remembrance day, poppy, poppies-3811394.jpg

This Remembrance Day Veterans Are Being Encouraged To Get Support For Their Mental Health


Addressing the Invisible Wounds of Combat through Innovative Approaches

The mental health crisis among veterans, particularly those who have experienced combat, is a growing concern that demands urgent attention. A staggering report from a recent JAMA Neurology study reveals a more than 10-fold increase in suicide rates among U.S. veterans from 2006 to 2020, underscoring the inadequacy of current treatment strategies.

In the U.K., the situation is similarly alarming. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) remains a prevalent issue among veterans. Statistics show a significant number of these brave individuals have PTSD, a condition often exacerbated by their experiences in combat. The National Health Service (NHS) strives to provide support, yet the complexity of mental health challenges in veterans calls for a multi-faceted approach.

As someone who has worked closely with veterans, I’ve seen firsthand the profound impact of combat on mental health. Some challenges they face are the memories of lost comrades, the strain on personal and professional relationships, and the struggle to reintegrate into civilian life. My approach involves talking therapies, which have proven beneficial in managing these difficult memories and experiences. These therapies are not just about coping with past traumas; they’re about rebuilding a life with new strategies for wellbeing.

The Benefits of Self-Care in Veteran Mental Health:

  • Meditation: Enhances resilience by developing the ability to cope with stress and recover from adversity. Regular meditation practice leads to mental flexibility and a healthier stress response.
  • Gratitude Exercises: Strengthens relationships by fostering a positive outlook that enhances empathy and deepens connections with others.
  • Counselling or Talking Therapies: Improves self-esteem by providing safe spaces for self-exploration, leading to greater self-awareness and confidence.
  • Talking to Friends and Family: Boosts physical health by providing emotional support and reducing feelings of isolation, which can positively impact physical wellbeing.
  • Mindfulness: Mindfulness practices help in managing symptoms of anxiety and depression, contributing to overall emotional wellbeing and mental health stability.

Self-care strategies like meditation, mindfulness, and expressing gratitude daily have shown remarkable results.

They are encouraging veterans to maintain open communication with trusted friends and family members, which further aids in their mental health journey. The Armed Forces Covenant in the U.K. reinforces this need, ensuring that the armed forces community receives the same standard of healthcare as any other citizen. Information leaflets published by the MOD offer guidance on how veterans can access these services.

The Mental Health Foundation highlights that depression, anxiety, and alcohol problems are common among personnel and veterans, in addition to PTSD. Recent studies, such as those conducted by the King’s Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR), suggest an increasing trend in help-seeking behaviour, especially among women.

Innovative perspectives like the brain energy theory of mental illness provide new hope. This theory offers a different understanding of mental health issues, potentially leading to more effective treatments.

Our collective responsibility is to ensure our veterans receive the care and support they deserve. We can significantly improve our veterans’ mental health and wellbeing by integrating traditional medical approaches with holistic self-care practices and new scientific insights.

Contact Information for Support:

Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Let’s work together to support our veterans in their journey towards healing and resilience.

Behaviours that will Boost Self Confidence During COVID-19

Fear and uncertainty are the most common reasons why people feel stressed, anxious and helpless. With the coronavirus pandemic putting a halt to our daily routines and lives as a whole, people in the UK and worldwide are facing a severe mental health and wellbeing crisis.

With a growing number of lives lost, accelerated changes to our lifestyles, mandatory physical and social distancing, and the wearing of protective face coverings, people are feeling frustrated, worried, anxious, overwhelmed, detached and less confident.

Insecurity has been around for ages, but never more so than today—the global pandemic has only heightened such feelings. Human beings crave security; we’re more confident as a species when we know what to do. It is becoming increasingly difficult for many people to cope with the current uncertainty.

If you’re feeling anxious and less confident due to the impact of the pandemic, know that you are not alone. There are positive actions you can take; join the increasing number of people who have decided to improve their self-confidence.

To help you come out of this crisis stronger, the five behaviours below will, if you implement them now, boost your self-confidence and enable you to rediscover your identity. You will feel more motivated, confident, and in control of your life as a result.

