16 Charts That Will Help You To Chill Out

16-Charts-That-Will-Help-You-To-Chill-Out

At some point stress and tension build up in all of us, fatiguing our body and making it extra difficult to get out of bed. When we feel like this, the last thing we want is someone telling us to ‘chill out’, because it’s not easy to rest when we have so much to do. However, there are some small steps you can take to slowly bring peace back into your day.

We were thrilled when Buzzfeed featured our infographic, ‘76 Stress Relievers’ in their blog post, ‘16 Diagrams That Will Help You Chill The F*** Out’. They include some useful charts on brewing tea, having a spa and even doodling —all great techniques for bringing some peace back into your day.

Head over to the blog post here and scroll through the charts (You’ll find Watersedge at #15), and tell us what technique you’re going to try next time you feel stressed!

Do you struggle to ‘chill out’? Would you like to learn how to relieve your own stress and feel peaceful? Call Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10 minute consultation. To make an appointment, go to BOOK NOW and you will be able to access Watersedgecounselling’s online appointment diary.

The five types of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

The-five-types-of-Obsessive-Compulsive-Disorder

When we think of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) we tend to imagine what we have seen on TV: a Niles Crane-esque character who cleans every table he sits at with a wet wipe, or a suburban mum who can’t get out of the house because her door is blocked with miscellaneous items she’s hoarding.

The truth is that these all show extreme facets of OCD, but over time we’ve distorted it to cliché caricatures of the actual illness. So while we may say to someone who likes a tidy home, ‘You’re OCD’, that’s not necessarily true (they might just like a clean house), and the same goes for a person who loves to write lists. They’re not necessarily experiencing OCD, but are naturally organised.

So if the TV is misrepresenting OCD, what does it actually look like?

OCD is an anxiety disorder will affect 3 in every 100 people during their lifetime.  It shows up in numerous ways, but can be identified by re-occurring and unwanted intrusive thoughts, images or impulses (obsessions) and repetitive behaviour and mental rituals (compulsions). * It’s important you know that OCD isn’t rationale. Often a person struggling with the illness won’t want to participate in the activity or thought they are consistently having, they just feel incapable of stopping it.

While television shows us extreme caricatures of what OCD looks like (often centred around an extreme fear of germs or hoarding), it can also appear more subtly: you may feel the incessant need to check every door in the house before you go to bed. A thought may pop up and no matter how many times you try to resolve it, it keeps coming back, or you may keep a few too many keepsakes in the house and the idea of binning any of them overwhelms you.

The infographic below by Therapy Tribe lists the five types of OCD people can experience. While each can occur individually, some people will show symptoms of a few if not all of these in different ways. Each can lead to exhaustion and distress, and when untreated may intrude on day-to-day activities and relationships. *

When treated, someone who experiences OCD can live a healthy and balanced life. Therapy, medication and support groups are all options, and for less severe cases it might simply be a case of talking the compulsion out with a friend until it passes.

Ultimately, the severity of symptoms will change for each individual, and even these can alter depending on their circumstances, stress levels and over all health. So if you or a loved one are experiencing OCD, it’s ok to ask for help and find a strategy that best benefits you.

types-of-ocd

If you are struggling with OCD, or have concerns for a friend displaying obsessive compulsive symptoms, call Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10 minute consultation. To make an appointment, go to BOOK NOW and you will be able to access Watersedgecounselling’s online appointment diary.

*Information gathered from Sane Australia, 2017.

How to identify the phases of alcohol addiction and recovery

Many people like to have an alcoholic drink, but for some this becomes more than a luxury, it becomes an addiction. So how do you identify if you or a loved one are experiencing addiction or are in danger of falling into it? The Jellenik Curve (pictured below) describes the common phases of alcohol addiction, and helps us to do just this.

Whether you’re at the beginning of the curve and have the suspicion you’re drinking just a little too much, or are in the middle and are experiencing increased black outs, this will show you what is and isn’t currently healthy about your lifestyle. Even more importantly, it shows you that it is possible to enter recovery.

If you’re concerned about the health of you or a friend, take a look at this infographic by the Watershed Addiction and Recovery Programs and see what part of the ‘rollercoaster’ you’re on. By observing addictive traits in yourself early, you can change your behaviours and prevent a downward spiral into alcohol addiction.

Alternatively, if you have overcome addiction in the past, this curve is a fantastic way to moderate your behaviours. If you find yourself falling into old habits, start making phases 4 and 5 a priority again. And if you’re not sure you can be objective, ask a friend to honestly assess where they think you’re at in comparison to the Curve below.

Do you want to revolutionise your life and see what you can achieve without alcohol? Sign up for the free Watersedge 30 Day Challenge and have a tip sent to your inbox every day for a month. Find out more information here.

Do you rely on alcohol to get you through the day? Are you concerned that a loved one may have an addiction? Call Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10 minute consultation. To make an appointment, go to BOOK NOW.

Six ways to manage social anxiety

Six-ways-to-manage-social-anxiety

It’s the thumping heart, the sweaty palms, and the seeming inability to communicate verbally to the person across from you.

It’s the fear that everyone is silently judging you, and if you make eye contact with them something disastrous could happen.

And it’s the isolation you feel it an overwhelmingly crowded place, when the smallest task takes all your energy to complete.

Social anxiety is a beast. Some of us experience it momentarily, like on the first day of a new job, when we enter a uber-competitive environment or see colleagues in an unexpected place. Other people experience it all the time, and a ‘simple’ activity like shopping or going out to dinner nearly feel unbearable.

As someone who still deals with social anxiety, I know what it’s like to freak out over the simplest tasks. And even though I’ve combatted a lot of my (somewhat irrational) fears over the years, I still panic when I encounter a new situation, I’ve just learned to mask it a lot better.

If you also struggle with social anxiety, here are six ways you can begin to manage it.

  1. Realise it’s normal

Feeling anxious about a situation you think ‘normal people’ are fine with only makes your fear escalate. While not everyone experiences social anxiety, we all feel some sort of awkwardness. Remember that you’re not the only one who feels uncomfortable around people. In fact, there are probably others around you at this moment experiencing a similar level of anxiety, you just can’t tell because most of us laugh it off or hide it.

  1. Pre-plan

I’m a terrible decision maker at the best of times, and when I’m in an uncomfortable situation my inability to choose between chai tea and a mocha latte becomes impossible. So when possible, plan where you’re going and what you’ll do there.

If you’re going to an event, make a time to meet up with a friend so you’re not left on your own. If being in a crowded space troubles you, go at a less-busy time, and if talking to a cashier freaks you out, have your money set aside for them before you approach the counter. These are only small steps, but they can help you to avoid an anxiety attack.

  1. Let a friend know

If you struggle in a particular situation, don’t be ashamed to let someone know. A loved one, partner, spouse or friend will likely have already picked up that you’re uncomfortable in some situations, and telling them you have social anxiety will help them to connect the dots.

You can’t always avoid anxiety, but having someone around who understands what you’re experiencing makes a world of difference. Tell them what you need to feel calm, and let them help you to plan for and work through each situation.

  1. Write down your fears

When you’re anxious about something, you might role-play different scenarios in your head until you’re so afraid you decide not to complete the task. It’s important that you consider the event or situation you are entering, but catastrophising about what may occur if you see x or what could happen if you say x, only heightens your emotions.

Before you enter an anxiety-provoking scenario, write down your fears, hopes and expectations around the event. For each fear or problem, write down a possible solution. You may find that just by writing it down, you take away its power and feel more empowered.

Go back over the list when the event is complete, and see what actually occurred. Over time, you’ll begin to control your fear when you realise more often than not, scenarios aren’t as bad as they seem.

  1. Set a time frame

My anxiety is always worse when I am tired and stressed, and I know it’s time to go home when I become unresponsive or irritable. Over time, you’ll learn the physical and mental symptoms you show when you’ve had enough and this will be a sign that you need to have some alone time.

How intense the environment is, the level of social interaction you’ve had and how long you’re out will affect this, so set a time frame for each situation and give yourself permission to leave when its done so you can care for yourself.

  1. See a professional

If your social anxiety is all consuming and you struggle to leave the house, make a phone call or see people, then seeing a counsellor or psychologist is a great first step to managing it.

Lots of places allow you to research therapists online, and some even let you book over the Internet. Ask a friend to drive you to the appointment, and if this feels like too much, ask the therapist if you can connect over Skype or email instead.

It takes time to overcome social anxiety, and for some people (myself included), it becomes a process of learning to manage it. Wherever you’re at, know you’re not alone in these emotions. You can navigate them and with a bit of support, learn to live a happy and healthy life. It just starts with asking for help.

Do you struggle with social anxiety? Would you like some help overcoming your fears? 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 book online now.

Five signs of healthy community

Five-signs-of-healthy-community

‘Community’ is a buzz word at the moment, but what does it really mean? Another word for it is ‘connection’—how we connect with other people, and how this connects us with the world. Brené Brown has said, “Connection is why we're here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”

So while ‘community’ and in essence, connection, is on trend (and could easily be long forgotten if ‘fleek’ makes a come back), it has always been an essential part of our wellbeing because it helps us to formulate our identity.

If you consider every group you have been a part, be it a family, work place, a group of friends or a sports club, you can trace the impact it’s had on your identity. Positive or negative, community gives us meaning and helps us to find direction in life.

From the extrovert who is never alone to the recluse who avoids people at any cost, our behaviour directly relates to our past experiences of community. And after trust is broken or we experience a crisis in our lives, we begin to question the true nature of the community we belong to.

Is it healthy?

Is this community harming me?

Do I even want to belong to this community?

And, can I make my community healthy?

Even though these questions can be confronting, they are vital to nurture your wellbeing. Answering them begins with understanding what a healthy community actually looks like. Here are five signs your community is a nurturing and healthy environment.

  1. It is authentic

If ‘community’ is a buzzword, then ‘authentic’ is it’ cousin. Healthy community doesn’t take place without a group of people committed to being fearlessly authentic and vulnerable. That means there are no hidden agendas, people don’t feel they have to lie or make excuses, people feel free to talk about their ups and downs, and acceptance is shown for one another, whatever a member of that community is going through.

Authentic community is challenging, and even the healthiest will have to continuously work at it. However, a good indicator you’ve found this is when you walk away feeling validated, known and understood.

  1. It is inclusive

Forget these exclusive cliques that are created at high school and roll into adult hood, a thriving community is known for welcoming others in to its fold. So while a community is formed on common interests or relationship, it is built on different personalities, ages, ethnicities, genders, sexual preferences and religions.

Each community group will naturally skew towards a certain type of people depending on where it is located and other environmental factors, but it’s willingness to accept all others is what makes it healthy.

  1. It is outward focused

A healthy community will nurture its members. Often, this occurs through group outings, activities and celebrations. However, those that thrive take this a step further and empower its members to be outward focused.

This means members are so energised by their belonging to the group, they actively invite and inform outsiders about it. Political or religious group are the obvious examples of this—members will often tell other people about their ideals or activities and provide their point-of-view about key societal issues their group has a stance on.

However, this outward focus can also be subtler. A friend might invite you to a party and all their work colleagues are there. Someone just started a great new health program, and they talk about it all the time on social media and encourage you to join. Or they look for opportunities to support other communities to benefit the greater good.

A healthy community digs deep and nurtures one another so it can extend this same bond to the outside world. Find a community that does this, and you’re on to something good.

  1. Members accept one another

Acceptance is different to inclusion, because it involves actively doing life beside people who are different from you. It goes further than inclusion, because through it others are given a home and we invest in each other.

Accepting people in your community is easy when we are like-minded. Many of us will feel a kinship with other members because of a common bond and interest. However, when we disagree about things—be it politics, religion, how to raise children or another member’s actions, things can fall apart very easily.

A healthy community is willing to listen and learn from one another, even when members disagree on things. Instead of taking offence, they respond with empathy and love.

  1. It supports members and keeps them accountable

Seeing a family member on the holidays is well and good, but what happens when they come to you with no place to live? What do you say to your friend at the gym when their marriage has just broken down, and how do you respond when a friend wrongs another friend, seemingly against the principles your whole community is built on?

Healthy community isn’t easy, and we see this when its members make mistakes or are in crisis. When one person falls, a healthy community will do all they can to pick that member up, be it through a coffee, a frozen meal or a roof over their head.

This is complicated when a member has actively broken your trust—for instance, by cheating on their partner, using all their money to fund an addiction or manipulating a friend. There is no one solution to this scenario. Some communities try to reconcile its members, others separate and many will ostracise that member until it’s clear they no longer ‘belong’.

A healthy community will do all it can to understand and empathise with the member who has ‘failed’ and help them to recover without compromising their values. However, they will also protect and support the people the member has directly affected.

Ideally, a healthy community will see the warning signs that a member is struggling or beginning to compromise their principles, and help that person get back on track before anything major happens. This is why accountability is essential to a healthy community—it not only helps members to reach their goals, it also keeps them from falling.

Do you want to find a healthy community? Would you like to learn how to better connect with other people? 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.

How to have a positive mindset

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It’s easy to pour compliments on other people, but showing love to ourselves is another challenge entirely. Often we see ourselves negatively, and critically compare our ‘weaknesses’ and ‘flaws’ to the so-called perfections of the people around us.

The truth is though, that we are worthy of love. In fact, we are just as deserving as the person we perceive to have it all-together, who in reality, is probably also self-conscious too. So how do we start showing ourselves love?

By changing our mindset. In this infographic by Simply Stepping, we are given a list of common complaints we have about ourselves.

“I can’t do any better!”

”I’m so fat.”

“I look stupid.”

Does this sound familiar to you? By challenging these thoughts and reframing them to something more positive, we slowly change our mindset to one of self-love and infinite worth.

So next time you think, “I’m not as good looking as them, no one could ever love me,” grab the thought and change it to, “When I compare myself with others I waste my precious time and energy. My beauty is defined within, and the people that matter love me for me.”

Take a look at the infographic and see what negative mindsets you can change this week. Start with one and see how you go. Overtime, you’ll begin to believe what you’re saying, and will be made stronger by your own self-love.

How-to-have-a-positive-mindset---kindness-talk

Do you often criticize yourself? Would you like to develop a positive mindset? 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.

5 ways to manage your emotions

Are you out-of-touch with your emotions? Or do you feel a little too much, and consequently carry the world on your shoulders? Everyone has a different level of natural empathy and emotional intuitiveness, but we all need some help to regulate our emotions—whether we are aware of them or not.

Science can help us to normalise our natural emotional responses, and make them healthier. The team at Real Way of Life are frequently asked about modern science and how it can be applied to the management of emotional problems. They’ve put together this handy infographic, explaining how five key points can guide us in caring for our own emotional health.

  1. Two ways of activation: Whether we naturally respond to things by thinking them through, or acting them out. This leads to our emotional response.
  2. Modalities: Our tendency to immerse ourselves in sociality, or live in a fight, flight or freeze manner.
  3. Emotional triggers: What causes our emotions and corresponding actions.
  4. Physiology: The effect of constant stress on the body, our genetic code, how we internally respond to stimuli (e.g. exercise)
  5. Multilevel action: Understanding that different factors influence our emotional health and managing each accordingly. (e.g. Biological make up, relationships, social tendencies, diet and health, neurological factors).

Developed through their years of experience and research, each point shows the spectrum of emotional tendencies, physiological responses and factors that influence and trigger our emotions.

Take a look at the infographic below, and consider where you fall on the scale of empathy and response. If you find yourself resonating with one in particular, do some more research, and try adjusting your mindset or behaviour to better moderate your emotions.

Do you want to learn to regulate your emotions? Would you like help to adjust your mindset and behaviours? 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.

10 reasons you’re becoming burnt out

Burn out. Two words no one wants to hear but we all must succumb too eventually. Anyone who has been burnt out will tell you it occurs when you’re at the end of your rope. Your body is exhausted, your mind is exhausted, and you’re entire being refuses to get up and function. At its best we break down and it takes us out of work for a few weeks. At its worse, burn out is totally debilitating, and can cause long-term of permanent illness.

Are you becoming burnt out? Take a look at our checklist, and if you tick the box on three or more of the following indicators, you could be headed towards burn out. That means one thing: you need to stop and rest.

  1. You feel constant lethargy

If once-enjoyable activities have become chores, waking up has become an ordeal, and you just feel ‘bleh,’ you could on the road to burn out. Our bodies will often shown signs of exhaustion before we accept the reality of it ourselves. Lethargy can occur for a number of reasons, so see your GP for a diagnosis.

  1. You refuse to stop

If your schedule is full, you never take a sick day, and you’re always focused on the next thing you ‘have’ to do, your body will eventually stop functioning in protest. Start setting aside time for you, and don’t be afraid to create space in your day when you have nothing to do.

  1. You always say ‘yes’

It’s great to help out our friends and family, and wonderful to do the things we love. But if you feel pressure to say ‘yes’ every time someone asks for a favour, you’re on a one-way street to burn out. Remember, saying ‘no’ to something can mean a bigger ‘yes’ to others—including yourself.

  1. You avoid seeing a professional

If you’ve put off seeing the GP or avoid seeing a counsellor or psychologist when you have the niggling feeling you need too, there’s a good chance you’re in denial about your body or mind’s condition. Ask a friend to help you make an appointment and keep it. You may just save yourself from extreme burn out.

  1. You experience anxiety or panic attacks

If you feel anxious about situations that never used to trouble you, live in a constant state of perpetual anxiety or have panic attacks, these are indicators that your body could be getting burnt out. If this is you, talk to a counsellor about your physical, emotional and mental well-being.

  1. You eat unhealthy foods

If meal preparation is a thing of the past and you live off fast food or frozen meals, you’re time poor and probably very stressed: two indicators you’re on your way to burn out. Start making healthy eating a priority again, and your body will start to heal.

