How to Practice Mindfulness Meditation — Be Inspired..!!

Jon Kabat-Zinn–a leader in the field of mindfulness and health–has defined mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally.” This means consciously paying attention to our senses, and to our feelings, without further judgement. For example, mindfulness could be practised by focusing on the sensation of water […]

How to Practice Mindfulness Meditation — Be Inspired..!!

Change your Breath, Change your Life — Find Your Middle Ground

This is a reblog of a post that reminds us all about breathing and living well. Take three full breaths and dive in… Do you know how are you breathing right now? Take a moment and simply notice your breath. Perhaps place your hand on your navel and the other above your heart.  Notice the […]

Change your Breath, Change your Life — Find Your Middle Ground

Managing Stress Series?

We all encounter stress at one point or another in our lives. In the majority of cases, it is completely natural, and is something that we can managing without much impact on our day to day lives. However, there are times when that stress may seem like too much, or when you face several different stressful situations at once, when it can start to feel overwhelming.

This is what we’ll start to take a look at in today’s blog!

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You Are Not Alone

2020 has proved to be a very difficult year for many, and it is completely understandable if you feel as if you are going through things by yourself. This feeling of loneliness can have a very large impact on your Mental health and Wellbeing, and can lead to an increase in anxiety and stress levels. In today’s blog, I am going to be sharing how important it is to remember that you are not alone and why it is so crucial to ask for support when you need it.

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Running a business whilst maintaining your Mental Health – Cooper Galloway

Running your own business is a dream of so many people when they are growing up, but for the ones that dive to turn that dream into a reality, how do we keep a close eye on our Mental Wellbeing while running a business? Is it something that demands we dramatically alter the way in which we live our lives, or more so a series of smaller adjustments that we can slot into our schedules? This is what we’ll be exploring in today’s blog!

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Different Ways to Counter Social-Anxiety – Patrick Bailey

Social-Anxiety is an overwhelming and long-term fear of different social situations. It an have a truly enormous impact on how you live your day to day life, on your relationships with others, on your self-confidence, in both your work & social life and more. For something that can have have such a large effect on your life, can you safely say that you know any ways to help counter it? That’s what we’ll be looking at in today’s blog!

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I Guest-Starred in a New Podcast

On Saturday 31st October, I was asked to be a special guest on a brand new podcast, called “26 minutes with”, which has been created by Respect Mental Health and the amazing Benjamin Seal. It was an honour to be asked to e the first guest for the show and we are going to be taking a bit of a closer look at the podcast in today’s blog!

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My Top 5 Stress Management Tips

Olivia Lucie Blake

It’s no secret that 2020 has been a very stress filled year which has had such an effect on us not only physically but mentally too. I call it Coronavirus stress. It got me thinking, can stress kill you? So naturally I googled it and apparently it can lead to some pretty shocking effects on the body. We often forget how powerful the mind really is on our bodies. I think Stress management should be one of our top priorities to maintain good mental health. There are tonnes of articles on stress management online but I thought I’d put together some of the tips I use myself to help reduce my coronavirus stress.

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Why stress is good — Lampelina

I went to the library a few days ago and came across a book by Kelly McGonigal, The Upside of Stress. The book was set on recommendations shelf and was literally screaming at me “Take me, take me!”. I’m kidding, but it was a pleasant coincidence. It’s ironic, because this is something I had on […]

via Why stress is good — Lampelina

Worth Trying: Dealing with Stress in the Moment — Amanda Cade

A while back, I wrote a post about how to take a few minutes to jolt yourself out of a bad mood. Sometimes, though, we don’t have the luxury of removing ourselves from a situation. When your boss is chewing you out, customers are yelling at you, your kids are having a tantrum, or lots […]

via Worth Trying: Dealing with Stress in the Moment — Amanda Cade

Creative Stress Relief

Crafts Inspire Me

Computer Stress
With such fast-paced lives, we all need a break from our daily stresses. These demands have physical, mental, emotional and spiritual effects. The best solution is a vacation, but that may not be possible. Instead, indulge in a hobby or two to take your mind and body to a happy place. Every day you do things for everyone else. It’s time to put yourself first! You’ll be so glad you did, and you’ll have a lot of fun while doing it. Here are a few crafting ideas to get you started:

Painting: – watercolor, oil, acrylic, pouring
Watercolor
Watercolor PaintingDrawing: – pencil, charcoal, crayons, colored pencils, chalk, markers, pens
Sketching with Pens and Markers
DrawingPottery & Ceramics: – figurines, serving pieces, vases, jars, ornaments
Pottery
PotteryCeramics
CeramicsPaper Crafts: – scrapbooking, card making, origami, quilling
PapercraftsJewelry & Watches: – beaded, woven, wire
Beaded Jewelry
Jewelry MakingFlower Arranging: – fresh or artificial, wreaths…

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Looking into Male Mental Health – Blog 9: Personal Experience 2

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Today’s blog is going to be about one of my personal experiences when it comes to Male Mental Health. The aim of these personal experience blogs is to show that even when you are at rock bottom there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. I myself have gone through a number of problems when it comes to mental health and I believe that by mixing facts and personal experience help present a balanced picture on what mental health really is and how it affects us all.

The self-hate/doubt mechanism is a coping technique that I first started using when I used to get bullied a lot in school. The technique itself is a very poor one that only went on to make me feel worse about myself as you will see when I go into how the technique itself works. It is a coping technique that I used when I was desperate and it is a very bad way to go about life. If anyone reading this blog does do this to themselves then I would urge them to seek help. Even talking through your problems with a person you trust is a much better form of release rather than getting trapped in a cycle of self-hatred.

The main principle for the self-hate cycle that I created was simple. I would constantly put myself down and degrade myself before others had the chance too. Even though it didn’t make me feel better in my head at the time I was just thinking that it would be easier if I put myself down, instead of someone doing it for me. This cycle was my way of not letting others hurt me, I would break myself instead of giving someone else the chance too.

Once you put yourself in this cycle it is very hard to break after you start using it. The cycle tends to get more and more aggressive to the point where you cross-examine and doubt every action you take. It is an extremely dangerous cycle which is why I wanted to talk about it. If you know anyone who is currently, unfortunately, using this coping technique or if you use it yourself then it is key that you break the cycle. I fully comprehend that this is easy to say and to actually break the chain requires a lot more work but if the cycle isn’t broken or at least reduced then you will sadly end up in a very dark place mentally.

As I mentioned in a lot of my previous blogs Mental Health is a very complicated topic. It is very very rare that the problems people face stem from one source, it is often a mixture of several sources/problems all at once. This is where the self-hate cycle becomes even more dangerous. If you adopt this technique as a form of coping when you are already experiencing problems then it starts to become too much to handle.

The phrase that I quite like to talk about is balancing the books, and it becomes ever the more paramount here. Learning to find a way of releasing can be vital when it comes to breaking the cycle of self-hate. I can’t say one way that works for everyone as there is no one way. You need to find your release and only then will you be able to even attempt to break the cycle.

I have been experiencing the self-hate cycle for a number of years. It took me a long while to recognise what it actually is and then even longer to figure out how to manage it. To put it simply it is very very hard to completely break the cycle, however, it is manageable. Learning the manage to technique to a point where you almost never feel it is vital when it comes to beating it.

That is all I want to talk about in today’s blog! Thank you all for reading! What do you all think? Have you ever experienced the self-hate cycle? How did you overcome it? What do you think leads a person to pick up the cycle? Do we need to learn how to identify when someone is suffering from this management technique?

Thank you all for reading! Let me know what you think via the comments or on the Facebook page! We are nearly at 2,000 total views, great work everyone!

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James

Looking into Male Mental Health – Blog 8: The Stigma in Male Mental Health

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Today’s blog is going to be the eighth blog in my Looking into Male Mental Health series and is going to look into stigma in relation to mental health. Today’s blog is going to talk about what stigma is in relation to mental health, what causes it and how it affects people suffering from Mental Health problems.

