Four questions to ask yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed

There’s so much going on in your 40s. You may be starting to experience symptoms of perimenopause, and if you’ve had children they could be going through their own hormonal changes. Combine that with caring for ageing parents, keeping a long term relationship alive or not (40-49 is the most common age group for separating) and climbing the career ladder, your fifth decade can become the perfect storm leaving you feeling overwhelmed.

And it’s no surprise that juggling all these responsibilities can feel overwhelming. When I feel overwhelmed, I feel a tightness in my chest and break out in a sweat. I find it hard to focus on anything and just don’t know where to start. So I don’t. I procrastinate and I do the ‘easy’ things that aren’t going to make a difference to the big projects I need to move forward.

(As a side note, I love this Ted Talk by Tim Urban on procrastination, which I found when I was putting off doing something!)

So, next time you notice that you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a moment to ask yourself these questions…

Where are you focusing your energy? 

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, you may think that taking the time to look at the bigger picture stops you making progress. But when you’re deep in overwhelm, it’s hard to know what the right thing to do is. So take time to list out and prioritise everything you’ve got on. What’s necessary? What can you reschedule or delegate? What’s driving any deadlines? Some clients like to map their tasks into an urgent/important matrix to make it really clear. 

What support do you need? 

For tasks that can’t be delegated, what support do you need? A shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen, or something more practical? Which friends or family can help you? Where else can you find support? A coach or therapist can help you get clarity, or if it’s causing medical issues speak to a doctor or healthcare professional. 

How are you fuelling yourself? 

Food, exercise and sleep are all so important for your body and mind to function well. But when I’m feeling overwhelmed they are the first things to go. 

If, like me, feelings of overwhelm and stress lead to you standing in front of the cupboard or fridge, how can you encourage yourself to pick up the healthy snacks instead of the crisps or biscuits? I create little snack packs at the beginning of the week. A little pot of nuts and fruit, some carrot sticks and a portion of hummus, a ready peeled boiled egg. If I make it easy to grab something healthy (and hide the biscuits right at the back of the cupboard) then I know I’m fuelling my body with healthy energy. 

As for exercise, I have a couple of friends that I love running with. During super busy times I may only go once a week, but it’s running (at a speed I can still chat) and it feels cathartic for me. What can you do to get moving and get out in the fresh air? 

Sleep for me is still a work in progress. Reminding myself to settle my mind with a book instead of my phone. Not taking my phone into the bedroom. Writing down anything that’s swirling around in my head before bed. I’m getting there, slowly. 

What is good in your life? 

Different studies have proven that practising gratitude can lead to deeper and healthier sleep, reduce levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), reduce negative emotions, and change neural structures in the brain to help us feel more content. 

So, before you go to sleep at night, think of three things you are grateful for that day. Some days it’s really easy, and the things are big, like my daughter bouncing through the front door after an epic first day of secondary school (fingers crossed for September!). Some days it’s harder – my slightly aloof cat deciding to sit next to me. Going to sleep thinking of the good things can help you wake refreshed and ready for the new day. 

The first step with anything is noticing. So when you do notice feelings of overwhelm, return to these questions. 

If it’s hard to stop, find a way to come back into the moment. The 54321 tool may help. Sitting with your feet planted on the floor and breathing deeply, think of 5 things you can see, 4 you can feel, 3 you can hear, 2 you can smell and 1 you can taste. Utilising all of your senses is very grounding. 

And a final thought. Be as kind to yourself as you would be to a friend.

Sophy Wells is a ICF certified coach, helping people reflect, refocus and reconnect to what’s important, and feel inspired about work and life again.

Understanding your anxiety symptoms + how to break the cycle

If you’re experiencing anxiety symptoms, it’s vital to understand the root of the problem. As someone who has battled with my own anxiety for the last decade, I know very well from first hand experience that in order to break the cycle of anxiety, you have to understand the cause and how to break it. It was onlt when I went for therapy that I truly understood the triggers for my anxiety (like many others, they stemmed from my childhood). If you’re struggling with anxiety symptoms, this Mental Health Awarness Week then today Love Island’s wellbeing and mental health coach Kamran Bedi – author of The Anxiety Antidote – shares his incisive tips for understanding your anxiety symptoms and how to break the cycle.

The importance of self awareness

Self awareness is the main ingredient for breaking the cycle of anxiety, but the determining factor that is key is being aware of HOW to break the cycle.  Most people are aware that they feel anxious, but no so much for how to make any sort of change. So I guess an increased awareness of how to make changes is what I offer in my work and through the Anxiety Antidote book.

Becoming more self aware

In my book one of the areas I guide the reader to consider is the ‘cause’ of their anxiety. Quite often people can get lost in the feelings and emotions, the physical changes and challenges that can feel overwhelming, but it can be very straight forward in identifying the cause of the anxiety and then dealing with the cause. It usually falls into two areas. Firstly, the cause could be mental and the anxiety is being formed through the persons thinking, secondly it could be a situation that is present in the person’s life that they need to address and deal with for the anxiety to be reduced or eliminated. The cause is always a key aspect to become aware of to then work on, whether its mental or actual.

The key to breaking the cycle of anxiety

The key to breaking the cycle is with working on the cause. If it is a mental cause and a set of thoughts, then interrupting the thought patterns and developing a more positive relationship with the mind can be key to breaking the cycle. I outline a variety of methods and awareness in the Anxiety Antidote that can really help readers become and feel more present, more mindful of their thoughts as well as how to take action anywhere inside their own headspace, to have more positive power and influence over their thoughts.

Staying mentally present

Mindfulness is the key to addressing anxiety symptoms as is awareness. In developing a daily practice of mindfulness, readers can learn to incorporate it into their daily lives so they are not then held captive to their thoughts that can often feel overwhelming.

Patterns of anxiety

There can be both physical patterns as well as mental patterns of anxiety. Usually on a physical level the body can enter into fight, flight or freeze. A person may have a fast heart rate and short fast breaths. This can usually be accelerated by the thoughts that cause this to literally switch on in the body, as what you think, you will feel. The mind has a very powerful influence over the physical and emotional state of the body, and in changing the thought patterns or even stopping them and then being more mindfully present, the person can end or reduce the anxiety experience and quite quickly.

Techniques and strategies for self-action to address anxiety symptoms

In my book, I cover how to work with your inner voice, how to be present and mindful, how to breathe to calm your nervous system, how to stop any mental movies playing over and over in your mind and also how to work with anxiety triggers in my book. The in-depth knowledge and the clear steps outlined in the book will really help any reader increase their awareness and improve how they think, feel and live and quite quickly.

Changing mindset

It’s important to work on the thoughts and anxiety and not avoid it on a daily basis. A lot of people will keep anxiety  inside of them and not deal with it, which can make the anxiety grow in strength. The key is to use the methods available in the book and to work on your mind on a daily basis. A daily practice of mindfulness and working with your thoughts and anxiety is as important as brushing your teeth twice a day.

