Psychologist takes purr-fect approach to get dogged problems to heel - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Psychologist takes purr-fect approach to get dogged problems to heel

8 Dec 2016

Treating problems as if they are dogs is a novel approach to dealing with difficulties recommended by University of the Sunshine Coast academic Dr Prudence Millear in her new book ‘The Benefits of a Light Heart’.

The USC Lecturer in Psychology says she wrote the book as an amusing way to think about stress management and developing strategies to deal with life’s inevitable problems.

‘The Benefits of a Light Heart’, published by Primrose Hall Publishing Group, will be launched on Friday 16 December at the River Deck at Noosa Marina, Tewantin, at a fundraising event hosted by the Zonta Club of Noosa.

Dr Millear, who takes on the persona of a cat as the narrator of the book, said she wanted to present a fun approach to a topic that is often seen as sensible and dry.

“Dogs, after all, are like our problems,” she said. “They range from small and innocuous to
full-blown, raving monsters.”

Dr Millear introduces readers to her ‘Barking Dog Index of Problems’, ranging from red kelpies (sensible problems) and poodles (somewhat annoying ones) to those that are more challenging, like a blue heeler (really difficult) or the ‘Hounds of Hell’ (when civil society has been lost).

“Once you’ve identified your ‘problem dog’ and found ways to get it to sit nicely and behave, you can deal with the FLEAS (fears, lies, exaggerations, absolutes, and silences) that make any ‘dog’ worse than need be,” she said.

“The next steps to a light heart are to read the science behind the effectiveness of humour as a coping strategy, about well-being and mental health, and finally, to be active in your own life.”

The Zonta event will include a two-course lunch and a glass of wine. Bookings to Dr Tina Doe at or 1300 826 417.

— Terry Walsh

Dr Prudence Millear

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