Anxiety & Depression: Understanding the Signs and Symptoms…And When It’s Time to Seek Help

Based on research and clinical work with almost 20,000 people, Professor Titov will explore the difference between healthy and unhealthy symptoms of stress, anxiety, and low mood, and when to get help.

You’ll learn three core principles of staying emotionally healthy, examples of common symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as helpful strategies for staying well.

After listening, please leave a comment to share what tips or ideas you’re taking from this session. We’d love to hear what’s helpful for you!

About Professor Nick Titov, Clinical Psychologist

Professor Nick Titov – Psychologist, Co-Director eCentre Clinic Mancquarie University, Project Director MindSpot Australia

Professor Nick Titov – Psychologist, Co-Director eCentre Clinic Mancquarie University, Project Director MindSpot Australia

Professor Nick Titov is passionate about increasing access to mental health services. Nick is Co-Director of the eCentreClinic at Macquarie University. The eCentreClinic is a research unit that develops and evaluates internet-delivered treatments for common mental disorders. Nick has been involved in more than 60 clinical trials of internet-delivered treatments involving more than 6,000 people, with excellent outcomes.

Nick is also Project Director of the MindSpot Clinic, an Australian national digital mental health service that provides virtual assessment and treatment for adults with anxiety and depression. MindSpot employs a team of 50 people and since 2013, has provided services to more than 50,000 Australian adults, many of whom were not able to access traditional face-to-face mental health services.

Nick is also a Clinical Psychologist, he serves on the New South Wales Board of the Psychology Board of Australia, and he advises NGOs and Government about safe and effective use of digital mental health services. Nick has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals. He has also received more than $30 million in research and project funding in the last 5 years.

You can access the MindSpot Clinic via: mindspot.org.au

How Physical Activity & Exercise Supports Your Mental Health

Physical activity and exercise can play an important role in enhancing wellbeing and preventing or managing poor mental health.

In this interview, psychologist and physical activity researcher Dr Nicola Burton outlines the relationships between physical activity and mental health and shares simple strategies to help you stick to an activity plan.

About Dr Nicola Burton, Psychologist & Senior Research Fellow

Dr Nicola Burton – Psychologist & Senior Research Fellow, University of Queensland

Dr Nicola Burton – Psychologist & Senior Research Fellow, University of Queensland

Nicola is a registered psychologist with endorsements in clinical and health psychology. She has experience as a clinician and university lecturer, and as a researcher she studies physical activity/exercise patterns, influences, interventions, and links with health and wellbeing. She is a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society (APS).

After graduating with a Masters in Clinical Psychology from The University of Queensland (UQ), Nicola practiced as a consultant psychologist in the areas of employee assistance and vocational/psychiatric rehabilitation; with a specific focus on stress and anxiety disorders, and self-management/behaviour change programs.

Moving to an academic career, she has developed and delivered courses in areas related to health psychology, public health and health promotion. Nicola completed a PhD in public health and has extensive experience in the management and administration of research projects, including literature reviews, cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, population-based survey studies, intervention and randomised controlled trials, and interview and focus groups.

Nicola is interested in the influences on physical activity; physical activity interventions (in particular behavioural counselling) to promote mental and physical health; and the association between physical activity/sedentary behaviour and well-being.

You can connect with Nicola here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicola-burton-5618352b/?originalSubdomain=au

Understanding the Mind-Body Connection for Increased Confidence, Memory & Happiness

The mind and the body used to be treated separately but now modern science shows that the two are inextricably inter-connected.

In this talk, psychologist Therese Sheedy will outline the mind-body connection and how we can use it to our advantage – to boost our physical heath AND our mental health.

Download interview audio

Download interview transcript

About Therese Sheedy, Psychologist

Therese Sheedy – Psychologist, Clinical Director at Positive Mind Body Australia; Director Exploring Mindful Moments

Therese Sheedy – Psychologist, Director Exploring Mindful Moments

Therese is a nationally registered psychologist and mindfulness practitioner. Working from a positive and optimistic psychological framework, Therese’s work focuses on building resilience, connectedness and wellbeing. Therese uses mindfulness as a philosophy for living which she brings to all her work. She specialises in mindfulness-based therapies including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness Integrated Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction.

