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Depression is a mental health condition which affects a person’s thinking, feelings, energy and behaviour. It is the most common mental health condition, affecting some 300,000 people in Ireland.

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The World Health Organisation define depression as “a common mental disorder, characterized by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness and poor concentration” (WHO, 2017).  Every day experiences create different moods (sadness, grief, elation etc.), so it can be difficult to determine what is normal and what is abnormal. A prolonged feeling of any one emotion could be a signal that you need to take steps to get yourself back on track.

Top Tips to get yourself Back on Track:

Get support: Surround yourself with people you trust and feel you can openly speak to about your problems. The expression “a problem shared is a problem halved” is very true. Counselling can be very effective. The HSE offers a National Counselling Service (NCS) which is a confidential counseling and psychotherapy service available free of charge in all regions of the country.

Say YES: Try to change your mind-set… say yes more often, even if you don’t feel like participating. Just by participating in new activities, your body will generate more positive emotions… helping to negate negative emotions. A fulfilling social life can contribute to a sense of meaning and self-worth.

Eat a Balanced Diet: Eat a balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, fish, lean meats, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. A balanced diet will provide adequate vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids to help keep your body nourished and energy stable. Low energy contributes to low mood so eating every 3-4 hours is a good way to keep energy stable and reduce low mood.

Avoid Energy Grabbers: Refined carbohydrates such as pastries, white bread, white pasta, white rice, sweets, cakes, biscuits etc. can cause energy slumps, contributing to low mood. Caffeine can also lead to mood problems if drank in excess. Caffeine also inhibits levels of serotonin in the brain, and, when serotonin levels are suppressed, you can become depressed and feel irritable.

Avoid your Triggers: Everyone has their own triggers… it could be gluten, sugar, alcohol, nicotine, dairy – we’re all different and we all react differently to different foods/ substances. People who are sensitive to gluten found in wheat, rye, spelt or barley often find that these foods contribute to feelings of sadness. If this is the case, avoid as much as possible. Alcohol often triggers depressive tendencies in the days following a drinking binge. Try to avoid any foods, drinks or substances that tend to exasperate symptoms of depression.

Exercise: According to some studies, regular exercise works as well as medication for some people to reduce symptoms of depression, and the effects can be long lasting. Exercise gives you a boost of energy, increases endorphins — such as serotonin — that improve mood and may improve sleep quality, which in turn can increase overall happiness. Do: Exercise for at least 30 minutes, 3 times a week at a minimum. Walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, skating, hiking, aerobic classes are all types of aerobic exercise. Find something you enjoy and just Do It!

Spend Time Outdoors: Research shows that soaking up extra vitamin D from the sun can help to reduce the symptoms of depression.  Vitamin D acts like a hormone in the body and affects brain function, so a deficiency can cause mood disorders, including depression and seasonal affective disorder or the winter blues, a form of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. Do: Spend 20 minutes out in the sun everyday. Even on cloudy days, your body will be able to produce some vitamin D.

Find a Purpose: Having a purpose or goal in your life can give you direction and greatly ease negative feelings. It doesn’t need to be complicated – it could be visiting a sick friend, completing a patchwork quilt, sorting out the garage.

Relaxation techniques: Try Pilates, Yoga or Meditation, as they are great ways to relax the mind and get in touch with the now. All three relaxation techniques have a positive effect on serotonin levels, thereby improving ones mood.

Lavender Oil Depression

Relax with Lavender Oil: This oil is well known for its calming benefits and also benefits mood. There was an interesting study showing the benefits of lavender on people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can result in depression. The lavender oil, when used daily, helped decrease depression by 32.7%, reduced sleep disturbances and moodiness in 47 people suffering from PTSD. Do: To use lavender oil as a natural remedy for depression, add 5–10 drops to warm bath water, diffuse 5–10 drops in your bedroom at night to promote sleep, and apply 2–3 drops topically to the temples, chest and wrists in the morning.

