Managing Difficult People: Practical Strategies with Dr. Rebecca Ray

My most recent episode of De-Stress for Success is all about difficult people. You know the ones! Those people in your life that press your buttons, make you feel like you are the problem, that leave you ruminating over what was said and wondering why you feel so awful. Who better to help us learn how to deal with difficult people, that the author of Difficult People, clinical psychologist, Dr Rebecca Ray.

Dr. Ray has spent years helping individuals navigate the challenges of interacting with difficult people, including family members and colleagues. Through her insightful exploration of these subjects, she provides our listeners with valuable strategies to manage stress and difficult personalities effectively.

Dealing with difficult people is a significant source of stress. These individuals often have a knack for pushing our buttons and making us feel like we are the problem. But, as Dr. Ray points out, it’s crucial to distinguish genuinely difficult people from those simply going through a rough patch. Many challenging personalities are products of their pasts, and understanding this can foster empathy. However, this should not compromise our psychological safety.

One of the central themes of our discussion with Dr. Ray was the concept of compassion, particularly when dealing with difficult people. Compassion, she suggests, can transform our interactions with difficult individuals, helping us approach them from a place of understanding rather than frustration or anger.

However, compassion does not mean allowing difficult people to walk over us. Dr. Ray stresses the importance of setting boundaries and ensuring our psychological safety. If we fail to set boundaries, we inadvertently enable difficult behavior, feeding into the cycle of stress and conflict.

Dr. Ray also shares her personal strategies for managing stress. Her approach is rooted in self-kindness and compassion, a philosophy that can be transformative for those accustomed to harsh self-criticism. She offers practical scripts to navigate tricky conversations and handle difficult people, tools that can empower listeners to manage their stress more effectively.

In conclusion, managing stress and difficult people is a complex process requiring self-awareness, compassion, and firm boundaries. By understanding the nuances of stress and the motivations of difficult people, we can approach these challenges with greater confidence and effectiveness. Dr. Rebecca Ray’s insights and strategies offer a roadmap to more compassionate stress management and healthier interactions with difficult people.

The great news?! Dr Ray’s book, Difficult People, includes over 100 scripts to help you navigate tricky conversations and create effective boundaries with difficult people. Tune in for an engaging conversation that leaves you armed to manage difficult people effectively and compassionately and lessen the ensuing stress that these conversations usually create.

To learn more about Dr Rebecca Ray, visit
Rebecca’s instagram handle is:

Dr Ray is the author of 6 fabulous books, including Difficult People, all of which can be found in good bookstores, in print on the Kindle and audio formats. Highly recommended!

A Call to Action: Combatting the Phone Addiction Crisis Among Adults and Children with Professor Selena Bartlett

In a recent De-Stress for Success podcast episode (episode 5), globally recognised neuroscientist, Professor Selena Bartlett, joined me for a profound conversation about our relationship with mobile technology. The topic is of great importance in this tech-saturated era, especially when considering the influence these devices have on our brain health, stress levels and interpersonal relationships.

Our phones are like mini poke machines. They have been designed to be addictive, tapping into old circuits in our brains to train us to stay hooked. The impact is so significant that people often prefer to be with their phones than with other people. This device-induced addiction has a profound effect on our stress levels and our ability to be present. By understanding the neuroscience behind these patterns, we can better navigate our relationship with technology and mitigate its negative impacts.

Unfortunately, the consequences of our technology obsession don’t stop at adults. Our children mimic what we do but have taken their use of mobile technology to a whole new level. A pressing concern highlighted in our conversation with Professor Bartlett is the current mental health crisis among young people, significantly influenced by technology. Today, children as young as four are immersed in tech, exposed to third-party apps that parents naively believe are safe. Crime networks are exploiting our children online, and our reliance on parental controls and screen time restrictions is not enough.

In response to these alarming realities, Professor Bartlett emphasises the need for a fresh approach to parenting in this tech-saturated era. Socratic Parenting Skills, she suggests, can be instrumental in initiating meaningful dialogues with our children about their tech use. Understanding the signs of grooming and having a carefully crafted Tech Family Plan can act as a protective shield for our kids.

The situation calls for immediate action. The mental health of all of us, including our children is at stake, and it’s essential to impart to them that our love for them is infinitely more significant than any technological device. We must reshuffle our priorities and not only shield our children from the darker aspects of the digital world but also future addiction. Tech use impacts not only their ability to focus and stay connected but it negatively impacts their relationships, body image, hormones and ability to connect with others well into the future.

Professor Bartlett’s insights are not only enlightening but also alarming. The tech addiction crisis among children is already having an impact. As parents, we need to regain control and create safe digital environments for our children. This call to action is not just about ensuring online safety but also about preserving our children’s mental health and ensuring their holistic development in a tech-saturated world.

This eye-opening conversation with Professor Bartlett is a reminder that as parents, our responsibility goes beyond providing for our children’s basic needs. In the digital age, we must also become their protectors, educators, and guides in navigating the complex digital world.

But more importantly, we need to lead by example, put our phones down, hide them in the top drawer, keep them out of our bedrooms, away from the dinner table and commit to a Family Tech Plan. We need to buy into real change around our use of our devises too.

