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17th November 2019 

Course: Learn How To Manage Anxiety

Anxiety and depression. Floating in water

If you want to

  • feel more relaxed and calm
  • be able to have a more peaceful mind
  • not feel so vulnerable
  • take control of your thoughts and emotions

  • this course will be of great help to you.

    Here is an overview of what we will do in the course:
    Session 1
    Exploration of what stress is and what anxiety is
    Session 2
    External factors that help or hinder
    Session 3
    Looking at our mindset (changing the way we think)
    Session 4
    Increasing resilience
    Session 5
    Dealing with people (communication skills)

    Throughout all the sessions I will give you many exercises that will help you to learn how to manage and decrease anxiety.
    The next course on Managing Anxiety will start on Sunday 10 February 2019 at 10:30pm.
    It will run for 2 hours each week in my therapy room at the Stirling Business Centre, Wellgreen Place, Stirling FK8 2DZ.

    Cost is £150, which includes handouts and audio files for each session.
    To maximise your learning outcomes the number of participants is limited to 6 people.
    If you want to book, or if you have any questions contact me.

    Here is what people say about the course:

    "I know the importance of peer support when trying to manage your anxiety and Britta's course was a brilliant place for this. I was made to feel safe and able to talk about my anxiety openly and also challenged in a positive way. I cannot recommend this course enough. Amy, Stirling (February 2019)

    "I have read various books and articles about anxiety, but I found Britta’s course very helpful in addressing it in a methodical way with the opportunity to practice the various strategies, breathing techniques and share experiences within a supportive group setting." Jane (February 2019)

    "Excellent course. Britta with her charismatic and relaxed manner breaks down the word 'anxiety’ into small easy to manage steps. Audio files, weekly handouts and simple exercises all build on the five week course and are very useful for continued development. I am a mature lady and I have suffered from anxiety all my life. This is the best course that I have attended. I am going to miss the weekly sessions."
    N. Hodge (February 2019)

    " I found the course to be very fulfilling & positive. Teachings were very useful for my general life and managing anxiety. It was safe environment where I felt able to share my experience and emotions, when I wished. Britta is a very intuitive therapist." anon (November 2018)

    "Britta is an excellent facilitator and very skilled in the way the courses are managed. This course - Anxiety - was interesting and I found the group bonded well from the start. You can share as much or as little as you wish, however, I found others experiences relatable." G.H. Stirling (November 2018)

    "I wasn't sure about a group course rather than individual counselling, but found hearing and experiencing others' experiences (though no one was forced to share anything) really helpful and made me feel much less isolated." Alison Johnston (November 2018)

    "Britta delivers an excellent course in a safe, relaxing environment. Joining others in the journey to a greater understanding of anxiety has been an invaluable 4 weeks. I have taken away so much and feel that I am better equipped to deal with whatever life brings my way. Thank you. M. L., Stirling (November 2018)

    " A great course for understanding anxiety and how to deal with it" Trish C. (April 2018)

    "A very enjoyable and powerful course! It has helped me to make changes + practice exercises which have reduced my anxiety. I would highly recommend it. Thank you Britta!" LM, Stirling (April 2018)

    "This course really helped me to understand and deal with how I felt. It accomplished more than I was expecting and am so glad I went." C Bruce (April 2018)

    "I learned a lot from participating in this course and I feel anything that helps with keeping me on an even keel and enjoying life is worth exploring further and doing. I looked forward to each session and there was always something I took away with me each week to reflect on and either use at work or consider differently. There are various materials to be read and tools to be tried out. It is not too onerous and it is all there to use in the future again and again." Aileen (April 2017)

    "This was a really helpful course that was really useful for learning ways to not let stress get to you in the workplace. I was able to take away methods of regaining control of my thoughts in stressful situations and gain a better understanding of why I feel the way I do when I'm anxious and what to do about it. Thanks a lot." Emma E. (April 2017)

    "Britta delivered the course very clearly and concisely, covering a range of work related issues to help to ease stress and anxiety at work." Katie (April 2017)

    Anxiety and depression. anxious person

    Help with anxiety

    If you suffer from anxiety, you are not alone. According to

    In 2013, there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety in the UK. In England women are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders as men.

    It seems we live in the age of anxiety.
    Anxiety can have many causes, elevated stress levels is one. To learn how to be less affected by stress and how to slow down, can help greatly to reduce anxiety.

