Understanding Depression and Self Esteem

It is perhaps no surprise that low self esteem, depression and anxiety are often linked. For my psychology clients in my clinic, understanding this link is often the step in healing. Today, I would like to briefly explore the link between depression and self esteem. In my post on self esteem and anxiety I follow this up with some tips to improve your mood that are supported by psychological research.

People often ask me what depression actually is. Depression is basically a prolonged period of low mood, which in more severe cases can result in lower energy levels. In my experience, depression is often characterised by feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness.

It is no surprise that depression and low self-esteem go hand-in-hand. Individuals who experience poor self-worth are more vulnerable to depressive symptoms. It is usually negative self talk that keeps this loop going. Our low self esteem encourages us to focus more on our mistakes and imperfections, or interpret problems that occur at work or within our relationship as being our own fault. This makes us feel more hopeless and inadequate – the key ingredients for depression. Often, in a misguided attempt to motivate ourselves out of our depression, we turn to self critical thoughts such as “why am I so depressed,” “I should just get over it,” “there are others worse of than me,” “here is another thing I can’t get right,” or “I must be just a failure.”

What is needed here is self compassion. We need to understand that we have probably suffered self esteem damage in the past, and that that is not our fault. And remember – you can’t bully or whip yourself into feeling better.

If you are interested in exploring this in a deeper way, you can check out my free webinar on the topic here
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Breaking the Link Between Anxiety and Low Self Esteem

The Link between anxiety and self esteem

People with low self-esteem often experience anxiety. Self-doubt and lack of self confidence are well known to trigger anxious feelings. The loop works as follows: Low self-esteem leads to negative beliefs about ourselves. For example “I am not a likeable person” or “I am not good enough.” This leads to fear that others will view me the same way that I view myself. For example “If I go to this party, people won’t like me.” This would of course be a painful experience if it did eventuate, so the thought then becomes “I had better not go to the party so that I don’t have to experience the pain.” This accordingly creates anxious feelings about going to the party. The next thought may be “I can’t even go to a party, without feeling so anxious what is wrong with me?” Remember, this thought process can be entirely subconscious – in which case all the person experiences is the anxiety when they consider the party.

In the above example, the truth is that the only thing wrong is their self esteem. The truth is – in the adult world outside of the school yard – other people have neither the time nor the will to judge you negatively. So what’s the worst that can actually go wrong? Not much at all!

Remember that seeking professional help and building a support network are essential steps for anyone dealing with low self-esteem, depression, or anxiety. You are not alone, and there are resources available to support you. Acknowledge positive interactions and relationships. Recognize the people who do care for you. Overcome paralysis by reaching out, making new friends, and engaging positively. Seek therapy if meeting new people feels challenging. If you are interested in understanding more about how our self esteem gets wounded and how to work on it, you can watch my free webinar on the topic here
Remember – you are worth it!

A Hack for Habit Forming

Do you struggle with new years resolutions? Worse still, do you avoid them due to a fear of not achieving them? If so, allow me to share with you one of my favourite hacks.
January and February are traditionally full of new intentions. Dreams of meal planning, exercising, or meditating daily are common. However, new year’s resolutions are easier said than done. Creating a new routine requires commitment and time – 66 days on average by some estimates. Habit-forming is more difficult for some than it is for others, and that’s ok.
Habit stacking is one of my favorite strategies to share with clients in my Gold Coast psychology practice. It involves combining an existing daily habit (think simple things like driving home, eating dinner or brushing your teeth) with your new, desired behavior. When you “add on” to your current routine, you are already half-way towards the new behaviour, and it feels more like an adjustment or tweak than a whole new routine.

How to Habit Stack
This week, choose a routine that you already and attach your new habit to it. Want to hit the gym? try going on the way to or from work. Want to start stretching daily? Consider doing it while you watch TV in the evening. Want to drink more water? Have a full glass before each meal.
And remember – don’t be hard on yourself if you skip a day here or there. Just keep getting back on that horse.

What is your favourite habit stack? Let us know in the comments.

How to Make a Successful New Year’s Resolution – It’s never too late!

Note: Do this on PAPER – in a virtual or physical notebook that won’t get lost!

Firstly, choose something important to YOU and think seriously about specifically what the desired end result is for YOU. For example, “the GP says I need to loose weight” may not be as motivating as “To have more energy to play footy with my kids.”

