0 comments on “Easing Academic Stress in the Home.”

Easing Academic Stress in the Home.

Hong Kong counselling therapist services-child therapy

Academic pressure is a major source of anxiety and stress for many children and teens.  As a parent, you want what is best for your child.  Here are a few pointers to help you ease the academic pressure your child might be feeling.

  1. 1. Have a stress free homework routine.  After school allow your child or teen to have a snack.  Food will help them to be in a better mood and help their brain concentrate better.  It is difficult to think when you are hungry.  Set a regular routine where after they eat, do homework, and then they can be rewarded with play or exercise.
  2. Allow your child breaks.  The brain can only focus for certain amounts of time.  Children have a shorter attention span than adults.  If your child is having a difficult time sitting still, make a game out of the homework.  Say, “If you can focus and do this worksheet properly, you can have two minutes to play, or do whatever you like.  When I count to ten, we resume the homework again.”
  3. Take the pressure out of the home.  Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.  If your child is struggling in math, do not add more pressure by shouting or punishing them.  Sit down next to them and patiently explain it to them. If you are unable to be patient with them, hire a patient tutor.  Speak kindly to your child.  When your child is calm, they can think better.
  4. Allow play and exercise for added focus and brain power. Your child or teen needs to play and exercise in order to sit through school.  Exercise increases blood flow to the brain making it easier to focus and learn.  Children need to play to reduce stress.
  5. Stress reduction.  Anxiety and stress hinder learning because the fight or flight system is activated.  Anxiety and stress make it difficult to focus and learn.  Stress and anxiety can be reduced in different ways, such as play, art, exercise and breathing techniques.  Allow your child to open up to you and express how they are feeling without judgement and punishment.
  6. Sleep. Make sure your child or teenager is getting enough sleep at night.  Lack of sleep makes it difficult to learn.
  7. Proper nutrition.  Too much sugar will create fatigue and shorten attention span.  Proper nutrition and diet lead to a healthy body and brain.
  8. Remain calm.  The calmer you are, the calmer your child will be.  This enables a better learning environment in and outside of the home.
  9. Decrease screen time. Overstimulation from the iPad, television, computer, video games and phone decrease attention. Limit the amount your teen or child is allowed to use these electronic devices.

Dr Monica Borschel is a US trained Clinical Psychologist Get in touch with Dr. Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com for an individual or Skype session.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Perception is everything”

Perception is everything

Hong Kong counselling therapy services

Everyone views the world through the lens of their own reality.  In a sense, we all live in a different universe.  Though we may be experiencing the same events, the way we interpret the event may be different.  When we are depressed, anxious or grieving, we have a tendency to forget that things will get better.  When all you can see is darkness, you forget that the other side of darkness is light.

For example, you might feel rejected by a job, family, society or someone you love.  One person might see the rejection as an opportunity to learn and grow, to find another solution to what they want.  And another person might see the rejection as proof that they are a failure.  Everyone fails sometimes.  What counts is how you react to the failure or rejection.

When we are grieving, depressed or anxious, we can’t understand how we will move past our intense emotions.  We can’t understand how other people can be so happy when we are suffering so.  Each feeling that we have gives us information.  Grief teaches us to appreciate the ones that we love, depression lets us know that something is out of balance, and anxiety tells us that we do not feel safe.  We can use these emotions to become introspective and more aware of who we are.  Here are some points to perception and how it can hurt or heal us:

1. We are a product of our genes and environment: When we fail to understand that other people see the world differently than us, miscommunication and tension develop.  We can have healthier and happier relationships in business and in our personal lives if we take the time to listen to someone else’s perception without judgement.

2. Focus on abundance and not lack: Sometimes we get stuck in the negative cycle of longing for what we don’t have.  This might make us anxious or depressed.  If we focus on what we do have, we become calmer and more focused.  Appreciation and gratitude is an easy trick to be a happier person.

3. Take criticism with a grain of salt: Sometimes people criticise us in a way that helps us to grow and develop.  This sort of criticism is coming from a place of care and love.  Destructive criticism comes from a place of jealousy or judgement and should be filtered out.  Do not internalise other people’s negativity towards you as it tends to be a projection of how they feel about themselves.

