The Top 60 Mental Health Blogs in the World

The-Top-60-Mental-Health-Blogs-in-the-World

WatersedgeCouselling is thrilled to share the news that we have been selected as one of the Top 60 Mental Health Blogs in the world by Feedspot!

One of the most comprehensive lists of mental health blogs on the Internet, we are privileged to be included alongside Psych Central, Healthy Place, Active Minds and the Australian & New Zealand Mental Health Association.

You can view the complete list here. Take a look through the blogs and see what interests you, From national mental illness associations and non-profits, to professional counsellors and bloggers chronicling their own recovery, you will definitely find something to encourage you. You can even sign up so the best of the 60 blogs is sent to your inbox every week.

Thank you for your continued support of WatersedgeCounselling. We look forward to sharing more informative and useful blogs with you in 2017!

My number one recommendation for couples in crisis

My-number-one-recommendation-for-couples-in-crisis

Relationships are tricky things.

There are days of sunshine, when everything is ‘right with the world’; I am feeling calm, relaxed and in control.  I have infinite patience with my darling husband, even when he says or does something that I don’t particularly find attractive.

By contrast, there are other days when I am tired, stressed and generally feeling like I could crawl back into bed and hide from the world. I just don’t ‘feel like’ making an effort with anybody. Of course I do—after all you ‘should’ put on a good, co-operative, pleasant face for the people you work, eat and play with. That’s how community works. That’s how we learn to have our own needs met. But by the time I get home, I am exhausted, moody and unresponsive. On those days, my husband cops the ‘stressed’ me, the one that is reactive and blaming instead of being loving and responsive.

Over time I have become more aware of what is going on inside of my body, making the conscious effort to challenge negative behaviour that I previously felt justified in directing towards my husband.  I believe that it is important to walk the talk and, given that I speak to numerous couples and individuals every week, I have applied the interventions I teach to my personal behaviour and my marriage relationship. Subsequently, our relationship has progressively improved throughout our 28 years of marriage.

As you would expect, I have a tool bag full of useful techniques, ideas and resources that individuals and couples can benefit from. My best one by far is Mindfulness Meditation. Why would I say this? Well, before a couple can begin to work on their relationship, it is absolutely essential that each person learn how to calm or soothe themselves. Failure to learn how to calm yourself will ultimately forfeit any chance of improving your relationship.

When we are significantly stressed and tired, we also tend to be incredibly reactive; easily frustrated and irritated, quick to jump to wrong conclusions, readily angered by the smallest thing (you will always experience it as a BIG thing at the time), defensive, cynical, blaming, judgemental and generally difficult to get along with.

Whilst we all need a bit of stress to keep us motivated, physiologically there is a point, when reached, that you are no longer able to contain and control the stress hormones and it controls you instead.  It is the ‘fight or flight’ instinct, typically activated by the flood of stress hormones coursing through your brain and body.

A couple experiencing conflict is likely to be experiencing this level of debilitating stress regularly. Learning how to communicate effectively with one another and repair your relationship first of all requires each person to take responsibility for themselves and learn how to come back to a calmer and more responsive state of mind. Only then can we do the work of learning to listen and negotiate our needs.

Mindfulness Meditation is, put simply, learning to be present to the moment, focusing on what is happening within you and/ or around you. By learning this discipline (and believe you me, it is a challenge for most of us), your brain is rested and sends the message that you are no longer under threat. Stress hormones are no longer produced and Serotonin (the calm hormone) is activated bringing you down to a calmer state.

In our sessions, I teach simple techniques that couples and individuals can apply in the moment. However, to promote a general sense of wellbeing and calm that is more resilient to stress, it is necessary to practice Mindfulness Meditation on a regular basis, even daily.

Here at Watersedge Counselling we have recently partnered with Audio Mental Training to provide our readers with easy access to fantastic Mindfulness Meditation programs that you can download and start using immediately.  My personal favourite and the program I am using on a daily basis is called Optimal Health.

Just click on this link: Audio Mental Training or the banner on our sidebar, and check it out for yourself.

In the future I will share with you how I am personally benefiting from this program. I would love to hear from others who choose to invest in one of these programs or some other Mindful Meditation that you are already using. It will make a difference to you personally and to your significant relationships.