Part of the first cohort in Australia to complete the Masters in Applied Positive Psychology, Therese has continued to maintain her knowledge of best practice and scientific knowledge in psychology to her previous work and training in this field.

Also a meditation trainer with a Certificate in Positive Psychology Coaching, Positive Education and Emotional Intelligence Therese is well placed to support any workplace in focusing on achieving high levels of personal satisfaction enhancing team cohesion and success.

Therese is also one of the first cohort trained in Australia in the .b Program (stop and breathe), focusing on mindfulness and adolescents.

With a special interest in conflict resolution Therese supports schools and workplaces as a trainer in Restorative Justice. This work is highly satisfying bringing all parties in a conflict together to get true resolution, allowing people to ‘move on’ and work cooperatively together.

Acquiring accreditation in Team Management Systems Profiling enables Therese to support individuals and teams in becoming aware of their preferred team role and how they can contribute to developing a high performing team within their workplace.

You can connect with Therese via: mindfulmoments.net.au

5 Simple Ways To Become More Positive

How optimistic are you?

Research has shown that people who think optimistically are happier, healthier, live longer and have better relationships. When dealing with difficulties in their lives, they also experience less distress and anxiety than pessimistic people do.

Optimism is sometimes dismissed as “pollyanna” positive thinking, where you deny the negative things going on or put on a veneer to pretend everything is okay.

That’s not optimism. That’s kidding yourself.

Real optimism is looking for the best in a situation. It also involves an expectation that, overall, you will achieve positive outcomes and experience a positive future, despite any negatives.

Being optimistic involves realistically seeing both the negative AND the positives in a situation whereas being pessimistic usually involves only seeing the negatives and dismissing or discounting the positives.

Action Steps

Here are some things you can do each day to practice being optimistic:

1. Broaden Your Perspective

A lot of stress can be traced back to unrealistic or distorted thinking. When you find yourself fixated on one negative thing or going over a difficult situation in your head over and over, it’s time to get some balance. Deliberately shift your perspective from being narrowly focused on one thing, to a broader view of your overall situation.

Ask yourself: “What’s the big picture?”, or “At the same time as this is happening, what is going well?”

2. Monitor your self-talk

Think about how you talk to yourself. Is it positive or do you judge yourself harshly? So often we speak much more harshly to ourselves than we would to others. Speak kindly and positively to yourself, as you would to a friend.

3. Let the past go

We can’t change the past but we can stop it from happening again. When we keep dwelling on the past, we’re only bringing past hurts or mistakes into our present. Take the lessons that you learned from your past experiences and move forward with positive expectations for the future.

4. Be grateful

Researchers have found that spending time dwelling on what is good in your life is a proven way to increase your happiness and sense of wellbeing for sustained periods. It strengthens the memories of these good experiences in your brain as well as releasing positive hormones that make you feel good. Practice it daily and you will become more positive and optimistic. Guaranteed.

5. Find positive people to spend time with

Attitudes are contagious. Being around others who have a good attitude can give your own optimism a boost. We feed off the energy of other people so try to surround yourself with as many positive people as possible.

There will always be ups and downs in life. Remember, it’s usually through the times that are hard or uncomfortable that we really grow. Developing an optimistic mindset will help you to enjoy good times more, whilst also assisting you to stay mentally well during hard times.

Which of these could you choose to do today?  

Getting Angry Often? How to Manage Anger in Healthy Ways

Anger experts tell us that anger is an emotion that arises due to a perceived injustice. Everyone gets angry. It’s a part of our human make-up so it’s important to accept anger as a normal emotion and not deny it when we’re feeling it.

