Tuesday 22 Jan 2019
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News for depression on Tuesday 22 Jan 2019

Working to Help Depression (Lifestyletherapy)

There can be many reasons why someone starts to feel depressed. Sometimes for no apparent reason a black cloud may descend and nothing can help it to go away. A person may descend into a terrible mood and feel unable to do anything, become almost immobile from those feelings. Then it may lift just as quickly.

Depression is a word that we are also familiar with on a more regular day-to-day basis. We may use the word to simply describe a lowering of our mood, but real depression can change people's lives and make them unable to do anything or see a way forward out of the dark place. Let us look at some of the factors that can cause depression.

  • Circumstantial factors can result in depression. If someone has had many negative and life changing experiences they can result in feeling overloaded and depressed as a consequence. Divorce, bereavement, redundancy can cause people to feel overwhelmed. There is often a feeling of helplessness attached to these events, as nothing can be done to prevent them happening, they have to be endured, tolerated and coped with.

  • Even several good things happening can cause depression. I have had clients who have planned their fabulous wedding, got happily married, moved into a great new home and then berate themselves for feeling unable to shift the dreadful low mood that has descended and become all-encompassing. Sometimes this happens because of all the excitement that was previously being generated, there can be a sense of nothing exciting to look forward to now that it has all finally happened, sometimes it can be because of all the changes and adaptation required to start a new way of life.

  • Learned behaviour can be a factor in depression that comes about from long-term bad treatment. If a person is regularly told that they are no good, that they will not amount to anything, that other people are better or more important than them, then it can be easy to understand why that person eventually feels depressed. Even when those words have not actually been said if a person is especially sensitive they may feel that they have been implied. If they see others being favoured, getting better results, being treated with greater kindness, they may feel that this is because they are unintelligent, inconsequential and insignificant. They will have low or even no expectations from themselves and from life. 'You'd all be better off without me', 'no one will miss me' can be phrases felt to be especially true with people in these situations.

  • Chemical imbalance occurs when someone has a pre-disposition to depression from a genetic cause or where a person's brain functioning has changed through ill-health or situational events. Medication can often be prescribed by a medical practitioner to help support a return to normal functioning. It can help improve a person's mood and outlook and help them cope better on a daily basis.
Counselling and hypnotherapy can be very beneficial with depression. Often an improvement in confidence, self-esteem and self-belief makes an important difference to a person's outlook. Helping to heal and move on from past negative experiences, take control and start to remind themselves of what they can achieve, their uniqueness and worth are valuable results achieved from the therapy.

These therapies help with stress management, quality of life, treating oneself better. Depressed people often lose motivation to do things, sometimes even simple things like taking care of oneself can seem like too much effort. Taking the time to book the first session is often the most important step that a person can take on their road to recovery.

About the author
Susan Leigh is a Counsellor and Hypnotherapist who works with - stressed individuals to promote confidence and self belief, - couples in crisis to help improve communications and understanding - with business clients to help support the health and motivation levels of individuals and teams.

For more information see

For further information: Working to Help Depression

3 Alstone Drive
Oldfield Brow
WA14 4LD
United Kingdom
Telephone 0161 928 7880
News Ref:2494

Appreciating the Healing Power of Laughter (Lifestyle Therapy)

Susan Leigh is a long established Counsellor and Hypnotherapist. See for more information

Laughter can be regarded as a very powerful way of healing problems, disagreements, even health issues like tension and stress. Some people say that it is an aphrodisiac, one of the most attractive qualities there is. Laugh with someone and you build a positive connection. Make someone laugh and you establish a special bond.

There can be several reasons as to why we laugh. We may be amused, find something funny, or there may be less pleasant reasons. We may be stressed, embarrassed, uneasy, unsure of ourselves or of the situation that we find ourselves in. Some people laugh to feel superior, or at someone else's expense.

As a Counsellor, I feel that laughter can have several facets to it. On the one hand, humour and laughter can be a vicious weapon to be on the receiving end of. And in truth, jokes often have someone or something as the object of fun. They can be a way of ridiculing or bullying someone and as such are very cruel.

On the other hand, laughter can be wonderful as a shared experience. Something that people do together, a shared intimacy. Enjoying an amusing experience or a joke together can remove tension and enable a situation to be seen from a completely different perspective. This shared sense of fun and laughter is often the first thing to be lost when a relationship is struggling or going through a difficult phase.

Laughter can improve the perspective on an existing matter or can help to change old learning and behaviour patterns as we start to see them from a different viewpoint and begin to entertain other options and ways of feeling about things. It is also a powerful way to alleviate and manage stress.

My ex-partner was brilliant at using laughter in a positive way. If I was ever feeling tense or irritable he would look at me in a certain way and we would both dissolve into fits of giggles, everything else completely forgotten. When laughter is used with empathy about how the other person is feeling, with affection, love and understanding then everyone feels safe and it is able to be used as a powerful tool for healing and benefiting a situation.

