How an act of kindness can help beat depression

Did you know that several studies have found that a random act of kindness can help you feel better and less depressed? According to healthday.com “A growing body of research has found that ‘positive activity intervention’ can serve as effective low cost treatment for depression”. It’s the little things that count, like being friendly to a stranger, walking a neighbour’s dog, giving praise or a compliment, helping someone with their shopping or writing a thank you note to people who have helped you in the past. When we help someone else we shift our internal focus outwards which is beneficial. Being of service can give us a sense of meaning or achievement on a small scale, something that people with depression are often lacking.

We all have certain emotional needs and if these aren’t met, we start feeling out of balance which can eventually lead to mental health problems. So if you’re not happy or perhaps even suffering from depression, ask yourself what’s missing from your life? Are you part of a community? Do you feel in control of your life? Do you feel safe and secure in all areas of your life? Do you feel loved and appreciated the way you are by a person or pet? What do you do to have fun? Do you feel you give and receive enough attention?

Sometimes depression can lead us to only focus on ourselves, hiding or shutting out other people as we don’t think they can help us. But what if helping them can make us feel better too? By giving them our attention and doing something nice, we lift our own spirit.
Awareness is the first step towards change, so take a moment to think about what’s missing from your life. Also consider random acts of kindness and watch how your feelings change when you do something nice for someone else. If everyone commited to a small favour to one other person every day, we’d all help create a happier community for us to live in. What goes around comes around.

Personally I like to do charity work. I regularly donate money and items to charities, I have volunteered at animal shelters and now I’m organising a sponsored walk to raise money for rescue dogs. In fact, if you live in East Sussex, why not come along for a lovely walk in nature on Sunday 22nd May. Bring your dog or a friend and if you have a few spare pounds to donate, that’d be absolutely awesome and it’s a win-win as you’ll feel better by doing something for someone else, like helping dogs in need, not to mention enjoying a lovely nature walk and meeting some lovely people and dogs.

Going back to my original point, doing something nice and heart-felt is profoundly beneficial for our own emotional balance and if done on a regular basis can help reduce depression. How about making a small list of genuine things you would be able and prepared to do, such as paying someone a compliment, smile at a stranger, help an elderly person lift something heavy, pray for someone, volunteer or donate something, bake a cake for someone, help a neighbour with their garden work, pick up litter in a nearby park, show gratitude and appreciation, etc.

“Slow steady progress is better than daily excuses” (Robin Sharma). So think of something you can do today. Perhaps you’d like to help me spread the word about my upcoming charity walk? The more people we reach, the better and if you’re not in the area but still would like to make a small donation, get in touch and I’ll tell you how.

Thanks for reading. Have a lovely day.

Love, Sandy x

Mental health and diet

Did you know that what you eat can influence how you feel, not just physically but also mentally?

I’m sure you’ve heard the common phrase ‘you are what you eat’ but have you ever really thought about it? If what we ingest becomes part of our physical body then perhaps it’s a good idea to pay more attention. You wouldn’t put the wrong or a very bad fuel into your car, would you? Well, our brain is part of the body and needs a certain amount of nutrients to function properly and produce neurotransmitters to make us feel balanced, such as dopamine and serotonin. If there’s too many toxins in our system (e.g. from bad food, stimulants or the environment, such as pollution), the body will need a lot of energy to deal with them and withdraws it from other non-life threatening areas. As a result we might feel tired, lethargic, anxious, depressed or are unable focus and concentrate and are not sleeping well.

