Each of us has different life experiences. As we experience different things we explain why they happen to us by determining what experience means. People react differently to the same situation because they have a different understanding of what that situation means to them.

Overcoming anxiety is never easy. It takes a great deal of dedication and focus to overcome the condition. Sufferers of social anxiety must learn how to recognize the symptoms and develop an effective strategy for overcoming it.

Loneliness is difficult to handle and can have a detrimental effect on your quality of life. If you are struggling with loneliness, it may be time to consider how you are coping with it and how you might overcome it.

Most of us would like life to be fun and enjoyable. But in the pursuit of fun and enjoyment, several responsibilities come into our lives such as work, family, and day to day activities that we need to do to live.

While life follows a safe routine day-to-day, and I know what I’m doing and what’s likely to happen, I have a certain degree of security and an idea of who I am. However, life is currently changing, and we are not quite sure where it can end up or indeed, how it is going to look.

Grief is defined as the expression of the feelings that you experience when something important to you is lost. The pain of grief goes through several stages and not necessarily in a set order.

Grief can be overpowering
At Startpoint Counselling, we understand how grief and loss can feel overwhelming to many people…

Often having too much to do and not enough time to do it leads to feeling overwhelmed. Overwhelm impacts us mentally, physically, and emotionally and in turn, impacts those around us. When we are in this situation, it’s tough to see how we can change anything. Here are five tips for reducing overwhelm and increasing the amount you get done.


Take the time to sit still and breathe for a moment

When we feel stressed and overwhelmed the first thing to suffer is our breathing. We tend to shallow breathe. Taking time to stand still and do a breathing exercise will help get more oxygen into your body, correcting or shallow breathing and will have a calming effect on your physical body and your mind.

Square breathing is one good way to do this

  • Begin by slowly exhaling all of your air out
  • Then, gently inhale through your nose to a slow count of 4
  • Hold your breath in for a count of 4
  • Then gently exhale through your mouth for a count of 4
  • Hold your breath out for the count of 4
  • Repeat as many times as you need to calm down

Have a look at what you have to do and get a few of the quick ones out of the way first

By doing a few of the simple, quick tasks, this will shorten your list for the day and give you a sense that you are making some progress.

Be realistic as to how you are going with what you’re trying to handle

We are so quick to beat ourselves up when overwhelm makes us feel that we are inadequate and failing because we can’t get everything done.

Overwhelm starts with us believing that we can handle anything no matter how big. It is reinforced by the idea that not being able to do so is a failure.



If you are feeling overwhelmed don’t try to multitask

Actually, there is no such thing as multitasking. What you are quickly doing is shifting focus from one task to the other very rapidly. Doing that can be very tiring, particularly when you’re feeling low on energy.

It’s best to focus on one task at a time so that it can have your full attention. When you do this, you will realise how quickly you can get things done. Doing so will require much less energy than trying to focus on several things.

Change your energy level

Continually pushing ourselves to try to complete everything in the same location can make us feel like we’re trapped in a rut. It doesn’t matter where that location is it starts to feel a bit like a prison. Change your location, and you can change how you feel. Get outside in some fresh air. Go for a short walk in an area where there are plants as nature revitalises you. Try going for a quick run. Go outside and call someone on the phone. Have a little bit of a chat to get a change from what you are doing.

Time spent doing this may seem like we’re procrastinating. To ensure that you don’t set a timer so that you don’t overextend this time out. When we are overwhelmed, we tend to waste time stressing out about things. Using that time to get a break is much more productive.

Startpoint Counsellors are experts in reducing the stress of overwhelm and increasing happiness in life.

Call us for a free 15-minute session with one of our counsellors to discuss how we can help you to change your situation. 07 3458 1725

BrokenEvery case of broken trust impacts us on three levels, and the damage on each of these levels is what holds us back from healing the broken trust and moving on. It doesn’t matter whether the broken trust is real or perceived; impact occurs on these three levels.

The Emotional Level

For everything that happens in our lives whether good or bad we have an emotional reaction. Every experience that we have is stored in a memory not only as what happened but how we experienced the event using our five senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. The question is how that information makes us feel. We are not dealing with merely an event when it comes to memories, but an event that carries some very real information for us. When we encounter distressing situations in our relationship, we link things that have happened to us in the past to what is happening now. It may not be the same, but if it is similar, we will react strongly. The more times we experience a similar event, the stronger our emotional reaction. When trust is broken the impact on the emotional level is severe because broken trust represents the loss of so many things to us. It can mean things like the loss of security, the loss of stability, the loss of self-esteem and so on.

The degree of damage that exists on this level, that is not recognised by other people, and is left unhealed is the number one reason why it is difficult to move on after trust is broken.

