10 Things to Prevent and Fight Alzheimer’s

10 Things to Prevent and Fight Alzheimer’s

20 June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Day, and it’s a great opportunity for all of us to be reminded about brain health, Alzheimer’s disease, and other dementias. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the leading causes of death which can’t be cured, can hardly be prevented or delayed and can potentially affect everyone who has a brain. 

There are an estimated 47 million people living with Alzheimer’s disease and associated dementias worldwide, with that figure likely to rise to 76 million by 2030 if nothing changes. However, everyone can make a difference and take a part in combating this debilitating disease. 

Here are 10 things you can start doing now to prevent and fight Alzheimer’s!

1 Get physical

Engage in regular exercise that elevates heart rate and increases blood flow/ studies have shown that physical activity reduces risk of cognitive decline.

2 Continue learning

All types of education help reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Enrol for courses online or find a class in your local area. 

3 Use your hands (and brain)

Challenge your motor skills. Take up a hobby that requires using both your brain and your hand. Build a piece of furniture, paint, carve out something or take up knitting or sewing. 

4 Call a friend

Staying socially engaged supports brain health. Share activities with friends and family and become an active member of the local community.

5 Get enough sleep

Not getting enough sleep may result in problems with mood, memory and clear thinking. Make sure you are having a minimum of 6-7 hours of sleep every night. 

6 Look after your diet

Eat a balanced diet that is higher in vegetables and fruit to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

7 Safety first

Brain injury can raise the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Wear a seat belt and use a helmet when playing contact sports or riding a bike.

8 Quit smoking

Smoking increases the risk of cognitive decline. Quitting smoking can reduce risk. to levels comparable to those who have never smoked.

9 Look after your heart

Risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke – obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes -negatively impact your cognitive health.

10 Take care of your mental health

Growing evidence indicates that it is possible to reduce the risk of cognitive decline by adopting key lifestyle habits including those above. When possible, combine these habits to achieve maximum benefit for your brain and body.


If you would like to speak with a counsellor about how we can support you, please contact us.

Anoush Davies

Find out more about Anoush here

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The Brain is not Hardwired

Five Elements for a Happier and Healthier You

What is PTSD

What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

After a stressful and traumatic experience, it’s quite usual to have disturbing flashbacks, feel anxious, stressed and/or depleted and have difficulties sleeping. It may be hard at first to carry out routine everyday tasks, such as going to work, school, or spending time with and paying attention to people you care about. However, after a few weeks or months, the majority of people begin to feel better. If you’ve been experiencing symptoms for more than a few months and things are still not looking brighter, you may have PTSD. PTSD symptoms may appear later in life for some people, or they may come and go over time.

Symptoms of PTSD

There are four distinct diagnostic clusters of PTSD:

  1. Reliving the event
    At any point, unwelcome recollections of the trauma can resurface. They can feel quite real and frightening as if the event is happening again.  Those feelings are referred to as flashbacks and usually they are happening because of a trigger. A trigger is something that reminds you of the event and can bring back memories of the trauma. Anything can work as a trigger: smells, sounds, and people are just a few examples. 
  2. Avoiding things that can bring up memories of the event
    You might try to avoid situations that bring up memories of the event. Someone who was attacked in the lift, for example, could only use stairs or never share the lift with others. Alternatively, a person who survived a car crash might avoid driving for years as it feels dangerous. 
  3. Feeling generally more negative than you did before the trauma
    Feeling sad for no apparent reason or losing interest in things you used to enjoy, feeling numb and emotionless – all could be signs of PTSD. Lack of trust in the world and the people in it could also be another sign. Another feeling that often accompanies PTSD is the feeling of guilt and constant wondering if there was something you could do to prevent the event from happening. 
  4. Feeling on edge
    Experiencing extra levels of anxiety and feeling like it is impossible to relax are common for PTSD. Sudden outbursts of anger and irritability are also possible. Those symptoms are called hyperarousal and they often drive those who suffer from PTSD to search for relief in unhealthy ways, such as drugs and alcohol. 

The only way to find out whether you suffer from PTSD is to speak to a mental health professional who will talk to you about trauma, symptoms you are experiencing and treatment options available. Even if you don’t have all the above symptoms but have experienced a traumatic or life-changing experience, reach out for help. And remember that all people are different and it is not only abuse, assault and accident that may cause PTSD, for many major life changes such as relocation to another country, loss of a friend who moved or change of job could also be traumatic and cause subsequent PTSD. 


If you would like to speak with a counsellor about how we can support you, please contact us.