Is your relationship in crisis? Would you like to learn more Mindfulness Meditation? Here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

Eight strategies for daily resilience

Eight-strategies-for-daily-resilience

Resilience, the ability to ‘bounce back’, is essential to our health, happiness and well being. However, it can be eroded when we become overwhelmed by the unpredictable events that intrude into our lives.

Where the crisis is short lived and/or we find the resources to contain it and find a solution, people typically recover their resilience. Along the way, we learn vital lessons about our competence and resourcefulness. But how do we survive the events that are beyond our control?

Remaining resilient in an increasingly unpredictable and chaotic world is a challenge for all of us. The answer lies in your daily determination to be intentional about cultivating a positive, and therefore more resilient, state of mind. Here are eight strategies that when practiced consistently, will help you to build resilience.

  1. Limit your use of social media and news

Social media and other news outlets are often an unrelenting source of bad news, yet we find them addictive to consume. We have a constant need to know what is ‘happening next,’ and find ourselves going back to the next source for more information.

Our fascination and curiosity makes us a prisoner to the latest news, which can elevate our anxiety. Setting a time limit on how long to use social media and read the news will diminish the impact this has on your resilience.

  1. Stretch each day

Anxiety and stress are stored in our body—tightening muscles, headaches, nausea, stomach aches, diarrhoea, constipation and indigestion can all be side effects of this.

If you have a dog or cat, you will have noticed how often they do a long, deep stretch. Animals instinctively know what we so often fail to acknowledge—that a long stretch keeps the body limber and helps our blood to circulate efficiently, reversing the effects of stress on the body.

Whether you choose to do yoga, Pilates or your own set of stretches, the important thing is to keep stretching daily to prevent stress shutting down your body.

  1. Focus on the positive

At the beginning of each day, take five minutes to intentionally focus your mind towards seeking out the positive. Still be level headed, aware of conflicting and difficult experiences, but choose to take a positive outlook, learning to acknowledge how you feel without letting it move in and set up house.

Refocus your mind on the positive even if you aren’t feeling it. After all, sometimes you have to fake it until you make it!

  1. Pay attention to nature

Nature is a natural stress-reducer, so take the time to absorb colour, pattern, movement and whatever catches your eye. If you live and work in a concrete jungle, look at the sky and observe cloud formations, or an isolated tree or plant. Take the time to breathe in its life giving energy and recognise how it makes you feel.

  1. Repeat a positive affirmation

By choosing a positive affirmation like, ‘I am worthy,’ or ‘I will have a good day,’ and repeating this to yourself through the day, your mind will begin to believe it.  You may not be convinced of the truth of the affirmation immediately, but after awhile it will become second nature to you and build your resilience.

  1. Expect to be surprised

Surprises come to us every day, but we often fail to notice or fully appreciate them. They bring delight, happiness and remind us that we are not alone. Make a point each morning to anticipate a surprise in your day—you may be surprised about what you notice!

  1. Smile a lot

Have you noticed how you feel when someone smiles at you? We feel warmer, less fearful and anxious, and welcomed. On the other hand, a frown sends the message that we are intrusive, irritating or unwelcome. We feel lighter when we smile and also extend this happiness to others by inviting them to smile back.

  1. Make a Grateful Journal

Write what you are grateful for at the end of each day in a journal, and your resilience will increase. Grateful people are happier and easier to be around. By expressing your gratitude, you focus on what is good and positive in your life. This will only take a couple of minutes each day, and it will reduce your stress and create a positive mindset.

Which of these suggestions do you want to implement? Start each week with one, try something different each day, or commit yourself to trying one. Comment below to let us know what you are doing to build your personal resilience.

Are you stressed and worn out? Would you like to build your resilience? Here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

25 Thoughts for Better Living

25 Thoughts for Better Living

It’s easy to find one inspiring quote on the internet, but a lot more difficult to come across a collection of compelling and relevant thoughts that allow you to instigate wellness in your own life.

HR Tech Weekly approached 25 wellbeing professionals and asked them to share their thoughts on better living. From relationships to self-acceptance and mental illness, their quotes give a well-rounded and positive perspective on what it means to be happy and healthy.

Colleen was also approached by HR Tech and asked about parenting. The stunning quote she provided is here:

colleen-morris-quote

We encourage you to read through each quote, and meditate on how it affects your life. While reading a quote is a small step towards a brighter future, it is no less significant when you put it into action.