A pep talk for those living with anxiety 

My advice from personal and professional experience is to work on, with and through your anxiety and to not avoid it. I see too many people who have suffered for years who have not worked on their anxiety. The trouble is for many, they have lived with it and lost out on years of their lives. Anxiety can stop you from travelling, being social, and it can affect your relationships and your health. In working on it with the methods available in my book, you can increase your understanding of what is happening in your mind and body but really transform your life.

Will CBT work for me?

Have you been considering seeking counselling or therapy recently and wondering will CBT work for me? When people think about seeking counselling or therapy, it can feel confusing and challenging to know what type of counselling to seek; there are so many models and approaches.

Before we address the question will CBT work for me, it’s important to first establish that there are different types of counselling therapies being practiced, all of which ultimately aim to help the client overcome a range of emotional problems. However this means it’s not surprising the waters can become muddied when taking the first step towards seeking support through couselling.

Cognitive and Behaviour Therapies are among the counselling therapies and psychotherapies that people usually seek.  They are recommended by NICE (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) for anxiety disorders, depression and many emotional problems, because of the wealth of research that has demonstrated their effectiveness and efficacy.

The ideas that underpin each counselling model have a profound effect on the techniques we develop and the way we ‘do’ our work or the way we counsel.  The model a counsellor uses, their ‘therapeutic bias or preference’, will even affect what is considered important or relevant during sessions. But just because there are different types, it does not mean one particular therapy is more ‘authentically’ counselling than the other.

Many models of counselling

There are many different theories of counselling available to choose from, whether as a practitioner or a client. Some of the most well-known include:

  • Psychodynamic therapies, which includes Psychoanalysis, developed by Freud, are influenced by Freud’s ideas and direct the therapy to the past and childhood in order to make sense of their problems in adulthood.  Emphasis is given to negative experiences of early development and the role of early parenting in the formation of the self and the other.
  • Learning Theory Approaches, which include behavioural therapy which aims to eliminate unwanted and unhelpful behaviours as a way to solve problems.  It is active and goal focused.
  • Perceptual – Phenomenological Approaches which includes Transactional Analysis, Gestalt Therapy and Client Centred Therapy. Client or Person Centred is a non-directive form of talking therapy.  The therapist remains non-directive, does not offer suggestions or solutions.  It is not goal focused but rather focuses on the relationship between the client and the therapist. The idea is that the therapeutic relationship could lead to insights and lasting changes in clients.
  • Existential Therapy is philosophical and focuses on free will, self-determination and the search for meaning.  It emphasises the client’s capacity to make rational choices. It is non directive and the therapist does not offer suggestions or solutions.
  • Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy which includes Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy or REBT, Cognitive Therapy (also known as CT and CBT), and Cognitive Behavioural Modification.  These are goal directed and state that our emotional disturbances arise from unhealthy unhelpful beliefs, attitudes and thinking and behaviours and that these can be changed so that we can free ourselves from being stuck in emotional pain.  They concentrate on present problems and the current mindsets and behaviours that are creating them.

All of these are counselling theories. ‘Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)’ is an umbrella term for several different theories that share common principles, just as ‘Psychodynamic Therapy’ is also an umbrella term.

will CBT work for me

Will CBT work for me? Informed choice is key

When deciding on what type of counselling to seek, it is important to make an informed choice. It is helpful to do some research, speak to your GP and perhaps talk to your friends about what they have found helpful and whether they managed to free themselves from their emotional suffering.  Prospective clients should ideally choose the model that they think best suits them, their strengths, experiences and ways of working.

But equally important is questioning perceived ideas or misconceptions about different models.  So, some non-CBT counsellors think that CBT counsellors don’t pay any attention to the therapeutic relationship (the working relationship between the client and the counsellor), which is completely untrue.  Of course, a CBT-counsellor will work hard to develop an open, trusting and relaxed working relationship. We are, after all, encouraging our clients to be frank and honest with their experiences and beliefs. How could we expect them to share these things if they did not trust us?

In Psychodynamic counselling, for example, the therapeutic alliance is viewed as the most significant condition or the central vehicle through which change occurs.  In contrast, a CBT counsellor sees the therapeutic alliance as significant and very important, whilst believing that change occurs when a client changes their mindset and their behaviour.  This process of change starts from understanding emotional responsibility, emotions, facing our past, present and future and developing skills of critical thinking and healthy behaviours. Without a therapeutic alliance effective change would be limited regardless of the counselling model used.

Even under the CBT ‘umbrella’ there can be differences. REBT, for example, can be described as philosophical CBT.  In REBT, the process of therapy is an active and directive one but collaborative.  The therapist and the client work as a team and focus on the client’s goal.  It is a transparent process where problems and priority problems are agreed, goals set, and emotions assessed.  Then the unhealthy beliefs that are at the heart of the client’s emotional problems are identified.  Once this happens, the client learns to turn the spotlight on these happiness sabotaging beliefs so they can be questioned to check if they are realistic and helpful.  Once this skill is learned, their healthy alternative beliefs are discussed and formulated.  Then the process moves onto how to strengthen the healthy versions and weaken the current unhealthy ones through cognitive and behavioural exercise and homework.   It’s like planting a seed for the healthy version and doing what’s needed so the seed can flower.  The weeds that need to be kept in check are the unhealthy beliefs. The client learns this philosophy of change is universal.  Once learned and applied to the initial problems, it can be universally applied to whatever we experience in life.  REBT is an active-directive existential and humanistic CBT model that leads to consistent mental health and resiliency.

Avy Joseph is the author of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy: Your Route out of Perfectionism, Self-Sabotage, and Other Everyday Habits with CBT (third edition published by Capstone, April 2022). He is an experienced CBT/REBT Therapist and Director of the College of Cognitive Behavioural Therapies. He is a registered and accredited therapist with the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP).

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The power of breath: breathwork benefits & 3 techniques for beginners

I am a big believer in the power of breath, and have used breathwork for a whole host of things – combatting my anxiety, tackling my insomnia, getting a handle of big emotions, dealing with pain as well as my own particular health worries. I have very much felt the myriad of breathwork benefits first hand.

However, to many, the concept of breathwork might sound mysterious – after all, breathing is something we do every minute of our lives, without even thinking. But the reality is, most of the time, we are not breathing fully, or properly.

So what? You may ask. Well. Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan, author of Finding Inner Safety and wellbeing, sleep and energy expert, explains the problem here, “When we don’t breathe fully, we don’t inhabit our bodies fully. We become dissociated and numb. At some point in our lives we may have learnt that this was a helpful thing to do, that it would stop us feeling a pain or trauma at that time that we didn’t have the resources to deal with. Maybe we were young so learning how to not feel, to block out (in) uncomfortable feelings was preferable to feeling them.”

