Hypnotherapy for Anxiety

How often do you find yourself wondering what is the best possible way to reduce the stress in your life? You are just an average person with a normal life, decent work hours, and a family to care for; yet you can’t help but court stress in every aspect of your life. Be it presentations at work, failing to be at your daughter’s fancy dress competition, or forgetting your anniversary…you seem to be meeting stress at every corner. And you have been spending hours mulling over what is the best possible way to reduce stress – have you ever thought of trying hypnotherapy for stress management?

 

To search for hypnotherapy specific to your anxiety, use the search below and try ‘anxiety’ or ‘ general anxiety’ to find some useful hypnotherapy audio tracks.

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Anxiety has slowly seeped into every aspect of our life, and we often find ourselves blaming the fast paced life, the rat race and anything else that we can think of. We often think of stress as a negative force, something which will lead to nervous breakdowns and heart attacks. While I counsel my clients during hypnotherapy for anxiety management sessions, I often tell them that they should learn to look at stress not just as a negative factor; the truth is that stress can be a positive force as well. Don’t believe me? Well, look at this way…it is stress which drives us to do better, to put in our best efforts into anything we do. It is stress that pushes us to work towards our goals or helps us get out of a rut. We often increase our stress by stressing about stress! Sounds confusing, well it is.

Stress as a force confounds our brain, and hinders our ability to think straight. That’s why we end up doing stupid things when we are stressed. Have you ever found yourself wondering why you fought with your spouse/partner while at work; the issue that you fought upon seems trivial to you now. This is the classic byproduct of stress; most people who are stressed out tend to do things without thinking them through, their thinking abilities are blocked either by anxiety, fear or confusion. It’s like the wiper on your mind’s windshield suddenly fails to function. Hypnotherapy for anxiety management enables you to understand stress for what it is; by working on the rules of relaxation and positive reinforcements, hypnosis helps you get to a calmer state of mind where you begin to see things clearly again.

 

To search for hypnotherapy specific to your anxiety, use the search below and try ‘anxiety’ or ‘ general anxiety’ to find some useful hypnotherapy audio tracks.

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Hypnotherapy for stress management also makes you realize the cause of the stress and slowly nudges you towards dealing with those causes. With the help of techniques and auto suggestion, it instructs your subconscious mind to deal with a situation better. Let’s face it, we live in a very hectic world and all of us seem to be running around for something or the other. More often than not, we fail to take out time for ourselves from our busy lives. We don’t find the time to relax, to put up our feet up and forget every care in the world. We get stuck into a routine which seems impenetrable. The first way that hypnotherapy for stress management helps you during stressful times is that it provides the perfect opportunity to relax. It lets you drift into a comfort zone where you rediscover yourself; the hypnosis guides you towards using stress as a positive force in your life. It also helps you remember things that make you happy, and helps your mind retreat to these happy images and places every time you are negatively stressed out.

The antidote to stress is relaxation; and hypnotherapy for anxiety gives you the perfect excuse to relax. So go ahead, they hypnotherapy and relax away your stresses!

 

To search for hypnotherapy specific to your anxiety, use the search below and try ‘anxiety’ or ‘ general anxiety’ to find some useful hypnotherapy audio tracks.

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Aromatherapy for Depression

A fantastic and mysterious relationship is continuously unfolding between plants and their surroundings. These organic green machines are ceaselessly performing a glorious alchemy with water, soil, air and sunlight. The nearly infinite possible combinations of plant genetics and environmental conditions on the face of the earth have allowed for an almost immeasurable diversity of alchemal floral expression, resulting in a vast array of natural botanical materials. These range from simple staple foodstuffs to gourmet fruits and vegetables, from rich exotic spices to effective medicinal herbs, and from enchanting natural perfumes to complex therapeutic essential oils. Mankind is reaching ever further into the jungles and rainforests, knowing that nature is the true master of creation in these fields.

The line between food-plants and medicinal herbs is a fuzzy one. Science regularly reports newfound medicinal effects in plants once taken for granted; many fruits once thought quite plain contain some of the world’s most potent anti-cancer agents. The same goes for teas – green tea is one of the most potent anti-oxidants known – and spices – cinnamon may prevent the onset of debilitating diabetes – and this list continues to grow. This same lack of distinction exists between natural fragrances and therapeutic essential oils. The oil of a rose, laden with Citronellol, does triple duty as a perfume, an effective agent against the herpes simplex virus, and an uplifting aromatic that can help one open emotionally after a traumatizing experience.

The use of so-called ‘alternative’ therapies is on the rise; more individuals are turning to the wisdom of nature for assistance for all types of ailments, both physical and psychological. Interestingly, the source of most ills, from a naturopathic point of view, is being out-of-balance with nature. Eating unnatural things, following unnatural cycles,and living in unnatural environments. Lack of balance with the earth, from which we are made and upon which we live, leads to ‘dis-ease’ in our bodies and minds. As plants have created their wondrous botanical materials in a process guided by the rhythms of the heavens and earth, we may look to ‘plant wisdom’ to lead our way back into balance.

