Choose Happiness!

Patricia Oberli, licensed counselling psychologist,

Counsellor recommends coping strategies to survive pandemic

Patricia Oberli, licensed counselling psychologist, says persons must be deliberate about self-care and self-compassion to cope with the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and in life in general.

Mrs Oberli made the recommendation during a JN Circle Thrive Life Class, discussion recently on the topic: “We Have Made It! Lessons From Surviving 2020.”

“Choose happiness”. “Life is 10 per cent of what happens to you, and 90% how you choose to respond,” said Mrs Oberli, who was a guest presenter at the forum.

“The brain takes information from our senses, muscles and facial muscles and sends the message that you are ok.  For example, when you smile. This way, the brain will not prepare you for fight or flight, because there really is no need for such a huge stress response,” she advised.

Turning to self-compassion, Mrs Oberli reminded the audience that self-compassion is not self-pity. But means treating yourself with the love and respect that you want from others.  She said that some people are raised on a soundtrack of negativity and it is up to the individual to change that soundtrack with words of affirmation.  She warned that words of affirmation must be practical and truthful, for example, ‘I am doing my best’; ‘I deserve my successes’ and ‘I have a right to say no’.

“Set and enforce your own boundaries,” she advised. Practice saying ‘no’ without the accompanying anxiety.  If a request is harmful to you emotionally, or even practically, you are entitled to say ‘no’.  Put your needs first,” she pointed out.

“If you are too stressed because you are taking on more than you can manage, you will be of no use to yourself, or to the persons you love.  Ask yourself why you do it.  The answer can be life-changing,” she advised.

Season two of the JN Circle Thrive Together Life Class, seeks to empower JN members and customers, to thrive as they prepare for 2021; and is aired every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. The discussions focus on issues relating to self-care, goal setting/self-actualisation, parenting and financial wellness.

Persons can register, to join the sessions via ZOOM platform, or watch and participate via the JN Group’s Facebook Page.

The discussions include interviews, lectures and gamification. Participants also have the opportunity to win prizes during the sessions.

Celia Burnett, coordinator for the JN Circle, said participants can also access confidential counselling sessions and additional resources through Family Life Ministries, as well as, via the member space platform on the JN Circle webpage.

“The platform provides some level of exclusivity and will allow individual persons to access, Life Class ‘registrants-only’ content. Persons who attend all the classes will earn a ‘virtual badge,’ to mark their achievement,” she informed.

Interested persons can register for the online series by visiting