Category Archives: Blog

How to deal with unpleasant thoughts and feelings

How to deal with unpleasant thoughts and feelings – How Sean Connery gets me to the gym on a monday morning

We humans have evolved to do whatever we can to avoid pain, whether it’s physical, emotional or psychological.  Obviously avoiding physical pain is a good thing.  However, sometimes we behave in unhelpful and unhealthy ways in order to avoid unpleasant thoughts or feelings.  For example, making yourself super busy in order to avoid feeling something.  Smashing a tub of Ben & Jerry’s after a breakup to ‘eat’ your feelings.  Or avoiding social situations that make you feel uncomfortable.

 

Do unpleasant thoughts and feelings have a hold on you?  Try Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in North Brisbane
Photo by Eduard Militaru on Unsplash

 

In psychological terms we call this behaviour “experiential avoidance”.  I do it myself.  We all do it to some extent because it’s a totally normal human behaviour.  If it’s not excessive or it’s not really hurting you, it’s ok.  But if it’s affecting your health or keeping your life ‘small’ in some way, then it’s unworkable.  In which case, it’s probably a good idea to look at how you can stop these unpleasant thoughts and feelings from having so much sway over your life.

I have unpleasant thoughts and feelings every Monday when the alarm goes off for my early morning PT session.  I’m guessing you may have similar thoughts.  When the alarm goes off my first thought is “Oh gawwwwd I’m so tired. I need to stay in bed.  It’s too early to exercise – I’ll hurt a muscle because I’m so tired and stiff.  Ugh I’ll get all sweaty.  It’s too far”.  (Cough… It’s a 10 minute walk princess …) 

 

Having unpleasant thoughts and feelings about getting out of bed each day?  Speak to Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in North Brisbane

 

The truth is that when I’m there I love it and I feel GREAT afterwards.  My trainer is really knowledgeable and he doesn’t shout commands at me (unlike other trainers who didn’t last very long).  He’s also hilarious and my unofficial dating advisor.  So why the resistance?  Why the melodrama every Monday morning?

Quite simply, I’m not a natural early riser and a very vocal part of me wants to stay in bed.  I want to stay in a place of comfort.  I want to avoid the unpleasant thoughts and feelings about having to get up, get sweaty and get out there when I could stay under the covers and snooze. 

 

Avoiding unpleasant thoughts and feelings?  Learn techniques to accept them with Sarah Tuckett and Psychotherapy and Counselling, North Brisbane
Photo by elizabeth lies on Unsplash

 

 

As I’ve said, these kind of avoidance strategies are ok if they work and they aren’t too costly in one way or another.  But if I listened to those thoughts and stayed in bed it would affect my waist line and my muscle mass (very important for us ladies over a certain age).  And I’m pretty sure my PT would get fire me as a client, which would mean no Dating High Command.  

So every Monday morning I use a ‘de-fusion’ technique from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) which helps me accept my unpleasant thoughts and feelings and gives them less power over me.

To do this, I replay the uncomfortable thoughts over and over in my head using the voice of a famous person/character.  My favorite is Sean Connery.  You can borrow him if you like. 

“Och I’m going to get so schweaty” said Sean, over and over.  It makes it sound a little silly and I smile a little.  The thought has less power over me.  I don’t get so anxious about it and I get out of bed!  (If I’m honest it also sounds a little bit pervy when Sean says it).

 

Learn Acceptance and Commitment Therapy techniques to help you deal with unpleasant thoughts and feelings - see Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in North Brisbane

 

Here’s how you can do it for yourself:

 

An easy de-fusion technique for unpleasant thoughts and feelings

 

  1. Pick an unpleasant thought or feeling that’s been plaguing you.
  2. Say it over and over in your head silently for 10 seconds. 
  3. Notice how you feel having done this. How much do you believe the thought (how ‘fused’ are you with the thought?).  How does it make you feel emotionally?  And what sensations can you feel in your body. 
  4. Pick the voice of a well-known character or actor.  Someone you can really ‘hear’ speaking in your head.  (Run out of ideas?  What about:  Arnold Schwarzenegger, Marilyn Monroe, Miss Piggy, Donald Duck, Dr Sheldon Cooper, or even that hideous Trump person).  

  5. Say the same unpleasant thought or feeling over and over in your head in their voice for 10 seconds.
  6. Again, notice how you feel having done this.  Do you feel any differently in your body?  Does the thought or feeling have more or less power over you? 

 

It’s important to understand that we’re not trying to avoid or ‘tolerate’ the unpleasant thought or feeling.  These thoughts are going to keep popping up into our mind and that’s not something that’s under our control.  But what do have control over, and what we’re learning to do, is to ‘accept’ these unpleasant thoughts and feelings.  To allow them to have less power over us. 

 

Learn Acceptance and Commitment Therapy techniques to make your unpleasant thoughts and feelings have less control over you - contact Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in North Brisbane
Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

 

We can do this in therapy with any unpleasant feeling or thought.  A particularly common one among my clients is “I’m not good enough”.  Not a particularly helpful thought, and probably not true. 