Laughter is a powerful means of changing the perspective on a situation. Looking at something with a different pair of eyes, feeling less tense, taking it less personally, is an important change of attitude. Laughter can defuse tension, break the ice, release negative emotions and allow everyone to relax and be less wary or on edge. And it is contagious. One person starts to laugh and everyone else will usually smile and relax too.

Learning to laugh at ourselves is a big step towards healing our own insecurities and confidence issues. When we can see how we are behaving and reacting in a situation and are then able to laugh at it, we automatically become less serious and tense about ourselves and about how we present our image to others. We become warmer and more relaxed and this improvement often has a positive impact on our relationship with others.

Some cultures and companies schedule group laughter sessions for all employees in the morning before work. They have found that even false laughter stimulates a feel good attitude within their staff. Their general mood improves and people feel more upbeat and pleasant about the day ahead.

The important thing to remember about laughter is to retain a sense of balance where it is concerned. Excessive clowning is irritating and counter-productive. People may well begin to wonder what the joker is hiding. Some people may use humour to hide their own insecurities or issues about low confidence levels and self-esteem.

It is important to be true to yourself and, if needs be, be okay at being the quiet person in the group. Let others have centre stage if it suits them better. Enjoy being amused, entertained and being a good audience for their antics. Use laughter in a way that is right for you, in line with your own sense of humour, to promote your personal happiness and well-being.

For further information: Appreciating the Healing Power of Laughter

Lifestyle Therapy
3 Alstone Drive
Oldfield Brow
WA14 4LD
United Kingdom
Telephone 0161 928 7880
News Ref:2020

How to Improve our Quality of Life - Resolutions for Happiness (Lifestyle Therapy)

Susan Leigh is a long established Counsellor and Hypnotherapist. For more information visit

We all know about resolutions, especially at New Year. They focus on bad things that we want to change about ourselves, like smoking cigarettes, being overweight, needing to get fitter. Why not this year input positive resolutions into our lives, that bring good feelings and improvements ?

People often have markers in their lives, times when they decide to make a real effort to do something positive for themselves and to change something unwanted about themselves. It may be a wedding, a birthday, getting divorced. The event triggers a real decision to commit to a positive course of action that will bring about a change for the better.

Why not though, instead of 'doing without' , which resolutions are often about, decide instead to 'add in'. So that, instead of giving up different things that we know are bad for us or are doing us harm, why not commit to a schedule of positive lovely treats. These treats will result in good feelings of pleasure and satisfaction that will often negate the need for bad or harmful things in our life. None of these things need to cost much money, but can be really savoured and relished.

Some of my thoughts are things like :
  • Clean freshly laundered sheets. When the sheets are changed really enjoy the thought of a good nights sleep in a fresh smelling bed. Maybe add a drop or two of lavender to the final rinse cycle.

  • Good quality chocolate. Rather than buy several cheaper bars, buy a bar of good high end chocolate, maybe even organic, and settle down to enjoy every mouthful, really savouring the taste so that it is a proper chocolate experience.

  • Buy flowers, but put them in an unexpected place, like the bathroom, so that taking a shower or getting ready in the morning is done in a more pleasant environment.

  • Rather than rush from job to job at home, take time to organise things so that you can enjoy and appreciate what you have done, so, for example, after working in the garden sit in it and enjoy a drink, or after tidying the lounge relax in it and enjoy reading a book or a newspaper.

  • Catch up with friends. Make time to meet for a coffee or lunch and enjoy each others company. Share your stories, exchange advice. It is important to maintain contact with friends. They are a valuable part of our support network.

  • Sit when eating, especially when eating the meals that are usually rushed, like breakfast or lunch. It is good to give time to having a quiet break, even for a few minutes. It can make all the difference to the quality of the rest of the day ahead.

  • Visit an art gallery, museum or a bookshop on a free afternoon.

  • Look at an old photograph album. Enjoy getting nostalgic about people and events.

  • Play music in the car, and sing along.

  • Book a massage.

  • Girls, have a pamper evening at home with friends

  • Guys, have a card night or watch the match with friends.

  • Open the good bottle of wine for yourself, rather than the cheap one that someone brought round and no one opened.

  • Smile at a stranger, you may well make their day.
These are just a few ideas that boost self confidence and help us to feel better about ourselves. Please feel free to add your own to the list. By doing good things we often find that those negative behaviours and habits become less important without us even trying.

For further information: How to Improve our Quality of Life - Resolutions for Happiness

Lifestyle Therapy
3 Alstone Drive
Oldfield Brow
WA14 4LD
United Kingdom
Telephone 0161 928 7880
News Ref:1782

Using Meditation to beat Depression (University of Oxford)

Researchers at the newly founded Oxford Mindfulness Centre, part of the Oxford University Department of Psychiatry, are conducting exciting research to explore how the ancient practice of meditation may be combined with modern psychological therapy to help reduce risk of clinical depression. Recent research has shown that training in mindfulness meditation through an approach called “mindfulness-based cognitive therapy” (MBCT) can halve the chances of depression returning in people who have suffered many episodes of depression in the past and can even be as effective as continuing to take antidepressants.

