inspire me

Our Inspire Me section is full of practical tips, tools and advice to help you look after your wellbeing, including Q&As with therapists and Spotlights on the services near you.

Vagus Nerve: Eye Gaze Exercise
Catherine Wells

This exercise was developed by Stanley Rosenberg. It is believed that it stimulates the vagus nerve which in turn, can initiate a relaxation/parasympathetic response.

Spotlight Network Personnel

Network Personnel deliver training and employment initiatives throughout Northern Ireland, Cavan and Monaghan.

Vagus Nerve: Daily Toning Activities

Try these Vagal Nerve toning activities that you can easily fit into your daily routine. Strengthening your vagal nerve has many benefits including better stress management, emotional regulation, and overall well-being

Vagus Nerve: 3 Way Breath
Catherine Wells

A great exercise for enhancing vagal tone and initiating the relaxation/parasympathetic response reducing feelings of anxiety and overwhelm.

Let's talk about the Vagus Nerve

Let's dive into the fascinating world of the vagus nerve. Ever heard of it? If not, you're in for a treat because it's a big player in taking us from the stress response, back into the relaxation response.

My Experience: Transforming Pain into Purpose

This anonymous writer details her journey from the shadows of abandonment and rejection, to the rays of healing and hope. 

Nature: Connection, Inspiration & Wonder
Catherine Wells

Nature can provide a momentary release from stress but it’s more than that. Catherine Wells, Occupational Therapist shares her thoughts along with Wendell Berry's poem to explore this further.

Nature: The benefits of Early Morning Sunlight

Rise and shine, get up, look East! It's time to bask in the golden glow of early morning sunlight. You might think those first few rays are just a pleasant start to the day, but they're super beneficial for both body and mind.

Nature: Forest Bathing

Ever heard of forest bathing? And no, it's not a bath in the forest although I’m sure that would be wonderful too.

Nature: The Sit Spot

A sit spot is a favourite place in nature that you visit regularly to cultivate awareness as you expand your senses and study patterns of nature. It can become like an anchor in your life. 

Nature: Bring the Outdoors In
Catherine Wells

Not everyone has or can access nature easily or everyday, but fret not, here’s a list of ways that you can bring nature into your home.

Nature: Why it's Essential to Wellbeing
Catherine Wells

Let’s delve into the incredible relationship between nature and our well-being. And now, backed by science, we know it's the real deal. 

Movement and Your Mood

Getting active is clinically proven to reduce the stress hormone cortisol and release dopamine, which is a natural mood booster, and increase endorphins which are a natural painkiller.

Somatic: Butterfly Hug
Catherine Wells

This is a somatic practice to help with nervous system regulation. You can use this if you feel anxious, scattered or dysregulated.

Somatics: To Manage Emotions

The body talks to the brain - we just have to learn the language, try these simple Somatic exercises when your feeling anxious, sad, angry, stress or overthinking.

Somatic: Self Hug

Introducing the self-hug, a simple yet incredibly impactful practice that can boost your well-being and foster self-compassion.

My Experience: Growing Up in Division
Anonymous Guest

I felt like there was no way out. It was like I was stuck in a rut where it was a straight line to crime, drugs, self destruction.

Somatic: Get Your Daily D.O.S.E
Catherine Wells

Ever wondered how you can have a steady flow of happiness chemicals? Our brain's chemical quartet - Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins (D.O.S.E) - are like nature's own happiness potion.

What are Somatic Exercises?
Catherine Wells

Gain some insight into the realm of somatic practices. Simply put, somatic exercises use the profound connection between our body and our well-being.

Spotlight: Start360

This month we catch up with Start360, a leading provider of support services to young people, adult offenders, and families across Northern Ireland.

Happiness: The Power of Pets

You know what's truly underrated? The power of our furry, feathery, and scaly companions – those lovable pets who bring so much joy and warmth into our lives! 

Happiness: In Focus

Fancy finding a way to discover a simple yet scientifically supported way to increase happiness in your life? We spoke with Catherine Wells Occupational Therapist to find out her top tips.

Happiness: Screen Free Bedtime Bliss

We are so attached to our devices, to feel connected, to stay up to date and to distract ourselves. Find 10 bedtime rituals to replace screen time and aid sleep, reduce anxiety and increase happiness.

Happiness: The Pursuit

Happiness is more than just a fleeting emotion; it's a state of being. At its core, this Happiness Jar activity is a practice of gratitude—a daily ritual that invites us to shift our focus from scarcity to abundance. 

Spotlight: First Steps Women’s Centre
Olivia Turley

First Steps Women’s Centre provides education and training, support and guidance, along with exceptional opportunities and friendship to women across Mid-Ulster

Anxiety: Legs Up The Wall Pose
Catherine Wells

Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose is a restorative yoga posture that offers a wealth of benefits, making it a great choice for those wishing to lessen anxiety or worry.