For years I’ve been talking about a balanced diet with my clients, how to avoid the ‘blood sugar rollercoaster’ and how to feed your body and brain. Now, I’ve recently read a lot of studies and saw documentaries that claim a vegan diet can promote a better mental health. So, I thought I’d try this myself and experiment with this. For the last three weeks, I’ve been on a healthy vegan diet, have avoided all stimulants (sugar, coffee, alcohol), no processed food, I just made everything from scratch with whole foods. Apart from really enjoying the lovely smoothies, soups and vegan dishes I made, I’ve started noticing some interesting changes. I normally eat well anyway and feel relatively balanced, so I’ve not really been suffering from any particular issue, yet I’ve still noticed that I feel a lot more balanced, am able to cope much better with stress, I have loads of extra energy, more mental clarity and I sleep like a baby. It’s remarkable! I can’t remember the last time I had slept through the night without waking up at least 3-5 times. Now I sleep through most nights and feel refreshed and energised in the morning. I know not everybody is up for it and some people just can’t imagine a life without meat, fish, cheese or dairy, but I would certainly recommend trying something similar, even just for a couple of weeks as an experiment, and watch what happens. If you’ve got sleep problems, struggle with being tired or can’t concentrate at work, this might be the easiest way to get back into balance. Of course, if you are taking any medication, check with your doctor and see if they need to be adjusted.

Right, so I just wanted to share this little experiment of mine. I hope at the very least I’ve given you a bit of ‘food for thought’ (excuse the pun) and perhaps you can become a bit more aware of what you eat and how it makes you feel. If you suffer from cravings or emotional eating, get in touch. I’ve got some great techniques to overcome these.

Have a lovely day. Thanks for reading.

Lots of love,

Sandy x

Life lessons and Black Friday discounts

I can’t believe it’s Black Friday week already. Where has this year gone? But hey in this darker and colder time of the year, we all need a bit of extra tender loving care, don’t we? So why not reward yourself with a lovely mental health promoting video, audio or online course? This week I’m offering you the biggest discounts I’ve ever given! All online products are on offer and only cost a fraction of their usual price. Treat yourself to a nice tapping sequence to reduce anxiety or stop worrying. Or get a download to improve your sleep or your motivation. Create balance and a safe protective bubble with my guided morning meditation or learn / review how to relax with 7/11 breathing. The best value products are my online courses, easily the equivalent of several 1-2-1 sessions.

Of course, this may also be the time of the year that you need to feel more supported. My advice is to ask for help and reach out. Get together with a friend for a nice cup of tea or walk or meal out, make amends with family members or anyone who you’ve had problems with. I know I’ve caught myself saying, why should I contact this particular friend if she never contacts me? However, when I do and we do meet, we’re having such a lovely time and she always apologises for not getting in touch and thanks me for reaching out. So, no need for extra pride, do it for yourself as you’ll have a good time with that person. There’s a reason you became friends in the first place.

If you’re not in the mood for company, then do something nice by yourself. It’s important to get out and get some winter daylight. You can still get vitamin D even if it’s overcast! Just get outside, go for walks, borrow a dog, connect with nature or do window shopping. Some people like to sit in a cafe reading a nice book or watch the world go by.

Some people are struggling in winter and around the upcoming Christmas period for a number of  reasons. If you feel you could do with more professional support, I’m here for you. If you’re interested in working with me, just text or email me with your availability, email  sandy@emotionalbalance.co.uk I also offer a free 15min phone consultation, so get in touch and book your free chat. You can then decide if you feel I’m the right therapist for you.

Finally, I’d like to recommend a tool called reflectionHindsight is such a great teacher. Look back at your life and what you’ve learnt. Then look at your current life and be curious about what lessons you are in the process of learning right now. We are never stuck or lost, life is a journey and sometimes we move very slowly and sometimes a bit faster. If you’re ready to get support and speed up the process, get in touch.

Thanks for reading. I hope you’ve found this helpful.
Big hug, love and angel blessings.

Sandy x

Increase your energy

It can be easy to forget to take breaks and look after ourselves. We may feel we don’t have time or energy to do something else, even if it’s just self-care. The days are just too long and filled already. Sound familiar? Well, here’s the thing, if we keep giving and providing for others and ignore our own needs we will eventually end up feeling depleted. We can’t give what we don’t have. If everything we do already requires making an effort and we’re low in energy, then perhaps it is time to stop and find a way to increase our energy. Take a break, take a few deep breaths, daydream, stop and smell the roses. There’s alway going to be things on your to-do list. Don’t miss the precious moments, don’t lose yourself in the chores. Take time to nurture yourself.