Are you unsure what the next step to a brighter future is? Contact Colleen 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10 minute consultation on how I can best help you or press book now to book on my online diary.

How hospitality workers can maintain healthy relationships

how-hospitality-workers-can-maintain-healthy-relationships

Work can directly effect any couple, or family, relationship. Long work days, stress filled meetings and exhaustion will carry into the home, damaging not just the employee’s health, but also their loved ones. We see this nowhere more clearly than in the hospitality sector.

In a recent podcast with Ken Burgin of ProfitableHospitality.com, Colleen spoke about how to maintain work-life balance and reduce pressure. Shedding light on the warning-signs that tell you a relationship is on the rocks, she also explores different communication methods and ways to cultivate personal, as well as professional, success.

You can listen to Colleen’s conversation with Ken about ‘Stronger, More Loving Relationships for Hospitality Workers’ here.

Do you work in the hospitality sector? Are you concerned about your personal or professional relationships? Contact Colleen 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10 minute consultation on how I can best help you or press book now to book on my online diary.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder affects more people than you think

post-traumatic-stress-disorder-affects-more-people-than-you-think

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is known to affect veterans and people who have been in combat, but did you know it could also come about through other experiences?

A life-threatening situation or traumatic event can occur in numerous ways—physical or sexual assault, being sexually abused as a child, an accident, witnessing death or injury, or a natural disaster can all cause a person to develop PTSD.

This infographic by Upworthy and the Psychological Care and Treatment Centre reveals just how vast the net of PTSD is over the community. It affects 5.2 million people each year, and while it can go undiagnosed or is known by different names, it dramatically affects a person’s wellbeing and their quality of life.

PTSD is more than just the stress of a traumatic event; it is the brain trying to cope with an experience that it feels it is still living out. So, while a person may be at home and safe, a trigger (such as a sound, light, memory, image or feeling) can engage the fight-or-flight response in their brain, which initiates the same feelings, emotions and physical symptoms felt during the event.

Due to this, shame, anger and irritability are all symptoms, and insomnia and nightmares can affect people with PTSD. They may also have flashbacks, causing their body and mind to respond in distress. They may act violently, becoming lethargic and rigid, or unresponsive.  Many people with PTSD will also experience depression.

Psychical symptoms are a key aspect of PTSD, and you will find that people experiencing this can feel numbness, stabbing pains, pins and needles, spasming, aching muscles, dizziness and even fainting. Due to this, treatment for PTSD can be aided by massage and care of the physical body as well as the mind.

As this infographic shows, PTSD is a complex illness that occurs uniquely for each person. However, there are many ways you can support a loved one, friend, colleague or member of your community who is experiencing this.

By encouraging people to seek counselling and psychological support, they will find the support they need to work through their trauma. Seeing a GP is also beneficial as medication can assist a person with PTSD. Aside from this, be gracious and patient with your loved ones. Nurse them through their episodes, and when they are ready to talk, listen.

post-traumatic-stress-disorder-infographic

Have you experienced trauma? Does your loved one have PTSD? Then here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how she can best help you, or press book now to book on the online diary.

Introducing When Hope Speaks

introducing-when-hope-speaks

Regular readers of Watersedge will recognise the name Jessica Morris. Aside from contributing to the blog, she also oversees the social media and editorial content on our website. She has been open and honest about her own struggles with mental illness, giving us an insight into her experiences of therapy, teen to adulthood transition, and moving away from home.

Today we are excited to share Jessica’s new book with you all. Titled When Hope Speaks, it is a memoir about her diagnosis with depression and an anxiety disorder. Using essays, letters, blog posts and poems, she unravels the story of her mental illness and how it shaped her from diagnosis as a 13 year old, to her life today as an international journalist.

Available on October 10—World Mental Health Day, this is an inspiring story reminding people who live with mental illness that they never walk the journey alone. Carers and loved ones will be encouraged, and professionals can use it as a tool to educate and support their clients.

You can read an excerpt from When Hope Speaks by visiting Jessica’s website. Available October 10 through Salvo Publishing, order your copy now at jessicamorris.net.

