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In 1948 the World Health Organisation(WHO) was founded. Of its principles, the first is:

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Yet, even today, many people struggle to achieve balanced health. For those lucky enough to have physical and even social health, mental health is often lacking. Despite mental health issues affecting 1 in 4 people (25% of the population of the world), it remains a taboo and stigmatized subject in society. 350 million people in the world suffer from depression.  These people are not odd “crazy” strangers, they are often amongst your closest family members, colleagues, and friends. So common are mental health challenges, that there’s absolutely no reason why it is not viewed as a normal, regular, yet managable condition.

Whilst some of these affected will need the help of specialists in order to function and maintain their mental health, we can all take basic steps to look after ourselves. Just as we invest in a healthy diet, gym memberships etc to maintain our physique and physical wellness, we can do similar things for our mental health. Both share exercise, diet and sleep in common.

When our physical health suffers we often feel the effect quite quickly in the form of tiredness, or even pain. With mental health, the signs can often be rather more subtle. For that reason, it is important that we frequently “check in with ourselves“. Daily self-monitoring and reaction to the changes we observe can be beneficial and helps with the identification of changes to our mental health. When changes are detected, or even before, we can learn numerous coping techniques to assist with the most common challenges such as depression and anxiety.

When we notice changes in our mental health that can’t simply be addressed by refocusing our thoughts or implementing healthy coping techniques then there is an abundance of help available in the form of psychotherapists, counsellors, peer support groups or even talking to family, colleagues, and friends.

Aspire Counselling is here to help when you need to talk or learn how to understand how you feel.  Psychotherapist and Counsellor Maria Luedeke specializes in empowering individuals, families, couples and teams in the corporate workplaces to achieve their goals and live fulfilled lives.

You can find out more or book an appointment with Maria at Aspire Counselling by visiting https://aspirecounselling.net or by going directly to our online appointment booking page.

Exercise, Sleep, Nutrition – tackling depression

On world health day 7th April, Maria shared with website Patients Engage 3 lifestyle habits that can support those affected by depression.

The following content was first, published on Patients Engage.  Read the original article here: https://goo.gl/HXVzQ3

According to the World Health Organization, there are over 350 million people globally who suffer from depression. Sadly, it is one of the most prevalent of mental health issues in the world. Maria Luedeke, Counsellor & Psychotherapist, CTRTC, stresses the urgent need to engage in a discussion of individually empowered self-management strategies.

Depression has a cyclical effect. Those with chronic illness are more susceptible to it and those with depression have a higher risk of other medical issues. This can become a vicious cycle that is difficult to escape from. Prioritizing physical self-care such as sleep, nutrition, exercise and medical conditions are imperative in breaking and prevention of this cycle.

Exercise

Exercising can be a powerful anti-depressant. Research has shown that consistency is more important than quantity in improving mood disorders, so it is more beneficial to walk daily for 10-15 minutes than to do a 3-hour workout once a week. Choosing an exercise that is enjoyable and fits well into daily life is also essential to maximize the likelihood of adherence. Ideally, exercise should be done first thing in the morning or at least 3 hours before trying to sleep.

Sleep

Sleep is an area that is often cited by depressed individuals as problematic. Many feel constantly fatigued, have disrupted sleep cycles or are unable to sleep/wake at typical times which interferes with their ability to function normally in daily life. Sleep hygiene is an important skill to learn in general for good wellness and becomes integral when managing depression. Establish regular sleep and wake times and be consistent with those throughout the week. Avoid electronics 1-2 hours before bed, this includes phones, iPads, computers and TVs as the blue light emitted from these devices stimulates brain activity at precisely the time we are trying to induce relaxation. Reading on a Kindle or iPad can be done by adjusting the backlight to a softer setting but online reading should be avoided as it is too tempting to flip back and forth between websites and “surf” which is another brain stimulating activity that should be avoided at bedtime. Those who have difficulty falling asleep can try progressive relaxation exercises or deep breathing exercise; both of which induce relaxation and calm.

