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Symptoms and Causes of Depression

Symptoms and Causes of Depression

 

This week is Depression Awareness Week.

Depression feels like a hopeless place that you are trapped in.  It can feel as though the life has been sucked out of you.  Whether you are able to hide your depression from the outside world or not, you can’t hide it from yourself and, if not dealt with soon, can get worse as each day passes.

There are a number of symptoms which are used to diagnose depression.  If you have five or more on this list and at least one from the top two for two weeks, it is a sign that you may be depressed:

  1. Depressed mood most of the time
  2. Loss of pleasure or interest in things you would normally enjoy
  3. Loss of energy
  4. Eating more or less than usual
  5. Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  6. Poor concentration
  7. Restlessness or lethargy
  8. Feelings of worthlessness
  9. Guilt
  10. Hopelessness
  11. Withdrawal from relationships
  12. Suicidal thoughts

If you are suffering from suicidal thoughts or the symptoms are strong, you need to get medical help immediately.  Otherwise, there is plenty you can do to help yourself.  Depression can be caused by several factors:

  • Your thoughts (which create feelings).  If you are stuck in a negative thinking spiral then practicing positive thinking, as explained in the book Think Positive, Feel Good can make a huge difference to you.
  • Biochemical – this is the effect of what’s happening in your body.  Depression can be caused by malnutrition, absorption issues (where you are eating well but your body is not absorbing the nutrients effectively),  hormonal imbalance and a lack of the feel good chemicals such as serotonin.  The Asyra Pro is a bioresonence screening technology which can help to determine where there is imbalance and create balance for you.  A session will include a nutritional assessment to see what your body needs to get back into balance.
  • Lifestyle – depression can be triggered by an incident or a general feeling of overwhelm where you simply don’t feel in control any more.  It is often a result of other emotions which aren’t addressed such as anger, sadness, boredom,  guilt,  loneliness, stress and frustration.  When you acknowledge and deal with these emotions in a positive way, depression can be averted or diminished.  If you feel this may be you, why not book a consultation to see what can be done to help you?  An initial telephone consultation is free of charge and I can be reached on 0845 130 0854.
  • Spiritual – sometimes depression can be caused by a lack of purpose or meaning in your life.  If you feel that life is just the same-old-same-old, or that there is something missing, then finding some meaning can make all the difference.  This can be difficult to do on your own, especially if you are depressed, but there are tools and techniques in my book 21 Ways and 21 Days to the Life You Want.  Or working together may help you get there more quickly.

It certainly doesn’t help to have a loved one say “pull yourself together”.  But it can help to see a professional who can determine the cause and help you through it so you can start to enjoy life again.  Do call for a free telephone consultation on 0345 130 0854.  You don’t have to go through this alone.

© Tricia Woolfrey 2013

Tricia Woolfrey is an integrative therapist, an advanced clinical hypnotherapist, master practitioner in NLP, nutritionist and author, and utilises bioenergetics to help you be the best you can be.  She has practices in Surrey and Harley Street, London.  She can be reached on 0345 130 0854 www.yourempoweredself.co.uk.

Substance Abuse, Addiction or Habit?

Substance Abuse by Tricia Woolfrey

Have you ever wondered whether you, or someone close to you is addicted to a substance, or if it’s just a bad habit?  Or perhaps that they abuse substances?  There is a lot of confusion between these terms which I would like to clarify in this article.

A habit is simply an automatic action, without any dependency.  It is something you do without thinking.  Like always having a biscuit with your tea, or brushing your teeth as soon as you get out of bed in the morning.  You do them automatically.

Addiction refers to being unable to stop a particular behaviour, despite repeated attempts to do so.  It is more a psychological dependency which can build a tolerance requiring more and more to get the same effect.  It is no longer about pleasure, it is about need as though the person can’t function without it.  The tolerance build up can fool the person into thinking they don’t have a problem, such as the heavy drinker who doesn’t get drunk.  This actually means that he has built up a tolerance which can hide the dangerous consequences for his health.  An addict will experience withdrawal symptoms – both psychological and physical which can be extremely unpleasant.

An addict will also be unable to stop, will exceed self-imposed limits (I’ll only have one), the behaviour will cut into the time they would usually spend doing other things and they will use despite the negative effect it has on their health.

An addiction can involve substances such as drugs (prescription or recreational), stimulants, cigarettes and alcohol. It can also include compulsive behaviours such as internet use, sex, gambling, shopping, or work.

Substance abuse, by contrast, involves getting into recurrent trouble as a consequence of the behaviour.  It is defined as one or more of the following over a 12 month period: reckless behaviour such as driving under the influence; the behaviour affecting work or school; continued use despite the impact on personal relationships; legal and/or financial problems as a result of the behaviour such as being charged with disorderly conduct, or going into debt to fund the behaviour.