A depressed emotional state is a common reasons for using complementary and alternative therapies today. A wide range of psychological, physical, and energetic issues can lead to feelings of depression and a pervasive outlook of negativity. Moreover, once in a state of depression, patterns can arise that make relief all the more difficult to find. The use of essential oils for uplifting the psyche and spirit is becoming more widespread because of the oils’ broad and dramatic effects. While the oils themselves may not directly affect the underlying cause of depression, they may help individuals break free from depressive cycles – they may provide the impetus to ‘get off the couch’, so to speak, and begin creating long lasting change. Many natural healers believe depression to be a result of, like many other ills, of being out of balance; being unable to ‘synch up’ with the natural state of harmony that permeates the universe. For relieving this is-harmony, aromatherapy can be a very powerful means to infuse one’s body and mind with the most concentrated, sublime botanicals nature has to offer.

In humans, the olfactory (sense of smell) region is an area of about 2 and a half square centimeters, and is located in each of the two nasal cavities between and below the eyes. Containing approximately fifty million primary sensory receptor cells, this region is highly intricate, being 10,000 times more perceptive than the sense of taste. When compared to sight, we find that olfaction is more complex – it is able to distinguish a nearly infinite number of element compounds at very low concentrations. In order to perceive the visible spectrum, humans use only three types of photoreceptors; in contrast, the sense of smell relies on several hundred distinct classes of receptors.

Modern research has shown natural plant oils stimulate multiple regions in the brain, including those controlling endocrine, immune, and limbic (emotional center) functions. Essential oils have a direct and profound effect on the deepest levels of the body, emotions, and psyche. Through inhalation, essential oils have a strong and immediate influence. Passing through the capillary beds of the sinuses and activating the olfactory nerves, volatile plant oils enter the brain, producing direct and powerful systemic effects – the most immediate being on the emotions. Our emotions and our sense of smell have very strong ties – perhaps more than with any other of the other four senses.

In both Naturopathy and Ayurvedic Medicine (The Science of Life), essential oils are considered to enhance the flow of prana (essential life force), enhance and nourish ojas (sustaining energy and immunological essence), and brighten tejas (clarity and mental luminosity). In Traditional Chinese Medicine, essential oils in general are medicines for the Shen, the spiritual essence that resides in the heart and guides and governs consciousness. Used consciously, essential oils powerfully enhance positive mental and emotional states.

Further, the medicinal properties of essential oils, through their ability to support physiological healing, can also be of great benefit to the heart and mind. A Korean study on the effect of aromatherapy on pain in patients with arthritis found that receiving massage with lavender, marjoram, eucalyptus, rosemary, and peppermint oils significantly decreased both the pain AND mental depression levels.

Following are some oils that have a reputation for up-lifting Shen, enhancing prana, nourishing ojas, and brightening tejas – combinations that may have marked effects on symptoms of depression. These oils can be used alone or in combination in a nebulizing diffuser (producing a fine mist of oils for inhalation), or in aromatherapy massage, thereby inhaled and absorbed through the skin concurrently.

Bergamot (pressed from the peels of bitter oranges) has a strong reputation for its ability to gently uplift. In terms of Chinese medicine, this is a direct result of its smoothing the flow of Liver-Qi (‘Chi’ or Life Force), the liver being thought of as the seat of the eternal soul. Bergamot combines the ability to both relax the nerves and refresh the Spirit; it is suitable for many types of depressive states.

Neroli (from the flower of bitter oranges), like Bergamot, regulates the Qi – and like Jasmine flower oil, comforts the mind and heart. Neroli is called for at a core level, for the type of depression that comes from nervous and emotional exhaustion. Neroli uplifts the mind and Spirit with its potential to nourish and unify. Neroli assists in retrieving and releasing repressed emotions, with potential to nourish and unify a fragmented psyche. Neroli is specifically indicated for individuals who, in order to escape from emotional pain and suffering, cut themselves off from their feelings and senses.

The Chamomiles (German and Roman) are wonderful oils to use when the depression manifests in a moody, irritable, dissatisfied outward expression associated with stagnant Liver-Qi. These flower oils are earthy, rich, and grounding with subtle uplifting qualities.

When depression is of a Fire (overly aggressive) nature, it often involves an imbalance of joy and love – the root emotions of the heart and mind. Joy is an extension of Shen’s (spiritual essence’s) innate sense of harmony and perfection, an experience of emotional and spiritual well-being. The depression that afflicts the heart and Shen involves a loss of one’s natural sense of joy. There is often an accompanied lack of enthusiasm and interest as well as an inability to become inspired. Rose otto – steam distilled rose essential oil – or Rose Absolute may have a profound effect on this state. Rose is thought the premier heart opening aromatic, bringing joy, uplifting and restoring balance.

What follows are a few recipes for uplifting and releasing depressed emotional states – use your intuition to find the right one. Often, the single essential oil or blend you find most attractive will be the one that serves you best. Experiment, explore, and have fun with these fantastic gifts of nature. These blends may be used in a diffuser or candle lamp, unless where a carrier oil is indicated – blends with carriers are intended specifically for aromatherapy massage (self-massage is very effective, as well as a simple massage from a friend or loved one).

