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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 23 October, 2014

Money getting you down? A psychologist is giving free advice on how to handle stress

Psychologist Shane Martin is holding a free talk entitled “How to Cope with the Stress of Debt” this week.

Image: bills via Shutterstock

THE BUDGET IS rarely a happy time for the public, at least in recent years.

If last week’s cuts did affect you, or if several years of austerity is taking its toll, psychologist Shane Martin has some helpful advice on how to keep stress levels down and your mental health in order.

The Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy are holding a free talk this Thursday on how to keep the chin up during times of economic downturn, entitled “How to Cope with the Stress of Debt”.

Research commissioned by the institute showed that for 3 in 10 Irish adults money is a source of stress, while 2 in 10 find that work was causes it.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Martin, who runs Moodwatchers, said that we tend to look at the causes rather than cures where it comes to stress and mental health problems, and we’re also not talking about it enough.

“We should be getting children ready to cope with problems they’re going to face later on in life at an earlier age,” he said, “and arming them with a toolbox that will help them keep their mental health in shape later in life.

“We have a slight bias towards focusing on what makes us ill, rather than finding out how to keep ourselves well”

He said that the most important thing for anyone feeling down about money is “to know that they’re not alone, as there are hundreds of thousands of people across Ireland who are in the exact same situation, and they too have little control over it”.

He stressed the need to discuss your problems with other people, stating that “solitude is the greatest friend of depression”. Closing yourself off to advice and refusing to connect with people will only cause the situation to worsen.

Keep up hobbies

He also advises people to not to forget to invest in your health, to keep up hobbies we may give up as we become older despite them providing a source of relief, and to never make decisions when you are feeling strong emotions as it may just make the situation far worse.

“You can have the situation of someone selling the family farm as a quick and simple way of cutting down on their debt, despite that fact that it may make more sense to keep it as a future source of income”.

“Dark time”

Martin also said that while Ireland is in a “dark time”, it won’t be long before we come out of it.

“The Irish have an innate capacity to survive crisis. We have come through famine, the War of Independence, civil war, The Troubles, and economic crises in recent decades.

“We can come through this storm, and not be engulfed”

The event takes place next Thursday night at 6.30PM, is completely free of charge, although those wishing to attend are asked to pre-book online here.

Read: 23 scientifically-backed ways to reduce stress >

More: Cutbacks ‘causing stress’ among parents of children with autism >

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