As this world shifts day by day there are things I hate to see change. But the awareness of mental health is not one of them. I grew up with parents who suffered from mental health problems. My mum was a severe alcoholic and sectioned on more than one occasion. My dad, a workaholic, suffered a nervous and mental breakdown. I remember as a child trying to research solutions and writing letters to doctors at 12 years old, begging them to help my mum. But there was nowhere to go, very little support for the person with the illness and zero for the family that surrounded that person. Don’t get me wrong there is so much more we can do as individuals, communities, employers and as a country to help with mental illness. Not just with awareness but also with long term solutions for people - despite coming such a long way in the last 30 years!
My experience with mental health
I don't think a have ever experienced depression but I have certainly had high levels of anxiety, some caused by some childhood trauma I never got the help to ditch and some from the challenges life has thrown my way.
I thought for years I was unusual, but it turns out everyone has their own hurdles they have to face. I have such respect for counselling and therapy to help unravel trauma, limiting beliefs and all the rest of it. I have needed it myself and I am stronger because of it.
But at some point, I decided to stop being the victim. To accept that my past has made me the person that I am today and have gratitude for that.
I want to look forward now! To continue to heal and focus on what I am capable of. The person I want to be, the mum I want my children to see, make a difference and feel joy and happiness every day.
Introducing The Wim Hoff Method
I bet you can guess what’s coming next! YES…The Wim Hof Method has empowered and supported me through this transition. It is my prevention tool and my cure when I need it. I practice regularly and have built a strong connection in my brain that enforces the fact that I am capable of difficult things. I fear the cold every day but overcoming it helps me manage the stress that life throws my way. I am more confident at setting boundaries and connecting with how I feel each day.
Wim himself uses the cold and his method to support his own mental health. In 1977 his wife committed suicide after suffering from long term mental illness. He was left with heartbreak and 4 children to raise. He found comfort in the cold! Soothing his broken heart and enabling him to find the strength to carry on and raise his children.
But how does it work to improve your mental wellbeing?
Firstly, the breathing part is similar to meditation. Once you are focused on your breathing you will find yourself in the present moment and less stressed about things outside your control.
The next part of the method is getting in cold water. This increases mental resilience, enabling you to withstand stressful or unpleasant situations. Additionally, with cold therapy, your focus, willpower and concentration are also greatly increased. When you come out of a cold shower or dip you can’t help but feel extremely positive and elevated - mostly in part to the endorphins released after cold therapy.
The Wim Hof Method has it's roots and backing in scientific evidence and can have incredible power for those looking for strategies to manage their mental wellbeing. Want to learn more? Book Angela for a PepTalk for Mental Health Awareness Week today.