Cannabis and Anxiety

 

Cannabis 

Cannabis (also known as marijuana, weed, pot, dope or grass) is the most widely used illegal drug in the UK.

The effects of cannabis vary from person to person:

  • you may feel chilled out, relaxed and happy
  • some people get the giggles or become more talkative
  • hunger pangs (“the munchies”) are common
  • colours may look more intense and music may sound better
  • time may feel like it’s slowing down

 

Cannabis can have other effects too:

  • if you’re not used to it, you may feel faint or sick
  • it can make you sleepy and lethargic
  • it can affect your memory
  • it makes some people feel confused, anxious or paranoid, and some experience panic attacks and hallucinations – this is more common with stronger forms of cannabis like skunk or sinsemilla
  • it interferes with your ability to drive safely

 

If you use cannabis regularly, it can make you demotivated and uninterested in other things going on in your life, such as education or work.

Long-term use can affect your ability to learn and concentrate.

 

Can you get addicted to cannabis?

Research shows that 10% of regular cannabis users become dependent on it. Your risk of getting addicted is higher if you start using it in your teens or use it every day.  As with other addictive drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, you can develop a tolerance to cannabis. This means you need more to get the same effect.  If you stop using it, you may get withdrawal symptoms, such as cravings, difficulty sleeping, mood swings, irritability and restlessness.

 

Brain Science and Cannabis

 

Any substance that we put into our bodies will have an effect in some way. Whether it’s drinking and becoming off-balance or smoking and becoming paranoid, our brain is wired to respond to these outside stimuli in many different ways.

Dr. Ruben Baler, a health scientist at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, explains how cannabis can impact a person’s ECS, (the interstitial space between cells in the brain is called the extracellular space (ECS)), leading to anxiety and paranoia that previously did not exist.

What the ECS does is it optimizes our brain between excitation and inhibition.

Fear stimuli that we can normally cope with can become unmanageable under the effects of cannabisbecause our fight-or-flight response gets disrupted. You may not be able to keep those stimuli under control because your ECS is so out of whack because of all the THC (THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects in your system).

The strangest thing about the ECS is that cannabis can wreak havoc during one smoke session, then leave the user completely relaxed and calm after another. Just as any slightly different chemicals in the brain can cause vastly different outward reactions, the differing components in any given cannabis strain can cause varying reactions on the inside.

For instance, indica strains are known for their ability to induce a sleepy, relaxing high, while sativa strains often provide an uplifting, clear-headed buzz. Within each group of indica or sativa are dozens and dozens of different strains, each with a different chemical configuration and makeup. What this means is that while one indica or sativa might not cause anxiety or paranoia, another strain very well could.

Outside factors also play a role in how cannabis affects the brain. If a user has been experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions lately, cannabis might deliver a different effect than if the same user was experiencing a period of great calmness.

The brain’s fear-processing centre is located in the amygdala and the hippocampus, areas that are extremely sensitive to cannabis and can change the response we have to THC or CBD)

Cannabis and the brain

Cannabis and mental health

Regular cannabis use increases your risk of developing a psychotic illness, such as schizophrenia. A psychotic illness is one where you have hallucinations (seeing things that aren’t really there) and delusions (believing things that aren’t really true).

 

Your risk of developing a psychotic illness is higher if:

  • you start using cannabis at a young age
  • you smoke stronger types, such as skunk
  • you smoke it regularly
  • you use it for a long time
  • you smoke cannabis and also have other risk factors for schizophrenia, such as a family history of the illness

Cannabis also increases the risk of a relapse in people who already have schizophrenia, and it can make psychotic symptoms worse.

 

For many, cannabis provides relief from anxiety better than any prescription drug. However, cannabis can have a powerful effect in the opposite direction for some, leaving users with crippling anxiety and paranoia.

 

What is paranoia?

Paranoia

 

Paranoia is an unfounded fear that others want to harm you. It’s characterized by feeling like being under constant threat.  When having paranoid thoughts, people are usually overwhelmed with thinking about conspiracies against them.

For example, while most people would think of one incident to be a coincidence, person with paranoid thoughts would think of it as something planned and intentional. These irrational thoughts and beliefs can get so fixated that it becomes extremely hard to convince that person otherwise. For many people, it’s hard to tell the difference between what’s real and what’s not.