“I’m so proud of my friend Jessica. She continues to impress me, not only with her writing but with how she lives her life. You get to see both in this book—Jessica’s talent for telling stories and for living them as well. She does both with compassion, with honesty, and with grace.”

~ JAMIE TWORKOWSKI,
founder, TO WRITE LOVE ON HER ARMS
New York Times Best-selling Author, If You Feel Too Much

Locals are invited to attend the When Hope Speaks book launch this Saturday October 8. I will be representing WatersedgeCounselling on a mental health panel to follow a reading and Q & A by the author. Starting at 7pm at the Mule Shed Café at 64 Separation Street, North Geelong, entry is by donation to Hope Movement. Click here for more details.

Do struggle with depression or anxiety? Are you concerned about the mental health of a friend or loved one? Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary

7 Reasons your child might be acting out

7-reasons-your-child-might-be-acting-out

‘I don’t know why my child is acting out. For the first 12 years of their life they have been happy, easy to get along with and easy to please. Then one day they just changed, and I feel like I have a complete stranger in the house. I don’t understand why they are acting out as they are’.

‘He was always a good kid—kind and co-operative. Over the past 2 years he has changed into a sullen, non-co-operative young person. He refuses to help around the house, is always angry and shows hardly any interest in anyone but himself.’

Does this sound familiar to you? The child who, for much of their life experience, has been reasonably easy to understand, agreeable and not so hard to live with, seems to disappear and a stranger occupies their room. You are asking yourself, ‘Who is this alien that has taken over my child and how do I get the, back?’ If this or a scenario similar is your experience, then you are not alone.

‘Acting out’ is the term we frequently use to describe behaviour that appears disruptive, aggressive, rude or just plain unusual and therefore inappropriate. Really, what we mean is that when a child acts out, they are not conforming to our rules.

As parents with numerous and competing demands upon our time, we rarely have the time or patience to tolerate these ‘negative’ behaviours, typically reacting to contain and discourage them. So we discipline in ways that send messages such as, ‘Do this again and you can expect to be treated like you don’t belong in this family’. ‘Behave like that again and you will not get your week’s allowance’ and ‘Act like this and you will lose the right to have your own mobile phone’.

Typically, parents regard their children’s negative behaviour as something that needs to be ‘fixed’ —like they have some major malfunction in their personality. A different and more proactive perspective is to regard their behaviour as an indication that the context in which they live (family system, school and/or friends) is not functioning in a way that supports and encourages your child to be their better self.

Rather than blaming or victimising our children, this approach allows you to be your child’s best advocate, recognising that their behaviour is a code language drawing attention to a system (i.e. family, friends or other significant groups that your child may participate in) that is in distress.

Our children rarely know how to talk to us about the things that they feel deeply. Perhaps they have tried in the past and we have dismissed or minimised their feelings, or, they are not even sure what it is they are feeling.

Understanding what your child is ‘reacting to’ takes some good detective work. A parent needs to be patient, curious, observant and attentive to what their child’s behaviour is trying to call attention to.

Here are 7 possible reasons why your child might be acting out.

  1. Marital conflict

Negative behaviours such as bickering, criticism, sarcasm, yelling and fighting create an environment that is stressful and unpredictable. Children are likely to feel numerous negative emotions including anxiety, sadness, anger, fear and confusion. Often a child acts out to draw parent’s attention away from each other and therefore lessen the tension in the relationship.

  1. Parental separation

Even the years following a parental separation can cause emotional distress for children. Whilst you may have processed your own emotional experience, your child may still be holding a number of unresolved issues; sadness that you are not a family anymore, feeling guilty that somehow they are responsible for their parent’s separation, and angry that their whole world has dismantled and disassembled in ways that continue to feel difficult to manage.

  1. Bereavement

The pain of loss for your child is as keen as your own and has no set time limit or method in how they process this challenging emotion. The loss of a parent, grandparent, close friend or a pet are life experiences that are frequently confusing, sad and, when not given expression, are toxic to our body and our emotions.

  1. Loneliness

Being ‘time poor’ is one of the hazards of our fast-paced technological 21st century lifestyle. Many parents are simply preoccupied with the challenges of daily life; paying the mortgage on time, financial concerns, mental health issues, physical illness, caring for aging parents and looking after the needs of other siblings in their family. When we fail to notice that one of our children is lonely and needing our attention, they can look for ways to draw attention to themselves.