However, as we all know, anger is a tricky emotion to handle at work. If you express it, it can easily come out in ways you don’t intend or that you regret later. And it can be hard to keep control of it, especially if you’ve been quietly seething over something for a while.

So what do you do if you’re feeling angry at work? According to the Centre for Non-Violent Communication (cnvc.org), there are four options; only two of which are recommended…

1.    Aggress emotionally or physically against someone/something else
2.    Aggress emotionally or physically against yourself
3.    Connect internally with your own feelings and needs; provide self-commpassion and self-support
4.    Connect authentically to someone else – especially, in an anger situation, explore the underlying needs of all parties, which often makes it much easier to come to a mutually satisfying solution

Obviously the second two of these approaches are the ones that’ll serve your better and get better outcomes.

Action Steps

Here are 7 practical things you can do to manage your anger and release it in healthy ways…

1.    Take 5 really deep breaths
At the first sign of rising anger, allow yourself time for five really deep breaths instead of reacting immediately. This act will bring extra oxygen to the brain to give you greater clarity as well as time to sort out your thoughts. Walk away from the situation for a short while and take time out to calm down if you need to.

2.    Take an Assertive, Not Aggressive Approach
There’s a fine line between the two. The difference is in whether you impose upon the other person’s rights or wellbeing when you stand up for your own. Try to model Nelson Mandela’s style – calm, strong, humble and constructive.

3.    Work through the issue
Don’t just get cranky and have a go at someone but leave the problem unaddressed. Adopt a problem-solving approach. Sit down with the relevant person(s), look for things you agree on first, and then calmly try to find ways through to a workable resolution.

4.    Release it from your body
Physical activity will process the stress hormones that pump through your body when you’re angry while also releasing feel-good hormones such as endorphins so you can feel better. After a good bout of exercise, I guarantee that you will feel calmer. Take a walk around the block. Go to the gym after work. Walk the dog in the evening – anything that’ll get it out of your system.

5.    Release it from your mind
If you’re looking for an outlet to release your thoughts and emotions, try journalling. It’s a great way to feel like you’re talking to someone while keeping your own counsel. Expressing your feelings in this way can be very freeing and can sort things out in your mind. If you’re at work, you could simply use a word document and not save it.

6.    Let it go
Do what you can to address the issue and then mentally unhook from the situation. Especially if it’s something you don’t have control over or the ability to influence the outcome.

7.    Ask for help
Seek support from a trusted colleague, friend or family member. And don’t be afraid to use the Employee Assistance Program if you have one. It’s there for that very purpose.

Which will you do first, next time you’re feeling angry?

How to prevent failure and manage it well when it happens

The room is filling on a Saturday night in Sydney. It’s an old theatre with seats from many decades past, that are covered in old vinyl and snap up quickly as soon as you begin getting up. The audience is diverse – from late teens to seniors – all ready to hear about a topic that affects us at every stage of life – failure.

The event is the “Failure Lab“, an event being held across the world with an aim to “crush the social stigma of failure”. Here’s how the organisers describe it:

FAILURE:LAB is a raw and intimate evening showcasing personal stories of failure. With a refreshing environment of openness, it helps pave the way for change by crushing the isolation and stigma around failure. Failure then takes its rightful place as the crucial first step to the next big thing. Embrace it, learn from it, build on it.

I was interested in this event since fear of failure causes many people stress, anxiety and self confidence issues and bouncing back from failure presents similar challenges.

And we often don’t talk about it.

Our culture values success and achievement and makes heroes of people who do extraordinary things. But we generally don’t talk about people who tried and failed. There’s often a stigma about failure.

Yet, as we all know, failure happens throughout our lives. It’s just the type, context, and consequences that change – from falling over as a toddler, to mistakes in our job or career, through to making mistakes in old age, failure is something we experience in every stage of life.