For releasing and opening the heart: 1 part Rose 3 parts Sandalwood 1 part Sweet Orange or Bergamot;
3 parts Jasmine 1 part Ylang Ylang 1 part Sandalwood

Brightening, refreshing and uplifting: 3 parts Bergamot 1 part Ylang Ylang 1 part Grapefruit;
2 parts Bergamot 2 parts Clary Sage 1 part Frankincense;
3 parts Bergamot or Sweet Orange 2 parts Clary Sage;
2 parts Frankincense 1 part Lemon 1 part either Jasmine or Neroli

Nourishing: 1 part (Roman) Chamomile 1 part Vanilla 10 parts Carrier oil of choice

Floral and earthy (uplifting and softening to Spirit): 1 part Neroli 1 part Vanilla 1 part Orange 1 part Sandalwood;
1 part Chamomile 1 part Bergamot 1 part Helichrysum

Single oils can also be used, and should be investigated so one can learn the different energies of each plant. For depression associated with negativity: Bergamot, Chamomile, Helichrysum, Neroli, or Sweet Orange. For a profound lack of joy, try Rose, Jasmine, Patchouli, or Ylang Ylang. For overthinking and worry, try Frankincense, Lemon, Marjoram, Myrrh or Vetiver. For pessimism, regret and remorse, try Clary Sage, Cypress, Hyssop, or Pine needle. For doubt of one’s capacity to cope with overwhelming situations, try Juniper Berry.

For cases of moderate to severe depression, professional help should always be sought. It is important to consider if you one requires professional help if the depression is overwhelming – while aromatherapy can provide support in a significant number of situations, it may not be for everyone. Essential oils can safely be used in conjunction with other treatments – consult your care giver to ensure there are no conflicts if medications have been prescribed.

Ten Things You Can Do To Decrease Your Stress At The Office

The world we live on is nothing but a mound of chaotic pressure that is building to the point it bursts like a volcano. We are bombarded with pressure from our employers, our customers and families to the point where some people actually do break. Most of us today in professional lives spend between 8 and 16 hours a day at the office, which equates to almost two-thirds of our lives being in a place we really do not want to be in, but there are things you can do to decrease the stress in your office.

Remember this, what we call stress, is really what we put on ourselves. Whilst other people can influence the way we feel, ultimately we are the ones who choose whether we are going to be stressed or not. You are in control of how you are going to feel, no one else. Stress as such is going on in our heads, so the real secret to de-stressing is to find things that would make you happy and content within.

#1. Have a Photo Of The Happiest Time In Your Life

Think back through your life, what is the happiest moment in your life. It could be the birth of your child, getting married, going out on a fantastic date, visiting some outstanding place or maybe it is when you bought your puppy dog but no matter what it is, you will almost certainly have a photo of that time. Take that photo and put it on your desk to remind you of those happy times as this will be one of the tools you need to beat stress in your office.

The happiest time in my life, and where I felt like the luckiest man in the world, was the day my wife stepped out of the limousine at the church for our wedding. I had never seen my wife look so beautiful and I made sure when I felt those feelings that I would remember them forever. So on my desk at work, I have a picture of my wife getting out of the limousine and each time I feel stressed I simply take a few moments to look at that picture and remember that moment in time. You brain is an amazing part of your body, no matter how many times I look at that photo, my brain releases the same feelings I had on the day and helps me snap out of feeling stressed.

Use the happy times, to control the times when you feel the most vulnerable and stressed.

#2. Think Of Your Boss Yelling At You Naked

Everyone has nightmare stories of their bosses being a grouch and I certainly have had my fair share, but most people who talk of being excessively stressed often relate that stress to a boss who is abusive and yells a lot. Well first off, if you are working in an environment where you boss is abusive, get out NOW! Nobody has to put up with that and remember life is way to short regardless of the money. Is money worth that much that the stress is worth dying tomorrow from a heart attack? NO!

However, if you have a boss who yells at you a lot, just for the sake of yelling and really is quite rude, simply imagine them yelling at you naked. If someone flew into your office absolutely starkas, that is with absolutely no clothes on, would you take them seriously. Course not! So, why take a boss that comes in and yells at you seriously. If your boss is an effective communicator he or she would not need to yell at you.

The next time your boss comes in, force yourself to think of them absolutely naked. When you do that, see just how you actually react and whether you deal with the situation better than when they are yelling at you absolutely naked. After a bit of practice you will find you are able to handle the situation much better and cope with a grouchy boss.

#3. Get Up and Do Some Office Exercises

Look no one on the planet can deny that doing exercise, gets the blood going and burns off the stress however sneaking away during the day can be really difficult but there are other Office Exercises that can bring you a lot of benefit to you. There are many office exercises that you can do like rolling your shoulders, clenching your hands and releasing them and even neck exercises that will help release the stress.

Often, much of our built up stress is simply due to sitting at the computer all day looking at the screen. Make sure that every hour you get up and stretch for at least five minutes. You will find that if you do not do that over a period of time this will lead to aches and pains, which can help increase your stress.

To get the best Office Exercises for you to do simply talk to your General Practitioner or visit a Physiotherapist and they will be able to help you develop an Office Exercise plan and you will be surprised how much easier life is to cope with.

