The Importance of Mindfulness

gold coast psychologistTake a minute and think of any three things that are bothering you at present.  Now ask yourself – how many of those things are actually problems occurring in the here and now?

In today’s fast paced life where we often feel like we are running out of time, we often have difficulty enjoying the present moment.  All too often we are either too busy anticipating what is to come or thinking about what has passed.  Spending excess time in the past – or future – keeps us “in our heads” and leads to states of anxiety and depression.

What is Mindfulness?

The term “Mindfulness” is a translation of the Pali term Sati which is an important element in Buddhist healing methods. As an intervention strategy many online and personal therapists use mindfulness to treat an array of mental health conditions.

How Does Mindfulness Help?

Mindfulness helps by:

  • Making us aware of the ‘self’
  • Helping us to feel our surroundings and make full use of our senses
  • Allowing us a break from the chatter of our minds, giving us a chance to calm down
  • Allowing us to appreciate the beauty around us
  • Practicing and refining our concentration.

Easy Mindfulness Exercises to Try

  1. Mindful breathing: Allow the breath to flow freely. Do not try to control it. Keep breathing and stretch your arms with every inhale and exhale.  Focus all your attention on your breath.  When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath, without judgement.  
  2. Mindful observation: Select any natural object in your visual field (flowers, birds, the sky, water, a flame, a flower or even a picture) and allow yourself to become consumed by its presence.  Every time your mind gets distracted with thoughts, plans, or worries – just gently bring it back to observing the world around you.
  3. Mindful listening: This is simply selecting the music of your choice and listening to it on a low soothing volume. If it’s a song you’ve heard before, try to notice something new about it. Notice the intricacies and the complexities of the music.   When the music finishes, observe and name the next five sounds you can hear in the area around you over the next couple of minutes.
  4. Mindful eating: Take a break from the conversation and close your eyes.  Take a bite. Observe the nuances of the flavours.  Notice how it feels and tastes on different parts of your tongue. Roll it around on your tongue and observe the texture of the food.    

Mindfulness takes practice, but is well establish as an effective remedy for anxiety and depression.  Start with 5 minutes per day.

For further information, contact an online psychologist or Gold Coast Psychologist if you are in the area. Check out my website PSYCoaching.

If you have any queries or suggestions on this blog, please share in the comments below.

Strategies For Regulating Emotions

Emotional regulation is the ability to respond to emotions. It is one of the highest forms of self-control.

Stress in interpersonal relationships, things going wrong,conflicts within us and our own negative judgements can cause emotional dysregulation.

While some of us may be able to remain balanced in times of grief, some of us will break down emotionally and find our lives substantially disrupted.

Emotions are inevitable and we cannot ignore them. Rather, we must learn to think flexibly and express our emotions in a reasonable and effective way.

Types of Emotions

There are numerous different theories to describe emotions with different levels of depth. When trying to identify an emotion, we can start out by asking ourselves if we feel “mad, glad, bad, sad or scared.” A slightly more detailed conceptualisation is as follows:

Examples of Positive / Happy emotions

  • Joy
  • Surpise
  • Hope
  • Gratitude
  • Sympathy
  • Love

Negative emotions

  • Anger
  • Disgust
  • Pride
  • Fear
  • Sadness

Why Emotional Regulation is Important

  • Unregulated emotions can become intense and can have long-lasting effects on our lives and those of others if we act on them innapropriately.
  • Dysregulation of emotions affects not only our minds, but also causes stress on the body.
  • Emotional dysregulation consumes our mental energy in a way that takes our attention away from other important aspects of life (both professional and personal fronts).

It often seems difficult to regulate our emotions, which is why many people rely on online counselors and psychologists for help.

Some strategies for emotional regulation

Knowing how to regulate emotions involves becoming aware of how much we are letting the emotions affect us, then knowing how we can react to them. Here are few simple strategies of regulating emotions.

  • Write down your feelings – Maintain a diary where you can write down what you feel every day, even for small incidents.  Sometimes, once our feelings are penned down, the emotional burden loosens and we are able to look at them in more productive ways.
  • Communicate – Emotions often involve other people, especially the ones who are close to us. Never refrain from communicating with people and letting them know how you feel in a good way. Having a clear, meaningful conversation can be really helpful in regulating emotions.
  • Vent out – Learn and practice expressing emotions in the right way, at the right time and to the right person. For example, if you are angry at your boss, do not displace the emotion on your kids at home. Venting emotions at the wrong place and time exacerbates the problem.
  • Time out for emotions – Take some time out for yourself and do something that you love to do. Watch movies, hang out with friends, have your favorite ice cream, get a soothing massage.  Just enjoy your time out. Let the mind calm down and let the emotions flow in the right direction.
  • Accept and let go –  We have to accept that some circumstances are beyond our control. Forgive and forget. Holding on to something that cannot be changed brings more and more negative emotion that slowly creeps into our minds.

Remember that emotions are temporary, they come and go. Don’t let them stop you from where you wish to be. You can also talk to an expert, such as an online counselor or psychologist for proper guidance.

PSYCoaching  provides experienced, caring, and affordable support in the Gold Coast or online.

For any queries or feedback, please contact us at psycoaching.com.au.
Otherwise, leave your comments below.

Remember to take care of yourself.  You deserve it.
– Richard

 

New Years Resolutions: Stop hating them with these quick tips

The New Year can be a good opportunity to reset your goals.  But there is an art to getting them right.