Anoush Davies

Find out more about Anoush here

Other Articles:

The Brain is not Hardwired

Five Elements for a Happier and Healthier You

Five Elements for a Happier and Healthier You

Five Elements for a Happier and Healthier You

We all are unique and have our preferences and things that we like and dislike, yet I am sure we all would rather have a positive mindset, clear focus and good physical health.

Therefore, this month we invite you to celebrate wellbeing by stepping up self-care and working on five essential elements towards a happier and healthier you. 

The pillars of well-being can be divided into the following five categories: 

Physical

Intellectual

Emotional

Social

Spiritual. 

The above is just a large-scale picture, and to look into more detail, let’s check the practical ways to implement each element in your daily life. It is not a detailed and exhaustive list of points as things are different for different people, and you might have your ideas to add. We encourage you to take a few moments to reflect and rate yourself on every point between 1 and 10. One shows the lack of attention to this particular area, and ten signifies the harmony and balance concerning this element in your life.

  1. Physical wellbeing: 

Healthy nutrition and diet. 

Regular sleeping routine

Physical exercises, push you out of your comfort zone

Regular medical check-ups

Things that make you feel good (massage, manicure, new hairstyle)

  1. Intellectual wellbeing: 

Challenging yourself with new learning

Having “me” reading or writing time

Making time for hobbies and creativity

Bringing cultural aspects into your daily life

  1. Emotional wellbeing: 

Celebrating achievements, no matter how small

Silencing the inner critic

Accepting compliments with ease

Being grateful for things that you have

Being kind to yourself

Being kind to others 

  1. Social wellbeing:

Having friends (at least one person you can call a friend)

Having a group of like-minded people

Feeling a sense of belonging

Quality time with those people you value (your children, your partner, your parents)

  1. Spiritual wellbeing: 

Doesn’t have to be religious

Reflect on something that keeps you going when things are tough

Verbalise it. What is it? Prayer? Meditation? Yoga? Walk-in nature?

Now look at the numbers above and see which areas you are doing well and which elements might require improvement. Choose one small step in relation to each component you want to strengthen and commit to it. Please write it down and make it visible. Set the deadline for two weeks and check in regularly. Make an effort to raise the score by at least two within the next two weeks( for instance, if if you rated yourself at 2 in “quality time with partner”, – write down a small step that you are ready to make to raise this number to 4 (two invitations to morning coffee before work in two weeks, for example) and commit to it. And keep noticing the way you feel about the changes along the way. 

Small steps and self-belief are all you need… 

And I promise it works!!!!


If you would like to speak with a counsellor about how we can support you, please contact us.

Anoush Davies

Find out more about Anoush here

Other Articles:

The Brain is not Hardwired

7 Weird and Fun Ideas to Deal with Stress

7 Weird and Fun Ideas to Deal with Stress

 

April is Stress Awareness Month, although every month in the last couple of years has made us aware of stress in one way or another. So whether we like it or not, tress is an integral part of our daily life. And we all have been doing a great job navigating through crazy times of uncertainty, saddening new and illogical rules, while understandings that no one can predict what else might happen tomorrow.

There have been numerous books and articles written about stress and the ways to cope with it, and I am sure each one of us knows some ways to deal with stressors, yet today I would like you to shift the focus and look for unusual and weird ways to deal with stress.

All our systems are interconnected so let’s experiment with unusual and different solutions and notice what works and doesn’t. If the old solutions don’t work, it’s time to try something new to help our overwhelmed body and mind to pull themselves out of a stressful state.

1. Walk barefoot for a day (or half a day, or an hour, do it!)

It is proven that connecting to mother Earth has a calming effect on the human body, yet we often don’t pay attention to this basic grounding. Take a walk on the grass, on the beach, in the field. If you cannot go out, still let your feet be free for a while and notice the sensations in your soles when you touch the surface.

2. Strike a tree pose

Another way to connect to nature is to become a part of it by being a tree. Besides calming you down, the Tree yoga pose helps the body balance and strengthens the core. Stand with your feet grounded. Take two deep breaths. Lift one leg, shift the weight to the other and hold the leg up. Now, bend the leg you have lifted, and place it on the upper thigh of the other leg. Lift your arms and start swinging like a tree. Stay in this pose for 5-10 long deep breaths.

3. Do things the opposite way

It is all about neural pathways and creating new ones while breaking the patterns and teaching the brain to look for an unusual solution. Challenge yourself to do five things the opposite way today to beat the stress. Walk backwards, drink water while bending down, write with your left hand. Be creative and free in making choices.

