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Understanding the Impact: The Men’s Mental Health Crisis in Autumn.

The natural world around us undergoes a remarkable transformation as the vibrant hues of summer give way to the warm, earthy tones of autumn. Leaves fall, temperatures drop, and the days shorten. While many find solace in the cozy atmosphere and the promise of pumpkin-spiced everything, for others, this seasonal shift goes hand in hand with an emotional transition.

For men in the United Kingdom aged between 25 and 35, the onset of autumn can present a unique set of challenges to their mental health. In this comprehensive blog post, we embark on a journey to explore the profound significance of men’s mental health during this distinct season. We’ll then unravel the myriad benefits that counseling offers as an invaluable resource for addressing the autumn blues head-on.

Prioritising Mental Health: A Vital Undertaking

Central to our discourse is the unequivocal importance of placing mental health on the same pedestal as physical well-being. In truth, mental health should always be considered as significant as one’s physical health. However, the issue often arises from the challenge of recognising and acknowledging one’s mental health concerns. Thia ia a challenge that looms prominently, particularly for men.

In this context, it’s crucial to acknowledge how societal expectations and entrenched stereotypes have played a role in perpetuating the notion that men should embody stoicism and unwavering resolve in the face of emotional turmoil. These deeply ingrained beliefs can make it profoundly challenging for men to break free from these constraints. With the knock on effect being they are unable to express their innermost feelings openly, and, most importantly, seek help when needed.

The Seasonal Struggle: Unpacking the Autumnal Impact

Autumn gracefully descends upon us, ushering in shorter days and longer nights, as nature readies itself for the approaching winter. This seasonal shift can cast a shadow over the emotional landscape of many individuals. As feelings of melancholy and fatigue take center stage. This phenomenon is often termed Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and during this season, it emerges as an unwelcome companion for numerous souls.

Counselling for men

It’s worth noting that SAD does not discriminate; it affects people of all genders, ages, and backgrounds. Yet, it’s vital to recognise that men, in particular, may face unique challenges in identifying and addressing its symptoms. The societal expectation for men to remain emotionally steadfast can lead them to dismiss or downplay these feelings. Often attributing them to transient, external factors rather than recognising the internal struggles they may be facing.

In this light, we unveil the intricate connection between the societal expectations placed upon men and their ability to navigate the shifting emotional terrain of autumn. The Autumnal Impact, as we refer to it here, serves as a reminder of the imperative need for open dialogues around men’s mental health, transcending stereotypes and forging paths toward emotional well-being.

The Significance of Counseling for Men During Autumn

Breaking the Stigma: A Crucial Step Towards Well-being

One of the primary reasons counselling holds exceptional significance in the context of men’s mental health is its pivotal role in dismantling the pervasive stigma that surrounds emotional expression and seeking help. Counselling stands as a beacon of hope, offering a safe and confidential sanctuary where men can candidly unravel their thoughts and emotions. Men can be liberated from the shackles of judgment or societal expectations. Within these therapeutic spaces, a transformative environment thrives. One that challenges conventional gender roles and empowers men to wholeheartedly embrace their emotional well-being.

Building an Emotional Toolbox: Equipping for the Season

Autumn, with its inherent beauty, also ushers in a unique set of emotional challenges. It’s during this season that the autumn blues can descend, casting shadows of stress, anxiety, or even depression. Counseling, like a seasoned guide, provides individuals with a treasure trove of invaluable tools, honed through years of therapeutic expertise. These tools, when wielded with care, enable men to navigate the intricate labyrinth of their emotions with grace and resilience. In the midst of the autumnal tempest, these coping strategies become not just beneficial but essential, offering a lifeline in moments of emotional turbulence.

“There is nothing impossible to they who will try.”

 Alexander the Great

Preventative Care: Nurturing Mental Well-being

Much like routine visits to a physician for physical check-ups, counseling emerges as a form of preventive care for mental health. Regular counseling sessions serve as vigilant sentinels, discerning and addressing latent concerns before they can evolve into more severe conditions. This proactive approach stands as a testament to your commitment to self-care—a dedication that ensures not just a healthier and happier you during the autumn season but also a more robust emotional well-being that reverberates throughout the entire year.

In essence, the significance of counseling during autumn transcends mere words; it is an embodiment of empowerment, resilience, and self-compassion. It extends a helping hand through the swirling tempest of the autumn blues, enabling men to steer their emotional ship with unwavering confidence. It’s a commitment to self-discovery, a refusal to be bound by stereotypes, and a pledge to embrace emotional well-being unreservedly. Amidst the rustling leaves and changing seasons, counseling emerges as a steadfast companion, offering solace and strength as you navigate the profound landscape of your emotions.

Taking the First Steps: Your Path to Men’s Mental Health in Autumn

For those men in the United Kingdom, aged 25 to 35, who are contemplating seeking counseling to bolster their mental health during the autumn season, embarking on this journey is a commendable act of self-care and resilience. Here, we provide you with practical guidance to initiate this transformative process:

1. Professional Guidance: Navigating with Expertise

Your first step towards embracing counselling is reaching out to a counsellor who specialises in men’s mental health. These seasoned experts possess a deep understanding of the unique challenges men often face when it comes to their emotional well-being. By seeking their guidance, you embark on a journey that is tailored to your specific needs and challenges. Through their expertise, you’ll find a compass to navigate the intricate terrain of your emotions.

2. Seek Recommendations: Trust in Personal Referrals

Don’t underestimate the power of personal recommendations. Trust in the experiences and insights of friends, family, or trusted individuals who have embarked on a similar journey. They can offer valuable referrals to experienced and empathetic counselors skilled in addressing men’s mental health concerns. It’s a testament to the strength of community and the support network that surrounds you.

3. Online Resources: Harnessing the Digital Frontier

In today’s interconnected world, a wealth of mental health resources is at your fingertips. Explore online platforms and resources that not only provide valuable mental health information but also offer options for virtual counselling sessions. This can be particularly advantageous during the autumn season when the inclination to stay indoors prevails. The digital realm extends a convenient avenue for seeking the support you need, irrespective of physical boundaries.

4. Embrace Self-Care: A Holistic Approach

Counselling, while invaluable, is but one facet of your journey towards enhanced mental well-being. In conjunction with seeking professional help, consider the incorporation of self-care practices into your daily routine. Simple habits like regular exercise, maintaining a balanced diet, and engaging in mindfulness activities wield the potential for a profoundly positive impact on your mental health. These practices become your allies as you navigate the intricacies of the autumn blues, fostering a more robust emotional resilience.

Counselling for men

In summation, embarking on the path to men’s mental health during the autumn season is a testament to your commitment to self-discovery, self-compassion, and well-being. It is an investment in a healthier and happier you, not just for this season but for the seasons that follow. By taking these first steps, you not only unlock the potential for personal transformation but also contribute to the broader narrative surrounding men’s mental health—ushering in an era where emotional well-being is celebrated, and stereotypes are replaced with authentic expressions of self.

In Conclusion: Embracing the Seasonal Shift for Holistic Well-being

In summation, let us recognise that autumn transcends being merely a season of change in the natural world; it offers an exquisite opportunity for personal transformation and profound self-reflection. For men aged 25 to 35 residing in the United Kingdom, acknowledging the distinctive mental health challenges that accompany this season is a pivotal stride towards nurturing holistic well-being.