A habit can easily lead to an addiction and addicts can kid themselves that it’s only a habit.  So, good questions to ask yourself are “is this habit positive and balanced?  Or is it negative and out of balance?”  “Can I stop now?” If it has become out of balance and you are unable to stop – it has become an addiction.  Addictions can also build up as a means of distracting from what else is happening in your life.  Distracting yourself is not a healthy way of coping so it’s important to build up your internal resources so that you are able to deal with life’s stressors without the need to resort to distractions.

It’s also important to beware that, in stopping one addiction, you don’t start a dependency on another addiction, for example moving from a dependency on alcohol to over-spending.  This becomes the doorway to start drinking again.  It’s always helpful to see a professional to deal with these complex issues.

If you would like to find out more about any of this, contact Tricia Woolfrey www.pw-hypnotherapy.co.uk.

© Tricia Woolfrey 2012

Tricia Woolfrey is an integrative therapist, an advanced clinical hypnotherapist, master practitioner in NLP, nutritionist, and author and utilises bioenergetics to help you be the best you can be.  She has practices in Surrey and Harley Street, London.  She can be reached on 0845 130 0854 www.pw-hypnotherapy.co.uk.

Hypnotherapy for a Change

Hypnotherapy by Tricia Woolfrey

Creating change in your life can be difficult – habits can be ingrained for many years and it can seem easier to stay stuck than move forward.

In the hands of a skilled professional, hypnotherapy is great at overcoming those blocks to achieving change, making change easier.  However, it’s success depends on your motivation, which a good hypnotherapist will assess in your first session.  Hypnotherapy can’t force change on you but facilitate the change through you, so that you regain control over your life.  It doesn’t take away your free-will in any way.

Would it surprise you to know that hypnosis has been around for thousands of years?  It was also accepted by the British Medical Association in 1958.  Hypnotherapy, is a process not an event and the number of sessions you need will depend on the complexity of the problem and the degree to which you are reliant on the problem as a coping mechanism for other things.

Your choice of hypnotherapist is very important – find someone who is well trained and who has a lot of experience.   Finding someone who really understands psychology is a must too, as there can often be subtle nuances to behaviour which will affect the approach taken.  Don’t be afraid to ask for their qualifications and what continuous professional development they do – it’s important to have someone with a strong level of skill who is motivated to keep their skills up to date.  You also want to find someone who you feel comfortable with.

So, what IS hypnotherapy?

Hypnosis allows communication with your unconscious mind – that part of you which is constantly influencing your thoughts and behaviour –  to help you achieve your goals and overcome any obstacles and unconscious blocks.

It is an altered state of awareness called trance, and is something we experience naturally every day – like when you drive from A to B and don’t recall the journey, because your conscious mind has been thinking about other things, or when you are out for a whole evening and feel that you have only been out for short while, or even when you cry at a sad film.  All of these are natural hypnotic states.  During hypnosis, you are in control throughout..  It is not sleep.  It is not even relaxation, though most people feel relaxed when they are hypnotised.

Hypnotherapy  is creating this naturally occurring phenomena for therapeutic effect – that which is good for your emotional and physical wellbeing.

Whilst hypnotherapy is not a magic bullet, it does need your active collaboration. It is a very powerful tool to help you on your journey.

You are in control throughout

Hypnotherapy helps you achieve what you want for yourself.  You can’t be forced to do anything you don’t want to do or say anything you don’t want to say – you are in control throughout.

Almost everyone can be hypnotised

Anyone from the age of around 5 with at least a normal level of intelligence can be hypnotised – if you want to be.  You cannot be hypnotised against your will so feeling comfortable with your hypnotherapist is very, very important.  I like to give the first half hour of my session free of charge and no obligation – so that my client can be 100% sure – and this really helps their progress.

What does it feel like?

Everyone experiences it differently, but most people simply feel as though they have their eyes shut, and able to hear everything that goes on around them.  Nothing more than that.  Others feel a tremendous sense of relaxation, yet others feel tingly or numb, heavy or light.    Or all of the above.  Or none of them.  The secret is not to expect a particular experience, not to try to relax, simply allow it to happen in whichever way is right for you.

How is it different to stage hypnosis?

People often think that hypnotherapy will be a magic cure where someone can make them do anything without any effort on their part – just like the stage shows.  And sometimes it is.  However, the only similarity with a stage show is that they both use the state of hypnosis.  A stage show uses this state for entertainment.  All individuals who participate do so because they want to.  The engagement is momentary.  There is no emotional agenda involved – just fun.  With hypnotherapy, this can involve working on problems which have often existed for years, through layers of self-awareness, vulnerability, denial, and even resistance.  If there was no resistance, you would have resolved the problem on your own.  Working with your subconscious mind with hypnotherapy, it is easier to overcome these, developing new ways of being so that you can live the life you want.