Accept the Situation AND Tackle the Things You Can Control

Though scientists worldwide are working around the clock to develop a vaccine, we don’t actually know how long we will have to adhere to varying levels of restrictions.

Come to terms with the uncertainty in the world. Rather than worrying about circumstances you can’t control, focus on the things you can control. This mindset will help you rebuild your confidence.

Practice Mindfulness

Rather than worrying about how things will unfold in 2021, focus on living in the present. While there may not be much to look forward to, practising mindfulness will help you achieve a calm and peaceful mind.

We can, of course, still plan for the future, set goals, and work towards achieving our personal and business objectives—the pandemic doesn’t have to infringe on our imagination, visualisation skills or our ability to take positive steps towards the outcomes we desire.

Ask questions of yourself and try to understand your feelings. Once you know the reasons behind the negative thoughts in your mind, practising mindfulness can help you transform them into positive thoughts.

There are countless ways to practice mindfulness, e.g. yoga, guided meditation, healthy eating, exercising, talking therapies, etc. Another reliable method is seeking the help of a wellbeing expert.

A wellbeing practitioner can provide support to those suffering from a lack of confidence and lost identity, and who, as a result, have lost their direction in life for more than a year.

Surround Yourself with People You Trust 

Let go of the people in your life who drain your energy. Identify instead those people who uplift, motivate and love you—spend quality time with them.

There’s a saying that goes, ‘If you lie down with dogs, you’ll get up with fleas.’ If you don’t want fleas, don’t lie down with dogs. In other words, if you don’t want negativity in your life, don’t hang around negative people.

‘You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’ ~ Jim Rohn

Spending time with family and friends and expressing your problems can provide support, relief, and increase your confidence.

Social and physical distancing is mandatory, but that doesn’t mean you must completely disconnect from the world. Use the communication channels available to us to your advantage; reach out and forge healthy relationships.

Learn to Thrive in The Face of Uncertainty

Don’t let fears and worries have the upper hand in your life. Accept the uncertainty that comes with specific situations. And like Bertrand Russell said, ‘The trouble with the world is that the stupid are so confident while the intelligent are full of doubt.’

What You Can Do Right Now 

Identify Your Trigger Points: a pessimistic outlook on life leads to self-generated uncertainty. And while external factors can play a part by adding to the same, you must learn what initially fuels your negativity.

By identifying your triggers, you can find ways to deal with them, so that you can avoid feeling helpless. Identify conditions that make you feel stressed and anxious, and study how your body and emotions react.

It’s essential to experience all kinds of feelings and emotions. Acceptance is the first step towards building confidence. When you come to terms with your emotions and trigger points, with practice, you will learn to let go.

Next Steps

I’ve created an easy, effective, powerful system that anyone suffering from a lack of confidence, motivation or resilience could immediately apply and benefit from when they work with me. I help people rediscover their identity, so that they feel physically robust and better equipped mentally; ultimately, they feel in better control of their lives.

Please contact me directly for more information about how this can work for you. Email or call 07967 052585.

How to overcome barriers to communication while wearing a mask

How to Overcome Barriers to Communication While Wearing a Mask

How to overcome barriers to communication while wearing a maskClients often ask me about books that I’ve read and techniques that I employ to overcome everyday challenges and retain consistent levels of motivation.

An area of study where I excel and intrigues me is communication in all forms.  We’re communicating while wearing a face mask or face covering in places where it’s a mandatory requirement.

The human face has 43 muscles, which are all important non-verbal ways that we communicate.  We are capable of making over 10,000 facial expressions.  Many of them have traced back to our primitive past.  Some researchers suggest that it evolved from the way primates donned their teeth to establish dominance and negotiate the pecking order and to be socially accepted.

Dr Paul Ekman, Professor of Psychology and one of the world’s most famous face readers created a research tool called FACS, (Facial Action Coding System).  This tool deciphers which of the 43 muscles in the face are used at any given time, also when an emotion is so brief that the person encountering it may not be conscious of it.

Dr Ekman identified seven universal human emotions which have clear facial signals.  Surprise, contempt, anger, fear, sadness, disgust, and happiness.

