Transform your mood, behaviour, and productivity.
Do you ever feel you’re just getting swept through life, tossed around on waves of feeling and events from all directions?
There’s a lot you can’t control, that’s for sure, and the goal isn’t to get stuck on those things. Imagining you can change your partner's personality, your cat’s demanding personality or the world at large is a sure-fire path to frustration and angst. But there is also a lot you can do, so it makes sense to focus on those things. I’m all about energy economy - low input/high output interventions, maximum effect…
and how you can use it to change any bad habit!
A habitual pattern of behaviour is like a path through the forest. The more often you walk that path, the easier it gets to do it again. You’ve tramped down the earth, pushed aside foliage that gets in your way, maybe even broken off errant branches that once blocked the path. You’re familiar with its twists and turns, you know where to step over that protruding root, and walking along it becomes second nature. …
There are a number of coffee brands I like in my local supermarket. Brands that have the right flavour, are produced ethically, and are ground finely enough to taste good in my Aeropress. They’re all reasonably expensive, so I buy whichever one of those brands is on special in any given week. For context, I’ve been studying full-time for the past three years, so I’m always on a fairly tight budget.
Last week, none of my favourite brands were on special. I had two options: Buy a cheap brand that wouldn’t taste as good, or pray the packet I had…
Using ACT therapy’s defuse techniques
I’m a fan of ACT therapy, and the simple, effective techniques it provides for dealing with problematic thoughts and feelings. This is my variation on it: a trick that has helped me out of many a downward spiral of rumination which I’ve also taught to my clients. It’s so simple, and it’s a tool you can pull out almost effortlessly to curtail your own unhelpful negativity.
Step 1: Identify your primary negative thought. A common one for me is: Nobody cares about me, I’m all alone and unlovable.
Step 2: Preface it with “I notice…
I used to travel overseas a lot. I spent two years in Europe, six months in South-East Asia, two years in Bali, then seven years in Latin America. I went wherever I wanted and had all the freedom in the world, and I was depressed.
When I had an epiphany and decided to start my journey as a therapist, everything changed. I moved to Melbourne, threw myself into my studies, started my own practice, and derived the most wonderful joy from helping others. I was excited and fulfilled, and within a few years I was depressed again.
What I didn’t…
In August 2020 I found myself housesitting in Queensland for a very old Maltese Terrier who had dreadful separation anxiety. Any attempt to leave the house without him resulted in the most heart-breaking wails of misery, and I quickly stopped doing it. I need to exercise, and Billy was too old to walk far with me, so I had to come up with a plan.
I started dancing. Twice a day, half an hour, morning and evening. To make it more fun, I invited some friends, made a little Facebook group, and set up a Zoom room. Sometimes there were…
You’ve probably heard about oxytocin in relation to hugging, dopamine in terms of addiction and serotonin in relation to depression. Neurotransmitters are crucial for all sorts of operations in your brain, including mood, appetite and movement. When dysregulated they can lead to undesirable outcomes, including mood disorders like depression and bipolar disorder, addiction and substance use disorders, and psychosis.
You may hear that ‘people with depression have a serotonin shortage’ or ‘addiction is caused by dopamine dysregulation’, and whilst that has some basis in science, the workings of these chemical messengers are somewhat mysterious and definitely more complex than that…
Mood-congruent memory is the ultimate kick in the face to people who tend to be down or easily stressed. The basic premise is that when you’re happy, it’s easier to remember happy things, when you’re angry you’re quick to recall other things that piss you off, and when you’re feeling down or depressed, you can probably remember ten other things that have made you miserable without breaking a sweat.
When you’re not feeling great, it can be hard to access hope, resilience, or the resources you need to feel better. It can even be hard to remember what works. This…
I stood upon a precipice
Above a stormy sea
Salty sea spray soaked the air
and also seeped from me
Tears of shame traversed my face
As nature damp’d my skin
I sobbed for wild injustices
And man’s ne’er-ending sin
I cried for crimes of mines and fires
and species made extinct
For plastic isles and plastic piles
and systems on the brink
Deforested old habitats
Machineries that dredge the seas
and precious few who care
I issued pleas on saline breeze
Despair-tinged with distress
Oh Mother Nature, show me please,
How can we fix this mess?
I hate the idea that some people are ‘creatives’ and others are not. I have no visual art skills to speak of, but I’ve been writing poetry and songs since I was a kid, and I am creative in my approach to therapy. You can express your creativity through your dress sense, your approach to problem-solving or your handwriting. Your creativity might shine through in the way you educate your children, the meals you cook or the holidays you plan. To be human is to be creative.
As a Gen-Xer, I’ve seen a huge change in technology in my lifetime…
Larissa is a hypnotherapist, facilitator, house-sitter, and writer of no fixed address. She travels Australia in her van avoiding cold weather.