A client asked me today ‘When did we allow stress into our lives?” We spent a short time surmising as to why this may be. We acknowledged that at 29 we didn’t even use the word, we worked and played as hard, we had nights of worry, the adrenaline flowed as we approached deadlines and big events but we took it in our stride. We didn’t label ourselves with the burden of stress, not to my knowledge. Fast forward 25 years and I am dealing with a growing number of adolescents and young adults in their twenties with an overwhelming feeling of stress to the point of not coping, having time off work, co-morbid symptoms arising such as anxiety, depression and addiction. 90% of my clients are dealing with ‘stress’ in one form or another (even if they don’t address it as such) and, what is concerning is that so many of these people keep adding to the stress factor. It’s as though they don’t know how to get off that wheel. The apocalyptic novels of J.G. Ballard (1930-2009) imagine the potential impact of progressively advanced modern societies on human behaviour. As a Psychologist and currently writing a paper on how to reduce stress and increase well-being through the practise of Yoga I become increasingly more curious about why people don’t identify with their own power of self-control that is available to them when it comes to managing their own ‘stress’ levels. In a world that on one hand gives us so much and on the other hand seems to strip us of values and the ability to balance our lives we need to address this almost daily discussion before we have a mental health epidemic that spirals out of control. So what is the solution? I remember many years ago my brother telling me he never uses the word stress (he had plenty reason to be stressed at the time as a Head Master of a challenging school in the UK). Is it that what we tell ourselves, what we discuss daily we begin to believe? We have alarmingly rising rates of anxiety in children under 10! Why? What are they reading and hearing that we weren’t a generation ago? It is very true, we have it within us to change our cognitive thoughts IF WE WANT TO! Neuropsychologist, Rick Hanson, explains that our brains are like velcro for negative experiences and teflon for positive experiences. I love this analogy. It is a fact, he explains, that positive emotions don’t transfer so easily to long-term memory the way bad emotions do. That sucks, right? We have to work harder at positivity. However, if we know that, accept that this is the case (I’m sure if you do a quick test you will list 10 negative experiences in your life much faster than positive ones!) then surely we have the power within each and every one of us to change it. So when I read this simple easy mantra at the beginning of this blog, this morning, as part of an essay by Kurt Vonnegrut, I thought that’s my mantra for February. If we don’t intentionally acknowledge even the smallest positive experiences we have throughout our day, feelings of gratitude, feelings of confidence, feelings of love or feelings of success (writing this newsletter is one for me!) then it isn’t ‘encoded’ into our brains neural structure and the negative memories take over! Join me this month and make February as positive as you can, taking time to celebrate EVERY positive experience with the mantra “If this isn’t nice I don’t know what is!” If you’d like group support please come join us at our private group on Facebook, Your Health & Well-being @Praana Wellness. We have created a space of non-judgment, motivation and a wealth of information through our members. There are yoga videos for all levels and we challenge the headlines that we are bombarded with in the media with real research! www.facebook.com/groups/553993361462020/?ref=bookmarks If you are looking for private support then I have monthly counselling/coaching packages where we can work out, together, what changes you need personally. For more details of my experience you can take a look at our website www.praanawellness.com/wellnessor email me amanda@praanawellness.com