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  • Written by Zoe
  • Category: Blog
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Anxious Minds in Uncertain Times- 26th May 2021

At one of our Wednesday Sessions via Zoom, we covered ‘Anxious Minds in Uncertain Times’ in relation to Covid anxiety. This session was created and run by two of our fantastic volunteer facilitators Phoebe & Julie. Here is what we covered…

A common disorder that many are experiencing now is anticipatory anxiety. This is worrying about an event or situation in the future, including the fear that bad things might happen and the fear of failure. Since the Government restrictions being lifted, many people are feeling the impacts on their mental health, feelings, and emotions. For instance, they will be feeling anxious, afraid, or panicked, feeling powerless, feeling unsupported or disregarded, feeling under pressure, stressed and unprepared, along with various other mixed feelings and emotions. There is a term that has been created by the media called ‘Covid Anxiety Syndrome’. This has come from the increase in mental health problems being reported during the pandemic, from 25% to 40%. Causes include low tolerance to uncertainty, overwhelming media coverage and fear to promote compliance.

Other areas that we explored in the session included travelling, such as travelling to work and how that is making people feel. There may be some people who are feeling excited to be going back into the office and workplace as opposed to others that may be apprehensive about it. They may feel out of practice, or are concerned about the spread of Covid, worried about using public transport and whether other people will stick to the rules and be Covid safe. In addition, we considered travelling for recreation, many may be really excited about being able to go on holiday and cannot wait to get back to normal. Whereas others are beginning to feel the pressure & are concerned about booking holidays at the minute especially as there is so much uncertainty. For instance, being worried about the holiday being cancelled last minute, not getting your money back or it being difficult to get the money back. Fear of restrictions being changed, things not being open when you go or feeling under pressure to go on holiday by friends and family. Even before the pandemic, going on holiday could be quite stressful with packing, making sure you have everything, that you are on time, getting through security and customs and now there is the added what ifs. 

Other factors causing people to feel anxious may include, feeling less confident or have lower self-esteem. As a result of weight gain or loss, not being able to access services like hairdressers or gyms, fitness classes, feeling out of practice socially, feeling like we must learn how to socialise again and get back to ‘normal’ or ‘pre covid’ life. As well as feeling unsure about relationships because you have not seen people in a long time, worried about doing something wrong, not following the latest rules and Government guidelines. 

Below are helpful some tips for easing yourself out of lockdown:

 One step at a time- do not feel that you need to do everything at once because it feels that everyone else is. 

  1. Focus on the now- try not to ruminate on future events which could change.
  2. Focus on things that you are looking forward to, not what could go wrong.
  3. Do not feel you have to go back to the ‘old normal’ if things work better remotely then continue with this.
  4. Find a new normal- do not feel pressure to do things you used to do or enjoy doing if they are not enjoyable anymore. Incorporate things slowly into your routine to mediate the fear associated with severe changes. 
  5. Plan ahead- if you are worried about public transport then plan which
    buses/trains you will get on and arrange to go at less busy times if possible.
  6. Look after your wellbeing & be kind to yourself- try to eat healthy, exercise often and sleep well.
  7. Arm yourself with trustworthy information - try to use government sources to make decisions on what you are and are not allowed to do. You may find conflicting information online because it is from disreputable sources or applies to different areas of the world.
  • Written by Super User
  • Category: Blog
  • Hits: 234

Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021: Nature

This year's mental health awareness week has a focus on Nature.

During the last year this has had a particular significance with covid-19. The stay at home order only stopped on 9th March and many of the green spaces and parks in Sheffield were packed causing extra anxiety about the virus, or just too many people when we want to relax. Sheffield had one of the coldest Aprils in decades too which made our relationship with outdoors a bit more complicated.

During sessions over the years No Panic Sheffield has often talked about exercise and nature. The restorative effects of birdsong, trees and water are well known and the positive effects can last for some hours afterwards. Members have often categorised it as peace and quiet, endorphins and a mental break with a change of scenery. Exercise can be a great thing for mental health but it gets quite a bad press. Endorphins are quite short lived, as is the reward neurotransmitter dopamine, however research over the years has focussed on other things such as Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is associated with moderate exercise and if done regularly over 6-9 months has a positive effect on mood. We're all talked to other people where they tell us that exercise is the key, it's not going to sort out anxiety, but it can have a fairly positive effect, something which people probably appreciate a bit more the last year.

Sheffield has many great parks such as Bolehills, Graves, Millhouses, Endcliffe and Norfolk Parks along with many more. We're also situated near the peak disctict national park. As covid restrictions have eased, be kind to yourself, make time and if possible get out to enjoy nature at your own pace. Parks have largely emptied the last few weeks which should make things slightly easier.