Anxiety: 5 Simple Practices

Simple practices integrated into your daily routine can make a significant impact on your overall mood and anxiety levels in just a week!

Anxiety: Orient to Safety

A user Joined the Conversation by asking for a practice that helps reduce anxiety. Catherine Wells, Occupational Therapist suggests giving Orienting a go.

My Experience: Living in the Shadow of Sexual Abuse

At just 14 years old, Martina, our “My Experience” writer's life took a dark turn as abuse began, leaving her with an overwhelming sense of guilt and shame.

Anxiety? Kill it with compassion

 Dive into the importance of self-compassion and how it is the foundation of anxiety-busting superpowers.

Meditation: 6 Barriers for Newbies

Knowing the hurdles you might face as a beginner can really help. Plus we've a bonus, easy-peasy meditation for you to try that won't take up any of your time.

Journaling, not sure where to start?

You can write a novel, jot down a few bullet points, or even sketch your thoughts. It's your space to be as creative or straightforward as you want.

12 Reasons you should start Journaling

Ever thought about giving journaling a try? It's far more than just putting pen to paper.

Beginners: Guided Grounding Visualisation Meditation

Can you get to grass, barefoot for about 5 minutes? Then this short meditation is for you. Visualisation Meditations hit differently, especially for those of us that struggle with standard meditation.

My Experience - The Journey to Admitting I had a Problem
Anonymous Guest

A local businessman who bravely shares his inspiring tale of confronting and triumphing over addiction with the help of family, friends and Find Help NI.

Boundaries: How to set them with confidence

10 questions you can ask yourself in order to feel prepared and confident when setting boundaries.

Lets talk about Boundaries

A simple yet profound well-being tip that often gets overlooked – setting boundaries.

Candle Meditation
Catherine Wells

Experts and some research suggest that candle gazing meditation can help enhance cognitive function, mental health, and reduce anxiety.

Meditation: A Beginners Guide to Visualization
Catherine Wells

Occupational Therapist explores what visualisation meditations are, how they work, and why they can be a powerful tool for your well-being.

What is the South Eastern Trust Recovery College
Nadya MacLynn

We run lots of different courses aimed at improving mental health and well-being.

Spotlight: Advice NI

The cost of living has affected us all, irrespective of income or circumstances, from businesses to individuals. Find out how Advice NI can help.

My Experience: I was physically abused by my Father

I had to break the cycle of violence, seek professional help, and embrace self-discovery to heal and reclaim my life.

Ask A Therapist: Do I drink too much?

How do I tell when it’s time to make a change or get help?

Supporting Someone: Coming Out
Emma Doran

When they come out, be the rock they need. Learn the dos and don'ts of providing love, acceptance, and understanding.

I came out as gay, to my husband

Waking up to who I really was, finding my own true self and more importantly - accepting my own true self, was one of the biggest pieces of work I've ever taken on. It’s also one of my proudest achievements.

Meditation - Yoga Nidra
Catherine Wells

Yoga Nidra translates as “sleeping yoga”. It is practiced lying down, in comfort and stillness. As the name suggests - it is a wonderful meditation to support sleep.

Ask a Therapist: I'm Questioning my Sexuality
Emma Doran

The realisation that you may have feelings for someone of the same sex can create a whirlwind of worries. 

Walking Meditation
Catherine Wells

We often think of meditation as somebody sitting serenely cross legged, but you can engage in meditation through activities too.

Not sure if Meditation is for you?
Catherine Wells

Can you take a couple of minutes now to pause, be still and engage in a short meditation? This meditation utilises the power of breath, soft focus vision and visualisation. 


The Benefits of Meditation
Catherine Wells

Meditation has been around for thousands of years, and it has only been in recent years that science has proven what many have always known - meditation works. Even with only a few weeks of a consistent practice, many of the benefits of meditation can be experienced.

Book Review Eat That Frog, Brian Tracy
Martyn Henry

Eat That Frog takes the idea that if the first thing you do each day is eat a frog (important/difficult tasks), then you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that it's probably the worst thing you'll do all day.

Teens, Social Isolation & Screentime
Louise Logan

As parents we want the best for our children, and we can spend a huge proportion of our time worrying about what they are doing especially when it comes to screen time and shutting themselves away in their bedroom.  

Managing Debt

With the rising cost of food, energy bills and our everyday expenses we have all felt the impact on our finances. You may have found yourself spending more than usual on your credit cards or taking out loans to cover everyday costs. You are not on your own.

