Dr Emma Hormoz

Specialised Counselling Psychologist & CBT Psychotherapist


Wood Green & Alexandra Palace, 698 Lordship Lane, London, N22 5JN

079 xxxx xxxx

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Welcome to the blog


A psychologist's musings.


A blog with posts, information, ideas. related to psychology, wellbeing and more.

By Dr Emma, May 8 2016 07:37PM

Just as we need to eat and sleep, we need to take time out to relax in order to function well. Relaxation can help with reducing stress, anxiety and anger levels and help with sleep difficulties.

There are many ways we can relax and here are some examples…

• listening to calm music

• going for a walk

• reading

• having a long bath

Whatever the activity, it’s good to allow yourself regular relaxation time throughout the week. It can be helpful to think about your anxiety before and after your activity as a way to review what relaxation exercises work best for you.

Do’s and don’ts of relaxation...

For a person who often feels anxious, relaxation can be difficult at first, as when we stop and focus on our body we are more likely to notice the feelings of anxiety.

It is important to remember relaxation is a skill, we cannot decide to relax and expect instant results, we must practise this and the more we practise the better and the faster we are able to relax. By practising we are even able to relax under stressful circumstances. For this reason it can be helpful to first practise relaxation techniques when we are feeling less anxious and more relaxed, as learning any new skill when we are anxious can make it more difficult.

Also, as with any skill it is important to practise; some suggest choosing two allotted times a day to practise, at least while you are beginning to teach yourself this new skill. For example, in the mornings, midday or before going to bed.

Make sure you are sitting or lying in a comfortable position, and feel free to change positions if needed. Try to find somewhere quiet to relax, somewhere you will not be disturbed by noise, people or phones. Try to make a decision to worry later, after the relaxation exercise and allow yourself to focus on this one task. Do not expect to feel relaxed right away, allow yourself to complete the task without the pressure of trying to monitor how you are feeling.

The importance of breathing correctly…

Often we are rushing about throughout the day and pay little attention to our breathing. When we are under pressure or focusing on tasks we may find ourselves suddenly taking in a deep gulp of air, or sighing deeply – these could be signs you are not taking time to take in slow, deep breaths.

Particularly when we feel anxious it can be helpful to pause and slow our breathing down, this can help us feel more relaxed. But how do we know when we are breathing deeply or shallowly?

When we are breathing shallowly we notice only our chest rise and fall as we breathe in and breathe out. When we take a deep breath we are filling our lungs up completely, this means we should notice our abdomen expand out as we take air in. we can check we are doing this correctly by placing one hand on our chest and one on our stomach to see what happens when we take a shallow or a deep breath in. (NB. We do not need to hold our chest and stomach every time we practise deep breathing, just while we are checking we are doing it correctly).

Once you know the difference between breathing deeply and shallowly you are ready to practise deep breathing. Try to sit (or stand) comfortably, with a straight back and uncrossed legs; close your eyes if you like. Take one deep breath in slowly through your nose, hold this breath for 2 seconds, and then slowly exhale. Repeat this, just spending a few minutes focusing on your breathing.

Take a slow deep breath in – hold for 2 counts – and slowly exhale. And repeat.

I love this relaxation technique as it is short, simple and can be done anywhere without anyone necessarily noticing (you will just look like you are breathing!). For example, after a rush to get onto the tube in the morning, taking a few deep breaths while we hold on to the train handrail can be a good way to relax before getting into work. Or while at work, if something stressful happens we can take a few deep breaths sitting at our desk, standing or walking. No one is going to ask ‘why are you breathing?’

Remember relaxation is a skill – we must train our bodies to become accustomed to it.

Deep breathing is a mini relaxation exercise, however if you plan to practise relaxation techniques two times a day check out these relaxation recordings.

By guest, Sep 5 2014 07:00AM

Welcome to my blog. This week I shared some facts and theories about self-esteem within an article with The lifestyle directory. Here are some snippits...

Q: Dr. Hormoz, what is self-esteem exactly? Is it the same as self-confidence?

Self-esteem and self-confidence often get confused by most people; but how can we improve on it if we do not quite understand it? Self-esteem refers to how we value (and we think others’ value) our worth, whereas self-confidence can be more related to our skills and abilities. For example, a person may be extremely confident in their ability to do their job, but when it comes to believing someone would love them, they may struggle. Self-esteem and self-confidence are not mutually exclusive, meaning that our self-esteem and self-confidence can fluctuate depending on the situation.

Q: Does self-esteem come from within myself or is it also influenced by my relationships and environment?

Self-esteem can be highly influenced from childhood. During this time we are highly receptive and soak up new information like a sponge as we try to make sense of this world. This makes our early life experiences particularly important in shaping beliefs about ourselves and others.

So if we had any factors which would have made us question our self-worth as a child, this may contribute to low self-esteem. For example, being bullied by peers could lead one to feel they are not acceptable to others and consequently question their self-worth. Or another example could be if a person’s parents did not have good self-esteem, then they may not have been able to instil this in their child. It is important to note that these are examples, and every person is different and experiences situations differently.

To really know what has lead your low self-esteem requires thinking about your experiences as an individual and the meaning of these experiences to you. Of course negative experiences as an adult can also knock our self-confidence and in turn our self-esteem. Examples can be a bad relationship, losing a job etc.

If a person believes they have low worth they may act in certain ways which perpetuates this. For example, putting up with a negative friendship or relationship because they find it hard to believe they deserve more. Or remaining in a job they are unhappy with because they feel they could not achieve anything better.

Q: Is it up to me to boost my self-esteem or can I also rely on others to help increase it?

It is a tricky idea to rely on others to increase our self-esteem – remember that self-esteem is all about how we value ourselves. Your friends and partner can value you extremely highly, but if you think of yourself as worthless, they cannot change that. I would say that while we cannot rely on others to improve our self-esteem, we should make sure that the people around us are not perpetuating our feeling of worthlessness.

The good news is that by understanding what has contributed to our low self-esteem, and understanding what continues to maintain that, we can make changes and improve how we feel about ourselves.

See The lifestyle directory for full article