How to stop bad thoughts and kick depression

How to stop bad thoughts

It’s true that we all have maladaptive thoughts from time to time. However, when they take over our minds to the point we no longer function properly, they can lead to anxiety and chronic depression. So how to stop bad thoughts?

I have spent the last few years of my life struggling with mental health problems. My emotional responses were self-destructive to say the least and it almost ended in the worst possible way. Doctors prescribed anti-depressant after anti-depressant to bring me back from the brink, but none of them ever really worked. In-fact most of them made me worse in one way or another. Negative, maladaptive thoughts took over and my life was on a destructive downward spiral.

It wasn’t until I learned how to stop bad thoughts that I started to make progress with my recovery. The key is in the realisation that it’s not the trauma in our lives that cause our emotions to flip out. It is the way we think about the trauma. I realised that if I could find a way to think a little differently, I would be able to control my emotions much better and begin to live a normal life.

How to stop bad thoughts with the STOPP technique

The STOPP technique is a simple path to emotional regulation and it gives you a sense of control in situations that cause them stress and anxiety. It consists of an acronym that can be easily learned and used whenever you realise that negative thoughts are controlling your thought processes.

S – STOP! Take a moment to slow down for a second.

T – TAKE A BREATH. Take a few deep breaths, in through your nose and then out through your mouth.

O – OBSERVE. Allow yourself to recognise the thoughts that are racing through your mind. Think about where your attention lies. What are you concentrating on most, right now, in this minute? What is it exactly that you are reacting to? Do you notice any physical sensations within your body?

P – PULL BACK and place the events in perspective. Think about current events in terms of the bigger picture. Imagine that you are an objective outsider watching yourself in the situation. Can you think of another way to interpret the situation? What would you say to someone else who asked you how to conduct themselves? Are your thoughts and feelings facts or are they just opinions? Finally, do you think this situation will matter in a few days, a few weeks or a few months from now?

P – PRACTICE techniques that work and proceed with your day. What CBT skills could you put into practice right now? For example, if you have been working to challenge your negative thoughts, could you make a conscious decision to identify cognitive distortions and replace them with more realistic thinking patterns instead?

If you would like some help assimilating STOPP into your life. Or maybe you just want to talk about your current mental health issues to a non-judgemental stranger? Please feel free to get in touch at my Facebook page, littlebroken

 

 

Someone you love has mental health problems

Someone you love has mental health problems

So you have just found out that someone you love has mental health problems. How do you make life easier for both of you?

Well let me start by telling a story. it’s a tragic story that I’ve heard too many times over the years and the reason for this article. We will use an imaginary character called Sarah who is struggling in silence with mental health problems.

Sarah’s mental health problems – A hard fall from  grace

Sarah has recently broken up with her partner. and life is getting on top of her. She works hard and provides for her children. They live in a nice house, but the housework is becoming difficult and it’s obvious that she needs some help. Her parents take her to one side and advise her to sell up and move home so they can look after her.

Realising something is wrong with the way she is thinking Sarah decides to listen to the family and for a while thing are getting better.

Does someone you love has mental health problems?

The real problems begin when the parents realise that they were not ready for Sarah’s behavioural problems. They have manifested because she is suffering manic depression and terrible anxiety. She is very quick to cause arguments and before too long Mum and Dad think she is out of control. They have a particularly bad argument and Sarah is told to leave.

Sarah starts to feel alone and that nobody understands her. Situations spiral and Sarah’s life takes a massive turn for the worse. She starts drinking far more than usual to dull the senses and says it’s just to help her sleep. She falls out with people at work because of panic attacks and mood swings. After a few warnings Sarah ends up losing her job. Before Sarah realises what is happening, she has lost her house, the support of her family and her only means of income.

Chronically depressed and homeless she feels real despair and the terrible thought occurs to her would the children be better off without her.

Sarah is now suicidal, how has it come to this?

Families and friends can do more

People fall into despair without seeing the warning signs. As a nation we don’t talk about Mental Health enough and because of this we don’t know how to help the people closest too us when they go into decline. Instead we distance ourselves from the afflicted and this makes the problem a million times worse.

Look out for these signs of depression in your loved ones

  • have low confidence
  • lose interest in activities they normal enjoy
  • lose their appetite
  • get tired easily
  • be tearful, nervous or irritable
  • At worst they may feel suicidal.

Signs of anxiety in loved ones

  • have difficulty concentrating
  • be irritable
  • try to avoid certain situations
  • appear pale and tense
  • be easily startled by everyday sounds.

Panic attacks

Panic attacks are usually a sign of anxiety. Someone having a panic attack experiences a sudden and intense sensation of fear. They may breathe rapidly, sweat, feel very hot or cold, feel sick or feel faint.

If you notice these symptoms in someone you care about it is very important to get them treated as though it was any other medical condition, but this is where another hurdle is thrown in the mix.

