Self-harming is highly damaging behaviour which can literally affect anyone of all ages with the right triggers.  The problem has been around since biblical times and back then was termed “self-flagellation”. 

Since not everyone seeks help for self-harming it is difficult to be accurate about the numbers within specific age groups but it is increasingly a problem among young people in the Millennial Generation.

Essentially, self-harming means to inflict physical damage to yourself to convey feelings which cannot be put into words or to release painful emotions.  People who self-harm may initially feel better for a time but this is only temporary relief.  The painful feelings can and will return, and then the cycle repeats itself.

Possible Root Causes for Self-Harming

It is clearly a significant cause for concern if you or someone close to you is causing intentional injury to their body.  Self-harming can be linked to anxiety and depression but can also involve:

Why Self-Harm?

Some people who self-harm do it to try to feel in control of something when they actually feel powerless.  Some do it to simply feel alive or to feel anything because all they feel is numb and empty.

Self-harmers often hide their injuries so outward signs may not be immediately apparent. Keeping their behaviour secret is isolating, further adding to their despair and loneliness.  They develop feelings of guilt and become trapped in a downward spiral where they feel shame for their behaviour.  They do not believe anyone will understand and this mindset adversely affects their relationships.

Identifying People Who Self-Harm

If you know what to look out for there are many different ways to detect that something is wrong.  Note unexplained physical injuries such as cuts, bruises and even cigarette burns.  Very often these can be found on wrists, arms, thighs and chest areas.  It is probable that self-harmers will keep their body fully covered no matter how hot the weather is.  Other classic indications to look out for include signs of depression as well as:

Less obvious self-harming behaviours include:

Self-Harming Is Used to Cope with Significant Emotional Distress

Self-harmers have a very real intention to self-punish, relieve intolerable tension or to deal with deep and overwhelming emotional distress. The reasons behind this behaviour can include one or more of these possibilities.  It should be regarded very much as a painful cry for help and should not be ignored. 

High Risk of Suicide

Some self-harmers can feel like they want to die so it is not surprising that those engaging in self-harm are at high risk of attempting suicide.  In fact, figures suggest that in more than 50% of deaths by suicide there had been a history of self-harming.  With suicide statistics like this, self-harming behaviour needs to be taken seriously.  Self-harming people should not be dismissed as attention seeking.  The sad truth is that they self-harm in secret and are fearful of discovery.  Many do not really want to commit suicide at all.

Common self-harming methods involve cutting or burning the skin, punching themselves or poisoning with toxic substances. 

Close family and friends are often best placed to notice when a person is self-harming.  Anyone wanting to support a self-harmer must acknowledge and overcome their feelings of shock when they realise someone they care about is a self-harmer.  Seeing things from their loved one’s perspective and learning about the issue will help them to be supportive. 

Help for Self-Harming People

Self-harming can start with a momentary impulsive reaction to an event.  But the situation can soon escalate to a seemingly uncontrollable compulsion and then it can become very addictive.

Teaching self-harming people how to deal with emotional pain and trauma in a more positive way is essential.  Help from a qualified health professional should be sought at the earliest opportunity – the earlier it is caught the easier it is to address.

Many GPs are happy to refer self-harmers for hypnotherapy and other complementary services.  It is critical that the underlying root cause or triggers are identified and resolved.  Hypnotherapy can be very effective at doing this.  If you would like to learn how hypnosis can improve resilience and eliminate self-harming then please contact Nicki at nicki@thewellbeingpeople.co.uk or call 07568 145151.

“Love is all around …” so the renowned Wet Wet Wet song goes.  It is a given that we all need love as a key part of our wellbeing.  It is sad but true that we often forget the greatest love of all is within us rather than around us.  This is surely the heart of all facets of love?  If we don’t love ourselves then how can we love others?  It is nigh on impossible to love others when our inner demons continually sabotage our state of mind and drag us down.

Valentine’s Day is traditionally very much about romantic love.  Are you lucky enough to be truly in love right now?  Are you missing out on love?  Are you just infatuated?  Are you focussed on the love all around and missing the self-love that is crucial to your wellbeing?