First of all, we are going to talk about what stigma is in relation to Mental Health. The website Health Direct, https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/stigma, describes stigma as ” a mark, a stain or a blemish”. Stigma occurs when “negative opinions, judgments or stereotypes” are targeted at people who are experiencing or have experienced Mental health problems.

It is clear to see that stigmas do not have any positive effects on people who suffer from Mental Health problems, they only add to their problems. It is this point that raises the question why does this stigma actually exist? It is possible to link the existence of this stigma to many different sources but after doing research there are two main causes of the stigma, the media and lack of understanding.

People who suffer from Mental Health problems are often labeled as being violent and dangerous in the media and are commonly associated with crime. In reality, people who do suffer from Mental Health problems are more likely to be victims of crime rather than a perpetrator. This is just one of the reasons why this stigma surrounding people and Mental Health needs to change, people are usually just working off assumptions, not actually looking at the facts surrounding the matter.

An article published by the Time to Change organization, https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/media-centre/responsible-reporting/violence-mental-health-problems, talks about the facts surrounding Violence and Mental Health. In this article, they talk about the British Crime Survey and how the responses from this survey further back up the point that the stigma surrounding Mental health needs to be changed quickly.

The British Crime Survey results show us that around 47% of crime is done by people who are believed to be under the influence of alcohol. This figure alone should act as an eye opener, nearly half of all the crimes committed are often done by someone under the influence of alcohol. The survey also tells us that around 17% of crimes are committed by someone who is believed to be under the influence of drugs.

Surprisingly the survey shows us that only 1% of crimes are committed by someone who is believed to be suffering from a Mental Health condition. These statistics clearly prove that the majority of people who are suffering from Mental Health conditions are not usually dangerous or violent, they are more likely to be the victim fo a crime.

If we add the two statistics for people being under the influence of alcohol and then the people who were under the influence of drugs, it equals 64%. 64% of crimes are believed to be committed by someone who is either under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When we compare this to people who commit a crime with a Mental Health condition we see that there is a 63% difference. It is 63% more likely that a crime has been committed by someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol rather than someone suffering from a mental illness.

Lack of understanding is the other major cause of the stigma surrounding Mental Healths existence. A lack of understanding can often be the main cause of a lot of problems in modern day society. It is often brought up that if you haven’t actually experienced or researched a mental health condition then you cannot actually understand it.

Mental health is such a large topic to look at that, unfortunately, people do end up just assuming that they understand it when in reality they have no idea. The fact that the majority of Mental Health issues can usually be talked through is often overlooked in society. Personally, I have had people tell me that I am too young to have any problems or that I have no valid reason to say that I have a Mental Health condition. It is these people who only fuel the fire that is Mental Health when really they should be helping us extinguish it.

When I was originally planning this blog I was going to do a large section on the effects that the stigma actually has on people suffering from a Mental Health condition but now looking back I feel like it is better to cover in its own blog.  I will briefly touch on some of the effects in this blog but will leave the in-depth explanations for a later blog.

The stigma surrounding Mental Health mainly affects peoples self-esteem. The stigma leads to people feeling like they are being judged constantly simply for having a Mental health problem. This feeling of being judged is only going to lower the person’s self-esteem which could lead to them experiencing more problems. This can develop a very dangerous cycle involving mental health which could end with someone getting hurt.

The feeling of being judged can also lead people to begin to isolate themselves. People tend to stop seeking treatment and support when they are scared of being judged. This approach leads to more and more problems. This can create another dangerous cycle where people just add more problems on top of the problems they already have. If they stop getting help to work through these problems then eventually they will break.

That’s all I want to talk about in today’s blog. What do you all think? Did you know about the stigma surrounding Mental Health before reading this blog? If so where did you find out about it? If not was it a useful thing to learn? how could we go about getting rid of this stigma? Is it a personal problem or a problem for society as a whole? let me know what you think in the comments or by getting in touch with me!

Thank you all for reading! Please let me know what you all think. I appreciate all feedback be it positive or negative! If you have a minute or two spare then please leave a rating on the blogs Facebook page, it lets me see if I’m doing a good job or not! Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll visit the page again,

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here will be put back into the business. This can be through marketing campaigns, upgrades to plans or for setting up future events!