What people say about hypnotherapy

Here are some typical comments people make to show you the different ways people respond:

  • “I got immediate results – I was very impressed!”
  • “I didn’t notice anything until friends and family started to say how much happier and calmer I seemed – then I realised I was!”
  • “I’m still not sure if I was hypnotised but I do know that I have achieved what I wanted to – so I guess I must have been”

If you are looking to make changes in your life, do try hypnotherapy.  It just makes change easier.  It helps you deal with stress, self-esteem, anxiety, depression and insomnia.  It’s also great for weight loss, smoking cessation and IBS.  If you have anything which stress makes worse, hypnotherapy can usually make better.

My clients regularly tell me that they gained far more than they came for as often other problems are resolved at the same time.  Hypnotherapy could be the best investment you ever make in yourself.

© Tricia Woolfrey 2012

Tricia Woolfrey is an integrative therapist, an advanced clinical hypnotherapist, master practitioner in NLP, nutritionist, and author and utilises bioenergetics to help you be the best you can be.  She has practices in Surrey and Harley Street, London.  She can be reached on 0845 130 0854 www.pw-hypnotherapy.co.uk.

10 Steps to Boosting Your Seratonin Naturally

Seratonin and Depression by Tricia Woolfrey
Feeling good is your birthright.  But it isn’t always easy when there is so much doom and gloom in the media, so many demands placed upon you and with little time to think about your wellbeing.  We can all feel a little low sometimes, but if you are feeling low more than seems natural, you may be low in serotonin.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter – a chemical messenger in the body communicating signals between neurons and cells – and is good for:

  • Mood stability
  • Self-esteem
  • Impulse-control
  • Anxiety reduction
  • Promoting restful sleep
  • Pain control
  • Overcoming negativity
  • Feelings of wellbeing

There are numerous things you can do to boost serotonin.  Some people do this synthetically through anti-depressants but these don’t always work and you can become addicted to them.  Or you can do this naturally with the following healthy tips:

  1. Eat protein with each meal
  2. Have a small jacket potato (with the skin) before you go to bed – it’s OK to have a little butter with it too. (Read Potatoes, Not Prozac for more information on this).
  3. Reduce serotonin leaches such as wheat and rye bread.
  4. Enjoy some sunlight every day (even if it is a grey day, you can benefit from the sun’s rays).
  5. Practice positive thinking.  It’s good to start your day with a positive focus too – what you are looking forward to in your day for example.  Read Think Positive, Feel Good for excellent help in this area.
  6. Moderate aerobic exercise (too much can have the opposite effect).  Exercise such as aerobics, running and cycling are particularly good.  If you aren’t in the mood for exercise, it could be a sign of low serotonin.
  7. Regular massages feel good and promote positive serotonin.
  8. Manage your stress levels.  EFT is an excellent way of doing this.  See www.self-help-resources EFT Demo.
  9. Look at a supplement regime with a qualified nutritionist – preferably using the Asyra Pro which, in itself, can boost your serotonin levels.  
  10. Eat the following serotonin-boosting foods: 

     

    Vegetables

    Spirulina seaweed
    Spinach
    Soybeans
    Parsley
    Asparagus
    Mung Beans
    Greens
    Bamboo shoots
    Mushrooms (white or portabello)
    Red leaf lettuce
    Soy Sauce
    Tofu
    Nigari

    *****

    Fish and Seafoods

    Prawns
    Lobster
    Crab
    Crayfish
    Cod
    Tuna
    Dover Sole
    Mussels
    Snapper
    Salmon

    *
       

    Fruit

    Plantain
    Pineapple
    Banana
    Kiwi
    Plums

     

    Meat

    Pork
    Game
    Lamb
    Beef
    Veal
    Duck
    Turkey
    Chicken

    *
       

    Seeds

    Sesame seeds
    Sunflower seeds

     

    Dairy

    Fat free cottage cheese
    Mozarella cheese from skimmed milk
    Low fat cheddar cheese
    Skimmed milk

     

If you follow this 10-step plan, you should find that you enjoy a more positive mood, better sleep a greater sense of wellbeing without the negative side effects of anti-depressants.  You know it makes sense.

© Tricia Woolfrey 2012

Tricia Woolfrey
tricia@pw-hypnotherapy.co.uk
www.pw-hypnotherapy.co.uk
0845 130 0854

About Tricia Woolfrey

Tricia Woolfrey is a hypnotherapist, coach and wellness practitioner with practices in Byfleet Village, Surrey and Harley Street London.

