for January, 2020

Can’t Sleep? Try a ‘Worry Window’

Posted on January 29, 2020 in Uncategorized - 0

Photo courtesy of @mimiori

Do you find yourself stressing about the fact that your stressing, particularly at bedtime or worse, in the middle of the night? Trying to stop yourself from worrying and stressing about the hours of sleep you are losing will almost certainly lead to sleeplessness. Experts suggest that 60-80% of sleep problems derive from stress, worry and anxiety.

If you are a bit of a worry wart or have legitimate reason to be stressed; then let yourself worry; it’s perfectly normal! But here’s a little tip that might help you worry less in the night…give yourself a ‘Worry Window’ during the day. Go to a quiet place and allow yourself to think about what’s causing your concerns. Writing down your worries and even speaking out loud about them, either to yourself, or someone you trust, can help provide some resolve and clarity. Once you have entertained your worries, let them go for a while and refocus your energy on more positive thoughts.

Of course, no stress-based article can forget the proven benefits of exercise as an effective worry outlet. Being physical allows you to unwind, work on your fitness and have a bit of “me time”.  Exercise has been clinically proven to increase serotonin levels in the brain and is a natural mood enhancer. You can even use your exercise time as your ‘Worry Window’, to help you think things through, decompress and work through any baggage you may have taken on for the day.

Although cardio based exercise is not recommended within three hours of bedtime, meditation or yoga can be extremely beneficial. Don’t know how you meditate? Why not download a meditation app and learn to listen, breathe and be present and let your daytime worries drift away.

If you do have ongoing insomnia or unmanageable stress, speaking to a Clinical Psychologist can be a positive step forward, improving your health and wellbeing and maximising your personal growth and potential. You may also like to open your mind to group therapy through insomnia programme, Towards Better Sleep. Programmes run in small groups of 9 or less from Psychology Consultants Morningside, with the next programme commencing on 26th March. To find out more visit or you can view our team of experienced Clinical Psychologists and their specialty areas here.

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Goals with no SHOULDS attached

Posted on January 9, 2020 in Uncategorized - 0

Photo Credit: Ian Schneider

Have you ever noticed that as soon as you set a goal, particularly those around weight or appearance, before you know it, you’ve fallen flat? If you take a step back and think about the real reasons for your goal, you might just find that your failure has a lot to do with the type of motivation that fuels it.

The success rate for a goal that is ‘intrinsically’ motivated, that is one that comes naturally as part of your core value and offers deep personal enjoyment, may be easier to achieve than those that are extrinsically motivated. The ‘Self-Determination Theory’, developed by Edward Deci and Richard Ryan studies the motivation and unique personality of human behaviour and concludes that humans have three innate psychological needs:  a need to feel competent, a need to feel related and a need to feel autonomous. Intrinsic motivation stems from these three innate needs and therefore when setting goals, one should ask one’s self; ‘is this goal really about me or is it about the need to please others or fit in socially?’ ‘Will achieving this goal give me pleasure or is it something I feel I SHOULD do’?

“Taken as a whole, extrinsically motivated activities are performed to attain a goal, to obtain a reward, or to avoid a penalty or a negative consequence. When extrinsically motivated, individuals perform the activities not because they simply derive enjoyment.”( C. Levesque, … E.L. Deci, in International Encyclopedia of Education (Third Edition), 2010)

So, when setting goals for 2020, perhaps you can put the age-old debate of extrinsic motivation undermining intrinsic motivation, to the test by simply redefining your goals to focus on things you want to achieve, not things you think you SHOULD achieve. Rather than lose weight, look at getting fitter or taking up a social sport you can enjoy with friends. Take the SHOULD out of your goals and rewrite the list to include things you want to achieve because the outcome will provide you with pleasure.

Everyone is different and so what intrinsically motivates you will vary greatly but if you want to stay on track in 2020, stick to goals with no ‘shoulds’ attached.

To speak with one of our Psychologists about reaching your potential, visit our Brisbane Psychologist page to check out of team of Clinical Psychologists at our Newmarket and Morningside practice.



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Putting a Spin on the Back to Work Willies

Posted on January 8, 2020 in Uncategorized - 0

Photo by Brooke Lark @brookelark

Returning to work after Christmas holidays can be tough. Even for those who love their job, settling back into the whole work routine can be a little bit depressing. This also goes for kids who can struggle with the concept of going back to school. One way to ease the sting is to reframe the ‘back to normality’ conundrum.

With our country ablaze with the havoc of natural disaster, many without homes and grief stricken, perhaps returning to a safe work environment may not seem quite so bad. Reframing situations to think more positively about your own situation can be a helpful strategy when life gets a bit tough; because generally there is always someone less fortunate than you. Count your blessings doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in your emotions, it simple provides the perspective we sometimes need to think more positively about our situation.

That said, it is important to allow yourself time to re-adjust to a normal work routine, offering plenty of self-care and compassion. Setting boundaries around work can help to reduce an onslaught effect and provide the time you need to enjoy what is so good about holidays; friends, family and time to yourself.

Known in therapy as ‘cognitive reframing’, changing the way you look and think about something is a very helpful technique, not just in January but throughout the year. When work stress gets on top of you, changing your perspective can alter the way you deal with the situation, offering a more positive outlook, reducing negative thinking and rumination. One simple way to do this is to break down the situation into more manageable ‘bite size’ pieces and write a plan of attack to handle what you feel is insurmountable. Finding the humour in situations and having a good laugh about things that may seem out of your control, can also be a good way to take the stress out of life in general. Why not give it a try- what’s the worst thing that can happen?

If you are struggling with work stress, or stress in general, talking to a Psychologist can be a positive step forward. You can read more about our team of Clinical Psychologists base at both Morningside and Newmarket practice here.


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