Australia Launches ‘Anxiety Festival’

If you’re looking to attend the best anxiety counselling Cheshire has to offer, one area you may struggle with is the idea of going to a big public event – that’s why this new festival dedicated to the topic of anxiety is particularly interesting.

Though anxiety may not manifest itself in these symptoms, the idea behind The Big Anxiety Festival, running in Sydney, Australia, for seven weeks, is to use art to get the public to talk about mental health, as well as using the visual arts as a therapy of sorts for those suffering from these illnesses.

The festival is the idea of Prof Jill Bennett from the University of New South Wales according to The Guardian, who says the link between mental health and art is one that’s never heavily exploited: “There’s a lot of evidence that art has a lot of impact when it comes to mental health. It’s not just a diversion – there is evidence that it impacts on mood and wellbeing,” she says.

The festival, she continues, is something that she wants to be connected to evidence based research – crossing arts and the health sector. After all, she says, there is no matter of fact cure for mental health issues  – and while the likes of counselling and therapy can greatly help, it relies on a huge range of external factors to manage the symptoms.

The approach of the festival is to cast a wide net, using anxiety as a catch-all to attract interest from those who may not even consider themselves as having mental health issues. Mental health campaigns aren’t seen as fun or for those who are undiagnosed, while this festival aims to be an enjoyable time which opens up discourse about living life with the likes of anxiety and depression.

Robbie Williams Opens Up About Depression & Anxiety

British singer Robbie Williams has spoken out about how his music career has had a negative impact on his health and wellbeing, contributing to feelings of anxiety, depression and agoraphobia.

Speaking to The Sunday Times magazine, the 43-year-old singer – who joined super group Take That aged just 16 – explained that he thinks the music business has been very bad for his health, the Sun reports.

He said: “This job is really bad for my health. It’s going to kill me. Unless I view it in a different way. [Depression] sprints through my family. I don’t know if I’d be this mentally ill without fame. I don’t think it would be as gross or as powerful if it hadn’t been for fame.”

The musician continued to say that because he’s so in the public eye and has the attention of the world upon him, his defects have been magnified as a result as well.

Common signs of depression can include feeling irritable, agitated or restless, feeling empty or numb, having no self-confidence or self-esteem, finding no pleasure in life or activities you might usually enjoy, or feeling isolated and unable to relate to others.

It can affect your behaviour, so you might find yourself self-harming, avoiding social events, finding it hard to think or speak clearly, having difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much, feeling tired all the time, no appetite and weight loss, using alcohol, smoking or taking other drugs more than usual, and moving very slowly or experiencing physical aches and pains with no obvious cause.

If you’re concerned and need someone to speak to, get in touch with us today for depression counselling in Cheshire.

Popular Teens More Prone To Social Anxiety Later On?

New research has suggested that the relationships that people make during their teenage years could have a big impact on their mental health later down the line.

Carried out by the University of Virginia and funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the National Institute of Mental Health, the study found that teens who prioritised close friendships at the age of 15 reported lower social anxiety and a higher sense of self-worth, as well as fewer depressive symptoms at the age of 25 than their peers.

And, interestingly, teenagers who were popular among their peers reported higher levels of social anxiety at young adulthood.

The conclusion was drawn that experiencing strong and intimate friendships during adolescence could be beneficial for long-term mental health.

“Being well-liked by a large group of people cannot take the place of forging deep, supportive friendships. And these experiences stay with us, over and above what happens later. As technology makes it increasingly easy to build a social network of superficial friends, focusing time and attention on cultivating close connections with a few individuals should be a priority,” co-author of the study Joseph Allen said.

Social media itself has been criticised in the past for helping to increase feelings of anxiety, in large part because of the compare-and-despair phenomenon. Seeing other people’s lives can make us feel inadequate about our own – which can lead to social anxiety and depression.

If you’re worried and think you need anxiety counselling in Cheshire or elsewhere, get in touch with us today.

Got the blues in January?

Winter TreesHow to beat the blues

According to some formulae, the third Monday in January is the most depressing day of the year (the calculation involves bad weather, Christmas debt and time since failing to fulfil New Year’s resolutions, among others) and has been tagged ‘Blue Monday’.

