Muriel Cooper
Psychologist in Mornington

Happiness and success


Reaching happiness and success

Articles about achieving happiness, success and sustaining relationships.

'The Secret' by Rhonda ByrneI have a five dollar note in a frame and clients often ask about it.

They also often ask about whether it is possibe to attract success to themselves as set out in 'The Secret', very popular some years ago.

Are the essentials of 'The Secret' correct? - they ask.  Do I believe in them?

The answer is YES.  I believe the basic principles outlined in 'The Secret' will work, but I believe the principles are what are important, not the essentials.

Essentials are reductionist, appealing to that part of us that wants everything – and we want it NOW – preferably brought about by some higher power so that we don’t have to work at it.  It’s not the road less travelled it’s the superficial road and the easy road.  Nice work if you can get it, but even those who believe in the power of prayer realise how important their part is in bringing about miracles.  Do I believe in miracles?  Yes, I believe we can make things happen – it’s just how  that’s the question. For example, here's how I got the $5 note.

Breathing your way out of Stress and Anxiety

Be stillThere us a special type of breathing which does just this.  This method of breathing is ‘conscious’ – that is, it’s not the breathing you simply do to stay alive, it’s deliberate and can be done at any time, not just when you feel stressed to anxious.  Be pro-active!

Relaxing breathing means breathing not into your chest but deep into your tummy or diaphragm which is below your chest.

The secret is that the out breath must be longer than the in breath.

Just say NOFor many of us, we find this excruciatingly painful.  Here are some suggestions.  Sticking up for yourself might feel uncomfortable at first but you’ll get used to it.

  • Be sure you really want to say no first. Is the thing you’re saying NO to unfair or unreasonable? Or do you just not want to do it? It makes a difference.
  • If you’re not sure, don’t make a rash decision. You can always ask for more time to respond or ask for clarification of the request.
  • If you decide to say NO, say it briefly and clearly. Don’t over-explain or go on and on trying to rationalize your decision. This could be used to talk you out of it since you will come across as being indecisive.
  • Don’t be coy with words; use the word "no". "No" is more powerful and clearer than "Well, I just don't think so..."
  • Make sure your body language is in line with your words. Often we unconsciously nod and smile when we’re actually saying “No”. It gives mixed messages.


How many bad habits did your last New Year’s Resolutions involve?

Nail biting?
Drinking too much?

Are you serious about something about them for good?

Why not decide its time to chuck those bad habits and introduce a new, more "blingy" you in 2008.
“Hah – easy for you!” – I hear you say. “Not easy – too darned hard – tried too many times – never worked”.

I am not going to promise you any easy fix. There will be no "Just put on this subliminal disc and give up smoking while you sleep" stuff. This will involve sustained effort. Most behavioural experts will tell you it takes 28 days to reverse a bad, unhealthy, or irritating-to-others habit.

Think of it as a change in lifestyle – like a weight loss program. You know if it’s taken you two years to put on ten kilos you’re not going to take it off in a week, unless it involves some pretty radical surgery (perhaps not to be recommended). We know we have to knuckle down to a sensible diet and exercise to achieve weight loss. So why shouldn’t we expect to put the same effort and commitment into other habits we want to get rid of.