Nutrition

There are numerous studies about the link between nutrition and mood. One such study by Harvard School of Public Health found that women were 41% more likely to suffer from depression when they regularly ate processed grains, sugary sodas, and red meats. Improving the quality of food eaten eliminates blood sugar spikes and dips that are linked to mood spikes and dips, can increase energy and brain clarity. The Indian Journal of Psychiatry states that patients with depression generally have inadequate nutritional intake, particularly foods high in essential vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. Ensuring good nutrition, avoiding skipping meals and reducing high sugar foods can support mood stability.

Psychosocial Care

Practicing healthy physical habits is one piece of managing depression. Paired with Intellectual, emotional and spiritual self-care this is a power approach of depression treatment. Psychosocial therapy and medication are integral components and should not be dismissed but empowering individuals with proactive self-care practices dramatically improves the positive outcomes of depression and mood disorders.

Maria Luedeke is Director of Aspire Counselling Pte Ltd, Singapore. Maria is a highly qualified Counsellor and Psychotherapist with educational qualifications from U.S. and Australian institutions and possesses a Certificate of Clearance from the Singapore Government authorizing her to work with children and adolescents in all settings. 

If you are affected by depression and would like to know more, or want to book an appointment with Maria you can go to https://aspirecounselling.net or click here to go directly to our appointment bookings page.

Susan Newman Ph.D writes in Psychology Today:

“Most parents have an instantaneous desire to protect their children. We tend to our children’s needs: If an unexplained rash appears, we see the doctor. If a fever spikes, we see the doctor. If a bone seems injured, we see the doctor.

Visible wounds are relatively easy to recognize. It’s different when a child begins having problems at school or with friends, or if he or she becomes uncooperative and has inexplicable outbursts. Such occurrences often leave parents feeling confused and unsure about what to do.”

To read more of this article and discover some of the signs, click the link below:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/singletons/201609/13-concerning-signs-mental-illness-in-child

If you feel that you may need help with regards to your children’s behaviour, or issues affecting them, you might like to check out Aspire Counselling’s services for Children. We specialize in:

  • Third Culture Kid adjustment and identity
  • Worry and Stress Management
  • Relationship Counselling
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorders
  • Anxiety and Panic Disorders
  • Depression and low mood
  • Anger Management
  • Grief
  • Divorce
  • Bullying

You can also visit our website to book an online or face to face session with us at http://aspirecounselling.net

Contact Maria Luedeke at Aspire Counselling at info@aspirecounselling.net or call 6570 2781 to find out more about our services for men, women, adolescents, couples, families and corporates.

Image source Source: Giideon/Shutterstock

This article from Caitlin Ainsworth writing on The Mighty, describes what many of our clients can feel. They struggle to get out of bed and from the outside they are percieved to be lazy and unfocused. At times they may also see themselves this way. In the article referenced below, Caitlin describes how life feels to her. You may even recognise yourself in what Caitlin describes.

“Have you ever felt like everyone around you was living a full life? Not to say they are — or you are not — but I’ve found sometimes through my own pain it can seem like everyone else has nothing to fight off. I wake up every day with immense dread that I’m no longer asleep, or worse, that I’m not finally dead. I finally find the courage to get out of bed five hours after my alarm goes off to go to the bathroom and maybe find some food, but after that I’m back into my nest of blankets and pillows that once in a while seems to guard me from the monsters in my head — the monsters that surround me.”

Read more at https://buff.ly/2gzxBBx

Do I have to continue like this?

Too often these struggles lead the individual to feel guilty and that they aren’t normal. However, you should know that it is not an unusual feeling. Also, it is not something you need to feel guilty about. In fact, when feeling this way you need to make sure you are kind and compassionate towards yourself. We know that you are trying and doing your best.

