Raising awareness and removing the stigma surrounding mental health is an important part of supporting the mental health aspect within ourselves and for those around us. It is also important for creating a healthy society.

However, to look at mental health on its own or as a single part, without factoring in the whole person, would be bonkers!

Mental cognition is our thoughts, ideas, opinions, beliefs, perspective and attitudes. It can be the thing that has us to say the things we say, do the things we do. We repeat this process over and over again until it becomes automatic and we are no longer conscious of why we do what we do. We find ourselves with a pattern or habit. Some habits work for us, some habits are destructive.

How these habits came to stick or not is part of our programming or conditioning (we will go into this more next time).

You might be wondering what chooses our thoughts, ideas, opinions etc in any given moment?

What triggers them?

It could be any number of the billion things around us that we respond to that can trigger a physical (chemical) response within us. This physical/chemical response can cause an emotional reaction, we are not aware of that leads to us making a meaning out of (thought) in order to understand and survive the situation. We are meaning making machines, day and night.

Emotions, thoughts and physical/chemical reactions are intertwined. Our actions can be the result of a trigger from our thoughts, emotions or a chemical response and it could start with any one of these parts of ourselves.

Knowing thoughts, feelings and physical responses are connected can help to give us some control around our mental health and behaviour. Mindful practises, meditation and hypnosis are great for helping with over active thoughts and overwhelming emotions but what about the physical part, how can you control the physical or chemical part?

One way is to start with understanding how the physical part leading to the mental and emotional response works within you. The chemicals produced travel through our body via pathways between our gut and out brain. These pathways send the information to and from our “meaning making” part so we can decide what to do, think and feel.

One of the key chemicals for feeling good is serotonin which is produced in our gut. It helps us to regulate our social behaviour, our sleep, our appetite and our moods and it can also help inhabit pain. Unfortunately, if our gut health, our chemical production isn’t working so well then it can lead to an imbalance in our emotional health or our mental health as well. It is difficult to separate our parts. Working with the body as a whole for mental health can bring better results.

There is a lot of new research available that supports the idea that anxiety and depression may be linked to gut health. The state of our gut and the food we put into it can be the key in bringing a more balanced, regulated mental state.

Food for thought anyway 😊

For further information on the conditioning and habits please contact reception at Hills Natural Heatlh to book a session.  To explore your physical health further speak to reception about it and they will help you consider which practitioner is right for you.

I wish you well on your journey to good health 😊.

Jo-Anne Barrett
Clinical Hypnotherapist


Winter has well and truly arrived here in Glen Forrest. The foggy mornings are becoming more frequent and its getting harder to get out of bed when it is cold. For many reading this, you have already been spending many days chopping wood for your fires, clearing property breaks and tending to horses.  You may feel that this is becoming more difficult as the weather gets colder.

On these colder days muscles are forced to work harder to complete the same tasks compared to milder weather. This can cause more damage to the muscle tissue which is what you are feeling when your muscles are sore. Prolonged periods of increased repetitive movements like swinging an axe, weeding and lifting/moving heavy objects can lead to your joints seizing up and can progress to acute back and/or neck pain.

You may be asking yourself what can you do to stay healthy this winter. We have some suggestions:

Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is a specific condition where nerves or blood vessels between the collar bone and first rib are compressed causing pain in the shoulder and neck and/or numbness down the arm.


Types of TOS

The main types of TOS include:
Neurogenic (Neurological) - compression of the brachial plexus that come out from nerves in the neck that go down the arm to control muscle movements and sensations.
Vascular - either the veins or the arteries are compressed by the collar bone
Non-Specific - where there is pain at the thoracic outlet with increased activity but there is nothing specific that can be pin pointed.