Embracing counselling as an invaluable resource for addressing the autumn blues signifies an act of profound self-compassion, resilience, and unwavering strength. It is not a fleeting choice but a resolute commitment to cultivating a happier, healthier version of oneself. This commitment that extends far beyond the confines of this particular season. By taking this path, you embark on a journey that celebrates emotional well-being, challenges stereotypes, and champions authenticity. A journey where each season becomes an opportunity for growth, transformation, and the unwavering pursuit of a more fulfilling, vibrant life.

Need help with anger?

If you would like to talk to someone confidentially about managing anger, then I can help.


Why Am I An Angry Dad? 5 Anger Triggers And How To Manage Them

Why am I an angry dad?

It is not uncommon for dads to be angry. In fact, it’s a normal emotion that can happen in any family. But what are the types of anger that fathers experience? And how can they deal with them?

In this article, we will explore 5 triggers of anger that dads might feel and how to manage them.

Trigger 1 – Stress

Similar strategies are used to control stress and anger. One explanation for this is that both stress and anger have a psychological component, making it possible to control them mentally. Understanding the relationship between these two emotions is crucial because they both have the potential to negatively impact us, especially if they are left unmanaged.

There are a number of different things that can affect anger and stress; Long-term stress and anger exposure can harm our physical health. Getting stressed about deadlines, worrying about money or shouting at the kids are but a few examples. It may increase our blood pressure, which can lead to other problems that have an impact on both our physical and emotional well-being. Our interpersonal relationships may suffer as a result. Beyond that, excessive levels of stress and anger can lead to the development of bad behaviours that get harder to manage over time. Anxiety may increase as a result of either of these effects. Being an angry Dad isn’t good for our health or our relationships!

We need to consider how these emotions affect our lives in order to start managing the negative impacts of stress and anger. Anger can result from stress, which might result in further stress. Although neither emotion is a good thing, we shouldn’t try to force them away. Instead, we should work to regulate them by working on our understanding of the elements that influence anger and stress and developing coping mechanisms and build healthy anger management strategies.

Tip to manage stress – Breathe deep and relax

Your body and mind may feel as though they’re operating on overdrive when you are feeling stressed. Slowing your breathing and concentrating on relaxing your muscles is the simplest and most straightforward approach to relieving the stressful effects of anger. Inhale deeply for 4 seconds into your chest and stomach, hold for 2–4 seconds, and then exhale for 4 seconds. Your pulse rate will slow down as a result, and you’ll have some time to gather your thoughts.

Counselling for men

Trigger 2 – Feeling frustrated or powerless

Regardless of a father’s upbringing, those who believe they can control their own destiny—tend to be happier, healthier, and more effective. Even the most difficult situations can be made tolerable if we believe we have some control over the outcome. While minor tensions can become overwhelming if we believe we have no control over the issue at all. Things as simple as the kids not tidying their rooms or indeed, even letting their dad into their room can be incredibly frustrating and can leave a father feeling as though he has no control, even in his own home.

“Powerlessness is inherently threatening, and it prompts a strong desire to reduce or eliminate that feeling,” says Eric Anicich, an assistant professor of management and organisation at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business.

Tip to manage feelings of frustration or powerlessness – reconsider our approach to the problem

The first thing to do is recognise our own biases in the way we appraise our circumstances. Humans are usually quite bad at anticipating their future emotions and feelings. Positive life experiences, like winning the lottery, cause us to overestimate how happy we will feel and how long that feeling will last. Conversely, we find it difficult to envision how we will get past a threat or disappointment, such as our daughter going out to a nightclub for the first time.   Negative experiences don’t usually last as long or have the same intensity as people expect. By keeping that in mind the initial sensation of pessimism we frequently experience upon hearing bad news can be lessened by just reminding ourselves of that truth.

Practically speaking, we can regain control of the situation by finding smaller ways to help with the situation. Setting your own schedules and making the most of your space may help you restore some sense of autonomy if you have been forced to work from home, for example.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Theodore Roosevelt.

Trigger 3 – Feeling a lack of respect

The feeling of being disrespected can be something that is quite triggering for many dad’s and can often make them feel quite angry. This could indeed be the reason why you ask yourself why am I an angry dad. In fact, most people have very little tolerance for being disrespected and those who consistently feel as though others have little or no respect for them often suffer with poor self-esteem and have a poor self image.

If you feel this way, it could be worth asking yourself “what does it mean to be disrespected”? You’ll probably find that your answer is different for example, to the dad sitting next to you. What you feel is disrespectful, may not feel disrespectful to someone else. For example, you may feel that it’s disrespectful of your son not to thank you for buying him an ice cream but another dad might be fine with it. That other dad may feel it’s disrespectful for their daughter to go to bed without saying “good night” but it might not bother you at all.

Being disrespected is a subjective feeling and will differ from person to person, from dad to dad. As it’s a personal feeling and differs depending on your own values, there’s a possibility that it’s the way you think that is causing the feelings of disrespect, rather than someone, a child perhaps or a partner, being disrespectful. If you think about it, what motivation does someone have to disrespect you personally? Would one of your children, for example, really set out to hurt you? Are they even old enough to be capable of doing that to you? Disrespect can often be born out of anger, fear or frustration or all of those emotions.

Tip to manage feeling a lack of respect

If you find yourself immediately feeling disrespected when someone doesn’t behave as you’d expect them to, you may be assuming the worst and jumping to conclusions. Challenge yourself to think of why a person may have behaved the way they did. For example, if someone pulled out on you in traffic, are they really being disrespectful to you personally or could it be that they’re late for work? Could they be preoccupied with some bad news about an elderly relative and didn’t realise they hadn’t considered you? Below are some things you can ask yourself when you are feeling disrespected that will make you feel better and help you with wondering why you’re an angry dad.

  • Will whatever it is that has made me feel disrespected matter to me in 12 months or even a few day’s?
  • Am I responding appropriately? Or am I responding with anger and frustration. Should I try addressing the issue calmly and assertively?
  • Am I communicating my expectations clearly? Ensure that your children understand your expectations for respect and behaviour.

Trigger 4 – Lack of sleep

A lack of sleep can significantly contribute to feelings of being disrespected by your children. Sleep deprivation often leads to irritability and a shorter fuse. This can make even minor misbehaviors or disagreements with your children escalate into major sources of frustration and perceived disrespect.

Exhaustion also diminishes your ability to empathise with your children’s needs and emotions. This may cause you to interpret their actions as intentional disobedience or disrespect when they may simply be expressing their own needs or frustrations.

Furthermore, sleep-deprived dad’s may struggle to make rational decisions and react impulsively to perceived challenges. This can lead to misinterpretations of your children’s behaviour and heightened feelings of being disrespected. This emotional vulnerability means that your children’s actions, even if not intended to be disrespectful, can feel hurtful or offensive, further intensifying these feelings.

Tip to manage a lack of sleep

To address the negative impact of sleep deprivation on your perception of respect from your children, consider implementing these strategies:

  1. Prioritize Sleep: Make sleep a priority by establishing a regular sleep schedule. Ensure you get enough hours of quality rest to enhance your emotional stability and patience.
  2. Share Responsibilities: Enlist the help of your partner or support network to share nighttime parenting duties. This allows for breaks and uninterrupted sleep, reducing sleep-related irritability.
  3. Mindfulness and Relaxation: Practice mindfulness techniques or relaxation exercises to manage stress and enhance your emotional resilience. Breathing exercises and meditation can help you stay calm in challenging parenting situations.
  4. Communication: Openly communicate with your children about your need for sleep. Explain that when you’re well-rested, you can be a more patient and understanding parent.
  5. Seek Professional Help: If sleep deprivation persists and significantly affects your ability to parent effectively, consult a healthcare professional. They can assess and address any underlying sleep disorders or recommend strategies to improve your sleep quality.