#4. Schedule Enough Time to Go From One Meeting To Another

I worked for a bank about five years ago and I have never met an organisation that has so many meetings. My whole days constituted going from one meeting to another and I learnt one very important lesson. If I did not run my schedule my meetings would. Make sure that when you schedule an appointment or a meeting that you include travel time to and from a meeting.

Whilst working for this firm, if you did not schedule travel time, they would simply book meetings next to each other even if the meeting was across the other side of the city. They would simply expect you to immediately appear at that other meeting.

Message to All Humans – we do not have an instant teleporter, the Stargate is a fantasy, so make sure you give yourself enough time to get from one meeting to another or you are going to stress out.

#5. Plan Your Day

We talked about scheduling time to get from one meeting to another in the previous point but there is an extension to this. Make sure YOU plan your day, not your business associates. All too often I hear management say, “I did not get lunch today” or ” I have been on the run and have not had a chance to stop”. Come on, get a grip, you are in control and it is up to you.

The first thing you should do in every job you work in, is to make sure you schedule two decent breaks a day which include at least half an hour for lunch and a 20 minute break somewhere else in the day. If you are like most people you will be using something like Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes to manage your day. Both allow you to schedule unavailable time in your calendar, so do IT!

By scheduling YOU time, you can ensure you have enough time to have a break, do a little meditation and relax and prepare for the rest of the day. If you are like me and work 16 hours a day, then you should also be putting into your plan a decent Dinner break of at least an hour and half an hour at the gym, even if it is just using the treadmill. If you do not do this, it will catch you up to you and you will be a statistic at 40. Do not laugh, my leading hand lost his life because he did not do the right thing. It can happen to you.

#6. Limit the Amount of Time Spent Dealing With Emails

Technology is a wonderful thing, but when technology rules your life, then you have a big problem and very quickly technology like email can overwhelm you causing you to become stressed. One of the rules my team and I have in the office is that nobody must respond to emails for more than 60 minutes per day. The reason we have put this rule into place, is that many of my team and our corporate clients spend their whole day emailing each other rather than dealing with the issues at hand.

How often have you received an email on one topic and then have the content of the email go off in another direction right before your eyes? I was working in one corporate organisation as an external consultant and very often all I would do is simply respond to emails all day long and get nothing done. Most of the emails could have been dealt with a 2 second phone call. In one of the offices I was working in, it was an open plan office layout and I had a bloke working directly across from me, who refused to speak to me or anyone else on the floor and all he did was when he had an issue, he would send an email.

This is a crazy way to do business and it does not work and only causes technology stress. My solution, each time he emailed me, I simply spoke the answer back to him. He got the point after a while and my email load went down when he spoke to me rather than emailed me. Technology is supposed to make life easier, not take over your life, so if you have a question and the person is sitting in the next office, get up and knock on their door and ask the question.

By doing this you are undertaking item number 6 which is limiting your emails and item number 3 which is get up and do some office exercises. That little bit of walking will help get the blood flowing through you veins.

#7. Be Prepared To Say “NO!”

We all want to get ahead in the world today and I am sure in everyone there is a little part of us that wants to live the life of Bill Gates and Donald Trump and be as rich as them. However, most of us make the mistake of simply saying yes to everything that is thrown at us. Now whilst that is great to say yes, people like Bill Gates and Donald Trump have teams of people to help them, and in all honesty you maybe on their teams, but all of us are only human and sometimes we simply have to say “NO!”

Where is the point in saying to our bosses, “Yes we will have this 500 page report written for you tomorrow”. When in reality there is absolutely no chance of that occurring. Sometimes in this world you simply have to say no and that does not go just for the boss, it also goes for the customers as well. My team and I have a seven day schedule across the various businesses I run and whilst we do not all work seven days a week, sometimes we do work six days a week to get through our responsibilities. One weekend I had one of our customers, mind you it was 6:30 am on a Sunday morning demand one of my team from our car cleaning business, drop everything and clean their car at 7:00am because an important family member was coming.

There were many responses I could have given, but my simple answer was NO! The customer ranted and raved for about 10 minutes by which time I was imagining them naked yelling at me, which really was a funny site and then when they were finished and I simply asked them would they be prepared to work all week including Saturday and Sunday for the next 2 weeks and their reply was “NO, My Weekends Are My Own and I am not working them for anyone.” Then I simply responding by saying to them, then there is your answer and I hung up. You know the funny thing, they rang me on Monday morning and apologised and we did the top car cleaning service on their car the following week. I charged them more as well.

Most customers will accept the answer of No when they understand why you are saying No. Some will not, but then do you really need them as customers anyway.

#8. Take your shoes off and walk on the carpet

This is my favorite de-stressing activity and it shocks the living daylights out of everyone. I first met a lady about 10 years ago who was in her early fortys and nothing seemed to shake her stature. She was always calm and never got flustered and I asked her what her secret was and she said, “I always take my shoes off as often as possible so I can stay in touch with the earth”. This was a really prominent statement for me, because I never really thought of my shoes as a tool to disconnect us from our surroundings but if you think about it, it makes sense.