  • Written by Super User
  • Category: Blog
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We're back

We're back

Face to face sessions returned on Thursdays on 29th April NPS is pleased to say. The first two sessions had a capacity of 6 members and from 13th May onwards the capacity will increase to 8 members and more.

The first meeting went really well, we had 3 members which was made up of a returning member, one new member and one who had only just started coming to the on-line sessions. It was on Anxiety over the last year. The second session was on Health anxiety and had 4 members. This week 13th May the session will be on Mindfulness. Please get in touch if you'd like to attend because we are still not yet at capacity. See details on our Thursday page.

From 3rd or 10th June we are hoping to have Wednesdays back 6:30-8:30pm.

This is what the venue looks like:

 

  • Written by Super User
  • Category: Blog
  • Hits: 220

We're back

We're back

Face to face sessions returned on Thursdays on 29th April NPS is pleased to say. The first two sessions had a capacity of 6 members and from 13th May onwards the capacity will increase to 8 members and more.

The first meeting went really well, we had 3 members which was made up of a returning member, one new member and one who had only just started coming to the on-line sessions. It was on Anxiety over the last year. The second session was on Health anxiety and had 4 members. This week 13th May the session will be on Mindfulness. Please get in touch if you'd like to attend because we are still not yet at capacity. See details on our Thursday page.

From 3rd or 10th June we are hoping to have Wednesdays back 6:30-8:30pm.

This is what the venue looks like:

 

  • Written by Super User
  • Category: Blog
  • Hits: 226

We're back

We're back

Face to face sessions returned on Thursdays on 29th April NPS is pleased to say. The first two sessions had a capacity of 6 members and from 13th May onwards the capacity will increase to 8 members and more.

The first meeting went really well, we had 3 members which was made up of a returning member, one new member and one who had only just started coming to the on-line sessions. It was on Anxiety over the last year. The second session was on Health anxiety and had 4 members. This week 13th May the session will be on Mindfulness. Please get in touch if you'd like to attend because we are still not yet at capacity. See details on our Thursday page.

From 3rd or 10th June we are hoping to have Wednesdays back 6:30-8:30pm.

This is what the venue looks like:

 

  • Written by Super User
  • Category: Blog
  • Hits: 211

We're back

We're back

Face to face sessions returned on Thursdays on 29th April NPS is pleased to say. The first two sessions had a capacity of 6 members and from 13th May onwards the capacity will increase to 8 members and more.

The first meeting went really well, we had 3 members which was made up of a returning member, one new member and one who had only just started coming to the on-line sessions. It was on Anxiety over the last year. The second session was on Health anxiety and had 4 members. This week 13th May the session will be on Mindfulness. Please get in touch if you'd like to attend because we are still not yet at capacity. See details on our Thursday page.

From 3rd or 10th June we are hoping to have Wednesdays back 6:30-8:30pm.

This is what the venue looks like:

 

  • Written by Zoe
  • Category: Blog
  • Hits: 296

Worry & useful tips- 21st February 2021

Worry is a state of being anxious and troubled over actual or potential problems. But, how much is too much? Worry is a normal part of everyday life, it can however become excessive when it is persistent and uncontrollable. Constant worry can take its toll on both physical and mental health as well as negatively impacting on relationships. So, why is it so hard to stop worrying? There are 2 attitudes to worry, negative and positive:

Negative is where we worry that we worry too much.

Positive is our belief that worrying helps us avoid bad things. 

Read more

  • Written by Zoe
  • Category: Blog
  • Hits: 415

Managing self loathing- 28th October 2020

Below is an insight to one of NPS self help group sessions that was organised and run by some of our wonderful group facilitators. This informative session led to the group sharing their thoughts, experiences and insights into the topic as well as helping one another to explore how to overcome and manage self loathing. 

What is self loathing?

It is where a person has very strong feelings of dislike and are extremely critical of themselves. Everyone experiences feelings of self loathing from time to time, this is a normal feeling. However, for some people self loathing is a constant occurrence that is so relentless that they start to believe it. This can have a big impact on your mental health and can leave them feeling no self worth or value and undeserving of positive things in their lives.

Read more

  • Written by Super User
  • Category: Blog
  • Hits: 657

Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia session 7th October 2020

No Panic Sheffield did a session on Agoraphobia written by faciltiator Anna. This was classically regarded as one of the six 'types' of anxiety in the past and regarded as separate to specific phobias e.g. dogs, heights.

Misconceptions about Agoraphobia abound due to it being quoted in the past in many sources such as encylopaedias as fear of 'open spaces'. The Agora in ancient Greece was a kind of square used for various civic functions, so it could be said it was understood what it meant in the ancient world.

Agoraphobia includes a diverse range of fears and can include:-

  • Fear of public transport in many guises from buses or trainrs to airports
  • Fear of being in a crowd
  • Fear of open or closed spaces
  • Fear of queues
  • Fear or being trapped, embarrassed or unable to get help
  • fears of being infected, crime or attacks

This list is not exhaustive and may manifest itself in many other ways, especially if a person has other diagnoses.