By prioritising sleep and adopting effective coping mechanisms, you can better manage feelings of disrespect from your children that may arise due to sleep-related irritability and stress. Ultimately, fostering a well-rested and emotionally stable environment benefits both you and your family.

Trigger 5 – Communication issues

Communication problems can make you an angry dad by creating frustration and misunderstanding. When parents and children struggle to express their needs, emotions, or expectations effectively, it often leads to conflicts, misinterpretations, and heightened anger. Inadequate communication can make a dad feel unheard or disrespected, triggering anger in response to perceived disrespect or disobedience.

Tip to manage communication issues

To address communication issues and mitigate anger, active listening is essential. Encourage open dialogue with your children, offering them a safe space to express themselves without fear of judgment. Teach them effective communication skills and actively listen to their concerns.

Model respectful communication, and when conflicts arise, seek resolution through calm discussions, empathy, and compromise. A therapist like myself can help you develop valuable tools for improving communication and reducing anger within the family dynamic.

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”


In conclusion, understanding the factors that contribute to being an angry dad is the first step in becoming a more patient and understanding parent. From the pressures of life to miscommunications and unresolved personal issues, anger can easily find its way into our interactions with our children. However, it’s important to remember that anger doesn’t have to be the default response.

In this blog post, we’ve explored five solutions to address and manage anger as a parent:

  1. Prioritizing self-care and managing stress to maintain emotional balance.
  2. Setting realistic expectations for yourself and your children.
  3. Improving communication through active listening and empathy.
  4. Seeking professional help when unresolved personal issues contribute to anger.
  5. Modeling healthy emotional expression and conflict resolution for your children.

By implementing these solutions, you can create a more harmonious and nurturing environment for your family. This will foster a deeper connection with your children and reduce anger’s impact on your role as a dad. Remember, parenting is a journey of growth. With the right tools and mindset, you can navigate it with patience, empathy, and love.

Need help with anger?

If you would like to talk to someone confidentially about managing anger, then I can help.


What Are Anger Management Issues? Everything You Need To Know

What are anger management issues?

It’s normal to feel angry from time to time. Anger is a human emotion that helps us to cope with difficult situations and can be motivating in some cases. But when anger is out of control, it can lead to negative consequences. But what are anger management issues?

‘Anger issues’ is one of the most common problems clients come to me wanting help with, in fact, it is probably the most common.  A report on anger; ‘Boiling Point’ produced by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) back in 2008, found that (of the 2000 people surveyed):

  • 32% of people say they have a close friend or family member who has trouble controlling their anger.
  • 12% have trouble controlling their own anger.
  • 28% worry about how angry they sometimes feel.
  • 1 in 5 people have ended a relationship or a friendship because of how they behaved when they were angry.
  • 64% agree that people are getting angrier.

If you’re struggling to manage your anger, here are 7 tips that may help you control your anger:

1. Understand your triggers.

Triggers are the external and internal stimuli that cues an individual to do something such as take drugs or get angry, for example. Common triggers include people, places, things, and emotions. A trigger is anything that sets off a stress response in your body. When trying to manage your anger, it is important to be aware of your triggers and have a plan for how to deal with them.

And there are two types of triggers:

External triggers are people, places, things, and events that cue you to get angry, for example.

Internal triggers are thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations that cue you to struggle to maintain control of your anger.

Winston Churchill?

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston S. Churchill

External triggers are usually easier to avoid than internal triggers. However, both types of triggers can be effectively managed with the right tools and support and can help you with anger management issues.

If you are trying to learn to manage your anger, it is important to be aware of your triggers and have a plan for how to deal with them. Everyone has different triggers, so it’s important to take some time to identify what yours are. Once you know what your triggers are, you can start to find ways to avoid or manage them.

There are a few different ways to identify your anger triggers. One way is to keep an anger diary. For a week or two, write down every time you feel angry. Include what was happening at the time, how you felt physically and emotionally, and what you did to manage the anger. After a few weeks, you should start to see patterns emerge and gain a better understanding of your anger management issues. You can discuss your findings about your anger with a counsellor too.

Another way to identify your triggers is to pay attention to your body. When you feel yourself starting to get angry, take a few minutes to notice what you’re feeling. You’ll probably find you’ll be experiencing some of these sensations:

  • Knots in your stomach
  • Clenching your fists or jaw
  • Feeling clammy or flushed
  • Breathing faster
  • Headaches
  • Pacing or walking quicker
  • “Seeing red”
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Heart beating fast or pounding
  • Tensing your shoulders

2. Communicate assertively, not aggressively.

When communicating with others, it is important to be assertive, not aggressive. Assertiveness means being clear and direct in your communication, without being rude or confrontational, or getting angry. It is the ability to express your ideas and needs in a way that is respectful of others.

Aggressive communication, on the other hand, is characterised by intimidation, put-downs, and threats. It is important to avoid aggressive communication, as it is likely to escalate the situation and lead to conflict.

Counselling for men

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to communicate assertively, remember to:

  • Be clear and concise in your communication
  • Listen to the other person’s point of view
  • Respect the other person’s boundaries
  • Avoid insulting or demeaning the other person
  • Speak calmly and confidently

3. Use “I” statements to help with anger management issues.

Beginning a phrase with “I” enables us to discuss tough emotions, explain how the issue is impacting you and avoids placing blame on others and getting angry with them. It makes us accountable for our own thoughts and emotions. This tends to be perceived by others as less antagonistic, allowing for further discussion and the chance of a solution. For example, saying “I feel angry” is less confrontational and likely to elicit a more positive response than “You make me angry”.

In the end, I statements can present a problem as something that needs to be discussed and resolved with your partner, for example, rather than as a criticism of them or a personal assault.

It takes time, effort, and repetition to effectively model a new communication style. Try the following practice exercise to help you develop new habits around how you communicate with others if you find it difficult to remember to use “I” statements in real-time when you’re in the middle of a disagreement or heated discussion:

Talk for three to five minutes about a subject you truly enjoy, beginning each phrase with an “I” declaration. You can try this out in front of the mirror or with a friend, partner, or member of your family.

what are anger management issues

“Goal setting is the secret to a compelling future.” — Tony Robbins

4. Be aware of your body language.

Did you know that before you verbally express your anger, your body language frequently does the same? It’s as much what you say as what you do which may make people believe you have anger management issues

You may already be aware of this, but many people frequently fail to do so. For this reason, it is crucial to understand non-verbal communication and how it might impact your relationships.

How often have you cut someone off in conversation because they were making you angry?

Numerous times, I’m sure, as this is a typical example of nonverbal communication.

Other non-verbal forms of communication include:

  • The duration of your eye contact with someone
  • Your actions
  • The way you stand or sit
  • How close you stand next to someone
  • The loudness of your voice.

Have you ever been accused of giving someone conflicting signals?

When this happens, your words and actions may not always seem to add up.

The person on the other end feels confused and uncertain about your feelings as a result. Additionally, since you never mean what you say, this may cause people to lose faith in you.

If you have a tendency to get angry, you might frequently make pointed gestures, raise your voice, and choose to sit alone.

This type of behaviour will simply make others around you feel uncomfortable.

what are anger management issues

“He who conquers himself is the mightiest warrior.” — Confucius

It would be better if you first understood how to improve your actions in order to lessen your non-verbal communication. To do this, practice speaking in a quieter voice, move closer to your companion and maintain eye contact.