Spotlight - St Vincent De Paul

The current cost of living crisis affects us all in some way but the impact is especially felt by those of us who are already struggling to make ends meet.

Compassion Fatigue
Robert Prentice

“As long as I can remember my mother has been this strong, proud, courageous woman and now all I see is a shadow of who she was. It terrifies me and makes me think about things I wish I didn't have to think about.  I'm irritable with my mother, my children and I don't like myself most of the time.”  

Gratitude - Helper Practice
Catherine Wells

This gratitude practice is really quick and effective! It can promote many aspects of positive mental and physical health. Try this for a few minutes, a few times a week.

Gratitude - Story Practice
Catherine Wells

We are a species of storytellers. Stories are at the centre of human existence. This is one of the reasons that this gratitude practice using the power of story has been seen to be one of the most powerful and effective gratitude practices.

Gratitude - Three Good Things
Catherine Wells

Can you find something to be grateful for even on the grey days? While taking this video, I was grateful for seeing flying ducks, hearing the crashing waves, and how you can hardly tell where the sky stops and the sea starts.

The Positive Effects of Gratitude

We absolutely know that an effective and consistent, gratitude practice can have huge long term positive effects on mental and physical health. 

Breathing Meditation
Catherine Wells

Find a quiet spot and take a few minutes to just breathe fully using these three basic principles.

Super Oxygenation Breathing
Catherine Wells

There are many potential benefits associated with this breathing technique including heightened immunity, enhanced focus and an increase in energy.

Breathwork for Relaxation
Catherine Wells

Catherine Wells, Occupational Therapist, show us how to use your breath to initiate a relaxation response in the body.

Try the Physiological Sigh
Catherine Wells

This is a fast, effective, way to get our bodies out of the stress response in real time. 

Alternative Nostril Breathing
Catherine Wells

This simple breathing exercise which has been seen to lower, stress & anxiety and improve memory & focus, give it a try!

Why You Should Try Breathwork
Catherine Wells

Breathwork practices can have a profound effect on our mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. 

Let's Talk About Addiction

Addiction is a craving for a substance or behaviour, finding temporary relief or pleasure in using or engaging in it, while suffering negative consequences or harm as a result and still continuing, unable to give it up. 

Considering Starting Counselling?

You may be considering counselling or therapy for the first time and we understand what a daunting process it can be making the first steps to reach out for help.

How Can Beat Help Me?
Beat Eating Disorders

Beat provide support services for anyone affected by an eating disorder, including those caring for somebody.

Let's Talk About Menopause
Emma Doran

In simple terms, the menopause is when our hormone levels begin to change and we stop having periods. 

The Importance of Healthy Relationships
Relate NI

Stephen Maginn shares his thoughts and advice on how and why it is important that we look after ourselves and our relationships, especially given the added pressure at this time of year. He shares some fabulous services & online resources that can help get your relationship back on track.

Feed a Family of 5 for a Week for Under £25
Francessca Ainsworth

I’ve come up with a simple low cost meal plan for a family of 5. We based it on a food shop at ASDA using mostly ESSENTIALS RANGE of food items.

10 Self Care Tips for Men
Martin Henry

As a counsellor I spend time exploring with guys what self-help might look like and especially practical tools that can be used daily. 

We All Grieve Differently
Louise Logan

Like most people I have experienced my fair share of loss, each death has affected me differently and through utilising support networks available to me, and my training as a counsellor, I have come to realise that there are no rules, and that grief is personal.

Dealing with Conflict in Relationships
Lillian Neill

Conflict in relationships is not always negative, if both partners are willing it can provide an opportunity for making change and can help identify and solve problems.

Why Can’t I Access CBT if I Have Complex PTSD

CBT can be accessed by someone with CPTSD, but this will often depend on where you have tried to access CBT and also on your individual situation.

I Find It Really Hard to Be Present or Mindful, Any Advice for Beginners?
Emma Doran

Mindfulness is the foundation of self-compassion.

Do's & Don'ts From a Counsellor Who Recovered From Bulimia
Bryony Jackson

People can experience disordered eating and eating disorders for a variety of different reasons, and sometimes feel ‘triggered’ to fall into unhealthy patterns with food. 

CBT - What is it?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that looks at how you think about yourself, the world and other people by looking at how your actions affect your thoughts and feelings.

Eating Disorders - Supporting Yourself
Beat Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses. There are a lot of misconceptions around them, including what they look like and who can get them, and they can be extremely isolating.

Eating Disorders - Supporting Someone Else
Beat Eating Disorders

Eating disorders affect not only those who are unwell but the people around them too.

I Have OCD - How Do I Get This Under Control?
Cara Swanson

In this blog, Cara Swanston answers an anonymous question on living with OCD.

