Top tips


Sharing pearls of wisdom! Every issue we select the best snippets of advice and inspiration from experts, writers and readers, Sure to brighten up your day...




It is amazing how mood swings, PMT, depression and panic can take us by surprise. Negativity can feed on the belief that 'This is the worst I have ever been!', A destructive thought pattern setting you up for failure. Quite often we will find that we have had these negative thoughts and feelings before, and have come through.

Writing down these thoughts can be incredibly cathartic and a real cleansing process.

Taking five minutes out to write things down is a good de-stress. It is also a great way of ordering thought patterns and finding solutions.

A diary is also a fantastic thing to look back on when you are in recovery, you can praise yourself for how far you have come.



I know this may sound obvious but it is a very difficult thing for most of us to master.  It is important to remember that mental well-being issues are just as real as physical ones.  We should not make excuses and stop fighting our problems, however some days they get the better of us. At this time it is important to deal with our problem, we don't need to deal with guilt too!



Keeping hydrated is very important to us all.  If you suffer with any anxiety and stress, getting even a little dehydrated can cause feelings akin to panic: dry mouth, flushing, lightheadedness, headache etc.  Getting enough fluid may not cure your stresses, but it can at least stop an unnecessary panic due to dehydration.

We all know water is best, so try to drink it every day. Herbal tea, diluted squash, even (not too salty) soup can be good sources of hydration. Try avoiding alcohol, caffeine and fizzy drinks as they can have the opposite effect.



White sugar, and especially artificial sweeteners, should be used in moderation by those who suffer panic disorders. The sudden onset of blood sugar increase, and sudden drops when metabolised, create feelings akin to panic. Just remember, moderation is the key. Don't go hours without eating, or overload on sugar on an empty stomach. For more on nutrition see our food section.

Gabriele Fantelli



"One of the greatest discoveries that man makes, one of his greatest surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do." Henry Ford

One of the happiest experiences of my life was sitting on an aeroplane on the way to Sardinia. Why? Because I had been agoraphobic, suffered with panic disorder and had stopped the last plane I had sat on in order to get off!!! And yet here I was in the air, about to see my husband’s home for the first time... what a feeling!

The point of this trip down memory lane is this: The aeroplane hadn't changed, the experience of being countless feet from solid earth hadn't changed: I had! The terror that filled me as we started to take off was overwhelming, but the second we were in the air, past the moment of no return, tears of joy filled my eyes! I was no more sure the plane wasn't going to go into free fall, nor was I convinced that the other 'horror' scenarios I had been playing in my mind, were not going to occur... but I was sure anxiety wasn't ruling me, I was ruling it.

To live life is to face fear, life running from fear is not a life lived, just one survived... Here’s to remembering this with confidence when I fly again next month!



Massage is a great stress buster. If you don’t fancy going to a professional masseuse it’s easy to do at home as long as you’ve got a partner or friend to oblige. It also works wonders for relationships. Oils are now readily available on the high street. One tip I would give is to use a base oil and mix it with an essential oil of your choice. Lavender and camomile are really good for stress busting. The massage technique does not have to be perfect: just the feeling of being stroked and touched by a loved one works wonders.



Doing puzzles is a great way to take your mind away from stress. We all have our favourite puzzles and many are available online if you don’t have a newspaper or magazine. I like to buy an occasional puzzle book which is then always there when I feel like doing one. Just concentrate on the questions and solutions to take your mind away from your stress.

Liz Lockhart



Sufferers from stress burn up so much nervous energy that they can get very tired. Treat yourself to an early night. Enjoy a relaxing warm bath, put on your favourite PJs and snuggle down for some sleep. If I can’t get to sleep I visualise myself in my favourite place, happy and calm. This relaxes me and disassociates me from my stresses.

Liz Lockhart



I had the awful experience of a breakdown four years ago. I went to the doctors at the start of my breakdown and was cross when the advice I got was to exercise. I saw a second doctor who prescribed anti-depressants. The tablets made me feel a bit better and with the improvement I decided to take the initial advice and to exercise. I had a 35-minute walk to the gym, plus the exercise, but it all helped me so much. To this day I still exercise and find this makes a real difference.

Best regards Jacqueline Briner



"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass... it is about learning to dance in the rain."

~ Vivianne Greene

This issue we have tried to focus on ways of ‘dancing in the rain’. Battling anxiety, learning to live again after grief, trying to prevent and survive an affair: these are all topics that deal with how to cope at tough times, not pretending that tough times don’t happen.

The real-life stories of Davinia Taylor and Kayla Kavanagh show two courageous ladies living their lives – with all their problems – to the fullest. Kayla, suffering BPD, makes beautiful music, and Davinia is a successful businesswoman and actress, despite having suffered severe depression and being bipolar.

Sometimes we will get caught in the storm, sometimes we will even end up soaking wet – it can be a cold harsh world, but if we can learn to ‘dance in the rain’ and accept ourselves, warts and all, we can live full lives until the clouds part and the sun shines through once more.

Something I have learned about my own state of mind is that I may never be completely clinically ‘without mental illness’: I may always have an amount of OCD, I may use gloves at the petrol station, or use my foot to open doors – but that does not mean I am less of a person than anyone else. I wouldn’t make the world’s best pump attendant – but I hope I make a pretty good Editor!

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