New Location. New Opportunities.

After 10 years at the Reading House Business centre in Clevedon, the time has come to change locations. At the end of April, I’ll be moving to new premises at the Fox Hall Clinic in Clevedon. The Fox Hall Clinic brings together many health care professionals. This multidisciplinary centre will feature an osteopath, a podiatrist, an acupuncturist, a message therapist, a counsellor and more. I look forward to meeting you in this exciting new centre.

Falling

Each week I provide a counselling and hypnotherapy session for the elderly. For these octogenarians and nonagenarians the relevant issues aren’t about losing weight or fulfilling one’s aspirations. The elderly need to be motivated to be as mentally and physically active as possible. It’s the confidence to get from their rooms to the dining hall and back under their own steam. Over the last three years, on different occasions, I’ve inquired about a person who used to attend and no longer does. I’m usually told they had a fall, broke their hip, lost their confidence and their health rapidly spiralled downward until they either needed full time care or they suddenly passed away.

Falling is serious and the BBC has acknowledged this very issue today. What was advocated to address the the issue of falling, particularly among the elderly, is that they remain as physically active as possible. In my sessions with the elderly, falling isn’t mentioned, but I stress being active through will power, determination, strength, even routine. A fall, while acknowledging can’t be completely prevented, need not precipitate a significant decline in mental and physical health.

Digging Out

These last few days have been very interesting. As a boy in Canada, a one foot dump of snow was not only ordinary but eagerly anticipated for skiing. A sudden foot of snow in south west England means transport is paralysed. Streets here in Clevedon were given over to toboggans and happy children. Meanwhile shop shelves are empty. Generally, everyone is in good spirits. It’s a reminder as to what’s important in life and that life itself can be resilient and fragile.

More Antidepressants?

The BBC reported earlier this week about a medical report published in Oxford. The report was the result of studying and collating many other medical reports regarding depression and the conclusion was that antidepressants needed to be prescribed even more than they are now. This conclusion appears contrary to widespread professional and public knowledge that antidepressants are handed out too liberally and are of limited effectiveness.

Having been a therapist for over a decade, I’ve met many people who have taken antidepressants or currently take them. My clients have been telling me for all that time that antidepressants are effective for a few days and should be prescribed for only a few days to provide some stability because the medication only masks the underlying issues. Only by addressing the underlying issues will depression be alleviated not by medication. Antidepressants? Yes, for only a few days. After that? Find an experienced, competent and qualified therapist. The way forward is less medication not more.

Gambling Addiction.

I’ve been following a story presented on the BBC about the prevalence of compulsive gambling particularly, among men. Evidently men are than 7 times more likely than women to become addicted to gambling with over 400K gambling addicts in the UK. Portrayed was a young man who lost £30K and another who lost £16 million!

Having presented facts, the BBC tries to explore why this is the case. Are men less averse to risk? Possibly but there’s more to it than that. Evidently a combination of “lad’s culture”, in combination with other compulsive behaviours such as drug taking and the manner in which the gambling industry in the UK presents itself all contribute to the widespread problem. Individuals must take responsibility for their actions but the time has arrived to explore why the problem is so widespread and so destructive.

Competition

Competition is good. Regardless of the type of business, competition is a healthy expression of business activity. Hypnotherapy is no exception. There is every possibility that in any location, a competent and experienced therapist is available. Competition is vital. Nothing can be taken for granted. Clients must be won by excellent service, the feedback from excellent results and a consistently excellent reputation won over time. Every every client is important. A good reputation is difficult to achieve and easy to concede. Competition compels a business to explore every avenue and every option to improve. Competition keeps us on our toes and should be welcomed.

A Commitment to Exercise.

I once sat behind a desk Monday to Friday, rode the bus back and forth to work and exercised on the weekend. A brisk walk, even a hike or a bike ride almost every weekend was what I looked forward to. For me, it wasn’t enough to keep mid age spread at bay. I had to eat less and exercise more and that involved a lifetime commitment. Priorities had to adjust.

Now I exercise Monday to Friday. By exercise I mean significantly raising one’s heart rate for at least 45 minutes, five days a week minimum. I no longer sit behind a desk although for most of us, employment means being stationary at some point. Exercise and just as important, enjoying exercise, has become a priority spread out over the week and not just a binge on the weekend.

A Sign of the Times.

A situation that many have anticipated and dreaded for a long time has come to pass. The NHS is so overburdened that thousands of non-emergency surgical procedures have been postponed. Winter is a challenging time for the NHS every year, but this year the demands on the NHS have been nearly overwhelming. Australian flu is one of many reasons why the system is so stretched but the system as a whole isn’t coping despite intense efforts of NHS staff.

The population is ageing and among other stresses, viruses becoming more virulent. How government can possibly hope to stem this tide and disavow these facts by diminishing budgets is beyond belief. Governments consistently trumpet the fact that NHS budgets are increasing, but every knows the increases are no where near enough to meet current, let alone future, demand. So here are. Years of underfunding and the NHS can no longer fulfil it’s obligations in a timely manner. Is this where we’re headed from now on?

Football and Mental Health.

Rhetorical question: are we becoming a society more open and honest with itself or merely exposing vulnerabilities? The topic of mental health is on the lips and agendas of many politicians these days. Despite the absence of appropriate funding to address and alleviate mental health, its become almost fashionable to be mental health aware. I sincerely hope the awareness continues to grow.

It was mentioned on the BBC this morning that in the past year, 400 professional football players have sought help for mental health issues. That figure was provided by the Professional Football Association or PFA. Whether or not highly paid professional footballers receive any sympathy is less important than highlighting the fact that regardless of age, race, gender, or personal income mental health is a pervasive issue. Evidently those with wealth, fame and the pressure to succeed aren’t immune to mental health issues.

Loneliness

I wasn’t surprised to learn how pervasive loneliness was, but I was surprised to learn how bad loneliness is for one’s health. According to recent studies, and results broadcast by the BBC, loneliness can be as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. I reserve a little scepticism in this regard, but there can be no doubt that prolonged loneliness can be as bad for the body as for the soul. At this time of the year, loneliness is acutely experienced.

When we think of the lonely, we imagine elderly people living in proximity to others at all times, but isolated from everyone none the less. This stereotypical image is very true, but loneliness extends to the mentally or physically handicapped, those with very demanding careers, even those who for many reasons feel they “don’t belong”. This sense of acute isolation can lead to depression or worse.

The remedy is always near to hand. A friendly word, a kind gesture, a little bit of time. Sometimes that’s all that’s needed in the short term. We are gregarious creatures and whether we admit it or not, we thrive on companionship and a feeling of inclusiveness. A little attention, willingly provide, can make all the difference, but in the absence of these things, loneliness can set in.