Spring clean your mind!


As we breeze through April I can not help but wonder where the time has gone. As we recently gained an hour sleep and entered a new season I thought it would be a good time to consider cleaning out our mental and emotional spaces: our thoughts and feelings.

Similarly to opening a clutter free wardrobe or enjoying a sparkling hardwood floor, a mental spring-cleaning can provide a boost and a sense of relief and accomplishment.  So here is a mental and emotional spring-cleaning check list to help you get started!

1 Spend some quality ‘Me time’

Too often we get caught up in the bustle of life, whether it is working towards that deadline or taxiing the kids around all week. It is important to stop and take some time for yourself. Meditation, prayer, walking and yoga are excellent examples of external acts that promote internal reflection and allow time to tune in to your inner world. Take a planned break from technology and spend time visualizing how you want to feel in your life and in your relationships.

2 Write a personal journal

Writing your thoughts and emotions helps clear out your emotional space, make emotions seem more manageable and gives you a different perspective.  When I work with teenagers and young people I tend to get them to log their emotions on my recommended apps (a teenager is never without their phone so there is no excuse). However for us adults, I would recommend putting pen to paper to identify your thoughts and emotions.  You may not realize how cluttered your insides have become until you start articulating them.

3. Let go of any resentments

Releasing your grip on a gripe can free up emotional energy that you can then invest in other, more positive areas of your life. I've heard it said that holding onto resentment is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. While having a range of emotions, including anger and hurt, is normal, letting those feelings take up permanent residence in your heart ultimately hurts you. Finding that inner peace will help you in the long run.

4. Forgive Your Faults

Often, it is easier to overlook other’s faults than it is to let go of your own shortcomings. Over time it’s easy to collect evidence for negative self-dialogue like, “I am never good enough” or “I'm always putting my foot in my mouth”. Dwelling on your past mistakes only clutters the present and leads to self-critical thoughts and feelings. Humans aren't inspired to do better by criticism, and this applies to self-criticism. How freeing it is to acknowledge that you will make mistakes and have weaknesses as a human, but that it is possible to learn from personal experiences and still maintain a sense of self-acceptance. When my therapy clients are able to achieve this self-acceptance in spite of their own struggles, love and healing can begin.


Student Disability Allowance (DSA) budget cuts and depression

Being diagnosed with dyslexia I know that without my DSA support at University I would have struggled to graduate from my degree in psychology. With the recent budget cuts this week, research has emerged that around 70% of university students will be affected and put at risk.

Already students are struggling to cope with exam pressure and expectations.

So how are these cuts going to affect a student’s mental health?

According to Gov.uk the DSA funding is available for students with a long-term health condition, mental health condition or specific learning condition such as dyslexia. I cannot help wondering if the funding were cut whilst I was at university how would I have managed?

According to statistics approximately 20 percent of teens will experience depression before they reach adulthood. Furthermore depression increases a teen’s risk for attempting suicide by 12 times. Depression is an illness that increasingly afflicts teenagers interfering with concentration, motivation and many other aspects of everyday functioning. It affects many systems of the body, including the immune system. It disrupts sleep, and interferes with appetite.

However there are many ways to support your teenager at school or university.

Here are 10 ways you can help them with depression;

1)    Be there for them, it is not easy seeing your child suffer from depression but offering them your time even if it is to just listen can be just what they need.

2)    Give frequent feedback on academic, social, and behavioral performance.

3)    Encourage your child to set goals and self-monitor.

4)    Promote problem-solving skills.

5)    Coach your child in ways to organize, plan, and execute tasks demanded daily or weekly in school.

6)    Develop modifications and accommodations to respond to the student's fluctuations in mood, ability to concentrate, or side effects of medication. Assign one individual to serve as a primary contact and coordinate interventions.

7)    Give the student opportunities to engage in social interactions.

8)    Frequently monitor whether the student has suicidal thoughts.

9)    Develop a home–school communication system to share information on the student's academic, social, and emotional behavior and any developments concerning medication or side effects.

10) Seek professional help from a teacher, counsellor, therapist or doctor.

Thoughts and Links….Welcome

Hi everyone, and welcome to my blog.  This blog is a way of interacting with people that are looking for support with various areas of their lives.  It may be that you need counselling right now, or know someone who could benefit from therapy. Or you may have had it in the past, or perhaps you are interested in setting an initial assessment for your child, friend or with your partner or family.  Wherever you may be in your journey, this blog is about providing you with some ideas around self-help, tips and advice.  I will regularly update it and ensure that you are receiving support on an ongoing basis.  Whether you are struggling with depression, anxiety, behavioral, emotional or psychological issues, looking for guidance on relationships or trying to build self-esteem and confidence, this blog will offer something for each of you.  Please feel free to contact me and ask if there is anything specific that you would like more information on.