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James Sweeney

Respect – Is it always earned?

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Today’s blog is going to be about respect. I have been interested in doing a blog on respect for quite a while now, I just wasn’t sure whether to do it as a series or as a single blog. What I am thinking now is to do it as a solo blog for now and then if there is interest in it I will launch it as a series in the future, looking at the topic in more depth.

Respect can be shown in a number of different ways. People can earn respect through their age, their status, their job position and their life achievements to name but a few. We are taught when we grow up to always respect our elders, an important lesson I’m sure everyone can agree on but it does raise the question, is respect always earned?

This question is not meant to make it look like I have a lack of respect as this is not the case. I was brought up to always respect people and to treat people the way I would want them to treat me. I am the sort of person who values everyone’s needs before my own, which is an attribute that brings both positive and negative results. It took me a long time to notice that not all people are brought up the same.

Growing up I always use to go for a walk around the country roads near my house. Whilst on these walks we always use to stop and have a chat with the other walkers. This was something that I thought was a very common thing to do. I grew up in quite a close community where everyone knew each other and everyone would more than happily stop for a chat or even just say hello as you walked past.

It was only when I got to Year 11 in school where I decided to do my own little experiment that I noticed that not everyone had the time to stop and talk. The experiment that I did was based off how I got my food during lunchtime each day. During lunchtimes in Year 11 at my secondary school, we were allowed to go into the local town to get our food. This is how I first thought of the idea for my experiment.

I used to go to the same cafe every day for my lunch at school. The cafe was about a five-minute walk away from the school. Whilst walking to the cafe/sandwich shop I would always say hello to the people that I passed. The experiment here was to see how many people responded when I said hello to them. My goal of the experiment was to see how many people/ if any would actually respond to me saying hello and whether there was a difference in the responses between generations. The results that I did get were very surprising.

When conducting the experiment I said hello to 39 different people that I walked past, not counting other students in my year as they all responded. Out of the 39 people, only 2 people responded to me. One was a lady that use to help out in the local brass band that I was in and the other person was an older lady walking to the shops. If we break it down to the stats it does not look good.

Statistically speaking only 5.12% of the people that I actually said hello to responded. That means a major 94.88% of people simply did not respond to me. We can use these stats as an estimate to enlarge our sample size. Imagine now I said hello to 100 different people. Using these stats we can estimate that 5 of them will actually respond and the other 95 will simply ignore/not acknowledge it. These statistics further ask the question, is respect always given or should it be earned?

I understand that this is only one small experiment that I did but it still does paint quite an interesting picture. The experiment certainly makes me think of how I speak to people who I pass on the street. I always say hello to the people I pass however this experiment shows that the respect may not always be mutual. It’s quite an unfortunate insight into how respect can be perceived but it also makes you think a little bit more into how you treat others.

I am not saying that if you do not say hello to every person you pass on the street makes you a bad person as that is not the case. The main premise is that if someone takes the time to say hello to you then isn’t it a common decency to respond? We can also look at this from a mental health perspective. As I mention in quite a few of my blogs, especially my male mental health ones, simply saying hello to someone who is having a really bad day can make the world of difference to them.

Simply taking the time to have a quick conversation with someone, it doesn’t even have to be long, can really brighten up their day. Let’s try and do another challenge on this page. The next time you go to town and walk down a street say hello to a few people and see how many respond. Let me know how it goes! Did people respond? Were they people that you already knew or people that you have not spoken to before? Did it make you feel better about yourself? Leave a comment with how it went or get in touch with me through the contact page or on our Facebook page!

Thank you for reading today’s blog! What do you all think? Is respect always just given or should it be earned? Is it one or the other or even both? Do you think I should do a whole series on respect covering all areas or leave it as a ew smaller single blogs? Let me know what you think! I appreciate all feedback, be it positive or negative!

Thanks again,

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here will be put back into the business. This can be through marketing campaigns, upgrades to plans or for setting up future events!