If you go down to the beach, what is the first thing you do. You take off your shoes to feel the sand through you feet and how does it make you feel, relaxed. If you go to the park with the children, what do you do? Take your shoes off so you can run around and have fun or to play in the mud. Whether we realise it or not, when we disconnect ourselves from mother earth we really do start to stress.

I now always take my shoes off when I am working in my office, including my socks just so I can feel something more inspirational under my feet rather than just the hard soles of my shoes. I know another corporate CEO in Brisbane Australia, who used to walk down to Anzac Square every lunch hour to walk on the grass so that he could stay in touch with the world. Hey, if it works in the movie Pretty Woman, surely it must work.

#9. Play Music

Listening to the right type of music is really important when you are trying to reduce stress and find your inner peace. Some music when listened to, whilst stressed, can in fact heighten your stress levels. One type of music, which research has shown to help reduce stress is Baroque music. This music is written so that there is only 60 beats per minute and funny enough that is what our heart rate should be. The baroque music has been found to increase the alpha waves in your left and right sides of your brain which help improve your learning ability, creativity and calmness.

Whilst you are working in the office on a demanding piece of work, simply put in a CDROM of music and listen to it as you are completing the work, but honestly do watch the type of music you are listening to or it can back fire. Most corporate organisations are now realising the benefit of staff listening to music during the day and with 90% of corporate computers having CDROMs, it is possible to listen to music on your computer whilst doing your work, you may just need headphones. I work in hundreds of corporate organisations a year and only one had a no music policy and that was because they were a call centre, which I can understand. There is no reason why you can not listen to music during your break though to ensure you a feeling calm before hitting those phones again.

#10. Meditate

Okay, I can hear it now, “Oh Yeah Hippy, Want Us to Meditate do ya.” Absolutely! Look whilst meditation has certainly been a thing of fringe groups in western society or associated with more eastern religions many researchers are now coming to the distinct conclusion that meditation can make a huge difference to our day-to-day lives and helps us to overcome stress.

The core advantage meditation will play in your office is to help you to relax and deal with challenging situations more effectively. The more relaxed you are the more creative you can be in dealing with any issues that arise. I certainly recommend that when you are meditating, that you use baroque music with your meditation as it will help increase the alpha waves which will help lead you to a calm feeling. This is especially useful if you do not have a long period to meditate. I recommend a 20 minute meditation session at least once a day preferably two. You will be really surprised the difference it makes to your day. Just try it out, you have nothing to loose and the rest of your life to gain

The office environment in these millennia is far more stressful than they were a century ago, but there are things you can do about it but it is up to you. Remember, we only have one life and it is not a dress rehearsal so get out and reduce the stress your office gives you and have some fun. To finish off let me reiterate the ten things you can do to reduce your stress at the office.

#1. Have a Photo Of The Happiest Time In Your Life
#2. Think Of Your Boss Yelling At You Naked
#3. Get Up and Do Some Office Exercises
#4. Schedule Enough Time to Go From One Meeting To Another
#5. Plan Your Day
#6. Limit the Amount of Time Spent Dealing With Emails
#7. Be Prepared To Say “NO!”
#8. Take your shoes off and walk on the carpet
#9. Play Music
#10. Meditate

Social Anxiety

Social anxiety is the most common type of anxiety that people suffer.  Social anxiety is the fear of being around other people.  This fear can be the fear of talking to people, being ciriticised or looked at by other people, day to day tasks that others may take for granted like shopping.

People who suffer from social anxiety experience can experience some horrendous feelings of dread and worry, self-consciousness.  It is common to feel the need to ‘over-analyse’ given situations or interactions.

 

From a physical symptom persective, sufferers may experience intense shaking, sweating, heart palpitations and blushing. 

 

Social anxiety comes in 2 forms in the main

 

Social performance anxiety – the fear of ‘doing things’ in public, speaking, eating or maybe dealing with difficult situations and difficult interactions

 

Generalised social anxiety – as it says, generalised social anxiety presents in the person’s life in general, affecting most if not all aspects of their lives

 

Current treatment of social anxiety

 

There are several ways to address social anxiety.  My inital advice, as i’ve said in countless publications, is to CONTACT YOUR GP in the first instance to rule out any physical reasons a person may be suffering from social anxiety.  From here there are health professionals at hand to discuss if cninical input may be a useful option – it often isn’t as a lot of people simply do not feel comfortable talking to a stranger.  This is perfectly normal, and the professionals available are more than used to helping the most shy or private of people.  If this simply isnt an option for the sufferer then still a trip to the GP for the reasons mentioned earlier, to rule out other causes.

 

Professional help can come in the form of counselling, CBT or another form of therapy which will be decided between the client and the professional as to the best approach for the individual.

 

Self-help is quite often a very successful method utilised by many.  Check our checklist for some ideas, or also our resources for self help in the form of books, dvds and audio

 

Medication is an option to help with anxiety.  Again this is one to discuss with your GP.