4. Do a random act of kindness

One of the best ways to deal with stress is to help others. Do something unexpected for someone you work with, for example. Buy a cup of coffee for the office guard, get some flowers for the cleaner, call your great-aunt and chat to her about the weather. Do it intentionally and genuinely, and notice how it makes you feel.

5. Do unusual creative task 

When was the last time you were singing? Drawing? Dancing? When was the last time you were doing something that was entirely out of your character? Well, do it today. Challenge yourself to write a poem, draw a painting or sing a song from the latest Adele album. Make it happen!

6. Practice throwing

Any activity with rhythm and repetitive patterns might help shift the mind and refocus. Find tennis or a golf ball or make a paper one and have ten attempts in throwing it into the paper bin. Focus very hard and see how many times you will hit the target.

7. Tell a story of your life (or from your life)

Talking things through even with an imaginary audience is one of the best ways of dealing with stress. Imagine speaking at a Ted talk or an award-winning ceremony. Set the timer for 10-15 minutes, imagine the grateful crowd and go for it. It might feel weird in the beginning but persevere and continue talking. You will be amazed how the narrative will come out, and the conclusions will be made.

There you go. These are just seven simple ideas from us to you. What else can you think of? Unusual and weird ideas are wonderful because they are, well, unusual and weird. They allow us to take ourselves out of everyday routine and look at things differently.

So here’s to challenging the stress in the most creative and fun way! 

If you would like to speak with a counsellor about how we can support you, please contact us.

by Anoush Davies

Find out more about Anoush here

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The Brain is not Hardwired

No Brainer Day

No Brainer Day

No Brainer Day

Today is No Brainer Day, a beautiful day to remind you that most issues that we face in our life have easy and obvious solutions. It was first celebrated in 1995 and since then more and more people across the world dedicate this day by giving their brains a break. And it is not as easy as it sounds, since our brains just love overcomplicating, overanalysing and generally being worried about things that have already happened or could potentially happen. 

Nevertheless, we encourage you to give your brain a break. Celebrate today by unwinding your mind and letting go of any worries and tension, stay away from overthinking and analysing things. Give your mind a break, relax, enjoy the day, and be content. Here are a few things that could help. 

1. Breathe

Use the power of breathing and try Power Breathing by exhaling for twice as long as you inhale. Activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which slows down the fight-or-flight reaction and helps the body and mind to return to a relaxed state. Because your brain no longer thinks you need to run or fight, blood flows back to your inner organs from your hands and feet and your body and mind feel better. Simply sit comfortably, close your eyes, and begin by inhaling for a count of four, pause for six and exhale for a count of eight. Practice for 3-5 minutes.

2. Meditate 

There’s no need to set a specific meditation goal. Your aim is to sit with yourself and be present in the moment.  Close your eyes and take several deep breaths, allowing yourself to inhale, hold, and then slowly exhale. Turn your attention to any tense spots in your body and bring them to relaxation with each and every breath. Spend 5-7 minutes bringing your awareness to the “here and now” and once you feel relaxed, slowly open your eyes.

3. Stretch or go for a walk

Any physical activity is better than none. Take a few minutes to stretch or take a walk outside. Being in nature or exercising takes the pressure and tension from the mind and helps it to switch from the chatter and noise to physical sensations of stretching or walking. Be present, observant and aware of your senses. 

4. Draw or colour

This is a simple way to relax and get in the flow. There are so many amazing colouring books available to choose from, but if you don’t feel like filling in pre-drawn designs,  you can always doodle away with your own creations.  

5. Free write

Some people also call it “dump writing”. Just do it. Take a notebook, take a pencil or pen, sit down and start writing about anything that comes to your mind. Even if it feels like nothing at first, write exactly that. You will see that once you start thoughts will flow in. Use this time to write out your worries, frustrations or anything else preoccupying your mind. The only rule is to not stop writing until at least 2 pages are filled in. Otherwise, write away.

6. Laugh

Laughing heals. It is a scientifically proven fact. It also relaxes your mind. Remember, when was the last time you genuinely laughed? Well, today it’s time to do it. Watch a comedy, call your sister who makes you giggle, read a book, join in with silly games or puzzles. 

At the end of the day, today is a No Brainer Day, so don’t overthink ways to celebrate; just relax and appreciate the simplicity of a good life.

If you would like to speak with a counsellor about how we can support you, please contact us.

Anoush Davies

Find out more about Anoush here

Other Articles:

The Brain is not Hardwired