    Try this exercise.
    This exercise can be done anywhere at any time.
    First, become aware of your breathing. Do not judge it just observe how you breathe. Is it fast or slow, shallow or deep? Initially, when you learn this exercise it will help to sit down and place one of your hands on your belly. Now, take a breath in. Do you feel your belly rise when you breathe in? Now breathe out. Do you feel your stomach flatten out again? If not, you might be breathing too shallow into your chest and your belly does not move at all. Or, you might find that your belly actually flattens out when you breathe in. In either case, imagine the air you breathe in goes right down into your belly, where your navel is. Or imagine you are breathing into your belly and it inflates like a balloon when you inhale and deflates when you exhale. You can also try actively pushing out your belly when you breath in to get a feeling for the movement. Practice this until you find that your stomach is rising, when you breathe in and flattens out again when you breathe out. When you feel you got it, do this for a few minutes and notice how this affects you.

    Practice this type of breathing daily or whenever you notice that you are starting to feel anxious or nervous. When you have a full-blown panic attack, this might not work so well.

    Anxiety and depression. slleping baby

    What you are doing here is relearning our natural way of breathing. Look at babies and how their bellies go in and out with every breath. This is called diaphragmatic breathing. The more anxious or stressed we get the shallower and faster we breath. Because our minds and bodies are interactive, consciously reverting your breathing to deep and slow breathing signalises to your brain that you are relaxing. After a few minutes you begin to feel calmer. This exercise also takes you into the present moment and out of your head. Your awareness is on your belly and your breathing. This in itself can lead to a feeling of reduced anxiety.

    Depending on the reasons for your anxiety the following things might be useful:

  • Look at your lifestyle and your food: slow down and avoid stimulants like caffein, sugar and drugs.
  • If you feel powerless, try not to watch the news on TV, or reading the papers and do not listen to the radio news. These are full of anxiety provoking stories you can usually do nothing about.
  • Make a point of focusing on the things that give you pleasure, joy and a feeling of calm, like listening to gentle music, or natural sounds; or looking at a nice picture or something in the room with you that draws you in a positive way.

    These things can and will help you to manage your anxiety to some degree, but they will not help you to stop being anxious. For that you have to understand and deal with the underlying cause/s of your anxiety. Learning how to become mindful might be a great way for you to do this. I offer mindfulness courses on a regular basis in Stirling. Have a look at my courses!

    If you suffer from sever anxiety, you might find that none of these things will make much of a difference. In this case working with a counsellor might be your best choice. And if you have suffered from chronic anxiety for a long time, I believe, the best way forward is to explore your anxiety with a counsellor. If you live in Stirling or Stirlingshire, I offer a free initial session! Get in touch! my contact details are at the top of this page.

  • Anxiety and depression. books

    And finally here are a couple of books that I think are really good:
    1) Susan Jeffers: Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway
    This is a great book to help you to overcome fear and anxiety. There are many good exercises in there to help you.
    Here is a link to her books and her website.

    2)Trudy Scott: The Anti-anxiety Food Solution
    I am a great believer in the power of food and nutrition. If you want to find out more about Trudy Scott and her take on nutrition, have a look here.

    Anxiety and depression. prozac

    Help with depression

    Depression often gets split into three categories, mild, moderate and severe depression. Moderate and mild depression is more likely to respond to the things I suggest below. Severe depression is a terrible thing and working with it will take time and determination. It might lift slightly, if you try some of the things mentioned below, but it is more likely that you will need to take some antidepressants to lift you enough out of your depression to then be able to respond to what I suggest below. I do not think that anybody should be on anti-depressants long term, i.e. more than a year. However, in the short term, they can be useful to help you become functional enough to start addressing the underlying reasons for your depression.

    Anxiety and depression. despair b/w

    Are you depressed?

    Ali Taylor a specialist in brain function suggests that men and women have different symptoms associated with depression. She thinks, this explains why so many men go undiagnosed for a long time. Their symptoms are not the classic symptoms associated with depression and therefore men do not seek out help for depression. They are not aware that this is what is going on for them.

