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Looking After Your Pets in the Warm Weather

By PetsNo Comments
Illustration by Sye Watts.

It’s been warm recently, hasn’t it? With the warm weather we need to take extra care of our pets. Here’s some tips:

  1. First make sure pets have got plenty of water to stay hydrated. I like to put water in the fridge beforehand so that it’s nice and cold.
  2. Make sure there are shaded areas in your home, that pets can chill in.
  3. Don’t let them outside. This tip might seem cruel, but pets can burn their paws on the heated tarmac.
  4. Never leave a pet in a hot car.
  5. Groom your pets (if required) and keep on top of any professional grooming.

Blog soon,

Antony

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Some Mental Health Advice to Madonna After Her Disastrous Performance at Eurovision 2019

By Health, Music & Radio, The Web, ThinkingNo Comments

Madonna recently performed at the Eurovision Song Contest. Here’s a video of her performance:

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Edit: 20/05/19, 08:45 – I had to change the video as the user had removed the original. There was a Vevo video, uploaded to Madonna’s official YouTube channel however it appeared to have been altered to make her performance sound better than it was during the original broadcast. So I went for this video that is more reflective of the original performance.

Madonna has had criticism since, with many calling it a disastrous and possibly career ending performance. People have described her voice as flat or off key, her outfit and the Christian heavy iconography controversial and unappealing.

I must admit that cringed watching it. But I realised something from it: We’re all human. Even Madonna.

We’ve all had times when things have gone disastrously wrong for us. I don’t know much about Madonna to be honest, but I once did see an interview where she described herself as a perfectionist. So I imagine that Madonna is currently in a mental state of self-denial, or one of rumination with her critical inner voice in over drive.

So here’s some mental health advice to Madonna, from my book Mental Health Wisdom:

rumination-thought-image

Rumination is thinking the same thoughts or replaying memories again, again and again in your mind. Nothing good ever comes from it. It’s like having a song that you hate on full ear-bleeding volume and stuck on repeat. Rumination makes you feel like you are losing your mind.

When it comes to replaying memories, they are usually memories that are emotionally traumatic. Our memory of events is never accurate and always has a negative bias. What you need to remember if you find yourself ruminating is that the event has happened. It’s in the past. It’s gone. You can’t change what’s happened, no matter how many times you replay the video. It’s time to accept what’s happened, how it made you feel, so that you can let it go and move on.

Rumination is a waste of time, energy and effort. Rumination and the Critical Inner Voice go together. The critical inner voice is that voice inside your head that says things like:

  • You’re not good enough.
  • You don’t know what you’re doing.
  • Just who do you think you are?
  • You’re worthless.
  • You screw everything up. You are a screw up.
  • Nobody cares about you.

The critical inner voice is abusive and says things that we wouldn’t dream of saying to our worst enemy. It never says anything useful, nice, good or kind. It tends to get louder and louder if we allow it to. Managing the critical inner voice starts with the choice not to put up with the things it says to you.

I manage my critical inner voice in two main ways. First by imagining a volume control knob. I imagine it being turned down and hear the voice go quieter and quieter until it is silent. Second, I repeat positive affirmations that I know are true. I say things to myself like:

  • I am good at my job. I have a lot of specialist knowledge and thirteen years of clinical experience.
  • I offer a lot to people around me, including humour, compassion and kindness.
  • People value my opinion. I know this because I am often asked for it by others.
  • I am doing the best that I can and learn every day.

Having difficulty coming up with positive affirmations about yourself that are true? Ask people who are close to you: What is positive about me? What do you like about me? Others often see things that we don’t spot in ourselves.

(From: Mental Health Wisdom by Antony Simpson, 2019, pages 97-99.)

So Madonna try not to be too hard on yourself. Learn from the performance, then let it go.

Write soon,

Antony

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Book Review: Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig

By Amazon, Books & Authors, Health, Inspiration, Reviews, ThinkingNo Comments
reasons-to-stay-alive-matt-haig After reading the unique and brilliant novel The Humans by Matt Haig, I decided to Google him to learn more about this extradorinaiy Author.

I discovered that he had suffered with poor mental health in the past and was releasing Reasons To Stay Alive on the topic of mental health. So I immediately ordered Reasons To Stay Alive to see what he had to say on the subject.

In Reasons To Stay Alive, Haig shares his own experience of anxiety and depression, starting with a note to the reader explaining that these are his experiences and that other people might experience anxiety and depression in differing ways.

His book is split into five sections. His first is Falling where he writes about symptoms, suicide (including some of the reasons why men are more at risk of suicide) and the facts about depression and anxiety.