Through different ACT techniques we can help you unhook from these unpleasant thoughts and feelings.  And in doing so, help you stop avoiding situations or people where this thought might pop up.  Helping reduce the amount of experiential avoidance in your life.   Helping you live a BIGGER life.

 

If you want to find out more about ACT please hop on over to my Services page

 

If you would like to speak to me give me a call on 0450 22 00 59 or have a look through my online diary to book a spot that works for you. 

I offer confidential counselling and psychotherapy sessions to people who are going through a hard time, whether that’s because of a mental health issue like anxiety or depression or because of a situation (relationship issues, bullying, abuse, isolation).  There is no need for you to suffer in silence.  

If you’re feeling unsure, or want to ask me what Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or somatic psychotherapy is all about, I offer a FREE 20 minute discovery session by phone/skype for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

 

BOOK ONLINE

 

Alternatively call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

 

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

 

 

Dealing with the aftermath of domestic violence

Dealing with the aftermath of domestic violence

I wish that this wasn’t the case, but I’m currently helping a few clients deal with situations of domestic violence.  Some still in the danger zone.  Others now in a place of safety.  But all of them dealing with the aftermath of domestic violence. 

Each time I hear stories of domestic violence, my inner Wonder Woman wants to protect the victims and annihilate the perpetrators.

The reason it generates so many feelings in me is because for a brief, but terrifying period, domestic violence affected my family too.

Dealing with the aftermath of domestic violence - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling, North Brisbane

When I was in my early teens a member of my family dated an asshole.  Whenever she tried to leave him he punched her in the face.  I never witnessed the domestic violence first hand, just the ensuing black eyes, tears and confusion each time she took him back out of sheer terror.  

Even if I had witnessed the violence first hand, I’m sure I would have been frozen to the spot in fear, but I carry with me this strange mixture of guilt for not having protected her somehow, and fury at him for having picked on someone so small and vulnerable.

Whenever these feelings arise from my unconscious I work through them in a safe, therapeutic way with my own therapist, so that my own ‘stuff’ doesn’t get in the way of helping my clients. 

I metaphorically “killed” him in my early psychotherapy training.  The full force of my teenage feelings resurfaced 30 years later as I let out my anger in a safe, therapeutic space.

See below examples of me using a foam baton against a foam cube or punching a punchbag.   These are some of the tools I use in body psychotherapy – you can find more about this here.

Punching out anger in a therapeutic space - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling, Shorncliffe QLD 4017
Photo by Heros Gnesotto

 

Dealing with the aftermath of domestic violence: Hitting the cube to release tension in the body - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling, North Brisbane Dealing with the aftermath of domestic violence - hitting the foam cube to release tension in the body - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling, North Brisbane

Obviously I didn’t want to really kill him. I’m not a violent person.  However, part of me wanted him to hurt as much as he had hurt her. 

My rage exhausted, I sobbed and sobbed. Tears of frustration that there was no one there to protect us.  Tears of grief for not having been able to protect her, even though I was little and needed protecting myself. 

Having processed these historical emotions that were trapped in my body and mind, the feelings have less hold on me.  I am able to help others without getting triggered.   

Now as a therapist myself, I have the tools to help other people through the aftermath of domestic violence. At times my role is just to provide emotional and psychological support to get them ready to leave (if that is what they want).  And at other times we may work through feelings of fear, grief, guilt and anger. 

Get emotional and psychological support to leave a situation of domestic violence from Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling, North Brisbane

So if you are a victim of domestic violence yourself – male or female, or just a witness like me, please know that you don’t have to live with the aftermath of domestic violence in your system – you can get emotional and psychological support – from a counsellor, from helplines and legal advice. 

Here are some helpful contacts for Queensland:

 

DV Connect (for both male and female victims of domestic violence)

Womens Line:  1800 811 811 Queensland-wide. Calls are free from any public phone (24×7)  http://www.dvconnect.org/womensline/

Mens Line:  1800 600 636  Queensland-wide service that operates between the hours of 9am and midnight, 7 days a week.  http://www.dvconnect.org/mensline/

 

Womens Legal Service Helpline

T:  1800 WLS WLS (1800 957 957)  Monday – Friday: 9am – 3pm. 

https://www.wlsq.org.au/

Rural, Regional & Remote Legal Advice Line – 1800 457 117 Tuesday: 9.30am – 1.30pm

 

If you would like some help from me in dealing with the aftermath of domestic violence please book in using my online calendar.

BOOK ONLINE

Or give me a call on 0450 22 00 59.

 

Would you like to ask me what counselling or body psychotherapy is all about? I offer a FREE 20 minute discovery session by phone/skype for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

 

BOOK ONLINE

 

Alternatively call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

 

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

 

 

 

A problem shared

A problem shared (internet dating horror stories)

“A problem shared is a problem halved” goes the old English saying.  I heartily agree with that one.  This is not just because I’m a psychotherapist and I know that just talking to someone about your problems can be enough to help you feel better; but because I’ve had my own personal experience of this recently. 

I have entered the world of internet dating.  (Shudder).  I was finding it overwhelming, demoralizing and down right depressing.  However, I found that sharing the stories of outrageous untruths and appalling coffee dates with my own therapist has helped me cope better with it.  My resilience has increased and I’m hanging in there.   Talking to someone can really help you carry on through tough times.   So I’m going to share them with you too.   A problem shared…..