Try not to wave your arms around or use your hands to communicate while you learn to manage your movements. Many people engage in this without even being aware of it.

Consider practising in front of a mirror. This will help you to see how you look when you’re angry. Flailing your arms, for example, may come across as confrontational, and being aware of it will help you to stop doing it.

With a little practise, each of these things can be worked on. Once you get this under control, you won’t always come across as being angry.

You might even notice that your own level of anger decreases. Amazingly, just knowing that others view you in this way can make you calmer!

Remember that you can express your anger with your body language as well as words. In the end, working on your body language will make you feel less inclined to express your rage out loud.

5. Take a timeout.

Most people are unaware of when and how to exit a heated discussion without adding insult to injury.

Instead, they prolong the conflict, which increases the risk of verbal or physical violence and both parties getting angrier and angrier. This often results in name-calling, arguing and excessive blame.

Counselling for men

You can keep yourself and your loved ones safe when you know when and how to leave a situation.

It is known as a time-out.

The majority of us have used it with our children, but adults also benefit greatly from it! It gives you a justification to leave the situation so you may calm down.

People can be kept safe by timeouts. Leaving the situation by itself won’t make a difference; it’s how you leave that counts. The steps for a successful time-out are listed below.

How to Take a Timeout
Know when you are starting to feel angry. Rapid heartbeat, sweating, feeling tense, irritated, or confused are a few signs that you’re getting angry, as are thinking negatively and placing blame on others.

Keep an eye out for your triggers. Make a list of the circumstances that make you angry. Common triggers include feeling unheard or judged. Try to be objective in this situation.

To deal with the upset, make a plan. Determine what you need. Does phoning a friend or going for a walk help? Would writing in a notebook be more relaxing than listening to music?

The most efficient way to use the time-out is to separate yourself. The argument will probably continue if you stay in the same room as the other person.

what are anger management issues?

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” — Henry Ford

Before utilising the time-out, go over it with your partner. Talk about how you’ll manage the time-out. For example, you could say something like “I’ll go for a walk if I start to feel angry. I’ll be back in a half-hour.” If trust has been betrayed, your partner can may act defensive. Avoid being defensive too. Validate their viewpoint instead. Even if you don’t agree, it is very effective to demonstrate that you understand why they’re angry or upset.

Plan out your break. Identify a safe location and take no more than 20 to 30 minutes (to prevent it from turning into leisure time). If you can, go out of the house to stop the argument from escalating.

Time-outs are an effective approach to vent your feelings and normalise anger so that you don’t lose control and explode.

Even though it’s common to get angry, if you can recognise it early on, you’ll have a better chance of controlling your anger management issues so that you and everyone else around you stay safe.

6. Practice relaxation techniques to combat anger management issues.

Below are a couple of really helpful relaxation techniques that will help you control your anger issues. In order for these strategies to have any chance of having a beneficial impact on your life, you must be dedicated to actually using and practising them. If you simply use them occasionally, you won’t see the benefit of them

Controlled deep breathing for anger issues

When you feel emotionally aroused, your breathing and pulse rate both quicken. By consciously slowing your breathing and/or relaxing your stiff muscles, you can learn to stop these rises. By relaxing in this way, you can keep your emotions under control.

When you are agitated, you may notice that your breathing becomes hurried and shallow. Your anger will only grow if you continue to breathe shallowly, only from your chest. Instead, take steps to slow your breathing down and to unwind your muscles in order to calm down. Give yourself at least 15 minutes to complete this exercise. Less time than this is probably not going to be helpful!

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” – Muhammad Ali

  • Start by taking several calm, deep breaths in succession, making sure to exhale for twice as long as you inhale with each breath.
  • Count slowly to four as you breathe in, and then breathe out slowly as you count to eight.
  • Be mindful of the air filling your lungs while you do this. Breathe deeply and completely through your open lungs.
  • Breath should enter your abdomen, chest, and upper chest right below your shoulders in that order.
  • As your lungs grow, feel your ribs enlarge as well.
  • Pay attention to how your ribs reposition themselves as you totally exhale.
  • If you ever feel dizzy or out of breath, stop the exercise.
What Are Anger Management Issues? Everything You Need To Know

Progressive Muscle Relaxation for dealing with anger

Follow the steps below to help alleviate your anger issues.

  • The stressed muscles should be tensed and tightened slowly before being released. If you experience any pain, be careful to release your clenched muscles right away and stop the exercise.
  • While inhaling, contract a muscle group, your calves, for example, for between 5 and 10 seconds. Then exhale and release the tension in the muscle group. Relax for between 10 and 20 seconds and then do the same for the next muscle group. For example, tense your calves and release them and then move on to your thighs.
  • You can move down your entire body in a few minutes with a little practise. Your ability to relax can occasionally be improved by first tensing and then relaxing your muscles.

You should give yourself a total of 20 to 30 minutes to relax. Throughout this period, maintain very regular, deep breathing. You will soon feel considerably calmer if you tell yourself that you are calming yourself down. Trying to imagine your muscles relaxing can be helpful too.

Relaxation methods like those mentioned above can aid in your relaxation and, as a bonus, aid in your ability to shift your attention away from being angry. Additionally, they allow you time to reflect on the upsetting event, which will enable you to come up with original answers to the issues you are now facing.

7. Speak to a professional about your anger management issues.

Talking therapy and counselling entail discussing your issues with a qualified professional (such a counsellor or psychotherapist, like me) who can assist you in examining the reasons behind your anger and developing coping mechanisms. This can assist you in processing your emotions and enhancing how you react in heated situations.

There are numerous varieties of talking therapies, some of which are especially suited to anger management problems. Here are two ways that I can help you with your anger management issues.

  • Counselling is typically a brief form of therapy where you can discuss a particular problem, such having angry outbursts or struggling to manage anger, and try to understand how you might handle those situations differently.
  • In comparison to counselling, psychotherapy frequently lasts longer and tends to delve deeper into the past. Here, you might put more of an emphasis on self-discovery to better understand why you react in particular ways to situations or how you express your anger. For example, we might look at how your parents expressed anger or managed their anger and if there’s any habits that you’ve developed as a result of a learnt behaviour from them.

Getting assistance if your anger management issue is causing you to act violently or abusively can be life changing for both you, your family and the other people around you. Even though you might be concerned that asking for help might make you look “weak”, it’s frequently the crucial first step in changing your behaviour. As an experienced counsellor and psychotherapist, I can help you with your anger management issues and help give you back the control in your life. Contact me today for more information and to book an appointment.

Need help with anger?

If you would like to talk to someone confidentially about managing anger, then I can help.

8 Questions You Might Be Afraid to Ask About Depression


Depression and anxiety can be really scary. Even though mental illnesses are common, they’re still stigmatised. That makes people who are suffering from these conditions even more reluctant to seek help because they fear being judged or misunderstood.

It’s important to remember that you’re not alone: Millions of people struggle with depression and anxiety each year, but many don’t seek treatment for a variety of reasons. That’s why I’ve put together this list of questions you might be afraid to ask about your own depression—from how long it lasts to whether it affects your sex life!

1# Is depression a real illness?

Depression is a real illness. It’s not something you should be ashamed of, and it’s not something that means you’re weak or a failure. Depression is treatable, and there are plenty of people who have gotten through depression and come out on the other side stronger than before.

Some people believe that depression isn’t an actual illness because there isn’t any proof that it affects the biological makeup of the brain physically like other conditions do—but we know more now than ever before about how complex our brains are, how they work together with other organs in our bodies to keep us alive every day without even thinking about it until something goes wrong somewhere along this system (like when someone becomes depressed).

