Friday, 29 August 2014

Why can’t I sleep?

Insomnia is such a common complaint I see in clinical practice. Nearly every client has some sleep related issue whether its trouble falling asleep, waking during the night or just feeling exhausted in the morning. There are many causes of insomnia, each with their own specific treatment. However, I thought I would share some simple tools you can implement to help you switch off and gain a more peaceful night sleep.

1.     Avoid anything too stimulating an hour before bed. This may include computers, TV, exercise or heated discussions. Instead try something relaxing such as a warm bath, some meditation, listening to calming music or writing in a journal (which can be a great way for removing all the thoughts that swim around in our heads).
2.     Make sure your bedroom is conducive to a good night’s sleep. It should be dark, quiet and still with no electrical appliances such as mobile phones near the bed head and your bed should be comfortable.
3.     Stimulating foods should be avoided after lunch time. This means no coffee, alcohol, very spicy foods or sugar after 2pm.
4.     Have relaxing herbal teas in the evening (but not too close to bed time to avoid waking with the need to urinate). Try chamomile, passionflower, lemon balm or valerian tea!
5.      There are some specific pressure points to hold that can also help with sleeplessness. Place one hand on your coccyx and the other under the ankle bone of the opposite foot. Hold this position for ten minutes or until you feel pulsing in the fingers and then swap sides.
6.     Consume foods that contain tryptophan in the evening such as turkey, milk, almonds, banana or eggs. If you feel like a snack in the evening a banana smoothie or a few nuts and seeds are a good option.
7.     The body likes routine. Make an effort to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. In the evenings spend a few minutes looking at the moon and go outside first thing in the morning to get some sunlight. This helps to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Three simple steps to bring joy into your life!

We all go through times when we feel a bit low. It’s just a normal part of life. There are many reasons why we may feel this way such as negative life circumstances, hormones, poor diet or poor sleeping habits. I know personally when I haven’t slept well for a few nights I get sad, irritable and even the smallest thing can make me cry. However, when these feelings are occurring regularly then it is important you do something about it. Life is meant to be enjoyed!
There are three things that if incorporated into daily life can really help to create positivity. They are so simple and yet so effective.
1.     Make sure you allow some time every day for things you enjoy or that nourish you as a person. It is so easy in our hectic lives to be running around from the moment we wake up until the moment we fall into bed at the end of the day. If you don’t make a conscious effort to look after yourself, each day just flies by without any time dedicated to you. This can leave you feeling disconnected and just not quite right. I understand we are all busy but just allowing yourself half an hour each day will make a huge difference. I personally love walking so I make time to go for a short walk and I always feel much more relaxed and clear headed afterwards. It can be anything that brings you joy such as taking a bath, creating a painting, doing a puzzle, writing, reading…Really absolutely anything as long as it is something that you feel nourishes you as a person.
2.     Surround yourself with positive people who make you feel good about yourself. Obviously there are times when we have to interact with people who are negative or that we don’t see eye to eye with. There is nothing we can do about that. But we can chose who our friends are and who we spend most of our social time with. Making sure you spend time with like-minded individuals and people who lift your spirits rather than drag you down is of utmost importance. I am sure we can all relate to those times when we feel fine and then we go to a party and get stuck talking to the person who is complaining the whole time about what a bore this party its and how much life sucks! Well you know what, the party does become boring and we are no longer able to enjoy ourselves. By simply excusing yourself and going to have a chat with the individual standing nearby with that huge smile can all of a sudden make that party a blast! It is simply all about perception and every single circumstance can either be horrible or exceptional depending on how we view it. Those around us can definitely have a huge influence on how we perceive things.
3.     GRATITUDE! Gratitude is one of the most powerful tools in existence to help make our lives positive and meaningful. It is simply too easy to forget what we are grateful for in this high pace society when everyone is constantly striving for something more. But simply taking 5 minutes every day to think about what we are grateful for has time and again proven to be so powerful a tool for creating happiness. Everyone has something to be grateful for whether it is to be living in this beautiful country, to having a roof over our heads, food to eat, family and friends who love us or simply our own unique personality. EVERYONE has something to be grateful for we just sometimes forget. Thinking about gratitude is the best way to create positivity and purpose. It is so simple yet so powerful!

So it is that easy. Do something you enjoy DAILY, spend time with people who make you feel POSSITIVE and experience GRATITUDE!

Saturday, 2 August 2014


Everyone goes through stages of having low mood, and sometimes all it takes is a change in your food. Good nutrition is an integral part of maintaining health. Here are 3 great foods that can help lift your mood, energise your body and release endorphins!

   Dark chocolate
       Everyone loves chocolate and it’s no mystery why we crave it when we are feeling tired or down. Raw cacao contains so many wonderful vitamins and minerals which are actually great for us. One main mineral is magnesium which is fantastic for enhancing relaxation. One study demonstrated that older men who ate dark chocolate had increased feelings of happiness, optimism and overall psychological well being. So 1 or 2 pieces of dark chocolate (preferably above 70%) may be doing you more good than you knew.
      The omega 3 fatty acids found in fish have been shown to increase mood by having beneficial effects on neurotransmission. They are also important for decreasing inflammation which can lead to depression. Animal models have shown an increase in serotonin and dopamine concentration in the frontal cortex after administration of omega 3 fatty acids. Fish should be consumed 2-3 times a week as part of a healthy diet.
  Whole grains 
       Whole grains such as amaranth, millet, buckwheat, brown rice and oats just to name a few are very beneficial to consume in moderation as part of a healthy diet. They are all fantastic for improving mood. They contain B vitamins, zinc and magnesium. These are all important for neurotransmitter synthesis which are necessary for positive mood. At least one serve of these grains should be included in your diet every day.

       So if you have been feeling a bit down, try incorporating these delicious foods into your daily diet and see what the wonders of food can do to your mood!