Are you resilient? Have you got what it takes to ride the most challenging waves of life? As a psychologist with a PhD and 20 years experience I thought I did. But I was wrong. Through adversity, I found out the hard way that there is a big difference between ‘knowing’ about resiliency and stress management and being able to ‘expertly apply’ these skills when you need them most.
“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”
“Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
Did you know that to live a happy and fulfilled life there are two bridges you must cross?
One bridge sits over the mighty rivers and deltas that mark the major milestones of your life. The other bridge sits over the many small streams, creeks and marshes that you must cross everyday. [Read more…]
“The Devil is in the details, but so is Salvation.” Hyman G. Rickover
“To change your mindset it’s not ‘what’ you are thinking that is important it’s ‘why’” Dr Pete
Affirmations: A Poison Chalice!
“It’s not working!” cried my anorexia patient Chrissy. “Every day for the last few weeks I have been doing exactly what you told me to do – looking into the mirror each morning and telling myself ‘I am not fat and ugly – I am beautiful & healthy’, yet I feel even more depressed, fat and ugly then ever before!!!”
Affirmations are a poison chalice! Whilst it is a simple fact that your thinking patterns will lead you to happiness or despair – changing your thinking patterns is not so simple. When I did my postgraduate training to be a clinical psychologist I was taught to encourage people to use ‘affirmations’ and think ‘positive thoughts’ about themselves – and say these thoughts out loud in order to change their negative thinking patterns into positive ones. The idea being that if they repeat these positive thoughts often enough they will eventually replace the negative thoughts. Whilst this idea may be logical – the notion that you can ‘fake it till you make it’ – it does not change your thinking patterns – and used as a stand alone self-help strategy is down right dangerous – often making things worse. [Read more…]
“Be kind for everyone is fighting a hard battle” Plato
“Life is both ‘simple and hard’ but becomes ‘complex’ when we try to make it ‘easy’” Dr Pete
I am a fool. After all these years of research and clinical practice I still fall into the trap of thinking that people who are fit and healthy, good-looking, have extraverted personalities, shiny sport cars, happy families and an apparent lack of any personal problems, are role models of what it means to be resilient – but I am completely wrong! The notion that resiliency means you don’t have any personal problems is a myth!
I am also a fool when it comes to the subject of burnout! For years I thought burnout was some disastrous, slow-moving, hidden disease that was unstoppable once it started and only inflicted upon those Mother Teresa selfless type caregivers. I thought there would be no chance of recovery or return to health but rather a gradual slide into self-sacrificial oblivion which was only rewarded in heaven. The notion that burnout is both a complex irreversible phenomenon and only affects the selfless caregiver type is also a myth! [Read more…]
I have met some really caring people over the years – people who were calm, kind and generous, people who were knowledgeable, encouraging and supportive, people who excited, enthusiastic and motivated. I have also met some really fit and physically healthy people – people who were active, self disciplined and fashionable.
In each case I have admired their positive characteristics and felt compelled to strive for greater self-improvement. But also, as time progressed, I became aware of their imperfections and limitations as well. The really caring people were not always physically fit and healthy, the really physically fit and healthy people were not always the most calm and caring. [Read more…]
Everyone has a tipping point – when it all becomes too much. I had one the other day. After waking up too early with a new baby, followed by a multitude of regular waves and daily hassles, I had to manage a medical emergency with a family member.
I got home late in the evening and tripped over the kid’s toys and snapped! Luckily no-one was watching as I kicked the toys to one side and let out a couple of expletives before collapsing in a heap – exhausted and feeling like I couldn’t cope. [Read more…]
‘Forgiveness’ is such an important part of being able to recover from psychological problems and live a healthy and successful life. Yet ‘Forgiveness’ is often misunderstood and can lead to a range of unhelpful behaviors and consequences causing unnecessary harm to ourselves and others. In this article I want to share with you what the true meaning of forgiveness is and reveal the 3 most damaging myths of forgiveness and how you can avoid the mistakes and heart ache these myths may cause.
Most people know a bit about Stress Management – they have read a few books, watched a few episodes of Oprah or Dr Phil and done some breathing or muscle relaxation. Despite this knowledge, the rates of Depression, Anxiety and Stress are rapidly rising among us with 1 in 2 people on the planet (3.5 billion) likely to have a serious psychological disorder during their lives – WHY?
Surely it can’t be because we don’t have the knowledge needed to manage our stress? Perhaps it’s because, as the saying goes, ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’ and knowing about something is very different to being able to expertly apply it to your life when you need it most! [Read more…]
“You’ve got to get yourself together – you’ve got stuck in a moment…” Bono, U2
“The river must flow but not flood” Dr Pete
Have you ever been stuck in a moment and waiting for a sign to show you the way forwards? I have. On numerous occasions throughout my life I have found myself facing challenging waves of life that I could not control. [Read more…]
If you want something done ask a busy person! Benjamin Franklin
Have you ever asked someone to do something for you only to have to eventually do it yourself – often in a last-minute rush? At work I have suffered the ‘delegation curse’ of assigning a task to someone and then either not having it done properly and/or unexpected delays in it being completed. I then find myself either re-doing the task, (often when I don’t have time) or nagging and micro managing to get things done by due dates – only to damage relationships with my colleagues! [Read more…]