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Heal th y Ideas that Change the Wor ld

magazine August 2017 SLEEPLESS

TAMARA

NIGHTS?

7

“I have so much to be grateful for”

TAROT PLAY YOUR CARDS RIGHT

NEGATIVE

THOUGHTS How To Beat Them

The Interview

inside

A-Z GUIDE Child Mental Health

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Tamara Ecclestone Truly Loves Her Daughter. And True Love Costs Nothing

Ways To Nod Off Quicker


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August 2017

28

Features

THE UPLIFT 6 NEWS How strawberries help your mind, the benefits of sex, and self-transcendence

28 TAMARA ECCLESTONE Opens up about her attachment parenting, and shares her anxieties

11 THE WRAP Weird, wonderful and welcoming news

38 TAROT READING Uncovering the mystic tradition of Tarot and how it can empower you

13 CHANGE THE WORLD How ‘socks’ could be the answer

46 BODY POSITIVITY Grace Victory on encouraging people to love themselves 51 OSTEOPATHY The holistic treatment that snaps healing into place

16 SUMMER READING Inspiring kids to fall in love with books 18 THE EXPLAINER A parent’s guide to teenage sexting

38

56 CHILD MENTAL HEALTH A guide to recognising children’s mental health

46

82 IN A PERFECT WORLD The world’s best dad?

Life Stories 61 JACKIE Never let losing her leg as a baby hold her back

21 PHYSIOTHERAPY Healthy exercises to try at home 22 HYPOCHONDRIA Tips to manage those health worries

My left leg was amputated at 11 days old

23 CRYSTALS A guide to seeing crystals clearly

75

24 NEGATIVITY Overpowering pessimistic thoughts 26 SLEEPING Scientific methods to nod off quickly

61

64 JESSICA Lives with 5 minds in 1 body

EXPERT ADVICE

68 CHAITANYA Broke free from a narcissist

78 CONFIDENCE

72 MARK Wants to help those with PND 75 KITTY Recovered from her addictions

HAPPIFUL HACKS

79 RELATIONSHIPS & SMOKING 80 MIGRAINES

64

81 NUTRITION & TECH


EDITOR’S MESSAGE “There’s something missing in man’s history,” said an ancient philosopher. “His mother.” I have a theory about our mothers’ place in history, backed by zero evidence of course, but it concerns our primitive days when caveman dads went out hunting while cavewoman mums stayed back and minded the kids. I don’t buy that story.

Jake Hamilton Editor

I reckon mum discovered fire. She was kicking around the cave, she found a bit of flint, and then – holy smoke – civilisation was born. Zap forward two million years and I’m in the garden squirting lighter fuel over my BBQ grill. Thanks, mama. As a society, we’ve been a bit down on mums lately. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the one you’re with. In a recent survey, 61% of mums felt “shamed” by their own family for their parenting skills. That’s alarming. Maybe we should listen to her side of the story?

Editorial Jake Hamilton | Editor Rebecca Thair | Writer Amy-Jean Burns | Art Designer Keith Howitt | Sub-Editor Fe Robinson | Expert Advisor Contributors Lucy Cavendish, Maurice Richmond, Paulo Salvatore, Fiona Ward, Amy Jackson, Margot Radicati di Brozolo, Emma Shearer, Gemma Calvert, Becky Wright, Kat Nicholls, Ellen Hoggard, Jackie Coventry, Jessica, Chaitanya Pankhania, Mark Williams, Kitty Waters Special Thanks Joseph Sinclair, Lucy Packman, Buster Knight, Mikey Kardashian, Rachel Coffey, Jo Painter, Graeme Orr, Gavin Roberts, Judyta Zyrek, Rebecca Jennings, Noel Bell

There are plenty of stories in happiful this issue, and plenty of love for mums, too. We hope you enjoy.

Marketing Matt Holman | Marketing Manager matthew@memiah.co.uk

Jake

Amie Sparrow | PR Manager amie.sparrow@memiah.co.uk

P.S. There’s some daddy-love on the back page.

Maurice Richmond | Digital Marketing & PR Assistant maurice.richmond@memiah.co.uk Ross East | Marketing Executive rosseast@memiah.co.uk

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EXPERT PANEL Introducing the professionals behind happiful who help to ensure we deliver the highest quality advice

NOEL BELL

Noel Bell MA PG Dip Psych UKCP focuses on personal growth and recovery from addictions RACHEL COFFEY

Rachel Coffey BA MA NLP Mstr is a life coach looking to encourage confidence and motivation

JUDYTA ZYREK

Judyta Zyrek NIMH Medical Herbalist specialises in helping with PMS, menopause and migraines JO PAINTER

Jo Painter AC Dip LC NLP Prac MRPharmS is a life coach, who particularly loves to empower women

GRAEME

ORR

Graeme Orr MBACP (Accred), UKRCP Reg Ind counsellor is our specialist in relationships GAVIN ROBERTS

Gavin Roberts is an advanced holistic hypnotherapist, who specialises in helping people stop smoking

FE ROBINSON

Fe Robinson MUKCP (Reg), MBACP (Reg) is a psychotherapist and clinical supervisor. Fe advises on our content REBECCA JENNINGS

Rebecca Jennings MSc ANutr works in sports nutrition with Chelsea Ladies Football Team and a clinic for disordered eating

happiful is a brand of Memiah Limited. The opinions, views and values expressed in happiful are those of the authors of that content and do not necessarily represent our opinions, views or values. Nothing in the magazine constitutes advice on which you should rely. It is provided for general information purposes only. We do not accept liability for products and/or services offered by third parties. Memiah Limited is a private company limited by shares and registered in England and Wales with company number 05489185 and VAT number GB 920805837. Our registered office address is Building 3, Riverside Way, Camberley, Surrey, GU15 3YL.


The Uplift | News

Positive news that transforms the world

6 • happiful • August 2017


Positive ISSUES Bliss: scientists call it a feeling of ‘connectedness’

PEAK FLOW

4 PATHS TO BLISS Spiritual experiences These experiences connect you to a personal god, and give you a sense of the bliss that awaits beyond death. Transcendence in nature The feeling of being connected to nature. There is no personal immortality. Your energy returns to nature after you die. Romantic experiences This is your fleeting but intense interaction with a work of art. Such experiences feel both rational and illogical. Rational transcendence Adoration of pure logic. When people like Newton and Einstein felt awe, it was their wonder at the mathematical laws of the universe.

GOOD NEWS

Transcendent experiences are genuine, scientists claim New study suggests ‘feelings of bliss’ are not just linked with positive mental health, but are a fundamental part of human life Since the dawn of civilisation, people have sensed a feeling of being “at one with the universe”. This has been described by astronauts viewing the Earth from space, religious believers in a state of bliss, and even gardeners who feel “lost in nature”. Now, a team of psychologists and neuroscientists believe these transcendent moments are less to do with psychopathology or mental disorders, and more associated with positive wellbeing. The research team, headed by David Yaden at the University of Pennsylvania, published an article, titled “The Varieties of Self-Transcendent Experience”, in the Review of General Psychology, identifying a series of mental states that involve selftranscendence, or “self-loss”. These states included mindfulness, love, awe, “peak flow”, and mystical experiences. The research is the first time that scientists have pinpointed similarities between these mental states.

“In some sense we’ve been studying this phenomenon all along, it’s just been a little bit hidden,” Yaden told the media. “We all know people that have had an intensely self-transcendent experience.” Various forms of transcendence have historically been linked to mental illness, but the article suggests transient states are marked by decreased feelings of the self, or ego, and increased feelings of “connectedness”. Researchers say that they hope to learn more about how neural mechanisms in our brain allow us to feel “at one with all things” – which millions of people have experienced, Yaden believes. Researchers claim self-transcendence can remove our negative thoughts, such as job insecurity, money issues, fear of death, and general anxiety. In other words, our daily worries can evaporate if we learn to stop and appreciate the majesty of the universe.

August 2017 • happiful • 7


The Uplift | News

TECH

Sex and ageing: xxxxx

it’s in your DNA

Texting and walking? Don’t, you look really silly

RELATIONSHIPS

Sex once a week could slow ageing Weekly sessions between the sheets offer prolonged health benefits for women, study shows Maurice Richmond Researchers claim having sex just once a week can slow ageing in women. At least one session a week under the covers increases the length of women’s telomeres – which cap the end of DNA strands. Prolonged strands could mean slowing the ageing process, a longer life and greater overall health. Regular lovemaking may “aid ageing in women by dampening stress and boosting their immune system”, regardless of whether they are sexually satisfied in their relationship. The results come as part of a one week trial by experts at the University of California in San Francisco, who scrutinised physical intimacy among 129 mothers in long-term relationships. Blood samples were taken from the participants to determine their telomere length. Results also revealed that women who had sex at least once during the study’s one-week duration had significantly longer telomeres. Relationship satisfaction, stress, and partner support or conflict, had no impact on telomere length in the findings. Tomás Cabeza de Baca, lead researcher, says: “Research has found that high quality, satisfactory relationships and sexual intimacy are good for physical and mental health.” The effects of regular sex on men remain unclear in the study. 8 • happiful • August 2017

UK researchers from Anglia Ruskin University sound like they’ve been having fun. They recently asked 21 participants to walk along a 5.5m pathway that contained a step-up box designed to trip them up. People walked the pathway a dozen times without their phone, then while talking on their phone, reading a text on their phone, and writing and sending a text on their mobile phone. You know what happens next. Yup, it seems our phones lower our multi-tasking skills. People took 118% longer to reach the end of the pathway when they were writing a text, and 67% longer when they were reading a text. Hilariously, the researchers also noted a “cautious stepping strategy” as people attempted to walk in a straight line. As for the box, nobody tripped over it – which is some consolation.

WORK

ONCE A WEEK? TRY THRICE Phew! Studies at the National Defence Medical Centre, in Taiwan, suggest making love several times a week can slash levels of homocysteine – a chemical in the blood that can trigger cardiac problems. It is thought men who have sex more often have better circulation and healthier blood vessels, crucial for preventing a build-up of homocysteine.

What ‘let’s move the meeting forward’ means US professor Lera Boroditsky posed the following riddle: You receive a work email that says: “Next Wednesday’s meeting has been moved forward two days.” Do you show up on Friday or Monday? People with an ego-moving concept of time say Friday, whereas people with a time-moving perspective say Monday. Our answer? Email back to confirm!


Positive ISSUES NEWS

EMPATHY

GUIDANCE FOR FAMILIES Leave advice to the professionals Advice from family doctors is more helpful than advice from family members. Doctors have medical data. We don’t. Be thoughtful in your words If you can’t keep mum, then please give mothers advice with “empathy and encouragement,” advises the report.

Most mums feel ‘shamed’ by their own family – study Two-thirds of new mothers criticised over parenting choices, but experts side with mums Nearly two thirds of American women claim they are being “mum-shamed”, experts have revealed. Research shows six in 10 mums with young children reporting criticism over their parenting style. Alarmingly, their critics are close to home: • • • • •

37% mum’s own parents 36% mum’s husband or partner 31% mum’s in-laws 14% mum’s friends 12% other women

The University of Michigan’s CS Mott Children’s Hospital study questioned a sample of 475 mothers with children ranging from newborns up to five-years-old, with 70% saying they were most “shamed” for how they disciplined their child, followed by diet

Give praise for a well-behaved child The poll reveals 56% of mums never get compliments. If you see good behaviour in a child, praise the mum. The past is the past Times change. What worked for our parents’ generation “may no longer be the best advice,” the report adds.

(52%), sleep (46%), breastfeeding choices (39%), safety (20%), and general child care (16%). Sarah Clark, co-director of the poll, said: “There are very few things that are ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Putting your child in a car seat is right, but what day-care they go to, or how you feel about breastfeeding is just a choice.” Clark urged family members to consider the quantity of new information available about child health and safety, which often challenges the parenting choices of previous generations. “Unsolicited advice – especially from the people closest to her child – can be perceived as meaning she’s not doing a good job as a mother. That can be hurtful,” said Clark. It’s not all bad news. The study also says new mums are taking the results with a large pinch of salt. Clark reported 67% of polled mothers said the criticism made them feel more resolute in their parenting decisions. Maurice Richmond

August 2017 • happiful • 9


The Uplift | News

SOCIETY

Why do we avoid awkward eye contact? New study could help people with autism

Strawbs: shown to improve our memory

Eye contact is a bit like putting salt on your chips – too much can ruin everything. For decades, scientists have been studying why eye contact is fraught with awkwardness. Last year, British psychologists suggested the maximum length for unbroken yet comfortable eye contact is 3.3 seconds. Anything more begins to creep us out. Now, a new study by Dr Nouchine Hadjikhani at Massachusetts General Hospital, says the problem with eye contact originates from the brain’s subcortical system that triggers our attraction to faces and helps people perceive emotions in others. Tellingly, participants with autism experienced subcortical over-activity when they saw fearful, angry or happy faces. The findings could help with more effective ways to engage people with autism, according to Hadjikhani.

HEALTH

Strawberries may keep your mind sharp The UK’s favourite summer fruit eases cognitive decline, say researchers Hot August weather and chilled strawberries – is there a better combination? New research says strawberries may also be good for our brainpower, especially as we age. Salk’s Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory in La Jolla, California, found that treating mice with a compound in the fruit known as fisetin helped ease cognitive deterioration. Mice not treated with fisetin showed signs of memory difficulties, as well as stress disorders. Senior author, Pamela Maher, said: “We think fisetin warrants a closer look, not only for potentially treating Alzheimer’s disease but also for reducing some of the cognitive effects associated with ageing, generally.” The research focused on mice that had been genetically engineered to age prematurely. At 10 months, these mice were already showing signs of physical and mental decline, which is not usually found in mice and other rodents until they are two years old. The team then fed these mice with fisetin for seven months. Another group of prematurely ageing mice were not fed the compound. During the study, all the mice were given cognitive and memory tests. Results showed that mice not treated with fisetin had difficulties with all the tests, and showed signs of elevated stress and inflammation. Fisetin-treated mice experienced no safety concerns. Maher added: “At 10 months, the differences between these two groups were striking.” Food for thought. 10 • happiful • August 2017

ANXIETY

Is there anything worse than public speaking?

STRAWBERRY STATISTICS Vitamin C Manganese Fibre Iodine Folate Potassium Magnesium Omega-3 fats Vitamin B6

97% 28% 12% 9% 9% 6% 5% 4% 4%

Yes, audience participation Thompson Davis, of Louisiana State University, says the social-psychology concept known as the Yerkes-Dodson law explains why we are so terrified of audience participation. A bit of stress is good for us, says Thompson, but acute stress in public turn us into a gibbering wreck. The solution? Think on your feet, and go with the flow.


Positive ISSUES

The

wellbeing wrap Weird, wonderful and welcoming news

Time slows down when we blink We blink between 20,000–30,000 times a day, or 10% of our waking hours. New experiments by Parisbased researcher Mark Wexler say that time speeds up when we blink, which suggests our brains are having a quick “re-boot” each time our eyelashes flutter.

Fun first? Work later! In a series of experiments with students nearing their midterm exams, Ed O’Brien, of the Chicago Booth School of Business, questioned the proverb of “work first, fun later”. His students predicted very low enjoyment of a spa treatment before their exams. The truth? They loved it!

Play nice with your co-workers Go into any UK pub on a Friday afternoon and you’ll hear non-stop office gossip. We do love a good co-worker roasting. Yet a new study, published in Emotion by Alex Fradera, says being nicer to our work colleagues can make things better for everybody. The upshot? Random acts of kindness in the office do not go unnoticed.

How to spot a lie? Trust your gut

When mum told us to watch people’s eyes to see if they were lying, she may have been lying too. A study in Psychological Science suggests snap judgements, or gut instincts, are more accurate. Why? Because since humans learned to talk they’ve been telling porkies, and our evolutionary intuition can sense fact from fiction.

Is small talk a superpower? Author Jennifer Latson’s new book, The Boy Who Loved Too Much, suggests Williams syndrome, or “cocktail party syndrome”, which makes people extremely outgoing and irrepressibly friendly, gives people a secret power – they’re still awkward, but they’re not afraid to be awkward.

Live like there’s a tomorrow

A study published in the Journal of Individual Differences says people who take their time to consider all the options before making a decision – futureorientated thinkers – have more positive outcomes than people who live like there’s no tomorrow. Yeah, soz, Selena Gomez.

A mind trick that defeats criticism Are you a wife, a mother, a sister, or just an employee? Health reporter Olga Khazan recently offered this brilliant proposition: if we have more self-definitions of ourselves, we become more psychologically stable when facing criticism. So, if you get slammed by your boss, don’t take things to heart – you’re much more than your job.

SHARKS Geneticists say that Greenland sharks, which can live for almost 400 years, could hold biological secrets that may extend human life.

GOOD MONTH BAD MONTH SHARKS Greenland sharks are now listed as “near threatened” by the World Conservation Union due to extensive human impact and overfishing.

Don’t fight anxiety – just accept it A new study on social anxiety by Ryerson University in Toronto suggests the best way to defeat anxious situations is to embrace them. The findings mirror the basic principle behind exposure therapy; namely, if something scares you, do it anyway and learn from the experience!

Dogs with OCD to the rescue! Swedish Scientists are studying dogs with canine compulsive order (CCD) to better understand why humans suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Scientists think dogs with CCD could help people with OCD because dogs share many similar conditions and diseases through centuries of close breeding. August 2017 • happiful • 11


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Mindful SOCIETY

What if could change the world? Josh Turner has a vision to revolutionise the way we shop, by making everyday accessories a charitable commitment Interview | Rebecca Thair

Imagine if every time you bought a product, you were helping people around the world. Josh Turner, 26, is on a mission to make this dream a reality. The social entrepreneur started his Stand4 Socks business in 2015, and now, when people get dressed in the morning, their choice of socks means so much more than just the miracle of finding a matching pair. Hello Josh! Have you always had a passion for business? For as long as I can remember I’ve been entrepreneurial, but certainly since I was seven. I used to round up items from the house and sell them to family – a great business model! My first dip into social entrepreneurship was when I was about 17. You know when you’re too cool to go to an under-18 night, but obviously not old enough to go to a normal club? There are only so many things you can do at that age, so we created club nights where you could have 16 and 17-year-olds in the same venue as 20-year-olds. The venue would have multiple rooms and you needed a wristband to go anywhere where there was alcohol. Our first event was far too popular. We pre-sold most of the tickets and held 200 on the door, but in the end more than 1,200 people showed up for them. The police and riot vans came out! It was really chaotic, but also really successful from our point of view. At the time, I wasn’t thinking of it as a social enterprise. In reality though, there was a problem of antisocial behaviour where there weren’t enough activities for young people, and so we created something to solve that.

