for July, 2020

Frozen by self-doubt

Posted on July 28, 2020 in Uncategorized - 0

Most of us have experienced self-doubt at some point in our lives; it’s an in-built way to keep us safe from danger and in the modern world from failure. However, for some of us, self-doubt is totally immobilising with thanks to our inner self-critic who can bring our greatest hopes and dreams to grinding halt. Fortunately, you are the puppeteer of your inner self-critic and taking back control is achievable if you strongly commit to the cause.

Self-doubt  has  been  defined by experts as;  “uncertainty  about one’s abilities, potential for success, or competence in performance situations. As self-doubt concerning  personal  abilities  increases,  global  self-esteem tends  to  decrease  because  self-doubt  presents  the threat  to  global. 

So, what causes us to question our ability or competency and how do we mute that little voice inside our head that says; ‘you can’t do it’.

Causes of self-doubt vary but our upbringing and life experiences have a lot to do with how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. Those who have experienced trauma in their lives may also respond with self-doubt, as a protective mechanism. Anxiety and other mental health concerns can also come into play.  Empowering yourself with self-belief may mean saying goodbye to past experiences that have knocked your confidence or jaded your perspective.

We live in a fast-paced, digitally connected world where competition is fierce and it’s all too easy to compare ourselves to others. Social media has enabled this immensely, providing the perfect platform to glorify and embellish our lives and achievements. It’s important to remember that we are all running our own race; comparing yourself to others is exhausting and achieves very little.

The fear of failure is another common cause of immobilising self-doubt; it even has a clinical name, ‘atychiphobia’. It is impossible to overcome fear of failure without embracing the notion that is okay to make mistakes and central to this journey is self-compassion.

Published author on the topic of self-compassion, Dr Stan Steindl puts it quite simply by saying; “Self-compassion is the answer to self-criticism.”

He elaborates by explaining; “it’s the ability, within a state of calm, and with a friendly voice, to reassure ourselves that this is not our fault. We are a product of evolution and the brain is indeed tricky. We quite naturally feel worry and fear, anger, sadness, guilt, shame and self-criticism. We have evolved this way, even though it may be less useful today. So, we can forgive these feelings, accept that they might be there, recognise that they will come and go, and develop this compassionate self that, when we think, you can’t do it responds with- yes you can!”

It’s natural to question whether you are ‘smart enough’, ‘talented enough’ or ‘good enough’ but if your level of self-doubt is paralysing, speaking with a psychologist can help you to decode the reasons for your self-doubt and develop personalised strategies to start truly believing in yourself and all that you are capable of.

To read more about our team of Clinical Psychologists head to the Brisbane Psychologists page.



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Dear Diary

Posted on July 21, 2020 in Uncategorized - 0

The benefits of putting pen to paper

Therapeutic writing; it’s the new technical term for something that’s as old as the ink well itself, perhaps even older. So rather than claim it as a hot new trend, we are here to pay homage to the age-old art of writing down your feelings….with a pen (gasp)!

With technology and more specifically social media taking the world by storm, our ability to share (and overshare) has never been more accessible. Back in the day, people and especially youngsters, wrote a diary to vent their feelings but technology has somewhat replaced putting pen to paper. But does the digital space provide the same opportunity to be true to yourself and express your real emotions?

Social media provides a platform to create a brand for yourself, your business and everything in between; pets you are not exempt. People’s online profiles are usually an embellishment of their normal more vanilla lives and as a result, social media can sometimes create feelings of inferiority and insecurity. So, what does this analogy have to do with writing a diary, I hear you ask? Even though our society has become increasingly expressive, with the ability to share our lives, every waking moment, often those stories don’t convey the real you.

Enter….the good old written diary. This age-old little gem offers a safe haven to say whatever the heck you like with the added benefit of scrunching it up and throwing it in a real-life bin, should you ever feel the urge. Although some people may feel Microsoft Word offers the same benefit, your digital footprint is permanent, not to mention grammar and spell check getting in the way of pouring your little heart out.

Strong research backs up the mental health benefits of therapeutic writing with American social psychologist Dr James Pennebaker leading the way since the 1980s. Research aside, the fact that humans have been writing diaries for centuries is testament to the theory that writing down your emotions and taking time to reflect before making your next move is powerful.

For those of you who haven’t contemplated writing a diary since third grade, it can be a little confronting but here are a few basic steps to get you back into the groove:

  1. Buy a really nice diary or piece of stationery that you love.
  2. Pick up time when you can allocate 10 minutes to yourself. This may be first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
  3. Start writing! It may seem like written diarrhoea but writing anything that comes into your head with no censor will help you to get your emotions on paper. Remember no-one has to ever read it.
  4. Read what you have written
  5. Reflect on what you have written, what sort of emotions are being conveyed.

By writing down a whole raft of uncensored emotions that may have been stored up, you are releasing emotions and developing new personal insight. Although therapeutic writing has many health benefits, if you have experienced trauma or are easily overwhelmed, consulting your doctor and a psychologist before starting this exercise is advised.

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The effects of compassion in a world pandemic

Posted on July 16, 2020 in Uncategorized - 0

4008 people across 23 countries worldwide have signed up to research that explores the psychological impacts of COVID-19.

An international consortium of researchers is in the midst of exploring how compassion can help reduce pandemic-related stress with the first round of data results to be reviewed in the coming months.

The Australian study co-lead author, Dr Stan Steindl co-director of Psychology Consultants practice and The University of Queensland’s School of Psychology, said people worldwide simultaneously were feeling the effects in different ways.

“The pandemic itself brings fear and anxiety, as does the loneliness of staying distant from loved ones, and stress about job loss and financial insecurity,” Dr Steindl said.

“While these experiences are universal, different political and health systems and economic factors create varying experiences for us all.

“We are thrilled with the research recruitment process and thank those who have generously given their time to share their experience with us”.

“The global research allows us to understand the commonalities and differences of experiences across a broad cross section of socio-demographic and geographic areas”.

Dr Steindl said the questionnaire which assesses participants three times across a series of months, asks people to reflect on their psychological wellbeing, and how their experiences of living through the pandemic continued to change and develop.

“We are particularly interested in how people can stay connected, have a sense of care, support, safeness and belonging during these times, and how confident they feel returning to various aspects of social connectedness as time goes on,” Dr Steindl said.

“Over the coming months, it will be very interesting to assess the effects of ‘second waves’ as people may start to feel disheartened and despondent that the virus has not gone away whilst dealing with the impact of return to lock down and associated financial pressures.

“Interpreting the data will enable us to develop models to provide recommended strategies people can use to better cope, survive and thrive through a pandemic.

“The study will add to the body of work around compassion and its effect on managing stress and trauma.

“Given the enormity of what the world is going through due to COVID-19 and restrictions placed on us to manage it, we appreciate the contribution people are making by participating in and sharing this study.”


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