4. Be patient with yourself: Sometimes we might feel annoyed with ourselves because we think that our emotions are a sign of weakness.  This is not helpful.  When you feel down, give yourself some space.  Space to respect and grow from your emotions, and space from self-judgement and criticism.

5. Know yourself: Understand your emotions and what triggers them.  Knowing yourself helps you to avoid conflict and understand what you need to meet your goals.

6. Social support: Spend time with people who offer emotional support and support your growth as a person.  Stay away from people who are motivated by jealousy and anger.

7. Reach out to a professional: If you feel unmotivated, and can’t find joy in anything, it is a good idea to ask for help from an expert.  A professional can help you to understand yourself better and help you reach your full potential.



Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist

Reach out to Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com for a private or skype session

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Becoming confident after abuse.”

Becoming confident after abuse.

US trained psychologist offering therapy services

If you have been abused as a child or as an adult, you might feel worthless.  If as a child you underwent neglect, rejection or abuse from your parents, confidence might be harder to find.  A child who has experienced verbal abuse and neglect will begin to believe that they are worthless and horrible.  The damage from abuse might take years to undo, here are some pointers to set you in the right direction.

1. Don’t judge yourself or others. When you judge other people, you also judge yourself.  If you change your mindset to acceptance of others, you also learn how to accept yourself.  This takes patience and practice as it is human nature to judge.

2. Speak kindly to yourself.  Notice when you are abusing yourself and rephrase.  For example, “I’m an idiot,” becomes, “I am capable of fixing that mistake.  I can handle this.”  Speak to yourself like you would speak to someone that you respect and admire.

3. Understand the abuse has nothing to do with you. When you are abused, you might begin to believe that you deserved it, or that you are worthless.  Understand that people who are happy and comfortable with themselves do not abuse others.  Abusers tend to be people who are hurting deeply and want to control by devaluing others.  Break the cycle of abuse by healing your emotional wounds and treating yourself and others with respect and compassion.

4. Set boundaries.  Learn how to communicate and put your needs before the needs of others.  Don’t allow people to violate or own your physical or psychological space.

5. Explore your fears and insecurities.  When we have been abused, we might have more fear of rejection and failure than others.  Be brave enough to look at your insecurities and ask if they are preventing you from reaching your potential.  Some fear is a liar.  You are not worthless, and you can accomplish goals.

6. Set goals and accomplish them: Push through your self-doubt and set manageable goals for yourself.  As you reach your goals, you become more confident.  Believe in yourself and tell yourself you can handle it.

7. Reach out for support: Speak to those who support you or reach out for professional help.  The effects of abuse can be unconscious and hard to detect.


Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist

Reach out to Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com for an individual or skype session.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Am I sad or depressed?”

Am I sad or depressed?

US trained psychologist in Hong Kong counselling and therapy services

Sadness is an emotion that slows us down and teaches us that we made a mistake, or that something or someone hurt us.  Usually, when we are sad, we are still able to get out of bed and maintain our daily routines.  Depression is a deeper emotion that often feels like darkness or heaviness.  We find ourselves unable to go about our daily routines because we are too tired or unmotivated.  If you have been feeling depressed for more than a couple of months, help from a professional is a good idea.  Here are some warning signs that you might be depressed.

1. Your sleeping habits have changed:  You might find that it feels almost impossible to get out of bed.  You want to sleep for days because when you are sleeping, you can’t feel the pain.  Or you might find that you can no longer sleep at night.  You might feel tired all the time.

2. Your relationships begin to suffer: Your relationships might be suffering because you are so overwhelmed with pain that you feel like you can not deal with anyone else.  You might feel agitated with others and have little empathy for what they are experiencing.  You might withdraw because you do not want to burden anyone else.  This is exactly the time when you should reach out to others who are caring and supportive.

3. You feel hopeless: You begin to feel like you will be suffering forever and that there is nothing you can do to alleviate the pain.  You might feel like you will always fail, never reach your goals or always be stuck.

4. Your body aches for no reason:  You might find that your muscles are sore and stiff, but you haven’t been exercising.  You might also have a change in appetite, either eating too much or too little.  Your body might feel heavy.   Though you feel tired and unmotivated, exercise will help you.

