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Many of us at some point in our lives will find ourselves in a situation where somebody probably should be asking us “Do you want to talk about it?”. We will be asked this because they have recognised that our behaviour has changed. To them, we may appear overwhelmed, angry or even withdrawn, or we are not performing the way we used to.

If we are lucky, there will be a family member, partner, friend or colleague that asks us this question. At other times we might find ourselves asking ourselves this question. Our response might not always be a positive one and we could find ourselves avoiding the conversation, walking away, or even getting angry. That’s when it might be useful to consider the benefits of talking to a qualified, experienced therapist.

Why do some of us find it so hard to talk to a therapist?

Historically many of us have become conditioned not to share how we feel. We can become embarrassed to talk about our feelings and can see ourselves as weak for doing so. We might even think that what we are feeling isn’t real, or sufficiently important for anyone to take us seriously and that we just need to pull ourselves together. Too often we have a perception that no one wants to listen to us, no one will hear us, and it will just be an uncomfortable experience for all concerned if we talk about how we feel. Thankfully, that is only the stigma and perception talking.

Some fear that there will be an impact on their lives if they show their vulnerability. In some cultures or in the workplace, it has been seen as wrong to talk about feelings or mental health. This has been unhelpful to those needing help. Thankfully, increasingly those that are finding the strength to talk are finding that they are being heard and respected for doing so. Many have found that their initial fears were unfounded and that talking was liberating.

If we don’t talk about how we feel it can lead to us suppressing our pain or loss, locking it up inside us and hoping it goes away. If we are experiencing serious pain, or have suffered trauma or abuse, then suppressing our thoughts and emotions about it can lead to further difficulties in the future. Left unchecked, both our physical and mental health can deteriorate as a result of our repressed emotions. Our mental health is so important to our overall wellness that unchecked mental health challenges can manifest themselves in physical symptoms.

Seeking help is brave, strong and courageous, not a sign of weakness.

If we had a broken leg or physical illness we would likely talk about it, seek treatment, and tell our employer about it. We’d take leave from work, and take action to improve our health. It comes naturally.

Successful people generally recognise that they can’t do everything in life themselves, and benefit from help. Did you know that even the CEO’s of top global companies frequently have coaches, mentors, and use counselling? Even Psychologists benefit from counselling and talking about their feelings with problems with others! These “successful” people recognise that at times they need a different perspective, guidance and direction. They know, that a non-judgemental, third-party perspective and insight into their home and work-lives can be beneficial. Many will say that its a key to their success and they couldn’t have done it on their own.

It shouldn’t be embarrassing to admit that at times we would benefit from a little help, or even just need to be able to talk, and know that someone will genuinely hear us. We all need help from time to time in our lives.

How can a Counsellor or therapist help me?

When you talk to a qualified Counsellor you will be talking to an individual who is trained to listen and really hear what you are saying. They’ll listen to you in non-judgemental way and allow you time to express yourself and how you are feeling. Importantly they’ll help you shape and put into context what you are feeling. Your Counsellor will explain to you that its far from unusual to feel the way you do and that you are certainly not alone in having to deal with whatever situation you find yourself in.

Importantly your qualified Counsellor will offer you the opportunity to talk in a “safe space”. You will be assured of confidentiality, and what you talk about will stay in the room. You won’t be judged and they’ll respect that you had the strength to seek help.

Your experienced Counsellor will know a number of techniques that can be applied to help you in your situation. Interestingly, many of these will help you learn how to manage your thoughts and feelings in different ways to how you have done it traditionally.

Amongst a number of techniques they can, for instance, help you recognise and explore negative thoughts to show you how you can help yourself respond differently in future. They’ll help you understand coping techniques for your situation, and how to perhaps respond differently to others around you and situations that you find yourself in. You may well find your experience with your counsellor life-changing and brings about far-reaching change and benefits beyond the initial reason that you went to them in the first

Our highly experienced Counsellor is waiting to hear from you

If you or a family member would benefit from counselling our experienced and highly qualified counsellor Maria Luedeke is available to help you.

Maria believes in using a collaborative approach with Clients to aid them in developing self-efficacy, resiliency and self-empowerment through their innate strengths and abilities. Utilising her experience, Maria empowers individuals to achieve what they aspire to and provide tools to respond, rather than react to life challenges. This enables growth, happiness and success in all facets of personal and professional life.

Aspire Counselling can be contacted, or you can make a booking for an online or face to face appointment on http://aspirecounselling.net or alternatively by emailing Maria Luedeke at marialuedeke@aspirecounselling.net

Life was never intended to be an incomplete difficult jigsaw.

Although it sometimes feels just like that. A little extra help can be useful when you are needing to find direction in your life or to put the pieces of a puzzle together.

By talking about what you are experiencing to an experienced Psychotherapist you can often find the clarity you need and find your own way forward. At Aspire Counselling we focus on helping you realise your goals and living an empowered, fulfilled life.

Book an appointment online today at https://aspirecounselling.net or call 656570 2781, email  marialuedeke@aspirecounselling.net

Even the best jobs can lead to burnout. The harder you work and the more motivated you are to succeed, the easier it is to get in over your head.