Here are some of the lessons I drew from the stories shared in the Failure Lab…

Lesson #1: Failure is universal. On this night, the themes and threads that came though each of the stories were common, if not universal…

–  Hopes dashed
–  Not noticing the obvious/blind spots
–  Ignoring a situation until it hits you in the face
–  Not being able to achieve what you know is possible because people don’t support you
–  Jumping into a situation without adequate preparation

I can relate to every one of these themes and certainly felt more connected to our common humanity and less alone in my failures as a result. Can you relate to these too? The good news is that we don’t need to feel alone, different or inferior for having failed.

Lesson #2: There’s power in talking about our failures. It makes failure feel more normal. More part of the process. More of the rule than the exception. More okay.

Lesson #3: When we talk about our failures, there’s a shared benefit. We benefit from authentically sharing who we are and what we’ve experienced. The listeners benefit from hearing experiences they can relate to, sympathise with, or learn from.

The more we talk about our failure experiences – not as a pity party but with the intention of embracing them, learning from them, and using them to help us move forward –  the less stigma there will be about failure.

Action Steps

Recognising that fear of failure and recovering from failure both cause stress and anxiety, here are 4 positive ways to help you prevent failure and manage it well when it does happen…

1.    Do the boring work to reduce the risk of failure
Most of us want to shortcut to success at some point or another but this can increase our risk of failure. The more you do the groundwork, the research, and the preparation to ensure what you’re doing is based on a solid foundation, the better your chances of success. No great insights here… just the unexciting truth.

2.    When failure does happen, be kind to yourself.
Self compassion has been shown to be a crucial part of the ability to bounce back from hard times. Self compassion involves being gentle with yourself, not berating or blaming yourself for making a mistake, recognising that to err is human, and keeping a bigger picture perspective.

3.    Adopt a learning mindset.
This mindset, also known as a growth mindset, has been shown to help with wellbeing, confidence, learning, and success. It’s a way of moving forward so you don’t get stuck in blaming yourself and others or give up on your hopes and dreams. Here’s an example: “This situation has happened and I can’t change it. What can I learn from it? What can I do differently next time? How can I use this situation to help me in the future?”

4.    Share your experience with others, authentically and constructively, with the intention of helping both yourself and those listening to you to embrace failure, learn from it, and use it to move forward.

The way we view and experience failure has a direct impact on our wellbeing and resilience to stress and challenges. The more we can use our failure experiences in positive ways, the more positive benefits we can gain from a negative experience.

What failure experiences could you share with other people  – that would benefit you by telling your story and your listeners by hearing your story?

Something we all enjoy and want more of, yet forget to do

How often are you praised for your work? How often do you praise others?

I was talking with a former colleague the other day who’s been in a new job for the last three months and recently received praise and positive feedback from her new managers for a large project she’s been managing. She is beaming and blossoming as her previous managers gave only negative feedback, never any praise.

Giving and receiving praise is one of those perennial workplace issues. Praise is something we all enjoy and want more of, yet it’s something we don’t do often and when we do, many of us don’t deliver it as effectively as we might.

The good news is that it’s simple to learn and easy to do. It costs nothing and takes very little effort yet delivers great benefits.

As we all know, praise is encouraging, it makes us feel good about ourselves and our efforts and it motivates us to keep going with what we’re doing. Without praise, we lose that positive feedback loop and can easily become discouraged and disengaged.

More Positives at Work = Better Relationships, More Productivity, a Better Workplace

Research has found that one of the key differences between happy relationships versus unhappy or dysfunctional ones is the ratio of positive emotions experienced versus negative ones.

It turns out that to feel well and happy, we need at least three positive experiences for every one negative experience. This ratio increases to at least five to one at work or within relationships. This is called the ‘Positivity Ratio’ and it’s an indicator of the wellbeing or otherwise of an individual, a relationship, a team or even a workplace.

If you’d like to work in a happy workplace, an easy way to boost your workplace’s ledger on the positive side is to recognise and praise people for positive behaviour – you don’t have to wait for management to do it!

