Take control of your life and beat the blues

SHE'S the girl that has it all - a dream job, strong marriage and great friends, but every night she goes home and cries feeling desperately unhappy with her life.

She is overrun with depression, and she is not the only one suffering in silence.

Despite living in a world with high living standards and countless opportunities, an increasing number of people are feeling dissatisfied with their lives.

Psychology lecturer Dr Rachael Sharman said the wealthier we become, the unhappier we get.

"With increased wealth comes increased depression," Dr Sharman said. "It's a cultural difference. We're typically a fairly individualistic culture. It's all about me and my needs."

This phenomenon is the life work and focus of Elize Hattin's book The Naked Truth About You, Your Path to an Extraordinary Life Revealed.

Moving to the UK after growing up in South Africa, Ms Hattin thought people in the Western world would know how lucky they were and be satisfied as a result.

This was not the case.

"I was surprised when I saw the majority of people were not happy at all," Ms Hattin recalls.

"I think there are many underlying reasons why, including the way we have been socialised. We naturally focus on things that go wrong. We look negatively at life and we become dissatisfied really quickly."

Combine these factors with dominating consumerism, a culture bordering on a level of self-obsession and a compelling link between obesity and depression and it's not hard to see why people are unhappy.

Ms Hattin, who has an honours degree in psychology, worked as a business and life coach in Australia, the UK, the US and Europe.

Through her work she developed a program to help people take control of their life.

By helping people understand their own mind, emotions and body and by identifying one's potent uniqueness, Ms Hattin helps people create a life they love to live.

The girl who has it all is one of Ms Hattin's clients.

Ms Hattin helped her identify the cause of her unhappiness, in this case her job, and how to effectively utilise her mind and emotions to make a positive career and life change.

Both Ms Hattin and Dr Sharman identified goal setting as an essential component to self help.

"What I really help people do is take a step back from goal setting and determine why it is important to have goals," Ms Hattin said.

"I think a little bit of pressure and being driven to achieve is really healthy."

Dr Sharman agrees.

"People are happiest when they have moderately challenging goals they set themselves and they meet them," she said.

"If you're a wealthy person and don't need to work or achieve it's bad for you psychologically. You have no motivation to do anything."

Ms Hattin's book is a step-by-step guide to happiness, helping its readers combat procrastination and seek the changes needed to live a happy, fulfilled life.

"In three words, you have control," Ms Hattin said.

"You have the ability to control yourself and your life and then you will have a life that you love.

"When you take that control then it's inevitable for you to be happy."


The cold, hard facts

  • Every day in Australia 65 people will end up in hospital as a result of self-harm.
  • Every day in Australia six people will die as a result of suicide.
  • Mental illness and untreated mental illness in particular is a risk factor for suicide.
  • Research shows that mental illness is present in at least 90% of completed suicides and of those, more than 80% are untreated at the time of death.


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