 

In it’s most persistant and severe form, social anxiety can be fall under the category of Avoidant Personality Disorder

 

Depression – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment options

Depression is a complex of psychological and physical symptoms. Low mood level or sadness is often the most prominent symptom. The common property of these symptoms is a decreased activity level in parts of the brain.
THE SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION

Depression may give one or more of these symptoms:

-Low mood level or sadness.
-Lack of joy or interest in activities that were joyful before.
-Pessimism.
-Feel of guilt of something without any substantial reason to feel so.
-Inferiority thoughts.
-Irritability.
-Slowness in the thought process.
-Slowness in interpreting sensorial stimuli.
-Slowness of digestion or other internal physical processes, and symptoms caused by this slowness, for example inflated stomach, constipation or difficulties by urination.
-Slow physical reactions.

Depression can be a mild disease that only causes some annoyance in the daily life, but can also get very serious and make a person totally unable to work and unable to participate in social life. By depression of some severity, there is also a greater risk of suicide.

Depression can occur in all age classes. In teenagers lack of interest in school work, withdrawal from social life and difficult mood can be signs of depression.
THE PHYSIOLOGICAL CHANGES THAT PRODUCE THE SYMPTOMS

By depression there is a decreased amount of neurotransmitters in parts of the central nervous system, mainly deficiency of serotonin, but also to some extend of noradrenalin, acetylcholine, dopamine or gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA), or the nerve cells do not react properly by stimulation from neurotransmitters. A neurotransmitter is a signal substance that transmits the nerve signal through the junctions between two nerve cells.

Serotonin and noradrenalin cause nerve cells to send impulses along to other nerve cells, and thus increase the activity in the brain. Deficiency of these substances causes slowness in parts of the brain, and that again causes the depressive symptoms.

The role of GABA is the opposite, namely to slow down some nerve impulses, mainly those causing anxiety and panic response. Lack of GABA causes higher anxiety and easier panic response. Yet, lack of this transmitter also seems to cause depressive symptoms. This is because a too high activity in some brain processes may slow down other processes.

There are many causes and subtypes of depression with different physiological mechanisms involved.
TYPES OF DEPRESSION

Depression is often divided into subtypes according to exhibited symptoms.

1. Mono-polar depression and dysthymic disorder

By mono-polar depression there are pure depressive symptoms. Mild cases of mono-polar disorder that do not affect a persons ability to work and to participate in social activities are often called dysthymic disorder.

2. Bipolar disorder (manic-depressive disease) and cyclothymic disorder

In this condition there are periods with symptoms of depression – the depressive phase, alternating with periods of elevated mood level with increased mental and physical activity – the manic phase. In the manic phase, the affected person also sleeps poorly and has concentration difficulties. A mild form of this disease is called cyclothymic disorder.
3. Manic disorder

This condition is characterized by abnormally elevated mood, by unrealistic optimism, by lack of sleep and by hyperactive behaviour. Many psychiatrists think that this disorder is simply the same disease as bipolar disorder where the depressive face has not yet occurred.

4. Depression with mainly physical symptoms

Sometimes the physical symptoms of depression are alone or dominant, as for example: Digestive problems, constipation, difficulties with urination, slow response to sensorial stimuli or slow physical reactions.
CAUSES OF DEPRESSION

Two or more factors can have an effect simultaneously to cause depression. Depression can be an independent disease, or a part of other disease. Depression is also divided into different subtypes according to cause.

1. Reactive depression

This disease is simply a result from psychological stress, physical struggle or mental straining without proper rest or sleep over a long time period. The straining will simply wear out the nervous system or deplete the organism from nutrient necessary for the nervous system to work properly.
2. Endogenous depression

When there has not been any period of stress, straining or lack of rest that can explain the condition, the condition is often called endogenous depression. Inheritance is thought to be a part of the cause.
3. Depression by physical disease

Depression or depressive symptoms may be a symptom of physical disease. This is perhaps the most common cause of depression. Generally there are three categories of diseases that give depression:

Diseases often associated with depression are: Heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, hypertension or Cushing’s syndrome.

Mononucleosis or flu may trigger depression that continues after the infection has gone.

By lack of thyroid hormones, hypothyroidism, the metabolism in the whole body is slowed down, including the production of neurotransmitters in the brain. Therefore depression is an important symptom of hypothyroidism.
4. Depressive symptoms as a consequence of unsound lifestyle

A general unsound lifestyle with too less exercise, too much of stimulants like alcohol, coffee or tea, too less of important nutrient and too much of sugar and fat may give depressive symptoms, as well as physical problems.
5. Postnatal depression

Women will often have a period of depression after pregnancy and berth of the baby Pregnancy and berth is physically and mentally exhausting, and may drain the body for nutrient. This in turn can cause depressive symptoms
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6. Seasonal affective disorder

Depression can occur in cold and dark periods of the year and go away in warm and light periods. Light stimulates brain activity, and lack of light is a causative factor.
TREATMENT OF DEPRESSION

