Mental Health

Okay so Mental Health is probably much more overlooked than physical well being, and that is because it can be hard to identify that someone has become depressed. Many people are depressed, and will remain so unless they look to get out of their slump. There are many professionals to help in the severe cases, but in mild cases the person following positive steps can pull themselves out.

and this piece from sweetman

Staying up in downtimes

Change and uncertainty are realities in our lives like never before. Many aspects of society seem to be hanging by a thread. Financial institutions once bastions of stability are now the butt of jokes. Politics is seen as no more than self-serving cronyism

With budget cuts taking hold and an election looming it is important for us to remember that we cannot control the uncontrollable but we can control our response to the uncontrollable. If the economic doom and gloom and political uncertainty has thought me anything it is that we have to purposely work on our own state of mind and ‘protect’ ourselves from the fear and negativity that pervades.

Here are five practical tips for staying up in down times.

1. What’s really important?

Challenging times force us to reassess what is really important. I’ve worked with many people over the last few years who have stated that unforeseen events that at first scared them have actually liberated them. They were forced to examine their lives at a fundamental level and ask the big questions - What do I want to do with the rest of my life? What are my big life goals? What are my priorities? In the past, it was all too easy to get stuck in our very comfortable ruts, now the rut is broken there is an opportunity to refocus.

2. ‘Fuel our soul’

With all the stresses and strains of modern life, taking care of ourselves is vital. ‘Fuelling our soul’ is the phrase I like to use. This means connecting with those activities that make us come alive, boost our energy, enhance our motivation and enable us to respond more effectively to the situations life throws at us.

Here are some good questions to help you connect with your own creativity and sense of inspiration.

• How do you know when you are inspired?

• When was the last time you felt creative?

• In what environments do you get inspired?

• What sort of people inspire you?

• How could you connect with your sources of inspiration more purposefully? Activities like a walk in nature, visiting an art gallery, uplifting conversations can all be sources of inspiration and most cost very little or are absolutely free. Of course money doesn’t buy happiness, and in these challenging economic times we shouldn’t even try.

3. Beware the Doomsayers!

Do you really need to tune into the news at 6pm every evening for a daily dose of depression? Unless you are adept at filtering what you absorb in your mind, control your exposure to the news. That doesn’t mean you don’t stay informed. Get the facts (Aertel and the web are great resources) and ask ‘how will this directly impact me?’ Equally some people seem to be thriving on the proliferation of bad news. Don't buy into their depressing interpretation of the world. We can control the information we absorb and we can control our responses to it, if we become just a little more self aware.

4 Uncommon Gratitude Gratitude is an attitude and also a habit.

Yes, there is plenty for us to moan and groan about, but there is also plenty for us to be thankful for. There are the big things like our heatlh, our family and friends, but there are also the little things. A fun exercise to undertake is to write out a list of perhaps ten inconsequential things in life that bring us pleasure and a sense of gratitude. Here are a few of mine - non lick envelopes, Wikipedia, thin crust pizzas. Get the idea?

5 Have some fun!

Laughter is the best medicine. We can take situations seriously, but maybe we don’t need to take ourselves as seriously. Laughter and fun are great antidotes to pressure and stress. What can you do just for the fun of doing it?

This economic recession is non-discriminatory. Public or private sector, blue or white collar worker, everyone is impacted. Because we did not actively contribute to the current difficulties it is easy to see ourselves as victims. Unfortunately sometimes we behave like victims. Positive thinking may not achieve much, but it will always achieve more than negative thinking.

In the words of Gandhi ‘we need to be the change we want to see.’

James Sweetman is a Business & Personal Coach specialising in assisting businesses and individuals realise their potential. He works both on a one-2-one basis with clients as well as delivering workshops on a range of topics including Leadership and Motivation. For more information on all his services visit or email him at