Thinking distortions

Stress, anxiety and depression are caused by an ongoing cycle of negative thoughts πŸ”„ These thoughts cause physical feelings and emotions which in turn cause negative behaviours.

Do you recognise any of these thoughts in your daily chatter? The first step to mental wellness is the regular checking with yourslef and really getting familiar with the messages and themes of your thoughts. Try setting aside a time in your day to reflect on your messages and emotions. You may find journalling or apps a really useful tool in self reflection.

An evidence based approach to help break this cycle is creating tools that target each component through a technique called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. More on this next time πŸ™πŸΎ

The Guesthouse

Arizona Awinita, known for her wisdom, gentleness and compassion, was the elderly hostess of a quaint hotel – The Little Fawn.

This whitewashed hotel sat nestled between trees brimming with fruit and dazzling with wisteria. Guests had the pleasure of hearing the soft lull of the ocean and the coo of the birds.

Every morning a new arrival would turn up at the doorstep of The Little Fawn. Sometimes a traveller would arrive especially joyful and energised to be exploring this part of the world. Laughter would echo through the walls of the hotel and new friendships forged.

Other times, an unexpected visitor, full of sorrows, would make their way to the hotel. With a heavy heart, they would share with Arizona their stories of missed opportunities, failures and shame. She would softly encourage them to open up – each moment honouring their story with warmth, courage and respect.

Each guest, whether bearing joy or dark thoughts, Arizona welcomed them all at the door smiling, inviting them in. She knew even the seemingly unwelcome guests would depart in time. She remained grateful for whoever came, as each of them she believed, were sent as a guide from beyond.

Mind ninja for burnout – simple strategies in prevention

The signs

“I became anxious about the smaller things aswell as the big, even though I’m not a naturally anxious person.”

“I lost interest in things I used to be passionate about.”

“I was irritable, with poor concentration, and worried that my work would suffer”

“A good nights sleep became a bit of a mystery.”

“I’d catch myself clenching and grinding at night”

“Recurring headaches, back, neck and body pains that I assumed were all just part of poor posture or ageing”

Experiencing burnout really took me by surprise. Before I knew it, I had snowballed from a sense of calm to a lower threshold to stressors, a heightened state of anxiety and a tonne of physical symptoms – migaraines and electric shock back pain. I remember coming home from another long day from work, feeling utterly drained. I began to question if it were normal to feel zapped and this out of energy. It became clear that I had missed the early signs and reached crisis point.

Becoming overwhelmed by stress and burnout doesn’t need to be an inevitable part of your dental journey. Here are some simple tips to help you recognise its time to prioritise your mind.

1.Checking in

I found the first step to understanding myself better was to start with making time for self reflection. The easiest way I found to do this was by checking in regularly with my emotions, thoughts and attitudes. Ask yourself how you are feeling and why? If you priortise checking in during your day then the skill of self reflection and awareness increases.,

2.Understanding your narrative

Getting to understanding the themes of your thoughts that come up daily helps you to join the dots and appreciating why you feel a certain way can help you become more compassionate to yourself. It’ll also help to lessen the impact of the uncomfortable feeling.

3. Staying with the feeling

This can be very difficult, but pushing away, denying or distracting yourself from that emotion often seems to make you feel more triggered. Instead try allowing the feeling to enter. Sit with the discomfort by reminding yourself that its temporary. The pain of these negative feelings are essential – they are telling you a story and want to be heard.

4. Up coping mechanisms

This may range from the simple sleep early, feed and water yourself and exercise, to mindfulness, journalling or creativity. Coping mechanisms help you nurse yourself to health. Find what woks best for you and up those activities.

5. Breathe

Breathing exercises make a massive difference. This may be simply focusing on your breath for 2 mins when you wake up or a guided mindfulness mediation session following an app – whatever it is big or small, the effects are instant and life changing.

The science part: when your exhale is longer then the inhale your prasympathetic nervous system is activated. This has the effect of slowing you down, increasing calm and focus.

6. Slow down

Say no to extra commitments and give yourself permission to do less. This practice is one of self compassion. While its good to have goals and aim high, at a time of stress, its healthier for you to recognise that now is the time to recuperate.

7. Speak to others

It can be easy to normalise certain thoughts and deny their significance, but speaking to others honestly can open the door to greater connection and understanding your thoughts better too. Saying aloud your emotions also seems to give that feeling less power over you.