Food Supplements to help manage Depression:

Eskimo-3 Advanced EPA Despression

Eskimo-3 Advanced EPA

Eskimo-3: This is a premium food supplement rich in EPA and DHA, the omega-3 fats which are vital for neurological health. The higher your levels of omega-3, the higher your level of serotonin will be. The reason for this is that omega-3 fats help build the brain’s receptor sites for serotonin, the feel good hormone. Omega 3s supports brain, eye, and heart health throughout life. Eskimo-3 has the highest levels of EPA and DHA available in a single serving.  On the market for more than 20 years and with over 120 scientific studies, the Eskimo range represents probably the finest quality fish oil on the market, providing Omega-3 rich oil of legendary purity, freshness & stability. The oil is always from sustainable sources, and there is full traceability and quality control throughout the production process, from the fishing boat to the finished oil.

Vitamin D3: Vitamin D also regulates the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin –your feel good hormone. Low levels are thought to be responsible for S.A.D (seasonal affective disorder), commonly referred to as “The Winter Blues”, and therefore supplementing with vitamin D during the winter months can help ease symptoms and improve mood.

Rhodiola: This is an adaptogenic herb which works by increasing the sensitivity of neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters help to increase focus and memory and improve mood. Terranova Rhodiola is very good.

B-Complex: Deficiencies of a number of nutrients are quite common in depressed individuals. The most common deficiencies are the b vitamins Folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6. These B vitamins are essential for a healthy nervous system and the healthy production of hormones serotonin and dopamine which are essential for improving mood. 

Multi Vitamin/Mineral Formula: A good multi-vitamin mineral supplement could help safeguard your health. A deficiency of any single nutrient can alter brain function and lead to depression, anxiety and other mental disorders. By taking a good multi, you can correct all deficiencies, and hopefully positively affect your health.

New to Yoga? Don’t know what all the fuss is about?

Here are my top 10 reasons to try it

For a newcomer to yoga you might find that explanations like “It increases the flow of prana” or “It brings energy up your spine” fall on deaf or sceptical ears! Or seeing someone in an inverted head stand pose gets you thinking – “Oh Heck! I could never do that”!

Please don’t be put off by this. Yoga really is for EVERYONE. All ages, genders, shapes and sizes. There are many styles of Yoga, some are fast paced, others are gentle. It’s just about finding a class that resonates with you.

Yoga means Union – The union or the connection between mind and body, and body with spirit. It really means to establish a connection back home to yourself.

To truly understand yoga and reap its overall benefits is to engage this union, this connection between mind, body and spirit. Yoga is about releasing tightness and tensions from the muscles but also from your internal world of thoughts and emotions.

When you begin to fully embrace the practice of yoga, you will be taken on a spiritual journey! You will begin to FEEL its transformative effects, not just in body, but in mind and soul.

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  1. Yoga improves your self- esteem, increases self- awareness and boosts confidence levels. By stretching and squeezing the body and by incorporating various breathing exercises you begin to unlock stagnant or stale energy and release blockages in your energy field (also known as your Chakras). When you breathe, stretch, release and let go, both physically and mentally, you begin to heighten your awareness and elevate your vibrational energy field. As a result, you end up feeling lighter, taller, stronger and more confident in the body, and clearer in the mind.

 

  1. Yoga increases core strength, improves muscle tone and helps maintain a healthy body weight. Without any doubt, regular yoga increases muscle tone and helps build abs! Yoga can influence weight loss, but often it is not in the “traditional” sense of how we link physical activity to weight loss. Depending on your yoga class – for example; HOT yoga or Bikram yoga can burn up to 1000 calories per class, as it is an intense workout style of yoga. Other gentler yoga practices often burn fewer calories than traditional exercise (e.g., running, cycling); however, yoga can increase one’s mindfulness and sense of self -care, so the way one relates to their body is different. We begin to love ourselves enough not to over eat or self-sabotage, which is a much more rewarding and life changing outcome.

