No one lives a life without some level of stress, conflict, or difficulty. The same is true for psychologists – and fortunately, the very techniques and skills that form the body of evidence-based practices that we use with our clients – also work for us!
When asked about how the psychologists on our team manage stress and difficult situations – these were some of the tips and strategies we identified as most helpful (you might recognise a few!)
“Mindfulness helps me settle my busy mind and ground myself in the present moment. This helps me let go of the worries and stresses of the day and enjoy what each moment has to offer.”
“If I come away from an interaction with someone feeling negative, I like to ask myself if am I jumping to conclusions? That is, is there concrete evidence for how I have interpreted the situation. Maybe they were short with me because they are anxious, not because I’ve done something to upset them”
“When I’m feeling shame or guilt, I spend some time with the emotion. I have a gentle chat with myself about why they’ve come to visit me now, and whether it is OK to be a person who makes mistakes and is on a learning journey. Then I thank them for the visit and lean towards the growth curve they’ve identified.”
“I’m really thankful for an awareness of my thoughts, and particular patterns of thinking in my life. I will often use a variety of CBT thought challenging techniques to not only understand myself better, but to help me build a more positive and helpful attitude to what’s happening”
“I used to think mindfulness was really hard to do, until I paired it with an activity such as mindful colouring. I now regularly finish my day with mindful colouring books (on my iPad, with books) as well as painting by numbers. I love the colours, textures, lines and shapes that I can focus on and let my mind have a rest.”
A true understanding of the positive impact of applying evidence-based practices doesn’t come from discussion or purely being taught skills, but from experiencing them! So, we can all be encouraged to continue to build and refine skills and habits into our lives that reduce stress, promote connection, and establish stability.
Emily is in her final year of a Master of Clinical Psychology at the University of Sydney. As part of her studies, Emily has completed placements for adult therapy, family therapy and in community mental
health. This included facilitating a telehealth DBT group (skills for emotional distress and regulation). She also has experience as a co-facilitator of a group therapy program for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, targeting social anxiety and social functioning, for which her publication of the results is currently under review.
Prior to completing her masters, Emily worked in private practice as a provisional psychologist, working with children and adults with disabilities and co-morbid mental health concerns.