MEDITATION

REDUCE STRESS IN 60 SECONDS

Don't worry if you’re feeling a little anxious today - this is a simple breathing technique to help calm your nervous system down and soothe your mind.

If you would like to learn more about how to reduce stress, decrease anxiety and improve your mental wellbeing check out my 8 WEEK ONLINE COURSE x

THE ONE PARENT CLUB

 

The benefits of meditation and mindfulness are broad and can help people with all kinds of personal challenges in life.

Losing a parent when you're young is like having your whole life sped up right in front of you. All the years of making memories you thought you had, suddenly disappear.

Nothing can prepare you for that moment when you realise they’re actually gone, especially when you're so young.

I was only 7 years old when my dad passed away and the moment you find out is like something out of a film. You can’t quite comprehend what you're being told and trying to make any sense of the finality is impossible. They’re not coming back?

I attempted to process the situation in a completely matter of fact way and remember saying to my Mum “everyone’s Dad’s got to die, right?” Yes, she answered “Ok, so my Dad just died early then?” It’s a bizarrely logical way of thinking about it but it was the only way I could make any attempt to process what had just happened.

I could see how upset everyone was around me and didn’t want to make it worse, so I made it my mission to be ‘fine’ with it and tried to be as ‘perfect’ as I could so no-one else would leave.

As a child, your brain is still developing and you don't have the vocabulary to express what you're feeling inside so it's very easy to suppress your emotions because you don’t have the tools to deal with them. I was a very happy and confident child, right up until last year. Heading towards burn out my brain had been in fight or flight mode for 6 months and suddenly I had to face the very real fact... I wasn’t ok.

Back then, mindfulness wasn’t something recognised in supporting a Child's mental health so there wasn’t anything non-invasive to support grief and the feelings you have. It was only during the Hoffman that I realised how much anger I'd held inside of me and was finally able to process the loss of my Dad.

It's so refreshing and inspiring to hear I’m not alone. Prince Harry recently spoke frankly about mental health, his struggle to deal with the loss of his mother and how it took him over 20 years of saying ‘I’m fine’ to finally say, ‘I’m not ok’. The journalist Bryony Gordon, who talks openly but her own mental health put it so eloquently “Prince Harry just re-defined strength and dignity for a new generation”.

Simple mindful tools and techniques give children the space and opportunity to process their emotions without feeling like they’re being counselled or judged. Every person is unique - meditation and visualisations give you the opportunity to process emotions in your own way and on your own terms.

Grief doesn’t need to be something that creeps up on you later in life.

Knowing first-hand the difference mindfulness makes to both your physical and mental well-being means I can now help everyone get that one step further to a Happy Head.

HELPING GENERATION STRESS

When I was little, childhood was in many ways simpler because we were able to switch off from the outside world when we came home. There was no internet and social media hadn't been invented yet.

At the age of seven my whole world shifted when my dad very sadly took his own life. Of course 26 years ago mindfulness wasn’t even a 'thing', meditating was something that only hippies talked about and counselling held negative connotations, so there was no outlet to really process my emotions.

Ploughing forward with life at an insatiable speed as a very happy and confident girl, I witnessed the rise of social media at the end of university and the digital revolution was upon us. Moving to London, the Blackberry was quickly introduced to the working life and the ‘always on’ culture had begun.

Having worked in marketing for 11 years, I know all too well the immense pressure people can feel to meet strict deadlines; be available for bosses, clients and colleagues 24/7; and climb the professional ladder in search of that ‘ultimate job’. The levels of stress, work and often our own minds put us under is huge. Add on top of that a bully-boss and before you know if you're quickly 'losing your marbles' with anxiety reaching a whole new level.

So many people experience huge levels of career related stress and I want to teach them tools to ensure they remain on track.

One of the saddest things I've seen in the news recently was a story from the Teachers Union showing that the next generation - dubbed 'Generation Stress' - is starting to suffer from mental health problems including panic attacks, anxiety and depression from as young as four years old.

Nighty-eight per cent of the 2,000 teachers surveyed said they had come into contact with pupils who were experiencing mental health issues. Nine in 10 said they had encountered pupils of every age suffering from anxiety and panic attacks, while 79 per cent were aware of a pupil suffering from depression, and 64 per cent knew of a child who was self-harming.

The world is evolving so quickly that our brains which have developed through many thousands of years of natural evolution are struggling to keep up as everything moves from human skill and interaction to computer interfaces and digital solutions. There are things we can do to help though. For one, we can teach the next generation how to deal with mental health issues through simple mindful tools that they can utilise for the rest of their lives.

If we teach children from a young age how to deal with increasing exam pressures, social media and how to take time to stop, breathe, pause and reflect, we can give them invaluable space to self regulate their emotions.

We can’t turn back the clock on our busy digital world, but we can learn to live with our high paced environment as well as communicate and support each other better.

And that's exactly what I intend to do. My mission with Happy Heads, which I launched this week, is to help turn 'Generation Stress' into 'Generation Happy'. Please join me.