TSHP450: Ignore the Blue Monday Hype

What’s Coming This Episode?

Blink and you may have missed it… but ‘Blue Monday’ has been and gone – the (apparently) bleakest day of the year. Should we believe the hype? Can we avoid it completely??! Of course we can! Let’s dive in…

Enjoy the show, it’s The Self Help Podcast!

Show Notes and Links

Resource of the Week

  • Sean just said ‘Google it!’
  • Ed wants you to watch The Matrix. What a film!

Stay in Touch

We’re all over the web, so feel free to stay in touch:

Leave us an Honest Review on iTunes

We’d be amazingly grateful if you could leave us a review on iTunes. It will really help us to build our audience. So, if your like what you hear (and would like to hear more great free content) then visit our iTunes page and leave us an honest review (all feedback gratefully received!).

Blue Monday

Every January we have what is described a Blue Monday that’s is said to be the saddest day of the year. A questionable claim. But why would we get depressed at this time of year? Well we have just been through the joy of Christmas and New Year, probably have credit card debt to clear, have given up the booze for dry January and are trying to get back into work/school mode. Plus it is dark and cold and the summer holiday can feel a long way off. But hey ho this year we have even or weight on the blue shoulders because we have the ongoing Covid as well and we could throw in the BoJo nonsense for good measure. But it is not all bad. There is a good side to depression we just have to realise it.

Depression may be our brain’s way of telling us to stop, 

slow down and solve problems

There is a theory that suggests that rather than being a problem depression might be a specific behavioural strategy that we have evolved as a biological adaptation that serves a purpose. As Matthew Hutson agrees and explains in a Nautilus feature on the potential evolutionary roots of depression and suicidal behaviour , that the purpose of depressions might be to make us… 

…stop, understand, and deal with an important problem.

Figures for the USA, which are probably reflected in Europe, suggest that at any given time, about 5% of people report symptoms of moderate or severe depression. Major depressive disorder is now so common that at some point in life, one in six people  will suffer from it.

So why does such a debilitating condition strike so many people? 

The traditional understanding is that depression is just a breakdown in the normally working of the brain. This is seen as a chemical imbalance that is treated by chemical medication designed to balance chemistry, change mood and create shifts in  behaviours.

Could depression have developed to help us?

Evolutionary psychologist Paul Andrews and psychiatrist J. Anderson Thomson first elaborated on this idea, called the “analytical rumination hypothesis,” in an article published in Psychological Review in 2009.

Their idea is that what we think of as a disorder is actually a way for our brains to analyse and dwell on a problem in the hopes of coming up with a way to deal with it. The researchers suggest it’s possible that a difficult or complex problem triggers a “depressive” reaction in some people that sends them into a sort of analytical mode. 

This intrigues me greatly because in the Ayurvedic model, my original training, depression was seen as a gift, as a way of our system telling us that something was wrong and giving us the chance to sort it out. This would explain the increased rumination that arising in depressive episodes. Along side this in and increase in dream sleep. The two phases of sleep are deep sleep (NREM) and dream sleep (REM). It is assumed that deep sleep is the resting phase concerned with repair of the body and dream sleep is an active phase concerned with processing experience and emotion. In depression the dream sleep eats into the deep sleep so that despite sleeping for long periods of time the person does not experience rest and may become progressively more tired.

The concept that depression might be and evolutionary adaptation rather than a mental disorder is not the main consensus of the mental health community. in reality it cannot be true for all depression. It would be true for those suffered get reactive depression in response to a trauma or traumatic stimulus. Even so this could still account for around 80% of depressive episodes.

The problem is that in most cases depression is not the cause it is the symptomatic response to the cause. In western medicine we tend to treat the symptom and pay little ot no attention to the cause. 

It could be that if we accepted depression asa gift and took the opportunity to undertake a self audit to enable us to get our lives back on track. Instead we treat depression negatively as a problem and medicate the symptoms and fail to deal with the cause. It would make sense that if alongside medication we engaged in mindful therapy we could speed up treatment and help to dissolve depressive episodes.