-Be specific about the change you want to make. For example – “On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I will be dressed and ready for 45 minutes of exercise commencing 6.30am (Commencing 1 Feb).”

-PLAN ahead so you know what steps you need to take to succeed. Take the required steps immediately if you can, otherwise write out your plan with “due dates.” For example: a) Enter into the calendar or set a reminder to put your exercise clothes by the bed on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday nights (do this NOW). b) Set an alarm for 6.15am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (do this NOW) c) Purchase new running shoes by 13 Jan. d) Commence first run at the Broadwater (Jan 15).

-Tell someone who will cheer you on, support you and keep you accountable.

-Be flexible. If the plan is not working, don’t feel bad or give up. Consider opening up the notebook and revising accordingly. For example, if my 45 minute run 3 X week was just not happening, maybe I need to “step it back” so that I can work up to it. That might mean changing from a run to a walk, dropping to once or twice a week, or changing the start time. Step it back to whatever it takes to get started and get a “win on the board”. Even if that means just getting out the door for the first week – you can always move up from there.

Remember – you own your resolutions – they do not own you. If you are having trouble with your resolution, go back to the drawing board and see if you can step it back a bit to make it more realistic. In doing so, you can either break it down into a few gradual steps, or make it a 1 or 3 month goal with a review at the end. The most common problem I see people make with resolutions (besides not setting them all) is setting lofty, unrealistic goals and then hiding away from them. Don’t be that person 🙂


A Quick Guide to (Re)setting Effective New Year’s Resolutions for 2024.

Haven’t got around to your new year’s resolutions? Neither have most of us. Let’s start now!

A “resolution” is a commitment to do something on a regular basis. New Year’s resolutions typically start on 1 January in line with the start of the new calendar year. But really, you can set and review your resolutions any time you like.

The difference between new years RESOLUTIONS and GOALS is that goals relate to a specific achievement Resolutions are commitments to make a change in habits. Resolutions relate to how you want to live your life. To help get you started, I have listed below three of the main categories of resolutions.

HEALTH & FITNESS resolutions
Exercise and nutrition can have a positive impact on your physical and mental health, which ultimately can help you feel better about yourself. For example, you could try adding vegies and protein to each meal. Or start your day with a fibrous cereal and / or some fruit.
Consider trying a new kind of exercise, without worrying if you will be good at it. There are so many different types of exercise to suit your abilities and interests. Take some time to think outside what you are used to.

FINANCIAL resolutions can help you take control of your financial situation and give you more clarity on where your money is actually going. For example, Consider taking some time to focus on budgeting. Consider setting up a budget for your regular expenses, establishing a savings fund for a special purchase or holiday and putting away a certain amount per week or using a mobile mobile app or spreadsheet to help plan and track your expenses.

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT resolutions help you feel more fulfilled and grow as a person in various ways. They can help you find purpose, give you a new perspective on life or just bring you more joy.
For example, take up a new hobby just for fun, without worrying if you will be good at it. Join a volunteering group. Or commit to researching a topic of interest for 20 minutes per day.

What other categories of resolutions are important to you?

Later I will provide a guide on how to actually make a resolution and keep it, so stay tuned…


7 Things You Can Do to Start Your Day On a Positive Note

How do you start your day?

The dawning of every new day presents you with another fresh chance to make the most of unexplored potential and opportunities.

But how can you ensure that you start your day on a positive note, avoid anxiety and depression, and have positivity echoed throughout the day?

Below are seven habits that are guaranteed to help you start your mornings on the right footing and maintain the same until the day’s end.

1 – Keep A Reminder By Your Bedside

If you keep a note of what it is you intend to do or achieve in your day, and it becomes the first thing you wake up to every morning, then it can be the motivational element you need. You can write down your topmost priorities in life, and then read them and keep reminding yourself of those words so that you never assume or forget what is truly most important in life for you. Consider scribbling down at least three things that you give the highest priorities for the day. This process will help you work towards achieving those goals.

Additionally, you can scribble down anything that promotes a positive outlook on life. This will help you be more appreciative of things, be it the weather, work, food, people or different things that happen around you. It may not seem like much, but often it’s the small things that we take for granted that make the most significant impacts in our lives.

