Stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, sleep, relationships – mental health problems can take many forms and are different for every single one of us. However, the good news is that none of us are alone.
Approximately 1 in 4 of us will experience a problem with our mental health this year, so there is much to be gained by being open about what we’re going through and seeking help. To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re sharing 7 of our favourite In The Moment podcast episodes which talk about mental health problems head on and offer some useful advice too.
Dr Rangan Chatterjee (photo by Susan Bell)
Take a moment and settle in for our podcast with Dr Rangan Chatterjee. The GP, who you might know from BBC’s ‘Doctor in the House’, says, “Every day I see things such as anxiety, low mood, low energy, insomnia, inability to concentrate, hormonal problems, low libido, gut problems such as IBS, even things like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and weight gain. All of these things are seemingly unrelated, but at their root they have stress as a key driver.”
More and more of us find stress to be a part of our daily lives but Rangan says this doesn’t need to be the case. Listen to the podcast to find out more about the science of stress and how you can manage your stress levels.
Focusing on your own needs can help you to feel calmer and more resilient. Psychologist and yoga teacher Suzy Reading says we should really categorise self care as health care. She explains, “Self care helps us cope in the moment; it helps us deal with stress, change and grief; it helps us to heal from those experiences; it provides us with a protective buffer and helps us to cope with the next inevitable curveball and it gives us access to our best selves.”
In fact, developing a personalised self care routine can help to increase our own sense of wellbeing and help change our outlook. In this podcast, Suzy provides easy tips for bringing self care into your daily life and talks about the wellbeing benefits.
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Do you find yourself going out of your way to help others all the time? You could be a people pleaser according to Natalie Lue. As our regular relationships columnist, Natalie knows that patterns of behaviour which make us sacrifice our own desires and wellbeing to please others can begin early in childhood.
She goes on, explaining, “I think we’ve been socialised into being people pleasers. When we’re children – I think it’s both sexes but particularly for girls – we are socialised to be good and kind and meek and mild. Don’t make waves; don’t make things awkward.” As we grow into adults this can make it difficult for us to say ‘no’ and cope under pressure. Natalie has some helpful tips on how to do both in our podcast.
Matt Haig (photo by Getty/Roberto Riciutti) Getty Images/Roberto Riciutti
Author Matt Haig has always been open about his own experience with anxiety and depression and in his latest book, Notes on a Nervous Planet, writes all about the ways in which modern life stresses us out. When we caught up with he said we just need to find ways to disconnect.
“My own theory which I touch on in the book is that modern life isn’t uniformly bad,” says Matt. “But we are experiencing a lot of change and if you think of why people get mentally ill or experience bouts of depression often the trigger is a personal change.” In the podcast, he shares tips for how to disconnect from technology, be more aware of our own stress levels in everyday life and even sleep more soundly. Listen here.
Dr Nerina Ramlakhan
Insomnia is a growing problem in modern society. According to the Institute of Medicine, 50-70 million Americans suffer from insomnia and the UK isn’t much better – it’s around a third of the population. If you’re counted among that number, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan has some useful advice in our podcast.
She explains the problems that come alongside not getting enough shut eye too. ‘When we sleep deeply, it repairs the body on every level – physically, mentally, emotionally. There can be even more severe physical and emotional problems when we don’t – and poor mental health. When we can’t sleep we start to fall apart emotionally,” she says. Listen to the podcast to hear her tips on how to beat insomnia for good.
What do mindfulness and opera have in common? More than you might think! Laura Wright, an opera singer with a busy career, says one of the most important lessons to learn when you are seeking out calm is that it is ok to say ‘no’. She says that taking the time to learn mindfulness has changed how she thinks and certainly reduced her stress levels.
“One of the things I learnt a few years ago from a teacher at the Royal College of Music was how to create this bubble around you – sort of like a protection bubble – so when you go out and perform you feel like you’re in your own space. And people can’t come into that space” she explains. Laura’s advice comes from a wealth of experience – find out how you too can use music to stay mindful on our podcast.
According to the World Happiness Report 2019, Finland is the happiest country for the second year running. Perhaps there is something we can learn from the nation. Joanna Nylund, author of Sisu: The Finnish Art of Courage, joined us on the In The Moment podcast to explain how sisu could be a positive addition to our wellbeing toolkit.
Joanna explains, “Sisu is actually many things, but it’s basically a characteristic that we Finns take pride in as something quite Finnish. I would say that it’s a mix of different things, but it’s courage, it’s resilience, it’s tenacity, it’s grit and I think for me personally it’s a kind of cheerful determination.” Learn more about it on our podcast.
Photography by Jason Lock Jason Lock
Suzy Glaskie was working in a high-pressured PR job when her health began to suffer as a result of stress. It was a wake-up call and she realised that she had to start listening to what her body was telling her.
Eventually, it got too much and she resigned, but her boss convinced her to stay. “Being ever the professional and not wanting to let anyone down, I let myself be persuaded,” she explains. “The next day I had this really awful red eye, which I’ve never had before or since. I tried every sort of drops and it just wouldn’t go.”
In the end, Suzy left her job and her eye miraculously healed in a couple of days. Listen to the episode here.
Put your headphones in and listen to these and more interesting wellbeing guests on the In The Moment podcast. Listen right here on our website, over on Acast, Stitcher, or download an episode or two on iTunes.