How do I stop gambling permanently?

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Around 43% of Brits have gambled in the last year, yet it’s estimated just 3% of problem gamblers get help. If you’re worried a habit may have turned into an addiction, it’s never too late to seek help. Here’s how you stop gambling for good

How do I stop gambling permanently?

Who doesn’t like to think that they’re lucky? Whether it’s picking up a weekly lotto ticket, sneaking a quick scratch card at the checkouts, betting on a race, or using mobile casino apps, over two-fifths of Brits have gambled at least once, spending an average of £135 each year. Yet despite how widespread gambling has become, studies have shown less than 3% of problem gamblers receive treatment, leaving them open to financial difficulties, negatively impacting careers, relationships, and spiralling debts.

What’s more, rising worries about the cost of living have led to gamblers increasing their spending. Almost half (46%) of under-35s are gamblers, with 30% saying their habit has increased over the past year, with one in six spending over £75 each month on gambling and one in 12 spending over £100.

According to Public Health England, 0.5% of adults in the UK have a problem with gambling right now. A further 3.8% are at-risk, and 7% are being negatively affected by someone else’s gambling. But how do you know when gambling turns into something more problematic?

Am I addicted to gambling? Recognising gambling addiction

People gamble for a number of different reasons. Perhaps you like the opportunity to dream about what you’d do with your winnings; maybe it’s the rush of winning that keeps you coming back, the social aspects, or it’s become habit. Or maybe you find yourself placing an extra bet or two when you’re bored, or logging onto a casino app when you’re feeling worried, stressed, exhausted, and overwhelmed.

If you are betting more than you can afford to lose, are borrowing money to gamble, or feel more stressed and anxious when thinking about gambling, it can be a sign that you have a problem.

Compulsive gambling can happen when you experience uncontrollable urges to gamble. You may become obsessed with the feeling of placing large bets and ‘winning big’. Gambling can start to take over your thoughts, affecting your day-to-day life, changing your routine, affecting your work, and impacting your relationships. As explained by Counselling Directory, gambling addiction can lead to many feeling they need to hide their actions, out of fear and shame, rather than confronting their issues head-on.

If you’re worried that you (or someone you care about) may have a gambling problem, there are common signs of addiction you can look out for. These include:

  • Missing work or education to spend time gambling.
  • Losing interest in hobbies, activities, or socialising with friends and family.
  • Withdrawing from or neglecting friendships, family or romantic relationships.
  • Argu

Down to Earth: what are the wellbeing benefits of gardening?

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Explore the glory of gardening, and how it can help sow the seeds of wellness

Down to Earth: what are the wellbeing benefits of gardening?

It was May 2022. My first batch of parsnip seeds failed to germinate because it was too cold. Slugs had eaten the first leaves of the runner beans that I had planted two weeks before. The courgettes had suffered the same fate. My plans for the year were wrecked by a seemingly unsympathetic nature. Welcome to the world of gardening for absolute beginners! It’s good for you, honestly.

I was 35 when I got a garden. I possessed only a rudimentary knowledge of plants, seasons (plant in spring, harvest in autumn), and crop rotation, but was keen to learn more and to experiment, knowing that failure would occur. And indeed it did. Repeatedly.

Some of my thoughts were surreal. In my mind I could bargain with the ‘King of Slugs’, and provide him with a humble offering of a broccoli plant that would satiate his kind, allowing me to harvest the rest of my produce in relative peace. He betrayed my trust in what turned out to be a Faustian bargain, and he also allied himself with the cabbage butterflies to further wreak havoc on my small, defenceless, vegetable kingdom.

However, each disaster brought me back to the drawing board. Some issues such as yellowing (under- or over-watering, or a lack of nutrients) or infestation can be identified. But in a similar manner to much that will happen to you in life, sometimes there is no clear explanation for misfortune. Depending on your outlook, it is either cosmic chance, a Gaian malaise, a Darwinian struggle on the micro-scale, divine intervention, or just plain bad luck. And you have to resiliently accept this, and either adapt quickly, or try again next year while being as stoic as you can.