Get in the habit of allocating a few minutes to read what you have written down and to meditate upon it during the day.

2 – Give One Genuine Compliment

Give a genuine compliment to your spouse, friend, family member, workmate or merchant that you bump into in the morning. This will help lift their day and your day as a result. This may help you go about your activities feeling happier and with brighter spirits. Look at the various things that make you appreciate from the people in your life and then let them know how you value them.

If possible, let it come unexpectedly. Bonus points if it is something that person has not heard before. If you are short on ideas, pick something a bit different from the ordinary such as superficial stuff that people enjoy doing. For instance, you can praise someone for their great sense of fashion or taste in music, or how they are good with animals.

3 – Positive Nourishment During Breakfast

If you like to start the day with the news, just be mindful that you don’t start every day by reading about things things that are depressing and evoke negativity. Instead, settle for what will inspire you throughout the day.

You can opt to read check out websites and blogs that share funny, positive, and uplifting posts, such as https://psycoaching.com.au/blog/ As mentioned in point 1, you can have an inspirational book that you read a few pages of every morning to motivate you.

You can decide to start your day on a fun and warm note by engaging in exciting conversations when you are with the family at the kitchen table. And don’t skip breakfast – it really is the most important meal of the day!

4 – Start Work by Handling the Most Crucial Task of the Day

Always begin your work by handling the duties or responsibilities that you have given the highest priority. Completing such tasks will make you feel confident about your abilities, and happier when you take a rest during the day. It also will have you feeling confident when you move on to the pending jobs.

Psychologist Wendy Corlis suggests you avoid pushing yourself too hard to handle something if you are having trouble getting started. Take your mind off work for a few minutes, and then you can refocus on the task at hand with a fresh look at things. The hardest bit is getting started, but you need to find ways of remaining positive and ensuring things flow once you set the ball rolling.

5 – Take Things Slow

Avoid getting into things in a rush. Slow your pace so that you allow yourself to focus and be in tune with what you are doing. It will help you avoid stress when you encounter some challenges.

If you feel as though you are not getting much done at the end of your day, then ensure you handle some jobs that you find exciting and demand quality input from you. Such tasks can get your juices flowing and lower your stress levels, thus allowing you to proceed to the next duties feeling energetic. Start at a slow pace and see how it goes.

6 – Remember To Work Out

Healthy exercise is vital in starting your day with positivity. You should find ways to exercise through the course of the week says sports masseuse Jason Hollier, as it will help you lessen tensions, elevate your moods and enhance your energy levels. Your mind will feel more tuned in, and you may find you are more decisive and optimistic about what you want to achieve in each passing day.

If you can, squeeze in some workout sessions in your morning. Try walking to work, or riding a bike to school, or even a quick 15- minute workout before getting ready and taking your breakfast.

7 – Do The Right Thing (In A Small Or Big Way)

The objective of this is to boost your self-esteem and uplift your spirits so that you feel happier during the day. Strive to do what you feel deep within you is the right thing. For instance, you can opt to do the following:

  • Holding the door for your workmate, carrying some boxes for your neighbour, pointing out the way for that stranger you meet on the road or any other random act of kindness.
  • Be ready to offer a shoulder to lean on or a listening ear to someone in need of such.
  • Do something that inspires positivity in you or another person in one way or the other and building upon that step.

Do you need help finding balance and positivity in your life? Contact a Gold Coast psychologist to start e counselling and live the life you deserve.

By Finn Fox and Richard Moore.


New Years Resolutions Done Right

Happy New Year Everyone! Are you tired of New Years Resolutions? Do they cause you depression and anxiety?

What’s the big deal about New Years resolutions? After all – there is no time like the present to set and review goals. Well, it just happens to be January, so let’s take the opportunity to have a look at getting it 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 already have. For those of us 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, we often find that 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. You can also take the help of online therapy Australia to set your goals without getting stressed.

Give the following tips a try:

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

– Avoid massive changes. Instead, plan to celebrate smaller wins toward small goals. The science says it’s far more likely to work for you. And you can always go back and set the next step in the next quarter.

– Do it gradually. You’re far more likely to have success if you do it in little chunks.
For instance, if you want to eliminate junk food from your diet, and total abstinence hasn’t worked in the past, remember that you don’t need to do it all at once. Instead, try not to have 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 veg and place 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 or months 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, personal consultation with a Gold Coast Psychologist can help.  

