Mynd.Works - Anxiety Treatment Canberra

Top 10 Tips for Less Seasonal Stress

The festive holidays will soon be upon us and this period is almost always among the top 20 most stressful events of life – sometimes as high as fifth or sixth.

Other events are infrequent  (deaths, marriage, divorce and even house moves), but Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Las posadas and even New Year stress comes around with great regularity!

At a time when advertising bombards us with scenes of joyous family gatherings, and we’re expected to be in a perpetual state of celebration, it can feel shameful to confess to others that the whole thing fills you with dread.

However much fun this time is traditionally meant to be, there is no doubt that the festive season brings frustration and stress – even for the kids!

here are my Top 10 Tips for Reducing seasonal Stress:

 These tips mainly reference Christmas, but will help in all situations.

1) not Too Much

You’re not superhuman! If you’ve already agreed to host your own party and go to a further 3, do you really need to accept extra invitations?

You need time to rest as well as have fun.  Build in plenty of down-time, time to flop around and chill out. If you are reading this and thinking, “No chance!” then that merely emphasises just how much you do need to build it in.

So, insist upon it. Everyone will benefit if you have more energy at the key moments.


2) Plan Ahead

Buying presents over a few months takes away the stress of having to find them all at once and also spreads the financial burden.  It’s atmospheric to shop when the lights are in the shops and it can be fun, to buy a last special present on Christmas Eve – but you don’t have to do all of your present buying in December.

It’s also not wise to wait too long for something that’s likely to sell out.  It can be extremely stressful to find that an important present is out of stock everywhere.


3) Buy Online

Checkout queues can be a really stressful, some people even suffer trolley rage.  It’s possible to order food, drink and gifts for delivery to your house if you get in quickly enough.

The delivery charge is worth it for the loss of stress!  Do it early or you’ll worry about whether it will arrive in time or not.


4) Remember nothing’s Perfect

You don’t have to be Ebenezer Scrooge to acknowledge that, while there is the perfect Christmas tune (Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You – don’t look at me like that, it must be, based on the neverending airtime it comands ), there is no such thing as a perfect Christmas.

You’re not responsible for everyone’s happiness.

It might be your job to cook the dinner and pick the presents, but if Aunt Flo is in an awful mood, or Grandma insists on watching 3 hours of continuous soaps and upsets everyone else, it’s not your fault.

Although, you can help to set the atmosphere, essentially people will make up their own minds whether they’re going to be in the festive spirit or not.  Which brings us nicely to…



5) Be Responsible

Alcohol is either a friend or an enemy depending how you treat it.  Entertaining can be so stressful that many people like to have a small drink just as it’s about to swing into action.

This can be relaxing and can help you to feel jolly – creating a festive atmosphere.  Of course, this does mean just a tipple… a drunken host or hostess is not a good idea!

If you’re cooking, why not get someone else onto drinks?  They should make sure everyone has what they want without overdoing it.

Since tensions can be high, it’s not a good idea to get so drunk that you tell your sister exactly what you really think of her and her children!  That will greatly increase your stress for a long time to come!  This is less likely if you stick to an amount of alcohol you know you can handle well.

Parties are a great time to let your hair down, but it’s a good idea to drink soft drinks interspersed with the booze during the night and some water before bed.  Overdoing it will often ruin what was otherwise a great night, so one way of dealing with that is to say, “I am going to drink only 4 drinks tonight” (or whatever you know you can handle and not suffer the consequences).  If you plan it that way, then you will find you can stick to a sensible limit more easily.


6) The In-Laws

Or, as some call them, “the Outlaws.”  If you have wonderful ones then this is no problem at all – move on to the next item.  If yours are hard work, you may just have to accept that it may be a strain.

Knowing what has made it easier in the past can help, as can the notion that you can take 10 minutes out from time to time – agree this with your partner beforehand and work together as a tag-team.


7) keep it simple

Sometimes, less is more.  Although there are certain things you cannot avoid putting extra effort into at Christmas there may be others that are so stressful that they aren’t worth the payback.

Is it necessary to prepare every meal as a gourmet feast or to put up so many decorations that your house can be seen from space?  Even the kids may appreciate doing something lower key for some of the holiday.  If they don’t chill out at some point, there will be tantrums.


8)   Time to Relax

Speaking of chilling out, it’s important to have something stress-free planned.  Many people book a massage or spa session either just before or just after (or both if you have the time and money).

Perhaps a round of golf or playing some other sport can also do this – if it’s not too cold!  And of course, there is the Boxing Day sport schedule.

Counsellors often have very busy January’s when new clients want to unload the stresses they underwent over the Christmas period.  It can be good to unburden this to an empathic ear.

My own door is always open, book your FREE consultation here.


9)   Go For a Walk

It can be a relief to go for a walk on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year’s Day.  It can be a blessed break from TV, relatives, broken toys and over-indulged stomachs! Getting out in nature, especially if there is festive weather can really help to lower stress levels.


10)   Having a Spiritual Moment

If you are a religious person it can be the highlight of Christmas to support your faith or go a Carol Service.  If you’re not, it can be calming just to enjoy the music in the malls or on street corners – take a minute to enjoy!

It can be great to escape the manic pace of shopping, find a cafe, grab a seat, pop in some headphones and listen to my FREE 7-min relaxation audio and lower your pulse rate.

The festive season can be such a happy time of celebration and connection. However, it can be a time of isolation, so reach out to others and check they’re okay.