A problem shared - talk through your problems with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy North Brisbane

A few of my friends have met their partners online.  So I know in theory that it can work really well.  It’s just I’m having such a vile time of it because apparently in the online dating world it’s perfectly normal to be a complete liar pants and not even blink when you’re caught out.  

I’m hoping to meet someone who shares my core values and blah blah you know the drill.  But it turns out the gentlemen are not entirely honest in their profiles and it’s beginning to feel like a futile endeavour. 

Every unwanted advance from a Sexagenarian bikie without a basic command of English grammar or high school certificate, makes my self-confidence erode even further.  “Is this all I’m worth?” a snide little voice inside me says.  What exactly do they think we have in common?  A shared passion for Ballet?

A problem shared - talk about your problems with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in Shorncliffe 4017 + A problem shared - talking about your problems with a counsellor can help you feel better - speak to Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in North Brisbane 

 

I went on a date last month with a gentleman to a rather nice bar in James St.  During the date he asked: “Would you mind if I just went outside and bummed a cigarette off someone, I’m trying to quit at the moment”. 

I was confused not just because I wouldn’t normally agree to go out with a smoker – it’s one of my deal breakers – but because as he walked away I could see that he had a full packet of cigs in his trouser pocket.  Liar liar, pants literally on fire.  

A problem shared - share your woes in confidence with a qualified counsellor - speak to Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in Shorncliffe North Brisbane

Last week I went out for a delicious Turkish meal with a not-so-delicious gentleman.  His profile said he was 46 and the photographs seemed to tally.  However, in person he seemed substantially older that the photos. 

I like to give people leeway on the first date – nerves and all that – but when he started talking about his grandchildren and his recent colonoscopy I realised that he was probably nearer 66 than 46. 

As he relayed the intimate details of his rectal procedure over stuffed vine leaves, I plotted an elaborate plan to flee.  (I didn’t though… I’m too polite, and the humus was amazing).  But seriously, who talks about a colonoscopy on a first date?  People let’s keep the conversation away from your ‘date’ on a date!

At times this whole endeavour feels frustrating and futile.  However, sharing the tales of hilariously awful dates with my therapist makes it seem more a comedy than a drama, and I have the energy to persist and wade through the pond life.  Her support gets me through. 

And I think that’s what it’s about.  Reaching out for help when you need it so that you can keep going, even when the going gets tough.   

So if you’re having a tough time with online dating, or anything else for that matter, give me a call and share your woes.   As they say, a problem shared is a problem halved.

Sarah

P.S. People please stop lying on your dating profile.  We’re going to find out when we meet you in person.  So just cut it out smoky pants. 😉

Please give me a call on 0450 22 00 59 or have a look through my online diary to book a spot that works for you. 

 

BOOK ONLINE

 

I offer confidential counselling and body psychotherapy sessions to people who are going through a hard time.  There is no need for you to suffer dreadful dates in silence.  Speak to me and get some support.

If you’re feeling unsure, or want to ask me what counselling or body psychotherapy is all about, I offer a FREE 20 minute discovery session by phone/skype for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

 

BOOK ONLINE

 

Alternatively call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

 

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

 

 

 

It’s time to speak up

It’s time to speak up

A friend of mine created the excellent campaign “It’s ok to say” (if you don’t feel ok).  It’s about letting people know that you have anxiety and/or depression so that you’re not going through this alone.  But with the news of women in Hollywood speaking up against Harvey Weinstein, it got me thinking about other matters we don’t speak up about: bullying, unwanted attention, loneliness, abuse or things that scare us.   It’s time to speak up and get some help. 

There is so much we don’t say.  And so many reasons why we don’t.  Fear that we won’t be believed. Second-guessing ourselves (‘maybe I did something to create that situation …?’)  Fear of rejection, isolation, loosing our job, or being ostracized.  But people it’s time to tell someone.  It’s time to speak up when something’s not ok.   

 

It's time to speak up - speak to Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in Shorncliffe North Brisbane

I once had to speak up at work about a man who had showered me with unwanted attention on my morning commute in London.  And I’m so glad I did, because it short-circuited his campaign of lecherous advances.

For days I had unsuccessfully tried to avoid this guy on the little shuttle train from Clapham Junction to Olympia. He worked on the floor above me for a different company, but I saw him every morning on that commuter train and the walk to the office.  

He seemed oblivious of my increasingly not-so subtle body language:  putting up the Metro newspaper in-front of my face to physically block him out, wearing earphones and avoiding eye contact.  At night-time I had to walk for 30 minutes across Clapham Common on my own and I was terrified he would follow me across the dark, empty parkland.  I had even stopped going out at lunch on my own in case he was waiting for me. Yet I told no one.

It's time to speak up - speak to Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane

He finally got the message on the day that I waited until he had gotten onto the train and then ran along the platform and ducked into another carriage.   When I got to work there was a barrage of emails from him to my work account starting with the words “Never have I been so offended….”

