Muriel Cooper
Psychologist in Mornington

Stress, anxiety and depression


Stress, anxiety and depression

Articles about the Stress - Anxiety - Depression cycle, and how to avoid and cope with these problems.

StressedThe S.A.D. syndrome is about how the Stress of everyday life can escalate into Anxiety and eventually lead to Depression, the epidemic of the 21st century.

S.A.D. starts with stress, the ‘big news’ of the eighties that many seem to take for granted now.

The emphasis now is on depression (which is not a bad thing) but what we tend to see is a society in denial of where depression starts – with stress.

Why? Because it’s O.K. to have depression – that’s a disease.  Stress is just “the way it is”.

Coping with griefOn January 26th, Australia Day, at 8.15pm, my father passed away peacefully, aged 87. Because we deal with grief and loss so often in our profession you tend to think you know how you’ll handle it. Oh there might be one or two surprises but you’ll handle those too. What I wasn’t prepared for was a total absence of sadness. Quite the opposite. I feel happy for him that his suffering has ended and he is at peace.

When we counsel a client who has had a recent bereavement, I wonder how often we feel ever so slightly suspicious when they express a lack of sadness for their loved one’s passing. We see them a couple of times and they’re still not sad and yet they’re in the counselling room opposite you wanting to talk about it.

Sometimes this can mean a denial of the death itself and we need to be careful that our client understands that their loved one is actually dead and not filling up the car with petrol (sometimes grief brings a strange kind of healing humour doesn’t it?).

Of course there’s also the consideration that the person is guilty because they don’t feel sad. They should feel sad and if they don’t, perhaps it means that they didn’t really love their loved one as much as they should have, or could have.

Girl eating hot dogOnce upon a time there was a man who lived in a simple little village.  He was uneducated to the point where he couldn’t read the paper (but he was not unintelligent).  The village had no electricity so he couldn’t watch the news on television.  He listened to the radio sometimes but mostly he worked, enjoyed time with his wife and children and spent time in his garden or talking to the other men of the village.

The one thing this man (we’ll call him Henri), could do extremely well was make hot dogs.  From his small roadside vending stall he made the best hot dogs.  The sausages were red, juicy and tasty; the rolls were extra crusty and the mustard and tomato sauce were made from his garden.

People would go out of their way to drive past so that they could salivate over the thought of eating one of Henri’s hot dogs.

One of the reasons Henri worked so hard is because he wanted his children to have a good education.  His son did particularly well and became an economist.

Women meditating by a lakeWhen life is ‘the pits’, there are ways to take control and help yourself work out of it. Here are 10.

1. Breathe

Conscious breathing can assist in reducing stress and anxiety. Focusing on your breathing keeps your mindfulness on the current instance and is a common integral part of reflection and meditation, an evident stress reducer. Breathe deeply and leisurely down into your stomach, noticing each breath you inhale and exhale. Make your out-breath longer than your in-breath – breathe in for 3 counts – out for 5.

2. Smile

Smile deep down into yourself and up into your mind – physically smile at the feelings of stress, anxiety or depression – smiling releases beta endorphins (natural feel good chemicals).

3. Self talk

Give yourself a good, positive self-talking to - give yourself a motivational talk – tell yourself all the good things about you – all the things you’re good at – encourage yourself by reminding yourself that this feeling will pass, nothing lasts forever and until it does pass - you CAN cope.