Inspired to Change

The Seven Dwarfs of Mental Health



Which one are you?

Our crochet hook wielding Inspired to Change Associate Carmen Harrington takes an different look at mental health through the eyes of the Seven Dwarfs!


One of my favourite things to do is crochet and when I saw a pattern for the seven dwarfs it was a great opportunity to write a blog about The Seven Dwarfs of Mental Health!

Working in mental health means you are always looking out for different ways to engage with people, raise mental health awareness and reach those people who may need help. It seemed a great way to combine two of my favourite things – crochet and mental health awareness and the more I thought about it the more those dwarfs really do have issues…

(Stressed Out) Doc

Doc is the leader of the dwarfs, a bit like a father figure. Although Doc can come over as bossy he doesn’t respond well to pressure and becomes very flustered and can have mild panic attacks. When this happens he loses his train of thought, stumbles over his words and as a consequence stops mid sentence.

This happens to many people when they’re feeling under pressure especially in the work environment. Imagine you’re giving an important presentation and your whole team is relying on you. When you feel stressed and under pressure your brain can simply stop as the fight/flight/freeze system in your brain takes over. You freeze, have a complete blank and forget everything because you’re paralysed by fear.

It’s your body’s way of protecting you and goes back to primitive times when freezing was a way of stopping you from being killed as animals track motion. This can be great if you’re being chased by a polar bear, but not great when you’re working down a diamond mine and need your wits about you.

How can hypnotherapy help?

Solution Focused hypnotherapy helps with leadership because it gets you into the part of the brain which enables logical, rational thought and decision making. It helps you to focus and not allow your stress to get out of control so you have panic attacks. The way it works is by changing your thought process to concentrate on how you can do things differently, make life better for you so you can make a proper assessment especially with your work/life balance. There is a difference between threat stress and challenge stress. Challenge stress is for a specific event such as a job interview, so it has a time limit and the stress hormones, especially cortisol in this instance, can help you to perform better as the amount of cortisol is capped. Threat stress has no upper limit because in your brain the perceived danger has no time period as it’s ongoing.


(Auto-immune) Sneezy

Sneezy has severe hay fever and is always sneezing and sounding blocked up.

When we feel stressed or anxious our bodies release cortisol and adrenaline among other stress hormones. These hormones are supposed to be released when we’re in danger or get a fright, but often when we’re always thinking about things which are upsetting us or we’re worrying about the past or future we release these hormones all the time as our body thinks we’re in constant peril. Our bodies aren’t designed to have this cocktail of hormones in our system all the time and over time they can start to impact our immune system and make us more susceptible to all the coughs and colds going around. They can also make auto-immune diseases such as arthritis or fibromyalgia worse as cortisol is inflammatory so you feel the pain more.

How can hypnotherapy help?

Solution focused hypnotherapy helps by lowering the stress levels in your body, not only by giving your mind a rest, but it can also relieve the pressure on your immune system. By learning how to relax and feel calm hypnotherapy can give your mind and body a well deserved break.


Have you ever felt embarrassed and self-conscious like Bashful?

I see many people who blush involuntarily and feel flustered and ashamed when this happens. Many of my clients are teenagers who feel even more self-conscious and withdrawn because they don’t like to have such an obvious reaction to their embarrassment. What is seen as a humiliation evokes feelings of social anxiety, and they can have a greater consequence than shyness. It can affect relationships, everyday activities, self-confidence and of course being around other people in social situations whether with friends and family or work/school.

Social anxiety is the worry of what others will think of you and how they will judge you negatively, the fear of talking to strangers, worrying about doing something embarrassing. These are really big issues because we need to be with other people and interact positively with them, so we feel connected and release our lovely ‘hug hormone’ oxytocin.

How can hypnotherapy help?

Solution focused hypnotherapy supports people who are shy or have social anxiety by raising their levels of self-confidence and self-esteem so they feel more confident. One way we do this is by imagining how you would really like a social situation to be, imagining it from the best-case scenario. When we think about it positively, we start to train our brain to look out for those things that are going well and recognise them as steps to success. When we change our perspective and look at those successful steps from a positive angle, we’re able to acknowledge them and feel more confident so the worry starts to fade.


Sleepy is always looking for the opportunity to nap, and on the verge of dozing, so isn’t able to concentrate on what’s going on around him. He’s always having accidents because he’s clumsy with tiredness.

Sleep involves usually lying down, not doing anything and not being conscious – how difficult can that be? 36% of your life is asleep on average so sleep is a huge investment of your time, therefore it’s important to get it right. When you’re lacking sleep, even an hour a night can make a difference, you lose the ability to concentrate and focus and it’s really easy to become irritable, unmotivated and clumsy like Sleepy. Poor sleep also increases stress which in turn lowers your immunity.

Sleep is crucial for our mental and physical health, and sometimes we treat sleep like it’s the enemy and something to be tolerated. When we dream during the REM part of our sleep, we process the events of the day and the brain stores the memories we need. It also takes the emotion out of those memories so we’re able to put a more positive slant on events which happened before the night’s sleep. So if someone says something to you the day before and it’s upset you, you may wake up thinking they didn’t mean it in quite the way you initially thought and you had misunderstood or interpreted the comment incorrectly.

How can hypnotherapy help?