Success is falling 9 times and getting up 10 – Jon Bon Jovi

#2 How long does depression last?

You may have heard that depression is a lifelong condition and will never go away. While this is true for some people, it’s not true for everyone: depression can last weeks, months or even years. You might also be wondering how long you’ll need to take to see a counsellor before feeling better. The truth is that there’s no way to predict how long it will take you to recover from depression—it depends on many factors, including what caused your symptoms in the first place (if we knew that, we could prevent it!)

Do you need help with depression?

If left untreated for too long without support from a professional as well as friends, family and loved ones then symptoms may worsen into something more serious such as suicidal thoughts.

Depression may come back but sometimes the symptoms are milder than they were at first, which means that we can help manage them through lifestyle changes and counselling sessions. But if you don’t learn how to cope with stressors, then this problem might reoccur in new ways.

You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think – A.A Milne

#3 Does having depression make me crazy?

You might have heard that depression is a sign of weakness or an indication that you’re crazy. The truth is much simpler: Depression is a real illness, and it’s not your fault. It’s not about being weak or crazy, but rather about having an imbalance of brain chemicals — specifically serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine — that can cause changes in your mood, sleeping patterns and energy levels.

When you have depression, you might feel like you’re constantly running on empty with no hope for relief in sight. But there are many ways to manage symptoms of depression so you can get back to living life again without feeling this way every day

While it may seem intimidating at first, don’t be afraid to ask questions about depression. It’s important to get a full picture of what causes this illness so you can make an informed decision on how best to treat it.

If you’d like to talk to me about depression, then please feel free to get in touch.

#4 What’s the difference between grief and depression?

Depression is not the same as grieving. Depression is a medical condition, whereas grief is a normal response to loss. Grieving involves processing your feelings through talking about them with others, such as a counsellor and doing things like writing in a journal, which helps you move on with your life. If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, it’s important that you speak to a professional about getting treatment—medication or therapy—to manage those symptoms.

Depression can last for days or weeks at a time, but usually less than six months; if it lasts longer than that, it could be indicative of clinical depression.

Remember that grief is a healthy process, while depression is not. If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, it’s important that you speak to a professional about getting treatment. I can help you to process your grief or help you to work through your depression.

If my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it, then I can achieve it – Muhammad Ali

#5 Can I get depression again if I’ve had it before?

It’s normal to worry that depression will come back. After all, you’ve been through it before and it was hard. You’re not sure how you’ll handle it if it happens again.

Depression is a chronic illness, which means that it can be recurring. It may come back at any point in your life—and even after you’ve had years of feeling stable and happy—but there are things you can do to make sure that if depression hits again, you’ll know how to handle it better than last time!

If depression does come back, it’s important to remember that it isn’t your fault.

Depression is not a sign of weakness or laziness. It’s not something you can just “get over” with a little effort—depression is an illness that needs treatment from professionals, such as a counsellor like me, who understand the disease and how best to help people with it. If depression comes back again later in life, it can still be treated.

#6 If my family has a history of mental illness, am I likely to develop a mental illness too?

This question is one of the most common. It’s important to know that depression can be passed down from parent to child, or it can occur as a result of environmental factors. The National Institute of Mental Health (the leading agency for mental health research in the United States) states: “Genetics does not determine whether someone develops depression.” Instead, genetics likely play a role in how patients respond to life events and stressors.

If you’re afraid to ask yourself whether or not your family has a history of mental illness, don’t be. There are many factors that can play into whether or not you develop depression. If there is any cause for concern in your family, talk to a doctor or a mental health professional like me, about what steps you might take now to prevent mental illness later on.

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new – Albert Einstein

Are you worried about your mental health?

Contact me now to arrange a safe and confidential space to talk through your concerns with a professional counsellor.

#7 Can a lack of sleep cause depression?

Does lack of sleep cause depression? Yes, it certainly can. Lack of sleep can lead to anxiety, stress and irritability which are all triggers for depression. When you’re not getting the right amount of sleep, your body doesn’t have enough time to repair itself from the day before. This means that any physical or mental issues you might have — like stress-related heart problems or mental exhaustion — will come back even stronger on top of each other.

Long-term lack of sleep can cause poor concentration, fatigue and even depression. If you’re dealing with these symptoms then it’s worth looking into how much sleep you’ve been getting recently because it may be affecting your mental health more than you think.

Some people want it to happen, some wish it could happen, others make it happen – Michael Jordan

#8 Can medication help with depression, and if so, why should I try counselling first (or at all)?

Medications for depression (along with medication for anxiety) are among the most prescribed drugs in the world, with over 6 million people in the UK alone, taking anti-depressants. Many people see ‘anti-depressants’ as a ‘magic bullet’ to their mental illness and while this isn’t always the case, many people see quick improvements in their mental health, particularly in the short term. However, many anti-depressants have adverse side effects such as;

  • feeling agitated, shaky or anxious.
  • feeling and being sick.
  • indigestion and stomach aches.
  • diarrhoea or constipation.
  • loss of appetite.
  • dizziness.
  • not sleeping well (insomnia), or feeling very sleepy.
  • headaches.

the list above is not exhaustive!

There is nothing impossible to him who will try – Alexander the Great

It’s also worth bearing in mind that anti-depressants are often prescribed on a ‘trial and error’ basis, where the drug will be changed to another type if the patient isn’t getting the intended relief.

When it comes to talking therapy such as counselling, the results have proven to be longer-lasting than with medications.

Counselling can help you to identify what is triggering your depression and help you to develop coping strategies. Moreover, by seeking counselling for depression, you have an opportunity to learn what triggers your reactions to specific things such as fears, places or certain situations. By working with a counsellor for depression, you can develop lifelong techniques to battle your depression.

I hope by answering these questions about depression, it’s given you a clearer understanding of what depression is. If you think you have depression and you’d like to speak to a counsellor, then please do get in touch. You can also take a look at one of my other blog post ‘4 answers to your questions about depression‘.

Need help with anger?

If you would like to talk to someone confidentially about managing anger, then I can help.

Return to work anxiety in Cornwall

Return to work triggers anxiety amongst office workers

I am seeing and hearing more examples of people with anxiety about returning to the office. I think this is to be expected after so many people have been working so long from home. For many, having been away from the workplace for over a year, the concern is about what the new social norms are. Doubt and uncertainty drives anxiety and the brain gets spooked by this (as it does by ambiguity generally). Some people can self-manage successfully their anxiety symptoms, others may need some professional counselling help.

If you feel anxious and you work in Cornwall, then the good news is that you will not be alone. Your reaction about going back to the office is both predictable and understandable. There will be many others like you. Just because not everybody is prepared to admit it publicly, doesn’t mean anxiety is not an issue for many.

How to tackle feelings of unease about going back to the office

One of the most effective ways to deal with unease is to confront it and give a name(s) to what the sense of unease is. The process of naming shifts the brain’s patterns away from anxiety to problem solving – a distraction. This is something you can try yourself, without anyone knowing, and sense whether it is having a calming effect or not. If the effect is positive, repeat the exercise and start to build social resilience.

If your anxiety is more acute and the exercise is not making any difference, then you might consider further professional help.

Return to a place of work is an inevitability and thousands of workers in towns across Cornwall will be adjusting to a working pattern that is familiar on one hand, and different on the other. Remember that office social anxiety is a totally natural feeling, having spent so long away. Especially if you are someone who has enjoyed your own company working from home.