But remember, you are not alone in this struggle, and of course, each disaster will lead to a profusion of opinions about what you did wrong, and what to do again, and may lead to some conversation on non-Covid/cost of living/environment/Ukraine issues.

I have pleasantly chatted about the difference between ‘second earlies’ and ‘main crop’ potatoes. I have been provided with divergent ways to ripen green tomatoes. “Put them in a brown paper bag and leave them on a radiator,” one person said. “Move your tomato plants into the living room,” said another.

Colleagues who never discussed gardening before, and who I thought had no interest in the subject, have told me that broken egg shells or a spray bottle filled with cayenne pepper can deter slugs. Ever discussed parsnips with a man who owns beehives? I have. If someone asks what you did at the weekend, tell them you planted something. I would wager that they will take an interest.

The day I was asked by a friend when her dad should plant his potatoes, my heart could have burst with pride. “Are they first earlies, second earlies, or main crop?” I sagely enquired. There are also numerous Men’s Sheds (menssheds.org.uk) and local allotment groups on the internet that would be willing to help you.

Down to Earth: what are the wellbeing benefits of gardening?

Of course, trying to grow plants in itself is a valuable ecological lesson. You can see that, without direct intervention, many of our food crops are so vulnerable and require the near c

Rest to recover: Grace Victory on the power of giving yourself a break

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Society conditions us to think that we must always keep going, that fortune favours the busy, and to applaud the relentless hustlers. But columnist Grace Victory is here to share the real urgency, and necessity, to cut yourself some slack. This is your rallying call to rest – you deserve it

Rest to recover: Grace Victory on the power of giving yourself a break

Recently, I’ve found myself trying to rest, but then immediately telling myself to ‘just’ unload the washing, to ‘just’ put that pile of stuff away, to ‘just’ reply to one last email, to ‘just’ sort out Cyprus’s bag for tomorrow… There’s always just one more thing. My mind tells me to keep going when my body is screaming to just stop.

I think rest is complicated for a lot of us, including myself. It’s not necessarily about feeling as if rest isn’t deserved, but more about believing other things are more important. Or, sometimes, it’s simply the fact that our to-do list is nowhere near finished, and the thought of going to bed to wake up to the shit we ‘should’ve’ done before going to sleep is counter-productive.

Maybe that’s it. Maybe our need to feel productive stops us from being able to slow down. However, if the past two years have taught me anything it’s that resting when needed and when called to do so, is probably one of the most productive things we can do for ourselves.

Within the Western world, we have normalised constantly doing, moving, and working so much that rest, recovery, and rejuvenation is few and far between. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is a great example of the state of our society, but things are slowly changing – and rightly so. Our wellbeing is in the gutter, we are more burnt out than ever, and if we aren’t in despair at our government, we are in despair at global crises, and you know what? Something simply has to give.

Rest to recover: Grace Victory on the power of giving yourself a break

The grind culture isn’t fulfilling us anymore, and working nine-to-five with little to show for it doesn’t seem as acceptable as it once did. We want more. We deserve more. We’re demanding more, and I’m here for it.

But I also think we deserve a little more love and compassion from ourselves, too. We need to recognise that, actually, sleeping five hours a night, skipping breakfast, and binge drinking on the weekend, is taking its toll, and maybe we need to pause, slow down, and stop filling every waking moment with ‘stuff’. That it’s healthy and empowering to have moments within our lives that are quiet, somewhat boring, and unhurried.

I really recommend reclaiming rest and making it something you actually enjoy, because rest looks different for everyone, and different circumstances will require a different form of relaxing, too! Sometimes you just need to forget about everything and go to sleep. Other times you might only need a break from work, so going on a walk to listen to a podcast with an iced coffee would benefit you better. Maybe it’s a hot bath? Maybe it’s dropping your

What can I do about the cost of living crisis?

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It's easy to feel hopeless right now. From supporting others to taking action, here are five things you can do that really can make a difference

What can I do about the cost of living crisis?

The cost of living crisis is weighing heavily on many minds at the moment, and with the 24-hour news cycle that washes up story after story of frightening, stress-inducing, and draining news, it’s easy to fall into a pit of hopelessness and despair.