 

  1. Yoga Detoxifies the body and can prevent against disease. As you twist and rotate and stretch and squeeze, it massages the internal organs and brings fresh blood supply to enable them to function at their best.

 

  1. Yoga helps decrease stress and anxiety and reduce nervous tension. Stress can reveal itself in many ways, including back or neck pain, sleeping problems, headaches, emotional eating, substance abuse and so on. Yoga’s incorporation of meditation and breathing can really help improve a person’s mental well-being. It can be useful in reaching a more calm and centred state and help achieve a more positive outlook on life.

 

  1. Yoga increases flexibility, mobility, stability and improves posture. Improved flexibility is one of the first and most obvious benefits of yoga, along with increased strength and muscle tone. Strong muscles do more than look good. They also protect us from conditions like arthritis and back pain. The combination of the above will results in less injury and reduced aches and pains in the body.

 

  1. It increases concentration, focus and mental clarity.  A big part of yoga is maintaining balance and being present in the moment. This transfers into life off the mat. Regular yoga practice improves coordination, reaction time, memory, and brings more stability and balance in our physical and emotional world.

 

  1. Yoga provides energy, vitality and improves the immune system. When you contract and stretch muscles, move organs around, and come in and out of yoga postures, you increase the drainage of lymph (a viscous fluid rich in immune cells). This helps the lymphatic system fight infection, destroy cancerous cells, and dispose of the toxic waste products of cellular functioning.

yoga, miriam kerins, fitness friday, movement, destress, becomplete, mental health

  1. Yoga improves sleep and enhances inner peace. At the end of a yoga class you come into the gorgeous savansa pose – ‘corpse pose’ for a mediation as part of a cool-down sequence. At this point the body is relaxed, which enables the mind to become quiet. This is often where people get great moments of insight and feel utter inner peace. This definitely helps to enhance a state of easy slumber.

 

  1. Yoga improves your emotional intelligence. Emotionally yoga teaches us how to be loving and compassionate toward ourselves, because as human beings, we have self-defeating and self-limiting tendencies. Practicing yoga brings the content of our beings to the surface so we can see it. Inside the muscles, we hold the memories of every emotion we’ve ever experienced: sadness, fear, anger, love etc. Through the asanas (postures), we can tap into these memories and process our pasts. It’s the asanas that release the emotions out of the body.

 

  1. Yoga helps to cultivate an attitude of gratitude and elevate your sense of self-care. In yoga, we come onto the mat to stop. To listen. To feel. We come on the mat to get some stillness in a world that is often so chaotic. We get on the mat to re-connect back to ourselves, to centre ourselves and to in effect ground ourselves. By doing this, it enables us to feel more gratitude in our lives. It allows us to feel our heart beating and to honour this life that we have. It provides us with some time and space to simply just be. To self-care, self soothe and reconnect.

If yoga is a new concept to you, I hope you can embrace it with an openness and a willingness, and enjoy the journey it takes you on.

#FitnessFriday

In my opinion meditation is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and a very powerful tool to have in your wellness toolbox. I have been meditating for many years and have a daily practice, which enables me to reconnect with myself each day. Most of us are distracted and live too much in our heads. Very rarely do we check in and come into our bodies and notice how we are feeling. For years I focused on external things like money, career and boyfriends to bring me happiness but I’ve learnt that true happiness and contentment actually comes from creating peace from the inside out.

MEDITATION, growth, space, inner being, spiritual growth, alison canavan, mindfulness, be completeIt’s almost like reversing everything we have been told in our western culture and truly understanding that we actually have everything we need to be happy within us already, we just need to tap into it and work with it. This takes time, patience and practice but with some consistency and work its one of the most worthwhile and rewarding practices to include in your daily life.

It has been said if you want more wellbeing, inner peace, happiness and less stress in your life then learn how to meditate. Researchers at Harvard University even found that during the practice of meditation the body has what they call ‘the relaxation response’ that gives the body deep rest, which is actually deeper than the rest we get from sleep.

