Well-being consists of two main components, psychological and physical. There are a number of factors that affect our sense of psychological well-being. Factors that can improve our psychological well-being include having positive relationships, engaging employment, and taking part in pleasurable activities. Overarching features that contribute to our positive well-being include experiencing a meaning in life, feeling respected, and believing that we are fulfilling our potential and having a sense of belonging and optimism. Factors that may reduce our psychological well-being often include issues such as stress, worry and poor mood.
The second important component of well-being is physical well-being. Conditions that may improve our physical well-being may include having a healthy diet, engaging in exercise, and having adequate sleep and sufficient money to fulfill our needs. Factors that may reduce our physical well-being may include ill-health, disease and chronic pain.
At Blue Sky Psychology we focus on enhancing well-being, as well as the treating of mental health issues. This type of therapy, which is based on positive psychology, has been found to lead to sustained improvements in overall quality of life.
We can assist you to identify the ways in which your quality of life and well-being could be improved.
Research demonstrates that individuals in happy, supportive and loving relationships are more likely to feel healthier, happier and satisfied with their lives, and be less likely to develop physical or mental health problems. Many couples wait for relationships to disintegrate to the point of no return rather than attempt to improve their relationships. The best time to work on enhancing your relationship satisfaction if often prior to the onset of any major problems or issues. Such action can prevent issues from developing in the future.
A number of preventative strategies can be used to improve your relationship, such as, learning to manage stress appropriately before it interferes with your relationship, managing your emotions to prevent feelings of anger or hurt from negatively affecting your relationship, learning to understand and manage non-verbal communication, using humour and play in your relationship and learning to resolve conflicts without allowing resentment to build up and damage your relationship.
Key aspects of a relationship that may be able to be improved through therapy at BlueSky Psychology include encouraging the positive expression of love within a relationship, enhancing intimacy, sexual expression, communication and the strength of commitment to a relationship, improving feelings of equality and respect and the value of companionship, as well as negotiating compatibility concerns.
Communication skills are the cornerstone of romantic, family and business relationships. The aim of communication is to devise a shared understanding. Communicating effectively involves two key aspects. Firstly, communication involves actively listening to those we are communicating with. A key aspect to active listening involves conveying to the person that we understand their message. Secondly, communication involves sending accurate messages to those around us. Assertive communication involves clearly expressing what you think, how you feel, and what you want, without demanding that you must have things your way. Communication involves both verbal and non-verbal aspects. Non-Verbal communication includes our eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, posture and body orientation, proximity, humour, as well as our tone and pitch.
BlueSky Psychology therapists can assist you to develop your communication skills, including your listening skills, and assist you to get your message across to others effectively using verbal and non-verbal cues.
Assertiveness is a way of communicating your thoughts and feelings in a way that respects your own rights and needs, and the rights and needs of others. Being assertive is often confused with being aggressive, but the two concepts are very different. An aggressive person may attempt stand up for their own rights, but they may at the same time disregard the rights of others. An assertive person will not ignore the needs of others. Being assertive also differs from being passive, which is when we consistently place the needs of others ahead of our own needs.
An assertive person will:
- Use “I” statements to communicate their thoughts and feelings, for example, “I feel disappointed that you don’t appear to be listening to me,” rather than “Your not listening to me.”
- Look for a win/win scenario i.e. a situation where both parties may be happy with an outcome
- Restate their position when others appear to be unreasonable or overly aggressive
- Make themselves aware of the needs and wants of others, while not prioritising unnecessarily the needs of others ahead of their own
- Say “no” to a request when they have a reason to do so
- Attempt to communicate openly, honestly and directly, and will remain respectful of other people’s feelings.
If you believe that you may need help to develop skills in assertiveness, let us show you how you can change your existing patterns of relating to others and respectfully stand up for your needs. We can help remove barriers to you being more assertive within your life. Assertiveness is a skill that can be developed with the right guidance.
Self-Esteem relates to how we feel about ourselves and our sense of self-worth.
A person with high self-esteems will most likely:
- Feel good about themselves and their achievements
- Feel like they are worth something as a person
- Not put themselves down
- Focus on their strengths
- Not be afraid to step out of their comfort zones and try new things
- Feel happy to be assertive with others
A person with low self-esteem may:
- Feel like they are not worth much, and feel unhappy with their lives
- Magnifying things that they believe are wrong with them and minimise their strengths
- Not like themselves and put themselves down constantly
- Avoid trying new things for fear of failure or embarrassment
- Feel the need to constantly seek approval from others
- Be afraid to say “no” to people
- Lack confidence in social situations
If you feel that you might be experiencing low self-esteem let us show you how you can learn to improve your feelings about yourself. Often self-esteem can be improved if you can learn to challenge negative “self-talk”, (i.e the messages you say to yourself) and stop inadvertently putting yourself and your achievements down.