There are many way to increase your energy. One way is to ‘cut your spending’. Less is more. Is every single chore really a top priority? Can anything wait or can you get someone to help you? Remember the saying “Life’s too short…” don’t get bogged down with the details, stop being a perfectionist. Just think for a moment, are these small things that take up so much of your time and energy still going to look important in a year from now?

One of the biggest things that take away our energy is negative emotions. We keep thinking about the past, are angry at people, events or even the weather and worry about the future. No wonder we feel low in energy. Learn techniques to let these thoughts and feelings go. This may be something as simple as writing things down in a journal so you don’t have to think about them anymore, do a breathing exercise, use EFT tapping to let things go or any other method that you find helpful. Or even just looking how easy it is for nature to let things go by watching the autumn leaves being released by the trees around us this time of the year.

Finally, a great way to increase your energy is to have an energy healing session, such as Reiki healing. The word Reiki is Japanese and means ‘Universal Life Force Energy’. A Reiki practitioner has been attuned by a Reiki Master and is therefore able to channel this specific universal healing energy and pass it on to the client which then activates their self-healing powers, creates balance and rejuvenates the person receiving it.

If you feel you don’t have the time to go to regular sessions, why not just spend one single weekend learning how it works and then you have a life time to recharge your own batteries with Reiki energy for self-healing whenever you need it. In fact, I’m running a Reiki training for self-healing next weekend in Eastbourne. If you’re in the area, feel free to sign up or register your interest for the next one: www.emotionalbalance.co.uk/events/
sandy@emotionalbalance.co.uk

Reiki Eastbourne

In summary, the best ways to increase your energy is to do less of what’s taking up your energy and is not important, to let go of energy robbing thoughts, feelings and patterns and do things that nuture you and help you feel good, such as daydreaming, enjoying moments in nature, hugging someone or count your blessings.

Thanks for reading. I hope you’ve found this helpful. Big hug, love and angel blessings.

Sandy x

Seize the moment

Life is made up of lots of moments, if you miss the moments, you miss life! Sometimes we just have to take a break, step back and breathe. Give yourself permission to relax! You’ll get much more done after you’ve relaxed a bit.

Whatever situation you’re in, in five years time all those little daily worries won’t matter, so why not let them go? We may have the tendency to get caught up in the nitty gritty but is it really worth all that stress? Every now and then step back and focus on the bigger picture. Look back at the last five years, have you had more joyful or more stressful moments? Tip your balance in favour of joy.

Make a decision to enjoy the little things, smile more, go to the beach or nearby park, play with your kids or pets. Seize the moment! You only have one life and you’re meant to enjoy it. Let go of fears and judgements, accept who you are and enjoy yourself. The rest will fall into place. If you need help or support on your journey to balance and happiness, I’m here for you.

Take care, Sandy

Magical brain

Problems cannot be solved with the same mind that created them.
Albert Einstein
Magic happens beyond the logical mind. If you go within and connect to a place deep inside of you, you can create changes and #rewireyourbrain 
With the new field #neuroplasticity science has proven that our brains can change and evolve. With new experiences, real or imaginary, new neural pathways are created in the brain. The more often you walk the path of change the quicker new habits, thoughts and behaviours will be formed and engrained in our magical brain. This means we can teach your brain to react differently, for example to certain triggers. That’s why #hypnotherapy is so effective.

The important thing is to relax on a regular basis. This alone will bring more balance into your life. Stress and busyness put us into fight or flight mode, our survival instinct kicks in and often we can’t think straight or act in a way that is less than optimal. Only when we’re relaxed we can be creative. To create change and use neuroplasticity, we need to be deeply relaxed and visualise or imagine what we want to achieve. It can be anything from being more creative and motivated, feel more confident or stop feeling anxious, fearful or depressed.

Allow yourself to grow and move beyond your limitations. It always seems impossible until it’s done.
Contact me if you need any help or support Sandy@emotionalbalance.co.uk or info@bodymindhealing.co.uk
I offer a free 15min chat.
Have a lovely day and thank you for reading my blog.
Sending you love and light.
Sandy x

How to create a positive mindset

Energy flows where attention goes!

What does this mean? It means you can influence the way you feel by changing your focus. We’ve all been emotionally moved by a film or movie and have laughed or cried despite knowing that the story isn’t real but we put our attention to the storyline and it touched us. So basically, we observed or think about something and as a result our mind produced an appropriate feeling. It pretty much happens on a subconscious level and there’s nothing wrong with it. But knowing that what we observe or think about, influences how we feel, means we can use this to our advantage. Energy flows where attention goes, so we put your attention to something, and our energy responds accordingly. So if I choose to dwell on a situation that makes me sad or angry, I feel sad or angry and if I choose to change my focus and think about something positive, a happy memory or someone I love, my feelings follow suit. And if I watch the news, quite often I feel bad or worried afterwards but if I choose to watch something heart-warming or funny, I feel better. I also love daydreaming and conjuing up happy memories, that certainly changes how I feel. My top tip today is to pay attention to your thoughts and watch what you watch!

Did you know, that you can create your own anchor of inspiration and positivity by choosing a very uplifting memory and remember it vividly several times a day. We can’t be stressed and happy at the same time. By changing your focus, you change your energy level. Use happy memories to lift you up or daydream about happy future memories. If you need help finding more happiness and balance in your life, please get in touch sandy@emotionalbalance.co.uk or sandy@bodymindhealing.co.uk

I hope you’ve found this helpful. Happy daydreaming.
Take care.
Sandy

An alternative to New Year’s resolutions

How about a new approach to New Year’s resolutions? Let’s be honest, most of us don’t follow through anyway, right? After a few weeks the discipline wavers and we’re back to where we started. If you’re an exception, great! Congrats then keep going and see this suggestion as an add-on. If you’re not good at sticking to your NY’s resolutions, then let’s just not do them this year.

Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels

So here’s a different idea (which I started a few years ago):
Why not start with an empty jar and collect happy moment memories, success stories or pictures of events and positive changes happening in 2021?

Recipe:
Take one empty bottle or jar, have a few pieces of paper or post-it notes and a pen ready. Set an reminder on your phone or in your calendar to record at least two or three things every week or reflect each Sunday on what to record. No worries if it’s less than that, the idea is to keep counting and recording your blessings.

We could even record things like the end of lockdown, the joy of being allowed to see friends again, the pleasures of shopping or keep a record of how you’ve improved your home, your skills or hobbies, write down your favourite jokes or heart-warming moments when you felt moved or perhaps record an pleasant walk in nature with a picture, a beautiful sunset, a home-cooked meal that you enjoyed, a time when you laughed until your tummy hurt, a special gift you received, a zoom-party or joyful phone call with a friend. The list is endless.

Then at New Year’s Eve 2021, take out the bottle or jar and read all the notes on the happy moments of the year. If you do this with your family, have everyone pick their top three! Feel free to amend this recipe to suit your needs.

The point is to recognise and record happy moments throughout the year and then reflect on them at the end of the year. Do this and watch how your life will change over time. We all got so much more to be grateful for than we perhaps realise. Accept the challenge!

Photo by Oleg Zaicev from Pexels

Autumn wisdom and special offers

The lovely autumn season has arrived, and we can witness how wonderful change can be and how easy it is to let go. I love going for walks in autumn, reflect on things, ponder on what changes to embrace in my own life and if there’s anything I need to let go.

The change of seasons is a great time to make changes, it almost feels natural, like working hand in hand with nature. Getting ready to put old unhelpful thought patterns and habits to sleep. I guess this is also what this month’s Stoptober is about, don’t you think?

Well, if you’re ready to make a change or let go of something, here’s a very special one-time only offer for you. Get a whopping £20 discount on your next 1-2-1 session and only pay £50 instead of £70. Valid for any 1-2-1 session with me booked before 31st October. Book now as I have limited availability. I do sessions online (Skype or Zoom) as well as face-to-face in Brighton and Eastbourne.

Finally a word on fear. These are difficult times for a lot of people. Feeling afraid and restricted almost seems to have become the new normal of 2020. Yet know that we can’t be afraid and happy at the same time. If you’re afraid you’re making yourself more vulnerable as fear has a detrimental effect on our immune system. So please take regular breaks from the news and negativity around and make it your mission to do something nice instead, either for yourself or somebody else. Look after your emotional needs, watch something funny, talk to a beloved friend or family member, do a breathing or tapping exercise and count your blessings. There’s always something to be grateful for. Being relaxed and grateful is much better for your health as being afraid. So be cautious, of course, but take time to laugh and play. You have choice! Give every day the chance to be the best of your life!

Happy Halloween, if you celebrate it. Take care. Love, light and angel blessings.
Sandy

The power of self-care and self -love

Nurturing yourself is important, especially in times of uncertainty. When the outside world seems crazy, turn inside. You’re a wonderful human being, who’s doing the best they can, given the current circumstances. Acknowledge how well you’ve done, how difficult it perhaps has been. Give yourself a hug and a pad on the shoulder. Life’s never been more different and unusual. We’ve been bombarded with lots of change, new rules and have been fed fear-producing messages. So, if you’ve been feeling a bit anxious, worried or just unusually tired, that’s absolutely normal. Many of us are a bit out of balance these days, trying to cope with the new situation and perhaps feeling a bit insecure about it all, or even overwhelmed. Yet one thing we often take for granted is ourselves. We expect ourselves to just adjust overnight, cope with anything thrown at us and deal with people around us, who are struggling, while we might be internally struggling too. I believe it’s important to acknowledge how we feel and become aware of our own needs too. Self-care and self-love are important and should not be forgotten. These last few months have been strange, and you’ve made it through! So, give yourself a big fat WELL DONE!

Wouldn’t it be nice to make yourself feel cared for and appreciated? Why not take a moment to thank your wonderful body, your brain with its amazing capacity to learn new things and your mind and psyche with its ability to generate a wide spectrum of emotions! Be nice to yourself and acknowledge how far you’ve come. Remind yourself of all the many good qualities you have. Make a list of things you’re grateful for. Switch to positive feelings and give yourself some love and appreciation. You deserve it!

A great tool that I highly recommend is doing daily affirmations. Affirmations are positive statements. Louise Hay, the queen of affirmations, wrote lots of books about the topic. Starting with that first thing in the morning is a great way of setting you up for a positive day. Think of a few things you like about yourself and tell your reflection in the mirror. Or see yourself through the eyes of someone who loves you. If you need ideas and inspiration, check out this website with new daily affirmations: www.louisehay.com/affirmations/   Today, 30th July says the following: “Today I listen to my feelings, and I am gentle with myself. I know that all of my feelings are my friends.” Wonderful words of wisdom!
Some people prefer their statements expressed as a process, e.g. ‘I’m feeling better and better each day.’ ‘I love myself a bit more every day.’ or ‘I love learning how to relax’. When you become your own best friend, nothing can stop you. It’s worth making a bit of an effort to love yourself more. If you love yourself, the world loves you right back.

Self-care goes hand-in-hand with self-love. It’s about setting boundaries, looking after yourself and taking a bit of ‘me-time’ out whenever possible or appropriate. A dear friend of mine introduced me to the idea of having a duvet morning. I love the concept! Every now and then, I just stay in bed an extra hour in the morning with nice cup of tea and a book, or a notepad if I feel creative, to brainstorm ideas or make my gratitude list for the day. If mornings aren’t possible, how about a duvet evening? There’s plenty of ways to look after ourselves, some people love having a warm bubble bath, chat to a friend, go for a nice long walk, meditate, try out a new recipe, write into a journal, light a candle or engage in crafts. The important bit is to make time to feel good. Even a 2- or 3-minute breathing exercise can help you feel calm and more balanced. Acknowledge that you’ve done enough and you are enough! Feeling loved and appreciated is an inside job. I hope this short article has inspired you. Love and light. Sandy