MBCT

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy is designed to deal with and overcome issue of reactive or repetitive depression. MBCT, is recommended by the United Kingdom’s National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) for the prevention of recurrent and reactive depression and has also been shown to be effective in treating the symptoms of anxiety.

Take care and be happy

Sean x

TSHP449: So You’re Considering a Career as a Therapist…

What’s Coming This Episode?

Sean and Ed (OK, mainly Sean) are always dishing out advice. Sean does it for a living. Could you? A career in therapy can be hugely rewarding. Obviously it’s not without a certain amount of risk – you’re letting yourself in for a lot of sensitive information that can weigh heavily on you – but what career doesn’t? Let’s have a chat about it…

Enjoy the show, it’s The Self Help Podcast!

Show Notes and Links

Resrouce of the Week

Stay in Touch

We’re all over the web, so feel free to stay in touch:

Leave us an Honest Review on iTunes

We’d be amazingly grateful if you could leave us a review on iTunes. It will really help us to build our audience. So, if your like what you hear (and would like to hear more great free content) then visit our iTunes page and leave us an honest review (all feedback gratefully received!).

Becoming a therapist

The question is are therapist born or are they trained? Well, reality is that some people are naturally caring, empathic but also objective enough to be n atrial therapists. Therapy, support has been around throughout evolution it did not begin just because someone create a training course. Many people train as therapist though the value of the training will vary greatly. This maybe to do with the quality of the training program itself or the quality of the people delivering it.

Personal therapy, especially since Covid, has to the the growth industry of the next fifty years. That is both good and bad. Yes we need more therapist just as we need a more caring nurturing attitude to each other in life. However, many therapist that are trained become booked learned theorists who understand the cognitive bit but do not have the empathic, sensitivity needed to be a good therapist. Actually sensitivity can be learned. The problem is that the courses do not do that. Their interest is in the academic process. 

I have completed four degrees and a plethora of diplomas and certificates. In doing so I have met so many therapists and trainee therapists. Sadly some lacked the necessary sensitivity and empathy to enable them to be, in my terms, ‘a good’ therapist. This is often true of cognitive behavioural therapists, not all but many, that are trained in a logical technical method of attempting to get people to understand themselves. However, CBT is often only truly effective for cognitive issues but has little lasting longterm effect on emotional issues.

The point I am getting to is that just because some has a degree or a diploma in therapy it does not mean that they are any good. There are many lay therapists out there helping people. They may have no qualifications at all and yet they are doing phenomenal and truly life changing work. The thing that is really is the true training needed to create a good therapist is not taught on a course. the real training comes from living that thing called ‘life’. Those people that have worked through their own difficulties and issues, have faced and overcome their own problems have a natural empathy for others that are in emotional pain. Unless someone has an exceptional imagination the only way to true understanding is through life experience. 

So why train?

They way I see it is that a good training programme will make a natural therapist even better. It will explain mental, emotional and psychological processes in a coherent way that will enhance the naturally ability and understanding of the practitioner. If we are to practise professionally we all need a coherent theoretical model to relate back to. We need to understand developmental processes, defence mechanisms and so on. So, yes all therapist need to be trained. Though we have to realise that a training program will enhance the abilities of the natural therapist allowing them to put what they already know in a system and of course they will learn new things and skills. Training will only make a purely cognitive mind and full living manual of theoretical knowledge to be shared as therapy. I am not saying that you can’t learn from courses or that you have to experience everything in human experience yourself before you can help other people with it. I am saying that when you have, or are developing, insight and empathy you can empathise with another person’s emotional experience and be a useful therapist. 

Yes get trained.

Finding a therapist

When it come to finding a therapist the best way is by word of mouth, recommendation. Good therapists rarely advertise as they have little need to as they normally have a full diary and may even have a waiting list.