    Symptoms of depression for women:

    Feeling blue
    Turn inward
    Avoiding conflict
    Sleep too much
    Loss of boundaries
    Self-medication (food, alcohol)
    Isolation, withdrawl
    More likely to self-harm

    Symptoms of depression for men:

    Acting out
    Suspicious, guarded
    Creates conflict
    Not enough sleep
    Breach of boundaries
    Libido low, sexual performance problems
    Self-medication (sex, alcohol, food)
    Distract themselves through using TV, movies and the internet
    More likely to commit suicide

    Situational Depression

    If you have suffered from a loss or a bereavement you might suffer from what is called Situational Depression. This type of depression will fade over time. It heals itself and does not require anything apart from your willingness to experience it and to process the meaning of what has been lost. This natural healing process might still take a significant amount of time, especially if the loss is capital, like the loss of your health, your livelihood, a loved one, or a dear pet. These type of losses take their own time to heal as they require of us that we first and foremost accept the loss of who or what was precious to us; secondly letting go off what we have lost and finally re-adjusting ourselves to a life without what we have lost. But unless you suffer from complicated grief, or the loss has caused some trauma, the intensity of the depression will decrease over a period of time. If you continue to feel really low or angry after six months or more, it might be a sign that you might not be able to get out of the loop. This then leads to the second type of depression: Clinical depression.

    Anxiety and depression. gravestone

    Clinical Depression

    This type of depression is not necessarily bound to a loss in the present though that can be a trigger. Clinical depression can come seemingly out of the blue and hit us hard. Or it might be with us for years on end dulling our experience of life and our sense of fulfilment and purpose, dragging us down further and further into a black hole of misery. This might be to do with past experiences that we have not processed and detached ourselves from, our childhood or even our predisposition to depression due to epigenetics. The things that I suggest below can make a difference to this type of depression. However, I would also want to encourage you to think about finding a good therapist who can help you explore the psychological reasons that will underly your depression.

    Anxiety and depression. cuppa

    Appreciation, a powerful antidote to depression

    Have you noticed that you tend to become very focused on the negative aspects of life, when you feel depressed. It's as if our mind wants to confirm that it is right in being miserable. This negative bias is part of the reason why depression can so easily escalate from a mild depression into something really serious. Our mind takes us down a negative spiral and we forget that life is not just doom and gloom. As with all mental wellbeing what you think and how you perceive and interpret the world has a massive impact on how you will feel about yourself, the world and others. Research has shown that you can counteract and reverse the trend of getting less and less depressed by using appreciation and praise. Learn to see the extraordinary in the ordinary and your life will transform!

    Here is a mind exercise you can do to help yourself foster joy and positivity. It comes in two parts. The first is to help you learn to appreciate yourself more deeply and acknowledge that you do things well. The second one is about appreciating the good things that surround us and happen to us every day. You need a notebook or a diary for this. You can do this either first thing in the morning, thinking back over the previous day, or in the evening, reflecting on what your day has been like.

    Part One:
    Think back over the day and write down at least three things that you have done well today, the more the merrier! This can be anything. It does not need to be anything big. For example, you might have made a nice cup of tea this morning, or you smiled at somebody in passing. Whilst you are writing. Bring this to mind as vividly as you can and savour the experience again. Acknowledge consciously and as wholeheartedly as you can, that you are doing something well. Notice that you will have voices coming up that might minimise or dismiss your accomplishments. Try not to listen to their objections, especially those who compare you unfavourably with others.

    Part Two:
    Think back over the day and write down at least three things that made you feel good today, the more the merrier! When you remember a good thing happening take a moment and really savour the feelings that are coming up. Employ all your senses to bring back these memories as you will give your nervous system a great boost when you do this. Again this is not about big, dramatic things, like winning the lottery, but about the small things in life. For example, the sun was shining when you got out of the door, your favourite song was on the radio, somebody smiled at you in passing. Life is full of goodness, all we need to do is to be open and receptive to what is there for us, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant in the greater scheme of things. A lot of small things add up to a great deal!

    Do this exercise daily for at least a month and notice how it changes your outlook and your mind. On bad days, when you feel really rotten and you cannot see anything good in yourself or the world, look back at your previous entries and boost your moral by reliving past events that you have recorded as good.

    Anxiety and depression. salad

    Food to lift your mood

    Have you ever heard the expression, we are what we eat?
    I am a strong believer in this. I think that what we eat, how we eat and in which contexts we eat all play a vital part , not only in our digestion and but in our emotions. Deficiencies in vital vitamins and minerals can cause our moods to become very painful indeed.

