Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Feel Well Live Well

Over the last 2 weeks I have been attending a Fell Well Live Well programme, its aim is to educationally teach us about CBT. I initially signed up to this programme as I wanted to be able to share with you all what the programme was about through one general post. However, I have just completed week 2 of this 6 week programme and I am learning so much from it that I thought actually this needs to be shared on a more weekly basis. Some of you may be aware that you could benefit from CBT but are afraid to talk to someone so I am hoping that these posts will help you.

Week one was an introduction to what we would be learning throughout the programme.We were introduced to what CBT was; cognitive behavioural therapy. "CBT works by looking at and understanding what we think and how this affects our behaviours,feelings and physical well-being." We were shown a diagram in which you can apply to any situation. (See below.) So the aim is to write down the situation that may cause you to be depressed or anxious. You then write down any thoughts, feelings and physical sensations  that you usually have when in this situation and then which behaviours you take to deal with these.

The aim is that once you realise everything that you are doing and feeling you can begin to change these. 

Week 2 was about the body and how it works. I had never really thought about the science behind mental illnesses. I knew it was a lack of certain chemicals but there is so much more to it. I was hugely fascinated by this! First of all, anxiety was explained in the best way I have heard so far. We are like toasters that go off when you burn a piece of toast. As a human we know there isn't a fire but the toaster doesn't so it beeps until the danger goes away or in our case until we wave a tea towel or take out the batteries. Those of us with anxiety are like that, our body and mind make us think there is a danger when in fact there isn't one, but we can't take the batteries out of us or wave a tea towel to make it stop. We discussed medication in this week as well however, that is a completely new blog post. We also did some breathing techniques because if you even out your breathing when having an anxiety attack then you can reduce the other physical sensations that you may feel. I really liked the square breathing technique because it is so discreet and can be done anywhere! (See image below).

 So you need to imagine this square, breathe in for the count of 4, hold for 4, breath out for the count of 4, hold for 4 and then repeat. This will make it so that you breathe in in the normal amount of oxygen and breathe out the normal amount of carbon dioxide. 

Some interesting facts that I have learnt:

  • Going for a walk when you are feeling low makes you feel better because the change in eye movement compared to being inside makes the brain release serotonin. 
  • The only phobia you can pass out from is a phobia of blood. This is because your body thinks that it is your blood and so makes you pass out so that it can make all your blood go to where it thinks needs saving. 
  • The reason that you crave sugar when you are feeling low is because your brain takes 70% of the sugar to try to feel better. 
  • The reason why when feeling anxious you feel the need to move or you may jiggle your leg is because your body has a surge of energy and needs to get rid of it. 
  • The reason that when you are anxious you get a dry mouth is because your digestive system shuts down as it knows it wont need food in that present moment, in turn your body stops creating saliva and then you can't swallow. 

Personally for me, looking at anxiety scientifically like this makes me feel like it isn't such a big thing. Of course when I am in the heat of the moment in an anxiety attack I don't hold this opinion but I realise that the body is doing what it needs to and I am not going to die or pass out from it.

I hope this helped

All information given above has come from the Feel Well Live Well programme run by Think Action.©

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