When it comes to paranoia, THC is the molecule that most likely causes it, as it stimulates the receptors in a part of the brain called amygdala. Amygdala regulates emotional processes, such as fear and paranoia.

 

How to get rid of paranoia when you’re high?

Cannabis-induced paranoia can happen to users of all levels, without exceptions. Feeling paranoid from marijuana usually occurs after smoking too much.

Here are some simple ways that may help to get rid of paranoia\;

Keep calm

When cannabis kicks in and you start feeling paranoid, it’s not the best feeling in the world. If you want it to pass through quickly, it’s important to stay calm. Lay down and close your eyes, try counting if that’s what relaxes you. Take deep breaths and exhale slowly. And remember that it will wear off eventually.

Play relaxing music

While you are laying down in your bed trying to relax, play some smooth music to help you overcome your cannabis paranoia. Play your favourite song on your phone.

Make a pepper lemonade

Lemons have been used for sobering up from alcohol and it looks like this fruit can also help you if you get yourself too high. So when cannabis makes you paranoid, make lemonade… with pepper. Both lemons and pepper have terpenes, some of which diminish the psychoactive effects of THC.

To make pepper lemonade, take one big glass, squeeze one fresh lemon, add a pinch of pepper and lemon zest, some ice and a little bit of fresh mint if you like, and still or sparkling water. Drink it slowly and you should feel the paranoia creeping away.

Take a nice shower

Lukewarm or icy cold – find the right temperature which feels the most pleasant for you.

Take a walk

If you are feeling too high and paranoid, take a nice long walk outside. Some fresh air could be just the thing you need. Also, when you feel the breeze you’ll feel much better and relaxed. Take a few deep breaths of fresh air.

Eat and stay hydrated

Help your body to recover from cannabis paranoia by having a nice, healthy snack. Eat something that you really enjoy. You should also try some fresh fruits, cereals with some honey or a nice warm soup. Also, if you get paranoid from smoking cannabis, try to remember to stay hydrated all the time.

 

Seasonal Affective Disorder – SAD

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Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. It is sometimes known as “winter depression” because the symptoms are more apparent and tend to be more severe during the winter.

The symptoms often begin in the autumn as the days start getting shorter. They’re typically most severe during December, January and February.

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Symptoms include:

  • a persistent low mood
  • a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
  • feeling irritable
  • feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
  • feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day
  • sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning
  • craving carbohydrates and gaining weight 

    We may all suffer from some of these symptoms in the winter – e.g. comfort eating; reluctant to socialise so much and feeling fed up but for some people these symptoms can be severe and have a significant impact on their day-to-day activities.

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What causes SAD?

The effects of light

When light hits the back of the eye, messages are passed to the part of the brain that controls sleep, appetite, sex drive, temperature, mood and activity. If there’s not enough light, these functions are likely to slow down and gradually stop.

Some people seem to need a lot more light than others for their body to function normally. They are therefore more likely to develop SAD symptoms if there are low levels of light.

Low serotonin levels

The brain uses the chemical serotonin to regulate our mood.

People experiencing depression have been found to have lower levels of serotonin, particularly in winter. It is thought there may be particularly strong seasonal variations in how this process works in people with SAD.

High melotonin levels

When it’s dark, the brain produces the hormone melatonin which makes us sleep. When it becomes light again, it stops producing melatonin and we wake up.

It has been found that people with SAD produce much higher levels of melatonin in winter than other people. (This is also what happens to animals when they hibernate).

Treatment:

Consult your GP if your depression is severe.

However, there are some things that you can do to try and help yourself:

  • try to get as much natural sunlight as possible – even a brief lunchtime walk can be beneficial
  • make your work and home environments as light and airy as possible
  • sit near windows when you’re indoors
  • take plenty of regular exercise, particularly outdoors and in daylight
  • eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • if possible, avoid stressful situations and take steps to manage stress

It can also be helpful to talk to your family and friends about SAD, so they understand how your mood changes during the winter. This can help them to support you more effectively.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is based on the idea that the way we think and behave affects the way we feel. Changing the way you think about situations and what you do about them can help you feel better.

Counselling is another type of talking therapy that involves talking to a trained counsellor about your worries and problems.