Under typical situations, facial expressions form part of a systematic arrangement of signals – such as body language, face colour, gender, words, pitch and tone—all acting together in a corresponding way to convey message and intent.

Researchers who study the impact of human smiles understand that the Duchenne smile is one of the most significant of human articulations—recognised as the most authentic expression of happiness.

The Duchenne Smile

The Duchenne smile is an expression that signals true enjoyment. It occurs when the zygomaticus major muscle lifts the corners of your mouth at the same time the orbicularis oculi muscles lift your cheeks and crinkle your eyes at the corners.

  • They can elevate our mood by stimulating parts of your brain that control emotional responses.
  • Help us connect by creating a social cohesion that enables us to feel empathy and help one another to survive.
  • They can help your body’s stress response; there are psychological and physiological benefits from sustaining the encouraging facial expression amidst stressful situations.
  • Shaping how others see you, studies show how smiling with your mouth as well as your eyes can help you by perception as trustworthy, positive and associated with providing good customer service.

A physical barrier to communicating 

Wearing a mask or face covering can sometimes feel for many uncomfortable and a hindrance to communication due to the physical barrier between communicating with the other person.

I suffer from tinnitus therefore in areas which are especially challenging listening environments like when there is background noise, crowded or dark, I rely upon looking at the shapes the mouth makes; otherwise, it can be frustrating. I watch for and identify mouth movements that are associated with speech.

Therefore, learning to smile with your eyes and your mouth can help to:

  • Lifts your morale
  • Helps you to relax
  • Enables you to stay connected
  • Empowers you to forge new connections with other people

“As long as you have access to other cues”  The fact that you’re wearing a mask or that you have your face covered should not prevent others from understanding what you’re trying to express non-verbally.” – Aleix Martinez.

For more further understanding watch Mark Bowden and expert in human behaviour body language.

If you know anyone in your world, friends, neighbours, work colleagues who you think would benefit from spending some time with me, please ask them to get in touch. I’d be delighted to arrange a free 30-minute consultation.

Telephone 07967 052585 or email




improve your wellbeing in lockdown

5 Areas of Your Life to Improve Your Wellbeing

improve your wellbeing in lockdownImagine, we bring in the dawn of a new decade in January 2020, you make your New Years’ resolution, set goals such as lose weight, stop smoking, save money, find new love, or seek a new career.

Then we start planning holidays, celebrating special occasions with friends, or book concert tickets (which I did in London) and I’m sure many of you may resonate with that.

Then COVID-19 comes along social isolation and lockdown. 

For many, this is a worrying and challenging time—the most challenging for many of our lifetime.

I contacted a friend recently who works in an NHS hospital in London. She didn’t take my call but later replied by text, telling me that she was scared, frightened, fearful of her life. I tried to arrange a call, but she declined but thanked me. The pain, heartache and suffering that she’s experienced.

She’s not alone, humans, like all species, have a self-defence mechanism to help us survive. The body’s Fight, Flight or Freeze response is designed to prepare the brain and body in case of pending danger, but the threat doesn’t always happen.

In our head, FFF alarms cause our brain to focus on negative memories, probably so it can scan them and avoid danger and negative outcomes. And it can only do this if we have previously been faced with a threat or a challenging situation and learnt how to deal with it.

Anxiety, depression and high levels of stress all harm the brain’s ability to cancel or slow down the mind’s false fight flight or freeze activations.

Making them appear more often; knowing the symptoms of false activations makes it easier to recognise and reduce their effects because what we need to do is bring the body back to equilibrium.

When you change your mind about stress or challenging situations, you can change your body’s physical response to stress.

Health Psychologist Kelly McGonigal implores us to see stress as a positive, advises us to view stress as a positive and introduces an unacknowledged tool for stress reduction: reaching out to others.

Positive thinking increases the chance of positive outcomes. Vice versa! “Think you can think you can’t – either way, you will be right” Henry Ford. Positive thinking increases the chance of positive outcomes.