Action Steps

Here’s how you can give effective praise and contribute to a happy work environment this week…

1. Find the Good, Sincerely

Find the good things a person is doing and tell them what you appreciate about them. Be genuine, since insincere praise will undermine trust and won’t aid learning or development.  Even if you don’t like ALL that they’re doing, find the good in it and focus on that. Otherwise say nothing. Better to to say nothing than to give untruth or insincerity.

2. Be Specific

Highlight what they did in detail, both particular actions and attitudes. This helps them to know what you noticed and appreciated – and what to repeat in the future.

3. Give Them Time to Process and Respond

Many people will try to brush off praise, even if they secretly appreciate it. Pause to help them to enjoy their achievement and share in that small positive moment together.

4. Take Their Style Into Account

Some people like public praise, others only private praise. Would the recipient prefer face to face verbal feedback or an email? Choose how you praise based on their preferences, not yours. (This is one area where many people miss-step.)

5. Focus on Things They Can Control

This part is crucial. The recipient can’t control their intelligence or natural traits so praising these is not useful. Instead focus your praise on what they can control – ie their efforts and attitude. This is a key way to make sure your praise has the greatest positive effect, both at the time you give it as well as into the future.

You don’t have to leave it to management to deliver all the praise and appreciation in your workplace. Tell your colleagues when you see them do a good job and enjoy the joy and positivity that comes from it!

Who do you have an opportunity to praise at the moment?

Financial worries affecting your work? Take these 3 first steps towards peace of mind…

According to the Australian Psychological Society 2015 survey, 49% of people worry about their personal finances making it the nation’s number one stressor.

It’s safe to say this affects us at work, either subconsciously or consciously as we wonder what to do, as we look for another job or hold down two jobs. Then there are those people who can’t afford to retire thus creating a bottleneck for promotion. I have friends in this situation.

Unfortunately it’s generally not until people are nearing retirement that they take more notice of their financial health and become concerned with having enough for that longest holiday of their life (ie retirement). As an example 10 years from retirement you only have 260 fortnightly pays left and a remaining mortgage of $100,000 can take 10 years to pay off, depending on interest rates among other factors.

So how can we prepare ourselves so that we enjoy peace of mind, knowing that if we lost our job or some other event occurred, we’d have the financial reserves to see us through?

Here are 3 first steps…

Step 1: Get a realistic view of your situation

Once you are measuring something, you can manage it.

Do a budget, covering your income and expenses as they stand now, realising that this is fluid. Yes you’ve heard this before but have you actually done it? Have you recorded for a period of 3 months to get a realistic view?

Before seeing someone I always get them to spend 10 minutes on a budget so they have an idea of their surplus or deficit. However the biggest difference I saw was one couple who thought they had a surplus of $1000 a fortnight when in fact it turned out to be a deficit of $500. That’s why they came to see me – they didn’t know why they weren’t getting ahead.

What is surprising for most people is how the simple act of recording can help with confidence in making changes.

Step 2: Work out your endpoint

The next step is to work out what you want retirement to look like and of course this involves conversations with significant others.

Once you have your start point and endpoint you can fill in the dots and contingencies can be catered for. Namely you want to pay down bad debt and build assets to support your retirement income. This may sound like an enormous task but it’s not. It’s just a matter of developing a positive association with money and healthy habits, much like you did when learning to brush your teeth.

Step 3: Get started

While this is a very general overview, here are a couple of tips to help you get started…

  • Allocate at least 15 minutes per week to review your finances and discuss them with your significant other, if you have one.
  • Look at financial calculators online to determine how quickly you can pay off debt and accumulate savings, as well is how much you may need for retirement.
  • Make it fun! This way you’ll keep doing it. Use colourful tools (ie calculators, spreadsheets, paper, pens etc), create vision boards, and reward yourself with inexpensive, healthy connection (e.g. giving each other massages).

The way we think determines the lifestyle we lead and thus how much money we need, now and for the future. And more money rarely solves a money problem.

When you build practical skills for a healthy mind, body and wallet, you are indirectly providing yourself with a pay rise.

When will you make some time for your financial wellbeing?


Building the Courage to Speak Up

“I don’t want to go to work today if Jamie is going to be there. What if he yells at me again in front of everyone, or takes me into his office and puts me down?”

Have you ever had that sort of experience?

I have, many times. For years I would do whatever anyone would say, especially my boss, even if it didn’t feel right.

Until one day I had the courage to speak up for myself.

I was so sick of being yelled at and seeing my colleagues treated with no respect, that I felt I needed to put a stop to this. I took a few deep breaths, wiped away my tears and approached my boss just after he raised his voice at me.

I said (with an open heart) “Jamie, you do not speak to me like that. If you have a problem with me I would appreciate you speaking to me about it. I am a human being and deserve to be spoken to with respect.”

His response was profound and it totally changed our relationship.

He began to speak to me and my colleagues with enthusiasm and encouragement. Maybe he didn’t realise what he had been doing and just needed a reminder.

Why is it that we often feel we cannot speak up, voice our opinion and say no when something doesn’t feel right?

So often, we hold ourselves back due to fear.

Fear of what others will think of us, fear of making the wrong choice, fear of saying the wrong thing, fear of hurting someone else. The truth is when we live in constant fear, NOONE wins.

Learning to live with a more positive and loving attitude takes courage, takes vulnerability and a lot of practice. AND when we begin to make this shift from fear to love, we allow our relationships to be more healthy and powerful.

Please remember this: you can never make anyone else feel anything – because his or her feelings are theirs.

Worrying about how someone will react to what you say is also living in fear. Trust yourself, know that your intention behind speaking up is not to hurt the other person; it is to offer your opinion, and allow them to respond.

The reality is that no one is ever right or wrong so there is no need to fear what others think of you. If they want to start an argument with you, you are simply sharing YOUR TRUTH and they are sharing theirs. If we continue to hold back it creates toxicity within us and in all of our relationships.

When our life is filled with toxins it looks a little like this: we consciously choose to create drama, we do not look after ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally, we love to blame the other person, we fall victim in every situation and quite often feel anxious and overwhelmed. I manifested a very toxic life for years, until one day I woke up and decided to take my power back. I chose to live a toxic free life which meant ending some relationships, looking after my health better (in all areas) working in a job I enjoyed, and learning more and more about myself.

Remember that everyone you meet is on their own journey. So this article is not about blaming our boss or judging them. We need to be compassionate towards all human beings including ourselves.

Relationships are simply teaching us lessons to learn more about ourselves.

When I faced my fear around confrontation and spoke up to my boss (even though my heart was pounding out my chest and I felt very nervous) it was one of the biggest life lessons I have ever learnt.

And I am forever grateful to him for helping me learn how to trust myself and speak up when I feel I need to. I hope this has inspired you to do the same.

Steps to help you speak up:

  1. Make a commitment to yourself

You need to firstly make the conscious commitment to loving yourself. Love yourself enough to say no. If someone was mistreating your best friend would you speak up about it? YES because you love and respect your friend. Make that friend YOU and begin to stand in your own power. Being a people pleaser will only ever take you so far.

2. Feel your feelings

When you notice yourself getting angry, process your feelings before you speak up. As children we were not taught to feel our feelings, if we cried we may have been told to “Be quiet. You have nothing to cry about.” And instantly shamed for being vulnerable.

Feeling your feelings is a big part of learning how to create a more abundant and happy life for yourself. Things that may help you are knowing this: Your feelings will not kill you. They do not define you. They only last for 90 seconds and, just like the weather, our emotions are constantly changing so you are never stuck in one emotion.

GOOD or BAD is not a feeling, it is a judgment of a feeling.

Our primary feelings are MAD, GLAD, SAD, SCARED. So every morning and throughout the day check in with how you are feeling. It’s so easy for us to express our comfortable feelings like happiness and excitement, do you agree? But in today’s society we find it hard to express our uncomfortable feelings (again this is because we have not been taught how to feel them properly).

I believe if everyone took full responsibility for their own feelings it would minimise arguments in relationships. So if you are feeling uncomfortable at all, for example angry, sad, and anxious, there are healthy ways to express this. Cry, scream into a pillow, go for a walk (move your body), journal, breathe deeply, mediate, speak to someone.

3. Calm yourself, process what’s really going on, THEN talk

Speaking when you are feeling angry will not ever resolve anything, so take the time to calm yourself, process what’s really going on and THEN have the conversation.

Take some time to sit with yourself, take a few deep breaths and get a pen to paper. Tell yourself the truth about how you feel, don’t keep your opinions locked in your head anymore. Start to express yourself, even if it is only in your journal or to loved ones.

When we practice this enough, we begin to get master it and it will become easier to speak up to everyone in your life.

4. Become aware of the inner YOU

Start by giving yourself 30 minutes of “me time” every day. This could be on your commute to or from work, or wake up half an hour earlier. This is time that you can be present with you and understand yourself more. Be aware of your inner voice – are your thoughts towards yourself negative or positive? Use a journal to bring awareness into your life.

Once you have awareness about your behaviours THEN you can begin to change them.

When you are happy and love yourself from within, it has a ripple effect on everyone around you. Get the inside right and everything else will fall into place.

Understand that happiness comes from within; begin to be aware of YOU, your actions, your thoughts, your feelings, your energy, your input into the world. If you are still seeking validation or approval from others, it just means that you are still trying to find happiness outside of you.

Learning to love yourself, and to speak up, are not easy but are so worth it.

In a funk? Ten ways to shake it off.

Ever woken up in just a funky mood? Or gotten two hours into your day and already wishing you had your make up off and were hiding under the covers? Or just want to go to a deserted beach someplace so no one can find you again….ever?

Sure you have. Me too. And let’s be real – funky funk is not the place you want to be energy wise.

When you need to shift your energy but you can’t go hide watching funny movies all day, here are ten ways to quickly shift it. Trust me, they work.

1. Get upside down – anyway you can. Headstand, legs up the wall pose, downward dog, or just bend down to touch your toes and stay there for 30 seconds to 2 minutes (bend your knees if you have to). Change your perspective and let the blood rush to your head and flow out that bad mood.

2. Sniff something – well, not just anything. Get some uplifting oils to have on hand when you need a burst of goodness. For this purpose I like Orange, Lemon, Peppermint or some Frankincense to bring on happy vibes.

3. Laugh – watch a quick YouTube video that makes you laugh – you might need headphones if you’re in the office! Shit Yogis Say is one of my favs – this one in particular.

4. Phone a friend – ring that girlfriend who you can laugh at the silliest things with, sure to get your blood moving.

5. Do what you love – spend ten minutes doing something you just love. For me this morning, it’s writing this post for you (and sniffing my oils as I go).

6. Dance – nothing like a quick impromptu dance party in the kitchen or anywhere (I’ve been known to do them in the supermarket) to shift your stuff fast! Loud music, five minutes, go for it.

7. Sing it sista – top of your lungs, don’t care about who’s listening, and yes you can make it Taylor Swift if you want too……shake it off – literally (yes I love that song).

8. Hug something – a tree, a person, your boss, a pet. A two minute hug gets that Serotonin and all your happy hormones racing, so grab someone and hold on (my son hates it when I do this….but gotta get my two minutes!).

9. Dream – spend five minutes in your happy day dream place. Lying on a beach, trekking in the Himalayas, exploring New York, attending an amazing conference filled with creative people, publishing that book you are secretly working on. Get your day dream on and feel your happy coming back.

10. If all else fails – there’s always coffee!

There you go – ten things to try so your funk doesn’t stand a chance. You’re welcome.

Sitting at Work: Stand Up For Your Health

Everyone knows that sitting is the new smoking. Research has clearly shown that prolonged sitting is bad for our health and can take years off your life span. That’s a lot of scary information that really doesn’t help you much.

Follow these practical steps to get moving at work without impacting your productivity…

1.  Stand up for Your Health

Stand up desks are becoming the new norm in work places across Australia. You can get expensive and fancy with a special motorised desk or you can make your own. Ikea sells a wooden multi level elevation platform that sits on top of your normal desk. Your computer screen sits on the highest level at eye level, keyboard at arm height and mouse off to one side. It’s the perfect ergonomic set up for good posture and comfort.

Often workplaces have work health and safety rules in which you need to abide by. Talk to your supervisor to see if desk modifications are allowed in your workplace. Often it takes one person to make the change before everyone else wants in on the fun. Workplaces have been known to then catch on and follow the trend with replacing desks with standing stations in an effort to keep employees healthier.

2. Take a Theraband to Work

Add posture and strength training to your workday. If standing desks aren’t an option, take a Theraband to work. There are so many exercises you can do with a resistance band whilst seated in the chair. You might try to do bicep curls whilst reading a lengthy document or side arm raises whilst taking a phone call.

3. Swap your chair for a Fit-ball

Swapping your chair for a Fit-ball might not seem like a big change, however it will provide a lot more muscle activation than sitting on a static chair. Often you will find yourself bouncing around, standing up to readjust and activating your core muscles to keep steady on the ball. All of this extra incidental movement will help you stay active and your metabolism fired up.

4. Take Walking Meetings

If your workplace allows, schedule your meetings with individuals as walking meetings or use your coffee break to take a stroll around the office or neighborhood. Getting outdoors increases creativity and exercise may increase your alertness. These are all attributes we need to think better and be more productive.

Adding movement to your workday may take a little bit of forward thinking, but your health will thank you for it!

5 simple but powerful gestures that will help you to build happy relationship

We often like to see ourselves as independent individuals, yet time and again research shows that we are incredibly interconnected. Positive relationships are crucial to our wellbeing and happy relationships are a central source of happiness and fulfillment.

Given the huge proportion of time we all spend at work, work relationships play a significant role in our wellbeing.

Here are 5 quick and easy ideas for building positive and uplifting connections with the people around you at work…

1.    Send a thank you

Email or call someone who has helped you out over the past two weeks. It doesn’t have to be long, it just needs to be authentic.

The key is that something they did that has made a positive difference and you are thanking them for it. Even if they were just doing their job, if it made things better for you or others, taking time to thank them may well make their day!

2.    Follow up

Email someone you’ve provided work to recently and ask them if what you sent them was what they were seeking. Or ask how things turned out if it was part of a greater process or project.

By showing that you care about the work you do and about your impact on others, you can make a lasting positive difference to that relationship.

3.    Give a sincere compliment

Look for something you can genuinely compliment a colleague on. The key is to be sincere – people will sense whether you’re being genuine or self-serving/inauthentic. We all love to receive positive feedback – share some positive vibes and enjoy the glow!

4.    Offer support

Take some time to notice how the people around you are faring at work. If someone seems to be struggling with their workload, ask them how they’re going. If they give you an honest reply (which they might not) offer to give them a hand for half an hour/an hour/a defined period of time.

They probably won’t take you up on it but a genuine offer of support will almost certainly be appreciated. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed too, tell them you understand and they’re not alone – without using the opportunity to complain or shift the focus to your workload! :)

5.    Do something for someone without being asked

Research shows that the most appreciated gifts are those that are both unexpected and personalised. Show your support for a colleague by doing something that you know they’ll appreciate.

This can be a small gesture like getting a coffee for someone who is flat out, or something more significant. The key is for it to be helpful in their eyes and proactive – not waiting to be asked. This shows you are thoughtful and willing to support your colleagues.

Simple gestures like these can create a lovely positive spiral of people paying positive gestures forward – which could make your whole work area happier. It just takes one person to start the process!

Action Steps

We’ve covered five simple but powerful gestures that will help you to build happy relationships…

Which will you choose to do today? And for whom?

Also consider… how much of a positive impact could you have if you did one of these every day? The positive possibilities are endless!