Throughout Reasons To Stay Alive there are little gems of good advice. In Falling for example, Haig writes about The Bank of Bad Days (see below). I have found having a Bank of Bad Days extremely useful.

Bank of Bad Days

WHEN YOU ARE very depressed or anxious – unable to leave the house, or the sofa, or to think of anything but the depression – it can be unbearably hard. Bad days come in degrees. They are not all equally bad. And the really bad ones, though horrible to live through, are useful for later. You store them up. A bank of bad days. The day you had to run out of the supermarket. The day you were so depressed your tongue wouldn’t move. The day you made your parents cry. The day you nearly threw yourself off a cliff. So you are having another bad day you can say, Well, this feels bad, but there have been worse. And even when you can think of no worse day – when you are living in the very worst there has ever been – you at least know the bank exists and that you have made a deposit.

(From: Reasons To Stay Alive, by Matt Haig, p. 52, 2015. Copyright © Matt Haig 2015.)

The second section is Landing where he writes a lot about some of his key experiences, as well as the warning signs of depression and anxiety.

The third section is Rising where Haig covers panic attacks, the importance of love, how to be there for someone with depression or anxiety and famous people that have suffered from depression and anxiety. This entire section aims to tell someone experiencing poor mental health that they are not alone.

Living is the fourth section of the book and focuses on recovery from depression and anxiety. This section covers the importance of slowing down, lists reasons to live, lists things that make Haig’s mental health worse and sometimes better.

Being is the last section of the book and gives forty pieces of advice that Haig feels are helpful.

The presentation of the book is good. It’s a small white hardback book, with small chapters (some only a page long), which because of his writing style as easy-to-read and engaging.

Reasons To Stay Alive is one of the better books written about poor mental health on the market. It is a quick and easy-to-read book that is well worth a read.

Reasons To Stay Alive is available to buy on Amazon or at all good bookshops.

Review soon,

Antony

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Help! Excessively Meowing Cats

By PetsNo Comments
Dylan Bengal Cat Meowing Excessively Dylan & Russell my Bengal cats have been meowing excessively; it has been enough to drive me mad. But after reading some cat behaviour books and forums on the Internet I managed to deal with the problem. So I thought I’d share the advice for others who maybe struggling with cats that meow excessively.

1. Identify the Cause of the Meowing
The first thing to do with cats that meow excessively is to identify the cause of their meowing. Cats meow for a number of reasons including: hunger, thirsty, wants the cat litter changing, illness, attention seeking, wants to play, loneliness, stress and horniness.

I made a list:
Unticked Box Hungry? No. Food always in bowl.
Unticked Box Thirsty? No. They always have fresh clean water in their bowl.
Unticked Box Wants the cat litter changing? No. clean and emptied regularly.
Unticked Box Illness? No signs or symptoms of illness. They are eating, drinking, using the cat litter as usual and no other change in their behaviour.
Tick Box Bullet Point Attention Seeking? Possibly. They meow excessively when they here me come through the front door and as soon as they see me. They usually stop meowing when I give them attention.
Tick Box Bullet Point Wants to play? Possibly sometimes. I can tell as their tail is up high with the tip swishing from side to side.
Unticked Box Loneliness? Unlikely. There’s two of them, so they always have one another for company.
Unticked Box Stress? Unlikely. Nothings changed that would cause them to be stressed.
Unticked BoxHorniness? Nope. Both of my boys have been neutered.

excessive-meowing-2 2. Address the Cause of the Meowing
Next you need to address the cause of their excessive meowing. Work your way down the list like I have. Hunger, thirsty and cat litter changes should be top of your list to check and sort. If you’re worried about illness a trip to the Vet might be in order.

I don’t mind a vocal greeting from my cats when I come home, but their excessive meowing was like a baby.

I decided it must be attention seeking, as giving them attention shut them up. But the more attention I gave them, the worse their meowing would be the next time.

I started ignoring my cats when they were meowing and showering them with attention when they were quiet. It was a bit of trial and error and it took them a while to get the message, but they eventually did. It seems to be working as they have really calmed down on their excessive meowing.

excessive-meowing-3 3. Things to Note
All cats are individuals and as such some will naturally be more vocal than others. Your cat may just like the sound of his/her own voice. Still there are strategies you can put in place to modify his/her behaviour.

It is worth noting that some breeds of cats are known to be very vocal. However bengals (my cats breed) are not particularly known for being vocal.

Blog soon,

Antony



I aim for posts on this blog to be informative, educational and entertaining. If you have found this post useful or enjoyable, please consider making a contribution by Paypal:


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