  1. You struggle to exercise

It’s highly likely you’re an active person who is always on their feet, but if you struggle to set aside time to exercise, your body is suffering. Go running, sign up at the gym, play sport, do Pilates, try yoga or take the dog for a walk. Just set aside time three times a week to care for your body.

  1. You never see your loved ones

You may see your family every night and your friends at work, but if you haven’t spent time with them outside of these everyday scenarios in awhile, you could be too caught up in your schedule and routine—a potential route to burn out. Leisure time with the people we love is good for our emotional wellbeing, so make time for it.

  1. You’re constantly stressed

If you’re stressed about work, stressed about your relationships, stressed about your diet and stressed about feeling stressed—you’re close to burn out. A high heart rate, sweaty palms and tense muscles means your body is in fight or flight mode. This leads to frequent illness, muscle spasms and depression. Making time for meditation, a walk or a nap is a good way to start de-stressing your life.

  1. You have no time

If you’re feeling stressed about the time you need to make for self care, and tense up at the thought of re-arranging your schedule, there’s a good chance you’re close to burn out. It is difficult to stop, but it is harder to recover from burn out. And as capable as you may be, no one is exempt from it. So make the decision to stop and rest.

Are you becoming burnt out? Do you struggle to rest? 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.

Who am I? The key to understanding yourself

Who am i

We all have a moment when we’re not sure who we are anymore. The people we were closest to may have fed us lies about our identity, either putting us on a pedestal, or making us feel useless. Or perhaps you carry a different persona at work, in private, socially and with family. You feel stretched a million different ways to be what everyone else expects you to be. All the while, you have lost sight of yourself.

So how do you answer the question, ‘Who am I?’ When all your expectations, routines, loved ones and habits fade away, how do you define yourself?

When we know ourselves—truly, inexplicably understand what drives us, and who we are at our core, we are able to live more fulfilling lives. We are physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally healthier, and as a result all our relationships also become more complete.

A great place to start the journey to knowing yourself is learning about the Enneagram. We’ve previously discussed this personality theory in depth, but if you’re overwhelmed by numbers, characteristics or even the sense that you’re too lost to begin, this new infographic is for you.

We’ve listed each of the nine personality types below, along with the defining trait of each. The key is to place the phrase ‘I am the…’ at the beginning of each. So whether you resonate more with ‘I am the achiever,’ ‘I am the loyalist,’ ‘I am the challenger’ or ‘I am the peacemaker,’ you will find out which personality type you best relate to.

You won’t pinpoint your type immediately, and often we will see ourselves in a few different numbers before we identify our core. So select the ones that most sound like you, or who you think you are, and visit our Enneagram page for more details on your type. After reading through a couple of personalities, you’ll likely find yourself corresponding with one. You’ll think, ‘That’s how I communicate,’ or ‘I often feel this way’.

Look at the traits of your personality type, and see whether you are motivated by your head, heart or gut. Your fears, dreams, motivations and even relationships will become clearer when you understand this about yourself, and if you desire you can keep researching more information about how to be the healthiest version of this type possible.

Aside from our blogs about the Enneagram, we also highly recommend visiting The Enneagram Institute for more information about each personality type and a quiz.

What are you waiting for? Take a look at our list below, and see which personality type you resonate with. The journey to knowing yourself starts here.

Enneagramsummary

Find out more information on:

Type 1— The Perfectionist | Type 2 — The Helper | Type 3 — The Achiever

Type 4 — The Romantic | Type 5 — The Observer | Type 6 — The Loyalist |

Type 7 — The Optimist | Type 8 — The Challenger | Type 9— The Peacemaker

View our FREE Enneagram downloads here.

Do you want to begin the journey to knowing yourself? Would you like to learn about the Enneagram? 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

12 ways to practice self awareness

12-ways-to-practice-self-awareness

Being self aware dramatically changes how we live. Understanding how we feel and why, what we are thinking, and how we are being perceived means we can facilitate better relationships privately and professionally.

Peter Guber, CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, owner of the Golden State Warriors and best selling author, even said that self awareness is ‘the most important skill for career success’. So how do we become more self aware—especially when we’re scared about what we’ll find out?

Huffington Post and The Utopian Life put together this infographic, giving 12 steps to practice self awareness in your own life. Starting with asking yourself ‘why?’ every time to make a decision, to changing your posture, monitoring your self talk, being accountable, knowing your personality type and practicing meditation, try a couple of these practices this week and see what you learn about yourself.

12-essential-self-awareness-excercises

Do you want to become more self aware? Would you like to practice these exercises with the help of a professional? Contact Colleen 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10 minute consultation on how she can best help you or press book now on the online diary.