  1. Rigid rules and unrealistic expectations

How do you establish the family rules? When children are young, parents create rules and boundaries—spoken and unspoken—that define acceptable behaviour within the family context. As our children grow and develop, it is necessary to continually redefine these rules and boundaries to accommodate their changing needs, and support them towards individuation in their teenage years. When a parent’s rules remain rigid and unrealistic with regards to their child’s changing world, a child typically feels resentful, annoyed and angry.

  1. Generational trauma

The trauma of your past and even of your parent’s past, when unaddressed and therefore unresolved, continues to be alive and present in the experience of your children. Where there has been war, abandonment, neglect and other near death experiences, the pain and distress of the past will continue to find its echo in the present as long as it is unacknowledged and the impact unrecognised.

  1. Physical, emotional and /or sexual abuse

How does a child talk to a parent about ‘the unmentionable’ without feeling shame, terror, embarrassment or fear of not being believed? There are times when the abuse is within the family context—sometimes it is a family friend or neighbour, sometimes it is someone bullying them at school and other times it is happening in cyberspace. Acting out may be a ‘cry for help’ in this instance.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Just as there are no two children who are exactly alike, the reasons for their negative behaviour are numerous and take on nuances we often fail to recognise as parents. What is important is that, as the parent, you learn to recognise negative behaviours in your child (at any age) as much more than ‘being difficult’, ‘attention seeking’ or any other description we want to name them.

Learning how to listen attentively, build trust, teach your child to name their emotions and give them confidence that you will believe their experience, are vital for their behaviour to begin to settle. Equally as important is your willingness to address the REAL issue, which is more frequently a task for the parent.

If you are concerned about your child’s behaviour and feel unable to understand or address it in ways that feel positive and engaging, Family Therapy provides a safe space where a family dialogue can be facilitated in order to reconnect with your child and understand their behaviour. As a Family Therapist, Colleen Morris offers a warm and welcoming space where families can learn and grow together as they experience new and different conversations that have potential to heal and mend.

You can call Colleen for a FREE 10 minute consultation on 0434 337 245 or if you would like to make an appointment. To see Colleen, go to BOOK NOW and you will be able to access Watersedgecounselling’s online appointment diary.

15 Reasons to Give up Alcohol

15 Reasons to Give up Alcohol

If you’ve tried Dry July, or have chosen to remain sober for a set period of time, you know the health benefits of giving up alcohol are astronomical. While it’s not bad to have a drink in moderation every now and then, if alcohol is negatively impacting your life and your health, you may need to take steps to stop drinking it all together.

A while ago, Watersedge put together the 30 Day Challenge, where we challenge you to go one month without drinking alcohol. Aside from having a clearer head, staying sober is better for your liver, your wallet and often, your relationships.

Take a look at this infographic by Recovery Steps that shares some of the other benefits of going alcohol free.

If alcohol is negatively affecting you or your loved ones, sign up for our 30 Day Challenge here. We’ll send you a FREE tip everyday, empowering you to take care of yourself, nurture your relationships and life a fulfilling life.

15 Reasons to Give up Alcohol Infographic

Are you concerned about your drinking habits? Do you want to make hang overs and intoxicated arguments a thing of the past? Contact Watersedgecounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you or press book now to book in our online diary.

101 Best Personal Development bloggers

101 Best Personal Development bloggers

We are thrilled to announce that Guided Mind has named WatersedgeCounselling as one of the 101 Best Personal Development and Self Help bloggers of 2016!

As part of their Best and Most Inspiring Personal Blog Awards for the year, we have been named alongside New York Times best selling author Michael Hyatt, as well as Marie Forleo, a personal and professional development writer chosen by Oprah as a thought leader for a new generation.

Guided Mind ColleenListed at #96, Watersedge is described as a ‘blog to [help] you stay mentally healthy, addiction free, happy, good in relationships and stress relieved.’

You can see the complete list of Guided Mind 101 best personal development and self help bloggers here. The list is ordered randomly, and as Guided Mind say ‘some of the best bloggers can be found at near the very bottom of the list,’ so take your time browsing.

Do you want to learn how to take better care of your mental health? Would you like to discuss your own personal development?  Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.