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Archive for April, 2020

My latest book “The Mental Health Survival Guide (Because It’s A Jungle Out There)” is featured in today’s Western Morning News! I am very glad that Becky Sheaves really likes my book. This is what she says:

“If you are in need of some support, another gem in my correspondence this week was a signed copy of a book called The Mental Health Survival Guide by An Swinnen. An’s a psychotherapist who lives in Devon and I have had the pleasure of meeting her in the past. I am so impressed by her book, which is super-simple and fun to read but (if you are anything like me) it will change the way you think about your own mental health.

This is because she breaks down the way the brain works and explains why, for example, we have evolved to get angry, depressed, anxious or insomniac. Often it’s the primitive parts of our brain taking over and preparing us for fights with wild animals (anxiety) or long winters hiding in a cave (depression). In today’s modern world, it’s better to take deep breaths, walk away from the situation and let your intellectual, more sophisticated, brain help you to find solutions to your problems.

As well as being hugely informative, An’s book is also very funny, with cartoons on every page. I’m ordering copies for all my lockdown friends and keeping mine beside the bed until this is all over. I recommend you do the same – you can order at www.answinnen.com for £9.90. It is well worth every penny.”

Western Morning News Article 1

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Many people are telling me that they can’t sleep properly. It is normal in these difficult times. I have included an extract from my book “The Mental Health Survival Guide (Because It’s A Jungle Out There)” to explain why this is. The book is available at BECS, Amazon and Smashwords. Subscribe to the blog for more updates.

Why can’t I sleep?

1. You have been piling too many negative thoughts into your stress bucket during the day.

2. REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which empties your stress bucket, is restricted to about 20% of your sleep patterns. If you go over, the mind will wake you up in the middle of the night. You feel wide awake and often feel quite miserable.

3. REM sleep is tiring. It requires enormous energy to diffuse the anxiety in your stress bucket. It exhausts you and makes you want to sleep even more during the day. That becomes a vicious circle.

4. If you watch the 22:00 news, your primitive brain (your survival instinct) will take over which means that it is very hard to relax and sleep.

5. Concentrate on the positive aspects of your life.

Shut up and go to sleep

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This is an extract of my new book “The Mental Health Survival Guide (Because It’s A Jungle Out There)” which is available at BECS, Amazon and Smashwords. Subscribe to the blog for more updates.

Is Stress Dangerous?

  1. A certain level of stress is necessary to help you prepare for challenging tasks such as exams, job interviews and presentations so enjoy it.
  2. Stress causes the increase of adrenalin, cortisol and testosterone so we can react appropriately when we are in danger. Stress keeps us alive and safe.
  3. After the physical and real danger has gone, the level of stress hormones decreases quickly but if the danger was emotional, it takes a lot longer to go down. Take long, deep breaths as oxygen in the blood helps lower that level.
  4. Long-term emotional stress can cause serious health problems and death.
  5. If you experience high blood pressure, fatigue, depression, anxiety or heart disease, consult your doctor immediately.

stress dangerous

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According to the British government 15.4 million work days were lost due to work-related stress, depression and anxiety in 2017-18. My training company BECS saw the need, created a team of psychotherapists and designed brain based stress management courses and coaching packages to help the corporate world.

When I wrote this book, I had no idea of the mental health tsunami that is coming at us right now because of the coronavirus. That is why I will be publishing different parts of my new book “The Mental Health Survival Guide (Because It’s A Jungle Out There)” over the coming weeks. Let’s start with stress.

What is Stress?

1.    Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat.

2.    Stress is a normal part of life.

3.    Stress keeps you focused and alert and can feel enjoyable.

4.    Stress is necessary to achieve your goals.

5.    Without stress we would not survive.

Tough week

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