Josh Turner hopes his colourful socks can have a genuine social impact on the world

How did Stand4 Socks come about? After my business management degree, I had this thought: “What if socks could change the world?” Among friends it was sort of a joke, but after talking about it a bit more, I was like: “Well everyone does need a pair of socks. What if every pair of socks could have a positive impact?” I was inspired by the Toms shoes model that says for every pair of shoes they sell, they give a pair. I’ve always loved bright, bold socks, and socks brands were starting to take off rather than being just an accessory. I thought: “Let’s take the buy-onegive-one model and apply it to socks.” The Toms model is sometimes criticised for the fact that, yes, they give shoes, but are shoes the biggest need of the people they’re giving them to? They haven’t been vaccinated against measles; they haven’t got clean drinking water, among other things. We thought that giving socks was going to be even more pointless. So what if, we thought, our socks could be an expression of what someone stands for and what matters to them?

August 2017 • happiful • 13


The Uplift | Business Happy

Josh sees his business model as an alternative way of solving many of the world’s social problems

Imagine if every time you were using MasterCard or Visa, it was doing some good in the world. Social enterprise could become not a niche but the norm

We wanted to align our socks as closely as possible to the United Nation’s Global Goals, with a tangible impact while also raising awareness. Back then, socks were dull, boring, poorly made items. We’re producing really high quality, ethically made socks. We’re trying to make the greatest socks in the world. How did you go about threading the vision together? I’ll admit now, we were probably running a sock company for six months without having a sock manufacturer. Socks used to be really big in the UK, and they still have a presence today, just the niche, high quality type. Now, Turkey is the place innovating socks and bringing in new machines. I met our Turkish manufacturers at a Chamber of Commerce event in London. It took a lot of emails and a few trips to Istanbul to get them on board. It was when we were just chatting and stopped talking about socks that it started to work out. I told them about my background, what I was trying to do, and they could relate because these 14 • happiful • August 2017

brothers came into their father’s business, and had older people help them early on. What I’ve learnt is that doing business in Turkey is 80% relationship and 20% business. Now, a couple of years on, once a month we have lunch and dinners and talk everything but socks, really. Our first order was 300 pairs and 10 different designs. They were like: “We’ll literally make no money on this at all, but we want to get you started.” They’ve loved to see it grow from this crazy guy with an idea, to appearing in newspapers. They keep saying: “If you can get one of the royals to wear our socks, we’ll frame it and put it in our factory.” Do you consider yourself a businesssman first and foremost, or have you always wanted to make a difference? Millennials are more likely to actively check packaging to see how products are made and their impact on the world, and want to work for companies that have a positive impact. I’ve very much always been of the opinion that the corporate social responsibility attitude of “making millions and giving a thousand back just for some good PR” has gone. I don’t think it was so much a conscious decision, it was more like, why wouldn’t I want to do this?


Mindful SOCIETY

How do you fulfil the pledges? It’s very complicated and different with each organisation. Some projects we prefund, so we go out and plant a certain number of trees, and in other cases it’s postfunding because of the cost-change. With War Child, we’re educating Syrian refugees, but the prices for that can change and there’s only so much we can write on packaging. Tell us a bit about your UK-based, homeless pledge? We only launched that last year, but it’s increasingly becoming more key. We pre-give out those socks. We weren’t going to wait and say: “We’ve sold 10, we’ll give out 10. Sorry, we need to sell another pair before you can have one.” We just started to give them out to homeless shelters and to people directly. It was such a change for us, as usually the causes are so far away. It’s nice to physically give out a pair of socks to somebody and them say thank you, which is always surprising to me because I’ve got a flat full of thousands of socks, but then I suddenly recognise how important socks are to someone. Homelessness is something we’ve got more and more involved in and I think we will continue to do so. We realised a lot of people donate food and warm clothes, but not many donate socks. We want to give out 100,000 socks to homeless people by 1 January 2018. We’ve got a textile engineer with us at the moment to come up with the world’s best homeless sock. It could be made of antibacterial material so you could wear it for two to three weeks without washing it and it wouldn’t get smelly. You could wear it for eight to nine days and it wouldn’t rub on your feet. We’re at a point now where we know enough about sock technology to be really innovative, and the manufacturer can come in with their 30 years’ experience in textiles, so we’re in a position where we can actually achieve something like this, where we couldn’t before. Have you been able to visit these places where the money has gone to help? Not yet, but we’d like to! As soon as, say hypothetically, a company buys 5,000 pairs all to provide clean water,

We want to create a world where every transaction, no matter how big or small, has a positive impact. If we can prove that socks can have a massive impact on the world, then anything can!

suddenly we can go build a well and directly see the impact. We’re waiting for the moment when an organisation can align with a cause. At the moment, it’s good amounts but it’s also lots of small things. We need a big one where we can literally own a project and say: “This is what we’ve done.” What are your plans for the future? We want to create a world where every transaction, no matter how big or small, has a positive impact. If we can prove that socks can have a massive impact on the world, we can prove anything can! We’re expanding into bamboo socks and kids’ socks, so there are loads of opportunities with them. The bigger idea is for an online platform where we can power traditional transactions and say: “If you buy from this retailer rather than this one, you plant 30 trees.” It’s the overarching idea that every transaction has a tangible, positive impact. Finally, are you hoping that your model spreads beyond your own business? Yes, 100%. We didn’t coin it at all, and I doubt even Toms shoes did. There are companies popping up who do it in all different kinds of products. I think it’s great to make the bigger guys think twice. Imagine if someone made a football boot social enterprise and Nike and everyone had to think about making their supply chains ethical. Or imagine if every time you were using MasterCard or Visa, it was doing some good in the world. Social enterprise could become not a niche but the norm. Consumer spending is going to hit $40 trillion by 2020, and if just 1% of that has a positive impact, we’ll be able to solve so many social problems in the world. stand4socks.com

August 2017 • happiful • 15


The Uplift | Charity

Read Yourself Happy The Summer Reading Challenge inspires thousands of children to explore the world of fiction and discover a love of books Writing | Rebecca Thair

Chapter 1: What is the Summer Reading Challenge? In their efforts to pass on the joy of reading to a new generation, every year The Reading Agency partner with libraries across the UK to bring the Summer Reading Challenge to the shelves and bedside tables of three quarters of a million children. The challenge encourages improved reading skills and confidence, as well as the thrill of reading an incredible book. As part of the challenge, children should read at least six books over their summer holidays – so the sooner they sign up, the more time bookworms have for reading. For each book the child reads, the library will reward them with a sticker. Collecting these stickers is part of the Animal Agents mystery, which turns each child into an expert detective – your own mini Hercule Poirot. Dermot O’Leary has said: “I love the Summer Reading Challenge because it enables children to transition reading from being an activity you do in the confines of a classroom 16 • happiful • August 2017

to something you can do for a bit of fun in your spare time. It instils in kids a real sense of pride in their achievements, and sets them up with a positive relationship with reading that is priceless in the future.” Chapter 2: How do you get involved? The Summer Reading Challenge is completely free to enter! Most libraries in the UK will be involved, so head down to your local library and show the place some love. Your child can be enrolled in the challenge and get some goodies to get them started, as well as checking out their first book. The great part is there’s no set book list; children are free to choose whatever book and genre suits them! It’s a fantastic opportunity for them to explore the literary world – just think how excited you were after you first read Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree or Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach? Your little one might be lucky enough to have all that still to come! There’s no official end date for the challenge, but your library will be able to confirm the local running time. Alongside the support of your library, the challenge has a website where your child can log the books they’ve read, find recommendations for great reads from other kids, watch exclusive videos from authors, and take part in competitions. The challenge also offers amazing volunteering opportunities for youngsters aged 13–24, where they can support younger children who are taking part in the challenge to

Illustration – Tony Ross 2017 | Photos – Dale Cherry for The Reading Agency

Do you remember as a kid hiding under the covers, reading a good book by the light of a torch when it was several hours past your bedtime? A book can transport a child away from anything troubling them, letting their imaginations run wild while developing their compassion and concentration. Reading has been found to be the most effective way to reduce stress levels – beating listening to music, or even the old favourite, a good cup of tea. Studies have also found that “reading for pleasure was linked to greater intellectual progress, both in vocabulary, spelling and mathematics.” With this in mind, The Reading Agency charity has developed a summer campaign, encouraging kids aged four to 11 to delve into a good book (or six), to make use of their local library, and to uncover clues to solve a mystery. The Summer Reading Challenge runs every year and is open to all children. This year, the charity is expecting 750,000 kids to take up the challenge, which launched on Saturday 15 July.


THE HAPPIFUL

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We’ll donate 50p from every print copy sold through a subscription to our featured charity. This month, we support the The Summer Reading Challenge

The Challenge encourages improved reading skills and confidence, as well as the thrill of reading an incredible book

help them make the most of it. The Reading Agency’s volunteer programme, Reading Hack, is a chance to develop some great people skills, make new friends, improve your confidence, and is valuable work experience to give your CV something extra! As a volunteer with the Challenge, you could be helping staff to run activities, creating amazing library displays or chatting to the kids about all the exciting books they’ve got their heads in. Just visit your local library to get involved. If you’ve got a passion for Potter or a taste for Tolkien, why not help pass that on to a younger generation? Chapter 3: What are the Animal Agents? Each year, the Summer Reading Challenge has a fun theme to engage the children, and for 2017 that’s the amazing Animal Agents, brought to life with a little help from the talented best-selling children’s illustrator Tony Ross. The Reading Agency’s CEO, Sue Wilkinson, has described how the theme is used to encourage children to keep on reading, and how this year’s theme “comes directly from the feedback we’ve received from children who told us that they love animals and mystery”. The Animal Agents are a detective agency staffed by a collection of clever creatures, determined to crack a case. Sue hopes “we will see kids up and down the country

728,793 children too

k up the Challenge in 2016 424,579 kids read at least six books 68,040 people joine d libraries as new me mbers!

solving a fun mystery at their local libraries and, as they work with Bernice the bear, Daisy the rabbit, and others, realising just how important being a good friend is in helping them do that”. With each book they read, children receive a sticker (some of which are the always-fun scratch and sniff variety), which reveals clues to help both the Agents and kids identify a suspect behind suspicious goings-on at the local library. So, whether your child already has a love of the written word, or is raring to be let loose in the world of pure imagination, the Summer Reading Challenge is a great activity to get involved in during the school holidays, and is a fantastic way to support your local library. In the words of Hermione Granger: “Books! And cleverness! There are more important things! – Friendship and bravery.” But when your child bonds with friends over a good book this summer, it might just give them all of these things. Find out more at summerreadingchallenge.org.uk August 2017 • happiful • 17


The Uplift | Explainer

The Explainer

Teenage sexting: What’s a parent to do?

New research suggests parents should manage their own fears, not their children’s. While social media isn’t perfect, teenagers need autonomy to make their own decisions Writing | Lucy Cavendish

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have four children, two of which are teenage boys. Recently, I have become increasingly aware of how glued they are to their screens, particularly the 14-year-old. He seems to feel his online presence is as important – if not more important – than his real-life flesh world. Sometimes his addiction to social media feels off-putting. Why does he only feel valid on Snapchat? Yet it seems almost impossible to police it. Short of turning off the WiFi, how do I patrol what my teens are doing online? This is a subject that has become a hot topic for parents and the arguments around this issue can divide families and cause seemingly irreparable rifts. I see this as a parent, but also as a counsellor, both in my private practice and with the teenagers I see at No5 Youth Counselling Centre in Reading. Parents find their teens’ online behaviour, at best, hard to fathom. At worst, they are convinced their teens are up to no good – sexting, looking up the “wrong” stuff, communicating with strangers on a variety of mysterious apps, or shaming others or being shamed themselves. It’s a difficult new world. I often feel torn between two positions as a counsellor who unconditionally holds clients with positive regard, but then also as a concerned parent. It’s in these two roles that I have had to find that middle space, a space I can inhabit in a way that makes me feel unworried and

18 • happiful • August 2017

yet concerned, and I have come to truly understand what autonomy means for a modern teenager. My teenage clients hate the assumption made by many a caring and worried parent that they are “up to no good”. In fact, the adjective “misunderstood” does seem to be the way that most teens feel today. My question is: are we, the parents, the problem? There is a great deal of fear surrounding teens and their use of social media. And that usage preys on our minds because it is the Great Unknown, the dark mass, or, as Jung would name it, “the shadow”. Parents fear many things. We all desperately want to keep our children physically and mentally healthy. Yet the teenage clients who come to see me often feel that they have not been given the “right” to self-govern. None of them – not in my private practice or at No5 – come in with issues surrounding social media. In fact, many of these teenagers find an online life a source of reassurance in difficult times. So, given my experience as a counsellor and listening to my clients, many of whom felt that their parents – quite wrongly in their eyes – didn’t trust them, I recently made the decision to stop becoming overly concerned about my children’s use of social media. I now refuse to snoop on their online activity. For me, monitoring my children’s internet use is akin to reading their

diaries: I am not sure if I really want to know everything they are getting up to. I have decided that there are many ways to tell if something untoward is going on. Has your child’s behaviour changed? For instance, has a formerly sociable child turned very anti-social? We often want to invade out teens’ lives but we have to accept that we can’t. Hopefully we feel we have brought them up to be able to make some decisions themselves and turn to us if things go wrong. The teenagers I see find their parents’ anxiety about their lives very hard to bear. It makes them feel panicked, anxious and nervous. This is highlighted in a new book that looks at how anxious parents are “creating a moral panic” over social media. The book, Invisibly Blighted; The Digital Erosion of Childhood, written by academics from University College London and Plymouth University Business School, suggests that parents react to their children’s use of social media in a disproportionate way, and that the effect of reaction is to cause anxiety in their teenagers. And there’s more. The authors’ research says that sexting is misunderstood by parents and that teenagers have worked out a moral code of their own. Indeed, they do understand what consent means, and they are respectful – in their own way – of each other. It is the trust between the parent and child that makes the difference.


Trending UPDATE

New research suggests that sexting is misunderstood by parents, and that teenagers have worked out a moral code of their own

Teenagers need the autonomy to make their own decisions. I am always there (in the background) for my children if they need me – maybe sometimes decisions might prove to be a bit more difficult than they can handle. Also, as I have brought my 14-year-old boy up, it would feel counter-productive not to give him some sort of trust. It would imply that I don’t really believe I’ve done an OK job. And it would seem to erode his growing sense of self to be constantly haranguing and monitoring him. The main parental issue – aside from our free-floating fear of the internet – is one of communication. In order to understand the world of the teenager, we need to be invited in to it, even if it is only in a small way. The only way to achieve this is to communicate. If I endlessly monitor my son, I am actually infantilising him. I would be implying that he has no real ability to know what’s right from wrong or to be able to make proper decisions about his world. Parents often suffer from this freefloating sense of fear, dread and panic about something that is very difficult to control. Part of the reason is that we don’t really understand social media, certainly not in the way our teenagers do. This means it has taken on a terrible place is our psyche – we get overwhelmingly paranoid that something dreadful or threatening is going on with our teenagers on one of their social platforms. And yet, generally speaking, this is not true. The way

teenagers use social media is very different to the way we use it as adults. I have seen many clients aged between 11 and 24, and they have brought a whole range of issues with them from anxiety and depression, to eating disorders and self harm. Not one of them has brought issues with social media in to the room. In fact, in most cases, going online has been a source of support. The client that is questioning their sexuality can be massively helped by an online support system that makes her or him feel less alone and less rejected. I have had clients for whom being part of a chatroom about self-harm or eating disorders or suicide ideation has actually kept them far more together than if they had no access to that network. To put things simply, they feel these online communities understand them. So, the thing to do as parents is to manage our own fears. I am not sure our children are in any more danger than we were when we were teenagers. Bullies are bullies. They exist throughout society, and I certainly suffered from that as a child. There was no internet back then, but the same feelings of shame, hurt or fear existed. Maybe if there had been an internet, I could have gone online and found a bit more support than my nearest-and-dearests were able to offer. Lucy Cavendish is a BACP-registered Integrative Counsellor. For more information please go to lucycavendishcounselling.com. Visit counselling-directory.org.uk to find a professional in your area.

August 2017 • happiful • 19


PHYSIOTHERAPY

HYPOCHONDRIA

CRYSTALS

NEGATIVE THOUGHTS

SLEEP

happiful Hacks

20 • happiful • August 2017

Practical answers for everyday problems


Life LESSONS

6

QUICK FIXES

Physiotherapy exercises you can try at home Just as your car needs fuel to work, your body also needs regular care to keep it functioning healthily Writing | Paulo Salvatore

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hysical problems arise due to a range of factors like injury, illness, ageing, disability, bad posture and stress. Physiotherapy is a golden tool to treat and manage all of our physical problems. That’s why you could start with physiotherapy at home. Here are six simple DIY exercises for you to try in the morning before starting the day, or in the evening after a long haul at work. Repeat each exercise two or three times and don’t forget to do these slowly, carefully, and without rushing.

1 BACK

Back and lower back pain are very common issues. If you’re sitting down most of the day, you are especially prone to back stiffness and pain. To minimise the risks, try lying down on your back with both legs straightened. Lift your right leg slightly and then bend your right knee toward your chest. Hold this position for about 10 seconds before returning your leg into a straight position. Now repeat the exercise with the other leg. Use your arms to press your knee closer to your chest.

2 NECK

Neck pain is another common issue. Stress tends to affect neck muscles heavily, hence the need to take care of this area carefully and regularly. Stand still and slowly move your head downward, looking at the floor. Stay there for five seconds, then slowly move your head upward until you are looking at the ceiling. Stay there another five seconds and come back to your initial position – looking straight in front of you. Now turn your head to the right side and stay for five seconds. Start turning your head all the way to the left, and remain there for five seconds. Slowly come back to your initial position.

3 SHOULDER

Stand upright, raise your shoulders slowly and hold this position for five seconds. From there, move your shoulders in small circles. Repeat five times before doing the same in the other direction. Once done, come back to your initial position. Finally, squeeze your shoulder blades together backward and hold for five seconds. Now relax your shoulders.

4 HAND AND FOREARM

Stand upright, keep your right arm straight and lift it until it’s at a 90-degree angle to the rest of your body. Keep the palm of your hand facing the floor. Using your left hand, grab the tips of your right hand’s fingers and slowly lift your right fingers upward until you feel a stretch in your forearm. Hold for five seconds and release. Repeat with your other arm.