The good news is is that this is pretty easy to reverse, and if you are curious about breathwork benefits, then here is your chance to experience them right here, right now as we share three breathwork exercises taken from Dr Nerina’s book, so you can try along with us today, to experience what can be truly profound breathwork benefits.

Practice 1: Notice the Breath

Notice your breathing. What is it doing right now? Don’t try to change it, simply allow it to do what it has been doing all along until you paid attention to it.

Have you been holding your breath while reading or listening to my words? Are your shoulders tight? And what about your jaw?

Have you been gripping it? Is your breathing deep? Do you feel it in your belly or does it feel stuck in your chest, shallow and tight?

Go deeper.

If you find that your breathing is shallow and restricted in your chest, lie down comfortably. Don’t get into bed if you might be in danger of falling asleep! Using blankets and cushions, make yourself comfortable and warm.

Notice your breathing. Place your left hand on your chest and over your heart. Place your right hand on your belly. Allow your breathing to settle and deepen, feeling the weight of your hands on your body. Can you allow your breath to reach deeper into your belly?

Start to gently prolong your exhalation but don’t force it. Imagine you are breathing roots out through your lower body – belly, hips, legs, and feet. Don’t worry about your exhalation – it will take care of itself. Simply, gently making the exhalations longer OOOOUUUUUUTTTTTTT as if you are breathing roots out through your feet and deep into the earth.

Send those roots deep down into the earth. As you breathe out your roots of safety, repeat to yourself:

IT IS SAFE FOR ME TO BREATHE.

IT IS SAFE FOR ME TO BREATHE DEEPLY.

I AM SAFE.

I AM SAFE IN MY BODY.

I AM SAFE IN MY LIFE.

breathwork benefits

Practice 2: Take 5 a Day/Morning Practice

This simple practice is one that I do most days. On days that I don’t I might find myself rushing around, feeling ungrounded and even overwhelmed with everything I feel I have to do.

When you wake in the morning, avoid rushing to open your eyes. With your eyes closed, simply check in with your breathing. What is it doing right now?

Simply follow five exhalations. Doing this might make you want to breathe in a different way – your breath might deepen so you feel your belly expand. Alternatively, let it do whatever it wants to do. Simply follow it.

As you notice your breathing, ask yourself ‘How am I feeling right now?’ Just a simple check-in to start your day.

It would be good if you could repeat this exercise as you go about your day. Perhaps find three other times when you simply notice five exhalations at three other times in the day. Maybe before you have your lunch or while you make a cup of tea. And then, last thing in the day when you turn your light out, follow five exhalations to help you to slide effortlessly into velvety sleep.

This simple practice helps you to become acquainted with yourself and how you are feeling rather than being constantly caught up in the mental realm – always thinking, often over-thinking.

Breathe.

Come back into your body.

Come back to yourself.

breathwork benefits

Practice 3: Sigh it Out

This is a really effective practice for letting go of emotions or stuck energy as you go about your day. We tend to sigh spontaneously as we go about our day but if we bring intention to our sighing it becomes a powerful therapeutic practice in its own right.

When we sigh, it drops us into feelings of calm and contentment. Try it right now. Take a big, exaggerated breath in, hold it in for a second or two and then sigh it out through your mouth. Make a sound as you do so. Make a sound of relief as you sigh.

Try this again, this time exaggerating the exhalation and making it longer.

Imagine sending this exaggerated sigh out of the soles of your feet, as if you are breathing out roots, so this prolonged out-breath makes you feel safe, grounded, and connected to the earth.

Notice if you start to feel softening anywhere in your body. Maybe your shoulders drop and relax, or your eyes and jaw soften.

Have you tried breathwork before? Or is this your first time encountering the benefits of breathwork? Do let us know in a comment below.

This is an edited extract from Finding Inner Safety: The Key to Healing, Thriving and Overcoming Burnout, by Dr Nerina Ramlakhan (published by Capstone, April 2022)

Images by rawpixel.com

How to heal emotional trauma

I have spoken to so many women in their 40s recently who are struggling. If you have some form of emotional trauma from somewhere in the past, the absolute truth is that eventually, somehow, someway, it will end up catching up with you. I know this to be only too true from my own personal experience at the beginning of the pandemic during the depths of the first lockdown. The emotional trauma from my childhood caught up with me in a pretty major way. On the break of utter self distruction and about to take everyone I love down with me, I realised I needed to go for therapy and it was one of the best decisions I made in my life.

I had been pretending thus far that the emotional trauma buried deep inside me did not exist, that I didn’t need help, and I certainly didn’t need therapy. Boy, how wrong was I!

So when I heard about Anna McKerrow’s The Path to Healing is a Spiral: One Woman’s Journey to Emotional Healing, I just knew this was something we had to talk about openly on 40 Now What. If more people acknowledge, open up about, and address their emotional trauma, just think how much lighter and happier we would all be.

And so let us start with this. A deep dive on all things emotional trauma – triggers, origins, recognition and of course the very hardest bit – taking that first step to healing your emotional trauma.

What is emotional trauma? Can you give some examples of triggers?

From a psychological standpoint, emotional trauma happens when either a person is involved in a current traumatic situation (anything from the death of a loved one to experiencing war, childbirth difficulties, baby loss, a terrorist attack, a humiliating experience, rape, mugging or climate change-related traumatic experiences) or witnesses it (this might include police officers viewing violent crime or abusive video footage, or someone working with the survivors of sex trafficking or some similar support role). It also refers to historic trauma experienced in childhood that an adult may (or may not) have blocked from their memory, but which is causing problems in their adult life. Last, something that causes ongoing stress, such as a heavy workload or a stressful relationship, can cause trauma. Any of these experiences can also lead to PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

The symptoms of trauma can include depression, re-experiencing the traumatic event in flashbacks, insomnia, emotional detachment, loss of self-esteem, despair, self-destructive behaviours (i.e. drug taking and alcoholism), panic attacks, nightmares and intense anger among many others. Conventional treatments for trauma and PTSD currently include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) medication and counselling.

The holistic point of view agrees that trauma is caused by difficult life situations, but differs in the way that it conceptualizes what trauma does to a human being. In a variety of therapies, trauma is considered to be psychically “held” in the body and the energy field around the body, rather than just inside the brain, as in the more conventional psychological view.

The energetic model of healing explains that we are made up of a number of linked “bodies”, with the physical one being the densest. The physical body is (of course) visible to the eye. Around that, the emotional body surrounds us for several inches, followed by the mental and then psychic body in similar layers, growing ever more subtle in terms of vibration. When people see auras around the bodies of others, they’re seeing the denser levels of the energy body, most likely the emotional or mental energy body, often dominated by the colour of the chakra that person is most “in” at that time.

When trauma comes our way – be that some negative energy or a virus or a traumatic experience – the energetic model states that it will make its way in from the psychic energy body, to the mental, to the emotional and finally the physical where it will manifest as actual disease or pain. Similarly, when we heal, the trauma is sent back out through the system in the same way.