[bctt tweet=” Meditation is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself” username=”alicanavan”]

Now I know that beginning a meditation practice can seem intimidating and often confusing because there are so many different types and trends out there today. Trying to quiet your mind can also seem like an impossible task or if you are anything like me when I first began I thought I had to stop my own thoughts! The good news is that not only do you not have to stop your thoughts but you can let them come and go with ease during your practice after all its impossible to stop your thoughts unless your are enlightened or indeed dead.

MEDITATION, growth, space, inner being, spiritual growth, alison canavan, mindfulness, be completeI have been trained in many different types of meditation and it’s important to find what works for you because we are all so different. There is plenty of support out there today in the form of apps, websites, online courses, books and more. I personally don’t believe that one type is more superior to another and in my own practice I use different supports like mantras, visualization and breathing techniques when I feel I need them. It’s important to note that you learn to meditate by meditating and you will grow with your practice.

[bctt tweet=”Meditation allows us the opportunity to work with our mind and understand that we are not our thoughts” username=”alicanavan”]

Meditation allows us the opportunity to work with our mind and understand that we are not our thoughts and that we can change them and in time even catch them before they catch us. In a study by The University of Wisconsin-Madison they found the first evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of mindfulness meditation. This is truly amazing because it shows us that your genes do not automatically determine your future. This is called epigenetics and it is actually mainstream science and not on the fringe as you might think.

Basically how you live can have an effect on your genes almost like a volume control button. Based on your day-to-day experience the dial either gets turned up or down. By including meditation in your daily life it has been shown to have a positive effect on your gene expression and this expression can be passed down through generations if you have children, which means changing your lifestyle habits today can help the next generation become healthier too.

So not only can meditation change our brain activity and structure it can also have an effect on our genes too. But wait there’s more: because we know each aspect of us is interconnected recent research is also looking at the connection between meditation and our gut health too. Because meditation elicits a relaxation response it has been shown to have a significant impact on clinical symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). 

I didn’t fully appreciate all the research until I started to experience the real benefits for myself. My life has been transformed through meditation and yours can too.

MEDITATION, growth, space, inner being, spiritual growth, alison canavan, mindfulness, be completeHere are some of my top tips and a over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some meditations so sign up to my newsletter below if you’re interested.

TOP TIPS:

NO EXCUSES: The biggest obstacle to starting is YOU. The most frequent thing I hear is the excuse that we have no time. This is also the excuse I used for many years although I found time to do plenty of other wasteful things for hours on end! If you can scroll through Facebook for 10 minutes you can gift yourself the essential 10 minutes to meditate and practice self-care.

JUST DO IT: Don’t overthink it too much just begin. We all have to start somewhere so choose an app or a class or a guided online meditation or simply follow my easy guide below.

GOOD WEBSITES: www.10percenthappier.com www.zen12.com www.omharmonincs.com www.freemindfulness.org, www.chopra.com, www.fragrantheart.com, www.tarabrach.com

GREAT APPS: Sattva, Buddhify, Calm, Headspace, Take A Break, Mindbody Connect, Omvana, Relax Melodies, Smiling Mind

I also have weekly live meditations for mums on facebook (join here) every week and there are 3 meditations available free to download from my website in the resources section for my book.

START YOUR DAY THE RIGHT WAY: I meditate in the morning as I find it helps start my day in a positive and intentional way. It’s a great way to settle yourself before the madness begins and I find if you give yourself 5-10 minutes in the morning your ability to cope with stress and any obstacles you encounter during the day is much better.

SMALL STEPS EACH DAY: Real change happens when we are consistent with our habits. 5-10 minutes each day is far better and more beneficial than 2 hours once a week. Even though small changes might not feel like a lot, trust me they make a big difference and the kind of difference you are really looking for = REAL CHANGE.

BE EASY WITH YOURSELF: As you begin your journey into meditation be kind and compassionate with yourself. It’s too easy to beat yourself up for wandering thoughts or unwanted emotions arising but this is not the time for that, we do that too much anyway. Instead, this is your time to focus on the present in a non-judgmental way to increase awareness, which in turn helps to calm the body and mind.