5 SIDE

Stand upright with your arms by your sides. Without bending your back, bend to the right side while sliding your right arm downward until you feel the stretch on your left side. Stay there five seconds and come back to your initial position, taking care not to bend your back. Repeat on the other side.

6 FEET

It’s easy to forget our feet, but they too need regular care! Stand upright facing the back of a chair. Place your hands on the top rail of the chair and hold firmly. You should be barefoot and your feet should be flat, straight and parallel to each other. Slowly, raise your heels until you are standing on your tiptoes. Stay for five seconds and do not bend your back as you do this. Again, come back to your initial position. This exercise is also good for improving your balance. August 2017 • happiful • 21


happiful Hacks

Tactics to overcome your hypochondria Learn to cope with your health worries in a realistic way so they don’t take over your life Writing | Fiona Ward

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ealth anxiety, or hypochondria, is estimated to affect 6% of our population – in fact, a recent study by the University of Nottingham estimates that excessive worrying over dreamt-up diseases is costing the NHS £3 billion a year in unnecessary costs. Trouble is, while there’s stigma around hypochondria and sufferers are often ridiculed, health anxiety sufferers are faced with a very real, crippling condition. Fearing for your life on a daily basis is a burden no one should have to endure, so tackle your worries head-on with these practical tips:

Your symptoms may not be real, but your anxiety is. A good doctor will understand that and put your mind at ease

1 LEARN TO READ YOUR BODY

It’s easy to believe you have a life-threatening condition if the symptoms are there – chest pains can mean heart attacks or pulmonary embolisms, and unusual headaches can leave us wondering about brain tumours and other sinister diagnoses. Anxiety, frustratingly, can manifest itself in these and a variety of other physical side-effects that lead to even further worry. Shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, a persistent lightheadedness, and even vomiting and nausea, can all be linked to worry and stress. Try to get to know your body so you can understand how your anxiety presents itself physically.

2 LIMIT YOUR RESEARCH

Googling your symptoms when you’re overcome by worry is second nature, but it can also aggravate your anxiety. The internet is full of horror stories and worse case scenarios, so avoid unreliable sites. The NHS website gives clear and non-sensational advice on symptoms, though seeking face-to-face help is the best solution. Equally, if you find yourself triggered by dramatic health stories in the media, avoid reading exaggerated headlines.

3 OCCUPY YOUR MIND

Keep busy and surround yourself with friends and family. Locking yourself away to worry will only worsen the panic and leave your mind open to negative thoughts (see page 24), so make plans you can look forward to. When you need time to yourself, exercise is a good way to clear your mind – running, yoga and swimming are great healers. If your health anxiety is stopping you leaving the house or going about your daily life, it’s time to seek help, whether you confide in someone you trust or a professional. 22 • happiful • August 2017

5

HEALTHY OPTIONS

4 CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR

There’s no shame in speaking with a trusted GP. Your symptoms may not be real, but your anxiety is – a good doctor will understand that and help to put your mind at ease. If unnecessary trips to your local surgery are getting out of hand, you need to address that too – what’s causing these constant worries? Your doctor may be able to refer you to a counsellor who can offer cognitive behavioural therapy or coping techniques. Health anxiety can be tackled with the right support.

5 IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP

A good night’s sleep is one of the best healers for a stressed, overactive mind. Give yourself time to unwind by taking a relaxing bath, and avoid television and phones before bed. If you wake up panicking, get yourself up, take some deep breaths and go and get yourself a glass of water – try to take yourself out of the situation before it gets worse. For more science-backed ways to help you sleep, read our hack on page 26!


Life LESSONS

How crystals can brighten your life

(even for non-believers!)

5

CALMING IDEAS

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We’ve all seen those chunks of purple Amethyst in people’s homes. But what are they actually used for? Writing | Amy Jackson

f you’ve ever visited an alternative healing shop, chances are you’ve seen heart-shaped pink stones and clear quartz crystals on the shelves. As a great believer in the power of crystals for healing and relaxation, I’ve always encouraged others to investigate them for themselves. It’s not for everyone, and although crystals are used in computers and watches, even the toughest cynic will admit the worst thing you can say about crystals is that they’re only beautiful objects. So, for those who are curious, here’s how you can use them in your everyday life:

3 MEDITATION

1 JEWELLERY

4 TRAVELLING

One of the easiest ways to incorporate crystals into your life is with jewellery. Not only are they beautiful accessories, but it allows you to place the crystal as close to you as you can get it: right on your person. (If you don’t want to wear it you can always pop it into your pocket.) Amethyst is one of my favourites to wear as a necklace when I have a headache or a stiff neck.

2 WORKSPACE

If you want to have crystals near and around you, but don’t want to wear them, you can always dot them around your workspace, where you spend a lot of your time. They are still close enough for you to reap the calming benefits, and it’s also an invitation to pick them up regularly throughout the day. The physical act of picking up your crystals can also be used as an anchor to promote mindfulness, like a little reminder to have a pause in your day, and be present in the moment.

When you begin to explore crystals, and you delve into their individual properties, you can start to incorporate them into your meditation practices. For example, if you want to relax you may want to choose Aventurine. If you want to focus, you may choose Citrine. If you want to build your self-love, you may choose Rose Quartz. And if you want to build your confidence, you may choose Turquoise.

I always take my crystals on my travels, even if they are just in my bag. I am not the biggest fan of flying, and I even get anxious when having to catch a train. Some specific crystals I have for travelling have certain shapes that fit comfortably in my hand. Not only does the property of the crystal relax me, but also the act of comfortably rubbing the crystal in my hand is soothing. A good choice for a travelling crystal is Malachite.

5 AT HOME

I know a lot of people who use their crystals at home, display them on an altar, or form a crystal grid. They are usually placed with other crystals (and objects) that you hold dear, or even with your vision board. If this isn’t for you, then place them anywhere as decoration, and touch them often. Choose crystals that you are drawn to for your home. And even if you don’t believe in their properties, they are wonderful objects to fit with your décor! August 2017 • happiful • 23


happiful Hacks

How to stop negative thinking

6

MINDFUL METHODS

24 • happiful • August 2017

Do you churn pessimistic thoughts over and over in your head? Is it becoming unpleasant, or unhealthy? We can help you! Writing | Margot Radicati di Brozolo


Life LESSONS

F

rom time to time, we all struggle with negative thoughts. Regardless of how they’re triggered, one unpleasant thought can lead to another, causing us to lose perspective. In addition, we might also become more irritable and forgetful, or feel exhausted all the time. And persistent negative thinking can seriously impact our mental wellbeing. The good news is that the spiral can be broken! The more you practise the following techniques, the less likely you are to get sucked into the vortex.

1 PRACTISE GRATITUDE

The problem with getting stuck in a negative spiral is that our minds forget to notice all the good things going on in our lives. So, we need to nudge ourselves to remember the positive. Every night before you go to sleep, write down at least five good things that happened that day. It can be anything, even eating a biscuit, as long as it made you feel good for just a second. Doing this daily will not only create a healthier energy in the moment (which will counter-balance negative thoughts) but will also train your mind to focus more on positive thoughts rather than wallowing in negative ones.

2 CHALLENGE YOUR THOUGHTS

We all occasionally fall into the trap of taking our beliefs at face value. However, sometimes we overthink situations and distort the reality of that situation, which further darkens our thoughts and makes us feel worse. Take one of your negative thoughts and ask yourself whether you’re doing one of the following: • •

Are you blaming yourself for something? This is often unfair on yourself. Tell yourself it’s just your impression. Situations are always more than one person’s responsibility. If you are conjuring catastrophic scenarios, ask yourself: “Is this really happening?” You’ll find the things you stress about often don’t exist in the moment, and you have no guarantee they will ever happen.

3 GROUND YOURSELF

When a negative thought comes up, picture placing it on a little paper boat and letting it float away on the water

First, acknowledge that you are judging yourself for feeling bad. This will go some way in alleviating your distress. Then, decide to let the judgement go, even if just for a minute. Take a deep breath and then, on the exhale, let the judgement leave your body. The more you do this, the more your mind will get used to letting negative feelings fade quicker.

5 LET NEGATIVITY FLOAT AWAY

Once we’re in a spiral of negative thinking, it can be difficult to to move our attention away from our mind and focus it on our body. However, training your mind to avoid over-engaging with your thoughts is key to ensuring that you don’t get carried away by every small thing that happens. Doing a simple grounding exercise for 10 minutes every morning can really help you to focus on the present:

The problem with negative thoughts and feelings is that we get so caught up in them that we forget we can just make a decision to let them go. Literally, like that. This requires a little imagination, but it really works! When a negative thought comes up, picture placing it on a little paper boat and then letting it float away on the water. Don’t try to stop it, just allow it get further and further from you. This trains your mind to let negative thoughts go rather than trying to stop them – which only makes matters worse.

6 SPEAK TO A FRIEND

Sit comfortably and push your feet against the floor as hard as possible, notice the physical feeling of this. Touch something – a pillow, a book, a radiator, whatever! – and notice the feeling of the object against your fingertips.

4 DON’T JUDGE YOURSELF

Judging ourselves for feeling bad will only make us feel even worse. So why do we do it? Because it’s so hard to stop ourselves! Beating yourself up about that verbal altercation you had in the office with your co-worker, or that silly little run-in at the supermarket counter, or that harsh glance from your partner over dinner, seems irrelevant and counter-productive when others are literally starving, suffering and dying. So, manage the context.

This sounds obvious, right? But you’d be surprised how many of us bottle up our feelings inside for fear of being judged or misunderstood. However, sharing our worries honestly and without prejudice with someone who cares about you has been demonstrated to reduce stress and anxiety. So, try telling a close friend how you’re really feeling. Be honest and candid with them. Your friend will likely see the situation from a completely different angle to you, which will help you find a wider perspective. Not only that, but you might learn something new. Namely, that your friend has the same fears and concerns as you, which will further demonstrate that it’s a feeling fuelled by yourself rather than reality. August 2017 • happiful • 25


happiful Hacks

A good book is a wonderful form of escapism which should relax your natural energy and help you drift off quicker

7

BEDTIME TRICKS

Science-backed methods to get you to sleep in minutes One in three Brits have trouble getting to sleep at night. Are you that one in three? If so, we have the solution Writing | Emma Shearer

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e all experience those nights where our minds are whirring and we just can’t seem to get to sleep. “Did I attach that document to the email?”, “Why didn’t I speak up in that meeting?”, or “How am I going to manage my debt?” Constant worrying at night can have a serious impact on our health and cause us to underperform the following day. If you find yourself lying wide awake and worrying about the world, one or all of the following suggestions should help you fall asleep quicker than you can say “pass the valium”.

1 LIGHT A CANDLE

Light a scented candle in your room before you get into bed. Particular scents have been found to be more effective, and according to Dr Gary Schwartz at Yale University, spiced apple scent has been proven to lower systolic blood pressure. If your blood pressure is lower, then you’ll naturally be more relaxed; if 26 • happiful • August 2017

you’re more relaxed, then you should be able to drop off quicker. If spiced apple doesn’t appeal to your senses, there’s plenty of other soothing options. A word of caution: remember to blow out the candle before you close your eyes!

2 READ A BOOK

Reading for around six minutes before turning off the light can work wonders. Based on a 2009 study conducted by the University of Sussex, reading can also reduce stress levels by nearly 70%. What’s more, a good book is a form of escapism which should relax your natural energy and help you drift off. Dr David Lewis, who organised the study, says it doesn’t really matter what type of book you read, as long as you can thoroughly lose yourself in the engrossing storyline. This will allow you to forget the worries and stresses of the day that’s gone. A favourite trick with the happiful team, we can vouch for its effectiveness.


Life LESSONS

A study suggests that those who have a warm bath before bed will have a better sleep

3 BATHE BEFORE BED

Science says that just before we fall asleep our body temperature drops. By having a warm bath, you will quickly raise your body temperature. When you get out of the bath your temperature will rapidly fall. By prompting your body to drop in temperature – the process that happens naturally inside your body before sleep – it could help you to fall asleep in minutes. A small study suggests that those who have a warm bath (or shower) before bed are not only more likely to fall asleep quicker, but will also have a better sleep.

4 WARM YOUR PAWS!

A study released by the Swiss journal Nurture suggests that “warm feet promote the rapid onset of sleep”. Don’t believe us? Wear a pair of socks or have your pet or a hot water bottle at the bottom of your bed. Warming your feet will cause your blood vessels to widen (vasodilatation is the fancy term), which allows more heat to escape through your feet and therefore cools your core temperature down and reduces your blood pressure. So, put a pair of fluffy socks on your next shopping list if you’re struggling to get some shut-eye.

5 CUT THE CAFFEINE

It’s a well-known fact that caffeine keeps us awake if we consume too much before bedtime. According to Sleep Education, caffeine will reach its peak level within 30–60 minutes of entering your bloodstream. It’s suggested that caffeine has a half-life of three to five hours. This means that within that time the amount of caffeine in your system will decrease to half the initial amount. So, if you’re aiming to get to sleep by 11pm maybe move onto herbal tea after midday – it’s much better for you anyway. Plus, think of the cash you’ll be saving by no longer stopping at the cafe to purchase that afternoon coffee kick.

6 PLAY SOME CLASSICAL MUSIC

A study conducted by psychologist Laszlo Harmat investigated the effects of music on young people with sleep disorders. The study comprised three groups and participants either listened to classical music, an audiobook or nothing at all. Harmat found that “relaxing classical music is an effective intervention in reducing sleep problems,” whereas sleep quality did not improve for either the audiobook group or those without aural aids. Other research suggests that music with a slow rhythm can help you nod off, so maybe avoid Beethoven’s Ode to Joy as you change into your jammies.

7 EXERCISE

Don’t fret – we’re not suggesting you should run around the town before bed, but there is evidence that moderate intensity aerobic exercise can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and can increase the length of sleep in people with chronic insomnia. Maybe a brisk walk in the evenings will help? But be mindful – overexerting yourself immediately before bed can have the opposite effect. August 2017 • happiful • 27


As mums, we are all doing our best. We’re all on a journey, and we should just be nicer to each other

28 • happiful • August 2017


TERMS OF ENDEARMENT

Interview | Gemma Calvert

Is there a right way and wrong way to parenting? Formula One heiress Tamara Ecclestone has been roundly condemned for coddling her three-year-old daughter, Sophia. But should we judge a mother’s love? In this revealing interview, the millionaire mum finally answers her critics, but it’s not what you’d expect. ‘I need to deal with my anxiety,’ she says. ‘And that’s the brutal reality’

Photography | Joseph Sinclair


G

ood gracious, things are busy at the Ecclestone home this morning. When I arrive at Tamara’s Kensington pad, just a few doors down from Prince William and Kate’s west London address, the happiful photoshoot is well underway. Judging by the supersize Queen Elsa castle and three rocking horses on display, we seem to be in a room devoted to Tamara’s three-year-old daughter, Sophia, or “Fifi” as Tamara affectionately calls her. She’s easily the liveliest person present. Unfazed by the crowd of observers – hair and makeup, a publicist, a stylist, happiful’s editor and our photographer, as well as a ball of fluff otherwise known as Teddy the pooch – Sophia plonks down with mummy on the densely carpeted floor and smiles for the camera before scampering towards a sprawling, grey leather coffee table where two cups of coffee sit – a latte for Tamara and a miniature babyccino for Sophia. Carefully lifting teaspoonfuls of “coffee” from the cup to her mouth, Sophia avoids her crisp white blouse, but the table, which is splattered with dollops of milky froth, grains of sugar and sticky fingerprints, looks a right state. Tamara doesn’t bat an eyelid, which is remarkable. “I have OCD,” she has previously admitted. “Things have to be in order.” Later, as we sit chatting in her kitchen, she labels herself a list-maker. “I’m a planner, I like order and tidiness, but having Sophia has made me realise that I don’t care about the mess anymore.” Being the eldest daughter of the former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone – he’s now 86 and the 42nd richest person in Britain – you might expect a horde of helpers busily tidying up after the 33-year-old heiress, but no. Tamara doesn’t employ nannies or nursemaids, and there’s no baby entourage in the background. She does everything herself, including managing the mess. “Since Sophia’s been a toddler, there’s mess everywhere and I’m OK with it now,” she says. “I’m not going to bother replacing things that get stained, because they’re just going to get stained again!” Take her plush sitting room, for example, where crayon scribblings on the painted walls go unDettoled. “I’m a bit of a pushover,” says Tamara, with a mother’s wink. Hmm, debatable. Since Sophia arrived by C-section in March 2014, Tamara has fought a determined and very public battle against critics who have lined up to denounce – some would say savage – her parenting skills. Tamara’s a believer in attachment parenting, or AP. And there’s the rub. Attachment parenting, which stems from attachment theory, has taken a pummelling in the past five years. Honed by decades of research, it emphasises the early mother-infant bond with a theory that supposes parents can provide their child with a safe haven of support through sensitive,

30 • happiful • August 2017

age-appropriate attention to the child’s development. This means breastfeeding, baby wearing, and bed sharing. Naturally, it’s been pilloried in the press. Tamara, who has shared her marital bed with Sophia since she was “five or six months old”, still breastfeeds her daughter four times a day. (The World Health Organisation recommends breastfeeding along with complementary food “up to two years of age or beyond”.) There was no grand plan with Tamara’s parenting decisions. Sophia just had a fever one day and came into her and husband Jay Rutland’s bed, “and that was it”. In fact, Tamara and her younger sister, Petra, also slept in their mother’s bed as children, but Tamara quickly preferred her own room. Tamara says the way she mothers Sophia feels “natural”, but unlike other celebrities who practice AP – Alanis Morissette and Angelina Jolie spring to mind – Tamara has received an epic mauling, largely because of her stream of Instagram “brelfies” (that’s breastfeeding selfies, for the uninitiated). She’s brelfied on holiday, in the sky, and at home in Kensington where, on the sofa midway through our photoshoot, Sophia yanks down Tamara’s dress and latches on. Champions of attachment parenting have celebrated Tamara’s efforts to “normalise” breastfeeding in public, but the antiattachment brigade has been ferocious in its condemnation, none more so than columnist Katie Hopkins. “Oh god, who hasn’t she got stuck into?” says Tamara at the mention of her name. Hopkins gave attachment parenting a good kicking in an article for Closer magazine: “I loathe all breastfeeders and the Mammary Mafia. And I can’t stand this ‘full-time Mummy thing’ – you’re just unemployed,” wrote Hopkins. “Why do breastfeeders have to do it in coffee shops? You can smell the breast milk mixed in with your latte. And why do they post snaps online, like Tamara – what a doughnut.” Such words must cut deep, but Tamara is clever enough to navigate the fame game. “It’s like a free-for-all, where you can say whatever you want [about celebrities],” she says. “But it puts things into perspective when people make these comments about me. There are so many bigger problems in the world right now, why are you even worried whether I’m breastfeeding or not?” Because of her public visibility? “But I never judge,” says Tamara. “I have tons of friends who not once have tried breastfeeding and I’ve never asked them: ‘How long are you going to give your baby a bottle for?’ You’ve got to do what feels right for you, and every child is different.” happiful took a straw poll among friends and colleagues. “Does Tamara seem like a good mum?” we asked. Everyone said yes. This proves nothing, but it does suggest the media may be out of kilter when it comes to condemning her parenting skills. Do the British public really think Tamara is a doughnut? Or do they just see a loving mum? Audience feedback from her recent appearance on This Morning suggests the latter. “As mums, we are all doing our best,” says Tamara. “We’re all on a journey, and as women we should just be nicer to each other. Why pick flaws?” I put it to Tamara that her lifestyle draws envy, but she bats it off. “Throughout my life, people have always found something to have a go about, and [my parenting skills] is the next thing. But for once, it doesn’t make me feel bad,” she says candidly. “I don’t care. I just think: ‘My daughter is happy and healthy, thank god.’ I have so much to be grateful for.”