I was taught an interesting concept about the healing of the physical body under this rationale, which is that the dis-ease (symbolizing a virus/bacteria/trauma, etc) makes its way out of the physical body from the core and out to the extremities before continuing to depart through the emotional, mental and psychic bodies. For example, an illness might begin with sickness (core), but as the healing body pushes out the intruder, it becomes a rash that starts at the chest, moves down to the legs and then out through the toes and feet. It’s an interesting theory (and I’m not sure if it’s got the scientific seal of approval) but I have found it very useful to think about how people’s symptoms often morph over time.

Sometimes an emotional problem can even become a physical one or, sometimes, when emotional problems are dealt with, then physical symptoms disappear.

Following the energetic model to its logical conclusion, dis-ease will continue to go deeper into the body until it hits the bones and the internal organs, causing more serious complications. From a holistic viewpoint, then, it makes sense to ward off the nasties before they get that far, with regular deep healing of emotional trauma as well as psychic self-protection.

heal emotional trauma

Where does emotional pain/trauma come from? Why is it important to heal and recover from emotional trauma?

Trauma comes from being human and living life, in my opinion. I think it comes from big, one-off things like bereavement, illness, rape, miscarriage, loss, sometimes relationship breakups, all manner of things like that. But it also comes from ongoing situations like bullying, coercive relationships, domestic violence, addiction, ongoing illnesses, being a carer perhaps for an ill relative or partner over a long period of time, living in a war zone, working in a toxic environment, battling gender identity issues – the list goes on! Things that can wear you down over time and create traumatic responses and stored pain.

I personally have worked with resolving trauma resulting from my mum’s illness with cancer and her passing away; my own childhood; poverty and debt; motherhood; my son being seriously ill when he was little, and a lot about just being a woman in a sexist world too.

There are so many reasons why we need to heal emotional trauma. Holding onto it means that we have less energy or capacity for other things; we might avoid making good life choices out of fear, based on something bad that has happened to us before. We might also just not have the bandwidth to progress in our lives and leave relationships or jobs that aren’t really right for us, because carrying that emotional trauma makes us so bloody exhausted! In my book I say:

“When we release trauma, it gives our systems more energy to get on with everything else. Imagine carrying a really heavy box. Once you’ve put the heavy box down, it’s much easier to think about what you need at the shops, right? If you take the heavy box to the supermarket, all you can think about when you’re walking around the aisles is Christ, this box is heavy. It’s hard to focus on what’s the best wine to go with chicken.”

The other thing to consider is that emotional trauma, or emotional stress, starts to have an impact on the body after a while. We know that stress is bad for our physical body as well as our brains.

The first step is always the hardest. How can someone go about becoming aware/acknowledging/identifying that they have experienced emotional trauma?

I would say that most of us have, so it’s almost a given. I think it’s important for everyone to get healing. You shouldn’t actually wait until physical symptoms manifest, or until you have a breakdown. In an ideal world, everyone would have regular healing, whether that’s reiki or breathwork or whatever, and head off the problems before they become too troublesome. It’s a bit like how your dentist tells you to floss to avoid having a filling later on. Healing should be like flossing: preventative as well as transformative.

The other thing to say is that you’ll probably know if you’ve experienced a traumatic experience. In my experience, people usually know: it’s more that they just ignore it and think, if I just get on with life, this will go away! I’ll just forget about it! That’s when the problems happen, when you sit down and talk to people and they say, I don’t know why I’m crying all the time. And then further on in the conversation you find out that they had a miscarriage last year and never talked to anyone about it.

There are, of course, traumas that we might have consciously decided to forget, and can be affecting your life with, say, self-destructive behaviour or another difficult thing which is coming from the unconscious, which definitely hasn’t forgotten. All the more reason to do some healing just as part and parcel of your normal life.

In the UK at least, I think people are quite averse to the concept of emotional healing. Most people will say they don’t need it, or they don’t believe in it. I would say that healing works whether you believe in it or not, because most alternative healing modalities aren’t psychological, they’re working on a holistic model of the body-mind and the body’s energy systems which is different to psychology. That said, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink, as they say, and no healing professional would ever make anyone have whatever therapy they were offering, because everyone is on their own path. But if you are open to it, then pursue those instincts because it’s very worth doing and nothing to be scared of.

My other advice to people is, don’t assume that you can think your way out of traumatic experiences, and don’t expect to just get on with your life afterwards without needing to process and heal that experience. We have a very intellect-focused culture and most people think that, if they need to do anything, they need to rationalise a traumatic experience to understand it. I don’t think you do, actually. You need to feel it, and express your emotions as fully as possible. Emotions are not thoughts. They are much more primal and physical, and they won’t go away until you have allowed yourself to feel them in totality, whatever that means: screaming, punching a pillow, crying, whatever.

heal emotional trauma

What steps can be taken to alleviate the burden of trauma and heal emotional wounds?

There are many things you can do, and my main advice is try something out. If you hate it, then try something else. The worst thing you can do is nothing. I personally tried lots of healing techniques and therapists – some worked for me, some not so much, but overall, the best ones were the ones that held a space for me to cry and process my emotions in a safe environment. I didn’t like gong baths, but that might be your thing! And I have never had acupuncture, but I hear it’s great.

The other thing to say is that it’s important to share your experiences with other people. Sometimes, finding a support group of people who have experienced the same thing as you can be super helpful. I had a hysterectomy in 2020 and I found it really helpful to join a hysterectomy support Facebook group. I also joined one for endometriosis and adenomyosis sufferers, which was really helpful. I think there’s something very useful about sharing your story but also learning about what other people have experienced, and realising you’re not on your own.

Can you share a list of examples of alternative therapies you tried to heal your emotional traumas?

Yes! Reiki has been in my life for many years now. I started having reiki in 2004 and then became a practitioner myself, and then became a Reiki Master in 2021 (I was busy in the pandemic!). I’ve had shamanic healing, BodyTalk, reflexology, angelic healing, spiritual healing (they’re pretty similar tbh), crystal healing, I’ve done breathwork, all sorts. Plus I consider yoga to have helped me a lot too.

Were there some that were better for certain emotional wounds than others?

I have to say that Breathwork was probably the most profound in terms of processing really deep emotions that I’d been holding for a long time. It’s a breathing technique you do with a qualified therapist who guides you through the whole experience, and the way that you breathe puts you in a kind of trancey state where it’s easier for your emotions to come out. A session lasts about an hour or an hour and a half, and in that time you might “breathe through” a number of traumatic experiences or feelings, with the therapist supporting you gently. Like, they might hand you a pillow to hold, or they might say something very simple and non-intrusive like “it’s safe to feel this now” but really the focus is on you expressing these very deep emotions and breathing. Very powerful stuff.

heal emotional trauma

What does freedom from emotional trauma look and feel like?