5. You can’t focus: You might not be able to focus at work or school.  You might become easily distracted or feel like you are dreaming.

6. Difficult to find joy in anything:  You might not be able to enjoy things that you used to love, or have a difficult time enjoying anything.

7. Your hygiene has suffered: You feel like taking a shower, doing your hair or brushing your teeth is too much effort.

8. You think badly about yourself: You feel like you are worthless, and that there is little to nothing good about yourself.  You are stuck in a negative mental loop.

Depression can be difficult to overcome on your own.  It is not something to be ashamed of or hidden from others.

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist  Reach out to Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Skype or private session available

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “What is a boundary, and why should I have them?”

What is a boundary, and why should I have them?

Hong Kong psychologist offering counselling services

Boundaries are an essential aspect of self-care. They help us to maintain perspective and keep our energy and focus.  You can still have limits while remaining caring and compassionate towards others.  Boundaries can be difficult for people who put others before themselves.  When we don’t take care of ourselves, we can not take care of others.  Here are some boundaries and why you should have them.

1. Put yourself first: Putting yourself first does not mean that you do not care about others.  Putting yourself first says that you understand and respect your personal goals, emotions and needs.  When you appreciate your own needs, you do not put the needs of others before your own.  When you continually put the needs of others before your own, resentment builds.  Often times in relationships and in your career, you may need to find a way to have your needs met while still respecting the needs of others.

2. Self-awareness: When you are self-aware you understand what you are emotionally, physically and psychologically capable of.  You do not push beyond this because you understand that this will cause damage to your personal well-being.  When you push yourself over your limits you become drained, stressed and lose perspective and energy.

3. Keeping guilt in check: Sometimes we might feel guilty if we don’t help out a friend, co-worker, family member or spouse.  Helping others is a positive thing that can help to bring happiness and increase your self-esteem.  However, when we are already tapped out mentally or physically, helping others might interfere with the balance in our own lives.

4. Remain balanced: Balance means that we have enough physical, social and mental activity to keep us happy and motivated.  When we lack balance, we become irritable and tired.

5. Don’t take things too personally: Sometimes people become irritated, critical or upset with you.  Understand what is going on with the other person, you and the situation from a third party perspective.  Can you improve your behaviour?  Is the other person projecting their own insecurities onto you? Is the situation one that needs to be fixed?

6. Communicate your needs:  Often times people have a different needs priority list.  Miscommunication happens if you expect people to read your mind.  Tell the other person what your needs are, and stand firm.  Do not let the other person take your needs for granted.

7. Cost-benefit analysis: If you find yourself confused if you should stay in a situation or with a person, do a quick cost-benefit analysis.  Is this situation going to pay off in the future with a cost now?  Is the cost higher than the benefit?  Is there any benefit at all?

8. Be patient with yourself: If you are not used to asserting your needs, boundaries will be difficult.  Take it a day at a time and give yourself some space.  Keep trying until you understand your needs and are communicating your needs.

9. Reach out for help: If boundaries are difficult for you due to past abuse or a lack of confidence, reach out for help.

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist.

Reach out to Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Forgiving yourself”

Forgiving yourself

Hong Kong psychological services

If you grew up being neglected or criticized, you might have the false belief that everything you do is wrong. You might believe that you have to be perfect to be loved. If you have the painful habit of blaming yourself for everything, these pointers might help.

1. Be responsible for your actions, but not overly responsible: An example would be if someone at work or in your relationships asks you to change a behavior and you think that they are not happy with you as a person. Recognize that they want you to change your behavior and not who you are as a person.

2. Use constructive criticism for your benefit and ignore destructive criticism: Constructive criticism is when someone asks you to change something for your benefit in a polite way. Destructive criticism is in the form of sarcasm or insults. Destructive criticism is to be ignored as it has more to do with the person criticizing than with you. Don’t internalize insults.

3. Be aware of how you speak to yourself: Speak to yourself like you would speak to someone you love. “It’s ok, I did my best. I learned my lesson and I won’t make that same mistake again.”