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James

Looking into Male Mental Health – Blog 7: The Facts

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Today’s blog is the seventh blog in the “Looking into Male Mental Health” series and is going to be called “The Facts”. Today’s blog is going to take a look at some of the facts that have been released regarding Male Mental Health and are going to be suggesting reasons for why there is a difference and how we can go about reducing it.

A newspaper article published by The Sun on the 11th May 2018, can be found here: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/5911685/male-suicide-rates-uk-awareness-the-samaritans-2018/, gives us an insight into the differences between male and female suicide rates. The article informs us that the suicide rate in men is up to three times higher than female suicide rates. This statistic is really worrying and it is only the tip of the iceberg to what the article tells us.

According to The Sun, approximately 84 men commit suicide each week. This number alone is alarmingly high yet it gets even worse when we apply it through different timespans. If 84 men commit suicide each week, we can work out that approximately 4,368 men commit suicide each year. This number is absurdly high and action needs to be taken now in order to counteract this.

If we apply these statistics to the average lifespan of a citizen of the United Kingdom, which is around 80-81, then in one person’s whole lifespan there could be between 349,440 and 353,808 male suicides. Now, these facts are not intended to scare people but more so to inform them of how serious a situation this is. Even though these statistics are only an estimate, and they are taken from an article released in 2018, they still paint an unsettling image into the modern world.

Even though the figures we have calculated so far are alarming high it is still important to remember that suicide rates are still increasing. We can look at statistics all day long and see that there is a clear problem but if we do nothing to address and attempt to counter this issue then the problem is only going to get worse and worse. We need to learn from the mistakes made in the past, we need to focus on how we can grow together, not just as individuals.

photo-1499244571948-7ccddb3583f1

Change and adaptation are two of the things that humans are the best at. It’s what helps us learn from our past mistakes in order to make a better future, We need to adapt as a community to the phenomenon that is Male Mental Health. The spotlight has only recently been shone onto the crisis that we are facing and it is our job as a community to ensure that that light does not lose its focus.

It is all well and good for us to simply look at the statistics and hope everything is going to work itself out. If we do this then the number is only going to increase and increase until change and adaptation are no longer options. Steps need to be taken to try and combat these insanely high figures.

I have spoken a lot about why I think there is such a problem with Male Mental health in most of the blogs in this series. Although I mainly focus on stereotypes as the largest one there are still plenty more that arise. This is where the main problem comes up with Mental Health as a topi, although we can categorise some things as similar between different people, there are still and forever will be personal problems that are added to the mix.

As I have talked about in a number of blogs, identifying your limit is crucial as one of the main factors in tackling Male Mental health. Learning when enough is enough and what your limit is can save your life. Valuing the fact that life is about equilibrium, a balance can allow you to gain valuable insight into how you can grow as a person and not overwork yourself.

When I originally started writing today’s blog I was going to talk about a lot more statistics, however, after I wrote the first few paragraphs this quickly changed. We as a society often focus too much on statistics and they are often used to distract us from the actual matter at hand. However, that is not what I wanted for this blog. I wanted to use real facts that have been calculated and released to really show how important the topic of Male Mental health really is. The facts that I use are used to back up my points, not to distract people from them.

That is all I want to talk about in today’s blog. I have been holding back on doing this blog for quite some time as it is a very serious topic but it is one that I need to talk about before going further into this series. As for the future of this series, the polls that I ran last week have shown me that people do like this series and do want more blogs in it. I will be doing a few more personal blogs into my battles with mental health in the upcoming weeks as well as different theories and ideas that I can think of into how to tackle the global phenomenon which is Male Mental health.

What does everyone think of today’s blog?  Do the facts surprise you as much as they surprised me? Does seeing the facts make you want to try and combat them? If so how do you think we can combat them? Are changes being made? If so then are these changes enough? Let me know what you think in the comments or on the Facebook Page!

Thank you all for reading today’s blog in the Looking into Male Mental Health series! Let me know what you all think! I appreciate all feedback, be it positive or negative!

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here will be put back into the business. This can be through marketing campaigns, upgrades to plans or for setting up future events!

£5.00

James Sweeney

Change – A small word with a big footprint – James Sweeney