If you do find Christmas stressful then remember keep this list handy and it might ease the burden.

wishing you a joyously festive season.

No More Panic Attacks!

Panic, fear, frantic, irrational, reaction, phobia,So, what is Panic? 

“A sudden sensation of fear which is so strong as to dominate or prevent reason and logical thinking, replacing it with overwhelming feelings of anxiety and frantic agitation consistent with an animalistic fight-or-flight reaction”.

Most people panic from time to time and if not controlled, panic can turn into a debilitating mental disorder over time.

According to the NHS in the UK, nearly one in 10 people has panic disorder and according to the Department of Health in Australia that number climbs to one in 7 people.

If not recognised and treated, panic disorder can be devastating because it can interfere with relationships, school work, employment and normal development.

If you panic during stressful situations, I think you’ll find the following tips very useful:


If you let yourself succumb to that stressful situation, the more you’ll panic. The brain, during a panic attack, is like a kid throwing tantrums. Give in and it wins. Blow it off and it may forget about what it’s so upset about. The Journal of Neuroscience suggests that the more the brain tries to suppress negative emotions, the more active the amygdala becomes – the part which sends messages throughout the brain.

Break it down

If the problem at hand is making you panic and feel overwhelmed, break it down to smaller pieces that can be addressed and managed. Tell yourself “I can do it!” even if your inner critical voice is saying you can’t.

Breathe, breathe and breathe again

During a panic attack, simple breathing and relaxation techniques can help you be more in control. Practising proper timed breathing exercises (inhale for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds) can make your panic attacks less frequent and easier to conquer.

Walk away

During a panic attack, it may seem like there’s no emergency tool that can help you calm down. But sometimes, the most basic activities, such as walking, can take your mind off from anxiety, so take a walk.

Light aerobic exercises can also trigger your brain to produce endorphins – the feel-good chemicals that improve your mood.

Confront your fear

Make a note of your panic attacks – record your thoughts, symptoms, worries and the emotions you experience. When you are feeling better, go back and re-read your entry. This will help you identify your panic triggers and allow you to tactically overcome any more panics.

Talk to a therapist

A good therapist can help you get to the root of a problem and devise a strategy to resolve it. You may also consider joining a support group. Group meetings can give you further insights into your situation because you get the chance to hear how other people cope with panic attacks.

Hypnotherapy is very effective at eliminating panic attacks, you can read more about it >>>here<<<.

Effectively dealing with panic attacks is a skill that you just can’t develop overnight. It takes time and practise to apply these techniques and other strategies to cope with panic attacks but it is definitely worth the effort. Once you start to learn about panic and stand up to it, life will become easier.

Let me know if you found these insights useful and helpful, and please feel free to share with others.

Richard Scott
Clinical Hypnotherapist

No Stress for Students

Here are some useful tips to help you all students avoid the many pitfalls of stress, anxiety and panic – particularly when it comes to exam time at school, college or university.

nail bitingAvoid stressful people.

Stress actually is contagious. During exam week, resist the urge to have a study session with your super-tense friend, especially if they’re complaining about all the work they have to do and breaking pencils all over the place. Their stress will only add to your stress.

Eat healthy and exercise.

This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s a wonder how many people forget it. Skip the sugar, which will make you crash, and go for snacks like Granola bars, healthy cereal or fruits and veggies to keep your blood sugar stable. If you’re studying for a long period of time, eat some protein too. Also, try to get some form of exercise. Even a 10 minute walk will leave you calmer and more focused.

Just say NO.

I don’t mean to drugs, although I’m definitely not recommending them. What you need to say no to are the people who want to take up your time. There will probably be a friend who needs to talk to you for hours about their life, or a keg party the night before your final, and if you say yes, you’ll probably be tempted to blow off studying. Resist the urge. Say no to the distractions and be selfish for a day. You want great results, right?

Force yourself to take breaks.

For every hour or so that you work, take a 10 or 15 minute break. Let yourself do whatever you want (check Facebook, check out that guy or girl sitting nearby, stare off into space, call a friend, etc.) for those 10-15 minutes, then start working again. This gives your brain a little rest and will help keep you more focused when you are actually doing work.

Pupils sit exams in a school hallVisualize it all going right.

This is actually my favourite tip of all, even though it sounds kind of nuts. Imagine yourself taking the test and feeling confident that you know all the information. Picture getting all of the answers right, and focus on how relaxed you feel. Then picture the A on your test paper. When you imagine a happy ending, that’s often what happens, because you make the decisions that lead to it without even realising.

If you’ve studied all you can, get up your confidence!

When test-time rolls around, it’s time to get yourself into confidence mode. You’ve prepared as much as you could, and now it’s time to ace the test. The tip here is to do whatever works to convince yourself you are going to do really well. Again, I know this tip sounds a little crazy but you just have to try it for yourself. I think you’ll like the results.

If you’re having trouble getting into ‘confidence’ mode… This may just help! I’ve recently created a Student Stress-Buster MP3 which I’m providing to students at HALF PRICE. That’s right… just $20

Say goodbye to those stress filled days and long long nights of study.

Learn faster, retaining more information and all while being super-relaxed and supremely confident.

Get your Student Stress-Buster MP3 download by visiting my STUDENT MP3 page..

Pass this onwards if you know someone it may help. Your thoughts, feedback, comments, likes and shares are always welcome.


Richard Scott