4. Differentiate between guilt and shame: Guilt is my behavior was wrong. I feel bad and I learned that I will not do that again. Shame is I’m a horrible person, I don’t deserve to be loved. Guilt is easier to forgive because it is about the behavior and not who you are as a person. Shame is not helpful.

5. Ask for forgiveness: Ask the person you believe you hurt for forgiveness. If they can’t forgive you, give them some space.

6. Write yourself a letter asking for forgiveness: Sometimes it’s more difficult for us to forgive ourselves than it is to forgive others. If you are having a difficult time, write yourself a letter. In the letter write down your emotions, why you are sorry and how you will make up for it. You do not need to punish yourself as you already feel bad about the situation.

7. Stop blaming: Be careful of blaming yourself. Especially for things that are in the past and you can not control.

8. Accept yourself: Accept that you are not perfect. Create some space for yourself to make mistakes. Learn from your mistakes and become a better person.

9. Reach out for help: If you are having a difficult time forgiving yourself and you are feeling depressed. Reach out for help from a professional.

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist  Reach out to Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Why am I so angry?”

Why am I so angry?

Hong Kong psychological services

Humans have emotions for a reason.  Some emotions keep us safe, social and on a certain life path.  Anger is an emotion that tells others, “don’t mess with me,” or “I want to feel in control.” Anger helps us to feel powerful and it can motivate us.  Anger is not a problem, but how we react to it can be.

1. Change the psychological meaning from anger to disappointment.  Dissapointment is a healthier way to acknowledge that something did not turn out the way you expected or desired.  When we are disappointed it is easier to respond instead of react.  When we can respond in an objective manner we have more control over a situation.

2. Where and when do you feel out of control?  When we acknowledge and accept the situations where we feel out of control, we can respond to them better.  We might feel out of control if we can’t have the partner, job or social status we desire.  We can understand that our feelings of anger can be used in a positive way to motivate us to attend to our goals.  Anger becomes destructive when we become aggressive and sabotage our relationships and career opportunities.

3. Your focus is on external validation.  When we are constantly seeking the validation of others, we might be more sensitive to rejection.  The feeling of rejection might anger us and cause conflict in our relationships.  Focus on your goals and needs and how you can reach internal validation and confidence.

4. You have been abused.  People who have been abused might unconsciously feel that they need to be aggressive towards others before someone hurts them first.  Anger and violence is a way to feel in control and to control the other person.  Anger can even be directed towards yourself and self-loathing can take place.  Be aware of who is safe and unsafe in your environment.  Work on creating a safe space for yourself both physically and psychologically.  When this becomes overwhelming or difficult, a professional can walk you through this process.

5. De-stress.  Sometimes we feel agitated and angry when our stress levels are too high and we are out of balance.  Focus on taking some stress out of your life by going into nature, meditating, playing sports or by spending time with friends.

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist

Reach out to Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “How to talk to your child about divorce”

How to talk to your child about divorce

Hong Kong counselling therapist services-child therapy

Divorce is a difficult situation for adults, let alone children and teenagers.  Parents who are separating might be experiencing their own grief, sadness and anxiety.  As the adult, it is important that you are able to be the secure base for your child or teenager during this time.  Children are intuitive and can sense the mood of their parents.  To hold a safe space for your child, make sure that you are calm.

Key points to remember while speaking to your child about divorce:

1. Unconditional Love: It is important that children understand that none of this is their fault.  A child might side with the parent who they feel is hurting or the same sex parent. No matter who the child lives with, or spends time with, it is important for them to know that you still love them and that they will not be punished for this.

2. Do not involve the children in the conflict.  The children should not know about the financial pressures or constraints of the divorce.  This is one more stress they do not need, they should not be involved in adult situations.

3. Expect to answer a lot of questions.  Your child or teenager might be hurt and confused.  Be prepared to answer the same questions over and over again as they try to process the situation.  Do your best to remain patient through this process.

4. Don’t interrogate your children.  Don’t ask them about the other parent or what the other parent is doing.  Do not make your children take sides.  When you say something negative about the other parent, the child unconsciously feels as if you feel the same way about them as they are genetically half of the other parent.