The thought of anyone ever hurting Sophia is heartbreaking. She’s at nursery now and I literally sit up at night thinking, ‘What if someone doesn’t want to sit next to her?’ August 2017 • happiful • 31


I’ve got to get my head around the fact that I’m not going to be there to pick her up every time she falls over

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Photography | FOTOimage Montreal | Featureflash Photo Agency | Shutterstock.com

It’s an understatement, of course. Being one of the wealthiest young women on the planet, Tamara has only ever known boundless wealth, private jets and all the trimmings. (She possesses so many designer clothes that she auctions sack-loads every month to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital.) There’s no point pretending otherwise. “Money makes life easier and decisions easier – it’s a big thing that I don’t need to worry about,” she says. “But if you’re the type of person that is prone to depression, money can’t buy health and I truly don’t believe money can buy you happiness. True love has nothing to do with money, neither does giving birth.” The reason Tamara prefers attachment parenting is because it gives her daughter “independence” – which sounds like a paradox, until Tamara explains: “Sophia is not craving or seeking out my attention, or worrying that she’s been abandoned. And because she has my attention 24/7 she’s developed her own personality. This way of parenting encourages her to be outgoing.” When you look at Tamara looking at Sophia, you clearly see that her daughter’s wellbeing is beyond evaluation. Yes, her playhouse is a £10,000 replica version of the family home. And yes, her first birthday party cost £70,000 and featured Shetland ponies and zebra foals. But there’s no price on Tamara’s love for Sophia, which is lavished in abundance. So, where does this leave Tamara the individual, the wife? Aside from the impact on her marriage with her Essex-born property developer husband – the couple haven’t spent a single night in bed alone in the last two-and-a-half years – Tamara admits she struggles greatly with parental separation anxiety. She confesses that, up until very recently, the longest time she had been apart from Sophia was six minutes, and that was while she was backstage before an appearance on Loose Women. Tamara suffered so badly, she experienced sweating palms which, as I remind her, is a common symptom of anxiety. She nods in agreement. “I’ve had more anxiety since I became a mum, and it’s something I need to work on and deal with,” she admits. “I was never an anxious person before I had Sophia, but now I have serious anxiety about anything happening to my daughter.” This isn’t overblown mum talk. While every parent frets about their child going missing, the threat of Sophia being kidnapped is very real, very serious, and entirely conceivable. In 2012, her dad Bernie was targeted by a conman who threatened to abduct Tamara unless he paid a £200,000 ransom. A year ago, Tamara’s step-grandmother, Aparecida Schunck, 67, was abducted from her home in Sao Paolo, Brazil. The kidnappers threatened to behead Schunck unless the family paid £28 million. She was eventually rescued, but it shook the Ecclestones to their core. In light of these gruesome facts, the media’s recent sneering at Tamara’s private retinue of bodyguards seems misjudged. “I’d never leave my house if I worried about it too much,” say Tamara, who employs security 24/7 to protect her and Sophia everywhere they go – even to the park. “Sophia is the most important thing in my life so I have measures in place to make things as safe as possible. At the same time, we have to live a normal life. It’s a really fine balance. I would never want her to feel different.” Does Sophia know they are bodyguards? “She talks to them so maybe she just thinks they’re friends. She likes them. It’s such a short time in her life, and for her to feel loved is her security that

makes her who she is and shapes her for life.” Like any mum, the idea of Sophia experiencing pain is unbearable. “The thought of anyone ever hurting her, a child picking on her, or bullying her, is heartbreaking. She’s at nursery now and I literally sit up at night thinking: ‘What if someone’s mean to her? What if someone doesn’t want to sit next to her?’ I could literally…” Weep? “Yes.” And on Sophia’s first day at nursery in January, she did. “I sat outside in the car for three hours, crying my eyes out and Jay was telling me that I was a lunatic,” says Tamara. “I was watching my phone, thinking: “The nursery staff are going to need me to come back.” But they didn’t. I feel like I’m always worried. Is she going to fall over? Have I forgotten something? Is her smock clean for school? Everyone has a certain level of anxiety. Nobody’s life is perfect.” Being preoccupied with “what ifs” and worst case scenarios can be paralysing, but Tamara knows it’s a mental habit that can be broken. On top of her parental separation anxiety, she’s had lifelong claustrophobia and ornithophobia – an irrational fear of birds. As a child, she saw a parrot bite her mum’s finger and that was that. With her claustrophobia, Tamara wants to try hypnotherapy. (There’s a lift in her house; Tamara’s never been able to go in it.) But it’s the separation anxiety she wants to conquer first. “I’ve just got to get my head around the fact that I’m not going to be there to pick her up every time she falls over, and that’s the brutal reality.”

Family matters: Tamara’s father, former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone (above); her younger sister, Petra (right); and with her husband, Jay Rutland

August 2017 • happiful • 33


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What is attachment parenting? Attachment parenting (AP) is an offshoot of conventional parenting, made popular in the 1980s by US paediatrician William Sears and his wife, Martha. Their theory is that we have become emotionally detached from our children, and that parents need to consciously rebuild that bond. While not all of Sears’ beliefs have stuck, the crucial principle is to create a special relationship with your child. In very broad terms, attachment parenting is responding to your instinct to meet your baby’s needs. Typically, AP is characterised by the three B’s: baby-wearing, breastfeeding and bed-sharing. However, it isn’t defined by these. There are many reasons why some parents cannot follow this method exactly, and it doesn’t mean they’re doing it wrong. In fact, AP believes that while the three B’s support parents in recognising subtle child communications, they are not essential because “the possibilities for positive, loving connections are infinite”. August 2017 • happiful • 35


As a youngster, Tamara was a naughty, boundary-pushing teenager. She learned the birds and the bees from her mum, because her dad – whom Tamara calls “a gentleman, so polite, chivalrous and kind” – was very awkward about sex. In her 20s, she had some highly publicised “really crap relationships”, including an ex-fiancé who was jailed for four years in 2013 for trying to blackmail her for £200,000. Another ex-boyfriend cheated on her before being accused of stealing £8,000 worth of sentimental jewellery. Both men sound charming. “I was the one telling my parents: ‘You’ve got to let me make my own mistakes’,” says Tamara, “but I don’t know what I’d do if Sophia brought home any of those undesirables.” When I ask about the childhood that Tamara shared with younger sister Petra, 28, you get the impression that for all the family’s wealth, Bernie and her “homemaker” mum, Croatian ex-model Slavica Ecclestone, 59, kept their girls as grounded as possible. They assigned the girls household chores, refused to employ nannies, and when Bernie wasn’t working in F1, he was a full-time dad. “He was part of the school run,” says Tamara. “In the morning, we’d listen to music together – Dire Straits, the Bee Gees. I got him into Shaggy. How weird is that?!” But the family bliss wasn’t to be. In 2009 her “yin and yang” parents divorced. Feeling unable to “burden” them with her emotions, Tamara sought counselling after the split. She also 36 • happiful • August 2017

found true comfort on the shoulder of Petra. Tamara now wonders if mum and dad stayed together purely for their sake. It’s why Tamara says she would “leave sooner rather than later” if trouble hit her own marriage – claims, which have dogged Tamara since she and Jay, 36, married four years ago. “It wasn’t hard to read that my relationship with Jay is in trouble because that’s so far from the truth,” says Tamara. “It would be unfair to sit here and say we’ve never argued, or things haven’t caused stress in our relationship. I love Jay so much, but things are not always plain sailing, and both people have to make compromises in order for things to work.” What compromises? “You pick your battles. Sometimes, if he does something that’s annoying, I turn a blind eye because it’s really not worth it. Men are really bad at taking criticism, they get bent out of shape about it. It’s an ego thing.” Tamara won’t criticise Jay for his hands-off approach to fatherhood (he’s changed one nappy since Sophia was born) because she feels they’re on the same parenting page. They both eventually want more children but one thing they can’t agree on is finding time for romance. “Jay says he would like me to leave the house in the evening so we can have a date night, but I don’t go out because Sophia might need the boob in the middle of the night,” explains Tamara. “She won’t have a bottle. I’ve never taken the chance.” Conquering her anxiety is going to take a while.


Styling: Lucy Packman Make-up: Buster Knight Hair: Mikey Kardashian

If you’re prone to depression, money can’t buy health and I truly don’t believe money can buy you happiness. True love has nothing to do with money

Still, rattling around in a 57-room house at night does sound mighty lonely. “No, never!” says Tamara joyfully. “This house is always full of people, dogs and pigs.” She’s not exaggerating. Earlier I passed a member of staff carrying a porky little pig. Looking around her extremely plush pad, you sense there’s no other life like Tamara Ecclestone’s life, but dig beneath the shimmer of luxury, look past the mansion gates and beyond the column inches, peel back the va-va-voom veneer and you might just see a girl who’s exactly like the rest of us – with the same hopes, the same anxieties, the same worries and fears, and the same dreams for her child. I ask Tamara to close her eyes and mentally remove herself from her London mansion, and then picture herself living in a two-up two-down terraced house with the TV blaring and the microwave pinging. “Who are you?” I ask. Tamara’s answer is as glorious as the glittering diamond wedding band she’s twisting on her finger. “I’m a fiercely loyal, protective mum,” she says. “I’m a little lioness!” And she wouldn’t miss all this fabulous wealth? “I could move to Timbuktu with Sophia and Jay and be happy,” she smiles. “As long as Sophia’s having a good time, that’s all that matters.” Tamara’s new parenting project can be found at fifiandfriends.co.uk

August 2017 • happiful • 37


PLAY YOUR CARDS RIGHT Writing | Becky Wright

38 • happiful • August 2017


Tarot, the ancient forerunner to today’s playing cards, is synonymous with fortunetelling, mysticism and wicked black magick. In reality, Tarot has more in common with analytical psychology than medieval mumbojumbo. Now, Tarot is enjoying a quiet revival – not as a spiritual guide, but as a motivational tool for self-development. happiful explains what Tarot is, how it works, and why it can help you to achieve your life goals. All you need is an open mind


Feature | Tarot

he magician in his red robes. The fool on the hill. A skeleton on horseback. We’re not talking about the new season of Game of Thrones. We’re talking about the ancient tradition of Tarot cards. For most people, this “wicked pack of cards” conjures up a twilight world of fortune-tellers laying down images on a black velvet table. Steeped in mystery, with its centuries-old iconography, sceptics might scoff at its relevance in our technological age. But Tarot is, in fact, enjoying a revival of sorts – and not in the spiritual sense. Indeed, Tarot is becoming popular as a motivational tool to help people achieve their life goals – and to work out what their key stumbling blocks might be. Today, Tarot depends on the context given to it by the reader. The true magic of these reading cards is less about what they predict, and more about the power within yourself to tune-in to your emotions, your core beliefs, and your ability to take a wider view of your most complex dilemmas and desires.

WHAT IS TAROT?

Although Tarot has been knocking around for almost as long as other otherworldly practices, it doesn’t have an established usage in mainstream culture. We don’t even know for certain the original purpose of the cards. Truth is, Tarot is something of a mystery. Some experts say they appeared in Europe “nearly overnight” at the beginning of the 1400s and were an instant best-seller. A best-guess scenario is that they were

originally used for popular trick-taking games, rather like our modern game of bridge, and from there proceeded to be used in fortune-telling. But whatever its true origins, Tarot certainly captured the public’s imagination. The intense symbolism of these image-driven cards contains echoes of ancient Egyptian deities such as Isis and Thoth, and there are hints, too, of Hebrew letters and Islamic art within the designs, which only served to heighten their mystery. But the true roots of Tarot are a lot closer to home – specifically Italy. Italian scholars were talking about “carte da giocare” (playing cards) as early as 1450. Know thyself: Tarot can be as effective as any self-help book

IS TAROT EVIL?

Tarot cards were condemned by the Catholic church for their use in fortunetelling, and as a violation of the First Commandment (“I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no other gods before me”), but this way of thinking is just as archaic as the history of Tarot. The cards themselves aren’t intrinsically good or bad. They’re just cards. It’s only ink and paper. The “magical” element comes from how you connect a reading to your situation, and how you wish to make changes to your life. The magic is in us, not in the cards. Somewhat ironically, a photograph taken of Pope John Paul

II in the Vatican in the early 1980s inadvertently revealed a pile of books on his desk – one was Meditations on Tarot. That being said, it’s very easy to see the enchantment of Tarot’s imagery. You don’t have to be an art aficionado to appreciate the sheer beauty – and power – in these reading cards. Tarot communicates through visual symbolism in a way that transcends language barriers and cultural borders. Even the oldest decks in circulation have a timelessness to them, making them just as relevant to users now as they ever were hundreds of years ago.

WHY IS TAROT RELEVANT TODAY?

While earlier Tarot decks may have been influenced by folklore and superstition, newer Tarot decks have meanings linked to dream interpretation and the collective unconscious. Indeed, the symbolism of Tarot was duly recognised by the founders of psychology, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Jung, in particular, was a keen practitioner of Tarot and wrote volumes on the cards’ central archetypes. Psychologically speaking, the images on Tarot cards have been born out of a creative unconscious, and so represent truths about the inner workings of our mind. You might never have seen a Tarot

The cards themselves aren’t good or bad. They’re only ink and paper. The ‘magic’ element is how you connect with them card in your life, but you will already be very familiar with their meanings, even without realising it. Every Hollywood movie contains a hero, an antagonist, a mentor, a sidekick, a cynic, a love interest, and so on. All those characters are found in Tarot.


Ancient MOTIVATION

THE KEY CARDS There are 78 cards in a Tarot deck, structured into a 22+(10x4)+(4x4) system. The key cards, called the Major Arcana (Latin for “big secret”), make up a suit of 22 cards. These reflect the key archetypes in our lives. They are the core foundation of Tarot, and are referred to as trump cards. If your Tarot reading is made up of mainly Major Arcana cards, you might be experiencing life-changing events.

THE FOOL

Meaning: Blissful carelessness, and the power of ignorance. Archetype: Innocence

THE HIGH PRIESTESS

THE MAGICIAN

JUSTICE

Meaning: Justice without a blindfold is not always fair. Archetype: Judge

Meaning: Hidden circumstances stand in the way and need to be understood. Archetype: Secret

DEATH

THE EMPRESS

THE DEVIL

THE EMPEROR

THE TOWER

THE HIEROPHANT

THE STAR

THE LOVERS

Meaning: Deeply felt mutual attraction – for as long as it lasts. Archetype: Love

THE MOON

Meaning: Longing for the sake of longing, and the hope of fulfilment. Archetype: Soul

THE CHARIOT

THE SUN

STRENGTH

JUDGEMENT

THE HERMIT

THE WORLD

Meaning: A sudden solution, as if by magic – but it may be just an illusion. Archetype: Wizard

Meaning: A costly loss – sometimes, but not always, the death of someone. Archetype: Grim Reaper

Meaning: You’re up against real power, so yield or suffer the consequences. Archetype: Supreme ruler

Meaning: Time to pause and reflect, contemplate what’s precious and what’s not. Archetype: Distance

Meaning: The gentle power that rules, almost unnoticed and rarely opposed. Archetype: Benefactor

Meaning: Ultimate judgement, whether we welcome it or not. Archetype: Final outcome

Meaning: A superior strength because of its clever application. Archetype: Hero

Meaning: The lesson and reward, but also misfortune and solitude. Archetype: Solitude

WHEEL OF FORTUNE

Meaning: An uncertain outcome, with an aftermath to be considered. Archetype: Chance

Meaning: The pain and delight of giving into temptation. Archetype: Nemesis

Meaning: The dependency on approval from an elevated dignity. Archetype: Priest

Meaning: A spectacular ambition that ends with disaster. Archetype: Destruction

Meaning: Great resources at your disposal, but beware. Archetype: Triumph

Meaning: Triumph – but beware of its consequences. Archetype: Conqueror

Tarot card photography | volkovslava / Shutterstock.com

THE HANGED MAN

Meaning: Personal sacrifice that may not hurt so much. Archetype: Martyr

TEMPERANCE

Meaning: Success in anything worldly, but not for free. Archetype: Opportunity

Meaning: Moderation in all is ultimate persistence. Archetype: Patience


Feature | Tarot

TAROT HALL OF FAME

WHAT HAPPENS IN A READING?

Madonna: A notable fan of the pack

Churchill: Influenced by a Tarot master

HAS TAROT INFLUENCED CULTURE?

Yes, massively. The first three decades of the 20th century were a key moment in Western civilisation – two world wars, the birth of the car, the theory of relativity, and psychoanalysis. Creative geniuses like Picasso, Joyce and Duchamp were heavily indebted to Tarot. The movie business was indebted to Tarot. Winston Churchill’s famous “V for victory” sign was said to be influenced by Tarot master Aleister Crowley. James Bond was influenced (Live and Let Die). Even the Beatles were influenced (“The Fool on the Hill”). When President Ronald Reagan was discovered to have sat for “readings” in the White House, the Chicago Tribune vented: “The President prefers Tarot cards

to CIA evaluations.” And Friends, yes, even that beloved sitcom, was influenced. The one with the hypnosis tape? Check it out – Chandler’s playing Tarot.

