for January, 2017

Being Present Is Your Greatest Present!

Posted on January 23, 2017 in Uncategorized - 0

How to learn from our children’s natural gift of living in the moment

By Dr Claire Jensen, Clincal Psychologists, Psychology Consultants

When the clock struck midnight and we ventured into the clean slate of 2017, many of us reflected on how we can better ourselves. One very simple resolution that struck a chord, was a mother’s pledge to delete social media apps from her phone so she could be more present. With a simple click of a wriggly cross, she would make a monumental difference to her ability to be present on a daily basis.

As parents we have the task of trying to meet our needs and that of our children simultaneously. This hefty feat is made even more difficult by modern technologies that act as constant temptations to multitask, by either checking our phone, email or other social media. Of course we are all entitled to a bit of our own time out and “argh, that online bill needs paying ASAP!’. However, when we are constantly dividing our attention it often leads us to feel stressed, unfulfilled and means we miss the beauty of the present moment.

Mindfulness is state of whole mind and body awareness focusing on the importance of our present experience rather than that of the past or future. It has been proven to reduce stress and the severity of depression, anxiety and ADHD in children and adults alike. The way we act as adults has a significant impact on a child’s opinion of themselves and their personal resilience. Being present with your child, playing with them undistracted, helps them to feel worthwhile and reinforces their natural tendencies to live in the moment.

Ellen Langer and team, a world-renowned mindfulness researcher found that children not only prefer to interact with mindful adults, but actually devalue themselves following interactions with mindless adults (Langer, Cohen & Djikic, 2010 as sited on

So, whatever your goals for the New Year, finding small ways to practice mindfulness can greatly benefit your wellbeing, and in turn reinforce the act of being present for our children.

Dr Claire Jensen, clinical psychologist recognises there is increasing pressures and stressors on parents, making being present a real challenge.

“Committing to daily mindfulness is like any other behaviour change… it seems difficult at first! But the more we practice, it becomes less of a chore and more of a habit that benefits not only ourselves but also those around us” Dr Jensen says. 

Herein lie a few simple ways you can practice mindfulness daily:

  1. Start your day mindfully by stretching each part of your body and noticing how it feels. This can be a fun activity with a child as you can ask them how each body part feels today. Start with “How are your feet feeling today, Sam?” All the way up to the face and hopefully a SMILE! Or if you have older children see if they will join you on a yoga mat to start the morning stretching together.
  2. Be in the moment. Take time to notice the present. Ask yourself (and a child if appropriate). What can I see? Feel? Hear? Smell? And Taste? It is amazing the things you will notice that the multitasker in you has previously missed.
  3. Mindful activity. Fully engage in an activity, distraction free. This can be alone or with a child. It sounds strange but a hair brushing ritual whilst focusing on breathing and enjoying the moment can be very relaxing for parent and child alike. But if this is not your thing it can be anything from playing, reading, to using technology… as long as you fully engage, you are living life to the fullest in that moment and isn’t that what it’s all about!

Dr Claire Jensen has recently joined our Newmarket practice and is available for appointments from March 2017. Claire has a wide range of experience and is able to work with adults (18+) who present with a range of clinical disorders and concerns including: depression, anxiety, stress, chronic pain, adjustment difficulties, grief and loss, anger, substance use, trauma, disordered eating, gender issues, sexual health concerns and other behavioural or emotional problems.

Visit the Brisbane Psychologist page of our website to read more about Dr Jensen and our team of Clinical Psychologists practicing from Newmarket and Morningside.




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Breaking Christmas Bads – How to make your weight loss resolutions stick!

Posted on January 2, 2017 in Uncategorized - 0

With the excessiveness of the festive season a distant memory (except for those pants that no-longer fit) and the calendar diary looking fresh and inspiring, most of us take the time to reflect, look forward and set goals for the year ahead. Interestingly (and maybe a direct correlation with said festive cheer) statistics show that ‘weight loss’ ranks as the number one New Year’s resolution.

So why do we set this goal, year after year, and why do we so often fall short of achieving it?

Perhaps this is because our weight loss goals are slightly unrealistic? Commencing a hardcore exercise regime whilst eating gluten free, carb free, organic salads might be difficult to maintain unless you are an elite athlete or live with ‘The Commando’.

So here are are some tips from Clinical Psychologist, Kathryn Smith, on how to keep your New Year’s resolution going strong.

    1. Practice Mindful Eating. What does this actually mean I hear you ask? Try observing the textures, taste, smell and even sound, enjoy and savour the food. The more you observe, often the more satisfied you feel.
    2. Break Bad Eating Habits. A phrase you will often hear from the mouth of a child is: “I’m hungry” when a lot of the time they are actually bored and not in fact hungry. Well… adults do this too. So next time you find yourself staring into the pantry, ask yourself’ “Are you actually hungry?”
    3. Sit Down to Eat. Avoid eating on the fly. Sit down, put down your phone and make a proper experience out of eating, you might find you enjoy the food and count the meal as one.
    4. Weigh up your options. If you are unsure of the caloric value of what you are about to devour, look it up, as often this information is quite enlightening and can clarify a source of previously discounted kilojoules. Don’t mistake fat free or gluten free for being kilojoule free!
    5. Check in with reality. It sounds hideous but a weekly weigh in will help keep you on track, it’s hard to know how you are doing without a set of scales or a measuring tape.
    6. Wait and See. Research indicates that it takes on average 15-20 minutes for the stretch receptors in our stomach to send a message of satiety to our brain. So before you rush off for a second helping, maybe wait and see.
    7. Be Kind to Yourself. Take a self compassionate viewpoint and be aware of your self-talk. Gently encourage yourself as you would a friend if you make some poorer choices or do not have the expected weight loss. Avoid the “all or nothing approach” as many people will give up their new regime as soon as they have missed something.

Despite being experts in behavioural change, psychologists seem to be overlooked as a resource for weight loss management. However, by using cognitive behavioural therapy, a psychologist can help patients address their thoughts and behaviours surrounding eating whilst addressing any underlying causes, like self-esteem issues or depressive disorders.

If you think a psychologist could help you with your weight loss goals this year, check out our team of male and female clinical psychologists on the Brisbane Psychologist page of our website.

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