A reminder of some quick tips for coping with anxiety:

  • Create space in your mind and in your day to rationalise any fears.
  • To aid a sense of calm, try a meditation exercise that you can do quietly during a break or at lunch.
  • At a point of anxiety write down how you feel. This has the effect of distracting the brain from what is causing your sense of unease.
  • If self-help is proving ineffective, do not blame yourself. You might need some assistance from a professional (who will be happy to help).

Are you anxious about returning to the office?

As an experienced counsellor in Camborne and working across the county, I am able to help you work through any anxieties about returning to your office or place of work. Call me on 07851512049 and let’s work together on making the work place somewhere that you can get ready to go back to.


Push Through the Pandemic With Solid Self-Care Strategies

I’d like to say a big thank you to hisownman’s guest blogger Cheryl Conkin over at for writing this awesome article!

Initial research suggests that COVID-19 has an adverse effect on mental health, and mental health appears to improve when restrictions are lightened and individuals are not relegated to just their homes. While this makes sense to many, it can still be difficult to revert back to your old routine, especially for men who have shifted to working from home and taking on even more household responsibilities.

Embracing the art of self-care is just as important for men as it is for women, and wants to help. Here are a few easy ways any man can boost his spirits in the days following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance. ” – Oscar Wilde

Revamp Your Surroundings

If you have been stuck at home for a while, you may be tired of staring at the same layout and the same decor. Tense feelings may also build up if your family is arguing and complaining or being critical of one another.

You can relieve built-up tension by turning your home into a fresh and vibrant space in a few easy steps:

  • Open the curtains to let more light in.
  • Move the furniture around for a fresh perspective.
  • Add some plants to a room.
  • Declutter spaces like doorways and offices.
  • Add mirrors to make a space look larger.

“An empty lantern provides no light. Self-care is the fuel that allows your light to shine brightly.” – Unknown

Sort Out Your Grooming Routine

It is all too easy to go for days without styling your hair, shaving or even showering. While a shaggy look can be appealing, try not to neglect your grooming routine, especially during a quarantine.  If you have not done so yet, research which skin and hair products are best suited for your needs. Some products you may wish to add to your cabinet include foot lotion, facial scrub and eye cream (for those dark circles).

Aim for Quality Sleep

If there is a lot on your mind as far as work and health are concerned, it can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Sleep deprivation can affect everything from your productivity to your driving ability. If you are having trouble sleeping, you may wish to consult your physician about supplements and try turning in earlier.

“If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit.” – Banksy

Take a Breather Once a Day

“Me time” is not a concept that is exclusively used for mums. Men have a lot to deal with, too, and if you do not have some sort of outlet, your pent-up feelings could burst forth in a way you may regret. Learning when you need to step away can be difficult. Try scheduling in a specific block of your day that you can use to be alone or do something you enjoy. If you are still struggling with anger management or overwhelming feelings, you might consider talking with a counsellor.

Try this

Sit somewhere quiet with a coffee. Close your eyes and notice how the cup or mug feels. Notice the heat coming through the mug to your hands. Take a deep sniff of the coffee. Notice how it smells. These actions “bring you back to the present” and can help you feel more relaxed and calm.

Overhaul Your Diet

The foods you eat play a direct role in your overall health. Ready-made and processed foods can contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety. The BBC notes choosing to indulge in healthy amounts of fruits and vegetables as a part of a healthy lifestyle, however, could add years to your life. There are even particular foods that are great for men to eat regularly:

  • Beans are great for the heart and testosterone levels.
  • Oysters are heart-healthy and boost your immune system.
  • Grapes are also good for testosterone levels.
  • Watermelon improves blood circulation.
  • Garlic aids in fighting disease and infection.
  • Eggs are a good source of vitamin D.

“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”
Mark Twain

Go Easy on Yourself

Most importantly, in the middle of a global pandemic, you need to go easy on yourself. Find what helps you feel more like your old self, whether that is changing around the furniture, going to bed earlier or switching up the snacks you choose. With a little focus on yourself from time to time, you may find you enjoy life more than before.

Connect with for more information on living a happy and healthy lifestyle!

Need some help?


How to control your anger (and not lose control)


I decided to write a blog post about how to control anger because ‘anger management’ is one of the most common problems clients come to me wanting help with, in fact, it is probably the most common. When I began researching the post I came across a report on anger; ‘Boiling Point’ produced by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) back in 2008, which found that (of the 2000 people surveyed):

  • 32% of people say they have a close friend or family member who has trouble controlling their anger.
  • 12% have trouble controlling their own anger.
  • 28% worry about how angry they sometimes feel.
  • 1 in 5 people have ended a relationship or a friendship because of how they behaved when they were angry.

anger management’ is one of the most common problems clients come to me wanting help with…

I was shocked to learn that the statistics were so high and there were so many people who’s lives were affected by their anger. So, below is a guide explaining how to control your anger and I’ll be sharing some of the ways I have helped many clients handle their own anger problems.

In this post I will explain:

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”
― Buddha

What is anger and why does it matter?

Anger is a natural emotion, that is part of our survival instinct. When we feel threatened, a part of the brain called ‘the Amygdala’, prepares the body for action and we get ready to fight what is trying to harm us. Without this early warning system, we probably wouldn’t be here in the 21st century, with the human race being extinct as a result of being eaten by bigger, stronger, quicker predators, millions of years ago!

“The best fighter is never angry.”


While anger can keep us safe, it simply isn’t acceptable to treat everyone as though they are going to kill you! Like all our emotions, we have to learn to control our anger. The difference with anger, unlike our other emotions, is that anger makes other people around us feel threatened, frightened, resentful and indeed, angry themselves, so it important for us to control our anger if we are going to maintain the relationships in our lives.

What makes you angry?

Whether someone has told you, “you need to control your anger more” or “you get wound up easily” or you’ve noticed that you feel angry or frustrated yourself, the first thing you need to do is to establish what makes you angry.

Everyone is different so write a list of things that make you angry. This could include things people say to you like being told you’re wrong or maybe when people ignore you, you get angry. You might find that the drive to work makes you angry, or perhaps its a person, your partner, or maybe your boss.

Getting it down on paper will help you focus on the things that make you angry and give you a place to start tackling the problem.

Counselling for men

Why does it make you angry?

Now you have an idea of some of the things that make you angry, you need to spend some time on why they make you angry. The reasons you feel angry are going to be personal to you and it might be difficult to admit to yourself why they make you angry, so take your time. Here are some steps to follow to help you work out why things make you angry:

Step 1

Find a time and place you won’t be disturbed. No mobile phones, no televisions, and nothing that is going to distract you, including other people in the house and noises outside.

You might have to wait until the kids are at school and the other half is at work but it’s important that there are as few distractions as possible.

Clearly, during the Coronavirus outbreak, getting some quiet is much harder than usual and indeed, this might be something that is making you angry in itself so what’s important here is that you find somewhere where you can think clearly. If needs must, you could do this sat on the loo, perhaps with some peaceful music playing through some earphones to block out noisy distractions.

Clearly, during the Coronavirus outbreak, getting some quiet is much harder than usual and indeed, this might be something that is making you angry in itself so what’s important here is that you find somewhere where you can think clearly.

If needs must, you could do this sat on the loo, perhaps with some peaceful music playing through some earphones to block out noisy distractions.


Step 2

Sit comfortably, close your eyes and focus on your breathing.

Helpful tip:

Breathing in the smell of a cup of coffee can help.

Step 3

Relax your body and let go of any tension.