In a traditional Tarot reading, there are two parties – you, the “questioner”, and the card “reader”. The practice starts with the questioner transferring energy to the deck (cutting the pack, or sometimes just touching it). The reader then deals out some cards, face down, into a spread. As the cards are overturned, the reader will provide a story based on the cards’ meanings and their position on the table.

Try not to develop strong likes and dislikes – all the cards are there to help you. You may need to spend longer with some cards before their meanings become apparent

CAN YOU READ TAROT YOURSELF? Marilyn: Photographed often with Tarot

The Beatles: They saw the Fool on the Hill

It’s entirely possible to read Tarot cards yourself, but the focus needs to be on objectivity. You might feel that you have a particular connection with certain cards, but you must try not to develop strong likes and dislikes – all the cards are there to help you. It may be that you need to spend longer with some cards before their meaning becomes apparent. But that’s OK – this is a learning experience, a journey of self discovery.

Credits | Madonna – Ovidiu Hrubaru, The Beatles illustration – Anita Ponne, Winston Churchill –neftali, Marilyn Monroe – Lucian Milasan / Shutterstock.com

Tarot cards are able to speak to us through the archetypes they represent, which is where our friend Jung comes in. Jung popularised the theory of archetypes – the “partial personalities” found ingrained from birth in our subconscious minds. The archetypes in Tarot are likewise woven within myth and legend. We are brought up as children with an awareness of what these universal legends “represent”, from fairy tales and board games to our wildest childhood dreams. Jung’s archetypes – the shadow, the ego, the anima – are constructed from our own life experiences. Each of us knows what they represent and how they may (or may not) relate to us as individuals. In fact, we know them so well that we’re pre-programmed to look for them in our everyday lives, because they help us to decode and understand the world. These archetypes, or characters, form the basis of Tarot reading. The patterns that emerge from a reading can help you to understand the problems or difficulties in your life. Because tarot deals with symbolism (just as analytical psychology deals with symbolism) the reading of the “story” laid out in front of you can take your understanding of human behaviour right back to basics. The cards can also help to demonstrate the feelings that might be lurking just beneath the surface of your subconscious mind, and even bring you in touch with feelings you’ve subsumed, or refused to acknowledge.


Ancient MOTIVATION

THE MINOR ARCANA Meet the rest of the pack. These cards are numbered and make up four suits – but that’s where the similarity with your traditional deck of playing cards ends. Instead of hearts, spades, diamonds and clubs, Tarot suits go by the names of cups, pentacles, swords and wands. Each suit contains 14 cards, which reflect the day-to-day activities in our lives.

CUPS

The people represented by the suit of cups are emotional, creative and artistic. They are emotionally connected and are often linked with the water zodiac signs of scorpio, pisces and cancer.

If your Tarot reading is predominantly cups cards, it may be that you are seeking solutions to emotional conflicts, or matters of the heart.

PENTACLES

Pentacles card meanings encompass aspects of work, business, money and possessions – the material matters of life. These cards relate to what we make of our surroundings.

If a Tarot reading is predominantly pentacles cards, you might be overly-focused on your career over your other life priorities. It often indicates that better goal-setting and planning is required.

WANDS

The suit of wands represents the element of fire. Wands deal with the spiritual connection, and mirror your core values and beliefs. They also address what makes us tick – all the things you do in your day to keep your mind occupied.

If a Tarot reading is predominantly wands cards, it might be a sign that you are too busy and need to re-focus.

SWORDS

The suit of swords is often associated with action, force and change. Sword cards symbolise the fine balance between intellect and power, and how these two elements can be used for good or evil. As such, the swords must be balanced by wands and cups.

Of all of the suits, this is considered to be the most powerful, and most dangerous.

Remember: If you are feeling strongly connected to one suit, try not to let it cloud your judgement. This isn’t like picking your house at Hogwarts. You don’t belong to just one suit. We all have qualities represented in all four suits.


Feature | Tarot

WHAT ARE THE KEY LAYOUTS? THE SEVEN-CARD HORSESHOE This layout helps you to consider specific problems. The cards act like a counsellor – prompting you to ask questions about yourself in relation to your concern. As with a counsellor, the cards do not give you the answers. They prompt you to reflect on the factors to provide the answers for yourself.

As a beginner, you may benefit from using this layout. To make things easier, go with a five-card horseshoe – one card in place of 3 & 4, and one card in place of 5 & 6.

1

3&4

2

Influences from your past affecting your attitude to the problem.

How the problem affects you psychologically.

5&6

Personal qualities to help you resolve the problem.

7

Personal qualities that may prevent a solution.

Personal qualities that can help you to avoid similar problems in the future.

THE CELTIC CROSS This layout concerns the big questions relating to the purpose of your life. The Celtic Cross prompts you to ask questions, rather than giving answers. Select a card that represents your question and place it face-up. Turn the rest of the deck face-down, shuffle, then choose a card from the top and place it face-down to cover your question card. This is card 1. Choose another card and place it face-down across card 1. This is card 2. As you place the rest of the cards face-down, try to visualise a cross and a circle. Finally, starting from card 1, turn the cards up one by one.

1 General influences affecting the question.

2

3

Obstacles in the Inner strengths way of finding an that can assist the answer. answer.

4 Past experiences that can help with the answer.

5 Hopes and aspirations connected with the answer.

6 Future experiences that help with your understanding.


Ancient MOTIVATION

Seeking motivation? Want to improve your self-knowledge? Maybe you fancy some empowerment? Tarot could be just the thing. Remember to think of the cards as a visual aid. They exist to help you on your journey to a deeper understanding of who you are

HOW DO YOU READ THE CARDS?

It’s possible to gain some insight into an issue by drawing one card from a deck. Or, a three-card reading can be enough to help you with a simple question about a particular topic: •

To read a situation, you should separate the cards into past, present and future.

To read a relationship, you can separate the cards into you and the other person.

To read yourself, you can separate the cards into mind, body and spirit (or self).

There are two approaches to the readings. The first is to see the cards and their placement as providing synchronicity in their meaning (very Jungian). The second is to regard the cards in any layout as the result of “chance”. The cards are merely there to focus you on a particular issue, rather than carrying meaning to one another.

CAN THE CARDS BE REVERSED?

You would think 78 cards with vastly different meanings would be enough for most people, but nope. Some experts like to turn a portion of the Tarot deck upside down, thereby giving them a whole new meaning. The traditional symbolism of upside down cards means they are “reversed”, or opposite to their intended meaning. It can also mean you are perhaps not currently paying enough attention to that element in your life. If you’re a beginner, we suggest giving this complex option a miss.

HOW CAN TAROT HELP YOU?

There’s more to Tarot than just mystical mumbo-jumbo and symbolic beauty. Seeking motivation? Want to improve your self-knowledge? Maybe you fancy some empowerment? Tarot could be just the thing. Whether you want to try out the cards for fun, as a self-development exercise, or as meditation, the power of Tarot can help you hone your intuition and gain an understanding of the influences affecting you. Remember to think of Tarot cards as a visual aid. By allowing them to reactivate your imagination and your ability to visualise, they can help you on your journey to a deeper understanding of who you are. Contrary to popular opinion, using your imagination actively isn’t merely a form of wistful daydreaming; it’s a transformational tool in waiting. If you become emotionally connected and invested in the cards so that their representations are no longer external objects, but internal guides, Tarot can act like a life-coach, a teacher helping you interpret your life. And that means opening yourself up to creative, positive change.

HOW DO YOU ASK QUESTIONS?

Nothing in Tarot should be taken negatively. The purpose is to make you think about the factors you uncover through the cards, as well as other interconnected issues. The cards are there to question how you feel. Each

time you choose a card, it is asking how you can use the qualities it represents, and why you emphasise or neglect them. The cards also help you read around a situation rather than taking a static view on it. There’s no wisdom of the ages. No damnation. No sorcery.

CAN TAROT HELP YOU MEDITATE?

That depends on your definition of meditation. By using meditation to focus your energy on one card in particular, it can help you access the behaviours of that card’s archetype, be it The Fool, The Empress or The Hanged Man. The cards also help you access alternative ways of dealing with stressful situations. Indeed, by focusing on the archetypes, Tarot plays a crucial role in your psychological development. Seriously, think it over.

WHAT’S THE TAKEAWAY?

If you’re a believer or a non-believer, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t even matter which deck of Tarot cards you choose from (and yes, there’s a Harry Potter deck), or what spread you lay them in. The important thing is to keep an openmind. Ask yourself what every thinker from Socrates to Wittgenstein has asked: “Who am I, essentially?” Perhaps the cards won’t interest you. Perhaps you’ll find them a bore. But if they do impress an idea upon you, then allow yourself to slow down. Put on some gentle music. Pour yourself a glass of wine. Maybe light a candle. Then put your faith where it rightfully belongs – in yourself. Tarot can help you see life as an equal playing field without judgement. Unless, of course, you deal the Judgement card.

‘The Wisdom Seeker’s Tarot’ by David Fontana, written by a professor of the British Psychological Society (Watkins, £14.99). happiful recommends this Tarot deck because it focuses on personal development.


Feature | No Filter

I’m not meant to be ‘aesthetically pleasing’. I’m more than that. My arms are for hugging people

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happiful INFLUENCER

The Internet’s

Big Sister

Grace Victory has been called the most inspirational YouTuber in the world. We meet the British vlogger to discuss mental health and body positivity Interview | Rebecca Thair

Hi Grace! What does body positivity mean to you? Body positivity celebrates every body type, but it originally started to celebrate bodies that are rarely seen: fatter bodies, disabled bodies, hair on the female body, stretch marks, cellulite, rolls, darker skinned women. It’s a celebration of everyone that exists – and that’s why I love it so much. How do you get through the tough days when you’re not feeling so confident? I try to listen to my own advice. I always preach that it’s really important to think of yourself as your own best friend. If your friend said: “I hate my body. I feel like I’m not good enough,” you’d support them, give them a confidence boost, and be there for them. That’s how we should all look after ourselves. Sometimes we feel inadequate, often because of social media. When that happens, I tend to take a step back from the internet to have a reality check, and tell myself I’m not meant to be “aesthetically pleasing”. I’m more than that. My arms are for hugging people, and my legs for dancing. At the end of the day, my body is housing me – it’s never let me down and it’s allowing me to do all these incredible things – and I don’t want to make it feel like it’s not good enough.

Is enough being done to represent diverse body types in the high street shops, and online? When someone creates an Instagram account, and they have a marginalised body type, that’s amazing. But I think massive corporate companies, the ones that can make a real difference to the world, are still very much failing body diversity. Individuals, bloggers and much smaller brands, are paving the way, but the ones who could make that massive impact aren’t doing it. We’re going into a revolution with attitudes towards issues and taboos, and brands need to wake up to it, because you can’t ignore people anymore. What was it like being involved in Nike’s diversity campaign? It was really weird, because the Nike campaign was just a blog post showcasing their plus-size workout gear and leisurewear. I woke up one day and it was like: “You’re in Refinery29, Glamour.” It wasn’t supposed to be that big of a deal, but I think because it was such a massive brand, and it was their first plus-sized collection, it went viral. But then it’s quite sad that, in 2017, we’re seeing brands’ first plus-sized collections. The average size in the UK is a 16, so why are so many brands stopping at a size 16? It’s bizarre.

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Feature | No Filter

What’s your thoughts on sizing not being standardised? It’s a vicious circle, because you empower young people to not give a damn about what size they are, and what they look like, and then you go into a store and try on some clothes and they don’t go past your ankle. It makes you feel bad because we’ve created this society where we don’t want people to think it’s OK to be bigger than a size 14, so they go back to feeling unempowered. It’s really important that we encourage young people to not pay attention to size. But also, it’s not just about people. What about the companies and brands making these clothes? It’s a narrative of trying to make people smaller: “Let’s try to make people lose weight so they can fit into these clothes,” and it’s just barbaric. That’s why I support brands like ASOS who really champion having real sizes, having diversity. They go from a size 4 to a 30, and that covers a lot of people. That’s not everyone, but the majority of people have ASOS to shop on.

Body positivity is to showcase self-love and to give marginalised people a voice Is the movement being exploited to sell products? One hundred percent. Body positivity was started by fat, black women in the States. If you look at any body positive campaign, you just see curvy, size 16, predominantly white, models. And, yes, that’s great, because everyone, no matter their size, has insecurities. But body positivity is meant to be for everyone. So many campaigns are failing where body positivity started, and that’s why I get frustrated, because we’re taking away the movement that these people started, pumping it with money, commercialising it to sell a product, and that’s not what it is at all. Body positivity is to showcase self-love and body acceptance and to give marginalised people a voice. Recently ASOS used models with stretch marks. People raved about it. But they were still slim models… It’s great, because skinny people have stretch marks and still have insecurities, but we have to champion the people that aren’t seen – bodies with rolls, and stretch marks on their arms. Stretch marks on bums and legs aren’t revolutionary. Seeing stretch marks on stomachs and arms – places that are deemed “ugly” – are needed. We have so far to go, but it has to start somewhere, and I’m all for brands at least trying. What do you say to help someone embrace body positivity? Educate yourself. When you become aware that society and the beauty industry are capitalising and making money off our insecurities, that is empowerment enough to be like: “I’m not giving

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them any money. I’m not going to hate myself anymore.” Try to look at yourself as more than your body. I think there’s a lot of pressure for women to care what we look like, but take all of that away and you’re still worthy and still beautiful. Some critics say body positivity is actually damaging people’s health. What’s your response? It’s important to recognise that health isn’t always related to weight. You can be fat and healthy, or underweight and unhealthy. Health is a choice. If people want to live an unhealthy lifestyle, that’s up to them. They’re not promoting it. It’s saying: “Hey, you can love yourself.” I’m bigger now than I was three years ago, but I’m so much healthier because I’m not restricting my food or binge eating. I’m not tearing myself down at every god-given second. That to me is what health is. If you’ve got a healthy mind-set and are working on your mental health, your body will follow. We’ve got to empower people to listen to their bodies. To wake up in the morning and think: “What do I fancy? What’s my body telling me to eat?” We’re put in this box where we’ve got to count calories and stop eating carbs, and it’s ruined the enjoyment of food because women are trying to be a certain size, but there’s no wrong way to be a woman. When did you first recognise that your relationship with food was becoming unhealthy? I think I’ve always had issues with food. I went to a performing arts school, so it may have been that. I always remember feeling the biggest, being the biggest. I danced every day so I was really fit, but I had big thighs and stretch marks. I thought I had to be thin to be successful, to be anyone in life, and I didn’t think I was good enough. I was called fat when I was 12, and at the time I thought being fat was the worst thing in the world. I developed an eating disorder and I started restricting or not eating at all, throwing up or self-harming. I was on a warpath, and I couldn’t take my anger out on the person who called me fat. I couldn’t pinpoint why I was so devastated and what was going on with me, so it manifested and got worse as I got older. I thought that this was my life forever, and it’s taken its toll on me. I met Emmy, my therapist, last year. I got diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder and disordered eating. I think society as a whole has a really warped view around food, so it’s no surprise that people have eating problems. But that’s why I’m trying to share my journey – the good parts and the bad parts – in the hopes that people can be inspired to go on their own [journey]. You’re considered ‘the internet’s big sister’ – does that come with pressure, or was it something very natural for you? I think it’s very natural. In terms of talking about the stuff that matters, there’s no pressure at all because it’s what I want to do. Even if I wasn’t doing YouTube videos, and I wasn’t a blogger, I’d still be helping people in some way. I used to work in a children’s care home before YouTube, so it’s just who I am. Luckily, I’m able to make a career out of helping people, which is mind-blowing.


happiful INFLUENCER

August 2017 • happiful • 49


Feature | No Filter ‘I want it to be an infinite girl guide... about trying to be the best version of yourself you can be’

Women are trying to be a certain size, but there’s no wrong way to be a woman You progressed from blogging on fashion and beauty, to opening up about mental health issues. That’s a big leap. What made you decide to move in that direction? I was just over it. YouTube and blogging became oversaturated with marble backgrounds, fluffy rugs, and I just thought I can’t be arsed with this. I like that, but it doesn’t make me happy. Take that away from me and I’ll be fine, but take away my voice, and talking about body image issues, I need that. So, I just thought I’m going to talk about stuff I wish I could have seen and heard when I was younger. I think I’m at a place in my life where I owe it to myself, and my childhood self, to talk about the stuff I went through. You’re now a published author! Did you enjoy writing your book? It was exhausting, and therapeutic, and great, and all of the emotions. I had my therapist help me through it as well, because I was talking about quite heavy subjects. How about that leap from blogging to full-blown manuscript? I’m very aware of talking about certain subjects on the internet, because you can open a can of worms for people. But in my book

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it’s a safe environment, and I can really think about what I’m saying and how it’ll affect people. That was my chance to just have my say on every topic I want to talk about – domestic violence for instance, or mental health. It’s closure for me. My life from 26 and under is going to be out there soon, and I can move on and do other things. What are your hopes for the book? Do you see it as a memoir or more of a self-help guide? I want it to be an infinite girl guide, talking about what you’ve gone through and how to change it, and trying to be the best version of yourself you can be, despite all the crap that you’ve been through. It can be passed down generation to generation, because body issues and mental health issues are unfortunately always going to be a problem in society. My advice is out there for anyone and everyone to have at any given moment. Grace’s book, ‘No Filter’ is out now (Headline, £14.99). Keep up to date with Grace’s personal journey by checking out her blog at graciefrancesca.com, or follow her YouTube channel or twitter (@GraceFVictory).


holistic HEALING

OSTEOPATHY What’s the Crack?

Getting to grips with the complementary therapy that snaps healing into place Writing | Rebecca Thair

B

ack pain is one of the leading causes of time off work in the UK, accounting for about 30 million days of work lost in 2016. And it isn’t just painful for our bodies. According to the Backcare charity, back pain is hurting our wallets as well, costing the NHS an estimated £480 million every year. So what if there was an alternative, complementary therapy that could help both the physical pain, and our economy? Osteopathy, a holistic therapy you can feel (and sometimes hear) working, could be the answer. >>> August 2017 • happiful • 51


Feature | Osteopathy

What is osteopathy?

Like many holistic therapies, osteopathy sees healing and good health connected to balance within the body. The basic principal is that the bones, muscles, ligaments and connective tissue should all be working smoothly, like a well-oiled machine, in order to achieve overall wellbeing. Osteopaths look to relieve tension in muscles, increase joint mobility, promote blood circulation, and generally help your body to heal, through physical manipulation. This can involve elements of stretching and massage, and is often used to treat musculoskeletal issues. It’s recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as a treatment for lower back pain, but it’s often also used to treat neck and shoulder pain, arthritis, problems caused by posture, and sports injuries.

