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.
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…]
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…]
“Eat, sleep, run, repeat’ Unknown
I want to share a secret with you about my own recovery journey. During the darkest hours of my mid life crisis I struggled with fatigue, low mood & constant worry. Changing my thinking patterns helped, eating healthily helped, talking to my counselor and supportive friends and family helped but it wasn’t until I started intense exercise that I truly began to feel permanently upbeat and energized for life! [Read more…]
“Food is the most abused anxiety drug. Exercise is the most under-utilised antidepressant.” OrganicGuide.com
The other day I added a big bowl of concrete to my diet – yep not actual concrete but the ‘harden up’ attitude needed to get me to give up comfort food and get back into serious exercise again.
You see I had been in a bit of a slump – over tired from ‘sleeping like a baby’ for a few weeks (my 9 month old’s sleep /wake cycle was affecting us all!) and had got into some really bad habits around managing my fatigue by comfort eating… [Read more…]
“Things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out” J. Buck
The summer festive season is upon us once more and for many (myself included) it is a bittersweet time of the year. The chance to slow down and take a break from the chaos of everyday life and catch up with family and friends can be both a blessing and a curse. The blessing of relaxing and unwinding and re-connecting with family and friends can also become the curse of unexpected illness, stress, interpersonal conflict and loneliness.
Like so many other parents in separated families, the festive season is a mixed blessing for me. My children spend each alternate Christmas with me so the festive season can be either an intense high-energy family time or a quiet time of reflection, rest and solitude.
In either case, the expression ‘the cup can be either half empty or half full’ can apply. [Read more…]
In Part 1 of this “Myth Busting” blog I told you about a workshop I had been running on wellbeing and recovery when someone in the audience yelled out “there’s no such thing as stress – it’s all in your head!” They subsequently claimed they had never been stressed, anxious or depressed and believed anyone who had these problems was simply weak-minded and need to harden up. These misinformed comments upset the rest of the audience and I had to stop my planned session and instead refocus the remainder of the session on two important and often misunderstood issues regarding stress and recovery: [Read more…]
‘If You Think ‘Adventure’ is Dangerous try ‘Routine’, it’s Lethal’ – Paul Coelho
Confession: I used to feel frustrated with life – somewhat despondent, bored, stuck, restless. I used to engage in a self-debate about how ‘happy’ I was and how ‘great’ my life was surrounded by material possessions, my steady job and my social network… Despite this I would find my mind wandering and thinking about the “Walter Mitty” escapist fantasies of adventure and excitement only to silently curse and reprimand myself for such thoughts and the apparent selfishness of such adventures…
‘You can’t stop the waves – but you can learn to surf!’
I have a confession to make – until recently, despite all my years of psychology study and training, sometimes I would find myself stressing out about things – and know that I was over-reacting yet feel unable to stop the cycle of stress and worry! Has this ever happened to you?
You see it wasn’t that I didn’t understand the theory of stress management – I am a reasonably bright guy with a PhD on the topic. I think, looking back now, it was that I couldn’t simply and easily put this theory into practice when I needed it most.
Stress Management: Amateur or Pro? [Read more…]
Family & Carer Problems is the 6th Mid-Life Tsunami in this special series to celebrate the release of my new book “The 7 Mid-Life Tsunamis” [Read more…]