Serious or prolonged depression is often treated with anti-depressive medication. Medicines used against depression generally increase the level of neurotransmitters like serotonin in the central nervous system, or they mimic the neurotransmitters.
The medications mostly used today increase the serotonin concentration by decreasing the removal of serotonin from the space around nerve cells. Examples of this medication type are: Fluoxetine (Prozac), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil), escitalopram (Lexapro, Celexa), sentraline (zoloft).
By bipolar disorder in the manic face, heavy tranquilizers (neuroleptica) are used to stop the manic symptoms. By bipolar disorder, lithium salts are sometimes used to stabilize the condition, and prevent new outbreak of depressive or manic faces.
Psychotherapy is sometimes used by depression, usually in combination with medication.
Sometimes serious depression is treated by applying electric shock through the head, electroconvulsive therapy. The shock induces epileptic eruption of nerve signals through the brain and this gives cramps throughout the body. The cramps are alleviated or stopped by applying anaesthesia before the electroshock. This form of treatment is controversial, since it can cause memory loss and is suspected of causing brain damage. The possibility of brain damage is however denied by most psychiatrists.
By seasonal depression, light therapy maybe useful.
Adjustment of lifestyle should always be considered by depression or depressive symptoms. Lifestyle measures can sometimes be enough to cure depressive symptoms before a serious depression develop. Lifestyle adjustments can be:

– To slow down a stressful life with too much work or activities.
– Enough rest and sleep.
– A good diet with enough of necessary nutrients.
– Some physical exercise.
– Meditation.
– Supplement of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, lecithin, amino acids and essential fatty acids.
– Stimulants like coffee or tea may help against depressive feelings in moderate amount. However, if you are a heavy user of these stimulants, you should cut down on your consumption.

There exist nutritional products in the marked to help against depressive symptoms. These contain ingredients that the brain uses as building blocks for neurotransmitters, for example amino acids and lecithin. They also often contain vitamins and minerals that the brain uses as tools to produce neurotransmitters, especially vitamin B6.

Supplements may further contain herbal extracts that trigger higher brain activity much like anti-depressive medications, but may have fewer side effects.

Treating Depression With Aromatherapy

A fantastic and mysterious relationship is continuously unfolding between plants and their surroundings. These organic green machines are ceaselessly performing a glorious alchemy with water, soil, air and sunlight. The nearly infinite possible combinations of plant genetics and environmental conditions on the face of the earth have allowed for an almost immeasurable diversity of alchemal floral expression, resulting in a vast array of natural botanical materials. These range from simple staple foodstuffs to gourmet fruits and vegetables, from rich exotic spices to effective medicinal herbs, and from enchanting natural perfumes to complex therapeutic essential oils. Mankind is reaching ever further into the jungles and rainforests, knowing that nature is the true master of creation in these fields.

The line between food-plants and medicinal herbs is a fuzzy one. Science regularly reports newfound medicinal effects in plants once taken for granted; many fruits once thought quite plain contain some of the world’s most potent anti-cancer agents. The same goes for teas – green tea is one of the most potent anti-oxidants known – and spices – cinnamon may prevent the onset of debilitating diabetes – and this list continues to grow. This same lack of distinction exists between natural fragrances and therapeutic essential oils. The oil of a rose, laden with Citronellol, does triple duty as a perfume, an effective agent against the herpes simplex virus, and an uplifting aromatic that can help one open emotionally after a traumatizing experience.

The use of so-called ‘alternative’ therapies is on the rise; more individuals are turning to the wisdom of nature for assistance for all types of ailments, both physical and psychological. Interestingly, the source of most ills, from a naturopathic point of view, is being out-of-balance with nature. Eating unnatural things, following unnatural cycles,and living in unnatural environments. Lack of balance with the earth, from which we are made and upon which we live, leads to ‘dis-ease’ in our bodies and minds. As plants have created their wondrous botanical materials in a process guided by the rhythms of the heavens and earth, we may look to ‘plant wisdom’ to lead our way back into balance.

A depressed emotional state is a common reasons for using complementary and alternative therapies today. A wide range of psychological, physical, and energetic issues can lead to feelings of depression and a pervasive outlook of negativity. Moreover, once in a state of depression, patterns can arise that make relief all the more difficult to find. The use of essential oils for uplifting the psyche and spirit is becoming more widespread because of the oils’ broad and dramatic effects. While the oils themselves may not directly affect the underlying cause of depression, they may help individuals break free from depressive cycles – they may provide the impetus to ‘get off the couch’, so to speak, and begin creating long lasting change. Many natural healers believe depression to be a result of, like many other ills, of being out of balance; being unable to ‘synch up’ with the natural state of harmony that permeates the universe. For relieving this is-harmony, aromatherapy can be a very powerful means to infuse one’s body and mind with the most concentrated, sublime botanicals nature has to offer.

In humans, the olfactory (sense of smell) region is an area of about 2 and a half square centimeters, and is located in each of the two nasal cavities between and below the eyes. Containing approximately fifty million primary sensory receptor cells, this region is highly intricate, being 10,000 times more perceptive than the sense of taste. When compared to sight, we find that olfaction is more complex – it is able to distinguish a nearly infinite number of element compounds at very low concentrations. In order to perceive the visible spectrum, humans use only three types of photoreceptors; in contrast, the sense of smell relies on several hundred distinct classes of receptors.

Modern research has shown natural plant oils stimulate multiple regions in the brain, including those controlling endocrine, immune, and limbic (emotional center) functions. Essential oils have a direct and profound effect on the deepest levels of the body, emotions, and psyche. Through inhalation, essential oils have a strong and immediate influence. Passing through the capillary beds of the sinuses and activating the olfactory nerves, volatile plant oils enter the brain, producing direct and powerful systemic effects – the most immediate being on the emotions. Our emotions and our sense of smell have very strong ties – perhaps more than with any other of the other four senses.