You may confide in family or family. Alternatively, having a safe space to talk through things with a therapist could be beneficial.

Healing

Healing from stress and burnout is not always a linear process. I realised the key was bucket loads of self compassion. You are brave and more resilient then you realise. Sometimes the best approach is to look at taking small steps forward and having the faith that you’re making the way to better days.

Gif: @xavieralopez

Nutrition at Big Vision Conference

Physical health as well as mental, plays a big part in our wellbeing. I’m very excited to announce Dr Vian Shathur will be speaking on this important theme at our Big Vision conference on 30th November 2019.

Vian graduated from Cardiff University with a degree in BioMedicine (Anatomy), Batchelor of Dental surgery and a Diploma in Sports and clinical nutrition. She published her book on the basics of nutrition and healthy recipe creation during her last year of University.

Currently she works at a dental practice in Notting Hill, is a Facial aesthetics Doctor on weekends and a part-time fitness and food blogger.

Vian loves going to the gym daily, creating healthy recipes and blogging about nutrition all on her website: VeesFitnessFood.com.

She started her own series known as #DentalTipsTuesday educating others about oral health on her Instagram page @VeesFitnessFood. Vian also volunteers at a homeless shelter.

As a Dentist and fitness enthusiast, her goal is to show people that living a healthy lifestyle need not be restrictive or difficult to do.

For tickets for conference, please follow the Get tickets, check out Eventbrite listing http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/big-vision-conference-tickets-59357324355

All proceeds go to Mind πŸ₯³

The Little Hedgehogs

Two young hedgehogs lived in a cosy cottage by the sea with their parents. Each day they would run and chase each other excitedly, playing with flowers, jumping on crunchy leaves and making each laugh with glee.

They were equally as strong physically, but there was a crucial difference.

One hedgehog was optimistic, carefree and always lived in hope, while the other was pessimistic and dwelled in despair.One summer’s day, they decided to venture much further out to a beautiful waterfall. The water cascaded against the pretty rocks and glistened in the sunshine leaving a golden dew. The flowers here glowed like jewels. The water a wondrous blue and white froth.

“You could even catch a glimpse of your face if you come close enough”, exclaimed the optimistic hedgehog. And so, their first time teetering on the edge of the waterfall, led them to accidentally slip and fall into the water.
They tried to regain balance but the tide was strong and with being new swimmers, they got whisked further downstream.

After some struggle, the pessimistic hedgehog cried, β€œIt is impossible to jump out. Even though I have strength, I am so tired. I can’t swim that long”. Thinking this, the hedgehog did become exhausted soon. She could not swim any longer.

She was almost about to give up when she was reminded of the voice of her optimistic sister always encouraging her to keep fighting. What would my sister say? The voice came even louder this time – β€œIt seems difficult to jump out but maybe some miracle will happen. If I try a little longer, something good will happen. It is a question of only a few minutes more and then I will be out of here.”

This time the pessimistic hedgehog kept on swimming and hoping. She managed to catch a branch and pull her way onto land. She ran all the way to the bottom of the stream with a branch and helped her optimistic sister climb out.

Positive thinking and reframing had saved the life of these hedgehogs.

This parable was written in convey the significance of how our thoughts influence our reality. This tranformative magic trick really has the power to propel you to heights you didn’t even know you were capable of.

Inner critical voice

The second instalment of Get Calm, a series of podcasts on preventing burnout and enhancing emotional resilience is out now. This episode is with the psychotherapist Sam Morris on a big mental block many of us face within the profession – that is challenging the inner critic and encouraging the positive cheerleader. I believe currently there is a massive gap in our education. There is so much more we can learn about the mind to help empower and equip us for life as a healthcare professional.

As always, I would love to hear your feedback and about your journey. Its so important that we share our vulnerabilities more. We can make a big difference with our stories. Sending you light and love as always.

Exercise at home made easy

I LOVE this cute gif! Especially the kitten also chiming in. On a more serious note, there are soo many exercises you can fit in without having to leaRocketve the comfort of your home. And thats a hack I can seriously dig πŸ‘ŒπŸ½

Try:
– Down dog (a guided yoga app) – try the free sessions before you committ to subscribing monthly
– Squats – and if your feeling brave, side squats!
– Star jumps – get nostalgic with this one
– Rocket jumps
– Planks

Its ok to start small and build on it. Making small amounts of progress each time is the idea πŸ€ΈπŸ½β€β™€οΈ

Rocket jumps