Ha! I’ll let you know when I get there.

The thing is that even if you’ve done a lot of healing work, life still happens, so it’s not like there’s a point where you can become a guru and start wearing robes and all that, because there’s always a need for it. It’s more that you can find a greater sense of peace by clearing out certain emotional “weights” that you might be holding, and that we should have an awareness that engaging in a regular healing routine will be beneficial for us, whatever that looks like for us.

I think also that greater freedom from trauma looks like someone who is happier with the life they have, and is invested in making positive choices for themselves.

What advice would you give to people who are carrying an emotional wound – perhaps unknowingly – on how they can address their emotional health and needs?

Like I said before, the best thing is to actually do something! Thinking about it won’t change anything. Go to a reiki practitioner, do a breathwork session, find a support group, talk to someone, journal your feelings. Doing is the best thing, and my recommendation is do something that makes you cry a lot in a safe space. I’m a big fan of crying.

The other thing to say is look at your life, dispassionately, and think about whether you have any recurring themes. Like, do you always attract the same kind of partner, or do you have the same repeating issue happening to you at work? If these are things that you find to be negative experiences, that might be a sign that shows where an emotional wound is lurking. That emotional wound is creating a need that you are fulfilling with these dynamics in some way.

The thing is, I’ve found with emotional healing, it doesn’t really matter if you understand or deduct the reasons for your trauma intellectually or not. You might have a deep emotional trauma from a childhood experience you’ve consciously forgotten, but you discover when you heal it. The important this is that you heal it by doing rather than thinking, and process the experience.

Anything else you would like to add – words of encouragement/wisdom/inspiration?

You’ve got this! Any moment is a good moment to start investing in your emotional health – it’s never too late, and everyone needs to do this. Healing doesn’t mean you’re weird or seriously disturbed, it’s just something we all need as humans, living our human lives. I’ve found it truly transformational.

Anna McKerrow’s The Path to Healing is a Spiral: One Woman’s Journey to Emotional Healing is out on September 14th priced £12.99 and is available at all good book stores. Anna McKerrow is a YA author and Reiki Master. Connect with her on Instagram.

Photos by Alena Shekhovtcova, Monica Turlui, Liza Summer, Andres Ayrton

7 reasons you need to be more selfish and how to own it

“Ugh, she’s so selfish!”, you may have muttered under your breath about someone else in your life probably more than one or two times. Well, hold the phone! Because being selfish – or indeed, more selfish, is having somewhat of a reinvention. Yes people, the times they are a changing. Those days when being branded as selfish, or self-centred are slowly being replaced by an alternative way of thinking, which is that being selfish is actually good! Otherwise known as positive selfishness.

If you are sick of putting everybody else first and putting your needs last. If you are feel that you are being undervalued by those around you whether it be family, friends or work colleagues. If you are feeling like you’re running on empty, spread thinner than the latest iPhone then hold up! Here, Carolyn Hobdey author and founder of Redefining Selfish lays down seven reasons you need to be more selfish and how to own this new breed of positive selfishness.

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We get so caught up in our busy lives, in the groundhog day of work, family and household chores, giving our all to everyone else, trying to avoid careering into a midlife crisis etc that we don’t stop to consider our own needs. When this happens, we can become fed up and frustrated, but how often do we stop and think about what’s causing those feelings?

Here are seven reasons why you might need to be more selfish and what you can do about them:

An endless ‘to-do’ list

When you feel like you’re never getting on top of things in your life, it can be hard to see your way out of the rut. If you’re in a constant state of busy-ness with barely any time to think or catch your breath, then its a sure sign that you need to take some selfish time out.

To do this, you need to determine what is actually important. This helps to sort out that not everything on that list is of equal weight in your life; it gets you away from your ‘to-do’ list being one amorphous mass of stuff. To do this, write everything you have to do on post-its (one item per post-it). Then plot them on a grid with ‘important’ on one axis and ‘urgent’ on the other from low to high for each. Now place the post-its on the grid – be ruthless about what goes where!

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Feeling resentful about your life

Even if your life is the picture of ‘success’ or looks like you have it all, it’s ok if you don’t feel that way about it. It’s normal to look at your life and ask yourself, “is this it?”. If you find yourself doing this, or hacked-off by the monotony of your existence, then its time to take stock and be focused about what you want.

To do this, look at the two possible versions of your life. In the first, write down everything that those you know and love will have to say about you at the end of your life if you carried on living it as you are today. If nothing changed, what would be the legacy that you would leave? What would be said about your behaviours and actions?

Then write the alternative version. This includes everything that you want to be said about you – the person you were, the impact you made and how you lived your life. Look at the difference between the two versions, then plan what steps you’d need to take to move from the first version to the second.

Frequently weary or burnt out

Our ‘always on’ society means constant demands on your time and attention.

When you feel like you’re always running on empty, it’s time to take notice. Excessive, extended periods of stress lead to burn-out. Burn-out means you’ll hit a brick wall and your body will prevent you from doing anything, however much your mind wants otherwise. Therefore, prevention is crucial.

Instead, see yourself as a battery; your energy levels are the charging bars. Check in on those bars every day. Keep a record of your energy levels on a scale of 1 to 5. Observe if there is a pattern. Notice if your levels are consistently low or if certain events/people reduce them. Then start doing one thing per day to be kind to yourself. Something exclusively for you that boosts that battery. Build cumulatively on that success.

be more selfish

Stressed or anxious

Life’s endless treadmill naturally leads to stress – especially when we’re expected to have-it-all and be able to do-it-all. The reality is that we’ve no more time in each day than our ancestors had, we’re just expected to cram more in. The negative impacts on our minds and bodies of the relentless cortisol experienced when we’re stressed have been well documented.

Ten minutes each day of thoughtful breathing, mindfulness or guided meditation has been proven to have a significantly beneficial impact on reducing stress and anxiety. Think you don’t have time? Monitor for a week how much time you spend scrolling through social media…

Feeling guilty for putting yourself first

When did showing yourself some respect become a bad thing? If you feel guilty for taking time for self-kindness, then ask whose guilt it is that you’re carrying around. Where does it come from? Who instilled that into you? Is it even your guilt?

To remove this guilt, see this time as an investment in you. When you put yourself first, you’re putting credits into the bank of you – these are just a way to balance out all the debits that you allow others to withdraw. Staying in the ‘black’ with your body’s account is much healthier. 

Not being valued by others

When this happens you need to ask, “what do I do that makes this happen?”. Yes, this might seem harsh on you, but when others treat you badly, it’s frequently because you communicate that you don’t matter.

Want that to change? Start looking at how you treat yourself. Consider what you tell people about your value by the way you prioritise yourself. When you start putting you higher up on your priority list, others will treat you how you treat yourself. Simple.

Thinking being selfish is ‘bad’

Do you tell yourself that if you take time for you, take attention away from others and don’t put those you love first that the whole world is going to cave in? Where does that perception of selfish come from?! When did loving yourself become a thing of shame?

