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.

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.

BullyingThe incidence of cyber bulling is increasing – one figure puts it at between around 22 percent of children or young adults in their teens in Australia who has been bullied via electronic communication (it’s not just internet it’s email and other electronic media) .  Communication on the electronic media is very ‘text lean’ and lacks emotional content – the recipient fills in the emotional content themselves’ and this interpretation can be very negative and threatening.  So the bully may not intend to be so mean – it’s how you perceive it.In the case of cyber bullying – the behaviour is protected by:


  • Anonymity – you can bully someone and they won’t know who you are – you could be on the other side of the world  ( in the US case of the cyber bullying mother the victim did not realise that the bully who drove her to suicide was her next door neighbour)
  • The law doesn’t protect you at the moment – our Australian legal system isn’t equipped to deal with it (neither is the US legal system)

So the alternative is to take up your own power to understand it and deal with it.  Try not to hand your power over to someone whether you know them or not.  There are things you can do.

Too much informationI was taking a break today and looking at TV when a U.S. entertainment show came on.

First it's a U.S. show and that's OK, in Australia most of our culture is Northern American-based – even our indigenous culture hasn't escaped. For example I was watching a show made by Australian Aborigines about the outback and there in the background was a group of Aboriginal kids doing hip hop and break dancing to a boom box – sigh.

Back to the show. I found myself being utterly overwhelmed by the barrage of sound and sight bites, and 'promos' one on top of the other, relentlessly until I finally turned it off in utter frustration and my self talk? 'I can't stand this one more second'. This was no way to have a relaxing break! I felt as though my senses had been thoroughly assaulted.

I was appalled to hear them proclaim themselves the number one show in America and here's why I was so concerned.

I have long held the belief that extremely fast-paced scene changes – flashing from one scene to another – loud noises, explosions especially - might be exciting but also that it might be just a little too exciting for our brains.

This many stimuli – sometimes of a horrific or violent nature – is assaulting to the brain and can have serious effects on our mental health, either making us very stressed as we try to take it all in and cope with it, to over-exciting us – making us 'hooked' on this kind of fast-paced entertainment found in film, television and video game media.

Young woman sleeping peacefullyNot getting to sleep (insomnia), or sleep disturbance (waking during the night) happens to around half of us at some stage.

A good night’s sleep is absolutely essential to your good health. Sleep is when your brain processes memory and when other important functions like the production of Human growth hormone happens in order to repair damaged cells, as well as many other vital processes.

This  is designed to help you get a better night’s sleep.