VERTEBRAE-CE YOURSELF FOR FACTOIDS 33 vertebrae make up the spine. 24 vertebrae are separate bones, while nine are fused together. The spine is divided into five sections: 1. Cervical spine: seven vertebrae at the top of the neck that allows for rotation of the skull. 2. Thoracic spine: 12 vertebrae that your ribs are attached to, and support most of the body’s weight. 3. Lumbar spine: five vertebrae in the lower back. 4. Sacrum: five bones fused together at the bottom of the back and joins the coccyx, which is four small bones and stems from evolution where we originally had tails (hence the ‘tailbone’).

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Where did it start?

The therapy was founded in 1874 by Andrew Taylor Still, a physician and surgeon from Missouri, USA, who was interested in harmonising the body and the health benefits of doing this. He’s considered a real pioneer of “wellness”, and was looking at methods of treatment that minimised the need for surgery – considering that at the time surgery could actually be quite harmful, and three of his own children died from spinal meningitis. His concept was that doctors should be looking to treat the entire body of a patient, rather than just a disease or a specific problem. In 1892, Still established the American School of Osteopathy, and his students were educated for two years in physiology and anatomy before graduating as Doctors of Osteopathy (DOs). J Martin Littlejohn is noted for bringing osteopathy to Britain in 1913, after emigrating to America and studying under Still. When Littlejohn returned to Britain, he cofounded the British School of Osteopathy (BSO) and then the Journal of Osteopathy in 1917. The British Osteopathic Association, formed in 1903, wanted to create a school that taught osteopathy alongside


holistic HEALING

Osteopathy is recommended by NICE as a treatment for lower back pain

OSTEOPATHY & ME happiful reader Karen’s experience:

conventional medicine, but this view wasn’t shared with the BSO. It took until 1946 for them to form the London College of Osteopathic Medicine, which gave osteopathic courses to medical professionals, and meant graduates were the first British-trained osteopaths. Osteopathy wasn’t legally regulated until 1993 when the Osteopaths Act was finally introduced, which led to statutory regulation and professionals requiring registration with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) in order to practise as a qualified osteopath.

Scientific evidence

With back pain being the primary reason many people seek osteopathy, there are a reasonable number of studies with evidence to support the treatment’s efficacy in this area. Alex F Broom et al. detailed the results of an Australian longitudinal study in BMC Complementary Alternative Medicine in 2012. Their data were from more than 10,000 women surveyed about the use of conventional or complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)

“I injured my back and neck at work and was in a lot of pain and discomfort, so my mum recommended I visit her osteopath. I had no idea what to expect from the treatment, so I went with an open mind. I had a few sessions and found that it did really help relieve my symptoms. I have a vivid memory of the treatment: I was lying on my back on the bed, with the osteopath working on my neck. Suddenly, I heard a loud ‘crack’. She had managed to relieve some of the tension from the right side of my body. However, throughout my sessions, my left side always proved more difficult. I would definitely seek another osteopath if my symptoms ever return, and would recommend the treatment to other people.”

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Feature | Osteopathy

‘Women who had frequent back pain were more likely to consult a CAM practitioner’

treatments over 12 months. They found that 77% of the women surveyed experienced back pain during those 12 months, and 44% consulted both conventional and CAM practitioners. Interestingly, women who had frequent back pain were more likely to consult a CAM practitioner. There are claims that osteopathy can treat conditions not directly related to bones and joints, such as migraines, digestive disorders, and painful periods. However, there is insufficient scientific evidence to back these claims. There have been a few interesting studies researching these possible alternative treatments though. A study by Manu Goyal et al. published in Contemporary Clinical Dentistry in 2017 found that osteopathic manipulative treatment was effective in treating a 54 • happiful • August 2017

patient with oral submucous fibrosis, which is a chronic, progressive disease that leads to the inability to open one’s mouth. The case study found that while pharmacological treatment didn’t produce an effective result in the ability to open the mouth wider, the osteopathic treatment, given twice a week for four weeks (alongside a home exercise programme), had effective results, with the patient being able to increase his mouth opening from 10mm to 22mm by the end of the treatment course. This study is certainly limited by being a single case, but demonstrates that there are possible further uses for osteopathic treatment beyond back pain, although significantly more research and investigation into its effectiveness is needed.


holistic HEALING

TREATMENT TECHNIQUES Osteopaths may use the following during a treatment session: Soft tissue techniques: uses massage elements to release tension in anything that isn’t bone – muscles, tendons, ligaments and facia. Joint mobilisation and articulation: uses rhythmic movement of your joints to stimulate blood flow. Myofascial release: focuses on the fascial tissue around muscles then helps correct postural tension. Cranial osteopathy: looks to balance fluid and membranous strains in the body with minute manipulations of the cranial bones. This technique is popular for helping babies sleep, as their bones are still soft and fusing, and it could help realign their spine from birth. Thrust techniques: specifically targets joints with high velocity movements to help reset ligament and muscular strain patterns, returning your natural reflexes. Functional techniques: uses subtle manipulation to improve the quality of movement. The technique sees movement in the body controlled by the brain and through the spinal column. By ensuring the vertebrae are aligned properly, for example, the neural pathway is clear for movement messages to flow.

Spine-tingling osteo-facts:

According to the General Osteopathic Council there are: • • • •

5,218 registered osteopaths in the UK. 2,647 of these osteopaths are female. Training to be an osteopath takes four years. 30,000 people consult osteopaths every day.

The treatment

At the start of your treatment, the osteopath will talk through your medical history, the symptoms you currently have, and your general health, in order to make the most of your session. Based on your discussions, the osteopath should be able to describe the treatment they can provide, and whether they would refer you on to a GP for any tests to help assess your issue. Osteopaths look to diagnose, treat and help prevent musculoskeletal disorders. The osteopath will use techniques such as massage to work tension from the muscles to promote relaxation. They’ll stretch out stiff joints, and use short, sharp movements (known as highvelocity thrusts) to the spine, which produce the “cracking” noise similar to clicking your knuckles. The overall aim is to reduce any pain in the body, improve the body’s movement ability, and encourage blood circulation. While the treatment shouldn’t feel painful, it’s possible to feel a little stiff for a few days after your first treatment, particularly if you’re seeking treatment for a specific injury. An initial treatment can last up to an hour, while continued treatments are likely to take between 30 and 40 minutes. The length of a treatment course will depend on the injury, however NICE recommends that lower back pain is treated in up to nine sessions over 12 weeks. Osteopathy treatments aren’t widely available on the NHS, but your GP should be able to advise if it’s an option in your local area. Alternatively, there are lots of private osteopaths across the UK, ranging from around £35–£50 for a session. To find out more about osteopathy treatment and how it could help you, visit therapy-directory.org.uk. You can also search for osteopaths in your local area to tackle that pain and get you back to your old self again. August 2017 • happiful • 55


Features | Child Mental Health

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A-Z

xxxx XXXXXXXXX

CHILD GUIDE TO

MENTAL HEALTH Writing | Kat Nicholls

According to the Mental Health Foundation, nearly one in 10 children and young people aged five to 16 are affected by a mental health problem. Our formative years shape who we are, and while happiful believes it’s never too late to seek support, the general consensus is that early intervention and the right guidance offers a greater quality of life. This means recognising the risk factors, putting protective factors in place, addressing mental health issues in family conversations, and reaching out for support when necessary. Let’s now look at some common mental health concerns that affect our children, and discover what we can do to ensure we’re raising them to be as happy as possible >>>

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BULLYING ANXIETY As a child, having worries is natural. The world can be a scary place at times. But when these worries begin to pile up and affect a child’s wellbeing, they can quickly evolve into anxiety. For children, this feeling of fear and panic can be very confusing, and very overwhelming. In the UK, anxiety disorders are believed to affect 5–19% of all children and adolescents and around 2–5% of children aged 12 or under. The most commonly seen in children is generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). This is when someone feels anxious all the time without any clear source. Talking therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help children manage their anxieties, and parents are encouraged to get involved.

ATTACHMENT DISORDER We all make attachments to our caregiver or parents. This attachment helps us feel safe and secure, allowing us to grow, learn and try new things while feeling supported. For some children, however, things don’t go as planned, and this initial attachment isn’t formed. Support and education (if required) of the family is key, with play therapy and family therapy often used in tandem to help children recover.

BEHAVIOURAL PROBLEMS Behavioural problems, or “disruptive behaviour”, covers a wide range of concerns, including difficulties managing anger, and conduct disorder. If your child’s behaviour is very out of the ordinary, it could be worth seeking additional support, such as CBT. Research shows conduct disorders are more common in boys than girls. Of those aged five to 10, 7% of boys and 3% of girls have conduct disorders.

Some may think bullying is simply a “right of passage”, but the truth is, bullying can be incredibly damaging to young people’s mental health. In a survey carried out by Counselling Directory, counsellors said 72% of their bullying-related clients originally sought help for a different reason (such as anxiety and depression). This implies that many adults come to identify bullying in childhood as a contributing factor to present-day mental health problems. Nearly half of all children are affected by bullying at some point during school, either as the victim or as the bully. Talking to children about the subject of bullying can help them feel more comfortable discussing it – and don’t be afraid to approach schools for further intervention.

BEREAVEMENT Death and loss is hard at any age, but is particularly difficult for children to negotiate. Reacting strongly is quite normal. Remember, children are suddenly dealing with new and potentially disturbing emotions. They may benefit from further support when grieving. Keeping communication open is key.

The Risk Factors

Mental health is a complicated area and there are many reasons why one child develops a condition while another child does not. There are certain risk factors, however, that experts believe may play a part. These include: Complications during birth and early infancy Poor attachment to caregivers Family instability Bullying Poor connection between family and school Abuse or trauma Death of a family member Isolation Discrimination Lack of access to support services


Keeping Children Mentally Healthy

DEPRESSION One of the most common mood disorders, depression is estimated to affect almost one in four people before they turn 19. Many features of depression are similar to feeling sad, but if your child is experiencing these low feelings for long periods of time, it’s worth seeking help. Children may also show more physical symptoms that may initially seem unrelated. For example, they may say they feel sick, have a tummy ache, or complain of headaches more often. Encouraging conversation about feelings and emotions early can help children feel more comfortable talking about feeling low. Talking therapies are recommended to help children overcome depression. Medication is rarely offered to young people; however, in some cases, it may be advised (especially if it’s used to help other mental health conditions too).

LEARNING DIFFICULTIES

A learning difficulty is when someone has difficulty developing their knowledge and skills to the level expected of their peers. An example of learning difficulties would include dyslexia and attention deficit disorder (ADD). Having a good support network from family, teachers and doctors helps children with learning difficulties flourish.

SELF-HARM

EATING DISORDERS

Self-harm is when someone hurts themselves on purpose. This can include cutting, scratching and hair pulling. It can be incredibly distressing if you suspect your child is self-harming. There are several reasons why someone Remember, may start to self-harm; professionals are usually it’s a coping here to help you and mechanism to help your family. Don’t be them deal with afraid to reach out for difficult emotions. support. Visit: Showing your counselling-directory. support and not being org.uk judgemental is key.

While eating disorders typically develop during adolescence, they can occur as early as six-yearsold. There are many reasons why someone develops an eating disorder, regardless of cause – research suggests early intervention improves chances of recovery. Essentially this means, the earlier you address the problem, the better. If you are concerned about your child’s eating habits, speaking to your GP is a good place to start. They can refer your child to eating disorder specialists and guide you towards support for yourself and other members of the family.

SEPARATION ANXIETY It’s natural for children to feel a sense of anxiety when they’re separated from their parents, and is a normal stage of development. It’s common in children aged between six months and three years, and they tend to grow out of it. But if their anxiety worsens as they grow older, visit your GP. They may recommend relaxation techniques, or suggest CBT.

As parents and guardians, we should try to raise our children as best we can. Of course, this doesn’t mean we’re supposed to have all the answers, or that we’re doing a bad job if our child does develop a mental health condition. It means we should educate ourselves, reduce risk factors where possible, and support our children. Being open and honest about mental health, and talking about it in the same way we talk about physical health, is a great start. An important trait to encourage in children is resilience. Being able to “bounce back” and cope with challenges is a skill that can help overcome some of the risk factors of mental health problems. Here are a few ways to improve your child’s resilience: Build caring relationships Children thrive when they have a sense of belonging. To encourage this, ensure your child has at least one caring relationship in their lives. Establish a support network Children should feel safe. Having a support network is helpful, especially if the child has a mental health condition. Have routines Routines help children feel safe and help to build resilience. Look after yourself Finally, it’s important to look after yourself and your own mental health. Joining support groups for those dealing with similar issues can help, or consider talking to a counsellor yourself. We all have mental health issues, and there is often no direct cause or reason for them developing. We’re all doing our best, and just by taking an interest in your child’s mental health, you’re already doing brilliantly.


True Life | My Story

Real people. Amazing journeys.

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Jackie’s story

I lost my leg as a baby, but it never stopped me from living a fulfilled life A feisty and rebellious child, Jackie Coventry’s incredible journey has led her through many a dense forest, but her determination and resilience brought her to a place of love, mindfulness and healing

M

y left leg was amputated when I was just 11 days old. Apparently, I made medical history, which my mother used to relate to me with great pride. I had blood clots in both my legs. They saved my right leg and my left leg was removed below the knee. I learned to walk at 11 months using a rather unattractive prosthetic leg. I now have that prosthetic on my hall table under a glass dome! My parents had a very robust and positive attitude towards my situation. The word “disabled” was not permitted at home, and I was encouraged to do everything that able-bodied children were able to do. If I fell over, for example, I was told to get up again! Self-pity was never an option. Interestingly, I don’t ever remember being bullied. Well, actually I once remember a boy riding past on his bike as I was walking to school when I was about 12, and he called me a “one-and-a-half-legged creature”. I thought that was rather absurd. I think I just laughed. I was a feisty and determined child. Sometimes I was told I was belligerent, which I loved.

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True Life | My Story

Mindfulness, the lack of judgement, and loving kindness towards myself, has healed me in so many ways and helped me to live a happier and more fulfilled life

When I was eight years old, I remember my father telling me that I probably wouldn’t be able to use roller skates when I asked for a pair. I replied: “Of course I can!” and demanded a pair. We lived in Matlock, a hilly part of Derbyshire, and I used to terrify my parents by jumping off the wall outside our house and racing down the hill on my shiny new roller skates. I still love that memory. I had many surgeries as a child to manage the rapidlygrowing bone of my stump in order to avoid rubbing and pain from the prosthesis, and I attended many hospital visits to have new legs made as I grew older and taller. This wasn’t always an easy part of my childhood, but I learned to deal with it by just getting on with it. It helped me to develop resilience and determination, but it might have also been helpful to talk about things sometimes – something not encouraged in those days. Adolescence was tricky, not helped by the fact that my father was the headmaster of my school. I didn’t have boyfriends and I thought it was because of my leg. I made up for that later. I had wanted to be a nurse from the age of six, but I was told many times that I wouldn’t cope with the physical demands. Naturally, that made me even more determined. I qualified as a general nurse and eventually became a Senior Sister in the assisted conception unit at Basingstoke Hospital, which made me immensely proud. By this time, I had met and fallen madly in love with my insanely clever and funny husband, Stuart, and had three wonderful boys. We lived in Hong Kong for three years, which was exciting, colourful and not without its problems for me. I loved it. Daniel, our eldest, was a spirited and highly intelligent child, and extremely challenging. He was expelled from kindergarten at the age of three for biting the teacher. I 62 • happiful • August 2017

was devastated at the time, but of course, it’s a funny story now. He has since gone on to qualify as a doctor through Oxford University, which is rather satisfying. What I am most proud of is his amazing capacity for empathy. However, we had some very tough times and I often felt out of my depth. At 19, he was eventually diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This was after many years of seeking help. A history of defiance, as well as failing to achieve his full potential, plus many school exclusions along the way, had taken its toll on my marriage and close relationships, and in particular, his brothers. His frustration with the world and its (often) unsupportive systems had led him to use drugs as a coping mechanism. He was pretty angry for a very long time and I was often the main target of that anger. My husband Stu is a beautiful, wise and funny man, but he coped with the situation by going to work and leaving a lot of the emotional side of the situation to me. I often felt unsupported and very alone. In addition, I had a lot of funding issues for my prosthetic legs, because the government was beginning to make a lot of cutbacks, which I found intensely difficult. I also found it difficult to admit how depressed I was becoming. My programming kicked in. Ironically, by then I’d left the health service, having been made redundant while I was on maternity leave from my Nursing Sister’s position. It resulted in a tribunal, which I lost. It was an extremely painful time. I felt rejected, unwanted and so very lost. I trained as a counsellor and entered another highly rewarding but challenging career while juggling the demands of three fabulous but naughty boys. I worked with the charity Relate as a senior counsellor for several years. I loved it, despite its challenges. I became the


Real INSPIRATION

domestic violence coordinator and I believe I was good at my job. I eventually left and worked for the youth offending team, supporting families of young people who were offending. This was partly triggered by Dan’s challenging behaviour and frequent brushes with the law. Again, it was rewarding but challenging work. During this time my mother was diagnosed with early dementia. She was in her 60s and lived more than 200 miles away. I was constantly torn between my family and career demands, and many family disputes over how to best care for my mum. My dad eventually became very sick, after many years of taking care of mum and her increasingly complex needs. Eventually I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic condition involving extreme pain, fatigue and neurological symptoms. I felt like a complete failure and a burden on the people I loved. I had always fixed everyone else. Soon after the diagnosis my pain specialist referred me to a wonderful woman, Anne Walters, a consultant psychologist who introduced me to mindfulness to help me cope with the effects of my condition. It was life changing in more ways than I was expecting. Through mindfulness, I’ve learned to own up and accept my tendency towards depression, something I had previously been ashamed of. I’ve also learned to take care of myself with love and compassion, which is something I’d considered to be self-indulgent in the past.