Many reading this may well say they are “done” with new years resolutions – the very nature of them means that we keep coming back to the ones that haven’t worked in the past – so we tend to set resolutions around our weaknesses, rather than capitalising on our strengths. As noble as it is to recognise our weaknesses and attempt to change them, we are facing an uphill battle if we don’t set a plan of action that focuses on capitalising on the strengths we do have. For those of with a habit of “beating ourselves up” over resolutions that didn’t turn out as planned, this can weigh on us to the point where we may want to throw in the towel.

For some of us who did set new years resolutions; come February, the casual resolutions thrown about over Christmas drinks have either been forgotten, or are already starting to look too difficult.

So are New years resolutions worth doing?  Is there a better way of doing it to the way you are doing it now? Absolutely.

Give the following tips a try:

-Set goals using the S.M.A.R.T. approach (see previous posts).

– Avoid massive changes. Instead, celebrate smaller wins toward small goals. The science says it’s far more likely to work for you – and it’s definitely not too late to start.

– Do it gradually. You’re far more likely to have success if you do it in little chunks.
For instance, if you want to cut down on junk food, and total abstinence hasn’t worked in the past, remember that you don’t need to do it all at once. Instead, try not having junk food for one meal a week, then every third meal, and so on. You’re more likely to have success if you do it in little chunks.

-Forgive yourself, because willpower will always ebb and flow. Use the moments when you’re feeling resolved to prepare for the times when you might falter.

-Set your life to minimise temptation. Put on your gym gear the night before, slice up fruit and placing it at the front of the fridge. Remember that if we order the super-size popcorn at the cinema, we will eat it.

-If necessary, make fewer resolutions in the first couple of weeks to allow yourself to really focus on what you want to accomplish.

And remember – if you have “fallen off the horse” already, don’t be too critical of yourself.  Setbacks are part of the process.  Just remember to get back on the horse.

If you would like some personal assistance with setting goals, or if something keeps on blocking you, a personal consultation with a a qualified professional could help.   During  February 2016 Psycoaching is offering skype consultations at less than half the normal rate.

See Psycoaching.com.au

What are your thoughts on new years resolutions?  Let us know in the comments below.

-Richard

You are not alone

Mental illness is happening all around you, but you probably don’t see it.  Imagine, for a moment, a school prom – and you are standing around like a “wall flower;” feeling self-conscious.  Then look around and realize all the other wall flowers.  The irony in this situation is that there are many others in the room thinking “I really stand out here, and everyone is looking at me.”  Then consider this: how plausible it is that people will be worrying about how you look, when they are so busy worrying about themselves?

When you suffer depression or anxiety, (as we all do from time-to-time) it’s easy to feel like you are the only one going through such pain.  Isolation is normal when dealing with an overwhelming problem like depression or anxiety. But you are not alone. (more…)

DEPRESSION, TRAUMA, BULLYING – LAUGHING MATTERS: Celebrity Interview.

“Humour is infectious. The sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough, sniffle or sneeze. When laughter is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy. Laughter also triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Humour and laughter strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from damaging effects of stress. Best of all, this priceless medicine is Fun, Free and easy to use.” 

International award winning comedian of Warner Brothers Movie World / Police Academy Stuntshow fame Michael Bennett knows only too well about depression and despair. (more…)

Depression: A Laughing Matter?  The secret STIGMA lurking in my subconscious 

Fifty percent of the room had had it, or something similar, but nobody wanted to admit it.

What happens when you captivate the attention a big bar full of strangers, get them all laughing, then suddenly challenge them without warning  to “put your hand up if you’ve ever had depression?”

I was about put my hand up and let out a gratifying “yes!” but something held me back.  My shoulder twitched upwards, then down, then back up again as I quickly glanced around the packed bar to see if anyone else was going to admit it.

(more…)

Depression and Anxiety: A Laughing Matter – part 1

As a quick fix for a low mood, there is nothing quite like a good belly laugh. But have you ever thought of it is a cost-effective form of treatment for anxiety and depression?

Next week I will bring you an amazing interview from one of Australia’s funniest comedians –who has been working with PSYCoaching to spread his unique insights about mental health and the great work he has been doing to help adults and kids lift their spirits.

Why So Serious?

There are times when it is not easy for us to get out of our heads and appreciate the world around us with a sense of intrigue and curiosity.  There are times when we find ourselves   “stuck in our heads” and dwelling on our problems. (more…)

Mental Illness in the Workplace

I am currently delivering workshops on Mental Health Issues for a range of government agencies in the workplace and thought I would share with you all some interesting facts:

Did you know that mental illness can affect anyone at anytime?

Statistically, approximately 1 – in 4 adults have a diagnosable mental health condition, yet most do not seek help (and it it is my experience that many who do seek help wait until their distress is severe).  Despite this, nearly half of all senior managers in a recent Canadian survey believed that none of their workers will experience a mental health problem at work.

(more…)

Beating the Christmas Blues

There’s an unrealistic image of holiday perfection that permeates our culture. Turn on the TV from December onwards and you are likely to be inundated with images of the perfect, affluent, nuclear family happily enjoying each other’s company during a holiday meal (of KFC). Some of us have memories from our childhood that feed this drive toward the nostalgia of holidays past. If we lived it, we want to replicate it every year. If we didn’t, we may feel we are missing out, and we may strive to create the perfect Christmas. This can be a recipe for feelings of failure. (more…)

PSYCOACHING SEMINAR: Working with MOVEMBER for your mental health and for men’s health in general

Help change the face of men’s health and help the 1 million Australian men living with depression or anxiety. Let’s put the moustache back on the face of fashion and have some fun supporting a good cause. For one, prostate cancer is the biggest cause of natural death for men and is desperately in need of donations and funding. And let’s not forget – men’s health is great for women’s health!

(more…)