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University Students and Stress by Olivia Boyle (Psychologist)
Many university students struggle with stress related to the transition to university and it is common for students to have difficulties coping with the university workload. Students will often feel as though they cannot cope with the demands of their course, and they often place quite high expectations upon themselves, which can be overwhelming.
Manage your stress, and you can perform better!
Some stress is helpful, but too much stress impacts our mental wellbeing and our academic performance. The research suggests that people perform at their peak when they experience a moderate amount of stress. When people experience a moderate amount of stress, they are at a healthy level of stress. This allows for motivation, but not pressure, and results in creativity, rational problem solving, concentration and peak performance. When people are under-stimulated(or not stressed) they become unmotivated. They may see no reason to work hard, and may feel bored, tired or frustrated by studying. When people are over-stimulated(or highly stressed) they start to feel too much pressure and become exhausted, panicked and rundown.
How to manage study stress?
An effective way to manage your stress, is by monitoring and reducing unhelpful thinking. Unhelpful thoughts tend to assume the worst outcome, place high expectations on yourself and focus on the negatives in situations.
Typically, an individual experiences a negative emotion (e.g. stress or anxiety) after a negative or unhelpful thought enters their mind (e.g. “I’m going to fail”).
When we are stressed, we have more unhelpful thoughts. Learning to change these thoughts can help to reduce our stress levels. For example:
When you think: “I’m going to fail” you may feel STRESSED
When you think: “I’m going to try my best” you may feel MOTIVATED
Booking in with a psychologist can be helpful to learn strategies to manage your stress and anxiety related to university studies. Let’s Talk Psychologist Olivia Boyle has an interest in supporting university students through their studies to best manage stress in order to maximise performance. Call us on #0424 143 473 to make an appointment. The Daily Telegraph recently published an interesting article on the cryptic world of teen talk
Talk the Talk: Understanding the language of teenagers
The Daily Telegraph recently published an interesting article on the cryptic world of teen talk. Whilst most teen talk is harmless and involves shortening of words to make using social media more time efficient, there are some phrases that parents should be alerted to. Phrases and terms that should raise a red flag include “9” which tells someone that a parent is listening; “smash” to mean casual sex, “420” is code for marijuana, and “NIFOTC” meaning naked in front of the computer. As parents, we need to take an active interest in the lives of our children and really listen to their experiences. A great book that can aide in successful communication between parents and their teens and vice versa is ‘How to talk so teens will listen and listen so teens will talk’ by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. If you need help communicating with your teen or if you are worried about their wellbeing please contact us on #0424 143 473 to see how we can help. A number of psychologists at Let’s Talk Psychology Practice work closely with teens and their families to treat issues concerning stress, relationship issues, depression, anxiety, sexuality, and much more.
Walking in Autumn: Create a mindful pause
A quarter of the way through 2019 and we wonder how we ever got here so fast. As the rush of life continues it is important to remember to invite a nurturing space into your day. This can be as simple as creating mindful pauses as you go about your regular daily activities. Daily mindful pauses provide the opportunity to slow down, reflect, and be fully present in the moment. A lovely way to do this is on your way to and from work or to and from the school drop off and pick up. It really is quite simple. Perhaps you might like to park your car an extra block away from the office or train station, or get off the bus a few stops before your designated stop, or park a few streets back from school or in the car park. As you begin your walk to your destination set your intention to be present for your walk. Enjoy the cool breeze on your skin or face, marvel at the colours that the leaves are turning, feel the warmth of the gentle sun rays on your body. Put your devices away. Simply enjoy being in the moment. Nothing to do, no-one to be. All that is required is to be present in the moment as it is unfolding. Watch your breath settle, Notice any thoughts that may visit and offer distraction. Then redirect your attention back to your experience of walking.
The formula for a happy family
Families have many competing needs. The needs of each individual parent, the needs the individual children, and the needs of the family unit. Dr Martin Snellen, a well known psychologist, has compiled a checklist for families to prompt reflection on the various needs of the family and of each family member. Take a look and have a think about what areas you are doing well at and what areas could do with some extra TLC!
Mum needs time alone with children
Dad needs time alone with children
Mum needs time on her own (work doesn’t count)
Dad needs time on his own (work doesn’t count)
Mum and Dad need time together
The family need time together
All of the above need to happen both at home and away from home at least once per fortnight
Adapted from Rekindling, Dr Martin Snellen
Let's Talk Team Updates
Spring is in the air and possibly in your step as the weather warms up and we start to emerge from the hibernation period that so often accompanies winter.
