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What is Mindfulness?

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According to Psychology Today, when you’re mindful you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance while staying focused on purpose without judgement of experiences being either good or bad.

Mindfulness helps you to observe your thoughts and feelings.  It might include using all of your five senses to help you be aware and help you stay alert to what is happening around you and to you.  Mindfulness is about being present.

When are we not mindful?

Many of us operate on autopilot with our daily routines and usual surroundings not noticing what is really going on around us.

One example – Watching the footy on television can have us eating popcorn robotically without us even noticing how much we are actually consuming.

It is in those situations that we are not present.  We can even drive our cars on autopilot when we’re focussed on other things.

Being mindful would mean that we would notice everything.  It’s about being alert to everything that is going on around us and within us physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Worrying about the past or the future can be counterproductive and even cause some of us to lose sleep.

Mindfulness in Therapy

Particularly useful for those who would disassociate from their present environment and is used in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for the treatment of depression.    Generally used for preventing relapses of depression, mindfulness and mindfulness meditation can teach a  person to be mindful of every thought & teach them to also tolerate the thoughts without responding or reacting to them.

It can help reduce stress with relaxation techniques that can be used in part as a treatment.  It can help people bring their focus back to the present to keep them present.

24 Hour Emergency Counselling Services

Lifeline on 13 11 14

Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800

Men’s Line Australia on 1300 789 978

Sources:

Psychology Today:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/mindfulness

Wikkipedia:

Mindfulness in cognitive behavioural therapy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindfulness-based_cognitive_therapy

What is Mental Health?

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Man and Woman profiles face opposite ways in couple problem jigsaw puzzle

Mental health is about wellness. A person with good mental health is considered to be in a state of wellbeing. They feel good, function well and are positive. These people are emotionally mature and can cope with the normal stresses of life, they’re resilient, realise their potential, contribute to the community and work productively.

 

 

What can cause mental illness?

Genetics – There are biological factors that can be passed down through the genes from one generation to the next. Mental illness can be inherited genetically from our parents. Hormones can also be responsible for changes in moods affecting mental health.

Trauma in Early Life – events like abuse or neglect can strongly influence mental health in later life.

Recent Events – things that have just happened or that we undergo in life can affect a person’s mental health like; stress at work, study or experiencing a traumatic event can affect our emotions.

Social Factors – financial problems, constant negative thoughts, family violence, breakdowns in the family or isolation.

Thought Life – mental illnesses can also be influenced by cognitive patterns, our thoughts, including how we perceive ourselves and our self-esteem.

Drug Use – taking recreational drugs or drinking excessive alcohol or other substances for prolonged periods of time.

Detecting mental illness – Some common signs

Some common signs of mental illness are listed below. If a person is experiencing any of these symptoms, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are mentally ill as many situations can cause us to feel one or two of these at any given time. If a person experiences many of the symptoms for prolonged periods of time talking to a GP to discuss the matter is recommended.

• Substance abuse – self-medicating
• Excessive worrying
• Mood swings and mood changes
• Excessive sadness and crying for no reason
• Eating habits drastically change
• Having trouble coping with usual activities – feeling overwhelmed
• Trouble with concentration
• Feeling depressed or down
• Not interested in doing what they usually do
• Having trouble sleeping or sleeping more than usual
• Lack of motivation
• Decline in performance levels at work or at school

How can we Improve our mental health?

This list contains the most practical and necessary things we can do to help improve our own mental health.

• Exercise regularly
• Get enough sleep
• Develop new skills, keep learning
• Set realistic goals for yourself
• Talk about your feelings and express them clearly
• Eat healthy
• Spend time with family and friends
• Relax
• Take up a hobby
• Talk to your doctor or mental health professional

Sources

Health Direct – Mental Health Disorders

Reach Out – What is Mental Health?

Mind Health Connect Mental Illness and Health

Where to get help

Talk to your GP if you’re concerned about your mental health.
Men’s Line Australia – Talk it over with someone who understands – 1300 78 99 78
Lifeline – A free 24 hour Crisis Counselling service – 13 11 14
Kids Help Line – 1800 55 1800

The Differences Between Fear, Anxiety & Phobias

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Although anxiety, fear and phobias can seem alike, they are distinctly unique as explained in an excerpt from an article titled, ‘Anxiety and Fear’, by Psychologist Tim Clinton.

Fear

While most people experience fear as a negative emotion, fear has a positive component. If you find that you have turned down a one-way street and see a car heading directly at you, fear triggers an autonomic response that sends a signal to your brain to “flee” the potentially dangerous situation. Fear becomes a problem when a person becomes afraid of things that are not real or when the feeling of fear is out of proportion to what the person is actually experiencing. Fear is an emotion that draws someone into a self-protective mode. More often than not, fears are related to what a person perceives as a threat to his safety and security. He may fear losing his job, having his home burglarized or having conflict in a relationship.

Anxiety

Anxiety is a constant fearful state, accompanied by a feeling of unrest, dread, or worry in which the person may not be aware of what is creating the feeling of fear. Anxiety is aroused by a number of factors: External situations (viewing the nightly news, fast paced lifestyle) Physical well-being (lack of sleep, blood sugar imbalance) Learning (parents who were highly anxious) Trauma (situations that may be similar to experiences of the past that caused great pain).

Anxiety’s symptoms can include: – Inability to relax – Tense feelings – Rapid heartbeat – Dry mouth – Increased blood pressure – Jumpiness or feeling faint – Excessive perspiring – Feeling clammy – Constant anticipation of trouble – Constant feeling of uneasiness

Phobias

Phobias are a specific fear of something in particular. Phobias are fear that are out of proportion to the object, situation, activity feared. For example, one may have a fear of spiders. A person exhibits a phobia when seeing a small spider on the ceiling of a room and refusing to ever enter the room again.

Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are sudden, overwhelming, fearful reactions with feelings of impending doom. In a panic attack, the person feels out of control.

Symptoms include: – Being paralysed by the flight-or-fight response Shortness of breath – Racing heartbeat – Sweating – Dizziness – Nausea – Diarrhoea – Ringing ears – Choking – Vertigo – Becoming homebound in fear of another attack The person generally has no clear idea what prompted the reaction and then becomes afraid of another episode occurring. The sufferer may feel like he is going crazy or is having a heart attack.

Note: More than three attacks in a month or the onset of a person refusing to go out of the house indicate the need for professional treatment.

Relational Fears

There are four major relational fears that people experience that can significantly alter the quality of one’s life: – Fear of failure – Fear of rejection – Fear of abandonment – Fear of death/dying

 

“Unless fear, worry, and anxiety are honestly faced and worked through, people can end up in a pattern of avoidance — organising their lives around people and situations that they must avoid.” — ARCHIBALD D. HART

Sources:

Dr Tim Clinton, ‘Anxiety & Fear’ http://timclinton.com/articles/6/anxiety-and-fear

Help for Anxiety, Fears & Phobias

If you suffer from anxiety, fears and phobias that are robbing you of quality of life, seek the help of a professional counsellor.

24 Hour Emergency Counselling Services

Lifeline on 13 11 14