Until then I hadn’t told a soul.  Not my friends, not my flatmates, not my co-workers.  I’m not sure why.  Perhaps because I wasn’t sure I wasn’t making a mountain out of a molehill.  I remember also feeling embarrassment and shame.  Surely I should be a big girl and fix this by myself.   

Don't stay silent - it's time to speak up.  Get help from Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in North Brisbane

One of my male co-workers must have seen my face because he asked me what was going on.  I explained and showed him the email.  He asked if he could reply on my behalf.  I said yes.  Before I knew it he had typed “F…  Off” and pressed send.  I was petrified of the repercussions.  What would this man do now that I had been so direct?   Nothing it turned out, because he was a creep who shriveled the moment I stood up to him.

With my colleague’s encouragement, I told our HR person.  They talked to his HR person and started an inquiry.  Within 24 hours they found out that he had harassed every female in his firm with the exception of the PA to the CEO.  And he was newly married (poor woman).  A’hole. 

No one had spoken up before.  It took my complaint for them to come out of the woodwork and talk to each other.   He ended up being fired from his job and we were free to catch the train in peace. 

It's time to speak up. No need to suffer in silence. Get help.  Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane

We’re all terrified of being rejected, harassed, laughed at even.  But if you speak up, there’s a chance you can help yourself and maybe others.   So speak to someone. Tell someone if you’re not ok.  Tell your friend, a family member or a work colleague.  Or find someone neutral and non-judgmental like a counsellor.  Just make sure you speak up.

 

Sarah x

If you would like to speak up to me give me a call  on 0450 22 00 59 or have a look through my online diary to book a spot that works for you. 

I offer confidential counselling and body psychotherapy sessions to people who are going through a hard time, whether that’s because of a situation (relationship issues, bullying, abuse, isolation) or because of a mental health issue like anxiety or depressionThere is no need for you to suffer in silence.  Speak up and get some help.

If you’re feeling unsure, or want to ask me what anxiety counselling or body psychotherapy is all about, I offer a FREE 20 minute discovery session by phone/skype for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

 

BOOK ONLINE

 

Alternatively call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

 

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

 

 

How counselling can help you avoid family court

How counselling can help you avoid family court – from a Brisbane Family Lawyer

Guest blog by Jennifer Hetherington of Hetherington Family Law

Jennifer Hetherington of Hetherington Family Law, Brisbane

Tonight I saw a post in a Facebook group of which I am a member along the lines of the following: “Has anyone been successful with marriage counselling? We’re not thinking divorce, just looking for something to help us get through the repetitive, cyclical, blame game, same arguments over the years that never get resolved and fester until the next time one of us gets angry. I don’t want to end my marriage, I’m trying to save it.”

Over the 20 odd years that I have been practising as a specialist family lawyer, I have encountered many clients who have never been to counselling. I always ask clients whether or not they had counselling for their relationship issues, but sadly, the answer is often no. This is something I’ve never been able to understand. If your marriage is on the verge on the breakdown and going to counselling to deal with your relationship issues gave you an opportunity to save it, why would you not try counselling?

How counselling can help you avoid family court - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling

It’s actually a legal requirement for family lawyers to recommend separating parties attend counselling. However, by the time they come to see us, the damage is often done. On more occasions than I can remember, I have had female clients come to me and when I’ve asked them the question about counselling, their response has been along the lines of, “My husband refused to go.” The other response has been to the tune of, “He said that I was the one who need counselling, not him or us.”  

But the post I saw on Facebook tonight was not about counselling at the end of relationship. It was about a woman saying, “Hey, no marriage is perfect. We have our ups and downs just like anyone else but there’s a recurring theme here with some relationship issues and I’d really just like to deal with it so that we can move past it and just get on with things.”

This, of course, is the kind of thing that the Americans do. Anyone who’s seen an ongoing programme like Sex in the City (now I am showing my age) knows that every second person in New York City has a ‘therapist’. It is about dealing with problems in our lives and relationship issues as they arise, not waiting for a wound to fester.  If your spouse won’t go to counselling with you, them why would you not go to counselling on your own?    It’s not a sign a weakness or that there is something wrong with you. It’s about getting strategies to deal with relationship issues, how you might raise those with your partner in a constructive way and what to do if those issues are not resolved. Going to a counsellor does not make you ‘mentally ill’. Rather, it makes you someone who has insight into your own functioning and has a desire to be the best possible person, parent and partner you can be.

How counselling can help you avoid family court - get help with relationship issues with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling

If you do separate, then counselling is just as important and is something I encourage for all my family law clients.   Divorce is one of the most stressful life experiences you can have.  Everyone goes through a cycle of grief.  Some handle it better than others.  The ones I have seen handle it best, are the ones who go to counselling.   They have an outlet to talk about what is going on and an unbiased ear.   Family and friends are well-meaning during a divorce, but they can’t give you the independent perspective that a counsellor can.

Those who love you may also grow tired of hearing about your heartbreak or the issues you are having with your ex.   Why not preserve those relationships as positive, to help you move forward, and save the angst for counselling?

One of the dangers that arises is where separated parents find themselves headed to the Family Court.   The relationship between them has become so toxic that they cannot talk to each other.  Invariably, there is underlying emotion driving this.