I feel so blessed to be doing something I love so much, that nourishes me rather than depletes me. I never thought I’d start up a business at my stage of life Mindfulness means paying attention, on purpose in a particular way without judgment. It is the lack of judgement coupled with loving kindness towards myself that has healed me in so many ways and helped me to live a happier and more fulfilled life. I decided to train as a mindfulness teacher with Bangor University and I now run a variety of courses from my home in Hampshire, and in Morocco (another passion of mine!). By teaching mindfulness, it helps me to continue

xxxxxx

and develop my practice. I’m such a rebel, I know I would procrastinate otherwise! I love my students and feel blessed to be doing something I love so much that nourishes me rather than depletes me. I never thought I’d start up a business at my stage of life and have so much fun doing it. The saying, “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,” comes to mind. I started two years ago with “an introduction to mindfulness day” in a beautiful tranquil setting in Essaouira, Morocco. (I am also in the process of setting up an association in Morocco to help amputees.) It’s a wonderfully relaxing place. I fell in love with it five years ago. It’s also a fun place to learn about mindfulness and to explore the culture and amazing magic there. I aim to run at least four retreats a year from there, as well as continue to build my retreats and classes from home. I feel people need a safe and nurturing place to explore or revisit mindfulness. People are often struggling with some painful and traumatic difficulty in their lives and my practice is formed with an intention of love and healing.

OUR EXPERT SAYS Fe Robinson, MUKCP (reg), MBACP (reg) pyschotherapist and clinical supervisor, writes:

Jackie’s story is a powerful reminder of the importance of managing your emotional wellbeing. Her natural resilience and family support has enabled her to live a very full life despite challenges. Her growing comfort with acknowledging and being with emotions in a mindful way has clearly helped her overcome her depressive tendency. Finding your own unique blend of selfhelp and support is important when facing long-term adversity and coming to know yourself more deeply.

August 2017 • happiful • 63


Jessica’s story Jess and Gareth on their wedding day

I live with five minds in one body After growing up with memory loss and blackouts, Jessica’s passion for psychology led her to recognise her own very rare condition – dissociative identity disorder

A

t six years old, a boy called Jake and I, tried to create an imaginary friend. Jake was small and shy, with these big royal blue eyes. He was sweet and gentle, and we’d developed a really close bond over the time we’d known each other. We sat together, closing our eyes, trying to create an imaginary creature – a hamster. When we looked up and saw no ball of fluff, we shut our eyes and tried again. The excitement and magic of it soon left when we opened our eyes for the umpteenth time and no imaginary friend had appeared.

64 • happiful • August 2017

Ironically, no one but me could see Jake – the boy I’d talked to was in my head. I’d forgotten about Jake for some time, just remembering him fondly as a boy I once knew and played with, and the rest of my childhood seemed a blur. Unbeknownst to me, putting together the pieces of my daily life was a task that most people didn’t have to do. At nine years old, I began to suffer with panic attacks. I was unable to change for P.E. without suffering these bouts of upsetting suffocation. I dreaded anything that would make me feel exposed, and yet there seemed to be no cause.


Real INSPIRATION

Then at 12 years old, flashbacks of childhood trauma began to flood my vision. I suffered terribly with night terrors and the panic attacks grew worse. I had no understanding of why this was happening to me, but it was tiring and relentless. I remember crying to myself in the mirror – my body was developing and changing rapidly and yet it didn’t feel like my own. I would wear baggy clothes and hide my breasts with a sports bra. I felt so confused over my gender, my sexuality, and my identity. But it was during a drama class that I began to realise something was happening. “You talk in an American accent whenever you perform,” my teacher told me. But I was adamant I couldn’t have been. It was only when I was filmed and watched myself back for the first time that I realised it wasn’t me performing. As I listened to the voice coming out of my mouth – the American sing-song voice in a slightly deeper tone – my heart hit the floor. The person moving my mouth was the boy I had known in my head all those years ago. It was Jake, and he had grown up too. I realised that whenever Jake took over, I’d lose chunks of my memory. In shock and denial, it became a mission for me to shut out anything to do with these “people in my head”. I’d grown up with boys’ clothes that would hide my figure – I’d found it hard to know whether I was a boy or a girl and whether my name was really my own. But now that Jake had come forward, it all started to make sense. I had more revelations as I became more self-aware. There was a slightly older boy with a posh English accent, who’d sometimes make an entrance, too – I’d often been quizzed about whether I was English when, in fact, I was born and raised in a little Welsh town. Jamie seemed to be confident and charming, and as I glued the pieces together of who was in my head, I began to make more sense of what was left and what belonged to me. For so long I’d been pushing the people in my head away, and yet I still struggled with blackouts and memory loss – it wouldn’t stop, no matter what I did. If anything, it seemed worse. That’s when Ed became apparent. I’d return to my body with self-harm injuries, completely terrified. I was frightened, lost, and didn’t know what to do. But it was at that point I noticed these people in my head could interact with each other; Jamie became a soothing ear to Ed. I could hear their conversations sometimes, and noticed they weren’t so frightening – Ed was troubled but he didn’t mean to take it out on me. On my 16th birthday, I introduced the “people in my head” to a new boy I’d met, Gareth. He was handsome

Jess graduated from Bangor University in 2013

‘Unbeknownst to me, putting together the pieces of my daily life was a task most people didn’t have to do’

Ironically, no one but me could see Jake – the boy I’d talked to was in my head August 2017 • happiful • 65


True Life | My Story

‘Gareth and I got married in Hawaii in February 2016’

with a kind smile and I felt I could talk to him about anything. Rather than running for the hills, Gareth wanted to know more about these people and how they influenced my life. He didn’t judge me or the people in my head – he just wanted me to be happy. The concerns of the people in my head were put to bed, and I began to focus on my A-levels. With career prospects looming, I’d been researching my chosen aspiration online – psychology. As I scrolled through pages of diagnostics, I found myself reading about schizophrenia – “Not to be confused with Dissociative Identity Disorder,” the link said. Curious, I looked into this mysterious condition, and began to feel sick. Each symptom spoke to me; it was a tick list of everything I had suffered with for so many years. The people in my head finally had a category – they were known as “alters”. Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is characterised by altered states of consciousness taking over and/or controlling thoughts and behaviour. Jake, Jamie, and Ed were all identities within my head. I wanted to deny it more than anything in the world, but with each line I read it became more and more obvious that this is what I had. I cried to Gareth and told him everything. I was distraught. How could I ever function with something so complicated? But Gareth didn’t flinch. Instead, he was happy we’d found 66 • happiful • August 2017

I would wear baggy clothes and hide my breasts with a sports bra. I felt so confused over my gender, my sexuality, and my identity a name for it and that perhaps I could now get help. But it wasn’t that simple… I was more able to explain to my doctors what was going on now, but, referral after referral, I was passed around flummoxed mental health professionals – no one could tell me what was wrong, and even when I suggested what it could be, no one knew about DID. My final straw came when I was told: “I can’t help you or know anyone who can,” by a psychiatrist. He was my last hope of helping me control my alters and stopping the blackouts and panic attacks. My A-levels had been a particularly difficult time and I couldn’t take any more disappointment. I threw in the towel and applied to study clinical and health psychology at university. Regularly being around expert psychologists made me realise how different they were from my small-town doctors


Real INSPIRATION

– my tutor was incredible. She helped me clarify what was going on, and when my mental health worsened, insisted that I get a diagnosis in order for the university to better support me. I attended one of the very sparse specialist trauma and dissociation centres in the UK. Corroborated by a specialist, I finally had the answer I had been expecting. I wasn’t sure whether to be happy or sad. I felt so much shame, and yet so much relief. But university ended up giving me support in more ways than one. Living with people 24/7 got particularly uncomfortable for my alters, who would mask themselves as me, but as the months went on, their masking became lax as they started to enjoy my friends’ company. Two friends – Vicky and Jo – asked, “What’s going on Jess? One day you’re happy, the next minute you’re sad. You like tea, but then you don’t?” I was so exhausted that I blurted everything out. All Vicky and Jo did was agree that it made sense, and finally they had an answer. The alters got closer to my friends and then to their own – living university life as if it were their own between classes, and by the end of my final year, we had begun to live in harmony. It was here that Gareth proposed to me – to us – wanting to spend the rest of our lives together.

Gareth and I got married in Hawaii in February 2016, and now have our own home with a cat and puppy included. We’ve developed a good routine with my alters – with me being able to work 9–5 successfully, and my alters using my down time as their own. Whereas Jake might use the morning to go jogging or to the gym, Ed prefers to use his time for cooking and painting, while Jamie helps me study and Ollie kicks back with video games to relax. I understand that the journey of learning more about myself, and my others, will be a long one, but the journey is one that I’m determined we can do by continuing to work on our communication and cooperation. I’m pursuing my postgraduate degree in psychotherapy and will continue to advocate for DID wherever I can, in the hope that one day, the stigma of this condition will be minimised and people with a diagnosis like mine will no longer fear being open.

Gareth wanted to know more about these people in my head and how they influenced my life. He didn’t judge us – he just wanted me to be happy With my new-found confidence, and growing weary of hiding my disorder, I began to speak out, loud and proud. Aiming to break down the stigma of DID and create awareness of this controversial disorder to doctors and mental health workers, I spoke at university lectures and online to encourage others with this disorder to live their dreams despite stereotypes others may have of this condition. I set up a YouTube channel “MultiplicityAndMe” and began to send out positivity and encouragement. From there, I was contacted by the BBC to be a part of a documentary called “Diaries of a Broken Mind”. I graduated with a 2:1 Honours degree and soon after, we and our friends all sat around to watch the documentary as it broadcast. It was a roaring success and we won a Mind Media Award for the best documentary of the year in 2014.

‘Diaries of a Broken Mind’ won Best Documentary of the Year at the 2014 Mind Media Awards

OUR EXPERT SAYS Fe Robinson, MUKCP (reg), MBACP (reg) pyschotherapist and clinical supervisor, writes:

Jessica’s story is an important reminder that healing can be found by sponsoring and understanding what parts of ourself are trying to tell us. When we find ways to listen, we can work with the energy of what is happening. Staying true to your own experience and keeping going until you find what helps you is a salutory lesson from Jessica’s story; I am so glad her personal and professional development have enabled her so deeply.

August 2017 • happiful • 67


Chaitanya’s story

I survived a relationship with a narcissist Chaitanya Pankhania thought she had found the man of her dreams, but his deeply manipulative methods made her think about taking her own life. Through courage and inner strength, she finally found freedom and a richer life

T

hey say love is blind. But when you love the complex heart of a narcissist, it can be deaf and dumb too. These types of victims believe they are truly in love. The narcissist, however, by their very demeanour, character and behaviour, is always selfserving, always severe, and always duplicitous. I was one of these victims, and here I will share my story. Honest as I am, I always expected others to be as straightforward as me. This was my weakness. When I met my ex-partner, he was charismatic, charming and passionate. To get to know me, he created different lies and excuses to contact me. Time went on and his texts turned to phone calls. These calls then turned into hours of deep conversations. The more we spoke, the more I fell for him. Little did I know he was in another relationship. The first six months of the relationship was like a fairy tale. I was the princess – the centre of the story – and he was my hero. Every day he would tell me how beautiful and amazing I was. He literally worshipped the ground I

68 • happiful • August 2017

I blocked his mental and verbal abuse with my mind’s self-protective instinct, but I recall being in floods of tears alone in my bedroom walked on, professing how much he wanted to marry me, and once even performed a romantic private proposal. These were all examples of the “overvaluing” that narcissists do to their victims. I flew into his woven web, like a love-blind fly looking for a beautiful escape. During the start of our relationship, I noticed his need for status and fame. He had high ambitions, making friends with those who benefited him, but he also criticised them


Real INSPIRATION

He cut my self-esteem down by devaluing me. He said my parents didn’t love me and that he was the only person in the world who did

‘I learned the problem was in him, not in me’

harshly behind their backs. This made me uncomfortable, but I never saw it as a problem, until I was at the receiving end of his disrespect. Soon, the fairy tale ended. Finding out about his biggest lie – him cheating on his ex-girlfriend with me – was like pulling off the first bead of a necklace. All of the other hidden lies soon cascaded. Previously, I had had intuitive feelings about the other girl, which he shrugged off as my insecurities and paranoia (a term called “gaslighting”), but I realised that I was right all along. As I was no longer giving him the adoration he craved (his narcissistic supply), his growing nastiness took many new forms. He began to cut my self-esteem down by devaluing me. He said my parents and family didn’t love me and that he was the only person in the world who did, despite him treating me like he hated me at times. He told me that if I ever became seriously ill he wouldn’t want to take care of me, because he had his own life goals to pursue. At times, he “showed me off ” to certain friends and family members; at others times, where I added no value to his image, he lied about his relationship status and would even ignore me at events we attended together.

I felt incredibly used and disregarded. He deflected all responsibility for his lies and misbehaviours and found some way to blame me every time. He would scream and shout at me on the phone, but in person his way of solving arguments was through physical intimacy, and I began to feel like he only cared for my body. I blocked his mental and verbal abuse with my mind’s self-protective instinct, but I recall being in floods of tears alone in my bedroom countless times, wondering why he treated me this way. Truly I was lost. My self-esteem was chipped away and a numbing emptiness began to weigh upon my heart. I walked on eggshells around him, not knowing what would set him off. Now you may ask: “Why did I not just leave him?” Quite simply, his flippant love and manipulation had utterly confused me, and I could no longer see the wood for the trees. I was trapped between my hope for the fairy tale picture he had painted, and his manipulation of my mind. I did have that “inner voice” constantly urging me to leave him, but I never truly listened. Finally, after a year, I broke down in my car after work one night following yet another phone-call-from-hell. I felt like my soul was almost disappearing and I realised I was August 2017 • happiful • 69


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Graeme Orr, MBACP (Accred) UKRCP Reg Ind Counsellor, writes:

Chaitanya’s story shows how quickly the ideal relationship can become a prison. She feels trapped by love, yet alone and empty as her partner chips away at her self-esteem. When she breaks the ties holding her, she starts the journey back to health. Therapy helps, despite her blaming herself at first. The support of her friends and learning about narcissism helps as she emerges free from the bonds of her partner.

| July 2017

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70 • happiful • August 2017

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Why Couns elling Can Work Wonders

happiful magazine

becoming a shell of myself. Being quite a spiritual person my whole life, I cried out to god that night, pleading with him to get me out. A week later, he broke up with me. That day was painfully liberating. All this time I had seen the two sides of him: the snake and the charmer. But that day I saw his real broken self. He cried like a child, condemning himself. He told me that I had taught him how we could only love another after first loving ourselves. “And I hate myself!” he exclaimed. Shocked at his state of mind, I felt pity. Unfortunately, this raw and real self didn’t last long. It took little time before he reverted back to his false, narcissistic self. He publicly acted as if nothing had happened, as if he didn’t know me, and he continued to lie. He told others he had been “forced” to date me from the start. Furthermore, I found out that he had cheated on me for the last six months of our relationship. This was yet another stab in the heart. His lies continued and so did my wrath. I was angry. I was livid. I was burning inside. I felt anger over the injustice, but anger mainly towards myself. How could I let somebody fool me so badly? Why didn’t I leave him sooner? How could I have been so stupid? These were the questions that I tortured myself with. Mixed with anger, there was loss. Loss of the person I thought he was, loss of the dream he sold me, and the loss of my self worth. There were dark times where I wanted to take my own life due to the emotional pain being so unbearable. He had lifted me up so high and cut me

that

5: Listen to your intuitive inner voice. Your gut feeling is there for a reason, so take heed of it.

deas thy I

1: Understand what narcissism is, because knowledge gives strength. 2: Find other people who understand narcissism. This will validate your feelings. 3: Give yourself time to heal. Release your emotions in healthy ways such as writing, drawing, sharing and talking. If you need some therapy, don’t let pride get in your way. 4: Cut ties with your narcissist. This allows you to regain your power. Turn away from them and focus on your own life.

Heal

MY 5-STEP PLAN FOR DEFEATING NARCISSISM

down to the point I had almost lost myself. Almost. The only things that helped me were three good friends and my spiritual practice of mantra meditation. My friends listened to my pain and shared my anger. Through meditation, my faith in a higher power gave me a strong, yet soft, place to fall. The key turning moment for me was gaining knowledge. Knowledge helped answer the questions of why he lied to me, and why he duped me. Learning about narcissism, I realised the problem wasn’t in me, but in him. Now I could understand his character, his need for narcissistic supply, his self-serving manipulation, his gaslighting, overvaluing and devaluing. Internally, all narcissists are deeply wounded individuals who seek validation through their manipulation and fame. As I shared my thoughts in therapy, I gradually came to forgiveness. Yes, the F-word! It’s not what you want to hear, but it’s the best thing to free you from your hurt. I could choose to remain in pain, or choose to be free from it. And I chose freedom. I wanted complete emancipation from a complex and damaged person. In some ways, I thank him for the experience because I am stronger, wiser and more grateful. I now work as a UK registered psychotherapist and hypnotherapist, and my experiences have helped me understand the pain of others. Do we give up on ourselves? Or do we stay with ourselves? This is what I help my clients with as they navigate through their life. As a professional, I believe sharing this story can help others, but also topple the pedestal that counsellors are placed upon.

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Mark’s story Mark and his wife, Michelle, speaking out about postnatal depression for Heads Together

I’m a dad who suffered postnatal depression A mental health campaigner for fathers, Mark Williams lived with PND, alongside taking care of his wife with the very same condition

72 • happiful • August 2017


Real INSPIRATION

T

he day I got married, I knew that it was time for me to become a dad. I didn’t have long to wait, as we found out my wife Michelle was pregnant the following year, and for those nine months I was the happiest I’ve ever been. When Michelle was told she needed to come to the hospital to have the baby, I was beyond excited. I’d never been in a labour ward before, so was naturally nervous for Michelle. I just wanted her to be OK, but not for one moment did I think we were going to be in there for more than 22 hours. With each passing hour, my anxiety was increasing. I was eager for the baby to come out, and growing more worried for my wife.