The following article appeared on LinkedIn Pulse, and was written by Dr Travis Bradbury.  The image shown accompanied the original article and is from Getty.

The prevalence of burnout is increasing as technology further blurs the line between work and home. New research from the American Psychological Association and the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago reported the following:

  • 48% of Americans experienced increased stress over the past 5 years
  • 31% of employed adults have difficulty managing their work and family responsibilities
  • 53% say work leaves them “overtired and overwhelmed.”

A Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) poll found that “burnout from my current job” was one of the top reasons that people quit.

Burnout can get the better of you, even when you have great passion for your work. Arianna Huffington experienced this first hand when she almost lost an eye from burnout. She was so tired at work that she passed out, hitting her face on her desk. She broke her cheek bone and had to get four stitches on her eye.

“I wish I could go back and tell myself that not only is there no trade-off between living a well-rounded life and high performance, performance is actually improved when our lives include time for renewal, wisdom, wonder and giving. That would have saved me a lot of unnecessary stress, burnout and exhaustion.”   –Arianna Huffington

Burnout often results from a misalignment of input and output; you get burnt out when you feel like you’re putting more into your work than you’re getting out of it. Sometimes this happens when a job isn’t rewarding, but more often than not it’s because you aren’t taking care of yourself.

Before you can treat and even prevent burnout, you need to recognize the warning signs so that you’ll know when it’s time to take action. Here they are, in no particular order.

Health problems. Burnout has a massive, negative impact upon your physical and mental health. Whether you’re experiencing back pain, depression, heart disease, obesity, or you’re just getting sick a lot, you need to consider the role your work is playing in this. You’ll know when burnout is affecting your health, and you’ll just have to decide whether your approach to work is worth the consequences.

Cognitive difficulties. Research shows that stress hammers the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for executive function. Executive function impacts your memory, decision-making abilities, emotional control, and focus. When you notice that you’re making silly mistakes, forgetting important things, having outbursts of emotion, or making poor decisions, you’re likely burning out.

Difficulty with work and personal relationships. Stress bleeds over into everything you do, particularly how you interact with people. Even when you feel that you’re keeping your stress under control at work, it can rear its ugly head at home. Often it’s your relationships that suffer. Stress makes many people more likely to snap at others, lose their cool, and get involved in silly, unnecessary conflicts. Others are more inclined to withdraw and avoid people they care about.

Taking your work home with you. You know that sickening feeling when you’re lying in bed thinking about all the work that you didn’t get done and hoping that you didn’t miss something important? When you can’t stop thinking about work when you’re at home, it’s a strong sign that you’re burning out.

Fatigue. Burnout often leads to exhaustion because of the toll stress takes on your mind and body. The hallmarks of burnout fatigue are waking up with no energy after a good night’s sleep, drinking large amounts of caffeine to get you through the day, or having trouble staying awake at work.

Negativity. Burnout can turn you very negative, even when you’re usually a positive person. If you find yourself focusing on the down side of situations, judging others and feeling cynical, it’s clear that negativity has taken hold and it’s time for you to do something about it.

Decreased satisfaction. Burnout almost always leads to a nagging sense of dissatisfaction. Projects and people that used to get you excited no longer do so. This dip in satisfaction makes work very difficult, because no matter what you’re putting into your job, you don’t feel like you’re getting much out of it.

Losing your motivation. We begin jobs in a honeymoon phase, seeing everything through rose-colored glasses. When you’re in this phase, motivation comes naturally. In a burnout state, you struggle to find the motivation to get the job done. You may complete tasks, and even complete them well, but the motivation that used to drive you is gone. Instead of doing work for the sake of the work itself, your motivation stems from fear—of missing deadlines, letting people down, or getting fired.

Performance issues. People who burn out are often high achievers, so when their performance begins to slip, others don’t always notice. It’s crucial to monitor your slippage. How were you performing a month ago? Six months ago? A year ago? If you see a dip in your performance, it’s time to determine if burnout is behind it.

Poor self-care. Life is a constant struggle against the things that feel good momentarily but aren’t good for you. When you experience burnout, your self-control wanes and you find yourself succumbing to temptations more easily. This is largely due to the way that stress compromises your decision-making and self-control and also partially due to lower levels of confidence and motivation.

Fighting Burnout

If you recognize many of these symptoms in yourself, don’t worry. Fighting burnout is a simple matter of self-care. You need good ways to separate yourself from your work so that you can recharge and find balance. The following will help you to accomplish this.

Disconnect. Disconnecting is the most important burnout strategy on this list, because if you can’t find time to remove yourself electronically from your work, then you’ve never really left work. Making yourself available to your work 24/7 exposes you to a constant barrage of stressors that prevent you from refocusing and recharging. If taking the entire evening or weekend off from handling work e-mails and calls isn’t realistic, try designating specific times to check in on emails and respond to voicemails. For example, on weekday evenings, you may check emails after dinner, and on the weekend you may check your messages on Saturday afternoon while your kids are playing sports. Scheduling such short blocks of time alleviates stress without sacrificing your availability.