Family law clients who have been deeply hurt or betrayed – for example, if there has been an affair can be so consumed by anger, jealousy and pain, that they are blinded by it.   They cannot see past those emotions and create a relationship with the other parent that sees them headed straight towards the Family Court.   Those clients who work in counselling to get through those emotions and move forward, are most likely to avoid the Family Court. 

Similarly, family law clients dealing with a narcissistic or high conflict ex, can benefit from counselling to obtain strategies on how to deal with that person.  

You do not have to ‘go it alone’ if you are having relationship issues.  Ending a long term relationship is a big step and counselling can only assist with the decision making process.  

If you are separated, then counselling can offer valuable insight and assistance, and help you avoid the Family Court.

 

Jennifer Hetherington is an Accredited Family Law Specialist with over 20 years experience.  She heads Hetherington Family Law a Brisbane family law firm focusing on keeping clients out of court, their motto being ‘Conflict is not inevitable’. 

Jennifer is Winner of the Sole Practitioner of the Year in the 2017 Lawyers Weekly Australian Law Awards 

Avoid going to court - see Hetherington Family Law

 

 

If you would like to see Sarah for counselling for relationship issues, please book online  or call her on 0450 22 00 59.

I offer a FREE 20 minute discovery session for new clients.  You can also book this online.

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

 

Exercise as therapy for your mind and body

Exercise as therapy for your mind

We know that exercise make us healthier.  It has the benefit of lowering blood pressure and reducing your risk of diabetes.  But it’s so easy to NOT do it, right?  Especially as it’s getting so cold and the sofa is so comfy.  But there is a much more important reason for exercising than fitting into those skinny jeans.  Exercise is literally medicine for your mental health.   So why not think of exercise as therapy for your mind.

Exercise for mental wellness at Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling

Exercise boosts your mood, releases those feel-good endorphins and improves your cognitive performance (see this article by JC Miller and Z Krizan for the science).  It also helps you to replace lost energy, or let go of excess tension from your body.

 

Movement therapy for you mind as well as your body

I like to think of exercise as ‘movement therapy for your mental wellbeing’.

 

How do you know what kind of exercise your body needs? First you need to tap into what feels good for YOUR body and your MIND.  Try out different things.  You’re unique so find out what YOU like doing exercise-wise and what your soul needs. There’s no point forcing yourself to go to the gym if it bores the living shizz out of you. 

 

Here are some suggestions for exercise as therapy for your mind:

 

Depression

If you’re feeling depressed it’s likely you’re in a low energy state.  What would be good here is to build up more energy in your body by moving it and by taking big breaths.  Trouble is, when you’re feeling depressed and your motivation is rock bottom, it’s hard to actually get off the sofa. Why not call a friend and get them to take you there?   

The people at Psychology Today wrote a good article about how to exercise when you’re really low.  They advocate just trying little 5 minute bites and building up from there. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/back-the-brink/201311/how-exercise-when-depressed

 

Here are some ideas for depression-busting exercise:

 

Walk 

Walking as movement therapy - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy

The most accessible exercise for those us with functioning lower limbs.   Even if it’s just 5 minutes.  You’ll get your circulation going, you’ll breathe in some fresh air and maybe even get some Vitamin D.  And many more benefits besides these.  

I advocate going with a friend, because not only will it give you some social interaction, they’ll also help you keep going when you really just want to hide away in your nest.   

 

Breathe deeply 

Get yourself to a gentle yoga class – Yin Yoga would be perfect.  Don’t let your ego take over – listen to your body – stay away from the more strenuous classes like Vinyasa until you’ve got more energy in your system. 

The breathing techniques (pranayama) from Yoga are also fantastic for getting more energy into your lungs.  You’re literally pumping yourself up with energy from the inside.

Yin yoga

 

 

Bust out your inner Carmen Miranda/Antonio Banderas

Latin dancing is great for alleviating symptoms of depression

My top pick for depression is Latin dancing.  You’re out there mingling with other people instead of sinking into your aloneness and you‘re getting exercise without having to resort to lycra.  You don’t have to go there with a partner or friends.  The majority of people go on their own and you may even make new friends.

You also don’t have to be already a  dancer.  Everyone starts as a beginner.  Some with two left feet. And there’s no prerequisite to be skinny.  Some of my favorite dance partners are more on the cuddly side. 

Dancing is so good for you the Victorian Government has written about the benefits:

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/dance-health-benefits

 

Have a dance break instead of a chocolate break

Those clever peeps at No Lights No Lycra have created a free app called Dance Break.  Once a day it will randomly take over your phone and sends you a song to dance to in the middle of the office/school/street.  Go to http://dancebreak.com.au/  Or download the app for free from the App Store or Google Play Store.

Dance break

 

Anxiety

When you’re anxious you’re in a state of  fear. That constant rumination (going over thoughts in your head again and again) causes the release of noradrenaline and cortisol into your system. Being in a constantly hyped up state is bad news for your poor over-worked adrenal glands and the cocktail of emergency hormones isn’t too crash hot for the rest of your body either (they’re meant for emergency use, not every day).    Additionally, constantly  being in a fight or flight state chews up a lot of energy.  

You need to ground yourself in the present.  Anything that slows you down and reconnects you with your body and the present time is worth a go. 