Stress Less by Silencing Your Inner Critic: Tools for Positive Self-Talk

Do you struggle with a relentless inner critic that often dictates your actions and feelings? You are not alone. Many of us grapple with negative self-talk, often without realizing its profound impact on our lives. The good news is, we can harness the power of positive self-talk to rewrite our inner dialogue and transform our lives. This was the central theme of my recent De-Stress for Success podcast episode.

Negative self-talk is the internal dialogue that tends to put us down. It can be a formidable force that sparks a cascade of stress responses in our bodies, leading to feelings of anxiety, self-doubt, and even self-fulfilling prophecies. On the flip side, positive self-talk can inspire feelings of confidence, resilience, and motivation. The key is to understand this internal monologue and learn how to control it effectively.

Our internal monologue, also known as self-talk, is a powerful determinant of our emotions and behaviors. When we entertain persistent and harsh self-criticism, it triggers a range of stress responses. The amygdala, a small structure deep within the brain that processes emotions, perceives these self-critical thoughts as real threats, setting off a stress response. This can result in a vicious cycle of negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

But how do we combat this common mental battle? The first step is to recognise and understand our inner dialogue. By identifying patterns and triggers in our self-talk, we can begin to rewire our brains for more positive thinking. Practical strategies include meditation, breathwork, positive affirmations, and nurturing supportive relationships. These tools can help us observe our thoughts without judgment, leading to a more positive and empowering thought process.

Moreover, understanding the roots of negative self-talk is crucial. These thought patterns often stem from early childhood experiences, traumatic events, societal pressures, or a lack of self-compassion. By identifying these sources, we can challenge and change our negative beliefs.

Another important aspect is recognising that we are not our thoughts. We are the observers of our thoughts. By observing our thoughts without identifying with them, we can gain a sense of detachment from the inner dialogue. This enables us to let go of self-critical thoughts and replace them with more positive and empowering ones.

In the end, it’s about empowering ourselves. It’s about rewriting our inner monologue and shaping our future in the direction we desire. By consciously practicing positive self-talk, we can transform our inner dialogue and consequently, our lives.

Remember, changing your inner dialogue is not a one-time effort. It requires consistent practice and mindfulness. But with intentional effort, we can reshape our neural pathways, foster more positive thoughts, and ultimately, lead a more fulfilling life. It’s time to silence your inner critic and embrace a more positive and empowering thought process.

Please reach out and book in a free 30 minute confidential chat if you would like support to stress less or drink less:


The Power of Breathwork and Yoga Nidra in Restoring Balance: Practical Breathwork Strategies with Danni Carr

The hustle and bustle of everyday life often leave us gasping for breath, both metaphorically and literally.

My latest De-Stress for Success podcast episode with Danni Carr, a trauma-informed sobriety coach and certified meditation and breathwork teacher, brings light to the transformative power of breathwork and yoga nidra as stress management techniques.

These practices have the potential to help individuals establish equilibrium amidst life’s stresses.

Danni shares her expert insights on how breathwork can activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This aspect of our nervous system plays a vital role in inducing a tranquil state, providing an escape from the whirlwind of thoughts that often cloud our minds.

This calmness is not fleeting; instead, it creates a lasting effect, reducing stress levels and establishing a sense of balance in our lives.

Breathwork strategies that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine. The beauty of these techniques lies in their simplicity and accessibility. The act of focusing on our breath, of inhaling and exhaling intentionally, can lead to a rejuvenated body and mind.

The power of breathwork is underscored by its role in stress management, proving it to be a potent tool in promoting self-care and acknowledging our need for personal time.

In this episode we delve into the potential of yoga nidra to restore the nervous system and improve memory. The practice of yoga nidra, which directly translates to yogic sleep, allows the body to mimic the state of sleep, slowing down brain waves and inducing a deeply restorative state. This state of rest is not only rejuvenating but also holds numerous health benefits. From lowering blood pressure and inflammation markers in the body to boosting memory, yoga nidra is emerging as a therapeutic practice recommended by health professionals.

This enriching experience encourages us to harness the power of our breath and over time pre-empt stress and cope a little better with life’s chaos when things get tough. Through consistent practice, we can foster inner peace, enhancing our overall wellbeing.

I highly recommend that you check-out Danni’s guided mediation and breathwork on the Insight Timer app: They are incredible. For beginners like me, they provide a great entrée to the world of breathwork as an antidote to stress, helping to set up a new healthier stress response.

Behind the Smile: Ash Butterss on Navigating through Trauma, Addiction and Rebuilding Self-Esteem

Prepare to be spellbound by Ash Butterss, a wellness mentor and yoga meditation teacher, as she bravely narrates her journey from growing up in an alcoholic home to overcoming addiction and rebuilding self-esteem. Travel with us down the memory lane of Ash’s formative years marked by trauma, her relationship with alcohol, and the subsequent tumble into addiction. Her story is a testament to resilience and self-discovery, and ensuing joy and fulfillment.

Ash guides us through the labyrinth of breaking the cycle of negative behaviour, self-forgiveness, and the process of healing. Join us in exploring the significance of community in recovery, the necessity to process our own trauma and emotions, and the crucial task of reconnecting with our authentic selves.

Ash’s vision is to eradicate the stigma surrounding mental health and addiction, a goal that is intricately interwoven into every facet of her work. If you or someone you know is grappling with addiction or if you’re intrigued by the complex intersections of trauma, mental health, and addiction, this episode promises an enlightening journey. Listen in to Ash’s awe-inspiring story of transformation and healing.