High praise for health service

Having suffered a multiplicity of serious medical conditions, not all of which are fully resolved, I contacted St John’s and a very talented and knowledgeable young lady doctor saw me on a Sunday morning at St John’s Hub; the professionalism and courtesy and genuine care from all was excellent.

The same applies to Altrincham General Hospital where the outreach clinics for world class specialists bring care into the community and of course the excellence of Wythenshawe Hospital is a few miles away. We are so fortunate to have such excellent NHS support on our doorstep with NHS dentists too and we should applaud the staff. This is the reality of our health care locally and not the doom and gloom we hear about everyday.

Peter Booth, Hale

Flags should be flown on free EU day

Roll on February 1 when we will finally be free from the EU. And let’s get the flags flying to mark this momentous event.

That is the Union Jack, of course, and meanwhile all EU flags along with their emblems and logos should be removed from all public buildings in Britain. In my book they are symbols of our enslavement and they must be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Lynda Williams (Mrs), Edgeley

Improving your life?

Are you determined to improve your health and your life? Good habits are often crucial to your resolve's good outcome. Losing weight, becoming fitter, achieving more success and being motivated to do well at work or to make new friends; all require effort to continue beyond the first few days.

Let good habits support your good health

The first thing is that your habits must have real resonance for you.

If you're not especially bothered about being slimmer, fitter or more successful, then that lack of enthusiasm won't sustain you through cold dark evenings or on the tough days when your will power starts to waver.

Set small steps towards your bigger goals, rather than becoming overwhelmed.

Recognise each milestone you achieve; praise yourself for enrolling in that class, not eating that cake, declining that alcoholic drink. Each decision takes you nearer to success.

Being accountable can be a great motivator.

Exchanging tips, advice and motivational stories, perhaps in a group, can really help on tired, unenthusiastic days. And if we know our attendance matters for the group to survive it can inspire us to keep going.

Being a group member, even online, can encourage us to stay with good habits.

The downside though is if one or two members lose their enthusiasm that can demotivate the rest.

Sometimes paying money upfront to join a club or gym pushes people to go regularly, whilst there are others who lose interest and still only go a couple of times.

Be aware of your own vulnerable areas and put steps in place to mitigate them.

So, for example, if you know that you find reasons to justify stopping at the petrol station, off licence or supermarket every day, where you then 'accidentally' buy chocolate, wine, cigarettes or scratch cards, intercept those times and don't go.

Instead, shop online or make a list and shop once a week. Don't put yourself in temptation's way.

Paying a professional coach or therapist may be worth considering if there are specific issues which are holding you back which need to be addressed. Regular sessions should help you move on, introduce a positive mindset, manage stress and determine to treat yourself better.

Be gentle with yourself. It can take 2-6 months until a new habit becomes your automatic default.

If you experience slip ups, bad days and 'can't be bothered's be kind to yourself and let them go. Remind yourself of your good reasons and start again.

Susan Leigh, Altrincham, counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer and media