5. Listen to your child’s emotions.  Acknowledge your child’s emotions patiently.  You might say something like, “I know this is scary and you are sad.  It’s ok to cry and talk about it.  Your mum and dad will love you no matter what.  Even though you don’t live with both of us anymore, we are always your mum and dad.”

6. Be honest and sincere.  Children do not need to know the adult matters, but it is best, to be honest about the living arrangements.  Children understand more than adults often give them credit for, and lying upsets and angers them.  It is best not to introduce a new romantic partner to your child or teenager for at least six months.

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment.  Get in touch with Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Private or skype sessions available

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Navigating a break-up or divorce”

Navigating a break-up or divorce

Hong Kong Clinical Psychologist counsellling therapist

Life can be especially lonely if you are going through a recent break-up or divorce.  Break-ups and divorce sometimes break our hearts and leave us feeling depressed or lonely. An unexpected or sudden break-up or divorce can be an end to our hopes and dreams for a future with our loved one. We might find ourselves having a difficult time trusting again or finding the motivation to move on with our lives. Here are some pointers on how to navigate this difficult time to get your life back on track.

  1. Accept the loss for what it is:  Loss is painful.  The first step to moving on is to accept that the relationship is over.  Once we recognise that it is over, we can stop analysing, why? What if?
  2. Accept that it might be a time period: Accept that this time period might be painful because you are not able to speak or see the person that you lost.  It might also be painful to see other happy couples and families together during this period.   Try to stay present and focus on what you do have, and not on what you don’t have.  Focus on what your wants, and needs are.
  3. Be patient with your emotions: It is natural to grieve after a break-up or a divorce. Sometimes we are mourning the loss of mutual friends, finances and a future with the other person. During this period of grief, allow yourself some time to feel your feelings. If your emotions become overwhelming and consuming, reach out to a professional in the mental health field.
  4. Reconnect with loved ones: Reach out to friends and family who have been supportive and warm to you in the past. Social support is a great way to reconnect with yourself and others, helping to reduce loneliness.
  5. Focus on your desires and goals: Take the break-up as an opportunity to discover who you are and what you would like to do with your life. Set some goals and work towards them daily.
  6. Exercise: Physical activity releases stress and builds confidence. Often times after a break-up or divorce our self-esteem drops. Exercise helps us to feel healthy and fit as well as stimulates our mind and increases focus.
  7. Appreciate your journey: Appreciate the good times you had with your partner and the love that you once shared. It may seem like you will never find someone to love during this period of loss. On the contrary, you can use this experience to decide who you are and what you would like in your next partner.
  8. Rediscover who you are: A break-up or divorce can give you the opportunity to reflect on your own vulnerabilities and strengths. Who are you, where are you going and what have you learned from this experience. It can be helpful during this period to hire a psychologist to help you on your path to self-evolution.
  9. Do something nice for yourself every day: Everyday find 10-15 minutes to do something kind for yourself. It can be taking a nice bath, doing yoga, meditating, or reading a book. Make sure that you find the time for self-care.
  10. Self-compassion: After a break-up or divorce it can be easy to place blame on yourself or the other person. Blame does not heal or solve any problems. Be compassionate towards yourself and speak to yourself without judgement.

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment.  Get in touch with Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “How placing judgement hurts you”

How placing judgement hurts you

Hong Kong psychological services

Human minds organize things and people to process information quicker. The downside to this is categorizing people leads to stereotyping. The key is to be aware of your own stereotypes so that you don’t overlook other valuable information. The more often we judge others, the more often we judge ourself. This can lead to social anxiety and self-consciousness. Here is how you can help yourself.

1. Be aware of your judgements. Are you judging because:

A. Something about the other person represents a part of yourself that you don’t like?

B. The other person reminds you of someone who hurt your you?

C. The other person represents something that you want to be?

2. Speak kindly to yourself and others.

3. Is the judgement destructive or constructive. Destructive judgement is harmful and says that you or the other person are not good enough. Constructive judgement helps you or the other person grow and become better.

4. Reframe destructive judgement. Everyone is a product of their genes and their environment. People act and react to you based on how they perceive you and their own past experiences. Having this in mind helps you to view others objectively rather than critically.

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment.  Get in touch with Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel