+852 2575 7707 drmelanie@mindmatters.hk

What is the difference between positive stress and negative stress?

Answer: Interpretation

Really, the ‘stressful’ situation, interaction or occurrence does not come with evaluation or judgment written on it; we supply that.

How we view or evaluate a circumstance triggers a cascade of mental, emotional and physiological responses that influence how we react on multiple levels in the short and medium term.

When we take our rapid interpretations as truth in the universe, we forfeit choices in how we could react if we didn’t respond so quickly. It would be helpful to consider our initial thoughts and feeling responses as a ‘speed bump’, reminding us to slow down and reconsider how else we could react. This does take practice, but is so worth the effort.

We are more likely to accept ‘positive’ stress when it is associated with an outcome we value, such as landing a new job, studying for a difficult exam, planning a wedding, having a baby, or relocating out of choice. Such stress is more likely to be viewed as normal and managed flexibly.

Conversely, we tend to evaluate undesirable outcomes, such as an unexpected job loss, illness, infidelity or divorce as highly undesirable ‘negative’ stress. In such circumstances if we focus only on the fearful, painful or depressing aspects of the situation, our negative beliefs are compounded.

Such types of interpretations leading to emotional stress lasting weeks or more can weaken the immune system, increase blood pressure, generate anxiety, depression and contribute to heart problems. Attributing such undesirable situations or outcomes to deficiencies in ourselves that are relatively fixed will intensify our negative beliefs and sense of powerlessness. It becomes a vicious cycle.

Many situations are indeed difficult and call for thoughtful consideration, emotional balance and creative responses. Accepting our knee-jerk interpretations can severely hamper such adaptive responses.

If you are having difficulty managing trying situations, do consider contacting me on +852 2575 7707 or via this link.

Melt Away Everyday Stress with Rainbow Mediation by Dr Melanie


Meditation has significant mental and physical health benefits for both adults and kids.

Both in the corporate world and at schools, short meditations bring a more relaxed and focused state, with improved concentration and ability to cope throughout the day.

Research at Harvard has shown meditation can also increase levels of a key neurotransmitter called serotonin in the brain, as well as growth hormone which repairs cells and tissue.

It has also been shown to lower the heart rate, boost immune function, lower blood pressure and inflammation, increase blood circulation to the body’s tissues, promote emotional balance, and induce a state of calmness.

This link is for PC only it will not work on a Mac.
To download the meditation for a PC click the following link in blue: rainbow_meditation_mindmatters
Then UNZIP the file, and follow the instructions given.

Mac video coming soon!

Beyond Blue – Depression in Teens

Teen Depression​Suicide is often a convergence of factors leading to a sudden, tragic event. What puts children, as well as adults, at risk and what are the warning signs to watch for?

Dr. Melanie was featured in the June 2016 edition of In Focus from AroundDB Magazine. In this article she discusses issues related to depression and suicide in teenagers, a must read for every parent.

To read the article please click the following link: ADB-Infocus-Jun-2016-previews

If your child is showing the signs outlined in this article or you have concerns contact Dr. Melanie on 2575 7707 in complete confidence for an initial discussion.

Recognising and Addressing Stress in the Workplace



​Today stress is increasingly chronic and unremitting, eroding our health, productivity and coping strategies.

Hong Kong, being one of the world’s most stressful cities can make work environments a virtual pressure cooker.

Recognising the signs and causes of stress as they interrelate in our personal, professional and corporate lives is essential.

The toll on businesses runs from reduced productivity, absenteeism, and spiraling replacement and medical costs to the impact on the bottom line from erroneous executive decisions.

Dr. Melanie Bryan’s workshop ‘Addressing Stress in the Workplace’ will equip you to identify and resolve many of the sources of stress and offer essential guidelines to becoming healthier, happier, & more effective human beings.

Dr. Melanie Bryan consults to corporations in Asia equipping HR and department managers to tackle this rising trend which impacts increasingly on wellbeing, productivity and the corporate bottom line.

A preview of her workshop presentation may be viewed upon request.

For a no obligation on the benefits and cost of delivering this workshop please contact Dr Melanie.

Premarital Coaching for a Strong Start That Enhances Connections & Preempts Disconnections


Premarital Coaching with Dr. Melanie Bryan aims to help couples lay a foundation of appreciation, effective communication, rapport and responsiveness that will enhance and enrich your relationship for years to come, especially when inevitable challenges arise.

Whether you’ve been happily single prior to a whirlwind romance, living together for years or remarrying, marriage deserves the same considerations and preparations you’ve given to your career and any other pursuits that require skill-building and practice. Otherwise, marriage can be a minefield of disconnected beliefs, behaviors and expectations.

In each premarital session, couples are helped to identify areas of potential agreement and disagreement. For example, a couple’s styles of communication, especially how they make decisions and resolve conflict, particularly when angry, can enhance their relationship or fracture it.

Couples come to appreciate, understand and work with differences in their temperaments and communication styles. They learn how to effectively resolve areas of conflict along a range of issues, including balancing individual needs while nurturing closeness.

Other important explorations include expectations regarding how finances, budgeting and debt are handled; views on sexuality and sexual needs; role expectations; the timing of a pregnancy and child-rearing assumptions; the extend of involvement with their respective in-laws; location or relocation hopes, as well as religious and spiritual beliefs and practices all deserve serious discussion – the more proactively the better.

Within the comfortable space of focused premarital coaching sessions, a couple can address any apprehensions in managing their individual interests, social engagements, as well as maintaining separate career ambitions and other pursuits. How they handle work stress, their involvement with, or tolerance for, the intrusions of technology may also differ markedly.

Findings of a USA National Marriage Project noted that “Couples who do Premarital Counseling fare better”. No wonder.

The realities of this significant lifestyle change is worthy of the time, energy and reflection that premarital coaching with Dr Melanie can offer. Investing in your marriage before marriage really can pay handsome dividends.
Do consider it.

A Friend Is Not A Therapist


We are powerfully bound to our friends, as their leaving painfully reminds us. Following too many departures, we may be inclined to pull back from further efforts to establish significant friendships.

But denying yourself the companionship and intimacy a friendship offers can be more debilitating to body, mind and spirit then their leave-taking. Our friends are our safety net, acting as a counter when feeling sad, rejected, enraged or crazed. In study after study medical researchers are finding that people who have friends they can turn to for advice and assistance, have lower risks of depression and addictions, and a greater capacity to cope with radical changes and reversals in their lives. Regardless of the hidden agendas that may shadow a friendship, it cannot compare to the complexity of expectations and emotional baggage that are part and parcel of pair-bonding relationships. While adjusting to the idiosyncratic needs, habits, foibles and differences of one’s partner requires steady work, accepting the differences in friends takes little, if any, work.

We need our friends to be simply our friends, not our partners, which frees us to be more our spontaneous selves with them. Friends can also provide emotional support and respect and so can help to reaffirm our self-worth.

But friendship can also be a drag, taking on pathological elements that are emotionally and sometimes physically draining. It may be prudent to terminate a friendship when friends become overly clinging or dependent on you for emotional well-being. Also draining are the friends who seem to get themselves into a never-ending series of crises from which you feel you must rescue them. For friendships to be fulfilling, they should make you feel better, not worse.

A friend is not a therapist. Few friendships can survive the openly honest, often intense and always client-focused work that is the very heart of therapy. Therapy works in part because, unlike friendship, it is not mutual. Within the safety and confidentiality of the therapist’s office, a client is free to explore and reveal their most private selves without risk of judgement or rejection.

When a person is feeling too depressed or overwhelmed or work stressed and challenged to respond with the reciprocity required of friendship, the therapy relationship exists explicitly to support them through their turmoil and assist them in unearthing the sources of their own resources, abilities and potentials.