Listening to Your Feelings

Understanding Feelings and Emotions by Tricia WoolfreyIf your feelings could talk, what would they say?  Feelings are the physical representation of emotion.  They communicate your wants and needs.  They tell you when you are happy and when something isn’t right. Yet, all too often, we ignore them.  Sometimes this is because of the way we were brought up (it isn’t nice to be angry, big boys don’t cry, etc) and sometimes it’s because we have no idea how to deal with them, or because the feelings are too painful.

Negative feelings can be a combination of events from the past, stresses in the present and worries about the future, even though the only reality is now.  If you find yourself over-reacting to situations, it is unlikely to be simply about what is happening in the moment but instead is likely to be an emotional resonance with what has happened in the past- a reminder which supports a limiting belief. For example, someone being late to meet you for lunch may remind you of all the times that people have let you down, whether intentionally or otherwise, and may perpetuate a limiting belief of “I am not important”.

So what happens?  We learn to suppress and repress our feelings and this can lead to problems in relationships and even our health.  It also leads to distracting behaviours.  When we feel bad, we often distract with food, alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, shopping, gambling etc.  But this does not deal with the underlying problem, it simply disguises it for a moment or two.  When we suppress in this way, the underlying problem grows in intensity – like it is shouting to be recognised. It doesn’t matter how much food, alcohol, tobacco or clothes you have – it will not help you feel less bored, anxious, frustrated, depressed or lonely.  Those feelings come right back and you need more of your distractor to help you feel “normal”.  It is a vicious circle and it’s important to deal with the core issue when you can. Ask yourself:  “How much do I have to eat (buy/drink/smoke/work/etc) to resolve this issue?”  Distractors are ultimately unsatisfying because you do not truly meet your emotional need.

FEELINGS AND ASSOCIATED NEEDS

There are eight main negative emotions.  Here is what they mean:

Primary Feelings

Feeling What it's telling you What it wants
Boredom Lack of Challenge Fulfilment and growth
Anger A sense of unfairness or of a boundary being broken To make things fair and create clear boundaries
Guilt Feeling that you have been unfair or unkind to someone To make amends
Sadness Loss (real or imagined, person, status or item) To feel whole
Lonliness A lack of connection to yourself, to others or the world Meaningful relationships
Inadequacy Feeling unworthy To feel good enough
Stress A feeling that you have more to handle than your perceived ability to cope A feeling of control
Fear Feeling insecure or in danger To feel safe and secure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When these primary feelings are ignored, they can lead to frustration (that what you are doing is not working) and, ultimately to depression.  The only way to avoid this trap is to learn how to deal with your feelings constructively.  There are four ways of doing this:

1.     SELF-COACHING

a) Name the feeling
b) Identify the cause of the feeling (unfulfilled need, want or desire)
c) Identify a satisfying response (an action that fulfils the need, want or desire)

2.     COACHING OR THERAPY

Often it is helpful to work with someone who is skilled at helping others.  They can steer you through the complexity of your past.  For more information see www.pw-hypnotherapy.co.uk.

3.     PRACTICE EMOTIONAL FREEDOM TECHNIQUE

This is a wonderful technique that helps you to manage your emotions constructively.  For a demonstration on how to do this, see www.self-help-resources.co.uk or contact Tricia Woolfrey on 0345 130 0854 for 1:1 coaching on how to do it.

4.    HAVE HEATLHY DISTRACTORS

Doing something positive can help you change state naturally.  Try the following ideas:

  • Do some exercise – a great way to relieve stress and help you feel in control
  • Keep a journal – writing down your feelings can be very cathartic
  • Declutter your home/desk – clutter is a way of hanging onto negative emotion so decluttering can be very therapeutic
  • Start doing self-hypnosis – an excellent way of maintaining a positive outlook and feeling relaxed (see the book An Inside Job ™ – coming soon at www.pw-hypnotherapy.co.uk)
  • Call or see a friend – maybe someone you haven’t talked to in a while
  • Do something kind for someone – there is no better way of instantly feeling good

When you listen to what your feelings are telling you and respond appropriately, you are on your way to feeling a lot better about yourself, gaining perspective on a situation and having a healthier relationship with yourself and others.

© Tricia Woolfrey 2012

Tricia Woolfrey
tricia@yourempoweredself.co.uk
www.yourempoweredself.co.uk
0345 130 0854

Tricia Woolfrey is a hypnotherapist, coach and wellness practitioner with practices in Byfleet Village, Surrey and Harley Street London.