Parenting can be hard work, and parents are not provided with instructions on how to do it “right”. Many parents feel insecure about their own parenting style and wonder whether they could improve the way they relate to their children or help them to improve their behaviour, or otherwise enhance their home environment in some way.
There are a number of common styles of parenting which parents often adopt.
A common parenting style is the “authoritarian” or strict style. Parents adopting this style set all the rules in the household and expect complete obedience from their children. Lack of obedience usually results in heavy punishment for misbehaviour. Unfortunately, this style can sometimes result in a fearful relationship between parent and child and a lack of trust. Another typical parenting style is the “permissive” style. This style allows children to determine their own behaviours and usually does not provide any consequences for inappropriate behaviours. While this style leads to a positive relationship between parent and child it can sometimes result in children who develop behavioural problems.
Both of the aforementioned parenting styles have limitations. At BlueSky Psychology we promote a third style of parenting, where appropriate, called the “authoritative”or “positive parenting” approach. Utilising this style, a parent will determine boundaries for acceptable behaviours often considering the viewpoints of their children when reasonable. Encouragement of positive behaviours takes place through the promotion of positive consequences, while discouragement of negative behaviours also occurs through the use of providing negative consequences for these behaviours. The parental-child bond if likely to remain strong utilising this parenting method.
If you feel you need assistance to enhance your parenting style let us know how we can help. We can teach you about positive parenting or assist you to modify your parenting style to reach the parenting goals that are most important to you. Remember there is no such thing as “perfect” parenting, but we can help you to bring out your best qualities in your parenting of your children.
Guidance on good sexual health can be difficult to find. Many people may be surprised to learn that good sex is not always adequately portrayed in popular magazines and films. Research shows that great sex is more often the result of a good loving relationship, rather and age, athleticism, and technique.
BlueSky Psychology have therapists on their team who are experienced in helping couples with a range sexual health issues. These issues may include low desire and desire discrepancies between a couple, as well as inhibitions to sexual desire, including intimacy and trust issues. We can also help you understand your own and your partner’s sex drive, stop the vicious pursuer/distancer cycle, and put the passion back into your relationship.
Our coping skills relate to how we deal with stressful events in our lives. We can train ourselves to be more resilient to the stresses that life has to offer. Many people engage in coping strategies that are not particularly helpful for the long term, for example, abusing drugs or alcohol, procrastinating, or taking their stresses out on others. However, there are a number of techniques that work particularly well in assisting us to cope with our stresses better.
Techniques that can be particularly helpful to coping include:
- Avoiding unnecessary stress, for example, at busy times limiting activities that don’t really have to be completed.
- Altering situations that cause you unnecessary stress, for instance, learning to manage your time better.
- Trying to adapt to a stressor, for example, ask yourself how you will feel about the situation in a few days time? Will it still be as stressful? If not, adjust your perception of the problem.
- Accept what can’t be changed, for instance, if you can’t control a situation, focus on what you can control such as your own response to it.
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle, for example, making sure that you engage in regular exercise and pleasant, social and relaxing activities.
At BlueSky Psychology we can help to enhance your coping skills if you feel that you need some guidance in this area. We can help you to minimise negative coping skills and devise a plan with you that will help you to maximise your use of positive coping strategies.
Many people find that there are times in their lives when their sleeping patterns are not the best. Often sleeping difficulties can occur when we are experiencing stressful periods in our lives which may be brought about by life circumstances, health concerns, or periods of depression or anxiety. There are many things that can be done to improve the restfulness of our sleep.
Techniques that can help to improve sleep include:
- Developing a sleeping routine
- Eliminating unnecessary light from your sleeping area
- Maintaining an ideal room temperature for sleep
- Reducing the use of drugs, alcohol and caffeine
- Sorting out issues or problems before bedtime
- Limiting strenuous activity prior to bedtime
- Performing relaxing and unwinding activities in the evening
- Putting worries to bed using cognitive restructuring techniques
Many other techniques can be used to improve your sleeping patterns if you are currently having trouble sleeping. We can help you to identify issues and behaviours that may be preventing you from experiencing a restful sleep, and assist you to make the necessary chances to enhance the quality of your sleep.
BlueSky Psychology Level 10, 108 King William Street, Adelaide, South Australia, 5000. Phone 08 8212 3944