MEDITATION, growth, space, inner being, spiritual growth, alison canavan, mindfulness, be complete

Please feel free to comment below with any meditation questions you have…

Shine Bright,

Ali xxx

STRESS AND DEPRESSION, mental health, CONCEPTION, PREGNANCY, PRENATAL DEPRESSION, ALISON CANAVAN, BE COMPLETE, DEPRESSION DURING PRENANCY, FERTILITY TREATMENT AND DEPRESSION,We often talk about postnatal depression in women but lately I’m hearing about more and more women struggling with both stress and depression when they are trying to conceive and during their pregnancy. Some women are lucky and conceive straight away, but for others trying for a baby can lead to years of stress, fertility treatments and, in some cases, depression.

According to the HSE, depression affects one in four women at some point in their life. It often occurs when women are in their 20s and 30s, when they may also be considering having children. Fertility treatment can cause you to live month to month, trying to balance and navigate a tight schedule of tests and treatments. This can be incredibly difficult even for the most resilient among us.

This journey can not only start to erode your self-confidence, but it can also affect your friendships and lifestyle, too. You can feel sad and scared, and for many life can spiral out of control, which is why it’s important to ‘mind yourself’. At times this is easier said than done, but eating well, exercising, keeping a gratitude journal, practising mindfulness and meditation, doing fun activities with your partner and spending time with friends can all help.

The most important thing to remember is to share your feelings. If you feel you can’t speak to your partner, finding a good therapist might help you to navigate your way through your emotions. Personally, I find it easier to talk to someone I don’t know who lends a non-judgmental ear, and counselling can sometimes help you to see things more clearly.

Researchers are not sure if mental health can affect fertility, although it is very clear that infertility can affect mental health! It is possible, though, that high levels of depression, anxiety and stress can affect the hormones that regulate ovulation.

If you have been trying for a baby for a long time and you finally become pregnant but the dark cloud doesn’t lift, please don’t be too hard on yourself. Pregnancy is an emotional time when hormones are rampaging through your body and they could be causing a bit of trouble on top of everything else.

Prenatal depression can present with symptoms such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Sleep problems
  • Feeling irritable in yourself and with those around you
  • Feeling fearful of the future
  • Appetite loss
  • Being tired all the time
  • Becoming withdrawn

For other women pregnancy might be unplanned, uncomfortable or complicated so there are many reasons you might start to feel down. This isn’t helped by the myth that pregnant women should be happy all the time. Out of the estimated 33 per cent of women who will suffer from depression at this time, this myth can lead to 20 per cent not asking for help because they feel scared or ashamed, says Healy Smith, a reproductive psychiatrist.

Prenatal depression can be a precursor to postpartum depression if it isn’t properly treated so follow my rule, which is…

TALK-ASK-DO

  • Talk to someone you can trust or call a helpline
  • Ask for help or find help for someone you love
  • Do whatever it takes to get yourself well.

There are lots of non-medical approaches you can take including acupuncture, taking a good quality omega-3 supplement such as Eskimo as a mood booster, and psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Self-care is important, too: it’s actually selfless and not selfish. A bath, some adult colouring (my current favourite), a massage or even a short walk can all help.

The question of medication, however, is always a conversation you need to have with your doctor. Clinical depression needs medicating, but a lot of the time therapy, positive lifestyle changes and stress reduction techniques will help enormously. And if you are on medication already, it’s important to ask about its safety of during your pregnancy. Throughout our lives it’s important that we figure out our own wellness formula, do our research and try new things because we are all so different. If you are looking for good quality information relating to women’s mental health and wellness, visit Kelly Brogan MD My friends in New York recommended this reproductive psychiatric specialist’s website when I was really struggling for the way she combined both medical and holistic approaches.

essential health, essential oils, mens health, alison canavan, caroline jackman, health and wellness, holistic health, mens issues, mental health in men, shaving, prostate health

Essential oils can be helpful for both young & old members of the family and they also provide a wonderful way to support health issues that are unique to men. It is often common for men to hide emotions or to ignore minor health issues that don’t hinder their function on a daily basis. Whether it is to combat depression, to support prostate health or to simply provide relief after shaving, essential oils can help men in practical and effective ways.