The wait time for patients to see a Psychiatrist is often 2-3 years. In the current NHS set up only a Psychiatrist can give a diagnosis to someone with a mental disorder so many patients go undiagnosed for years and more importantly they are left wondering what is happening to them and things deteriorate quickly.

Far too many people take their own life in the UK because of undiagnosed mental health problems and It has become my mission in life to spread the word. You are not alone. I have been through the pits of hell with my disorder but with proper therapy and medication you can live a full and meaningful life.

If you would like some help talking to a loved one, or maybe you want to know what to do if someone you love has mental health problems please feel free to contact me. You will find my Littlebroken page on Facebook and many more interseting articles on my blog at Littlebroken.co.uk

 

What to do if someone you love has mental health problems

I cant sleep – What can I do about my insomnia?

Help me I cant sleep

Is your mental health keeping you awake at night? If you are one of the 16 million people in the UK that scream, I cant sleep, every night then this article is just for you.

I haven’t always had a problem sleeping. It started around the same time as my mental health problems, I guess. So that got me thinking about whether my mental health problems caused my insomnia or was my lack of sleep causing my mental health problems?

Everybody knows how important sleep is. However, if you just lie in bed for hours saying I can’t sleep it’s easy to see that you are eventually going to lose your mind.

So last night I did all the things that my doctor has told me to do to promote a good night’s sleep.

  • No caffeine after 6pm
  • Hot bath with lavender oil
  • No TV in the bedroom
  • Even a muscle rub of my partner (once in a blue moon)

Sure, enough I fell asleep. However, like most people with insomnia it lasted about 3 hours. I wasn’t impressed to say the least. I was lay in bed looking at the walls and my mind was racing with thoughts of things that needed to be done. The anxiety was beginning to creep up on me and I decided to act and try something new.

I got up and got to work on all the things that needed doing. I cleaned the kitchen, then the front room, emptied the bins and put a wash on. It doesn’t sound like much but when my wife saw it this morning, she was in a great mood, so my day was already off to a good start.

I turned on my computer. I whizzed through four modules of my online CBT course. There were no distractions from the kids. I was on full speed ahead.

By about noon the next day I was beginning to flag. My body was telling me it was time for sleep. I put some music on but before my head hit the pillow I was sound asleep. I woke at around 2.45pm and picked the kids up from school but instead of having no energy I was ready for swimming.

After an hour of keeping the kids happy I returned home to write this article along with another for Facebook. What a day it turned into! It was the most productive I have been for years. I got to thinking, why not try it again tomorrow.

Now I have now successfully learned the art of cat napping, I no longer find myself saying I cant sleep, I seem to have more energy and a renewed zest for life. I’m not saying that everyone suffering with insomnia should live this way. I understand that most people have regular 9-5 jobs and cat napping may cause a few raised eyebrows at work but if this article helps just one person suffering with lack of sleep then it’s done its job perfectly.

I say to sleep well be productive!

Change the way you feel in ten minutes

Change the way you feel in ten minutes

What if I told you that you can change the way you feel in ten minutes? Most people say that they want to be happy above anything else. However most people do not have a clue how attain happiness in their lives. We become pre-programmed with automatic or negative thoughts over time, which subsequently make us pissed off or stressed out.

Automatic thoughts create a highway to depression which takes over our lives. When we are used to feeling sad as the norm, depressive thoughts become the automatic choice when feelings are involved. In other words it makes our lives unbearable.

So how do we change the way we feel in ten minutes?

Not only can you change the way you feel in ten minutes. Furthermore you will start to feel far less depressed and more in control of your life. It’s simply not enough to hope you feel good every day. You need a priming plan to make it happen.

Prime your day for the best results.

What does priming your life involve? Well it’s all about putting an action plan in place at the beginning of the day. This action plan should be undertaken EVERY morning so your day starts off in the right way.

Wire yourself for sucess every day.

1. Start the day with music. Put your favorite upbeat song on for 3 minutes and rapidly change your breathing during this stage.

A change in your breathing promotes a change in your current state and leaves you ready for steps two and three. Think about being grateful for everything that has happened to you both good and bad.

Even the worst events that have happened to you have brought you to this point in your life. Own your story and use the energy this creates in a positive way. Feel empowered to take on the rest of the day.

2. Think about your main life goals for 3 minutes. What do I want to achieve long term? These will be the same most days but really focus on your OUTCOME and what achieving this goal will do for your wellbeing.

3. For the final four minutes think about 3 things that you can do today to get you closer to your goal and make all three happen today.

By empolying this easy 10 minute workout for your brain you will soon be achieving all your dailey goals. This promotes momentum in your life and from there you can take on the world

What makes a champion?

What makes a champion and what can they teach us?

I spent last night watching the final round of the US Open. Gary Woodland won his first Golf Major and he was simply magnificent. As a keen golfer myself, It got me thinking. What makes a champion and above all, can we learn anything from Gary Woodland’s triumph to improve our own mental health?

What makes a Golf Champion?