Agoraphobia can be with or without panic attacks. There can be extreme avoidance of particular places, especially if a panic attack has happened in a place. Agoraphobia can have similarities and overlaps with other phobias such as Bathmophobia which is fear of slopes. There has been a lot of research done on causes of agoraphobia and it may be related to traumatic events, or a reaction to panic attacks. Research on a link between alcohol and agoraphobia (which way around is unclear) has been done and also on how spatial awareness may play a large part.

Symptoms can include feeling unsafe, worrying about a panic attack, someone may faint, feel dizzy and socially isolate themselves. People with agoraphobia can use safety seeking behaviours such as limiting leaving the house, having deliveries or going places with other people. Unfortunately this can make everyday life difficult. Covid-19 may aggravate feelings for those with agoraphobia and add an extra level.

Treatments for agoraphobia include exposure therapy, relaxation and medication. There was a discussion in the session of what peoples' experiences of agoraphobia were and techniques people use for anxiety.

The DSM-V notes the similarity and overlap between social anxiety, which is much better known, and agoraphobia, with the key differences being the root cause in the situation. If someone stays indoors a lot and has limited social contact, they may also develop social anxiety at the same time as having Agoraphobia.

  • Written by Zoe
  • Category: Blog
  • Hits: 891

World Mental Health Day- 10th October 2020

Today is World Mental Health Day!

A little bit about WMHD…

World Mental Health Day was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health. It is an international day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. 

At No Panic Sheffield, we recognise that there is a lot of fear, uncertainty and anxiety during these times as well as more isolation with the social distancing rules and restrictions. This year has never been more important to recognise, educate ourselves and reach out to people to see how they are doing. But not to go on too much about Coronavirus as our mental health is something that has always been important to discuss. Looking after your mental health is just as important to looking after your physical health. 

It is paramount that we are able to have open discussions about our mental health, in order to reduce stigma and to encourage people to feel comfortable in getting help and support. The most important thing you can do if you want to support a friend, family member, work colleague is to take the time to talk, be supportive, be understanding and listen. The Time To Change campaign site has some really good information about how you can support others. For more information click here.

 

 

We also have a lot of USEFUL LINKS on our site.

Remember you are not alone and there is support out there. If anyone is interested in coming along to our weekly Self Help Group get in touch with us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.There is more information about the groups on the SELF HELP GROUPS help page, we would love to see you there!

  • Written by Zoe
  • Category: Blog
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HEALTH ANXIETY- Wednesday 23rd Sept Session

WELCOME BACK...

The NPS team had a break over August, giving us a chance to do some planning and recruitment of some new volunteers. However, we are all pleased to have returned to the weekly zoom sessions and fingers crossed we will be getting back to some normality with the group sessions. Obviously the government guidelines are ever changing so please bear with us and keep checking the website for any updates. Below is the latest in regards to the self help meetings:

Quaker Meeting House is still closed and looking to (hopefully) open at the end of this month/ beginning of October. Thursday morning sessions have temporarily stopped whilst we look into in person meetings.

Sessions which are via Zoom are every Wednesday 6:30pm-8:30pm. If you wish to attend). We welcome new members, you can attend as many or few as you want and there is no waiting list. 

 

At Wednesday's session we covered Health Anxiety, it was a really interesting session that was created by one of our wonderful facilitators- Natasha. We had some really good participation from our members, leading to interesting discussions. There was a very supportive feel from the members, which helps make the zoom sessions feel more connected. 

The session covered;

What is health anxiety; symptoms; causes HA components; how to break the cycle; focus of attention and challenging your thoughts; testing your beliefs and mindfulness.

For a lot of people who suffer from health anxiety, it is a very challenging time at the moment with Covid-19 and all the uncertainty. A great activity that we did at this session was to challenge your thoughts. 

 

By writing things down on paper it is useful for getting these thoughts out of your head. It structures the different aspects of health anxiety to break it down into more manageable thoughts, rather than having multiple racing thoughts of continual worry. You can learn to see things in a more realistic light which can help to improve your mood and reduce your anxiety or stress levels.

We look forward to another great session this Wednesday at 6:30pm - 8:30pm, where we will be discussing Perfectionism

If you have any queries about the sessions please do contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • Written by Super User
  • Category: Blog
  • Hits: 2003

No Panic: on-line on Zoom

19th March. No Panic Sheffield is still here

Our sessions continue on-line. We want you to know that No Panic Sheffield is still here.

Unfortunately we have put out updates on the website and e-mailed members but this message doesn't seem to be getting through. A lot of people have had our e-mails go into spam boxes and we expect this is the case for many people. Members have also not been checking the website. We are updating our website and continue to do so. 