The aim of the sessions is to find out whether anything in your past is affecting how you feel today.

Light Therapy – Some people with SAD find that light therapy can help improve their mood considerably. This involves sitting by a special lamp called a light box, usually for around 30 minutes to an hour each morning.

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Light boxes come in a variety of designs, including desk lamps and wall-mounted fixtures.  They produce a very bright light.

Dawn-stimulating alarm clocks, which gradually light up your bedroom as you wake up, may also be useful for some people.

The light produced by the light box simulates the sunlight that’s missing during the darker winder months.

It’s thought the light may improve SAD by encouraging your brain to reduce the production of melatonin (a hormone that makes you sleepy) and increase the production of serotonin (a hormone that affects your mood).

Speak to your GP if you’re unsure about the suitability of a particular product.

Does light therapy work?

There’s mixed evidence regarding the overall effectiveness of light therapy, but some studies have concluded it is effective, particularly if used first thing in the morning.

It’s thought that light therapy is best for producing short-term results.

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Morning Depression

Morning depression is also known as ‘diurnal variation of depressive symptoms’ or ‘diurnal mood variation’.

Symptoms of morning depression

People with morning depression often have severe symptoms in the morning, such as feelings of deep sadness and gloom, and trouble waking up, getting out of bed and a profound lack of energy.  However, they feel better as the day goes on.

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Morning depression is not a separate diagnosis but your doctor or therapist may ask you about sleep patterns and mood changes throughout your day:

  • Are your symptoms generally worse in the morning or in the evening?
  • Do you have trouble getting out of bed or getting started in the morning?
  • Do your moods change dramatically during the day?
  • Do you have trouble concentrating more than usual?
  • Do you find pleasure in the activities that you usually enjoy?
  • Have your daily routines changed recently?
  • What, if anything, improves your mood?

Possible causes of morning depression

Low blood sugar levels (hypoglycaemia)

There is a direct link between mood and blood sugar balance. While you sleep, your blood sugar levels progressively drop. The reason for this is that you haven’t eaten anything in the past few hours. Many people don’t eat before they sleep, so all those hours add up.

Poor nutrition

This relates significantly to low blood sugar levels. People tend to eat so much processed sugar that it causes a major drop in blood sugar levels, which leads to depression and anxiety. When foods of this kind are eaten at night before one sleeps, the negative effect of hypoglycaemia is increased. The conclusion is to eat healthy.

Bad sleep

If your sleep is not stable and you wake up in the middle of the night several times or have difficulty letting go of your scattered thoughts, it is definitely going to influence how depressed you are when waking up.  Bad sleep can cause  morning depression, grumpiness, anger, stress and anxiety.

“Waking up is coming back from a world of dreams under comfortable sheets to a world of reality – many times, a reality that you do not want to be in, a reality that you don’t enjoy”.

The depression involved in waking up in the morning may occur because you are not happy about your life in certain areas.

Therefore, opening your eyes and coming back to reality is difficult because all of the things you are not happy about are popping up rapidly all at once!

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Treatments for morning depression

Here are some of the treatments that can help ease morning depression.

Medication

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Unlike other symptoms of depression, morning depression doesn’t respond well to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs are commonly prescribed antidepressants that can help ease symptoms of major depression.

However, serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) may be helpful for people with morning depression.

Talk therapy

Talk therapies — such as counselling and psychotherapy — can also treat morning depression. Medication and talk therapy are especially effective when combined. These therapies can help you address any issues that may contribute to your depression and may be making your symptoms worse.  Issues might include conflicts in a romantic relationship, problems in the workplace, or negative thought patterns.

Light therapy

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Light therapy, also known as bright light therapy or phototherapy, can also help treat people with morning depression. With this type of therapy, you sit or work near a light therapy box. The box emits bright light that mimics natural outdoor light.

The exposure to light is believed to affect brain chemicals linked to mood. Although generally recognized as a treatment for seasonal affective disorder, some people with morning depression may find this approach helpful.