Spring brings with it the possibility for change and for new beginnings. Let’s Talk Psychology Practice has experienced some exciting new changes over the past month. Our team of psychologists has grown and we have warmly welcomed Kristina LeMarne and Georgina Farrell to the Let’s Talk Team. Kristina brings with her an expertise and passion for working with adolescents and young adults and Georgina is experienced in adult mental health and lifestyle concerns.
Our NEW baby massage group, The First Touch Program, is proving to be hugely successful. Given the demand for the program, groups will run continuously throughout the year. Participants have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with their babies in which they can grow their reflective and mindfulness skills, learn about the ways in which their baby communicates with them, and learn a unique sequence of massage strokes. All of this supports the relationship between caregiver and baby! Read more about The First Touch Program under 'Group Therapies' by following the 'Services' tab.
Self Compassion and New Beginnings by Kristina LeMarne (Psychologist/Clinical Psychologist Registrar)
Everyone struggles with the way they feel sometimes. It can be immensely difficult to sit with discomfort and distress, particularly in the form of extreme anxiety or extreme sadness, regardless of whether those feelings fit the situation or are the product of unhelpful thinking.
However, the more we reject our feelings, and the more we beat ourselves up for feeling the way we feel (which people often do!), the more pain we often feel. For example, feeling anxious, upset or angry about feeling anxious or upset or angry often results in more suffering as compared to non-judgmentally acknowledging the feeling of anger, upset, or worry.
The image of a beach ball comes to mind. The more you try to force a beachball underwater, the harder it pops back up. In the same way, the more we reject and force away our feelings, the harder they are to cope with.
As we come into spring, the season of ‘new beginnings’, it might be worth sitting and reflecting on how you feel about different feelings. Do you have self-compassion and validate your personal experience for being what it is? Or do you criticise yourself and ‘judge’ the way you feel? Perhaps spring can be a time of new beginnings where you practice self-compassion and acceptance of feelings!
Managing The HSC: Tips For Students By Lauren Winney (Psychologist/ Clinical Psychologist Registrar)
The HSC is undoubtedly a stressful time for most year 12’s out there. It can be difficult to keep it all in perspective and take care of yourself amidst all the deadlines and pressure. For some people, it can feel overwhelming and anxiety provoking… For others, it can be hard to stay motivated, and procrastination can take over. Here are some general tips to help you manage the academic demands of the HSC as well as maintaining your own wellbeing:
Break tasks down into smaller chunks for your study sessions. If we break tasks down into smaller chunks, they seem more achievable. As a result, we feel less overwhelmed and are often more productive. Before you sit down to study, work out what tasks need to be prioritised. Then break down each task into sections/goals. For example, rather than setting a goal of ‘study for English’, break this down into 3 smaller goals such as ‘find 10 quotes’, ‘identify techniques in the quotes’, and ‘memorize and re-write quotes’.
Consistently reward yourself along the way. Rewarding yourself after each study session will help increase your motivation to continue studying later on. There is a physiological response that occurs in your brain when you are rewarded for something – this reaction not only makes you feel good, but also increases the likelihood you will do that same thing again. So make sure you reward yourself with something pleasurable, relaxing or exciting after each study session – e.g. treating yourself to your favourite food, having a relaxing bath or massage, seeing friends, watching a favourite TV show, or playing with a pet.
Keep a balance between study and other activities. This can be easier said than done, but it is worth it for your psychological and physical wellbeing! Even if the majority of your time is spent studying, it is important to schedule in other activities such as socialising, exercising, and doing other activities you enjoy. This will help you to de-stress, and give your brain the breaks it needs to recharge.
Ask for help if you are struggling. Whether you are having trouble studying, or just feeling overwhelmed by it all, it is important to reach out and ask for help when you need it. We all need the support of others at different times in our lives, and the HSC might be one of those times for you. Talk to a trusted friend, family member, teacher, or health professional about your concerns.
2nd October - International Day of Non-Violence 2017
10th October - World Mental Health Day and National Mental Health Week 2017
12-18th November - Perinatal Depression and Anxiety Awareness Week 2017