Understanding Self-Harm

If you’re self-harming, you don’t have to go through this alone, you can get the right support to improve your wellbeing.

What is Anxiety, Really?

Anxiety is a common condition affecting anyone at any age.

Am I Depressed?

Everyone has moments of feeling down, and for some of us, these feelings are fleeting come-and-go emotions. But for others, this feeling of sadness is more intense than short-lived mood fluctuations.

Understanding Suicidal Thoughts

If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, you might be scared, overwhelmed or confused. But you’re not alone.

Talking To Someone About Your Mental Health

Starting a conversation about your mental health can be helpful in getting the support you need to feel better. Whether you’ve been diagnosed with a mental health problem or you don’t feel like yourself, talking to someone can help you feel less alone.

Handling Homesickness
Vishnu Eyyarambil

Living and studying in a new country can be challenging, and as you adjust to a new routine in a new place, it’s normal to miss home. But once homesickness settles in, it’s important to take care of your mental health so it doesn’t take a knock for the worst. 

The Impact of Caring
Lyn Campbell

Living with caring responsibilities can be challenging, especially in how it can impact the wider family.

How to Start a Conversation

Have you noticed a friend or family member behaving differently? Are they not seeming like their usual self? It might be time to have a conversation with them about their mental health.

What is Narcotics Anonymous?
Narcotics Anonymous

Narcotics Anonymous is a non-profit fellowship of recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean.

What is Play Therapy?
Jemma Wemyss

Play Therapy is a form of therapy which uses 'play' as a means of self-expression.

What is Macmillan Health and Wellbeing Service?

I’ve been affected by cancer. How can Macmillan Health and Wellbeing Service help me?

What is Autism NI?

AUTISM NI have a number of services that operate throughout Northern Ireland.

How To Emotionally Connect As A Couple

How to deepen your relationship and emotionally connect with your partner, including practical tips.

What Is Art Therapy?
Erin and Nina

Art therapy can help you in many ways. Art therapists, Nina & Erin, explain how.

What Is YMCA's Support For Ethnic Minorities?

Starting a new life in a new country can be a daunting experience. YMCA are here to help.

How Can Mindfulness Help Me?
Emma Rea

“Mindfulness” is everywhere. But what can it really do to help your mental health and does it actually work?

How Can Wild Therapy Help Me?
Ellie Hobson

Outdoor therapy can bring you closer to nature while helping your overall wellbeing. Ellie, founder of Wild Therapy, explains how.

What Does Relationship Therapy Involve?
Lillian Neill

Relationship therapy can help you & your partner work through difficult issues. Here’s what to expect in couple’s therapy.

What Is Wild Therapy?
Ellie Hobson

Wild Therapy, based in Holywood, takes talking therapy out into the great outdoors. Here’s what their sessions involve.

What Is The Floating Support Hub?

Housing can be stressful when things aren’t working out. FSHubAND can offer support when you need it most.

How To Get Better Sleep

A good night’s sleep helps us to be at our best during the day. But a bad night’s sleep can make us feel our worst. Here’s how to get better sleep.

Stay With The Ones Who Care
Ronan Hamiliton

Guest blogger, Ronan Hamiliton, shares their coming out experience and how it meant learning who their close friends are.

My Experience - Dealing With Grief
Orla McTasney, aged 21

Orla shares the story of her sister’s passing, how it affected her and how she learned to cope with grief.

Things You Can Do As A Familly

Connecting with your family plays a huge part in contributing to your overall wellbeing, including the wellbeing of your family.

Handling Bullying

Bullying affects lots of different people at any age and can happen anywhere: at school, travelling to and from school, in sporting teams, in friendships or family groups.

Living With Depression
Georgia Ramm

Georgia Ramm shares her experience of depression, how it made her feel and the impact it had on her life.

Your Guide To EFT
Nigel & Karen Comer

Your guide to EFT. Learn how EFT can help with anxiety, depression, fears, phobias, physical pain, PTSD and much more.

Using EFT
Rebecca Taggart

My name is Rebecca, 18, and I was introduced to EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) because I get very overwhelmed and uncomfortable when I feel stressed

It Can Be Great Again
Rachael Garland

Rachael shares her experience of being admitted to hospital and diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Baby Brain Development

If you’re an expectant or newborn Parent, you might have heard the phrase “the first 1,000 days”, which refers to a child’s life from the moment they’re conceived until their second birthday. During this time, a baby’s brain undergoes a significant period of development. 

What Is Mindfulness?

When it comes to wellness and feeling better in our minds, there are a few healthy habits we can adopt in everyday life which can make a big difference to how we feel.



If you are experiencing distress or are in a mental health crisis please contact
Lifeline on 0808 808 8000


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