Nasma and Jack are just two examples of people who have engaged in psychological therapy to help them cope with physical symptoms with a successful outcome. If you have a physical health condition or are experiencing persistent physical symptoms, why not see if you could benefit too?
In the meantime, there is a number of useful self-help strategies that can help you cope with your physical symptoms.
Exercise: regular exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, will help you combat low mood and improve motivation. This is true for everyone, even people who have physical health problems or persistent physical symptoms. Aim to do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week but you will need to build up gradually if you have been inactive for some time. Moderate exercise should make you feel slightly out of breath and tired. Going for a brisk walk is a good example. Click here to find out more about the benefits of physical activity.
Pacing: If you have a health problem that causes pain or fatigue it is important to pace out your activities. Try to avoid doing everything you can on a ‘good day’ to make up for a bad day when you have not felt able to do much at all. This can lead people to get trapped in a “boom or bust” cycle which can be demoralising. In some instances, it may lead people to give up altogether. Instead, try engage in a moderate amount of activity everyday regardless of your symptoms and make sure that you take regular breaks. This will give you a better sense of control over your life rather than your physical health condition being in control.
Smoking and drinking: Although it can be tempting to smoke or drink to make you feel better when you are trying to cope with physical illness or persistent physical symptoms, in the long run it will make things worse. Drink alcohol in moderation and, if you smoke, try to give up. The NHS and your GP provide free support to people who would like to stop smoking.
Understanding your condition: some people find that reading about depression can help. There are many books based on the principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). These books can help you understand more about your psychological problems and learn ways of overcoming them by changing your thinking and behaviour. To find out more about recommended books click here.
If you would like to know more about how Psychological Therapy can help you, please contact us. Alternatively, you may wish to speak to your GP about a referral to our service.