5 Tips You Can Use Today in Your Personal Wellbeing Strategy:

  1. Personal Insight – Evaluate your behaviour, characteristics or mood change. Or ask some who knows you well that you trust to be your accountability partner.
  2. Personal Coping Mechanisms– Review your current level of fitness, use this present opportunity to go for daily walks, don’t be tempted to overindulge with more food in the house. Create a daily routine for work and pleasure
  3. Supportive Environments– Can’t just pay lip service or tick a box. Otherwise you could create an imbalance. It’s the employer’s responsibility to provide a safe environment for employees to work in. Working from home can create additional pressure; however, stress is inevitable, whether working from home or the office, so speak to your manager if you require support to adjust.
  4. Communicate and Talk– Up your talk time, bring in support as and when required. It’s not a sign of weakness if you need help. If someone says to you, I’m fine, or I’m OK, don’t take that as gospel. Enquire a little more. Ask what they’ve been doing and take a genuine interest.
  5. Create a Pivot Mindset– A pivot mindset emphasises natural changes within our current job and from one position to the next while staying open to a range of opportunities. One constant in life is that things will change, and they’ll change often, and they’ll change in ways we don’t necessarily like. So why not get better at changing? At dealing with change. Why not adopt the pivoting mindset? Because when we do, these changes will be less stressful, less upsetting and it removes the uncertainty. It’s about building a portfolio of lifelong skills, connections, and expertise, and adapting to new tools and tactics.

How you respond to remote working is completely dependent on your individual needs and triggers—if you feel overwhelmed trying to balance family life and work, worried about the future, or your wellbeing deteriorating due to an underlying condition.— and are unsure what to do, consider talking to you HR advisor or line manager for help. Or you can reach out to me and arrange a free 30-minute chat on Zoom about your possibilities.

Telephone 0114 327 2683 or email

Woman Depressed

Depression – Latest news, Breaking stories

Date: 21/07/2018

GPs report symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression are on the increase in the UK.

  • 85% of UK GPs reported a rise in the number of patients with symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression in the last five years
  • 58% of UK adults who experienced stress, anxiety or depression for over one week did not visit their GP, and 21% waited six months before seeking help
  • GPs taking part in a study by Royal London reported that one in six people ask for their diagnosis to be concealed on a fit note

Almost half of workers (45%) who have been diagnosed with stress, anxiety or depression admitted that they would feel uncomfortable telling their employer about their condition. A further three in five (59%) said they would not want any evidence of them having experienced stress, anxiety or depression on their work sick record – which ties in with GPs who claim one in six people ask for their diagnosis to be concealed on a fit note.

Over 70,000 children put on pills for depression

Tens of thousands of children are being given antidepressants despite warnings that the pills may harm developing brains for little benefit.

NHS data obtained by The Times reveals for the first time that one in six adults in England used antidepressants last year — an increase of almost half a million since 2015.

The figures include more than 70,000 people under 18 and almost 2,000 children of primary school age. Experts think that such pills rarely work in children, with one saying that doctors were “medicalising adolescence”.

Destiny’s Child’s Michelle Williams tells of depression

Beyoncé’s former bandmate Michelle Williams has checked herself in to a mental health facility in California to get treatment for depression.

The singer, 37, who was part of one of the world’s most successful girl groups Destiny’s Child alongside Beyoncé, 36, and Kelly Rowland, 37, has decided to go public in an effort to help other sufferers.

“For years I have dedicated myself to increasing awareness of mental health and empowering people to recognise when it’s time to seek help, support and guidance from those that love and care for your wellbeing,” says the star, who hasn’t matched the success of her bandmates since the group split in 2006.

“Today I proudly, happily and healthily stand here as someone who will continue to always lead by example as I tirelessly advocate for the betterment of those in need.”

Sources have told US website TMZ that Michelle, who admitted last year that she has battled the illness since age 13, checked herself into a facility just outside LA and has been receiving treatment there for several days.

Her admission prompted messages of public support from many.

These included messages from Beyoncé’s mum Tina Knowles and sister Solange, as well as celebrity rapper Missy Elliott.

Michelle’s statement came on the same day that singer Katy Perry, 33, revealed she too had suffered from depression and also checked herself into a facility following the poor reception of her latest album.