Stress, Anxiety & Depression

Often men are less likely to open up about feelings of anxiety or depression. They may be less likely to seek treatment or to be aware of natural ways to support their mental health. Essential oils such as wild orange are uplifting and help with anxiety, and nervousness. Wild orange and lavender help to combat insomnia which is often associated with anxiety and depression. Stress is also a common problem for many men and simply inhaling or diffusing lemon essential oil can help balance emotions and bring about a more energised mood. Inhaling wild orange can help with something as simple as calming feelings of fear before a presentation or promoting a more uplifting outlook on days of low mood.

Urinary & Prostate Health

Prostate cancer is the third most common cause of cancer death for men in Ireland. Natural remedies can help support and promote prostate health on a daily basis. As well as helping to balance emotions & ease symptoms of depression; Frankincense essential oil also supports prostate health. Placing a few drops under the tongue each day will help promote longevity and benefit the prostate. Juniper berry helps with wound healing, nightmares and for men in particular supports both urinary and prostate health. Massaging Juniper into the abdomen daily is a good way to experience the therapeutic benefits.

Shaving

Essential oils can improve men’s health in very practical ways such as providing skin relief after shaving. Shaving daily can often cause skin irritation or sometimes simply leave skin feeling dry or itchy. Mixing oils such as Lavender and Melaleuca into the skin with carrier oil can help provide effective relief for angry skin. Melaleuca has natural antiseptic properties to fight bacteria and lavender provides a calming and soothing effect both of which can help with ingrown hairs and overall skin health.

Aftershave

Similar to women’s perfumes, many men’s colognes contain chemicals and synthetic fragrances that can be toxic and bad for health. Replacing cologne with a mixture of essential oils is a great way to smell great and experience the health benefits of essential oils on a daily basis. Mixing citrus oils such a bergamot with earthy oils such as sandalwood, combine well and also provide a great mood boost.

Concentration

Many working roles for men today are sedentary and it can be difficult to stay focused & motivated without turning to caffeine and sugary stimulants. Inhaling oils such as lemon, wild orange, lime and peppermint can have an uplifting and invigorating effect. Diffusing essential oils such as rosemary in a room is a great way to improve memory and concentration. Spritzing peppermint on shirt collars is a great way to both smell great & feel refreshed throughout the day.

 

Hair Loss

Hair loss and baldness can be all too common for men and can cause emotional distress and a lack of confidence. Using the right blend of essential oils for balancing hormones can help combat male pattern baldness. Massaging rosemary into the scalp each day before shampooing can help with hair loss and improving the thickness of hair.

‘Hair Help’

20 drops rosemary

10 drops lavender

12 drops geranium

15 drops cedarwood

10 drops peppermint

Mix oils with 1 tbsp fractionated coconut oil and store in a glass container. Massage into hair and scalp daily and leave for 15 mins before shampooing out.

 

Essential oils can be used aromatically to affect mood and open airways; topically for quick absorption into the body through the skin, and internally for immune & digestive support. It is important to select therapeutic grade oils free from synthetics.

Essential oils are a great way to improve your health easily and quickly. Drop me a line if you’d like to learn more about using essential oils or where to purchase 100% pure oils.…

 

caroline@honestabouthealth.com

 

ST PATRICK’S MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES TO LAUNCH IRELAND’S FIRST ALL DIGITAL POP-UP RADIO STATION

AND

TODAY THEY ARE BEGINNING THE SEARCH FOR IRELAND’S MOST UPBEAT SONG

NO FEE UPBEAT FM 6Ireland’s first all digital pop-up radio station, will be officially launched next month and will be the first of its kind to broadcast in Ireland.