Change your mindset about ‘selfish’. You can’t rescue anyone if you’re drowning; put your own life-vest on before helping others. When you look at self-care as being a way in which you can better serve those you love, then it becomes self-less to be selfish.

Shifting your mindset about what it means to be selfish is about learning to value you.

You matter. Believe that.

Do you ever wish you were more selfish? Could you see yourself redefining the concept of selfishness to the benefit of your confidence and wellbeing? Do share a comment below and keep the conversation going over on our Instagram community here.

Background photo created by benzoix, Love photo created by wayhomestudio, Flower photo created by gpointstudio

What to do when the world is full of bad news

Is it me, or does everything just feel so bloody hard right now? The world is full of bad news, and life feels – well, depressing. Just as we begin slowly emerge from one crisis, then comes another to beat us back down again with another. If you are anything like me, this might be happening for you on a global news agenda front, then on a more micro level of general daily clusterfucks. When you have the together – which is usually the norm at these times – it can leave you feeling utterly miserable.

If you are wondering how to drag yourself through life when the world is full of bad news, then today we have some words of wisdom to soothe you from influential leadership authority Drew Povey and former BBC and Sky journalist Sam Draper – authors of the new book When The Clouds Come.

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Let’s be honest, it’s hard to stay positive and chipper when that metaphorical rain keeps falling and the world is full of bad news. But storms arrive and they pass, and we abide regardless. So how can we learn a few simple ways to get more silver linings in these tumultuous times?

In our new book ‘When The Clouds Come’, we explore some positive and practical ways to deal with difficulties and challenges in your life. And here we’d like to share with you why P’ing’ is so important to staying realistic and positive in times of crisis – Pausing, gaining Perspective, and Prioritising.

The 3Ps

In these times of anxiety, the easiest and arguably most annoying response to a problem is ‘toxic positivity’ – “look on the bright side”, “others have it worse than you”, “feel the fear and do it anyway”. All true in many ways, but sometimes you can’t help but feel the pain and trauma of stuff going wrong. It’s human to have these emotions and react in these ways. However, the 3Ps might help you acknowledge the difficulty and find a realistic and optimistic ways through.

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Time to pause

The Pause is the first element of our model. The pause is powerful in all different scenarios in life. Consider a conversation where the other person isn’t really saying anything, just pause. Wait. Don’t say anything. Within 15 seconds that person will respond or remark on your silence. You have literally made them talk. The pause is powerful.

So why is the pause useful right now? Well, if you think about the world we’re living in at the moment we’ve never been so anxious and so contactable. Thanks to broadband and technology, many of us remain contactable all day long. Where is the time to pause? It’s no surprise that we get into quick, fast thinking mode that makes for poor responses to any situation. Everything is expected to be instantaneous and we can get a little bit upset if it doesn’t happen right now.

The alternative is finding a moment to slow down, be outside, give yourself some head room.

Think about the number of people that have brilliant ideas in the shower, or start thinking of things when they’re having a walk outside. In our busy world, we rarely stop and pause. These rare moments facilitate a moment of clarity or creativity that we need to make even better decisions. It’s a slow thinking habit that you’re trying to create. A deliberate pause point. If you’re in a meeting and it’s getting to a point where you can’t quite make a decision, or it’s getting fractious and difficult – time to take a pause. Ask everyone to take ten minutes and stretch their legs and come back. It works. When they return, it’s a different mindset, a different framework.

world is full of bad news

Get some perspective

The next P is Perspective. It’s the reason why so many people find it easier to give advice rather than to actually make their own decisions. Someone else’s eyes often seem to be better than your own at seeing a situation clearly. Sometimes we live life really zoomed in. As if our life is only a couple of inches from the end of our nose. We can’t quite see the bigger picture.

Sometimes it only takes a short conversation from a close friend to see that bigger picture and when you do, it really changes how you might make decisions. It’s the easiest thing in the world to get hung up on the smallest details, the tiniest of issues. Those dark clouds are on the horizon and you lose the other possible options that you could decide upon. When problems arise it is very easy to catastrophize about the situation – the snowball seems bigger and bigger, and looks like it could cause the end of the world. When really, it’s just part of a passing snow shower. Press pause, get perspective, and try to see what is actually happening.

Review your priorities

The final P is Priorities. It’s now time to use the information you’ve gathered and set some priorities. What is it that matters most right now? Part of the feeling of panic and catastrophe is because the problem reveals a whole range of different things you might try and solve. But which first? What is our important?

We need to see past a whole range of distractions to the key elements that matter most. This helps you decide what to do next. If the different perspectives you’ve been given provide you with the calm reality of your family being safe, a roof being over your head, food being on your table, you can then get to the real dilemmas. They’re the things that matter most. In these high-pressured times, we can all take on too much and try and do too much and therefore achieve very little or get that sense of being overwhelmed. We all do it, and we all need the chance to pause, gain perspective, and refocus our priorities.

You won’t feel positive by just ‘pulling up your boot straps’ or ‘soldiering on’ when the world is full of bad news, but if you use the 3Ps to help take control of your own situation, you might just see that patch of blue sky on the horizon.

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When the world is full of bad news – as it currently is – take a moment to reflect on the above. Here’s hoping the storm clouds will pass soon enough. In the meantime, come and get a virtual hug over at our Instagram community here.

Image by rawpixel.com

How to live through a permacrisis when it feels like the world has gone mad

First there was Brexit, then there was the pandemic, and now Russia is pummelling Ukraine. If your levels of anxiety are creeping up again then you are most certainly forgiven. This morning after I dropped off my daughter at school, I had a conversation with a fellow school mum about the state of affairs and I walked away with that familiar yet unwelcome feeling of anxiety gripping my chest. When we are constantly being thrown curveballs of the unknown, the sense of dread about what will happen next becomes palpable. This, my friends, it what it is to be living through a permacrisis.

However bad whatever the world seems right now, it all feels a bajillion times worse thanks to the never ending news feeds which are constantly being rammed down our throats thank to the phones in our pockets and our attachment to social media. We can’t bare to look, yet we become disgustingly addicted to doom scrolling all in one fell swoop.

So now we are firmly here in the age of the permacrisis, how the heck do we live through it without completely losing our marbles? First let’s take a look at why we are all feeling so damned anxious now:

Why world troubles fire up your anxiety

Terence Watts, psychotherapist and author of the new book BWRT: Reboot your life with BrainWorking Recursive Therapy says:

“It can be difficult to get your head round… after all, Covid is nearly over, and Mr Putin and his army are hundreds of miles away. So why on earth are so many of us not sleeping properly and perhaps quietly wondering if we’re mentally ill?  Well, the answer is actually quite simple. 

It’s because most of us are control freaks, whether we want to admit it or not!

