Morency Blog Articles

Noticing and escaping toxic friendships

What is a toxic friendship?

Toxic relationships are often spoken about in the media or on blogs, but usually in terms of intimate relationships, or occasionally parental relationships. Emotional abuse is clearly an important topic and one that people find themselves needing support with, however, sometimes toxic friendships can also have an impact on an individual’s emotional wellbeing. Toxic friendships can come in many forms and can sometimes mirror the relationship patterns of an abusive intimate relationship. Signs to watch out for include:

Read more >>Noticing and escaping toxic friendships

Holding on to your sense of self

What is the sense of self?

Needing to hold on to yourself may seem like a strange idea, however, people can be so focused and busy that they find their sense of self slipping away. The modern world is so busy and many people have endless to-do list tasks that they can spend a lot of time thinking, worrying and rushing – and little time just ‘being’. This can cause people to lose sense of who they are and what they enjoy doing. Alternatively, having a strong sense of self can lead to self-confidence, high self-worth and overall better emotional wellbeing. Signs that you struggle to hold on to a strong sense of yourself include:

Read more >>Holding on to your sense of self

Five tips for managing your stress

The importance of managing stress

Stress is an important evolutionary tool: it ensures that we get things done! Therefore, every individual experiences stress at some point in their lives. However, stress can soon stop increasing productivity and start having an impact on mental health and overall wellness. Signs of problematic levels of stress include:

  • Feeling overwhelmed, irritable and / or anxious
  • Lacking in self-esteem
  • Psychosomatic symptoms such as frequent headaches or pain
  • Changes to eating and sleeping routines
  • Using substances to manage the stress
  • Avoiding problems through physical avoidance (such as taking time off from work) or emotional avoidance (not thinking about the problem)

(NHS, 2018)

Read more >>Five tips for managing your stress

Looking after yourself: the importance of self-care

Self-careWhat is self-care?

Self-care is the process of looking after oneself. It can be likened to when a cabin crew member explains that in the event of an incident you should put your own life jacket on before helping others with theirs. Without looking after yourself, eventually your emotional reserves to help others disappear and burnout can occur. If self-care is ignored for so long then caring for even your basic needs can become impossible.

Ten ways to engage in self-care

To engage in self-care involves a certain amount of self-discovery including learning what you enjoy, what you don’t and what your limits and boundaries are. You should aim to discover your self-care priorities and which activities ensure your own wellbeing. To ensure your own wellbeing, try the following ten self-care strategies:

Read more >>Looking after yourself: the importance of self-care

Challenging your inner critic

Inner critic

Who is the inner critic?

The critic, the nag, the bully, the judge. Many people have an internal voice that criticises them. The inner critic might tell someone that they are not good enough, that they have ‘failed’, that they are unattractive or undermine achievements and progress. Some people’s inner critics might comment most during relationship struggles or during working hours. Some inner voices start their attacks with ‘You should…’ and focus on unrelenting high standards, some focus on inducing shame while others highlight weaknesses.

Read more >>Challenging your inner critic

Overcoming your quarter-life crisis

What is the quarter-life crisis?

Most people have heard of the mid-life crisis, with the stereotypical narrative of a man who starts a new relationship with a younger woman and buys a sportscar. The reality is far more complex and involves changing roles and identity struggles. Dr Julie Hannan at Morency specialises in Midlife issues and more information can be found at

People in the middle stage of their lives are not the only ones at a milestone though and many people in their early twenties find themselves with similar issues relating to identity and direction. This quarter-life crisis is currently common among millennials (those born in between the early-eighties and mid-nineties), especially those in their mid-twenties who may be finishing university or experiencing an emotional lull after the first few years in a job.

Read more >>Overcoming your quarter-life crisis

Talking about suicide

What are the risk factors for suicide?

Suicide is the leading cause of death in UK men under the age of 45 (BBC, 2018) and approximately four times as many men commit suicide compared to women. One of the theories behind this difference is how society accepts and expects women to talk about their feelings, while men are encouraged to ‘man up’. This highlights the importance of talking openly about emotions, mental health and suicide.

To help reduce suicide in the UK it would be helpful for everyone to be on the lookout for the following risk factors and open up the conversation about suicide. Risk factors for suicide include:

Read more >>Talking about suicide

Being assertive without appearing aggressive

What is assertive communication and how does it differ from aggressive communication?

Assertive and aggressive communication approaches are different ways people communicate their views to others. Assertiveness is the skill of putting views forward directly and confidently, while an aggressive approach can make other people feel threatened. The benefit of using assertive communication is achieving respect and being heard. Alternatively an aggressive approach tends to create rifts and mistrust between people.

Women historically have been encouraged to be meeker and milder than men and society often has a lower tolerance for aggressive women compared to aggressive men. This has possibly contributed to women struggling to assert themselves at home, work and in the wider community and to fall back on more ‘passive-aggressive’ relational styles. A passive-aggressive communication style includes avoidance of all confrontation and saying one thing while feeling another, for example, ‘I’m fine’ when they are angry or upset. While aggressive approaches disrespect the other person, ultimately passive-aggressive approaches disrespect your own needs over time.

Below are some tips for all genders on communicating assertively.

Read more >>Being assertive without appearing aggressive

Developing a growth mindset

What is a growth mindset?

Growth mindset was briefly mentioned in our previous blogs on compassion fatigue and resilience. Developing compassion for yourself and others includes the arts of forgiveness, growth mindedness and gratitude.

The terms growth mindset and fixed mindset were originally coined by Carl Dweck during the 1980’s (Dweck, 1986). A ‘fixed’ mindset is when somebody hgrowth mindsetas a fixed belief about their abilities. It can be either positively or negatively fixed, for example, someone might think ‘I’m good at cooking!’ or ‘I’m bad at maths’. The problem with these mindset statements is that if someone thinks they are naturally good or bad at something they are unlikely to try hard at it.

Alternatively, a ‘growth’ mindset links effort, not ingrained ability, to success. People with a growth mindset are likely to increase the effort they put in to achieve success. Most people have a mixture of growth and fixed mindsets for different activities.

Read more >>Developing a growth mindset

Could your IBS be related to anxiety?

What is IBS?

IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome is common gastrointestinal disorder affecting approximately 10-20% of the UK population at some point in our lives. The cause of IBS is not well known, and it is likely to be caused by multiple factors including physical and psychological symptoms. Symptoms of IBS include:

  • Cramps and pain in your stomach
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Bloating and swelling in your stomach
  • Gas or excessive wind
  • An urgent need to go to the toilet

Most people find that their IBS symptoms vary from day to day and are worse after eating.

Read more >>Could your IBS be related to anxiety?