Author: admin

I’ve had several requests to write about coping with anxiety, and as the title of thus post may suggest, these tips are not just based on my clinical training and professional experience, but also from personal experience. Although my calm exterior makes it difficult for most to believe, I’ve suffered from anxiety and panic attacks since my school days. Thankfully, I’ve come a long way from breathing into brown paper bags. The tips below are based on what has worked for me, combined with my clinical knowledge and experience. It does not mean that I don’t feel anxious anymore…I do! I just know how to identify it quicker and intervene before it impacts negatively on my life. Being a perfectionist and somewhat of a control-freak, my anxiety was heightened in situations in which I felt out of control. The overwhelming anxiety often led to panic attacks. When I was younger, they...

If you thought that peer pressure ended in high school, think again. While we can understand peer pressure in adolescents as they are still forming their identities, a sadder reality is adults falling prey to peer pressures. While one would expect adults in their thirties and forties to be more confident about themselves, many still give in to peer pressure to fit in. As a therapist who deals with adults and teenagers, I surprisingly see more adults who have succumbed to peer pressure. Some examples of peer pressure in adults is: Being coerced by friends to drink alcohol or experiment with other substances. Buying material possessions such as cars, designer clothing & accessories either just because you want to fit in. Feel that you need to be seen at certain trendy places to be accepted by friends. Sending your children to a certain school or insisting they participate in particular activities so...

I always try to make things easy to remember, hence packaging my parenting tips as the ‘Seven Ps of Parenting’. The first P is one that you’re unlikely to find in any parenting handbook, yet one that I find crucial to effective parenting; and that is PUT YOURSELF FIRST. It sounds counter-intuitive because as parents we are meant to be selfless and self-sacrificing. The truth is, if you are not physically and emotionally healthy, then you are not able to be as effective in your parenting. Putting everyone else before you and trying to juggle several responsibilities can lead to lifestyle diseases and burnout. And think about it for a moment – if you had to be lying in a hospital bed, how would those who depend on you cope? The most effective parent is a calm parent, so you need to care for yourself enough to ensure that you can be...

The word ‘bullying’ often conjures up images of schoolchildren being bullied by teasing, isolation and physical fights. While bullying in schools is spoken about frequently, bullying by adults (often in the workplace) isn’t spoken about as frequently as it occurs. After a recent radio show on bullying in the workplace, I’ve been inundated with calls and messages to spread more awareness. My main aim in this post is to help victims cope with the trauma they have experienced and at the end of the article, I offer practical tips and advice on what to do if you are being bullied at work. What is bullying? The obvious type of bullying that we are aware of is physical intimidation and verbal aggression. However, there are other forms of bullying that are not often regarded as such. These include: Having one’s work sabotaged Someone else constantly taking credit for your work Setting one up for...

Healthy boundaries are necessary for healthy relationships. We cannot control the actions of others, but we can set limits that prevent their actions from impacting on us negatively. How do you know that your boundaries need to be reassessed? You say ‘yes’ when you really want to say ‘no’. You feel that others take advantage of your good nature. You feel drained by other people. You feel overwhelmed by others who seem to need you. You have less time for yourself because you spend more time doing things for others. You please others to keep the peace. You take on more than you would like to. Feeling guilty when you say ‘no’ to someone. Examples of unhealthy boundaries: A family member who always asking to borrow money. A friend who is always late (and never seems to be sorry) or cancels plans at the last minute. A spouse who doesn’t help with...

It started out as a trendy term to use, but deep down FOMO (the fear of missing out) really stems from a lack of self-esteem, desire to fit in and not embracing one’s uniqueness. What surprises me is that adults seem to be falling victim to FOMO as just as much as teenagers. Even with teenagers, one can understand that they are still forming their identity; so we would expect adults to have a better sense of who they are. And we have to bear in mind that our kids are learning through observing our behaviour. We are their first roles models – so what are we teaching them? Examples of FOMO in daily life: Accepting every single invite, even if its stressful to fit in, just because ‘everyone is going to be there’ Buying designer brands, even if out of your budget, because they’re trendy. A deep sense of sorrow when you...

Eat to live; don’t live to eat! One of my favourite things about travelling is experiencing new culinary adventures. My least favourite part – returning home a few kilograms heavier (thanks to aforementioned culinary adventures). Although I don’t obsess about my weight or have a goal-weight I like to fit into my clothes. Add to that many risk factors of excess weight – no I’ve never been obese, but I do tend to pile on weight in the wrong places (which put one at risk for many lifestyle diseases). I don’t believe in diets or quick-fixes. At the same time I LOVE FOOD so I will not deprive myself of what I love either. However, on my holidays I seem to live to eat as opposed to eating to live. I’ve decided to re-adopt a way of eating that has worked wonders for me in the past (only to be disrupted by...

The current year has been my busiest yet. I’ve functioned like a hamster on a wheel…there was no time to stop to think…I just kept going. Until one day, not too long ago, an acquaintance asked me a question – a question we’re all asked every day; only this time it was different. The question was ‘HOW ARE YOU?’. The difference was that this person asked in a tone of compassion (realising my elevated stress levels – mainly stress about other people). This person listened for an answer. I answered honestly because I knew I was being listened to, but I continued to think about this question long after this brief conversation was over. I hadn’t had time to think about how I was. Work was busy and everyone around me convinced me that it was good to be busy. That this was a hallmark of success. Really? Because what busy...

What’s the first thing you do when you’re standing in a queue at the checkout line? Or when you’re waiting for someone to arrive for a meeting? Without even realising it, checking our phones has become a reflex action. It’s almost as automatic as a bathroom break for most. While we cannot deny that technology has made our lives easier in so many ways, it’s can also distract us from what’s important I’m our lives. So when I speak of digital detox, I’m in no way suggesting that you give up all technology for weeks at a time, but there are simpler tweaks you can make. You can start by making small changes; and once you see the benefits, perhaps consider longer detoxes. How can you tell if you could benefit from a digital detox? Does your partner (or parent) complain that you spend too much of time on the phone? Do you...

A strong support system is one of the most important protective factors for those with mental illnesses such as depression. Knowing that someone genuinely cares can make the dark, gloomy place at least a little brighter. However, most people don’t know what to say to someone with a mental illness. For starters, here’s what NOT to say: “Cheer up” “Think positive.” “You have so much to be grateful for.” “What do you have to be depressed for?” Even though you may have the best intentions, such statements may increase feelings of guilt and send the message that you don’t understand. Often someone with a mental illness wants to know that they are not alone. Saying that you are there is one thing – but truly being there for them is what counts. It’s the small actions that make the biggest difference. E.g. asking how they are and truly taking the time to listen to how they honestly...