In the UK we’re so used to being in control of our lives that it’s the ‘norm’ and we really don’t think about it very much in the usual way. We have freedom. Then, suddenly, control is wrenched away from us, and we’re subject to mammoth changes almost overnight. 

The problem is, everybody’s psychology is already exhausted from two years of Covid, and just as things start to feel normal again, up comes this new threat… and resilience has taken such a beating that it all feels just too much.”

What can you do about it?

So now we understand why we are mentally where we are, what can we do about it?

Watts offers some hope: “What can you do to relieve that nagging anxiety at the back of your mind, that uncomfortable feeling somewhere in your gut? Take time to detach yourself from it. We can’t stop what’s happening in Ukraine, but you can give yourself a psychological break from it for a while. Here’s the perfect exercise to do just that. It works best if you can learn it and then do it with your eyes closed:

Step 1: Imagine how you might look from the outside

If you knew exactly how to deal with the situation and make it as vivid in your thoughts/mind as you can. Don’t worry if it seems daft or unlikely, or what anybody else might think or say if they knew – just imagine it anyway in the privacy of your mind, and store that image of the ‘competent self’ anywhere in your thoughts.

Step 2: Now think of a clock

…with an hour hand, a minute hand and a hand that shows the seconds so that you can see the clock is working. Make that vivid in your mind, too. (You don’t have to think of both this image and the first one at the same time.)

Step 3: Take a moment

…to imagine how you look from the outside when you’re at your most anxious and make that vivid too – be honest now and make it look real!

Step 4: Imagine you can stop the clock

…and actually stop time by simply staring hard at the image so that it’s frozen in the past. In fact, everything has stopped except you. You can just walk out of that frozen scene and see yourself with each step adopting that ‘competent self’ you created at step 1.

Step 5: Zoom in

Now zoom right into that image to actually become that competent self as if you’re on the inside looking out on the world as you stride forwards and notice how good that feels.

Step 6: Repeat

Repeat steps 3 – 5 at least three times and notice how it gets easier each time. Stop when you’re happy with how you feel, or after six repeats which is about the maximum useful number.

This exercise has helped a good few people to get through trying times – and the good thing about it is that you can do it as often as you like and it gets better every time. You can’t change what’s happening in the world, of course, but you can change how you react to it!”

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The power of distraction

The ability to shift our attention away from negative experiences (note: not ignoring them), is a powerful one, in particular when it comes to managing anxiety at times like these. Dr Marianne Trent, Clinical Psychologist, founder of Good Thinking Psychological Services and host of The Aspiring Psychologist Podcast ellaborates:

“Whilst as a mental health professional I know that distraction is not the cure, it can be helpful to use strategies which keep us mindfully in the present. This might include things such as affirmations, or even just practicing skills in mindfulness such as rhythmic breathing or yoga. When creating affirmations it can be beneficial to include ways you can have a positive impact upon your thoughts and actions such as: I am choosing to focus on the things I can control, I am learning skills to soothe and calm myself, I can trust myself to take action as an when needed.

Where we do have to use a little bit of caution with positivity is if we are using it in a way which might actually be gaslighting to ourselves. For example, in the past I have worked with people who were feeling very sad and having a truly horrid day but were telling themselves that they were feeling really strong and were going to have a great day. This runs the risk of invalidating important needs and feelings and communications. So if you are having a horrid time right now then it is always a good idea to reach out to someone qualified and experienced to help you feel better.” 

Other tools to try and reduce the anxiety of living in a permacrisis

I am a big believer in having a bank of tools for dealing with tough mental times, of which we have been having plenty of over the last few years. Here Lisa Butcher, hypnotherapist, reiki master and shamanic practitioner shares some additional tools we can use during these times when we feel anxious about things we can’t control:

Breath Work

When you start to feel your palms getting sweaty or your tummy twisted in knots it’s good to work on your breath.  Every time you breathe in imagine there is calming beautiful energy coming into your body and every time you breathe out imagine letting go of fear, worry and anxiety. I like to do 7/11 breathing which is when you breathe in for the count of seven, through your nose, hold for a couple of beats and breathe out through your mouth emulating a sigh for the count of 11. Do this upto 10 times. Another great technique is to breathe in through your nose for the count of four, hold your breath for the count of three and then breathe out for the count of eight. It’s important to count the breath as it makes you concentrate on what you are doing and helps to take your mind off the feelings of anxiety.

Grounding 

Grounding is a brilliant way to get out of your head and into your body. Imagine yourself as a big oak tree. With the roots growing out the bottom of your feet, going through the different layers of the earth vertically and horizontally firmly grounding you. Now imagine pushing the energy swirling around your head (overthinking and fear) down through your body and down into mother earth to be transformed. I like to do this practice every morning when I wake up. I lay in bed and visualize my body being grounded. I then take this feeling with me on my morning dog walk. It helps me to connect with nature and feel like I’m connected to the earth.

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The TIPP Technique

If you are in the middle of a panic attack the best way to deal with it in the moment is to fill a wash basin with ice cold water. Put your whole face in the water and hold for 20 seconds. Take your head out of the water and take two or three deep breaths. Repeat this three times, and then do star jumps or move your body for 60 seconds. After sit down in a chair and take 20 long deep breaths – breathe in for the count of five and out for the count of seven. This technique is called TIPP – it stands for Temperature, Intense Exercise, Pace Breathing, Paired Muscle Relaxation. It might sound dramatic but believe me, it works.

The Five Senses

Look for five things around you and describe them. Listen to four different sounds and only focus on them. Smell three different things – try to distinguish three different scents around you. Touch two different textures. Taste one thing. By doing this you are using all of your senses to get out of your worry/fear. By stopping in the moment and using all five senses you relieve negative thought patterns and ease the anxiety.

How have you been feeling anxious with the recent world developments? Do leave a comment and share below and join our Instagram community here for more support.

Photo by Keenan Constance, Olya Kobruseva and PNW Production from Pexels

4 common sexual concerns after 40 (and what we can do about them)

As life starts to throw more challenges as we get older, whether it’s in terms of our health or just the sheer volume of tasks we need to complete every single day, the fact is that we’re not always in the mood for a bit of naughtiness, if at all! We can be very surprised by changes that occur in our sexual activity, especially after 40. There are very common reasons for this, such as decreased libido, hormone decreases, and changes in our sexual response. But there is more to it than this. Here, we explore, 4 common sexual concerns after 40.

1. Loss of libido

It’s a very common thing women experience, but we must remember that men experience it too! As women go through perimenopause into menopause, women are less likely to think about sex, if at all. And they may be very surprised at this sudden change. But it’s not just women. But men can have decreased libido too. And this is predominantly because their testosterone levels are starting to dip. 


While some methods and medications can help with this, such as Testogel, the fact is that when both partners are losing their libido, this can throw up a confusing number of components. Commonly, if one partner is sexually active and the other one isn’t, this can pose relationship problems, where breakups and divorces can occur.