Becoming a therapist 

If your are considering becoming a therapist, as I suggested you may be doing it anyway, a good thing to try are the ten week introduction courses that are run by colleges that also run certificate and diploma courses. This will give you a good insight in both the counselling process and the techniques required. You will them be able to make a choice as to what direction you would take from there.

If you would like to ask anything or chat anything through drop me a message and I will get back to you.

Take care and be happy

Sean x

TSHP448: How Modern Road Safety Messaging Has Made Us Less Safe

What’s Coming This Episode?

Look left, look right. The Green Cross Code. Road safety is drilled into us from a very early age… and rightly so! With an increasing number of weapons grade vehicles swooshing around our streets we’d be wise to take care. Right? Well… yes, but as Ed has found out in recent years, it’s far more complicated than that. Time for a new approach to road safety?

Enjoy the show, it’s The Self Help Podcast!

Show Notes and Links

Resrouce of the Week

  • Sean recommended completing an Advanced Driving Test
  • Ed linked to the amazing YouTube channel, Not Just Bikes

Stay in Touch

We’re all over the web, so feel free to stay in touch:

Leave us an Honest Review on iTunes

We’d be amazingly grateful if you could leave us a review on iTunes. It will really help us to build our audience. So, if your like what you hear (and would like to hear more great free content) then visit our iTunes page and leave us an honest review (all feedback gratefully received!).

Road Safety Week (India January 11th)

I know this is a subject that is very close to Ed’s heart. As we enter this new year let us do it safely.

Raising awareness of road safety seems so obvious and so necessary. There was a time when children were taught to ride bikes at school. This led to the Cycling Proficiency Test that was a test given by Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. This training   served as a minimum recommended standard for cycling on British roads. We even got a shiny badge once we had passed.

It was superseded by the National Standards for Cycle Training, branded “Bikeability”, in England in 2007. 

I am not sure at how successful it has been as an announced was mad in 2020.

“The government has today (7 February 2020) announced all children in England will be taught the skills for a lifetime of cycling, as its Bikeability training programme is significantly expanded.”

If this was to be expanded in 2020 I wonder, with Covid, how many schools have actually managed to reintroduce cycling classes for their pupils?

From my own experience I have found that car drivers who stared off as bike riders when they were kids are generally safer and have a greater awareness of other road users when they get older. Awareness and awakeness is the key to reducing the risk to people using the road network of being killed or seriously injured. The users on the road include pedestrians, cyclists,  motor cyclists, motorists, their passengers, and passengers of on-road public transport, mainly buses and trams.

Important Traffic Rules To Follow To Ensure Safety While Driving

  • Always wear a seatbelt.
  • Avoid distractions.
  • Do not cross the speed limits.
  • Service your car regularly.
  • Follow traffic signals.
  • Maintain lane discipline.
  • Be careful during bad weather.
  • Maintain a safe distance.

The bottom line to all this is that we need to get out of cars and walk and cycle. It is then that we become in touch with the real environment rather than the metal bubble that we live in when we are driving a car. The research on the benefits of walking and cycling are legion. There is a measurable increase in wellbeing from feel good endorphins to cardiac function, cognition and being happy.  

As a kid on the council estate us kids would all tip out in the morning and thousands of us would walk to various schools. I guess that we were all street wise and new the rules of the road and that kept us safe. I am not sure at what point we decided that it was unsafe out there and that we had to take our kids everywhere in our cars but what we have created is generations of people who have never interacted in a simple way on the road and have only ever really seen it through the windscreen of a car.

I think that in the end road safety comes from education and in this case it is learning from doing. We need to walk our kids to school, cycle to them to the shops so that they can see what it is like to be a road user – not just a car driver or passenger.

So, maybe our collective New Years resolution should be to get out of the cars always and cycle and educate our kids to become good a responsible road users.

Happy new year and travel safely

Sean x

TSHP447: New Years Resolution’s 2022

What’s Coming This Episode?