Quaker Meeting House is closed till at least Easter. We are using Zoom for on-line sessions at the same times.

This is a piece of video conferencing software. It works on a browser of app on mobile phone. 

zoom1

Above is what it looks like on a browser when you copy a link to join a room. A file will download and run and then the room will open, like below.

zoom2

This is what it looks like in the room on a desktop through the browser. 

There is video, audio, a chatbox and the session can load slides.

Easy:

No sign up required

Follow a link

Opens in a browser or phone

Video/audio/text whatever you're happy with

Sit and listen

  • Written by Super User
  • Category: Blog
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Mandala Art - 23rd Jan session

So Thursday turned out to be a very colourful session here at No Panic Sheffield. 

We discussed the history of Manadalas, the earliest evidence of Manadala arts dates back to the 1st century BCE, but appeared in the 4th century in Tibet, China and Japan. We're never too old to learn are we!

We had the choice of creating our own teaching or healing mandala from scratch - not for the faint hearted, but we have some really talented and artistic members (I'm not one of them, a 2 year old is a better artist than me). The other option was colouring in pre-printed Mandalas for some mindful art. 

mandala1mandala2

We all had great fun, chatting away whilst working on our creations, the mandalas with smiley emojis proved very popular and put a smile on everyone's face. 

By dinnertime the room was full of wonderfully colourful mandalas and we ended the sesion very happy and relaxed so, here's to our next session. 

Sam's tip for this week - kick back and take a break from all the hustle and bustle. 

For contemporary examples of mandala art see @lady_meli_art on instagram, https://www.instagram.com/lady_meli_art/ (this is not an advert). Lady Meli also does zentangles and doodles which we have done in a session (each) before as well.

Till next time.

Sam

  • Written by Super User
  • Category: Blog
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New member? Thinking of coming to a meeting?

What to Expect at Your First Session

No Panic is a support group open to anyone struggling with their mental health. Sessions are Wednesdays 6:30-8:30 and Thursdays 10-12 at the Quaker Meeting House.

 quaker

Each session is given a topic which can be anything related to mental health. For example, there are sometimes sessions on specific diagnoses such as:

     Social anxiety

     Depression

     PTSD

Other times there are broader sessions such as:

     Coping strategies

     Mindfulness

     Sleep

     Thought patterns.

Amongst others.

Topics can be requested by members either after a session or by email. The facilitators plan the session ahead of time and lead the conversation. Sometimes activities can be included as well but participation is entirely optional.

All facilitators are understanding and non-judgemental.

My First Session

My first session was over a year ago now and this last year has flown by. I put off coming to no panic for a long time after first hearing about it because of how nerve wracking I found it. It is totally normal for people to enquire and then take some time before attending their first session. I found that coming with a friend for my first session made it seem much less intimidating and it is totally okay to bring someone along for support if you are feeling nervous.

No Panic has made a huge difference in my life as a member. It is a safe space to talk about things that are often difficult to talk about in society. It can be very reassuring to hear that other people have had the same experiences as you and to get tips on how to deal with symptoms. It is a very understanding environment that has really built my confidence to talk about my anxiety in the group and outside of the group.

Since becoming a facilitator my understanding of facilitators has changed. I always assumed that they volunteered because of a professional interest but in getting to know them I’ve realised that people choose to volunteer for this charity because they really care about helping people. One of my biggest worries was fear of judgement especially from facilitators but anything said is kept confidential and no one will think negatively of you for any of the experiences you share.

Common Misconceptions or Worries

Everyone has been coming to the sessions for years and I will stick out.

We get newcomers all the time and whilst we do have some regular members, different people turn up to every session and new members are always welcomed.

All of the facilitators are clinical psychologists who won’t truly understand how I feel.

Many of our facilitators have personal experiences with mental health issues and those that don’t are committed to helping others. We have a wide variety of facilitators including students, former members, those working in the mental health profession and others.

I will be expected to speak in front of the group.

There is absolutely no pressure to speak during the session. Some new members speak lots and some don’t speak at all. A lot can be gained from listening to the experiences of others and whilst there is the opportunity to contribute it is not expected.

If I don’t like it I’m stuck for the rest of the session.

You can leave the session or take a break whenever you feel overwhelmed. However, it may be too intimidating to walk out. There is a break in the middle of each session so if two hours felt like too much, you could stay for the first hour and leave unnoticed during the break.

What if i find something discussed triggering?

We make it clear at the beginning of the session that people attending no panic (including facilitators) can have triggers and ask that anyone who does want to contribute is aware of this.

Help! I want more information.

We fully understand that coming to a support group for the first time, especially as someone with mental health difficulties can be scary. If you have any specific worries you want to discuss or want more information about what to expect you can email the no panic email and one of our volunteers will be happy to help.

 

Phoebe