Although there is no scientific basis to this formula there is no doubt that this is a difficult time of year for some people and why the day has developed this status isn’t that surprising. Any party that lasts from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve is bound to result in a serious hangover, and the return to reality after a long break can be depressing for some. It’s especially true in the current economic climate, where the news may appear to be an unrelenting and daily dose of decline, dour weather and increased prices and lower income.

However there are simple things that anyone can do to cheer themselves up, even on this allegedly bleakest of days.

Firstly, exercise. Many people will have joined a gym in the New Year but this isn’t strictly necessary, and it is easy to fall away, particularly when the nights are cold and dark and you have all those DVD boxsets that you received as presents to watch. The best thing to do is to make small changes to your routine which increases the amount of exercise you do.
Examples of these small changes could be getting off the bus a stop early or, for those that drive to work, parking the car a five-minute walk away.Even minor activities can improve your mood.

Another thing that can improve your mood is diet, so try and eat healthily. That doesn’t necessarily mean not eating things that you like, but trying to achieve a reasonable balance between those things that are good for you such as fresh fruit and vegetables and those that are ‘naughty but nice’. Good nutrition supports your brain as well as your body.

Many people may not feel that they need this advice after a heavy festive period but being careful about alcohol intake is important. It might feel like having a couple of drinks can cheer you up but you need to remember that alcohol can act as a depressant, and what goes up must come down.

It is unlikely that ‘sleeping well’ will be in many peoples’ New Year’s resolutions but getting a decent night’s sleep is vital to anyone’s wellbeing. Having a good routine is key, as sleep irregularities can negatively affect mood.

Some people find sharing their problems difficult, and this is especially an issue among some men, who think talking about their feelings is a sign of weakness. The opposite is actually the truth. It takes great courage to ask for help and there is no shame in it. If you feel uncomfortable talking to people you know, then organisations like the Samaritans are available 24-hours a day and you can call anonymously. And always remember that feeling sad at times is just part of the human experience. It will pass.

People who feel low often isolate themselves from others but this is the last thing they should do. Spending time with people whose company you enjoy and engage in activities such as going for a meal or to the cinema. If money is a problem, then go for a walk or visit a museum or art gallery. There are plenty of things that you can do for free.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that there is so much you can do to improve your mood, whether it’s exercise, watching a film you enjoy or socialising. The New Year can be a new and more positive start.

If you regularly experience sustained periods of anxiety or depression then make an appointment with your GP.

If you would like to know more about Life-Goals Psychotherapy in Warrington, Cheshire and South Lancashire click here.

To contact us directly contact us

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Are you anxious and feel out of control of what happens?

A lot of anxiety is caused by feeling out of control. What do you fear will happen? How do you think you can gain control of it? Is there any way that worrying really gives you any control, or do you feel more out of control because you are worrying so much? What we think about tends to come about. Focusing on what you want to have happen, rather than on what you don’t want to have happen, is more likely to lead to happiness for you.

If what you predict happens, what would that mean to you? What would happen next? How could you handle the kinds of problems that you are worrying about? What could you do? Have you been involved in risk management or health and safety management at work? You can see planning for what might happen in your life in the same way. What might happen? If it happened how serious will it be? How likely is it that this might happen (1% – 100% probable)? How much effort is it worth putting in to plans to manage this considering how likely and how serious it is?

Has anything bad happened to you that you were worried about? How were you able to handle that? Are you usually underestimating your ability to handle problems? Many people are far more resilient than they give themselves credit for. Has anything bad happened to you that you were worried about? How were you able to handle that? What can you learn from how you handled that?

What evidence do you have from the past that worrying has been helpful to you and hurtful to you? Worrying and anxiety bring us down, tire us out and depress our immune system. Give yourself a break! Have a laugh! Do some exercise! Enjoy yourself! It’ll do you more good than worrying.

If someone else were facing the events that you are facing, would you encourage that person to worry as much as you? What advice would you give them?

Get help to get a better perspective on what is worrying you. Learn to affirm your ability to cope and be resilient.

Contact me now for effective rapid help with your anxiety