It’s that time again! The calendar clicks across to a new year and we are given the chance to set some serious goals for ourselves. How do we stick to them? Are they the right goals? How to we stay on track?? Happy new year!

Enjoy the show, it’s The Self Help Podcast!

Show Notes and Links

Stay in Touch

We’re all over the web, so feel free to stay in touch:

Leave us an Honest Review on iTunes

We’d be amazingly grateful if you could leave us a review on iTunes. It will really help us to build our audience. So, if your like what you hear (and would like to hear more great free content) then visit our iTunes page and leave us an honest review (all feedback gratefully received!).

New Years Resolution’s 2022

     “What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.”

According to JW von Goethe if you never start what needs to be one you will never finish if. An evident truth that we often avoid through distraction and displacement. 

Happy Covid New Year

However your Christmas has been and however it has been effected by Covid we are into the New Year. The past is behind us and it is time to move on. It maybe that this is the year that we accept Covid as a part of our annual life and that we get used to the idea of yearly vaccinations alongside the flu job. Accepting that there will always be the naysayers and conspire at theorists who will refuse the jabs most people will comply and hopefully this infections, and the others that I am sure will come, can be held at bay.

So, let’s move forward positively

What will you resolve to do, make different or achieve in this magical year of 2022?

New Years resolutions require of us. that we let go of all the emotional baggage that we are carrying from last year to enable us to move forward into the new year and our new achievements. So, let’s agree to put is all down now and leave it in the past.

Once you decide on your resolutions your goals will become within your reach. In fact deciding what you know where you want to go and what you wish to achieve is the difficult bit. The easiest bit is achieving them. It is a simple process. It just requires commitment and action on your behalf. The following steps might help you on your way…

1: Have clear goals – be sure about what it is that you specifically want to achieve. This is so important. Many people fail to achieve what the want because they are not clear at the outset. This what we would call the image.  

2: Write it down when you write something down you are reinforcing your intention to achieve it in your conscious mind. Repetition is very powerful. Every habit that you have ever developed, both positive and negative, are the result of repetition of thoughts and actions. 

3: Focus on one thing at a time – don’t allow yourself to become confused and overloaded, or distracted. Many people do not achieve what they really want because they try to do too much at the same time. This dilutes your attention, ability and energy and make you less effective.

4: Pick your tasks logically  – make a plan and stick to it. A wonderful phrase is ‘fail to plan and you plan to fail’. It does not take long at all to look at what needs to be done, what steps need to be taken. The steps are your plan. The time that it will take to take the steps is your time line. Once you have an image, a plan and a time line it is time to begin.

5: Ensure that your actions serve you well – Ask your self “What can I do right now that will bring me one step closer to my desired goal?” as often in the day as you can. To effect real and lasting change it need to be something that you are focussed on. Everything that you do in a day can take you nearer to your goal. Remember… 

what you feed grows and what you starve dies.

The more you feed your ideas and images the more successful they will become.

6: Educate yourself – Make sure you develop the knowledge and skills required to complete your goal. On your journey you will become aware of your deficits in skills and knowledge. There will be things that you will need to know. Do not be afraid to ask for help and assistence. There is little point in reinventing the wheel when other people have been through exactly the same process before you. We can learn from others mistakes.

7: Keep it simple  – start with simple tasks, worry about the difficult ones once you have got going. Pace yourself and be kind to your self. If your time line slips don’t beat yourself up just adjust your plan and your time line.

8: Ask advice from an listen to other people: Anything else that you need to know can be learned on the way. Keep talking and keep sharing. Most importantly listen to feed back. Feedback is a priceless gift, use it well.

Start now – don’t leave it until tomorrow 

Review and adjust – check if you are making progress?  If not review what you are doing and adapt it and move on. 

Be persistent and consistent – until the goal is completed. Things are only ever achieved through persistent and consistent action.

Any one can achieve anything if the approach it in the right way and remain persistent and consistent in their efforts.

Happy New Year and enjoy your achievements

Sean. x