There are also things that you can do yourself to help reduce your symptoms of morning depression:

  • Try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day
  • Eat meals at regular times and make sure that you eat breakfast
  • Refrain from taking long naps
  • Create an environment that promotes sleep, such as a dark, silent, cool room
  • Avoid substances that can prevent a good night’s sleep, such as caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco
  • Exercise more often, but avoid strenuous exercise for at least 4 hours before bedtime
  • Start your day with doing something that makes you feel good and have a good stretch when you wake up

Taking these steps can help stabilize your circadian rhythm so that your body makes the correct hormones at the right time. And that should help improve your mood and other symptoms.

You can also try using self-dialogue:

“I feel very overwhelmed right now because I have just woken up and all of the things that I fear are emerging right away, all at once. I realize that it can be scary and a bit stressful, but all is well. I can take care of everything. I’m on top of things and later on I will feel much better. However, I will not get better if I surrender to my excuses and ignore life. I should just face it and trust myself that I’m going to manage everything the right way. All is well.”

 

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Students and Mental Health!

It’s often described as the best time of one’s life, but for many students the reality is very different.

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Mental health problems are as common among students as they are in the general population.

But it’s not just students who have a diagnosed mental health condition that can benefit from counselling.  A lot of the difficulties that students face are caused by normal life issues such as family or relationship problems, financial problems, self-esteem, anxiety about their studies, problems with alcohol or drugs, sexuality and generally being away from home for possibly the first time in their lives.

Where to get help

It’s normal to feel down, anxious or stressed from time to time, but if these feelings affect your daily activities, including your studies, or don’t go away after a couple of weeks, you may need to seek help.

Signs of depression and anxiety include:

  • feeling low
  • feeling more anxious or agitated than usual
  • losing interest in life
  • losing motivation

Some people also:

  • put on or lose weight
  • stop caring about the way they look or about keeping clean
  • do too much work
  • stop attending lectures
  • become withdrawn
  • have sleep problems

Drugs, drink and mental health in students

This may be the first time that you have experimented with alcohol or drugs and you may start to self-medicate on these substances  If you’re feeling low or stressed, you may be tempted to drink more alcohol or relax by smoking cannabis.

Consider how this may make you feel in the longer term though, as your mood could slip, making you feel a lot worse.

Some cannabis users can have unpleasant experiences, including confusion, hallucinations, anxiety and paranoia.

Any underlying mental disorder could be worsened by drug and alcohol use.

  

Where to go for help

Talk to someone

The first thing to do is to talk to someone. This could be a friend or relative to begin with and this may bring some immediate relief. If your studies are being affected then it may be a good idea to talk to your tutor as well so that they understand how you are feeling and may be able to offer some advice.

You may decide that you need more support and then it is advisable to talk to a professional.

University counselling services

Many colleges and most universities have a free and confidential in-house counselling service you can access, with professionally qualified counsellors and psychotherapists.

You can usually find out what they offer and how to make an appointment in the counselling service section of your university’s website. This free service in universities is available to both undergraduates and postgraduates.

Other help

As well as counselling or therapy, you may also be entitled to “reasonable adjustments” such as extra time in exams, extensions on coursework, and specialist mental health mentor support.

Student-led services

Many student unions also offer student-led services. Although the students involved aren’t qualified counsellors, you may prefer to talk about problems, such as stress and depression, with another student.

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When to see your GP

For more serious or longer-lasting mental health symptoms, see your GP, as you may need prescribed treatment or referral to a specialist.

If you have or develop a mental health condition that requires treatment, it’s important to arrange continuity of care between your college doctor and your family GP.

A mental health adviser can support this communication. Your condition may worsen if moving between university and home results in a gap in treatment.

Therapy and counselling

Counselling offers an opportunity to explore the underlying issues of your unhappiness or any worries you have in a safe environment, including helping you develop ways of coping.

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The thing to remember is that you are not alone. Many students suffer from some form of mental illness during their time at university. There is so much pressure on young people to achieve good results that sometimes the fact that they are living away from home for the first time gets missed. This may be first time that you have had to cook for yourself, wash your clothes, go food shopping, take responsibility for bills etc. You have to make new friends and fit in with a whole new way of life. For some this freedom is amazing and they thrive in this new environment but most students will suffer some degree of anxiety and others will suffer from a more debilitating mental illness. Universities are more aware of this and there is now more provision to help with difficulties.

Please ask for help if you need it – do not suffer in silence.