In both Naturopathy and Ayurvedic Medicine (The Science of Life), essential oils are considered to enhance the flow of prana (essential life force), enhance and nourish ojas (sustaining energy and immunological essence), and brighten tejas (clarity and mental luminosity). In Traditional Chinese Medicine, essential oils in general are medicines for the Shen, the spiritual essence that resides in the heart and guides and governs consciousness. Used consciously, essential oils powerfully enhance positive mental and emotional states.

Further, the medicinal properties of essential oils, through their ability to support physiological healing, can also be of great benefit to the heart and mind. A Korean study on the effect of aromatherapy on pain in patients with arthritis found that receiving massage with lavender, marjoram, eucalyptus, rosemary, and peppermint oils significantly decreased both the pain AND mental depression levels.

Following are some oils that have a reputation for up-lifting Shen, enhancing prana, nourishing ojas, and brightening tejas – combinations that may have marked effects on symptoms of depression. These oils can be used alone or in combination in a nebulizing diffuser (producing a fine mist of oils for inhalation), or in aromatherapy massage, thereby inhaled and absorbed through the skin concurrently.

Bergamot (pressed from the peels of bitter oranges) has a strong reputation for its ability to gently uplift. In terms of Chinese medicine, this is a direct result of its smoothing the flow of Liver-Qi (‘Chi’ or Life Force), the liver being thought of as the seat of the eternal soul. Bergamot combines the ability to both relax the nerves and refresh the Spirit; it is suitable for many types of depressive states.

Neroli (from the flower of bitter oranges), like Bergamot, regulates the Qi – and like Jasmine flower oil, comforts the mind and heart. Neroli is called for at a core level, for the type of depression that comes from nervous and emotional exhaustion. Neroli uplifts the mind and Spirit with its potential to nourish and unify. Neroli assists in retrieving and releasing repressed emotions, with potential to nourish and unify a fragmented psyche. Neroli is specifically indicated for individuals who, in order to escape from emotional pain and suffering, cut themselves off from their feelings and senses.

The Chamomiles (German and Roman) are wonderful oils to use when the depression manifests in a moody, irritable, dissatisfied outward expression associated with stagnant Liver-Qi. These flower oils are earthy, rich, and grounding with subtle uplifting qualities.

When depression is of a Fire (overly aggressive) nature, it often involves an imbalance of joy and love – the root emotions of the heart and mind. Joy is an extension of Shen’s (spiritual essence’s) innate sense of harmony and perfection, an experience of emotional and spiritual well-being. The depression that afflicts the heart and Shen involves a loss of one’s natural sense of joy. There is often an accompanied lack of enthusiasm and interest as well as an inability to become inspired. Rose otto – steam distilled rose essential oil – or Rose Absolute may have a profound effect on this state. Rose is thought the premier heart opening aromatic, bringing joy, uplifting and restoring balance.

What follows are a few recipes for uplifting and releasing depressed emotional states – use your intuition to find the right one. Often, the single essential oil or blend you find most attractive will be the one that serves you best. Experiment, explore, and have fun with these fantastic gifts of nature. These blends may be used in a diffuser or candle lamp, unless where a carrier oil is indicated – blends with carriers are intended specifically for aromatherapy massage (self-massage is very effective, as well as a simple massage from a friend or loved one).

For releasing and opening the heart: 1 part Rose 3 parts Sandalwood 1 part Sweet Orange or Bergamot;
3 parts Jasmine 1 part Ylang Ylang 1 part Sandalwood

Brightening, refreshing and uplifting: 3 parts Bergamot 1 part Ylang Ylang 1 part Grapefruit;
2 parts Bergamot 2 parts Clary Sage 1 part Frankincense;
3 parts Bergamot or Sweet Orange 2 parts Clary Sage;
2 parts Frankincense 1 part Lemon 1 part either Jasmine or Neroli

Nourishing: 1 part (Roman) Chamomile 1 part Vanilla 10 parts Carrier oil of choice

Floral and earthy (uplifting and softening to Spirit): 1 part Neroli 1 part Vanilla 1 part Orange 1 part Sandalwood;
1 part Chamomile 1 part Bergamot 1 part Helichrysum

Single oils can also be used, and should be investigated so one can learn the different energies of each plant. For depression associated with negativity: Bergamot, Chamomile, Helichrysum, Neroli, or Sweet Orange. For a profound lack of joy, try Rose, Jasmine, Patchouli, or Ylang Ylang. For overthinking and worry, try Frankincense, Lemon, Marjoram, Myrrh or Vetiver. For pessimism, regret and remorse, try Clary Sage, Cypress, Hyssop, or Pine needle. For doubt of one’s capacity to cope with overwhelming situations, try Juniper Berry.

For cases of moderate to severe depression, professional help should always be sought. It is important to consider if you one requires professional help if the depression is overwhelming – while aromatherapy can provide support in a significant number of situations, it may not be for everyone. Essential oils can safely be used in conjunction with other treatments – consult your care giver to ensure there are no conflicts if medications have been prescribed.