Step 4

As you begin to relax, you’ll be giving your mind the chance to present what’s troubling you. It might be something on your list or it could be something else. Let the thought’s enter and try to spend 5 to 10 minutes on what come’s to mind.

It’ll take practice to stay with your thoughts so don’t worry if you have trouble focusing, it will come.

Don’t try to force the thoughts to come back if you lose track, this will only frustrate you even further. If you want to carry on, come back to focusing on your breathing and give the thoughts the chance to come again.


It’ll take practice to stay with your thoughts so don’t worry if you have trouble focusing, it will come. Don’t try to force the thoughts to come back if you lose track, this will only frustrate you even further. If you want to carry on, come back to focusing on your breathing and give the thoughts the chance to come again.

“Tomorrow’s victory is today’s practice.”

Chris Bradford, The Way of the Warrior

It’s important to point out you might not like what comes to mind and you may not agree with them but try to accept them and be open to exploring what comes to mind. For example, you might have a thought that say’s something like “you’re angry because you’re jealous”. Rather than pushing the thought away and dismiss it, try to accept it for what it is, a thought and try to explore it. “Am I jealous”? “What exactly am I jealous of”? Etc.

Step 5

Write down anything that feels relevant. You will hopefully have gained some insight into what it is that is making you angry and it’s useful to record it.

Staying on top of your anger

One you’ve begun to work out what makes you angry and how it makes you angry, it’s important that you stay on top of your anger. Practice steps 1 to 5 as often as you can, everyday if it is possible.

You can use this technique to work on something making you angry in the present such as an argument with your partner. You can also use this technique to work on something that’s been troubling you longer term such as anger towards a relative who has passed away, for example.

What’s important is that you learn to listen to your mind and trust your feelings.


Today we’ve learnt how to recognise the things that make us angry, why they make us angry and how we can control our anger and stay on top of it. I hope this helps you and please feel free to look at some of my other blog posts.

Need help with anger?

If you would like to talk to some, confidentially about anger management, then I can help.

4 Steps to achieve your goals

Achieve your goals!

Clients come to me looking for counselling for all sorts of reasons.  Some come because they keep losing their temper and want help with their anger.  Some come to me because they’ve become so anxious that they struggle with social interactions, that many of us take for granted.  Some come to me because they’re suffering from depression and find some days that they just want to stay in bed and be left alone.  Some come to me simply because they have “lost their way” in life and are looking for help getting their life back on track.  In this blog, I’m going to show you how you can turn your life around and achieve your goals.

If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.
– Albert Einstein

The one thing that all my clients have in common is that they are all looking to achieve something, even if they don’t know what it is.  Now as a counsellor who takes pride in practising ethically, I can’t talk about what my clients and I talk about in counselling sessions but I can talk about what all my clients want and indeed, all of us want – to achieve our goals.  Whether we want to find a partner, feel less anxious, get a better job or just enjoy life, we all have goals.  The problem is, sometimes our goals are too diffuse – they aren’t clear to us or maybe we just don’t know what our goals are at all.

Maybe we’ve set goals in the past and we haven’t achieved them or maybe we’re just struggling with the goals we have and need some help.  So, without further ado, let’s take a look at how we can get to where we want to be in life and achieve our goals!

Goal Setting – what are your goals?

If we’re going to achieve anything in life, we need to establish our goals.  We need to know what we want if we are going to achieve it.  But knowing what we want is only half the battle.  Most people have at least an idea of what they want, it’s achieving our goals that most of us struggle with.  If I want to learn to swim but I don’t know where I can find someone to teach me, I need to start to think about how I’m going to do it.  If I plan my goal, it’ll keep me focused while I solve the problems that are stopping me.

Lets take a look at a plan to figure out what our goals are and how we are going to achieve them.  Grab a blank piece of paper and a pen and lets get started!

1. Set no more than 3 goals to begin with

So it’s time to think about your goals but to begin with, set yourself no more than three goals.  If we set anymore than three, there’s a danger that we’ll become overwhelmed.  While it’s great to have lots of goals, if we can prioritise three to begin with, it’ll help keep us focused on what’s most important.  As we begin to achieve those goals, we can make revisions to our goal plan and this can then include some of the other goals we have.

For example, if we decided that the goals we wanted to achieve was ‘to get into shape’, ‘to socialise more’, to ‘find a hobby we enjoy’, ‘to change jobs’ and ‘to meet the right woman’, then we might find that we try to do all of them but lose focus because we’re trying to change our lives too dramatically and too quickly.

A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.
– Bruce Lee

If for example, we focused on socialising more, getting into shape and finding a hobby we enjoy, there’s every chance that by socialising more, you’ll meet someone your attracted to.  If you’re doing more, socialising more and exercising more, you’ll be more appealing to a potential employer too.  Wouldn’t you hire someone who is sociable, looks after themselves and has things in their life they’re passionate about? You’ll also tend to find that as you achieve your most important goals, you’ll be achieving your other goals too.

2. Focus on short term goals

While it’s important to focus on a manageable number of goals, to start off with, it is also important to work on short term goals.  So for example, if your goal was to ‘learn a foreign language’, a short term goal might be to ‘enrol on an evening course at a local college’ or ‘buy a teach yourself French audio book’.  The useful part of short term goals is that they are easier to achieve and measure.

For example, to enrol on an evening course it is usually a case of applying to the college.  It can be done fairly easily.  If you are accepted on to the course, you’ve achieved your goal.  If you don’t make contact with the college, you won’t achieve your goal.

If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.
– Elon Musk

You can measure success and failure much easier than you can the longer term goal of learning a language.  Once you start to get into the habit of achieving goals, you can then vary between the short, medium and long term with more confidence.

3. Keep it positive

It might sound obvious to say but if you’re in a place where you are feeling negative about your life, being positive about achieving your goals may not come naturally.  So, rather than setting a goal like ‘stop playing on the Xbox every night‘, it is more useful to set a goal of ‘playing on the Xbox for no more than 2 hours each night’.  Another example might be ‘eat less takeaways’.  You could alter this to ‘eat a cooked meal three time per week’.  Both of those examples can be “shortened” too.  You might need to drop to 4 hours on the Xbox each night first or cook a meal once a week before you can get to three or more.

4. Lets be SMART about this

Now that we’ve established our goals, we need a framework to help us realise them.  A really useful technique for achieving goals is to us S.M.A.R.T goals;  Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time specific.


Be as to the point as you can.  If for example, you wanted to save up enough money to buy a new car, then it would be useful to write down things like; which car do you want? How much will it cost? How long will it take you to save the money? Adding as much detail here, will help you overcome the obstacles to your goal.


We need to be able to ‘measure’ the progress of your goal.  Staying with the car example, if you wanted to save £5000 as a deposit, then we can measure the progress towards the figure by depositing a certain amount each week into a bank account and checking the progress on a monthly basis, when the statement arrives.


Setting a goal like ‘I’d like to become a Hollywood superstar within the next two weeks’ is unrealistic if you have just realised that your goal is indeed, to become a Hollywood star! If your goal isn’t achievable, it isn’t useful to you.  If you really wanted to become an actor then a goal which might ‘getting a role in a play’ would probably be more useful.

Time Specific:

You may have already thought about how long it would take you to achieve your goals when we looked at the ‘Specific’ aspect but if you haven’t, it’s useful to set yourself a time limit to achieve your goal.  So for example, if your goal was to ‘join a Thai boxing club‘ then you might want to give yourself a week to complete the goal, as you’ll have to find a club, work out if you can afford membership etc.  If you don’t make your goal time specific, you may find yourself “putting off” your goal.  If you can’t make it time specific, go back to ‘Achievable’ and make an adjustment.