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Self Esteem

In today’s world we may feel pressurised to achieve our best; to look a certain way; to own certain material things; to be in a relationship; to have a high-powered job; to have a great social life; to have lots of friends etc etc. When we don’t achieve these then our self-esteem can plummet.

Our self-esteem is how we value and perceive ourselves and when we fail to meet the expectation that society puts on us then we may suffer from low self-esteem.

Do any of these sound familiar:

  • you may feel that you hate or dislike yourself
  • you may feel worthless or not good enough
  • are you unable to make decisions or assert yourself
  • do you feel that no one likes you?
  • do you blame yourself for things that aren’t your fault?
  • Do you feel guilty if you spend time or money on yourself?
  • You are unable to recognise your strengths
  • You feel that you are undeserving of happiness
  • You are low in confidence

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We all have times when we lack confidence and don’t feel good about ourselves.

But when low self-esteem becomes a long-term problem, it can have a harmful effect on our mental health and our lives.

Self-esteem is the opinion we have of ourselves. When we have healthy self-esteem, we tend to feel positive about ourselves and about life in general. It makes us able to deal with life’s ups and downs better.

When our self-esteem is low, we tend to see ourselves, and our life in a more negative and critical light. We also feel less able to take on the challenges life throws at us.

 

What can cause low self-esteem?

Low self-esteem often begins in childhood. Teachers, friends, siblings, parents, and even the media give us lots of messages – both positive and negative.

You may have found it difficult to live up to other people’s expectations of you, or to your own expectations.

Stress and difficult life events, such as serious illness, bereavement, break up of parent’s relationship, experiences at school etc can have a negative effect on self-esteem. Personality can also play a part. Some of us are simply more prone to negative thinking, while others set impossibly high standards for themselves.

 

How does low self-esteem affect us?

 The problem with thinking we’re no good is that we start to behave as if it’s true. Low self-esteem can change our behaviour so that we start behave in ways to confirm that we are ‘no good’.

If you have low self-esteem or confidence, you may hide yourself away from social situations, stop trying new things and avoid things you find challenging. This may help in the short term as you can feel a lot safer but in the long term, this avoidance will reinforce your fears. You will then find that the only way to cope is to avoid doing things that are challenging.

Living with low self-esteem can harm your mental health, leading to problems such as depression and anxiety. You may also develop unhelpful habits, such as smoking, drinking excessively, taking drugs etc, as a way of coping.

 

How can you improve your self-esteem?

 

 Firstly, you need to identify and challenge the negative beliefs that you have about yourself. You could start by writing down all the negatives and then writing evidence that disproves these.

For example: You may feel that you are too stupid to apply for a certain job or that no-one likes you. You could ask yourself when you first started to think these thoughts. Then you can write down evidence that challenges these beliefs. For example: “I have certain qualifications” or “people find me easy to talk to”. You could also write down good things that other people say about you. Keep adding to this list and keep looking at it.

Recognise things that you are good at: We are all good at something, Try to recognize what you are good at and try to do them as often as possible. This will also boost your mood. Focus on your positives and celebrate your successes.

Build positive relationships: Spend more time with people that you have good relationships with. Avoid people that make you feel less good about yourself. Talking to loved ones about how you feel can help you to reassess how you view yourself. Ask them what they like about you – it’s likely that they see you differently to how you see yourself.

Be kind to yourself: Be gentle and compassionate to yourself. Try to think what you would say to a friend if they were in a similar situation. Write a list of what you like about yourself. You could include aspects of your personality, your appearance and what you like doing. If you’re finding it difficult, ask a friend or loved one to help you.

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Learn to be assertive and start saying no!

 Being assertive is about respecting other people’s opinions and needs, and expecting the same from them.

When you don’t like yourself, it’s easy to assume others won’t like you either. You may find you go out of your way to help others as you feel it’s the only way they’ll like you. It can make you feel even worse if this help isn’t reciprocated. A good deed is great but over stretching yourself to please others can leave you with less energy to focus on yourself and can affect your mental health.

People with low self-esteem often feel they always have to say yes to other people, even when they don’t really want to. The risk is that you become overburdened, resentful, angry and depressed.

Take a breath before automatically agreeing to do something you don’t want to and try saying “no”.

Set boundaries around how much you do for other people.

 Take control of your own decisions

 At first you might find it difficult to break these habits but making small changes to be more assertive can feel liberating and gets easier the more you do it.