Try Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi or Chi Gung.   Restorative yoga is perfect for the over-stressed nervous system.  Again the breathing techniques will bring more energy to your body and replace that depleted energy store.   

Restorative yoga - perfect for reducing anxiety

 

Stressed out?

I advocate doing something to release the pent up tension in your body – especially an activity where you get to use your breath and voice to help release that tension.  Try boxing or martial arts.  Make a racket and unleash the tiger!

Try Martial Arts to release pent up tension and stress - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy

 

But then on the flipside, you also need to calm your nervous system. So once again, walking, yoga, pilates.  Anything that calms you. Massage is fantastic. Laze in a float tank even! Or lie on your back and gaze up at the stars. Whatever it takes to calm you down. 

 

So whatever you do, do something that appeals to you.  Keep trying new things until you find what works for you and make it your personal exercise as therapy for your mind. 

 

 

I hope you found this article helpful.  Please share it.

Sarah

 

What you desire you unconsciously fear

Whatever you desire you unconsciously fear

 

What is it that you desire?

“Whatever you desire, you unconsciously fear.  

Whatever you experience, you unconsciously want.”1

 

Wait.. what?  The thing I desire the most is the thing I fear the most?   And what I’m experiencing now is what I actually want?  That can’t be true…  Can it?

 

This dilemma of desire vs fear comes up time and time again with my clients and in my own therapy. 

 

Some part you (and me) is terrified of the thing that you desire the most.  That part of you will unconsciously sabotage you from achieving that desire.

 

What do you desire and what do you fear?

What does your heart desire?

For example, say you long to be in a relationship.  You desire this with all your heart.  Yet some part of you is absolutely terrified of getting your heart broken again. Depending on how strong that fear is, it may actually keep you out of relationship altogether. 

Or perhaps you’re in a relationship that is no longer fulfilling.  You desire love and intimacy.  But something is keeping you in that loveless relationship.  And that ‘something’ is you.

 

What have you done in your life that stops you from experiencing the thing that you desire the most?  

 

What have you done in the past that stops you from achieving this goal?

 

What are you hiding from yourself?

So what are you hiding from yourself?

 

In order to move forward, we need to bring our own negativity out into the open and reveal it to ourselves – bring it to consciousness.  We need to “own it”. 

 

Often the person we hide the negativity most from is ourselves. 

However,  once you’ve brought this negativity to consciousness, you can no longer think of yourself as the unwilling victim.  You can no longer blame fate/God/Universe.  

 

When you see how you hold yourself back, you can start to move forwards.   

 

Once your negative intent is brought to your consciousness and you start to ‘own’ it, we can work with your positive intent, your drive, your will, your power.  

 

And that’s when things really start rocking for you.  That’s when you will know

 

 “I want this goal with all my heart. I have nothing to fear from it.” 2

 

Sarah Tuckett signature

To let go of some negativity in a fun, supportive environment, why not try out one of my weekly classes in Margate?  For more info see the Services Page.

 

To book a 1:1 session with me you can either book in via my online calendar

or 

call me on 0450 22 00 59

 

Or why not try out one of my workshops.

 

 

 

  1.  Paraphrase of Eva Pierrakos, Pathwork Lecture 195 “It is an important fact of human psychology that whatever people fear, they unconsciously want; that whatever they experience, they also unconsciously want”.  https://pathwork.org/wp-content/uploads/lectures/pdf/E195.PDF

2.  Eva Pierrakos Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 125 “The transition from the no current to the yes current”. https://pathwork.org/lectures/transition-from-the-no-current-to-the-yes-current/

A walking mindfulness meditation for all you fidget pants

A walking mindfulness meditation for people with ants in their pants.

 

A guide to walking mindfulness meditation

As a kid my parents called me “Squiggle” because of my refusal to sit still.  46 years later and I’m pretty much the same although I move a bit slower.  Seated meditation just isn’t my bag. So when my friend Tammie taught me this walking mindfulness meditation a few weeks ago on her retreat in Sri Lanka, I felt like I’d finally found the answer and I wanted to share it with you all.

 

What is Mindfulness?

 

Being ‘mindful’ simply means being more present.  Being more conscious of where you are now.  Not thinking about the shopping or the email you received this morning that made your blood boil.  Instead your focus is right here, right now.  

Walking mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation doesn’t belong to a particular faith – it belongs to everyone. 

Mindfulness meditation does not have to be performed in lotus position.  There are no rules. What matters is that you find a way that works for YOU and your body. 

How it works is that you focus on something – be-it your breath, the flame of a candle, or your footsteps.  You focus your mind so that you become more present.

I get pins and needles if I sit for too long, so this walking mindfulness meditation is right up my alley.

 

Why is it so incredibly awesome?

The benefit of this mindfulness lark, and the reason that a lot of psychotherapists/psychologists are using mindfulness meditation in their client work, is because it helps to create a gap between your thoughts and your emotional response to that thought.  

So for example if you tend to be impulsive, it helps create a time gap between your thought and your reaction to that thought.  Or if you are anxious, it helps you stop being immediately overwhelmed by a thought.  

walking mindfulness mediation path across a field

So to speak in plain Australian, it helps you “calm the f…. down”.

