A Psychiatrist' s Tips for Good Mental Health in the New Year

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I have worked in the field of mental health for over a decade now, and in this time, I have seen all manner of
mental health problems and difficulties strike all manner of people. In fact, none of us are free from occasional
psychological hang ups - whether it's someone pressing our buttons or a sudden bout of anxiety or despair in a situation we would normally be able to handle with relative ease.

Through all my observations, I have found that one factor is central to all of these situations; be it an argument with a spouse, a panic attack or a full blown psychosis, the fundamental problem is the same for everyone. It's a habit that every one of us is afflicted by almost on a constant basis - indeed no one in the human race is immune from it. It is the basis of the human condition and I can describe it in two words; over thinking.

Thinking is over rated. Take it from a guy who knows. I am a thought junkie - just like you.

After spending over a decade studying a wide variety of therapies I went to my first meditation class several years ago. I learnt a variety of meditation techniques and I discovered that what ever technique you use, all forms of meditation will bring you to the same realization - namely, that you are not your thoughts.

A study released by Julie Barlow, a Professor of Health Psychology at Coventry University, suggests one hour of meditation can be equivalent to eight hours of sleep. The list of benefits, in mental and physical health are
enormous, as an ever growing body of research suggests. The reason for this, to my mind, is that it is the ultimate in holistic experience. It enables you to be with more of yourself than just that intellectual/ cognitive driver in your head.

Please note, however; it's not about stopping your thoughts it's about observing them. As soon as you start doing that, you'll be ready to probe (experientially) the ultimate question; who is observing who?

Then your journey of self discovery will begin...

Do it any way you want: Sit, stand, even lie down if you wish - just find a moment (even 1 minute will do - that's how I started out) each day to be still and observe your thoughts. It is the ultimate self help program, and the best gift you could give yourself for the New Year.

About the Author:

Dr Russell Razzaque earned his medical degree from the University of London, he is a member of the UK Royal
College of Psychiatrists and is a Consultant Psychiatrist practicing in the British National Health Service. In 2009, after several years of development, he launched an online stillness based self help program - Sileotherapy - a unique combination of meditation techniques and Internet therapy: http://www.meditation-therapy.net

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