Spalding psycho-therapist Ian Best has three simple pieces of advice for avoiding mental ill health.
Keep an awareness of the bigger picture – so many people focus on the negatives, overlook the positives, and end up with a distorted impression of themselves and their lives.
Have realistic expectations of yourself and what you think others might have of you – you will always feel you are not getting anywhere if your expectations are not in check.
Don’t bottle things up!
The advice is contained in Ian’s debut book, Through the Eyes of a Therapist, written after ten years of working with clients suffering from things like anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, depression, OCD and those who have been traumatised by horrible events such as a car accident, mugging or rape.
“What I found was the same problems were coming up again and again, perhaps not the same problems, but the way people tried to tackle them,” said Ian.
“They were making the same mistakes again and again and when people sat down opposite me and discussed what was going on I found there was so much repetition in the ‘thinking’ mistakes that people were making.”
As well as working with NHS patients three days a week in Spalding, Ian has his own therapy company, Total Therapeutics, but the process in both is the same.
Ian helps patients to be more informed about what is keeping their problem going; what may have started it; solutions they may need to consider to overcome it; and strategies to prevent it happening again.
He describes therapy as a collaboration of therapist and patient, something that lasts on average 13 appointments.
Ian believes there are no problems specific to this area, other than those associated with the rural nature of much of the district.
He says, at a conservative estimate, between 50 to 60 per cent of the national population is suffering with these kind of problems at any one time.
One of the common mistakes that lead to ill health – Ian tries to avoid using the phrase “mental ill health” – is a tendency to generalise or catastrophise life, to overlook all the good things and focus only on the bad.
Ian says: “That lowers your mood and it’s harmful because you are not getting a true representation of what is happening and that affects the information you take on board because it becomes biased.
“It’s a total honour to be with people who are suffering and have them tell you their deepest, darkest fears.
“There is always hope and that hope is based on seeing literally thousands of people getting better.”