Human Brain

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25% Experience Mental Health Problems In UK

Mental health is a big issue in the UK and for the rest of the world! Unfortunately it is something which has not always been given the attention it deserves.

It is estimated that one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year

Mental Health Foundation - Mental Health Statistics : Anxiety

Until the stigma of mental health is diminished, or at least a better understanding is more prevalent, then a significant number of people will continue to suffer in silence with mental health related issues such as anxiety or depression.

Anxiety and depression are mental states at opposing ends of the mentally healthy spectrum. Anxiety positioned at the top of the scale and depression at the bottom. In between the two states is the zone which is where we are at our best.

The Flow Of Serotonin

In order for us to be working at our best we need to operate within the central band of mind state where we can enter a cyclic pattern. We can then glean the benefits of a number of chemicals in our body and brain one of which is Serotonin.

For a great deal of people it is not always a simple process to maintain this optimum state of mind and sometimes we need assistance to achieve this. The first step however is simply an understanding of the why we feel like we do and what creates the different states of mind.

Believe it or not anxiety and depression are two very primitive states of mind. They originate from a primitive part of the brain and in their day they served us well. If you happen to live in the jungle or some other wilderness then arguably the responses evoked by the primitive brain can play a useful role. Unfortunately for most of the time, this primitive response is unhelpful and to some extent can be responsible for our lack of peace of mind if it prevails for extended periods.

Stress and anxiety often coincide with the production of adrenaline and other stress related hormones and this is a natural response to prepare ourselves for a fight or flight reaction to a perceived threat. This is perfect when running away from a tiger or having to confront a troublesome warrior, but not really very useful in a modern setting.

I suppose even in the so called civilised times we live our daily lives, there are occasional moments where our primitive brains come into use. Perhaps you can recall an occasion in your life such as being chased by an unpleasant or aggressive dog or perhaps in the middle of a nice country walk and suddenly you find yourself pursued by a bull! A less frequent example (I hope) might be being confronted by a less than friendly patron of your favourite bar.

The anxiety and stress we experience in these circumstances are as a result of the perceived threat and it's simply our primitive brain looking after ourselves. The best response it can give is to signal to get going fast or alternatively muster up some anger and strength to tackle whatever it is that is threatening our existence.

Anxiety is created largely by negative thinking. The more negative thoughts we generate the more likely we are to become anxious. If however we perceive that our intervention is hopeless then there is a risk we will enter into a state of depression. This response again might serve us well if we lived in the wilderness, as this might be a reasonable response to say adverse weather conditions or if there is imminent danger. In this situation we would be wise to remain in a safe place and conserve our energy until the situation changes.

In order to keep within the central, healthy range of mental state there are a number of things we can do. Unfortunately it is not always easy for us to move from either of the extreme states of anxiety or depression into this more useful central zone of mental well-being, sometimes there is a need to resort to medical assistance and certainly it is wise to consult your doctor if you are suffering from anxiety or depression for any prolonged periods of time.

The bottom line is when we do find ourselves spending more time in the less helpful zones of mental health, whether that is depression or anxiety, we need to bear in mind that we are not alone and that there are options available to us to help with this. Psychotherapy and in particular Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is one option that can be very useful and because it is a brief therapy, often positive results are evident within a short period of time.

If more people were able to be honest with each other about how they feel then no doubt the feeling of isolation and to some extent the stigma attached to mental health might be reduced. This might even be enough for people to feel less inhibited about seeking help.