See the blog section at Psycoaching.com.au for more helpful articles.

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


Managing Your Emotions

Emotions can often be complex and confusing, yet our days are filled with an almost constant barrage of different feelings. Some such as happiness, excitement or contentment are positive and make us feel good. Others such as shame, anger or embarrassment are almost always much less positive and have a real effect on ourselves and our families if we cannot identify and manage them.

Identifying Emotions

Looking inwards, reflecting and being honest with yourself is important. Men in particular can struggle with this as emotions that lead to a feeling of perceived weakness might be hard to acknowledge. On the other hand, research shows that women can experience emotions more strongly. Some emotions are easy to identify, yet others can be difficult, the difference between envy and jealousy for example, or shame and embarrassment. It can be helpful to ask yourself “what am I feeling right now?”

Choose to Enact your Rational Mind

How you feel about a situation is largely beyond your control, but how you respond to it is. Imagine arriving at a crossroad, one path leads to an instant and perhaps negative reaction, the other to a much calmer more analytical approach. Consider asking “what does my rational mind think is the best course of action?”


Everyone needs an appropriate venue to vent their emotions, to feel understood and get things off their chest. Friends, an online psychologist (or your Gold Coast psychologist if you are in the area) are excellent resources to help you feel understood. E counselling can definitely help you to reduce the stress. Sometimes a different perspective can change how you feel, sometimes the simple act of talking is enough to relax you. A good psychologist can give you a number of strategies to calm down quickly that are tailoured to your specific needs.

Keeping a journal can also prove helpful to give your thoughts and feelings a safe place to exist outside your own mind. Online psychologists tend to agree that writing is therapeutic.

Practicing positive emotions, communication skills and meditative reflection won’t just help you to rehearse the reactions and emotions you want, it will also help you to relax. Not just in those moments but much more generally throughout your life, giving you much better emotional regulation and helping you to stay more relaxed and positive.

For further information on relaxation techniques and strategies for emotional regulation, click, tap or call me if you are in the Gold Coast area. You can also check out the online psychologist resources on my website at PSYCoaching.com.au

A closer look at Mindfulness

By Richard Moore – psychologist

Mindfulness has become something of a buzzword in recent years and has come to mean different things to different people. Those things are almost always positive, such as feelings of happiness, of awakening and living in the present, but how do we go about achieving them? What can practising mindfulness really do for us and our day to day lives?

Online psychologists all agree that mindfulness is much more than a buzzword, a marketing tool or trending topic on social media. It has the potential to become a different and much more beneficial way to live your daily life; it can be a perspective, one that will reap rewards.

How we define and think about mindfulness though, can vary. If you ask a Gold Coast psychologist for example then their definition may differ slightly from that of a person looking through a more spiritual lens. Each would have something important to say and each approach might have certain things in common and that is no coincidence.


Appreciation is an important factor in mindfulness, moving away from taking things for granted and more towards noticing and realising the value in the things we come across. It might be simple birdsong, or your child’s smile. It might even be the feel of your favourite item of clothing or the first cool evening of autumn. It could be one of a million things we don’t acknowledge because we are effectively on auto-pilot.

Mindfulness is all about switching off that automated way of thinking and purposefully accepting and hopefully enjoying the things we might normally miss.

Returning to the moment

‘Staying in the present moment’ is a phrase we hear a lot when looking at mindfulness, yet any online psychologist knows this is something of a misconception. Can we really do that given what our minds need to process and regulate the events of each day?

What we can achieve much more easily is returning our minds to the present, learning to self-regulate our attention with an ethos of curiosity, acceptance and openness to the things it holds.

That self-regulating, attentive definition can help a lot in understanding the broad nature of mindfulness. Taking ownership of your attention and regulating your focus, whatever that focus may be on at any given time. As well as engaging with, being curious about, and open to the things we might discover and learn as a result.

To learn more about mindfulness and the techniques and strategies for achieving a more mindful lifestyle, click, tap or call me if you are in the Gold Coast area. You can also check out the online psychologist resources on my website at PSYCoaching.com.au and arrange an online consultation.

How do you practice mindfulness? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

gold coast psychologist

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.