Participants taking the course learn a number of different types of meditation over the 8 weekly classes and receive education on depression and how to prevent relapse. A participant who has taken the MBCT course in Oxford and featured on the recent BBC TV programme ‘Alternative Therapies’ said “I’ve been on medication for about 10 years and this is the first time I have been able to drop as low as I have, and I’m on lower than what’s the normal lowest dose right now and to come down as far as I have is just amazing to me!”. Class teachers say that one way that the treatment benefits people is helping them to live more in the moment, rather than be caught up in upsetting memories from the past or worries about the future. Carol, another participant from the programme who had suffered from recurrent depression said “It (MBCT) has stopped me from just living in my head with my thoughts and has given me a much better picture of what it's like to be alive."

The mindfulness programme has been adapted especially for people who are currently feeling well but feel vulnerable to becoming depressed again in the future and is equally suitable for people who are still taking antidepressants and those who are not. Researchers are now examining whether MBCT can be used to prevent recurrences of more severe, suicidal depression. The “Staying Well After Depression” study will also look in more detail at which aspects of the programme are most helpful, by comparing Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy with another treatment, called Cognitive Psycho-Education. This treatment, which is based on tried and tested Cognitive Therapy for depression, teaches the same skills as the mindfulness programme but does not require people to learn to meditate. The researchers expect both types of class to be helpful, but everyone is different and they very interested to see who benefits most from learning through mindfulness meditation and who prefers the “chalk and talk” approach.

The first set of classes for this trial is currently underway and the feedback from participants in both groups has been very positive. The researchers are now hoping to contact more people in the Oxfordshire area who think they might be also interested in taking part. The classes are not suitable for everyone, and require considerable effort, but they also have the potential to bring about great change. Professor Mark Williams, who developed the treatment said ‘We are on the brink of discovering really important things about how people can learn to stay well after depression. Our aim is to help people to find long-term freedom from the daily battle with their moods’.

People who have suffered from repeated episodes of depression, have felt suicidal in the past, and are now feeling well can contact Adele at the Staying Well research team for more information, either by calling 08000 836130 (freephone) or 01865 226468 (landline) or by emailing There is also more information on the study website This study will continue until 2012.

For further information: Using Meditation to beat Depression

University of Oxford
Warneford Hospital
Warneford Lane
United Kingdom
Telephone 0800 083 6130
News Ref:1693

The Value of Writing - An Aid to Coping with Depression (Lifestyle Therapy)

Susan Leigh is a South Manchester based Counsellor and Hypnotherapist with over 20 years experience. See her new website,

In these fast paced times actually sitting to write a card, a letter or a journal can seem to be an old-fashioned notion, too far out of our comprehension to ever consider doing. The truth is, writing things down in a journal can be a very therapeutic means of processing thoughts and ideas, whilst writing a letter can be beneficial to both the sender and the recipient.

A journal is an excellent mechanism for writing things down which may not be able to be expressed out loud. It can be used to work through thoughts and feelings that are in a state of confusion - hurt, annoyed, jealous - and which need to be resolved so that life can be continued in a more positive way. It is a means of externalising things and putting them into order or perspective. And then the book can closed and all those thoughts and feelings are in a safe place and kept at a safe distance.

A letter can send recognition, appreciation, being remembered. There is often a feel good factor attached to receiving a letter. So often elderly people and people who live alone only receive bills and junk mail through the door. To some extent, email has brought back keeping in touch through mail, but to many people a letter or a card through the door has more thought to it and can be kept and re-read.

In a problem situation, a letter can be written over a period of time, giving the writer time to re-read and re-write it at will, until such time as it is deemed appropriate to send. The recipient can then read and re-read it at will, taking time to understand, privately, the content of the letter and then, after a period of reflection, come to a decision as to what action to take. This is a useful way of avoiding the confrontation that may well arise with a face to face meeting or a telephone call.

Sometimes letters can be used to good effect, in a therapeutic way, where a person has died or a crime has been committed and another person is left with a feeling of unfinished business. The letter can be written over a period of time to ensure that everything that needs to be said has been said. Then some people may choose to perform a ritual or service to bring 'closure' to the situation. Some people may choose to burn or bury the letter, or throw it out to sea. Whatever is decided to be apt.

Lists are useful ways of clearing the mind of anxious thoughts and worries, in an over busy, over loaded world. They can be a good way of re-focussing the mind, whilst at the same time still feeling confident that nothing important will be forgotten.

Worry lists are good for people who constantly feel anxious about forgetting things. There is a discipline in freeing the mind and concentrating on what needs to be done at a point in time, and then learning to cross it off the list once it has been done. New jobs can be added when required.

A Happy Book is a mini journal used to capture entries every day that would hardly be remembered. Treasured little vignettes can be banked with ther days' date and revisited in the future, especially when feeling down or low. So, a lovely sight in nature or a kindness or an achievement can be written down and kept forever in a special book, there to be dipped into whenever wanted or needed.

Live Life Well

For further information: The Value of Writing - An Aid to Coping with Depression

Lifestyle Therapy
3 Alstone Drive
Oldfield Brow
WA14 4LD
United Kingdom
Telephone 0161 928 7880
News Ref:1470

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