Meditation & Mental Health

5 Apr

Yoga is not only used as exercise but has also been known to have a large positive impact on mental health wellbeing because of its calming, relaxing techniques and sense of community. It can help restore mind and body harmony.

Different poses in yoga can help different parts of the body with its focuses on breathing, physical and mental ability. Many people have been helped through depression, stress and anxiety because of the positive benefits of yoga.

When a person suffers from depression some of the common symptoms are lack of sleep so you feel tired a lot of the time, difficulty in concentration, negative thoughts and irritable. This can also then make you feel extremely stressed, uptight and tense, the depression and stress could then make a person feel anxious. Life can feel out of control causing fear and panic.

Yoga has both physical and mental disciplines. So much can happen in people’s lives throughout a day whether it is caring for family, health issues, and work stress. Yoga disciplines people to take time out, instead of thinking and worrying all the time. Dealing with depression, stress or anxiety can put your body under so much strain alone. Thinking constantly and worrying about situations before they occur, erratic breathing, feelings of tiredness and hopelessness, life these days can feel like you are on a rollercoaster that goes round constantly with no time to stop and think. This is where yoga can really work, by taking from 5 minutes as and when you get time up to over an hour a day depending on a person’s time and routine helps you to stop and solely focus.

One of the big things yoga concentrates on is breathing. It helps calm and focus the mind giving relief. If you are feeling very anxious usually your breathing will be quite erratic. Yoga will help regulate breathing and regulate tension by using various postures. One popular posture used is sitting down on the floor or lying flat, letting your body relax and take deep breaths through the nose, breathing slowly and deeply brings oxygen to the lowest part of your lungs and exercises your diaphragm. The yoga breathing teaches us to breathe through the nose, to lengthen our exhalation, increasing our physical and mental health. By concentrating solely on your breath as you inhale and exhale you learn to focus on the breathing and relax rather than on the feelings of anxiety and stress. Breathing exercises are something that can be practised anywhere, so if stress at work was a factor it can even be practised sitting in an office chair.

When a person is stressed some of the symptoms can be a faster heartbeat, increased blood pressure, difficulty relaxing and focusing the mind, headaches and tense muscles. Some episodes of the stress and the symptoms can then cause anxiety and depression. Yoga helps decrease physiological arousal – that’s the heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration. In order to change exaggerated stress response it is necessary to become familiar with relaxation. Yoga practice provides the time and space to experience the sensations of the body, and to interpret them. Is the breath short, are the muscles tense?

By learning to relax in yoga this reduces production of stress hormone cortisol and improves the ability to manage stressful situations as well as other benefits which can come along with stress, anxiety and depression such as, greater energy and focus, improved muscle tone and cardiovascular health. Greater levels of happiness, self-confidence and an increase in job satisfaction.

Everyone suffers from anxiety at one point or another in their life but chronic anxiety can have quite an impact on the body after a while. When people have a lot of anxiety and do not exercise this causes tense muscles, constricted breathing and the mind never rests because of all the thoughts and feelings that come along with it. Yoga with music is great for anxiety, playing music that a person enjoys and finds particularly relaxing helps sooth the body. People with anxiety can try to keep busy to escape what they are feeling and thinking but it has been said that yoga helps the body to access an inner strength. This can help face the overwhelming thoughts, fears and frustrations of everyday life. By practising the exercises that yoga recommends daily this causes the body to release tensions from the large muscle groups and increase feelings of well-being, and encourage the body to breathe deeply.

In his book The Science of Yoga, writer William Broad assesses yoga’s ability to improve our mental health. He said:

*“The portrait that emerges from the decades of mood and metabolic studies is of a discipline that succeeds brilliants at smoothing the ups and downs of emotional life. It uses relaxation, breathing and postures to bring about an environment of inner bending and stretching. The current evidence seems to suggest that yoga can reduce despair and hopelessness to the point of saving lives”.* – The Science of Yoga, The risks & rewards by William J Broad – Page 87

Invitation to view photos from ‘All Photographs’

12 Jul

Hello,

I’d like to share photographs with you from my ‘All Photographs’ group.

http://saradunn.zenfolio.com/f525688558

Enjoy!

Toxic People

21 Apr

“Not all toxic people are cruel and uncaring. Some of them love us dearly. Many of them have good intentions. Most are toxic to our being simply because their needs and way of existing in the world force us to compromise ourselves and our happiness. They aren’t inherently bad people, but they aren’t the right the right people for us. And as hard as it is, we have to let them go.

Life is hard enough without being around people who bring you down, and as much as you care, you can’t destroy yourself for the sake of someone else. You have to make yourself a priority. Whether that means breaking up with someone you care about, loving a family member from a distance, letting go of a friend , or removing yourself from a situation that feels painful – you have every right to leave and create a safer space for yourself.”

Daniell Koepke

F-E-A-R – FACE EVERYTHING AND RISE.

19 Apr

‘Forget everything and run’

‘Face everything and rise’

“A comfort place is a beautiful thing, but nothing ever grows there”.

Anxiety can be crippling. It has can hold us back from the big things and the little things in our life. It is natural everyone suffers from some anxiety in their lives, if you are in a stressful situation or worried about something. However chronic anxiety is when this starts to enter every part of your life. From the moment, you wake up until the moment you sleep.

I first experienced crippling anxiety when I had a bad experience on a missionary trip to Africa. Although perfectly innocent it was my first trip so far from home in a totally different surrounding. I had suffered no anxiety or nerves leading up to this trip, but after arriving in Namibia my friends who I was with got directed to the exit in the airport and I was diverted to a tiny room unable to alert them. There security guards in rubber gloves made me open my case and went through my entire belongings I had on me. Although they obviously did these as random checks to many people and I was allowed, to go straight after, something in my head exploded. I felt in great danger. I was very homesick the few weeks I was away and was absolutely convinced I would not make it home. Either someone would plant something in my case and set me up.  The paranoia was intense. It made me sick, I got ill, and lost lots of weight. Of course, I made it home and thought great I am safe.

But this anxiety followed to me. It kept me awake at night, exhausted me. Something terrible was going to happen. I went from a confident outgoing person to a crippling mess. If I drove I was convinced I had hit someone, or hurt them. In my job, I was worried what I was feeling would end up in the letters I typed, that I would make a grave error. It led to catastrophic thinking in thinking the worst that could happen in any situation. In 2010, 4 years since I had travelled I had the opportunity to go to Florida and decided to take it. I was with two of my sisters and two friends. I was nervous about going but as soon as I arrived I knew it was a mistake. Panic set in, I felt trapped like I couldn’t’ breathe. I was on the holiday of a lifetime year every part was torture to me.

I knew something had to change. I felt I had no quality of life. I had lost all my confidence and became deeply depressed. To be blunt life didn’t feel worth living and the thought of ending it all seemed very appealing. A way out from the permanent darkness I was in.

“Anxiety is the most silently painful experience. It makes no sense and you sit there alone and suffer for an unknown reason. You can’t explain it. You can’t stop it. It’s horrible”.

After visiting the GP who was very understanding, he set me up to have six sessions of CBT. I felt quite sceptical that NOTHING or NO ONE could ever help me live a ‘normal’ anxiety-free life. It was the best decision I ever made. To sit and talk to someone and literally spill out all the scariest thoughts that I had built up and know I wouldn’t be judged was such a relief, to untangle the wires in my brain that had become so tied up, so many knots. I learnt anxiety is simply just fear. My brain giving me the wrong signals. I had got used to thinking this way all the time.

I set myself goals including going on a cruise for a week and for the first time in a long time I felt I enjoyed it. I then changed jobs as my currently job was not helping my mental health and situation.

“Fear… is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story … I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brace”.

I am not saying I don’t ever suffer from, or get anxiety at all. It is always there but I now have a good quality of life. I can generally talk sense into myself when it gets too much although there have been times since I have had moments of relapses. I never thought I would get up day-to-day and not feel crippled the moment I started my day.

There are many people out there suffering anxiety right now and not living a good quality of life, unable to reach their potential. I would strongly recommend CBT. I have also learnt that anxiety is a liar.

FEAR

When we avoid situations, we are confirming in our mind that our anxiety is true. It is small steps. However, in order to conquer our fears, we have to face them. I don’t know what your situation may be, there are so many different things that affect us as individuals. I still really dislike travelling, I really don’t like it however I do it, it’s not necessarily an enjoyment but I will never recover or put my anxiety to bed unless I push myself.

“You gain strength, courage & confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face.  You are able to say to yourself, I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along. You must do the thing you think you cannot do”. – Eleanor Roosevelt

“Some day your pain will become the source of your strength. Face it. Brave it. YOU WILL MAKE IT”.

 

International Women’s Day

8 Mar

Today is a celebration for women all around the world,
Ladies who’ve dared to dream big, ever since they were little girls.
For the diversity and talent that lie within a feminine heart,
For the courage and determination that prevents us falling apart.

 

We can raise families and build businesses and be proud of all we’ve achieved
Where once over, visions of that scale, could never have been believed.
Ladies, stand up and be counted, smile at how far we have come
And Cherish every single day, as daughter, wife, companions or mum.

 

Don’t let anybody tell you that there are set paths for you to follow
As a little girl with a passion, is an inspiring woman of tomorrow.
So celebrate all women, and acknowledge the great things they do
And tell a lady close to your heart, just how much she means to you.

 

Unbroken

7 Mar

I absolutely love this motivational video my Mateusz M. When I am feeling tired and weary I listen to this and it gives me hope. If you need inspiration and motivation watch this video. I have also written the words because sometimes it’s really great to just read things as well to help spur us on. Enjoy.
You cannot connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards, so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life whatever, because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads off the well-worn path and that will make all the difference. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life, don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others opinions drown out your own inner voice. You’ve got to find what you love and that is as true for work as it is for your love life. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work and the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking and don’t settle. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow truly know what you want to become.

You’re gonna have some ups and you’re gonna have some downs. Most people give up on themselves easily. You know the human spirit is powerful. There is nothing this powerful. It is hard to kill the human spirit. Anyone can feel good when they have their health, their bills paid, they have happy relationships, anyone can be positive then, anyone can have a larger vision then, anyone can have faith under those types of circumstances. The real challenge of growth mentally, emotionally and spiritually comes when you get knocked down. It takes courage to act, part of being hungry when you’ve been defeated. It takes courage to start over again.

Fear kills dreams, fear kills hope, fear put people in the hospital, fear can age you. It can hold you back from doing something that you know within yourself that you are capable of doing, but it will paralyze you, at the end of your feelings is nothing but at the end of every principle is a promise. Some of you in your life the reason you are not at your goal right now is all a bunch of feelings. You are all on your feelings, you don’t feel like waking up, who does?! Every day you say no to your dreams you might be pushing your dreams back a whole six months, a whole year, that one single day, that one day you didn’t get up, could have pushed yourself back I don’t know how long.

 Don’t allow your emotions to control you, we are emotional but you want to be able to discipline your emotions. If you don’t discipline and contain your emotions, they will use you. You want it and you’re gonna go all out to have it. I tell ya it’s not going to be easy. When you want to change it’s not easy. If it were in fact easy everybody would do it, but if your serious you’ll go all out. I’m in control here. I’m not gonna let this get me now, I’m not gonna let this destroy me, I’m coming back and I’ll be stronger and better because of it. You have got to make a declaration that this is what you stand for. You’re standing up for your dreams, you’re standing up for peace of mind, you’re standing up for health. You’re taking responsibility for your life. Accept where you are and the responsibility that you’re gonna take yourself where you want to go. You can decide to live each day as if it were my last. Live your life with passion, with some drive, desire that you’re going to push yourself. The last chapter to your life has not been written yet and it doesn’t matter about what happened yesterday. It doesn’t matter what happens to you, it matters, what are you going to do about it. This year I will make this goal become a reality. I won’t’ talk about it anymore.

I CAN I CAN I CAN!!!

 

Why we must stand together

31 Jan

“Remember it didn’t start with gas chambers. It started with politicians dividing the people with ‘us vs them’. It started with intolerance and hate speech and when people stopped caring, became desensitized and turned a blind eye”.

I think majority of people across the world must be shocked by the actions of the new President Donald Trump. He has wasted no time in what he said he was going to do, building a wall, banning certain Islamic countries from entering the US. I  feel we have gone back to the dark ages, and it brings a deep sadness. Just as we have marked Holocaust Memorial Day, where millions across the globe mark this day. We stand and say ‘never again’. But here before our very eyes we have a man who is supposed to be a leader spreading racial hatred.

Trump seems to think that Muslims make up the majority of terrorists in the United States, however research shows otherwise. “According to the FBI 94% of terrorist attacks are carried out in the United States from 1980 to 2005 have been by non-Muslims. This means that an American terrorist suspect is over nine times more likely to be a non-Muslim than a Muslim.

I’d say there are many more attacks and massacres through gun violence than worrying about Muslims and terrorism.

“In Obama’s eight years in office, he formally addressed the nation on the subject of gun violence 25 times: on average ever 112 days but in 2015 he made statements regarding gun violence roughly every 36 days. However for every one American killed by an act of terror in the United States or abroad in 2014, more than 1,049 died because of guns. Also the number of US citizens killed overseas as a result of incidents of terrorism from 2001 to 2014 was 369”.

With the statistics above maybe Trump should focus on the real terror of the modern culture in the US – GUNS, rather than discriminating against innocent people. People who have worked hard for a number of year’s and brought a lot of skills now deported.

Surprisingly out of the number of countries he has ordered this ban on, he has failed to make this apply to the nationalities of those who carried out the 9/11 attacks, such as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt which seems very odd.

Elie Wiesel a Holocaust survivor put’s it perfectly with this quote:

“There may be times, when we are powerless to prevent injustice. But there must NEVER be a time when we fail to protest”.

Whether we are black, white, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Straight, Gay, Bisexual. We should be able to accept one another rather than stereotyping one another. As Jackie Robinson once said:

“I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking of me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being”.

Only time will tell where Trump will go next or what effect this ban will have but whatever happens those against these actions, in whatever country you may be, we must stand together, to those suffering as consequence of this executive order please know you are wanted, you are valuable and your rights and your lives matter and finally as Martin Luther King, JR once said:

One has moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws”.