We are living in a time of great uncertainty. Life as we know it is being upended by coronavirus. You may be afraid of losing your job, of not being able to pay the rent or mortgage, of your elderly parents becoming ill ... of yourself becoming more isolated, more anxious, more depressed, more angry - and finding you have no way to deal with it.
The Coronavirus pandemic has brought a wave of complexity and difficulty into regular life. It's like a wrecking ball has destroyed a building we all thought was stable and would endure. The stress that comes as a result is real, and we have little choice other than to learn how to cope with it.
Here are some tips to get started.
It's such a common phrase as people try to take advantage of a New Year to attempt a change in their lives. Perhaps you're attempting just that, or trying for the umpteenth time to make a change but fear that once again you'll fail. Do you undermine your own chances? Do you doubt your ability to change? Or perhaps you're really not all that willing to change but like to be seen to make the effort? What really gets in the way, and how can you make the changes you'd like to make?
Negative events tend to stick with us, like barnacles to the bottom of the ship, sticking with us as we journey through life. Things that we know at the time that are not very important, not very meaningful, and probably not about us at all, can raise their heads in our thoughts again and again and again. Another kid in class telling us we're too skinny/fat/dumb etc can stay around well past its use-by date. But why? Can we overcome these thoughts?
The Australian Psychological Society has published their "8 tops for thriving in the digital age." It's a helpful and practical guide to helping navigate the complicated and sometimes distressing needs of social media.
Depression is not simply feeling sad, and not something that people can just "get over" or snap out of. It's an overwhelming self-loathing that saps energy, joy, and hope. Here are some points to help understand more about people who are depressed.
Perfectionism is something I see a lot as a therapist. While high standards and operating at your best are worthwhile goals, perfectionism can be a major impediment to living your life as you would prefer.
Do you often find yourself saying "sorry?" Do many of your daily interactions involve apologising for what you think you may have done? Of course, being aware of where we impinge on others as we move through our day is a vital part of the cohesion of society, but there's a way to do it that is a powerful shortcut to happiness.
It's amazing how changing your perspective can completely change your world. We so often get stuck in the rut of the way we look at things that we stagnate, repeat the same mistakes, and gradually become more and more disillusioned. But just how do you set about changing your perspective?
We are fast discovering how important a tool breathing is as a method of regulating mood and alleviating distress. While the links are still poorly understood, there is much to learn of immediate benefit, particularly if you are stressed, anxious, or fearful.
I often find people come to see me because they feel stuck. They're unhappy with their life, unhappy with where they're at, but can't see a way forward. Even those who have worked hard on understanding themselves can come to a point where the question becomes "What next?"
Not usually words that I would use as they bring up such strong images of war. But for some men, there is an internal battle being waged daily, a battle to keep up appearances, to not let the family down, to perform at work - all while feeling overwhelmed, hopeless, and worth nothing to nobody. And so, we divide, and then we conquer.
People often come to therapy feeling completely overwhelmed by depression and anxiety, by anger or disappointment, confused as to what to do next. People often only come because someone they love has given them an ultimatum - get help or else. The despair that comes into the therapy space is very real, as is the person's belief that they are simply a broken down loser, with no hope, and no right to be. What if you could be separated from that belief, could see that belief is a choice, and begin to build for yourself a different way to be?
Oversimplified? Perhaps - but these simple "rules" really are based in extensive philosophical thought, and scientific studies of considerable rigour.
Five simple methods to happiness:
What would these methods look like in your life? How has their practice helped you?
A recent study finds that one of the key components to living a happier life is a habit most people don't often practice.
5,000 people were surveyed by the charity Action for Happiness, in collaboration with Do Something Different. They found an amazing thing – the item that most impacts on our ability to be happy, was the very thing people indicated they practiced least! What is that key habit?
Chris is a Counsellor and Psychotherapist at Engage Counselling, Sydney