Category: Dr. Sue Ferguson

Start to Solve Tomorrow’s Problems Today

Dr Sue Ferguson Usually when we think of coping, we think of efforts to deal with stressful situations we are in the midst of (reactive coping). Proactive coping, on the other hand, involves identifying and dealing with stressful situations that are likely to happen in the future. This includes building our resilience and resources, making plans, and changing our thoughts and behaviour in order to deal with the situation in advance and thus reduce its impact. As we get older, we get better at using proactive coping. Among Australian older adults, higher proactive coping is associated with higher personal...

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Give Journaling a Go

Journaling, also known as expressive writing, is a technique many of us use to help us make sense of our emotional experiences. Writing about these emotional experiences has shown to be more effective than writing about more superficial topics. So this type of journal is not the same as keeping a daily diary of events. Research suggests that writing about upsetting experiences can sometimes be painful on the day you do it, but over time often produces improvements in mood, reductions in anxiety and fewer visits to the doctor. Writing (or talking about) emotional topics has also been linked...

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Is Your Glass Half Full?

Optimism involves expecting good things to happen whether by chance, other people or events, or by your own actions. Having positive thoughts about the future can motivate you to set goals for your future and to come up with plans to deal with future stressors. Research shows that optimism predicts higher wellbeing, better health behaviours (such as better nutrition and dental care), helps adjustment to cancer and chronic pain and lowers stress. Optimism has even been shown to predict lower death rates from heart attacks and reduce the risk of cognitive impairment as we get older. However, we need...

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Turn to Gratitude in Times of Strife

We could all use a mood boost about now! Research has shown that consistently practicing gratitude over time can lead to feeling more positive emotions and help you deal with stress. Practising gratitude is a way of reminding yourself of all the good things that have happened to you (and savouring them). However, gratitude also involves acknowledging and being thankful for the people who helped make those good things happen. Gratitude can just be a way you feel and think, or you can involve expressing your thanks to someone who has helped you or been kind. Gratitude stops you...

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Are You a Worry-Wart at the Moment?

A certain amount of anxiety or worry is normal and helpful. If you often feel shaky, get butterflies in your stomach, find it hard to relax, or worry a lot, these can be part of anxiety. A good way to reduce anxiety is to practice relaxation or meditation! Smiling Mind or Calm apps are good. Try this breathing exercise – take a long slow breath (imagine you are sniffing a flower or perfume), then slowly breathe out (imagine you are blowing out candles). It’s normal to feel concern and be hesitant to get back to activities we have avoided for...

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