Which has wondrous benefits for your nervous system and how you feel within yourself.

Sounds good hey?  Let’s get into it.

 

How to do Tammie’s Mindfulness Walking Meditation

Tammie’s version is based on a Buddhist style of walking meditation, so everything is repeated 3 times. However, you don’t need to be Buddhist to do this. This is just one style of walking meditation. 

Walking mindfulness meditation by Buddhist monks

 

What you will need:

A pair of bare feet and preferably some legs above that.

A piece of ground to walk on barefoot that is free of bindi and cruel-shaped pebbles.  You need to find yourself a little ‘pathway’ that is around 10 of your paces in length.

Walking mindfulness mediation in my back garden
This is where I practice walking meditation in my back garden
Yoga shala at Plantation Villa Sri Lanka
We walked forwards and back across the yoga shala at Plantation Villa, Sri Lanka

 

How to do it:

  1. Stand at the beginning of your path. Focus on your path ahead and say to yourself inside your head “Standing, standing, standing”.  (NOTE. you can talk out loud if you want to.  My neighbours already think I’m a little bit eccentric, so I’ve got them primed, but you may want to preserve your reputation).

  2. Begin your walk, saying in your head “right, left, right, left, right, left” etc as you move your feet. Walk ‘mindfully’ at your own pace.  Try not to look at the ground, focus on your path ahead. Concentrate on your walk and the sensations you feel under your feet.
  3. As you near the end of your path, say in your head “Stopping, stopping, stopping” and come to a gentle halt.
  4. Then as you turn around say “Turning, turning, turning” to yourself.
  5. Then start walking back along your path again and saying in your head “right, left, right, left, right, left” etc
  6. Keep walking back and forth for as long as you want. I usually do about 5 minutes (or until I get tripped up by a cat).

I like to finish my practice by looking mindfully around my garden at the flowers, insects and plants.  Somehow the colours seem more vibrant and the insects much noisier.  I have a mini Alice in Wonderland moment (without the shrinking or psychopathic Queen of Hearts).  

I think what I find most soothing is the sensation of the soft ground beneath my feet, my total immersion in a natural environment and finding my own gentle pace through life.

I hope you enjoy doing this walking mindfulness meditation.  I’d like to thank Tammie Day for introducing me to this practice.

Let me know how you go with your own practice – I’d love to hear from you.

If you need a bit of peer encouragement to do a mindfulness practice why not try one of my weekly Release classes or come to one of my workshops (which I usually hold at home/in the garden because it is so peaceful).

Or you can book to see me for a 1:1 session.

Sarah x

 

Additional resources:

Here’s a link to some more mindfulness exercises that you might find useful  https://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/

 

Tammie Day runs fantastic retreats for women (sorry guys) in Australia and around the world.  I just did her trips to India and Sri Lanka and I loved it!  For more info go to  https://vibrantwomen.com.au/

 

An Emotional Survival Guide for Christmas

An Emotional Survival Guide for Christmas

 

Emotional Survival Guide to Christmas

This Emotional Survival Guide to Christmas has been written to help you navigate difficult emotions over the ‘silly season’. 

Whether you are feeling anxious, stressed, lonely, sad, or suicidal even, here are my tips for getting through the next few weeks: 

 

1. Anxious?  Put your head down towards the ground

 

Christmas Emotional Survival Guide

Are you freaking out in advance about family visiting?  Are you breathing 5 billion breaths a minute? Is your throat tight?  Is your chest feeling constricted?  Are you feeling like you’re going to implode? 

Find a quiet space and hang the top half of your body down towards the ground.

Waterfall pose

The pose is called The Waterfall.  I’ve written an article to explain why it’s good for counteracting anxiety and how to do it (assuming that you’re not a Cirque du Soleil performer). 

Give it a go and notice how heavy the top half of your body feels as it bows to the forces of gravity (a complete opposite to how ‘spacey’ and disconnected your head feels when you’re anxious).  How your diaphragm is more relaxed. How your throat is more open.

It’s really hard to have anxious thoughts when your head is upside down.  Give it a go. I dare you!

 

2. Catastrophizing?  Ask yourself: “Is that really true?  Or am I exaggerating?”

 

45647769 - render illustration of radioactive warning sign

When we’re stressing out, it’s easy to catastrophize.  “OMG if I don’t get the meal PERFECT the Monster-in-law’s going to sit there with that smug “I knew you wouldn’t be able to pull it together” face and .. and… and…. “ 

We create stories in our head before they’ve even happened.  But is that really true?  Is it likely to happen? Or are you exaggerating?   

Ask yourself that very simple question and see if you can stop the BS in its tracks.

 

3. Angry? Bash a punchbag/cushion/have a toddler tantrum on your bed

Hitting the sofa with cushions is another way to safely let out anger

I’m not kidding.  If you hold all that rage down, you risk it leaking out at inappropriate moments.  One snarky comment about the turkey can totally ruin Christmas lunch believe me.

I’ve written a guide to show you how to safely release your anger without hurting yourself (or anyone else) and without embarrassing yourself.