Work with Mike Lawrence Stress Management Expert, Coach & Integrative Therapist, a global friendly consulting organisation with a twist. We implement health & wellbeing strategies designed to educate, alleviate and manage stress in your workplace. A global friendly consultancy organisation implementing health & wellbeing strategies to educate, alleviate and manage stress in your workplace.

  • Identify what managers, health professionals and trainers can do to prevent and manage stress at work
  • Learn how smoking increases stress and not reduce
  • Develop a range of strategies and techniques to tackle stress at work and home
  • Introduction of wellbeing initiatives to support the physical and mental health of employees at work

Guaranteed to improve staff morale and staff feeling valued. Increased productivity and higher profits.

Formula 1 British Grand Prix - Silverstone

Lewis Hamilton and the stress of competition

Hamilton is a four times Formula One champion and one of the truly elite figures in British sport but despite all that the 33-year-old admits he still feels the stress of competition.

Anthony Hamilton (Lewis Hamilton’s dad) British Grand Prix – Silverstone

Lewis Hamilton’s hopes of a record sixth British Grand Prix looked to be in tatters after Kimi Raikkonen pitched him into a spin at the start. The Mercedes driver recovered to second in spectacular fashion but it was title rival Sebastian Vettel who took the ultimate spoils with a superbly measured performance…

But despite his success on the track, Anthony Hamilton told me that he still feels an intense pressure to perform in front of the British fans at Silverstone last weekend.

Having watched the Ferrari’s pace in the three free practice sessions over the weekend, Lewis managed to put his car at the front of the grid infront of his thousands of adoring fans.

I asked Anthony Hamilton where did Lewis get that lap from he said, “from his gut.” he literally out drove the car.

In a magazine interview with Man 0f the World magazine Lewis said, “The thing with Formula One is, people perhaps struggle to understand what’s going on inside of the driver. There’s the stress of millions of people watching.

“You’ve got the pressure of the massive corporations sponsoring you. And then, on top of it, you put pressure on yourself, because you really want to succeed.”

“I want to empower young guys with the same belief I had instilled in me as a kid. Not everyone who gets beaten down by other people can overcome and use those experiences to get stronger.”

“Of course you have to work, but I like to maximize every day, enjoy it, because you never know when it’s your last.

“I’m very, very, very conscious of that, so I just like to make sure I enjoy the time I get, and I like to share it with people.

The psychological ‘secret weapon’ behind England in the 2018 World Cup

In late 2017, the FA hired psychologist Pippa Grange as Head of People and Team Development. The 47-year-old naturalized Australian, a former athlete who graduated from Loughborough University with a degree in sports science, was tasked with transforming the club’s culture and equipping players with psychological tools to help them better navigate the mental and emotional aspects of the game.

“There is a dawning understanding that it will take more than the carrots or sticks to get people to keep performing and to keep striving for excellence,” Grange wrote in her book Ethical Leadership in Sport: What’s your Endgame?

“Athletes, like everyone else, want something to believe in, a vision that they can invest in and an organisation that they are proud to belong to.”

Grange doesn’t just instruct players, though, but also encourages them to get to know each other rather intimately. In small groups, the players shared life stories, anxieties and ambitions, with the goal being, as team manager Gareth Southgate said in a profile on Grange from The Guardian, to make “them closer, with a better understanding of each other.”

Grange has also encouraged the players to, complete daily wellness questionnaires and use individually tailored visualisation strategies to score during penalties.

Some of the tactics encouraged by Grange; stay motivated in the face of challenge, how athletes can use various tactics to shift to preferred “states” and “frames” of mind when under pressure.

Don’t fear failure, our successes are achieved through trying, and trying most often ends in failure. Every day in our general lives and our sporting lives we will win some and lose some; it’s just part of the way life should be. It could be missing out on a promotion, being pipped at the line in a running race or bombing out in an exam – it doesn’t matter – the important lesson is to learn from our failures, reassess, rethink, move forward (sometimes in a different direction) and keep those dreams and goals alive.”