Solution focused hypnotherapy helps you to feel relaxed and calm so you are more able to obtain good quality sleep. It helps stop your brain racing so you can get to sleep and it also lowers stress levels so you no longer wake up in the night and start worrying about all those things you need to do. A good night’s sleep really can be a game changer, so I’m off for a snooze … zzz.


Grumpy has a short temper and gets annoyed with the other dwarfs. This can see him as being rude and arrogant. He is very stubborn and prone to rages, however, he’s able to change his mindset towards the end of the film.

Grumpy has the habit of negative thinking, so everything he’s saying in addition to his closed body language comes from always considering the worst case scenario. Getting out of the bed the wrong way can leave you feeling irritable or angry and sometimes it can be difficult to shift that feeling. However, the more you engage and fuel that bad temper the worse it will get, and of course you can always find justifications as to why you’re feeling like this. It’s always those little things, such as something not being done exactly the way you want it to be so you fly into a rage. One way of knowing that you have filled up your stress bucket with all this negatively is snapping at someone really easily or losing your temper over the littlest thing – that’s when you know you need to do something differently so all the energy you’re using to fuel the rage can be used in a far more productive way.

How can hypnotherapy help?

Solution focused hypnotherapy helps you to be aware of your negative thought process, so you can choose to shift those moods to something more effective and creative for your wellbeing. You then have the ability to feel calmer both in your mind and body, so you are more approachable and free to positively interact with others.


Dopey can’t speak so communicates through mime, and according to Happy he doesn’t speak because ‘He never tried’. He is very capable of saying what he wants through pantomime. He’s pretty incompetent most of the time, gets up to silly antics and is accident prone. Because of his immaturity (did you know your brain doesn’t fully develop until 25) he can act like a toddler, but the other dwarfs don’t seem to mind. In fact laughter and silliness can be contagious – it’s hard not to laugh along if someone else is having fun.

Dopey isn’t really dopey, mostly he is just misunderstood as being ‘dopey’ because he has trouble concentrating and not able to pay attention or focus well, but actually he’s using coping mechanisms in the way that works best for him (maybe he is actually neurodiverse?).

Dopey plays up because he’s having fun. He doesn’t care what the others think of him so is living the best carefree life and enjoying himself as part of his self-care system. Humour and laughter is the best way to boost your mood and therefore mental health, after all having a good sense of humour is considered to be a desirable personality trait.

He spends a lot of time daydreaming which is actually good for the brain as it gives the neural pathways time to form associations and come up with solutions. For example you know when you’re really trying hard to consciously think of something and you can’t come up with the answer, but when you stop thinking about it and the answer just pops up. In fact your brain shows increased activity when you’re not focusing on what’s happening around you, and although scientists aren’t certain what’s happening they think it’s to do with consolidating experiences and revisiting memories.

How can hypnotherapy help?

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy helps you with self-esteem so you can be yourself and feel authentic. We can guide you to find your own solutions so you feel positive, motivated, focused, confident and living your best life.


Happy is always optimistic and generous, he wants to share and to have positive interactions with the other dwarfs. He’s able to come up with plans because he has access to the intellectual part of the brain and this means he can be innovative with his thinking allowing the brain to come up with really good ideas. No matter what, Happy is always cheerful

When you are kind to others through compliments, sharing or even smiling this can have a wonderful ripple effect. You can feel really good inside through acts of altruism and so can the person receiving the kindness. Then in turn by making others feel good they are more likely to act kindly to someone else.

Your feel good hormone serotonin is released when you’re feeling happy and it helps you to feel like you’re coping well and leading a fulfilling life. The happy face advantage also helps because people recognise a smiling face as being happy, but more negative faces can be difficult to judge, so people tend to gravitate towards those who appear to be happy. In fact even turning up the corners of your mouth can genuinely made you feel more cheerful.

Happy is in the best place of all the dwarfs because he has been to see one of our associates and he embodies our clients’ success by knowing he can choose to be happy and feel in control of his life.

How can hypnotherapy help?

Solution focused hypnotherapy helps you to feel happier by concentrating on the 3 P’s – Positive thought, positive action and positive interaction. Having positive thoughts helps you to stop overthinking and worrying about all those ‘what ifs’. By taking positive action you can reward yourself and feel motivated by achieving someone important to you. Positive interaction is when you’re with like minded people or having a good laugh with your friends and family – as humans we’re supposed to be with our tribe. If all three P’s are in place and practised regularly we can feel like we’re on the right track towards living a happy life. So it’s good to be happy and laughter is the best medicine. Physically laughter stimulates blood flow, reduces stress, relaxes tense muscles and distracts you from any pain or ailments.

About the Author: Carmen Harrington practices from her therapy room in Market Harborough, Leicestershire. As someone who has struggled with confidence and anxiety in the past, she knows how positive and lifechanging hypnotherapy can be. Carmen’s specialties include: Anxiety, Confidence, Addictions, Teenagers, and Phobias.

If you’d like to find out how solution focused hypnotherapy could help you to reduce anxiety, stress and anger and help you to maintain a healthy brain, why not get in touch to book your FREE initial consultation with your local Inspired to Change hypnotherapist? Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are based across the UK in Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Devon, Essex, Fife, Kent, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Norfolk, and Somerset.

Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are all recognised by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, the UK’s leading not-for-profit hypnotherapy professional association.

To find out how you can train as a solution focused hypnotherapist click here for our hypnotherapy school information.