 

4. Comforting yourself with food? Put the mince pie down.  

Mince pie
Step away from the clotted cream..

Find other ways to comfort yourself.  Here’s my personal Lemon Day list of things I can do to comfort myself instead of reaching for the ice-cream.  Have a printed-out list stuck on your fridge door to stop you instantly reaching for the mince pies. 

But then again, it’s Christmas … maybe a couple of mince pies isn’t too bad.  (Just stay away from the clotted cream).

 

5. Stressed? Earth yourself: get grounded and breathe

Earth yourself
Earth yourself

Are you running around at a million miles an hour to get everything done?  Is your house in a state of upheaval because of visitors?  

STOP for a minute.

  • Take off your shoes.
  • Walk outside and focus on the sensation of the grass beneath your feet.  (Even if your lawn is less ‘deliciously springy Sir Walter’, and more ‘Bindi-Cobblers Pegs scrub’ – find somewhere pleasant to stand and focus on the sensations beneath your feet. I particularly like warm concrete in the early evening for example.)
  • Now breathe….  Go on, give me a big sigh on your out-breath.  
  • Let all that stuff go for a minute…  
  • Focus on what you can feel in your body.
  • It’s just you and the ground.  Everything else is irrelevant for a moment.

‘Earthing’ isn’t just for hippies.  Focusing on the physical contact with the ground will bring your awareness out of your head and down into your body. We’re grounding you.  It brings you right into the present moment and makes you feel 100% less stressed. 

 

6. Lonely? Reach out to people you are emotionally close to

Loneliness

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, loneliness can strike hard at this time of year.  Reaching out to anyone is good, but reaching out to people that you have a close emotional relationship with is preferable because they understand you/get you/speak your language. 

Getting help

So reach out to your close friend(s).  And if the first person on your list doesn’t pick up, leave a message and then call the next person on your friend list.  Keep going till you get a real live person. Tell them how you’re feeling and ask if they want to hang out.  

Right about here is where your inner depresso may spark up and say “But they’re busy with their family.  They won’t want to see me”.  Don’t listen to him/her.  

Inner Depresso

 These people are your close friends.  They know you.  They LIKE you.  Do you think they’d want you to be all on your own feeling bad? 

Call them up.  You never know, they could be feeling exactly the same way as you.

And if you really don’t want to tell a friend?  Call a helpline.  They’re not just for people who are feeling suicidal – they’re also there to help people who are struggling.  The numbers are listed below.

 

7. Suicidal?  Call a helpline (no matter what time of day or night)

18364958 - unhappy

 

This is where I’m going to be a little firm with you. Some part of you wants to live because you’re reading this message.   So I need you to reach out and tell someone how you’re feeling.  

Tell your friend, a family member, your GP.  Call a helpline.  The people on the end of the phone at these helplines want to help you. They want to hear your story (no matter how boring you might think it is). They’re trained professionals.

Your life is too important.  CALL THEM.

 

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
Lifeline  13 11 14
Diverse Voices (LGBT)  (diversevoices.org.au but site may have malware)  7pm to 10pm daily 1800 184 527 
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
Parent Line 1300 30 1300
SANE helpline  1800 187 263
Men’s Line  1300 78 99 78
DV Connect – womensline 1800 811 811
DV connect – mensline 1800 600 636
MARS – men affected by rape and sexual assault    07 3857 1222
BRISSC Brisbane Rape and Incest helpline (female only)  9am-1pm Mon-Thur 07 3391 0004

 

 

I hope this list helps you.  Feel free to share it.  

I’m working right up until Christmas Day.  Here’s a link to book online to see me.  Or you can call me on 0450 22 00 59.

If you want to find out more about my Services or the benefits of psychotherapy or counselling, feel free to have a peek around my website.

I’ll then be taking a break to recharge until 18 January 2017.  I have a network of psychologist and psychotherapist pals in Brisbane who would love to help you whilst I am away.  Give me a call to talk about finding someone to help you.

Sarah

Lemon day lists

What’s on your “lemon day” list?

Lemon day lists

When life gives you lemons do you make lemonade or do you reach for the ice cream? I have been known to do the latter when things go really downhill. Sometimes you just need a bit of sweetness in your life, but then I regret it the next day. However, there are other things you can do to make yourself feel better that don’t involve a delicious combo of fat and sugar.

I’ve created a list of my own ‘Lemon Day’ strategies and put it on the fridge for when it is needed:

1. Walk outside and get fresh air into my lungs

2. Take off my shoes and feel the connection with the soft grass under my feet.

3. Play with my animals for 5 minutes

4. Walk by the sea and get great big gulps of fresh, salty air into my lungs

5. Drink a big glass of water in case I’m dehydrated

6. Call a friend

7. Release my frustration/anger/disappointment in a safe contained space (read more about how to do this is at home safely

8. Go and work from another location e.g. library or café

9. Put on essential oils in the vaporiser

10. Have a shower/swim to wash off the grrrrrr/bleugh

11. Put on Adele and sing really loud (sorry neighbours…). I find vocal expression really helps shift my mood

12. Turn off all electronic devices and read.

13. (Only when all the above have failed….) Eat icecream.

What is on your “Lemon Day List”?

Sarah