2. Perception of the self

sexual concerns after 40

Something that is not always spoken about in relation to sex is the fact that as we get older we are going through so many physical changes that we can feel less desirable, which means we can be less interested in sex. Over the age of 40, there is more of a chance of us gaining weight, losing fitness levels, as well as our mood altering throughout these times. 

But we have to bear in mind that the challenges in dealing with each of these aspects can be overwhelming all in themselves. If we don’t feel attractive, which will impact our interest in sex, the best approach is to do what is manageable and reasonable to improve our overall health and appearance. But this alone is not enough. We then need to move on and learn to accept that we are who we are as we enter a new stage of our lives. 

Having that sense of self-perception is so important, regardless of your sex drive, but the more important component is to learn to accept who you are. Once we begin to feel more comfortable in our own skin, this is when we’re going to feel more attractive and open to possibilities. So many of us don’t feel attractive, even during the act of sex, which means that we’re going to not want to even initiate this because it’s going to have a negative impact on our frame of mind.

3. Gender role behaviour

In mid-life, partners can begin to fall out of sync with each other. Women in mid-life will experience a number of changes, not necessarily because of pre-menopause but the focus in their lives changes. For women who have had children in their 20s or early 30s, now they are beginning to focus more on their own needs, but will also have more time to devote to themselves. This is why we see many women changing careers in mid-life. The same thing applies to men, as they are more likely to start slowing down in their careers and want to have a balance in their lives. 

Overall, these things will impact sexual behaviour and will mean that when both partners are going out of sync with each other, they won’t necessarily have those same desires to focus on the other person. As we get older we can feel that we may have given too much of ourselves to others, especially if we’ve been in a parental role. We see many women and men in middle age going out and socialising more as they may have felt they missed out on a lot of this over the last decade or so. 

The main solution to this is about, very simply, learning to sync up with each other’s lives, even to the smallest degree. It’s almost like we’ve got to let our partners get these things out of their system. After all, we deserve to let our hair down, but if our partner is looking to do the same thing we’ve got to be aware that as we try to reclaim our lives for ourselves, there is another person in the equation. 

4. A change in sexual response

In women and men, there is a lot more difficulty in coming to orgasm, or orgasms may be less satisfying, and could potentially be an early warning sign of underlying health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease.

What can we do to help with these problems?

sexual concerns after 40

As we get older, there needs to be more focus on sex in a holistic manner. The fact is that it’s not just about being able to do it as in when you please. As we get older, we’re going to encounter more health problems that pose obstacles. Here are a few things that you can do to help move things along:

Manage stress

As we go into mid-life, our stress can increase. And this is where taking a look at your common stressors and eliminating these will help. Because if you work to manage your stress, you’re going to improve your general well-being which will have a positive effect on your sexual appetite. Managing stress doesn’t have to be about meditating for 2 hours a day, in fact, even as little as 5 minutes a day can have a positive impact, as long as you choose the right practises for you. Learning to breathe low, slow, and deep can have a positive impact on your abilities to deal with stress. 

Having a healthier diet

Our bodies respond very well to certain diets. And because there’s so much information around being healthy, we can find ourselves going down certain avenues that don’t benefit us on an individual level. Physiologically speaking, you have to ensure that you are increasing blood flow and helping your body to regenerate in the right ways. In many ways, the solutions are simple: eating for energy and having whole foods without any preservatives or additives. But it’s also important to remember that fat can also be beneficial here, especially good fats. 

Exercising

sexual concerns after 40

Women who take part in exercise have been shown to display fewer menopausal symptoms. It also increases cardiovascular health, resulting in a better sexual response. 

Treating anxieties

It may be beneficial to go to the doctor and discuss the right methods to medicate any form of anxiety or depression. It’s worth noting that medication like antidepressants can inhibit sexual function, but having this in combination with a type of therapy such as CBT may work for you. 

Sleep

Finally, having adequate sleep is vital for every aspect of your life. Having a solid 8 hours is not just going to reduce your stress, but will increase your hormone production which has a natural impact on increasing sexual desire. 

Because getting older, for many people, means naturally losing interest in sex, this doesn’t have to be the case. The reality is that we all deserve a healthy sex life, and having an understanding of the common issues that underlie a lot of middle-aged sexual anxieties, as well as having the best health solutions, will make a massive difference.

Keep the conversation going by commenting below or connecting with us on Instagram

The tell tale signs of a mid-life crisis

What are the tell-tale signs of a mid-life crisis? This is a question that many people ask, especially those who are in the midst of a mid-life crisis. There is no one answer to this question, as the signs can vary from person to person. However, some general signs may indicate that you are experiencing a midlife crisis. This blog post will discuss some of the most common symptoms of a mid-life crisis. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek help and get support.

Dramatic changes in relationships

mid-life crisis

One of the most common signs of a mid-life crisis is a change in relationships. You may find yourself withdrawing from old friends and family members, or you may become more involved with them than ever before. You may also experience changes in your romantic relationship, such as increased fights or a decrease in intimacy. If you are experiencing these changes, it is important to seek help and get support. You should also keep in mind that relationships are not static, so this may be normal if your relationship with someone has changed significantly over time.

Loss of interest in hobbies & activities

Another common sign of a mid-life crisis is losing interest in hobbies and activities. You may find that you are no longer interested in doing the things you used to do, or perhaps your interests have changed entirely. If this is the case, ask yourself if these changes may have a negative impact on your life. Of course, some hobby changes are normal, but if you are experiencing changes that negatively impact your life, it is important to seek help and get support.

The loss of interest in hobbies and activities can also be caused by depression or anxiety. If this is the case, these conditions should be treated before they lead to more serious problems such as substance abuse or suicide.

Increased substance abuse

mid-life crisis

Substance abuse is another common sign of a mid-life crisis. You may find that you are using drugs or alcohol more than usual or that you are engaging in other risky behaviours such as gambling. If you are experiencing these types of behaviours, it is important to seek help and get support. Substance abuse can lead to more serious problems such as substance dependence, which can be detrimental.

Reckless spending

mid-life crisis

Another sign of a mid-life crisis is when someone starts spending recklessly. This can be on things like cars, vacations, or even gambling. Often people in the throes of a mid-life crisis will feel like they need to “live it up” before they reach the end of their life. The key here is to carefully consider your spending habits and make informed decisions of which you’ve assessed the consequences. For example, a person experiencing a midlife crisis might be tempted to buy a new car that is out of their budget like a Maseratti, when they can, in reality, afford something more reasonable like a new Jaguar. Mismanaging your finances at this critical stage in life can seriously affect the next twenty years of your life, where you should be building towards a solid retirement strategy.

There are many tell-tale signs of a mid-life crisis. It’s important to be aware of these warning signals and take the necessary precautions, so you can make the most out of the second half of your life.

Have you fallen into crisis? Keep the conversation going by commenting below or follow us on Instagram.