Reframe emotions, as Gareth Southgate said, there’s no reason to be “hindered by history” once you understand that you can control how emotions are framed.

workplace stress management case study

Case Study: Work Stress Management at Priority Data

workplace stress management case studyPriority Data is a long-established reseller of computer anti-virus software, employing approximately 15 people needed to modernise its operation.

The Issue

Having been consistently profitable for many years, changes in the market meant the company was making a loss. To regain its leading position in the industry, it set out to completely restructure its operation. The company also embarked on a major restructuring programme which involved decentralising its operations and establishing regional cost centres. However, while sales and profitability improved, it was at a slower rate than anticipated, and although the changes were taking effect, it was at a high personal cost – employees across the organisation were experiencing stress-related problems, including poor health, increased absenteeism and decreased productivity.   A stress analysis established that it was middle managers who were experiencing the highest levels of stress resulting from the changes, especially as they perceived events to be beyond their influence or control. A further analysis confirmed that the restructuring programme had been the main source of stress, which consequently made it more difficult for employees to cope with changes as they were implemented.

The Solution

To minimise the problem, I worked with the employer to introduce a programme of stress coaching to run parallel with the change initiative. The aim was to address the issues of role clarity and responsibility and, vitally, involve employees in how changes were rolled out across the organisation. The result was a tangible reduction of stress-related problems, improved staff morale and an increase in sales and productivity.

Testimonials from Senior Managment at Priority Data

“From skeptic to convert in six sessions. First and foremost, my ability to deal with stressful situations improved almost immediately and continues to improve daily. I no longer dread situations at work or in my personal life that used to cause me immense grief. Decisions have become easier, worries have been a lot less and I am a much happier confident person. Thanks for providing alternatives to stress and providing me with the skills to maintain a healthy attitude for the rest of my life.” – M James, Area Manager

“The Stress course has been profoundly beneficial to me. I was fast approaching burnout physically, mentally and emotionally. Over just seven weeks the physical symptoms are receding and I’m improving in every way, every day. This has been a blessing to me. I have more energy, a greater sense of well-being and happiness. I have more joy in my life, and this is just the beginning.” – P Rickman, HR Business Partner

“I have a huge amount of stress in my life. So when I finally came to realise that I needed to do something to manage my mental and physical health from the pressures of a busy  life, I discovered most of the solutions being I researched weren’t for me… imagine my delight when I found Mike Lawrence, who ‘gets it’, and not just someone who is an opportunist … Mike transferred to me, in a remarkably easy and understandable way, a skill I never knew I had, and now can’t imagine coping without – the ability to turn off the constant chatter in my head of daily detail, become aware of the tension carried in the body, and let all the stress evaporate.” – Loui Durand, Managing Director

stress management workplace stress

Stress: The Health Epidemic of the 21st Century

World Health Organisation (WHO) has dubbed stress the health epidemic of the 21st century. Britain in the grip of a stress epidemic because of ‘always on’ workplace culture. 73% of UK employees suffer from work- related stress, leading to an annual £57bn loss in productivity and 49% of all working days lost in 2016-2017.

stress management workplace stressSheffield ranked second in city stress index According to the report 86 per cent of people who live in Sheffield say they are stressed at least some of the time during a typical week, the second highest score in the UK behind Cardiff. The report also found seven per cent of Sheffield residents feel stressed constantly, 41 per cent say their personal finances are the main cause of their stress, 37 per cent are worried about their health and 36 per cent are concerned about the health of their friends and family.

Stress at work is spiralling out of control, with many employees in danger of completely burning out, a survey shows while a psychologist has warned that over-stress is ‘a time bomb ticking away in the basement of UK plc’.

The survey, reported the Daily Mail, warns that 25% of those in professions such as teaching, social work and the police are suffering from serious stress. In other occupations up to 15% of staff have problems with those in the private sector suffering from the requirement to deliver higher and higher productivity per person.

In the public sector – particularly in the NHS – staff are being asked to take on more responsibility with fewer resources, the survey leader Professor John McLeod of Abertay University, Dundee, said.

People who need workplace counselling show signs of psychological distress equivalent to that found in out-patient psychiatric hospitals,” said McLeod, adding that the culture which gives employees and bosses the longest working hours in Europe must change or Britain will ‘break down’.