We can empower you to live a fulfilled life and achieve your goals

Aspire Counselling is here to help in these circumstances. Our passion is to help empower people to lead fulfilling lives. We would like to help guide you towards ways that you can help yourself, whether you are suffering from depression, anxiety, bi-polar or any other condition. We can show you techniques that you can use to help you achieve your goals, whatever they are.

Contact Aspire Counselling

Contact us at http://aspirecounselling.net to find out more about our services and book an appointment.  You can also call us on  6570 2781 or email on info@aspirecounselling.net

The Thinkstock image accompanied the article when it was published on The Mighty on 22nd November 2016

No matter who we are, or where we were born, each of us has an absolute right to a fulfilled life, and to achieve our goals. An equal right to a life without prejudice and constraint. Those who have, or have had mental health disorders have just the same rights.

During the course of their lifetime, many will face challenges. In fact so many will encounter mental health disorders at some point in their lives, that is should be treated as being normal. Normal as in, it can happen to anyone. Normal as in, it will likely affect about 25% of the population at one point or another in their lives. Being as “normal” as it is, it is important that those affected can achieve their goals and live their lives in a fulfilled way.

If you or someone you know is affected by a mental health issue, do seek help. With the correct guidance, it is possible learn to overcome the obstacles that appear to be in the way. By addressing the root causes, and learning how to cope with and manage what is affecting you, you can be empowered to achieve what you want to achieve.

Aspire Counselling – book an online or face-to-face counselling session, and get instant confirmation of your appointment at https://aspirecounselling.net

For further details email info@aspirecounselling.net or call 65 6570 2781

Young people have never been so bombarded by pressure to look or live their lives a certain way.

Relationships and contact with others are vital to a fulfilling life.  Social media is one of many mechanisms that can help foster and maintain strong relationships. However, for some, it can be a factor in increased levels of unhappiness. It can if left unchecked sometimes lead to identity, self esteem and confidence issues, depression, anxiety and child behavioural issues amongst others.

For the main part, kids used to only have to deal with peer pressure or bullying at school, and when out with friends. When they were at home, they were reasonably cushioned from the outside world. However, in today’s constantly connected social media focused world it can be a 24/7 onslaught reading and now watching live the lives of friends and millions of unknown people.

Young people can also be unlucky enough not just to suffer bullying from “friends”, but also abuse from those unknown to them. In such situations the pressure to keep checking what is happening, and digest the latest comments can be overwhelming.

When it occurs, the unhappiness if left undiscussed and unchecked can lead to mental wellness challenges now or later in life.

Every young person has the right to feel supported and confident about their future. If you, someone you know or are responsible for is suffering, effective help and support are available both for individuals and families.  At Aspire Counselling we can provide help to improve a young person’s resilience, boost their confidence, and tackle the consequences of any bullying being experienced. We do this in a way, that allows an empowered young person, and their families if necessary,  to learn how to manage current and future challenges.

Aspire Counselling – Counselling and Therapy in Singapore – Book a face to face or online video counselling appointment with Maria Luedeke at https://www.aspirecounselling.net

#selfesteem #socialmedia #children

Relationships are shown to be the key to a happy life

Did you know, there are a number of practical strategies you can use to increase your psychological wellbeing. One such strategy is to nurture relationships.

Research suggests that personal relationships have the greatest impact on your satisfaction with life. Try to dedicate time and energy into nurturing relationships with your friends, family or co-workers this week!

This above first appeared on Black Dog Institute

Relationships are repeatedly highlighted as being key to a happy life. Yet we so often neglect them and under invest in them. Aspire Counselling specialises in Couples Counselling and Relationship Counselling and can support you in maintaining a successful and dynamic relationship. Whether you are focused on growing your relationships with friends, family or colleagues we can help.

You can visit our website to book an online counselling or face to face couples, relationship counselling session with us. http://aspirecounselling.net

Contact Aspire Counselling at info@aspirecounselling.net or call 6570 2781 to find out more about our services for men, women, adolescents, couples, families and corporates.