The Perception Level

Perception encompasses our belief or opinion about certain things or people.

When something happens repeatedly, you will form a belief or opinion about the likelihood of it happening again. When we have a perception of how a person is going to behave in a situation, we place that perception on that person, and in our eyes, our perception defines their character. We perceive that they will do a specific action when faced with a particular set of circumstances. If that perception is negative, then we expect our interaction with them will be more negative than positive.

Human beings tend only to observe and hear things that confirm what they believe. So at this point no matter what your partner does which is right, if there is broken trust, you are only picking up in your interaction with them what is bad and what confirms that they are untrustworthy.

Our perception of our partner after they have broken our trust is the number two reason that we find it difficult to move on once trust has been broken.

Behaviour Level

Based on how strong our emotional level reaction is and how strong our perception of events or people becomes, we will moderate our behaviour in response. In a relationship, our emotional build-up and our perception of our partner can lead to behaviours on our part which at the worst destroys the relationship or at the best keeps our partner at arm’s length.

The actions that we take at the behaviour level as a result of the damage at the emotional level and the perception that we have built up of our partners, is the number three reason why we find it hard to heal and move on after trust is broken.


In relationships where one of the partners has cheated on the other and trust has been broken, there is a great deal of emotion built up which leaves the injured partner to believe the other one will always break or damage their trust. As a result, the hurt partner cannot just move on (change their behaviour) but will instead adopt practices that can destroy, cripple or keep the relationship at arm’s length. To begin to heal the relationship and to rebuild the broken trust the damage at the emotional and perception levels must be addressed first.

Next time we’ll look at how to rebuild broken trust.

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What creates changeThere are three phases to time as we know it.

There is the past, the present and the future.

The past is what has happened, it is set in stone and you can’t change it. The present moment is the very moment that we are in now and then there is the future which basically hasn’t happened yet.

In the present, we can choose to make changes. We can’t change the future because it hasn’t happened yet and we can’t change the past because it’s set in stone so our power only exists in the present.

If you’re not happy with where you are in the present then you have to make a change in something to get a different result. You can look at the past and use the past as a lesson and determine what you had in the past is not what I want now. If you use your negative experiences to determine what you do want, you will be able to see what you need to do to effect change. This is a common approach to change. Some people, however, will look at the future and design how they want the future to look. This, in turn, shows them what needs to be done in the present to get that outcome. Either approach will work.

Using the past to motivate change is an act of moving away from pain. Using the future to motivate change is an act of moving towards pleasure. Moving away from pain or moving towards pleasure are the two great motivators for human beings.

The barrier to this working with any degree of success lies in our tendency to look back at the past and want to blame people have done things to us for our current situation or blame the Universe or God for whatever for what’s happened to us. By dwelling on this we get stuck back in the past where we cannot make any changes.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t feel pain about things that have happened to you and shouldn’t be really upset about things that happened to you because everyone’s got those things in their lives. What I am saying is if we allow ourselves to be bound back in the area of time in which we have no power because no changes can happen there, we become stuck. We must focus on the changes that we can make in the present in order to move forward.

As easy as this might sound, let’s be honest, it is not easy to make the decision that you are going to live from this point forward in order to see the change that you want. It takes effort not to focus back on the past, and this effort is easier when you have the support of others.

© Tracey Janke StartPoint Counselling 2019
07 3458 1725
Supporting Your Change

Loneliness affects everyone whether it is a loss of a relationship, a partner who is away from home due to work or other commitments or the desire for a relationship that you have not experienced yet.

We experience loneliness because we are social beings who are biologically programmed to be in a relationship. When the relationship aspect is missing, we feel lonely. Loneliness can be debilitating and can lead to depression. We need to be able to manage those times when we feel lonely. The first and most important strategy is to have a plan and to identify the thoughts that are pulling us down.

Have a plan

Identify the times that you are most likely to feel lonely. At these times make plans with friends or family or plan to watch some movies or TV series. Consider joining a class that interests you, reading a book or learn new things.

Identify the thoughts that you have when you are lonely

Write down the thoughts that you have when you are lonely. These thoughts might include

I will always be alone
I must be a loser because I am alone
I can’t stand feeling lonely
These are fairly normal thoughts for people who feel lonely. It is important that you question the validity of these thoughts that pop into your head instead of just accepting them.

For instance, to say that you are always alone is saying that you are never with anyone. That simply is not true. It is probably true to say that you are often lonely.

To believe that you are a loser because you are alone is also questionable because everyone is alone at some point so is everyone a loser? Loneliness is a situation and not a reflection of you.

Not being able to stand to be alone is a strong statement. You may not like to be alone, but you can control the way that you relate to it. You try to repel it by being angry, resentful and depressed or you can realise that you can take action to deal with your feelings and accept that loneliness is a part of life and it comes and goes.

With a plan in place and our thoughts identified it is time to consider some useful strategies.

Coping with loneliness


Laughing has been scientifically proven to benefit your health. When you’re lonely laughter is the farthest thing from your mind. Learning to laugh by yourself is empowering. You do not need to rely on others to make you happy.

Watch a funny film or funny clips on Youtube, read a joke book or look at funny pictures. Laughter is great for the release of feel-good endorphins in your brain again.

Take care of yourself, physically and mentally

It is easy to neglect yourself when you are feeling low. Taking care of your body is the beginning of feeling better. Try a nice bath, a massage, listen to uplifting music, watch a good movie or TV series.

Pets are important

If you have a pet, then you don’t live alone. Pets are great companions, and you can talk to them. Even if a cat or dog is out of the question, there other pets like fish. Interaction with a living thing other than yourself will help hold off loneliness.

Try new things

Occupy yourself with things that feel creative and exciting. Master a new skill, take on a new hobby or find other ways to express yourself.

Don’t physically shut off from the world – fight the urge to isolate yourself

Open the house up every day. Create an outdoor space where you can interact with nature. Looking outside or being outside reminds you that you are not alone.

Have people over

Invite people you know over for food and drink or watching a movie.

Be around people

We are social beings who crave the physical, emotional and psychological company of fellow human beings. So if you are feeling lonely, you need to go out and be near people. You can go and sit in a public space and by watching other people as they pass by you can be near them. While this will not fully meet your needs, it will help.

Volunteer and work with others

Get out of your comfort zone and get involved in a common goal with other people. Volunteering is a way to meet new people.

Recognise that being alone can be beneficial

Being alone can be peaceful, quiet, and give you space and the opportunity to connect with your deeper self.

Relate loneliness to your values of connection

Loneliness reminds us of the value of connection, intimacy, and sharing experiences with others.

Consider counselling

Counselling is a proactive way to learn to overcome the self-defeating behaviours that heighten your feeling of loneliness. With the support of a counsellor, you can learn to change your thinking and relationship patterns and improve the way that you view life.

(c) Tracey Janke – StartPoint Counselling 2017

07 3458 1725 / 0409 272 115

April was a sad month. Some couples came to see me in the hopes of repairing their relationship, but they have left things to go to the point that extensive damage has occurred in their relationship. You cannot leave arguments, resentment and bitterness to build in a relationship without it poisoning that relationship. A word readily used to describe this is a toxic relationship. No matter what they attempt, there is this perception that each of them is trying to hurt the other and so there is a tendency to hurt the other one back. This level of damage will require a change in the perception of what their partner is trying to do before repair is possible. Leaving it too long before seeing a professional counsellor could mean the relationship cannot be repaired. There is just too much pain, and the perception of each other is so negative that the drive and commitment to rebuild the relationship is not there for one partner.

Getting help before it is too late greatly increases the possibility of repairing your relationship.
In every conflict, three levels of ourselves are impacted. 1st level to be impacted is the emotional level. At this level, we measure hurt and experience emotions such as rejection and betrayal. As the damage at the emotional level rises our perception level (2nd level) changes, and we see the person causing this pain as the aggressor whose intention is simply to make our lives hell. Finally, the behaviour level (3rd level) is impacted, and  we behave as a result of our emotional pain and perception.

As a result of our changed perception, we look at everything that is happening in the relationship through the distortion of “you are trying to hurt me”. On top of this, the emotional pain that we are feeling leaves us with the choice of either fight or flight. If it’s fight, then the issue escalates into conflict. If it’s flight, then the issue results in one person withdrawing while the other pressures them to respond. Either way, perception plays a big part.

The more we hurt, the more everything becomes about us. We become closed down to the possibility that anyone else could have anything significant to offer us. We just want to be soothed. We want the pain to go away. We want someone to recognise how much we are hurting, but the closest one to us is perceived as the originator of the pain.

To rebuild the relationship, it is necessary to understand that our partner is not the same as us and understand where they are coming from. It requires focusing on the other person. If you are both doing this then perception and emotional pain can be understood and addressed. This sounds like a tall order, and it is because your relationship has been, so self-focused that the idea of moving outside of that is seen as impossible.

As a relationship specialist, I can help couples address the perception and pain issues and understand where each person in the relationship is coming from. You can try to repair your relationship yourself, but it will be difficult as you are both hurt and perceiving each other as the problem. Book an initial session with me, and you will quickly discover what I can do for you.

Don’t leave it too late. Act while your relationship can still be repaired.

© Tracey Janke StartPoint Counselling 2017

07 3458 1725 / 0409 272 115