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    Creating an Emotional First Aid Kit

    Living with chronic pain or any other long-term health condition can sometimes affect your mental health and you made become low in mood, anxious or fearful of the future. I encourage my patients to take care of their mental health everyday as mind and body are linked. I often suggest that they practice a variety of good habits, including getting enough sleep, exercising, eating nutritious food, spending time with your family and friends, practicing relaxation techniques and more.  All these activities affect the feel- good factor within your brain and will help you to develop a sense of wellbeing and calm. However, sometimes, you may have an emotional emergency and just like responding to a physical emergency, having the right Emotional First Aid Kit can…

    Strengthen your immune system by sleeping

    In my clinic over the past few weeks, more people are telling me that they are struggling to get enough sleep because they fear Coronavirus will make them ill or die.  What concerns me as a Psychologist is that this will make their situation a whole lot worse given that a lack of sleep can adversely affect the immune system. Evidence is clear that a lack of sleep means you are less able to fight off bugs’. With the outbreak of the coronavirus, some people are finding it even harder to sleep. Research shows that there is a complex link between sleep-wake cycles and our immune systems. The amount of sleep we get impacts directly on how well our immune systems work, and also on…

    Panic and Chronic Pain

      Worry about the Corona virus could be increasing your pain I often network with my fellow therapists. Of course, we do not discuss our individual clients, client confidentiality comes first, but we do talk generally about what is going on. Everyone is saying the same thing at the moment. Worries about Corona virus, or COVID-19 are affecting nearly all their clients. Whatever people are coming to a therapist with: depression; anxiety; post-traumatic stress; or more general lifestyle issues, the virus is in their thoughts.  Of course, none of us should be surprised about this. It is on the news 24 hours a day and in all the newspapers. It is undoubtedly a big issue and we need to make sure that we do the…

    What do people with chronic pain have in common with elite athletes? They use sports psychology techniques…

      Following on from my interview with Pete Moore from The Pain Toolkit, I thought I would write about using sports psychology techniques in chronic/persistent pain management . If you suffer from chronic or persistent pain you may feel this is not for you. You have enough to deal with just getting through day to day. I am going to try to persuade you to look at things from a different point of view.  Have you ever thought of treating your chronic pain as a challenge rather than a burden?  Here is an idea. Imagine that you were going to run a marathon by the summer. You wouldn’t just turn up on the day and hope you could run more than 26 miles, would you?…

    Chronic pain and dementia. Do not despair we can help!

    I have some exciting news to share, I have been appointed Senior Consultant to the Nightingale Dementia Consultants Board. This is a new training initiative set up by Dr Daniel Nightingale and leading hypnotherapist Steve Miller.  Dr Nightingale has a great track record in using non-drug treatments with people with dementia and is the author of A Clinicians Guide to Non Pharmacological Dementia Therapies. He now wants to get his expertise used more widely and wants to put hypnosis for dementia on the global map and, together with Steve Miller, is launching a hypnotherapy diploma on the subject. Diploma in Applied Hypnosis and Brain Health Coaching for Dementia The diploma will create expert hypnotherapists who can help in this area and will also be a…

    Cloudy with a Chance of Pain: latest research links weather to chronic pain

      As an expert in chronic pain I spend a fair amount of time at conferences or networking with others in my field. And then of course there is the day job, and that is where I learn the most. Talking to my clients about their experiences and what works for them teaches me the most. One thing which I have always just felt was true, instinct if you like, is that damp miserable weather makes people’s experience of pain worse.  If you suffer from chronic pain you may well agree. You may even be getting images and thoughts about this as you read. A raw grey day, perhaps a cold wind, a bit of drizzle, wet pavements. It almost hurts just thinking about it,…

    Top Tips to Manage Your Chronic Pain in Autumn

    Controlling your pain as autumn comes When the weather changes as autumn arrives, the number of clients at my psychology/hypnotherapy for pain clinics goes up. Many of us believe that colder, damper weather makes chronic pain worse. There is not a great deal of scientific proof that colder weather causes conditions such as rheumatic arthritis, which can lead to chronic pain, but chilly conditions can make pain feel worse. There are physical reasons why this happens. Bonita Libman, a professor of medicine at the University of Vermont thinks she may have an explanation. She says that muscle spasms may be worse in colder weather and this can worsen pain and stiffness. Blood circulation can reduce in the cold, and this can lead to pain, especially…

    People with chronic pain and other long- term health conditions – Do you know the difference between Radiators and Drains? And which are you (most of the time!)

      We all know people who make us feel better, those people who when they walk into a room make you think ‘I’m so pleased she’s here; I know we’ll have a good chat.’ Then there are their opposites, those people who if you see coming towards you on the street make you quickly duck into a shop until they have gone past. Oprah Winfrey, who often says things which make sense, has a good phrase for these different sorts of people. She calls them radiators and drains.  Radiators radiate good things: warmth, kindness and enthusiasm. This lifts your mood and makes you feel happy. Drains on the other hand suck the good stuff away. Their negative and often self-absorbed attitude ends up draining your…

    Breaking the taboo of talking about chronic pain –  September is Pain Awareness Month.

      Pain awareness month has been going in the United States since 2001. It’s good to have a time when the wider world is focused on the issue of pain and I often get invited to talk to groups in this month.  I also find it very useful in my psychology and hypnotherapy for chronic / persistent pain clinics in Milton Keynes and Bedford. Not only does it raise the issue, it also helps to break the taboo about talking about chronic / persistent pain. We know that a positive attitude and good support can make a real difference to how we perceive pain. We also know that there are treatments and techniques which can help without the use of drugs. I want to take…

    Effects of sleep deprivation on psychological wellbeing

      Your central nervous system is the information highway of your body. Sleep is necessary to keep it functioning properly, but sleep deprivation / chronic insomnia can disrupt how your body usually sends information.  During sleep, pathways form between nerve cells (neurons) in your brain that help you remember new information you’ve learned. Sleep deprivation leaves your brain exhausted, so it can’t perform its duties as well despite working harder. This has been demonstrated in brain imaging studies which show the brains of the sleep deprived desperately pumping energy into the prefrontal cortex, trying to overcome the effects of sleep deprivation Lack of sleep causes memory problems You may also find it more difficult to concentrate or learn new things. Lack of sleep causes sharp…

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