Anxiety and Depression Harms Our Ability to Love Ourselves

Anxiety, trauma and the baggage we can often carry through life chips away at our self-esteem and undermines our confidence and mental health.  Left unchecked it grows and grows to a point where you do not feel remotely like yourself.  Nobody wants to feel isolated, insignificant and struggling through life yet all too often we do nothing to stop this negative spiral until we reach rock bottom. Instead, we continue to feel helpless and unable to stop the negative downward slide and feed it some more.  What is more, many suffer this pain in silence.  Soon depression sets in and nothing seems good about our lives any more.  Perspective is lost and eventually everything can feel very dark and hopeless. 

Mental Health Needs Must Be Addressed

If we needed food because we were hungry, we would soon rectify this need.  If we had a bad headache that would not go away, we would take a paracetamol to relieve it – even those resistant to taking medication would succumb if their suffering was bad enough.  The same applies to most of our needs.  It is all part of our sense of self-preservation and ultimate survival.

Strangely we, as a species, often neglect our mental health which is essential to our general health and wellbeing.  In recent decades society has become more understanding and accepting of mental health issues but there is much work still to be done on this.  Most of us can understand that it is a necessity to nurture our mental health by talking, acknowledging and – more importantly - resolving issues as they arise.  Opening our minds sufficiently to seek the help we need does not come easy to some, however.  Mention mental health, depression, anxiety and they feel judged, embarrassed or lacking in themselves.  BUT …. once sufferers decide to seek help with an open mind the relief they feel is tangible.   They feel so much lighter and able to take control of their lives.  Those sitting in judgment can become more enlightened – usually because they become aware of someone close to them suffering with mental health issues. 

Find the Love and Happiness Inside Ourselves

Whitney Houston truly had it right when she sang “I found the greatest love of all inside of me ….”  This is very much the cornerstone of inner peace and happiness and we are all capable of achieving it with the right support.

Finding the right help is critical as it is not a one size fits all remedy.  Different things work for different people.  Resolving anxiety, self-esteem issues, depression and stress issues through hypnosis works for many.  It helps them to clear out the negative memories and feelings within the subconscious mind.  Then it reframes their focus into something so much more positive allowing them to move forward in a very positive way and ready to take on the world again.

If you would like to know more about how hypnotherapy can help improve your wellbeing through improved self-love then please contact Nicki at nicki@thewellbeingpeople.co.uk or call 07568 145151.

We have all experienced good and bad Christmases and New Years too. Hopefully you have been blessed with a good Christmas and New Year to finish 2019 with and are well underway with January 2020.  January is often a month where things can feel flat or the blues can creep in.  Money might be tight following overspending during the festive season, family rows could have been evident over the holiday, cracks in your marriage may have become deeper … the list of things which can bring us down goes on.  We are human and things do affect us, even the time of the year can bring us down simply because it is dark, gloomy and cold (although so far this January has been pretty mild).

Cue 'Blue Monday' (20 January 2020)

There is a trend to have a special day for most things nowadays and Blue Monday is attributed to the third Monday of January to highlight the post-Christmas doldrums, colder and darker evenings and those unwelcome credit card bills from Christmas and January sales overspending.  The timing of Blue Monday has apparently been worked out mathematically by a University Professor using a specific formula and thus the third Monday in January was determined as the most depressing day of the year.  The formula is shown below:

frac{[W + D-d] T^Q}{M N_a}

Weather=W

Debt=d

Time since Christmas=T

Time since failing our New Year’s resolutions=Q

Low motivational levels=M

The feeling of a need to take action=Na.

‘D’ is not defined in the release, nor are units.

We can only wonder why anyone would take the trouble to work this out at all, especially since the blues can strike at any time for all sorts of reasons.  The Winter months ensure we are deprived of sunlight hours owing to shorter days and thus it is easy to identify this period as the gloomy part of the year but narrowing it down to a specific day is another matter.  The cynics among us would probably embrace the suggestion that the whole idea stems from a PR stunt by Sky Travel which you can read about here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Monday_(date)

Tips to Keep Positive

Whatever your thoughts about Blue Monday or even the January Blues, it is clear that many of us need help to beat the blues during this time of year.  Past traumas and negative memories could, however, all too easily be triggered at any time of the year if you are unable to keep your mindset upbeat and positive.  Clearing your mind and reframing your thoughts as part of your daily habits will help to keep you smiling through the gloom.  If you find this a struggle then here are some ideas to distract and help you keep upbeat:

If distracting yourself does not work and the gloom persists then you may benefit from some hypnotherapy.  If you would like to learn more about how hypnotherapy can help you make positive changes to your life please contact Nicki at nicki@thewellbeingpeople.co.uk or call 07568 145151.

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