Vivid nightmares of the birth haunted me, where Michelle and Ethan had died, and I would wake certain it was true Michelle was getting more tired by the hour, and I felt like a spare part. After 22 hours, there was a sense of urgency in the room and the midwives left looking worried. Shortly afterwards, doctors with no hint of expression on their faces, said the words: “Your wife needs an emergency C-section.” I suddenly felt like I was choking and became short of breath. My heart was pounding and getting louder and louder. I thought I was going to faint. I didn’t want the attention to shift to me when Michelle needed to be the priority, which made me even more uneasy. The thought of losing Michelle and our baby led me to having that first panic attack. Thankfully, both Michelle and my son, Ethan, survived. But it became apparent a short time after the traumatic birth, that Michelle was suffering from severe postnatal depression (PND). I was 30 years old and had never known anyone with depression. I was uneducated about mental health and used to think: “How can anyone be depressed?” I gave up my job to care for my wife and son, but I loved the social side of my job and suddenly felt very isolated, even going days without stepping foot out of our front door. Over the next few months, my personality changed as I turned to alcohol to cope, and became increasingly angry. Vivid nightmares of the birth haunted me, where Michelle

and Ethan had died, and I would wake certain it was true. On the odd occasion where I did manage to get out and socialise with my friends, I wanted to get into fights to intentionally hurt myself and distract from the thoughts and feelings in my head. I even began to get suicidal thoughts, and couldn’t seem to control them. Six months after the birth, I broke my hand punching a sofa. Eventually I realised that as much as I wanted to be strong to look after my wife and son, the truth was that I wasn’t well either. Having been brought up in a workingclass community, where my father and his father before him were coal miners, all I had in my head was that I needed to “man up”. I didn’t feel like I could talk to anyone about it. I kept it hidden from Michelle because I didn’t want to impact her mental health. Michelle had PND for around 18 months, but the most difficult part was not knowing how long it would last at the time. Over the next few years, I continued to suffer from mood swings, and was lying to my wife about going to work. I was isolating myself from people, calling in sick and going for walks alone. I nearly sectioned myself as I felt unsafe, but still had worries of what people would think of me, and became paranoid that nobody liked me. I felt I would be better off dead. My mental health deteriorated further when my grandfather and beloved mother passed away in quick succession. In 2011, I was sitting in my car before work and had a mental breakdown. Mark and his son Ethan

All I had in my head was that I needed to ‘man up’. I didn’t feel like I could talk to anyone about it August 2017 • happiful • 73


True Life | My Story

My mind was racing like never before and I couldn’t get out of the car. I couldn’t function. This became the point where I stopped worrying about what people thought of me and knew I needed to be around for my son. I called the charity Mental Health Matters Wales and they talked me through getting help. The person on the phone may have saved my life. Doctors put me on citalopram and on a waiting list for counselling, but I knew I needed the help now and not later, so I went private. It was at this point that I first confided in my wife, knowing that since I needed to leave work, there was no choice. I didn’t want her to worry or it to impact her mental health. I was off work for around eight weeks and was eager to go back to a job working in mental health. Alongside the medication, I took a course of cognitive behavioural therapy

I was diagnosed with ADHD, and realised I should have spoken out sooner about the PTSD at the birth and postnatal depression (CBT) and mindfulness, and I was lucky enough to be able to turn things around. I was diagnosed with ADHD, and realised I should have spoken out sooner about the PTSD at the birth and postnatal depression. I didn’t bond with my son during the first few weeks, as the birth was so traumatic and was just relieved both he and my wife were alive. There wasn’t this overwhelming feeling of love that I was expecting. I felt like I was different as a father back then, and supporting a partner with postnatal depression can have a major impact too. Now, my wife and I are fine, and have a great bond with our son. But it’s important we use our story to raise awareness. We need to get the message out that PND can affect both men and women, and that help is out there. It was a chance meeting at a gym that led me to set up Fathers Reaching Out in 2011, a campaign to support both fathers and the wider family affected by PND. A man I’d never met before mentioned his wife had suffered from PND, and that while looking after her he had a breakdown and lost his home and business. We started speaking openly about it, and I told him things I hadn’t even discussed with my best mates. No one had ever asked him how he felt about it all, and that made me realise that all parents need to be supported. Fathers Reaching Out was born. 74 • happiful • August 2017

Mark travels the world, speaking about PND

Since then, my life has changed for the better thanks to being honest with myself. I’ve travelled the world to speak out about PND, and was nominated for the Local Hero award at the Pride of Britain Awards in 2012, and also awarded the Wales Inspirational Dad of the Year award in the same year. Today, I’m medication free and have found a new purpose in life. I’m glad for what happened, as it made me appreciate you only get one life. Getting the right support was the best thing, and my only regret is that I didn’t ask for help sooner.

OUR EXPERT SAYS

Graeme Orr, MBACP (Accred) UKRCP Reg Ind Counsellor, writes:

Mark feels unable to cope with his emotions after the traumatic birth of his son. Having never encountered mental health issues before, he struggles to cope alone. Therapy becomes a turning point to help him recover. He opens up about his feelings and finally connects with himself, his wife and son. He now finds purpose in educating others that PND may strike both mums and dads.


Kitty’s story

My mum’s near suicide motivated me to break free from my addictions Kitty Waters buried her emotions in drink and drugs, but when her mum’s depression became too much, she transformed her life. Now she helps others from hitting rock bottom

I

grew up in a household where I never really saw emotion being expressed, and it took me a long time to realise I didn’t have an outlet for my emotions. Crying, for me, was viewed as weak. In my 20s, I got into a very high performing environment. The recruitment business was male dominated with a big drinking culture, and being a competitive person, I became one of the boys. It was the sales culture of “work hard, play hard”. When I got upset, I didn’t know how to deal with it so I went into this destructive pattern of drinking to feel better. When I didn’t deal with those repressed emotions, I spiralled downwards and became more and more unhappy. At 22, I hit rock bottom and had an emotional breakdown. I completely lost it. I didn’t like the way I was behaving, and I didn’t like myself. I had to take time off work, and became really detached. I’d be in a conversation but feel like I was drifting around at the top of the room. But I didn’t learn my lesson. I carried on the drinking culture, and started taking cocaine as well. August 2017 • happiful • 75


True Life | My Story

It was classic binge drinking. I wasn’t able to have one or two drinks. In my workplace, there was always somebody in the pub, so I was there every day too. I had done what a lot of addicts do, and surrounded myself with people who do the same thing because it normalises your behaviour. There was a huge cocaine culture in London at the time, and it started off being something I did every now and again, but as you can imagine, cocaine is very addictive. I developed an association between alcohol and cocaine, so every time I drank, I craved cocaine. It was ingrained in my routine. It got so strong that I’d literally have a sip of wine and want to do a line of coke.

Every time I drank, I craved cocaine. It was ingrained in my routine. It got so strong that I’d literally have a sip of wine and want to do a line of coke. When I was 28, my mother became very ill with depression. She was hitting the menopause, and, like me, she’d bottled up a lot of stuff and not dealt with it. The hormonal change affected her strongly and she went into a very deep, dark depression. The female side of our family suffered with this pattern. We’d learnt not to deal with our emotions, and the more we internalised, the more damaging it became. My mum became a shell of herself. She was a very able woman who became frail and weak. It got to the point where a highly functioning woman 76 • happiful • August 2017

‘We’d learnt not to deal with our emotions, and the more we internalised, the more damaging it became’

couldn’t boil an egg. She said: “I’m useless. I can’t even make dinner. Why do you put up with me?” All of this self-hatred culminated with me getting a phone call at work from my dad saying that my mum had gone to visit a friend, but she’d never arrived. What he didn’t tell me then, was that she’d left a suicide note. My sister, my boyfriend at the time, Dan, and I left immediately and when we arrived at my parents’ house, there was a policeman in our living room. He asked, “Has your mum ever done anything like this before?” The first shock was seeing him holding her note. My dad replied, “Yes.” I had no idea. It took until I was 28 to find out that my mum had had very bad postnatal depression. From when I was born until I was eight years old, she was in and out of hospital. She was so bad that she even tried to kill herself back then. I suddenly couldn’t even recognise my own life. We went to look for mum. There was an expanse of woods at the back of their house and to go to my mum’s friend’s house, she would have gone straight through. Since she didn’t get there, we had a feeling she was in the


Real INSPIRATION

Kitty and ‘The Network’

Mum had overdosed by a river. She’d taken pills and alcohol and was slumped over on her side woods somewhere. A voice in my head said: “Turn right.” I knew with everything in my being that we had to turn right, and we were guided to where she was. Mum had overdosed by a river. She’d taken pills and alcohol and was slumped over on her side, but luckily she hadn’t fallen in the water because she would have died. My boyfriend Dan was a paramedic, and thankfully he was there and knew what to do. I really believe he was in our lives for that reason. Dan started doing a sternum rub while we called an ambulance. We didn’t really know where we were, so my job was to get the ambulance. I was overweight, unfit, smoked and drank, so running was hard. I remember talking to whoever was up there saying: “Please god, let her be OK, and I promise I’ll not live like this.” Mum survived, but I didn’t cry about the situation for three weeks. I was in shock, and being the oldest in the family, I was trying to make sure everyone else was OK. A few weeks later, I got counselling through work. The counsellor was really great because she talked it all through with me, and pointed me in the direction of things I could do to process what happened. That lead me to a real journey of personal development. I realised I wanted to change and I had to dig myself out of the toxic environment I’d created around me. Over the next few years, I changed my work environment, my friendship group, and I stopped drinking for six months. When I gave up alcohol, I didn’t need to do

the cocaine. The six months I gave it up for was enough to get me out of the environment and break that association between the two. I joined the YES Group in London for entrepreneurs and people who are into personal development. I started to socialise without alcohol for the first time. When you start to shift out of a self-serving life, you start to realise we’re here for a bigger purpose. Having gone through an experience like I’ve gone through, I didn’t want others to fall into the same trap. I didn’t want other people to hit rock bottom. When the YES Group announced that they were going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, I thought what better thing can I do to get me out of my environment? The man who took us up the mountain was a member of the Transformational Leadership Council started by Jack Canfield – author of Chicken Soup for the Soul – and every night he’d tell us stories about the organisation and the inspirational authors and speakers who are a part of it. I was inspired to set up an organisation for people having a positive impact on the planet myself. Five years ago, I started the “The Network”. From interacting with all these amazing people, I set up my podcast, Kitty Talks. After five years developing an amazing network of people, I’m now interviewing them to inspire others. These people are doing what they can’t stop thinking about, and it’s very much out of their heads and in their hearts. We believe that if you listen to enough of these stories, you’ll get the courage to say this is doable. People will step into their greatness. Never give up hope. It’s really important to look at your environment, and whether it’s serving you, because that’s monumental. With Kitty Talks we create a community of people who want to make a difference. A community of like-minded people. They’re my positive tribe.

OUR EXPERT SAYS

Rachel Coffey, BA MA NPL Mstr life coach, writes:

Kitty’s story reminds us that wherever we are in life’s journey, it is never too late to turn things around. Seeing the effect burying emotions had on her mum’s life gave Kitty a wake up call. Professional support enabled her to view things more clearly. Not only did she find the strength to transform her own life, she now inspires others to do the same.

August 2017 • happiful • 77


True Life | Ask the Experts

Ask the Experts

Troubled? Confused? Need advice? Our happiful professionals are here to help

CONFIDENCE

I’m not a naturally outgoing person. How can I be more confident? This is how to exude confidence – without shouting about it When you picture a confident person, typically you may think of extroverts, unreserved, loud people. However, confidence isn’t about being bold or brash or the centre of attention. True confidence is often much quieter, and comes from an internal belief in your abilities, skills and value. You can become a quietly confident person by embodying some of these characteristics:

confident you is comfortable in a variety of situations to ask for what you need.

Be willing to share your opinion and be wrong. Speak up for what you believe in, but be able to accept you’re not always right.

Believe in your self-worth. Give yourself praise and positive feedback, so you need less validation from others.

Don’t feel the need to compare yourself. Accept your strengths and weaknesses without needing to compare yourself to others to boost self-esteem.

Accept your vulnerabilities. By understanding your weaknesses, you’ll be happy to ask for help when needed.

Accept mistakes. Admitting and taking responsibility for mistakes is a sign of someone who’s comfortable with their self-worth.

Actively listen. This means focusing on the other person with a mind clear of distractions so that they feel understood. Quietly confident people often listen more than they speak. Read the full article on Life Coach Directory. Written by Jo Painter AC Dip LC NLP Prac MRPharmS.

Speak up for your wants and needs. By valuing yourself and your own opinions, a quietly 78 • happiful • August 2017

Be open to taking risks. You don’t need to know you’re 100% able to achieve a goal in order to act and take a chance. You’re confident that whatever the outcome is, you can cope.


Practical ADVICE

WELLBEING Make changes before resentment poisons your relationship

RELATIONSHIPS

My friend thinks I resent my husband… What can I do about it? While there can be many causes of resentment, it usually stems from anger. It may be something a spouse has done, such as flirting with someone else, or something they’ve not done, like helping with cooking. While your anger may be justified, it’s possible your partner is unaware of the effect their actions had on you. Anger can turn to resentment if your partner dismisses your feelings. Something needs to be done before resentment poisons the relationship. Communication is key and involves being honest about how you’re feeling. Listen to the other person’s point of view and make sure you’ve understood them. Sometimes we assume we know what our partner’s thinking, but good communication requires checking those assumptions out. Once the issues are on the table, work together to find practical ways to address them. If it’s habits, how can you support each other in changing them? If there are problems in the relationship, could a counsellor help resolve them? Good communication is key to moving past the resentment and strengthening your relationship. Read the full article on Counselling Directory. Written by Graeme Orr MBACP(Accred) UKRCP Reg Ind counsellor.

I’ve tried patches & gum, but nothing works. How can I quit smoking? Nearly 100,000 people in the UK die from smoking each year and the cost of a 20-a-day smoking habit is around £60 a week, so whether you’re quitting for health or financial reasons, it makes sense to do it properly. Hypnotherapy has been found to have a higher success rate in helping people quit smoking, but why does it work so well? Smoking is controlled by the unconscious mind. Hypnosis helps us access the REM state, where your unconscious mind is more open to new ideas. With hypnotherapy, the conscious effort not to smoke isn’t needed; the urge is no longer there. Your unconscious may have been programmed by years of repetition to believe smoking was doing something positive for you, whether to relieve stress or give you confidence in social situations. Hypnosis can reprogramme your unconscious to achieve those same intentions, but in healthier ways. Most cigarettes are smoked through habit or conditioned response to stimuli. You might light up without thinking about it because smoking has become an automatic response to certain triggers, most of which are psychological, rather than a physical addiction to nicotine. Perhaps hypnosis can help you stub out the smoking habit.

Read the full article on Hypnotherapy Directory. Written by Gavin Roberts, advanced holistic hypnotherapist. August 2017 • happiful • 79


True Life | Ask the Experts

WELLBEING

Migraines affect around one in seven people in the UK

I’ve heard there are natural remedies to help with migraines? Let’s explore the natural herbs that can help manage your migraine Migraines affect around one in seven people in the UK, and are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light and noises, abdominal pain, and sweating. Migraines can last anywhere from two to three days, or even longer. The exact cause of a migraine is unknown. However, medical professionals suggest to try to note your own triggers. These may include diet and environmental factors, stress, anxiety, tiredness, or a lack of sleep. Natural herbs offer an alternative to over-thecounter painkillers. It’s always advised to speak to a professional or your GP to assess dosage and possible side effects, particularly if you’re taking other medications. 80 • happiful • August 2017

Tanacetum parthenium is an anti-inflammatory herb used for headaches, dry coughs, and rheumatic pains. It contains sesquiterpene lactones and parthenolide, which have an anti-inflammatory effect on serotonin-dependant migraines. Note: some clinical studies have found it may elevate the severity of migraine symptoms like nausea and vomiting.

Butterbur has a reputation as an anti-inflammatory and pain relieving remedy. Studies have shown that butterbur works well as preventative treatment for migraines, however the herb contains some pyrrolizidine alkaloids that can potentially cause damage to the liver. Please check guidelines on supplements containing butterbur.

Fresh ginger is used to alleviate symptoms of motion sickness, nausea and digestive disorders, and helps to increase circulation. The direct anti-inflammatory activity of ginger is thought to be because of gingerols and diarylheptanoids that may inhibit prostaglandin synthesis and antiplatelet aggravation that are usually present in migraines.

Vitex agnus-castus has a hormone balancing action by increasing progesterone levels and decreasing oestrogen levels to help hormonal migranes. However, it’s not usually prescribed by itself.

Read the full article on Therapy Directory. Written by Judyta Zyrek NIMH Medical Herbalist.


Practical ADVICE

NUTRITION

TECH

My partner is always on her phone. Why can’t she disconnect? I get bad cravings during my period. What should I be eating? There are ways to feed your body to fuel it during your menstrual cycle There are two “phases” during the menstrual cycle: the follicular phase during the first 15 days of the cycle, including our period, and the luteal phase being from days 16–28. DAYS 1–7: PERIOD DAYS 8–13: MID FOLLICULAR PHASE DAYS 14—15: OVULATION DAYS 16–28: LUTEAL PHASE During the first phase, we are more oestrogen-dominant. We also tend to conserve carbohydrate stores, but have an increased ability to burn fat. Your diet should therefore be high in carbs with a regular intake of proteins. You also need to increase your intake of iron to make up for what you lose during your period, and to help absorb that extra iron, increase your intake of vitamin C. Try foods such as oatmeal, kidney beans, lentils, poultry, strawberries, oranges and peppers in the follicular phase. During the second phase, we are more progesterone-dominant. Typically, this is when our hunger levels increase, but our metabolic rate increases as well, so we burn more calories. Due to the change in hormones, our bodies switch to being fat-dominant as a fuel source during this phase, so your diet should consist of healthy fats, protein and less starchy carbs. For this luteal phase, choose foods such as avocados, almonds, salmon, pork, and beef. Adjust your nutrition based on where you are in your cycle and see how much of a difference it makes! Read the full article on Nutritionist Resource. Written by Rebecca Jennings MSc ANutr.

Why do we find social media and games so captivating? The simple answer is they’re designed to be. Tech companies have systematically eradicated the ability to engage in stopping rules by designing their platforms to keep us constantly engaged with their content. Stopping rules used to occur when a programme finished. Now, one episode of a box set can roll into the next. This can make it easy to engage in an orgy of indulgence. Dopamine neurons are activated when we consume something we perceive to be pleasurable. This might come from sex, gambling, or internet addiction. This selfmedication can be an attempt to quieten an underlying anxiety condition, which can be when addiction takes hold. We all respond to the influence of dopamine in some way. But our emotional stability is in danger when we overindulge because of low mood or stress. The slippery slope to addiction is to automatically turn to a device for emotional comfort at the first sign of natural downtime. Counselling can help explore why you’re looking for connection, and ways to feel whole without the digital stimulation. Read the full article on Counselling Directory. Written by Noel Bell MA PG Dip Psych UKCP. August 2017 • happiful • 81


True Life | Final Thought

In a Perfect World Our August cover from a parallel universe

82 • happiful • August 2017


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Happiful August 2017  

This issue is jam-packed with stories to brighten your day. So what’s this month’s issue got in store? - Tamara Ecclestone opens up about...

Happiful August 2017  

This issue is jam-packed with stories to brighten your day. So what’s this month’s issue got in store? - Tamara Ecclestone opens up about...