Pay attention to your body signals. It’s easy to think that a headache is the result of dehydration, that a stomachache is the result of something you ate, and that an aching neck is from sleeping on it wrong, but that’s not always the case. Oftentimes, aches and pains are an accumulation of stress and anxiety. Burnout manifests in your body, so learn to pay attention to your body’s signals so that you can nip burnout in the bud. Your body is always talking, but you have to listen.

Schedule relaxation. It’s just as important to plan out your relaxation time as it is to plan out when you work. Even scheduling something as simple as “read for 30 minutes” benefits you greatly. Scheduling relaxing activities makes certain they happen as well as gives you something to look forward to.

Stay away from sleeping pills. When I say sleeping pills, I mean anything you take that sedates you so that you can sleep. Whether it’s alcohol, Nyquil, Benadryl, Valium, Ambien, or what have you, these substances greatly disrupt your brain’s natural sleep process. Have you ever noticed that sedatives can give you some really strange dreams? As you sleep and your brain removes harmful toxins, it cycles through an elaborate series of stages, at times shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them (which causes dreams). Sedation interferes with these cycles, altering the brain’s natural process. Anything that interferes with the brain’s natural sleep process has dire consequences for the quality of your sleep, and you need adequate, quality sleep to avoid burnout.

Get organized. Much of the stress we experience on a daily basis doesn’t stem from having too much work; it stems from being too disorganized to handle the work effectively. When you take the time to get organized, the load feels much more manageable.

Take regular breaks during the workday. Physiologically, we work best in spurts of an hour to an hour and a half, followed by 15-minute breaks. If you wait until you feel tired to take a break, it’s too late—you’ve already missed the window of peak productivity and fatigued yourself unnecessarily in the process. Keeping to a schedule ensures that you work when you’re the most productive and that you rest during times that would otherwise be unproductive.

Lean on your support system. It’s tempting to withdraw from other people when you’re feeling stressed, but they can be powerful allies in the war against burnout. Sympathetic family and friends are capable of helping you. Spending time with people who care about you helps you to remove yourself from the stresses of work and reminds you to live a little and have fun.

Bringing It All Together

If these strategies don’t work for you, then the problem might be your job. The wrong job can cause burnout in and of itself. In that case you’ll have to decide what’s more important: your work or your health.

How do you beat burnout? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart, the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. His bestselling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. Dr. Bradberry has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, TIME, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.

If you’d like to learn how to increase your emotional intelligence (EQ), consider taking the online Emotional Intelligence Appraisal® test that’s included with the Emotional Intelligence 2.0 book. Your test results will pinpoint which of the book’s 66 emotional intelligence strategies will increase your EQ the most.

“I really struggled to get out of bed today. Did you?

I didn’t get up until noon. It was the same yesterday. Then I was hard on myself for it and as a result, I had a miserable day.  Today, the same happened, but I decided to be kind to myself. The difference? I gave myself a break and refused to feel guilty or bad about it. Today I’m happier, smiling even, working and I believe that tomorrow will be easier. And if it’s not I’ll try again. I need to be kind to myself.”

These are the words of a sufferer of Anxiety Disorder, Depression, and ADHD.  Many will be able to relate to them. No one says you should feel bad if you can’t live a perfect, happy life every single day. Let’s be realistic we all have our off-days. Be kind to yourself instead of getting more upset with yourself when you aren’t feeling at your best. Self-compassion is a useful way to help you get through your day.

Do seek help if you or someone you know needs help to learn coping techniques and strategies for days when not feeling at your best. If you can’t get out or bed, like the writer, it might be a sign that something isn’t quite right, or you are avoiding something. Aspire Counselling has a range of techniques that it can teach you to help you with your life. We do these in ways that will allow it to become habitual for you, so you won’t be dependent upon us. You will learn to manage your own life successfully.  You’ll find these techniques useful in everyday life too.

For details on our Counselling and Psychotherapy services, email Aspire Counselling at info@aspirecounselling.net, call us on  6570 2781 or visit our website where you can book online face-to-face or video counselling sessions.  https://www.aspirecounselling.net

Relationships are shown to be the key to a happy life

Did you know, there are a number of practical strategies you can use to increase your psychological wellbeing. One such strategy is to nurture relationships.

Research suggests that personal relationships have the greatest impact on your satisfaction with life. Try to dedicate time and energy into nurturing relationships with your friends, family or co-workers this week!

This above first appeared on Black Dog Institute

Relationships are repeatedly highlighted as being key to a happy life. Yet we so often neglect them and under invest in them. Aspire Counselling specialises in Couples Counselling and Relationship Counselling and can support you in maintaining a successful and dynamic relationship. Whether you are focused on growing your relationships with friends, family or colleagues we can help.

You can visit our website to book an online counselling or face to face couples, relationship counselling session with us. http://aspirecounselling.net

Contact Aspire Counselling at info@aspirecounselling.net or call 6570 2781 to find out more about our services for men, women, adolescents, couples, families and corporates.

Aspire Counselling Pte Ltd

9 Taman Serasi #02-17
Singapore 257720

tel:        8748 2964
fax:       6570 2751

email:  marialuedeke@aspirecounselling.net