It's been a minute

Its been a long time.

Well over a year in fact since I started sharing interviews with you.

I took a break, probably longer than I intended.

I was going through some shit, there was a lot of change.

I was working full time, teaching yoga, mindfulness and meditation, studying, trying to keep a social life and self care routine together.

I forgot to grow, personally and within my offerings to you.

I was swamped, I was lost, I didn’t know what I was trying to say.

I didn’t know what I wanted to offer you.

So I took some time, slowed down, created space, everything that I was telling other too do.

I made some changes, cultivated my own self care practices, deepened my rituals and spent a lot of time in silence.

I went on retreat, broke open and put myself back together again with gold glitter glue.

So here I am, with new offerings, new stories, new tips to help you create some space.

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Talk soon.

Love Holly. X

Q&A with Professor Tim Newton

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Tim Newton

Professor of Psychology as Applied to Dentistry

Honary Consultant Health Psychologist

BA PhD Cpsychol AFBPS Csci

Professor Tim Netwon is a Professor of Psychology as Applied to Dentistry within the Population and Patient Health Division at King’s College Dental Institute. With more than 260 published papers in peer-reviewed and high-level journals, Professor Newton has contributed to the theoretical and methodological understanding of how behavior is socially determined. He was also just awarded the IADR Distinguished Scientist Award for Behavioral, Epidemiologic and Health Services Research. This award, one of the highest honors bestowed by the IADR, recognizes Professor Newton as a highly influential scientist in psychology as applied to dentistry and for his life-long achievements in the field.

Who are you?

Tim Newton. I am a health psychologist which means that I try to understand why people behave the way they do with respect to their health. I work in the dental field and I am particularly interested in finding ways to encourage people to take better care of the mouth and teeth and helping people to overcome their fear of dental treatment.

What do you feel is the number one thing affecting people's mental health?

There are two aspects of modern life which I think are particularly detrimental to our mental health, the first is that we now have a constantly connected society – it is difficult to find points to switch off from external demands. The borderline between work and home has been blurred by the incursion of emails and phone calls. Even good things such as friends and family can become a pressure when we are replying to their messages and postings at all times of the day and night. The second thing is the external pressures and expectations that we unconsciously receive through the media, in particular, expectations of how we should look, and what we should have.

Why do you think people don’t seek help?

I think poor mental health is invidious, it can feel normal to be a bit low, or tired or sad. Along with the belief that feeling bad may just be a normal part of life, we may also feel that the solutions we expect are not suitable for us – will a doctor give me medication or send me to a psychologist when actually I just need a holiday. That is why making small changes to our everyday lives can have a profound effect on our mental health – we can make changes such as sleeping more, doing more, taking time out which used to be a normal part of life but which get forgotten in the rush of modern living

Why do you think people are ok with not living optimally?

As I say I think it is invidious, people assume that how they feel is normal, and if that is less than optimal, then they accept that is the way things should be.

What is one piece of advice you would like to give people in regards to mental ill health?

Tricky. Either: 

Get the right amount of sleep, OR spend a little time every day doing something that gives you great pleasure.

Get the right amount of sleep, OR

Spend a little time every day doing something that gives you great pleasure.

Where would you tell people to start?

Sit down and look at your week. How do you spend your time? How could you create the space to go to bed at the same time every day, and wake up at the same time. Where could you carve out 30minutes a day to do something just for you?

What's the most frustrating misconception about mental health?

The image of people with mental illness being dangerous, or somehow different from all of us.

What are your stress busters?

Exercise. Planning – make time for things you love.

Do you practice gratitude?

Yes, Thank you for asking!

What's the most interesting piece of research you have come across recently?

One I quote a lot is the review that found that taking exercise is as effective as anti-depressant drugs in alleviating depression.

What do you hope for mental health in the future?

Tolerance.

In your lifetime what would you like humanity to discover?

The joy of helping each other.

How important do you think a community is for mental health?

Critical. The problem is that ever since the growth of capitalism and the free market, we are increasingly focused on individuality.

Name a book that has changed your perspective on something?

Many years ago I read a book called “The cure and care of neuroses” by Professor Isaac Marks. It was the first time I had seen an author use scientific evidence to justify a treatment approach for mental ill health and preceded a lot of what we now think of as evidence-based healthcare. On top of that, it suggested that our duty as healthcare professionals was not only the cure for mental illness but the care of those affected. It emphasized the humanity of healthcare.

More recently I loved “Reasons to Stay Alive” by Matt Haig where he talks openly and honestly about his struggles with depression and the steps he took to help himself.

How do we start the conversation about mental ill health?

I don’t know. I think we need everyone, to be honest about their mental health challenges in the past. I can remember times when I was very low, things I have been scared of, times when I have been very stressed but we tend to think these as negative aspects of ourselves to be hidden rather than a part of the ebb and flow of life.

How do we lessen the stigma of mental ill health?

The more we see mental ill health in our everyday lives, the better and we also need to think about how mental ill health is portrayed in films and TV.

Do you practice yoga?

Not yet.