As someone who struggles to control my own emotions, I found it fascinating watching a young golfer so in control of his environment. Focused on nothing but the next shot. Gary must have dreamed of winning the US Open from being a small boy. When the chips were down he stayed calmest f all and knocked in a 18ft put to win by 3 shots.

What makes a champion golfer
2019 US Open Champion – Gary Woodland

He controlled his thoughts impeccably during the final day. Never once giving in to emotion or self-doubt. At that moment in time he was truly in control of his body and mind. It occurred to me this morning that if we could master those thought processes on a day to day basis it could help reduce some of the symtoms of poor mental health.

  • Determination
  • Confidence
  • Focus
  • Self Belief
  • Living in the moment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learning I had a Bi Polar saved my life

bipolar saved my life
bipolar saved my life

Learning I had a Bi Polar saved my life

My name is Mark McAllister, founder of Littlebroken. Learning I had BI Polar saved my life. I am 46 years old and I have been an entrepreneur for over 25 years. By the time I was 30 I was battling drug and alcohol abuse and I was in over £80,000 of debt. By the time i reached my 41st birthday I didn’t know up from down nor good from bad.

Divorced and in constant trouble with the Police I set out to destroy myself from the inside out and eventually I tried to take my own life. I couldn’t see any way out from the pain I was feeling but I knew I didn’t want to die.

I just wanted the pain to stop. It was time to seek help.

I had never considered my mental health before; well I had never had too, but my quality of life was that poor things had to change. After several months of psychotherapy and anti-depressants I was finally diagnosed with Bipolar and to be honest that was the biggest relief of my life.

It gave a name to the shame i felt about the person I had become. It’s also been the explanation, not the excuse, that has allowed me to be someone living with mental illness rather than someone who is suffering from it!

My issues are far from resloved but I’m moving in the right direction. I have to work hard every day on keeping focus but I am now 6 months drug and drink free. I am now doing a Phycology degree and spend most of my time learning in the hope of improving my own self growth as through my journey I have come to learn this is the cure for depression.

If you know someone who could do with some support please tell them to get in touch. Feel free to share this with them as Im here to tell you there is a life after Bipolar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a happier life, change your Blueprint.

Blueprint for a happier life

For a happier life, change your blueprint

Wouldn’t your life be easier if you could simply change your state of mind when you’re feeling depressed?  Wouldnt that lead to a happier life?

To actively change your state of mind it’s important to first understand why your current life isn’t working!
 
We all have a life plan! A blueprint of what our life should be like. Problems manifest when our life doesn’t meet that blueprint.
 
Our blueprints are as individual as we are! For one person it could be, I want a fantastic body, for another it may be a perfect relationship. Whatever your blueprint contains, one thing remains the same, if we don’t meet our life blueprint our lives suffer as a result.

Make a life change for a happier life

Well the good news is we are all responsible for deciding what our blueprint is. Once we realise that this is the problem, we can change it to a more realistic blueprint that may be reached more easily.
 
By setting shorter term goals we keep growing as individuals. When you are completing goals on a regular basis and meeting your LIFE’s BLUEPRINT you begin to grow and through self-growth we can banish depression forever.😀

Cognitive behavioural therapy the key to a happier life

cognitive behavioural therapy improves happiness

Cognitive behavioural therapy – CBT the key to a happier life

Maladaptive or automatic thoughts make us feel emotional and are consequently the reason we end up depressed, angry and anxious.

  • People talk about me behind my back!
  • I can’t stop thinking about what has happened!
  • My relationship is over, and as a result I can’t go on!
  • I hate the way I look and as a result i eat more.!
  • I’m anxious all the time and I get regular panic attacks

The first step to better mental health is to realise that something isn’t right with the way you are thinking.  Admitting therefore that you need some kind of support is very important. CBT will open your eyes to new ways of thinking because the thoughts you are currently manifesting are certainly having a negative effect on your mental health.

Second is to realise that it’s not the event itself that produces the intense feelings associated with poor mental health. it is the perception of the event that causes the emotional feeling or behaviour. So if we can’t change the event itself, we can use cognitive behavioural therapy to change our  perception of the event. This therefore makes the feeling associated with the event far less stressful.

Consider this example

Peter, a 45-year-old IT manager, is struggling with bad anxiety, depression and some anger issues. He forgets to take his security pass to gain entry for work.

“I’m locked outside, I’m going to be really late for work. Now I must go home to get it and my boss is going to be annoyed and I may lose my job. How will I be able to deliver my presentation this afternoon in this condition?

Anxiety levels seem to elevate and similarly Peter’s negative thoughts begin to worsen. Most importantly his anger problems seep to the surface. As a result, Peter’s rollercoaster morning ends up with a suspension from work for shouting at a colleague.

After cognative behavioural therapy (CBT)

Peter is now much more in control of how his thoughts manifest themselves. This time when he realises that he has left his security pass at home he employs the CBT techniques he has been taught to change the way he thinks.

“I’m locked outside. I’m going to be really late for work. I know, I will call someone in the office to let me in, its not a big deal I can deal with this”.