Whether it be anger, confusion, or any other emotion, those feelings are completely justified. We’re living through a time of uncertainty – with barely a pause to breathe after the last time of uncertainty. We don’t know when things might start to look up, and many of us are facing fears about what the future holds for ourselves, our loved ones, and the people around us.

On an individual level, there is no simple solution. No magic red button that we can press to make all those feelings go away. No one money-saving tip will solve all the problems. But there are micro-steps that we can take, to be there for our communities, and to take action in small yet meaningful ways. Here, we’re exploring five options.

1. Volunteer your time

Your first thought when it comes to volunteering your time in order to tackle the cost of living crisis, might be of food banks and community food poverty action groups. While those causes are very worthy, and volunteers and donations are very needed, volunteering comes in so many shapes and sizes, and there will be a role out there that will be suited to your particular skills and talents.

It might be volunteering to be a driver for social groups, befriending schemes for the elderly, environmental and conservation action groups, and there are also many digital volunteering options out there, too, like getting involved in digital communication and social media.

The effects of poverty run deeper than just the practicalities of getting by each day. Feelings of isolation and exclusion both play a prominent role in money problems. Volunteering your time is a way to support the wellbeing of those around you and, of course, yourself, too.

Find volunteering opportunities by visiting doit.life.

2. Support campaign groups

The truth is, not everyone has the time to get involved on the ground. Caring responsibilities, high-pressure work environments, health, and general overcommitment mean that you can sometimes feel stuck on the sidelines – but that isn’t necessarily a bad place to be.

There are many fantastic campaign groups out there, advocating for those in need, and putting pressure on those in power to take action. The power of social media means that we’re able to get involved with such campaigns even when we’re poor on time and resources. Reading articles, sharing resources, showing support for causes – it all adds up.

You can find both local and national campaign groups by searching online and on social media. Does a particular message of a group resonate with you? Pass the information on, and spread the word.

3. Find out what’s happening where you live

Do you know where the local food bank is? And are you aware of how and when they take donations – and the specific items the

10 new things to try in October to benefit your wellbeing

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From connecting with nature to a film about a rock ‘n’ roll legend, and a podcast that’ll inspire you to make a change, try something new with our enriching suggestions

1. Page-turners

10 new things to try in October to benefit your wellbeing

You Need To Hear This: 365 Days Of Silly, Honest Advice You Need Right Now by Chronicle

It’s the pocket-sized agony aunt you never knew you needed, and this trusty book comes with 365 pieces of advice, affirmations, and jokes for your everyday conundrums. It’ll help to keep you grounded when anxiety strikes, or just provide you with a chuckle when you need it the most.

(Chronicle Books, £12.99)

2. Out and about

Make a pine cone bird feeder

There can be less food on the ground for birds to feed on during autumn, but, fortunately, September is the month that pine cones start to fall. Use this opportunity to connect with nature and make a pine cone bird feeder for your feathered friends. Head outdoors and select your pine cone, then simply spread peanut butter over the scales and dip or roll it in bird seed.

(Visit countryhillcottage.com for more inspiration)

10 new things to try in October to benefit your wellbeing

3. Act of kindness

Regift your Happiful magazine

Are you guilty of throwing away your magazines once you’ve finished reading them? If so, try passing on the kindness by dropping off a magazine to your nearest and dearest, or offer to donate it to a local salon or doctor’s surgery so they can make use of it in the waiting rooms. That way, your magazine can be enjoyed by others over and over again – and remember Happiful is recyclable!

4. Lend us your ears

‘The Climate Question’

How can oceans help us capture carbon? How does climate change affect our mental health? These are just a few of the questions discussed by BBC specialists in this informative podcast about climate change. If you’re worried about the planet, and have questions that you want answered, give this a listen.

(Available on all platforms)

5. Plugged-In

Tales of Eleanor

If you’re looking to break free from a heavy news cycle, meet the hedgehog who’s injecting Instagram with doses of positivity, one paw at a time. The wholesome, hand-drawn illustrations explore the daily struggles of a hedgehog, each with their own reminder to slow down and take a moment.

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