I’m so excited to be one of their presenters and this week we’re launching the search for Ireland’s most upbeat song as part of the campaign to promote positive mental health and wellbeing.

The campaign will see the first ever pop-up radio station dedicated to promoting positive mental health being aired during Mental Health Awareness Week in October.

Other presenters joining me will include, Alan Shortt, Teresa Lowe, and Paddy Cullivan.

The station will be purely dedicated to mental health and the importance of positive mental health, early intervention and managing your mental health.

Radio professionals from local, national and community radio have also volunteered to service the station which is great along with  a number of celebrities and mental health advocates.

Sarah Surgenor, the Communications Manager for St Patrick’s Mental Health Services said, “We developed the concept of Upbeat On Air as we were looking for an innovative and creative way to get people talking about mental health. We’ll be on air for 70 hours during Mental Health Awareness Week during which we will have well known people talking about their own personal experiences.  We will also be providing tips and guidance for people on how they can look after their mental health in a positive and proactive way.”

 

Nominations can be made online at www.upbeat.ie. Shortlisted songs will be played on Upbeat On Air throughout Mental Health Awareness Week; Monday October 6th to Friday October 10th.

News about the pop-up radio station and song choices will be shared on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #imlistening and also right here on my website and social media.

NO FEE UPBEAT FM 5

 

Follow me on twitter https://twitter.com/alicanavan and Facebook to hear more www.facebook.com/alisoncanavanofficial

Thanks Ali xxxx

 

Here I give a short description about what I learnt over the years on my long road to recovery from depression about what works for me. Some of it may help you if you or anyone you know suffers from any mental health issues. I really hope it can help in some small way xx

MEDITATION-facebook

 

 

AS PRINTED IN THE DAILY MAIL:

Q: Have you any tips on taking mum time when there’s so little time to spare?

 

“Mum time”, the mere words make us shudder and shake with guilt. I always hear Mums talking about never having a second to spare and being completely exhausted and that is exactly what led me to having such bad post natal depression. Trying to be the perfect person simply didn’t work for me. I’m now settling for just doing my best, which is what everyone should try and do as being perfect is vastly overrated or so I’ve heard!

Long before having James I started going to meditation classes in New York. Initially, I thought everyone was bonkers and as we sat and meditated I kept cheating and peaking to see if everyone else was actually doing it. Over time though I began to understand the power of simply sitting still which is something so rare for any of us nowadays. When you have children the thought of doing anything for yourself simply goes out the window but it is vitally important.

As time is of the essence I recommend finding just ten minutes every day where you can sit still. Meditation is not about connecting with a higher being or feeling like you were transported to another place. I’ve been to a lot of weird sessions which is why people get turned off so let me simplify it for you. Unless you’re dead or an enlightened being (god, Buddha, Dali lama) it is impossible to clear your mind completely. For me meditation is about sitting still in the moment and watching those thoughts pass through. I either focus on my breathing or I listen to some music from www.omharmonics.com or www.zen12.com where you can download sample tracks. You also don’t need to be in a room with candles and sit on the floor with your legs crossed. You can meditate anywhere at anytime. I have often sat in the car when I have ten minutes when I’m early for a meeting or sometimes I set my alarm ten minutes early in the morning. Those ten minutes are there you just need to make sure you find them. You could write a book about the benefits of mediation but here are just a few.

It increases optimism; self esteem and helps with depression. It can also help you sleep better and help your mind to become clear and focused. I find it helps my patience, especially with a 4 year old. It definitely reduces my stress levels and emotional wellbeing. Try it for a week and if you like it tweet me @alicanavan #meditatewithali

 

4  TOP TIPS:

1. Pay attention to your breath as it’s the greatest way to focus on being in the present moment.

2. Don’t try and stop your thoughts, instead let them float by and focus on your breathing again. This will become easier with time

3. Use music specially designed for meditation. I find it gives me a far better experience. I alternate this with days of silence too for maximum benefit.

4. Enjoy the experience and as a mum enjoy this time alone