    Have a look at the table below and see, if you can improve your diet to lift you out of depression. At first glance you might think that this is too much information, too many foods to chose from. But if you look more closely, you will find that many of the foods listed contain more than one mineral or vitamin.

    Anxiety and depression. food table depression 2

    Supplements for depression

    You might not feel much like cooking or you just don't like fresh food. But wether you do or don't there is some evidence that our food these days does not contain enough minerals and vitamins anymore to actually give us the amounts we need - especially if we are already depleted and suffer. Therefore I have added this section which will help you make informed decisions on what supplements might be good for you to try.

    Most of the following information is based on Trudy Scotts book: The Anti-anxiety Food Solution
    If you suffer from depression, especially longer-term and clinical depression your brain-chemistry will be out of balance. You might want to try taking supplements to help this.

    We are awash with chemicals. Our whole body, our emotions, our ability to function is regulated by and through hormones and neuro-transmitters. When we are suffering from depression or anxiety, some neurotransmitters and hormones - or more to the point the lack of them - could be at the heart of your experience of depression.

    One is Serotonin. Serotonin is our ‘feel-good’ chemical. Any time you exercise your body produces serotonin. That’s why we feel a high or at least feel a bit better after exercising. A simple walk around the block can do you a lot of good. However, when you are depressed the idea of doing exercises is usually beyond what you feel capable of. You might feel getting out of bed is already a major challenge. In that case taking supplements might be useful.

    Have a look at the list of symptoms below to see if you might benefit from boosting your Serotonin. As an aside, most anti-depressant are based on the assumption that you have a Serotonin deficiency. What they tend to do is to improve the serotonin uptake in the brain, by stopping it from being re-absorbed too quickly.
    Ok, here are the symptoms for low Serotonin levels (based on Trudy Scott’s book):
    Panic attacks or phobias
    Feeling worried or fearful
    Obsessive thoughts or behaviours
    Perfectionism or being overly controlling
    Anxiety that’s worse in the winter
    Winter blues, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
    Negativity, depression
    Suicidal thoughts
    Excessive self-criticism
    Low self-esteem and poor self-confidence
    PMS or menopausal mood swings
    Sensitivity to hot weather
    Anger and rage
    Digestive issues
    Pain syndromes like Fibromyalgia or TMJ
    Difficulties getting to sleep before 10 pm
    Insomnia or disturbed sleep
    Afternoon/ evening cravings for carbs, alcohol, or drugs

    If you check 6 or more of these symptoms then you might want to try out supplementing with Tryptophan or 5- HTP. Use Tryptophan if you feel wired but tired or if you suffer from sleep problems and insomnia. 5-HTP can raise the levels of the hormone Cortisol, which therefore will disrupt your sleep.

    Here are Trudy Scotts suggestions how to supplement. Use only one regimens at a time:

    1. 500 to 1500mg of Tryptophan twice a day, mid-afternoon and at bedtime (take between meals)

    2. 50 to 150 mg of 5-HTP twice a day, mid-afternoon and bedtime (can be taken with food)

    3. For symptoms that occur early in the day, 50 to 150 mg of 5-HTP on waking and midmorning, and 500 to 1500 mg of Tryptophan mid-afternoon and at bedtime

    Depression can also be an expression of low levels of Catecholamites. These are hormones. The most abundant of them are adrenaline, noradenaline and dopamine. Because these get depleted during stress, supplementing with their precursor amino acidTyrosine can improve mood, memory and your ability to tolerate stressful situations. Symptoms of low levels of Catecholamites include:

    depression with apathy
    easily bored
    lack of energy
    lack of focus
    lack of drive or motivation
    ADD (attention deficit disorder)
    Procrastination and indecisiveness
    Craving sugar and carbs, alcohol, caffeine or drugs for energy

    If you have three or more of these symptoms you might want to try supplementing with Tyrosine. Take 500-1500mg one to three times a day. Start with one before breakfast and if you take more take the others between meals. Do not take it later than 3pm if you suffer from insomnia. In conjunction with taking Tyrosine you would want to increase your Vitamin D3 levels and Omega 3 fatty acid intake as they contribute to the production of Catecholamites. Tyrosine can increase anxiety. If this happens you might need to take GABA, 5-HTP or Tryptohan to you increase your levels of calming neuro-transmitters.

    Try this website for more information on supplementation for depression.