For example, your goal was to ‘learn how to design websites’, you might want to set yourself a longer time frame, if the course began in the September and it was now July.  But, you could alter the goal to ‘prepare for the webdesign course beginning in September’ and start working towards your goal, now.

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.
– Steve Jobs

While it’s great to achieve a goal, don’t be too disheartened if you don’t.  You might be too ambitious when it comes to ‘Time Specific’ or maybe you wasn’t ‘Specific’ enough but if you set a goal and use this framework, you can always re-vise your goals.  So for example, if your goal was to ‘learn Spanish in 6 months’ and your on month 12 and you’ve only mastered half a dozen phrases, you just need to re-vise your goal.

Maybe the goal needs to be something like ‘practice spoken Spanish with a friend twice a week’.  Also, if you have set yourself a goal that’s not ‘Achievable’, re-vise it but also remember to give yourself credit for what you have achieved. Taking the Spanish example, you’ve still learnt some Spanish.  Perhaps you’ve made some friends from the classes too? The SMART framework is to help you focus, not beat yourself with!

Finally, you need to refer to the framework on a regular basis to keep your goals focused  and relevant.  If you met someone on that Spanish course and started to date, is that other goal of ‘to meet the right woman’ still relevant?


The SMART framework can be a really handy tool if you struggle to achieve your goals.  This isn’t something you’ll need to do for the rest of your life, it’ll help you get into the habit of making achievable goals and attaining them.  I’ve used it with my clients and it works.  Let me know what you think in the comments below.  Have you tried it and had success? Have you tried it and failed? Why do you think that could be and what did you try instead?

Thanks for reading.


'Scrabble' tiles spelling 'positive' on a cork background

You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.
– C.S. Lewis

If you’re looking for a counsellor who understands and can put themselves in your shoes and feel how you feel, get in touch.

Suicide: the bane of masculinity

As I casually flicked through my Twitter feed I remember the feeling of sadness at seeing another icon of my youth, Keith Flint of ‘The Prodigy’ had committed suicide.  The feeling instantly took me back to how I felt in July 2017, when Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, committed suicide too.  I was heartbroken.  The music of both The Prodigy and Linkin Park elicit fond memories from my teenage years and fill my head and my heart with thoughts and feelings of an optimistic youth with his best years ahead of him. 

This is the gift both Keith and Chester gave to me and I will forever be grateful to their pioneering geniuses.  Gifts given to me and millions of fans around the world who were uplifted by the energy in both their music and their on stage performances and consoled by the poignancy of their lyrics.

Chester Bennington

When we lose icons like Chester and Keith as well as men like Chris Cornell from Soundgarden and Audioslave to suicide, it brings the subject to the fore and creates discussions but how many men are seeing suicide as a serious threat to both themselves and their families? Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45.  Bigger than any cancer. 

Keith Flint

Suicide claims more lives of British men under 45 years of age than anything else, so shouldn’t we be doing something about it? While suicide affects women, it doesn’t claim nearly as many lives, with the figure being roughly a third of the male suicide rate and yet there is a higher rate of depression diagnosis in women. 

There are 15.5 male deaths per 100,000, in the UK, compared to women, with the figure standing at 4.9 female deaths per 100,000.  The figures for death by suicide in the United States and Australia, both show similar trends.  Men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women, in Australia and in the United States, that figure rises to men being 3.5 times more likely to commit suicide than women.

So why do more men commit suicide than women?

Well, we can identify several ‘risk factors’ and one of the biggest risk factors I am aware of and a risk factor many of my male clients identify as a major issue, is communication, or lack of it.  We could put it down to women being more “open” and willing to share their thoughts, feelings and emotions, while men “bottle it up” and feel less able to tell their loved ones or friends what “going on for them” but is it as simple and as straightforward as that?

For too long I feel it is true that western society has for generation after generation encouraged men to be “strong” and to not admit when they are struggling but that’s why many of my clients who seek counselling for men contact me because they realise that they do need to talk to someone.  The problem is, by the time they come to me for counselling, they’ve already had many years of experience of not talking about the anxieties

And its not just how men feel emotionally either.  If there is something physically wrong with a man, they are less likely than women to put themselves into the vulnerable position of asking for help.  The ‘Health and Social Care bill’ found that men visited their GP’s 20% less frequently than women.  It’s not that men don’t have the same issues as women but it’s that men are less likely to share a problem preferring to resolutely say “I’ll be fine”.  This attitude puts men at a greater risk of suicide.

Counselling for men

What are the other risk factors?

While it’s not unusual to hear of women in the UK drinking excessively, the Samaritans advise that men are more likely to turn to alcohol to when they are in distress, with alcohol being a known risk factor for suicide.  Another major risk factor of male suicide is employment.  Men are traditionally the “main bread winner” so when unemployment rises as a result of economic downturn, we see an increase in the number of suicides.   

A study by Bristol, Manchester and Oxford University, estimated that an additional 1,000 suicides and “30 to 40 thousand” attempts were made as a result of the 2008 financial crisis.  While money worries can understandably contribute to a man considering suicide, the reduction in finances, is the tip of the iceberg.  Simon Gunning, the CEO of Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) says “We’re brought up our entire lives to judge ourselves in comparison with our peers and to be economically successful.  When there are economic factors we can’t control, it becomes very difficult.”

What can be done?

To reduce the number of male deaths by suicide, attitudes towards talking about suicide need to change.  If we become more comfortable about talking about suicide, we can become more able to help someone who might be suffering with suicidal thoughts.  Here are some ways you can help someone you feel could be contemplating suicide:

Know the warning signs:

  • Mood changes – a sudden change from sad to happy can appear as though someone is in “a better place” but it could also be because they have decided that they are prepared to commit suicide.
  • Withdrawal – be aware of people who are not going out or socialising as much as they once did.
  • Changes to sleeping and eating patterns – someone who eats or sleeps excessively can be a warning sign as much as someone who can’t sleep or doesn’t eat.
  • A lack of energy or seeming “run down” – someone who is lethargic may be struggling.
  • Poor personal hygiene – if someone isn’t showering, brushing their teeth or wearing clean clothes, could be suffering from poor mental health.
  • Drink/drugs/gambling – excessive drinking, gambling and drug taking, can be warning signs that someone has “more going on in their lives” than they are letting on.
  • Recklessness – a person who is “risk taking” may be in danger.
  • Anger issues – Someone who is easily irritable or seems “always angry”, is possibly struggling with mental health issues.

What can I do to help someone who may be suicidal?

  • Be there for them.  Give them space to talk, if they need it.
  • Don’t pressure them to talk to you if they really don’t want to.
  • It’s also ok to ask someone if they feel suicidal.  While it can be a scary thing to do, it shows the person that someone is paying attention to them, which can make a difference.
  • Try to help the person explore their feelings and it may seem hard but try not to be judgemental if the person is drinking too much or dependant on drugs.  They probably realise that already and if they feel judged they’re more likely to respond negatively and reject your help.
  • If the person agrees, remove anything that could be used to take their life.
  • Get some help – you can call a GP’s surgery, 999 or take them to A&E but stay with them.
  • Get support – it’s tough hearing that someone you love or care for is thinking of suicide and it can leave many people feeling upset.  Get support from other friends or family members but if you don’t feel you are able to, there are agencies who can support you.

Useful contacts

Do you need to talk?

If you would like to talk to someone, then I can help.

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