 

Challenge yourself!

We all feel nervous or afraid to do things at times. People with healthy self-esteem don’t let these feelings stop them from trying new things or taking on challenges.

Find something you like doing and do more of it.

You could take up a hobby, join a class or volunteer your time for something you feel passionate about.

At times it can be hard to find the motivation to set goals for yourself, especially when you don’t feel confident or worry about what other people may think, but it doesn’t have to be something big.

Making small goals such as trying a recipe or learning the days of the week in a new language can help you to feel more positive about yourself.

And try to remind yourself you don’t have to be perfect at it to enjoy yourself.

 If things are getting too much, then you may need some extra support. Counselling aims to give you a safe, confidential space to talk about your thoughts and feelings.

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Bristol Central Counselling is Expanding!

I am very pleased to announce that I am increasing the availability of counselling sessions due to increased demand.

I will now have sessions available on Tuesday evenings from 6pm to 9pm and also on Friday afternoons from 2pm to 6pm.  This is in additions to the Friday evenings that I am currently working.

Please contact me if you would like to book a session.

Thank you for all the support I have received from family and friends and the inspiration I have received from some amazing clients.

I feel so blessed to be building a career and doing something that brings me such pleasure and satisfaction.  It is never too late to follow your dreams!

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New Year’s Resolutions

A New Year = A New You?

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We are now a week into 2017 and how many of us made New Year Resolutions that we are struggling to keep? A New Year’s resolution is a promise we make for the New Year and the goal is to improve our lives in the year ahead. Resolutions take many forms but are usually to change a bad habit such as smoking, excessive drinking or eating junk food, or to develop a positive habit such as exercising more, volunteering for a worthwhile cause or looking after ourselves more.

As the clock strikes midnight on 31st December we make decisions to improve our lives in the year ahead but how did this custom originate?

The tradition started in 153 B.C. January is named after a mythical god of early Rome, Janus. Janus had two faces, which allowed him to look back on the past and forward to the future. On 31st December, the Romans imagined Janus looking backward to the old year and forward to the New Year. The Romans made resolutions for the New Year and forgave enemies for troubles in the past. They also believed that Janus would forgive them for their wrongdoings during the previous year. The Romans would give gifts and make promises, believing that Janus would see this and bless them in the year ahead. And thus the New Year’s Resolution was born!

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Above are some of the most common New Year resolutions but why do we have such a hard time keeping to them?

One theory is that we try to do too much. So perhaps set a goal that is challenging, but manageable. If you try to do much you are more likely to fail and this can drain your confidence. So, build on small victories and achievements and take one thing at a time.

Whatever goals you do tackle, try to monitor your progress. If your resolution is to lose weight, check your weight regularly (but not obsessively). If it’s to save money, write down where you’ve spent your money. Monitoring those few, challenging goals you set is more likely to improve your success. Sometimes, just the act of recording everything you eat or spend can cause you to eat or spend less even if you don’t consciously change anything else.

Many resolutions include overcoming bad habits, such as smoking or too much alcohol consumption. These could be tough because they are easy to rely on when stressed out. But, again, take things a day at a time and think about joining support groups and encourage friends to join you in your resolution. This could really help if you want to get more exercise or lose weight. It’s more fun to go to the gym or exercise classes with a friend.

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If you have made some New Year’s Resolutions, here are some tips to help you succeed:

  1. Focus on one resolution rather than several, and set realistic, specific goals. Losing weight is not a specific goal. Losing 10 pounds in 90 days is.
  1. Don’t wait till New Year’s Eve to make resolutions. Make it a year long process, every day;
  1. Take small steps. Many people quit because the goal is too big requiring too much effort and action all at once;
  1. Celebrate your success between milestones. Don’t wait the goal to be finally completed;
  1. Focus your thinking on new behaviors and thought patterns. You have to create new neural pathways in your brain to change habits;
  1. Focus on the present. What’s the one thing you can do today, right now, towards your goal?
  1. Be mindful. Become physically, emotionally and mentally aware of your inner state as each external event happens, moment-by-moment, rather than living in the past or future.
  1. And finally, don’t take yourself so seriously. Have fun and laugh at yourself when you slip, but don’t let the slip hold you back from working at your goal.

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