be through talking therapy or learning how to manage how you feel and behave both generally and specifically when things get tough.
I have helped people deal with their anxiety through a combination of techniques that really work. As two recent clients have said:
‘I was stressed and anxious at work and sleeping badly. Sessions with Nigel really helped me see a bigger and calmer picture. He also helped me reassess some past experiences that had been affecting me for many years. I was soon so much more relaxed. It’s great to know he is there, if and when I need him again’
Neal aged 52
‘Before I came to Nigel, I had been suffering from sleeplessness due to breathing difficulties at night. I saw several doctors that diagnosed me differently every time, but the medication I was put on didn’t work, and the issue just got worse. It began to affect my work and everyday life.
I finally tried Nigel’s breathwork – both daily and as a coping mechanism and focused on not just breathwork but the link to anxiety. To my surprise it worked immediately and I came off my medication with only a few minor issues from time to time. It’s clear the mind and body are so much more connected than we think, and no doctor was able to help the way Nigel did. Will forever be grateful for the impact it’s had on my life!’
Isha aged 24
World Mental Health Day is a reminder for all of us to check on our own mental health but also that of those around us. Let’s all try to do our bit this Sunday 10th October.