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5 Reasons Why Zoom Meetings Are So Exhausting

By Mental Health

5 reasons why Zoom meetings are so exhausting Libby Sander, Bond University and Oliver Bauman, Bond University For many of us, working from home during COVID-19 has meant we are spending a lot of time on video meeting applications like Zoom. The effects of this have taken us by surprise. Having giant heads staring at us up close for long periods can be off-putting for a lot of us. Never mind that we feel we should fix our iso-hair (COVID mullet anyone?), put on makeup, or get out of our pajamas. So why are online meetings more tiring than face-to-face ones? People feel like they have to make more emotional effort to appear interested, and in the absence of many non-verbal cues, the intense focus on words and sustained eye contact is exhausting. Read more: Here is why you might be feeling tired while on lockdown Face-to-face meetings Meetings in person are not only about the exchange of knowledge, they are also important rituals in the office. Rituals provide comfort, put us at ease, and are essential in building and maintaining rapport. Face to face meetings are also important mechanisms for the communication of attitudes and feelings among business partners…

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Is Your Mental Health Deteriorating During The Coronavirus Pandemic? Here’s What To Look For.

By Mental Health, Therapy

Is your mental health deteriorating during the coronavirus pandemic? Here’s what to look out for Michaela Pascoe, Victoria University and Alexandra Parker, Victoria University Medicare-subsidised psychology and psychiatry sessions, as well as GP visits, can now take place via phone and video calls – if clinicians agree not to charge patients out-of-pocket costs for the consult. The changes are part of a A$1.1 billion coronavirus health funding package, announced yesterday, which includes A$74 million for mental health support services, including Kids Helpline, Beyond Blue and Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia. Read more: All Australians will be able to access telehealth under new $1.1 billion coronavirus program Before the pandemic, one in five Australians experienced mental ill-health every year. But the uncertainty and instability around coronavirus has the potential to exacerbate existing anxiety and depression and contribute to the onset of new mental health problems. So what are some of the signs your mental health might be declining during the pandemic? And what can you do about it? What are the signs of anxiety and depression? Mental illness results in physical changes as well changes in thinking, feelings and behaviours. Anxiety Common physical signs for anxiety include increased heartbeat or butterflies…

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No Wonder Isolation’s So Tiring. All Those Extra, Tiny Decisions Are Taxing Our Brains

By Anxiety, Emotional Release, Loss, Mental Health, Mindful Eating, Mindfulness, Therapy

No wonder isolation’s so tiring. All those extra, tiny decisions are taxing our brains Anxiety, depression, loneliness and stress are affecting our sleep patterns and how tired we feel. But we may be getting tired for another reason. All those tiny decisions we make every day are multiplying and taking their toll. Is it safe to nip out for milk? Should I download the COVIDSafe app? Is it OK to wear my pyjamas in a Zoom meeting? All of these kinds of decisions are in addition to the familiar, everyday ones. What shall I have for breakfast? What shall I wear? Do I hassle the kids to brush their teeth? So what’s going on? Read more: Here is why you might be feeling tired while on lockdown We’re increasing our cognitive load One way to think about these extra decisions we’re making in isolation is in terms of “cognitive load”. We are trying to think about too many things at once, and our brains can only cope with a finite amount of information. Researchers have been looking into our limited capacity for cognition or attention for decades. Early research described a “bottleneck” through which information passes. We are forced to…

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The Lifesaving Power of Gratitude

By Mental Health, Therapy

The lifesaving power of gratitude (or, why you should write that thank you note) Gratitude may be more beneficial than we commonly suppose. One recent study asked subjects to write a note of thanks to someone and then estimate how surprised and happy the recipient would feel – an impact that they consistently underestimated. Another study assessed the health benefits of writing thank you notes. The researchers found that writing as few as three weekly thank you notes over the course of three weeks improved life satisfaction, increased happy feelings and reduced symptoms of depression. While this research into gratitude is relatively new, the principles involved are anything but. Students of mine in a political philosophy course at Indiana University are reading Daniel Defoe’s 300-year-old “Robinson Crusoe,” often regarded as the first novel published in English. Marooned alone on an unknown island with no apparent prospect of rescue or escape, Crusoe has much to lament. But instead of giving in to despair, he makes a list of things for which he is grateful, including the fact that he is the shipwreck’s sole survivor and has been able to salvage many useful items from the wreckage. Defoe’s masterpiece, which is often…

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Depression: It’s a Word We Use a Lot, But What Exactly Is It?

By Depression, Mental Health

People with depression experience symptoms that affect their mood, cognitive function and physical health. from www.shutterstock.com, CC BY-ND Depression: it’s a word we use a lot, but what exactly is it? Samuel Clack, Victoria University of Wellington and Tony Ward, Victoria University of Wellington Depression is a serious disorder marked by disturbances in mood, cognition, physiology and social functioning. People can experience deep sadness and feelings of hopelessness, sorrow, emptiness and despair. These core features of depression have expanded to include an inability to experience pleasure, sluggish movements, changes in sleep and eating behaviour, difficulty concentrating and suicidal thoughts. The first diagnostic criteria were introduced in the 1980s. Now we have an expanded set of concepts for describing depression, from mild to severe, major depressive disorder, chronic depression and seasonal affective disorder. Over the past 50 years, our understanding of depression has advanced significantly. But despite the wealth of research, there is no clear consensus on how this mental disorder should be explained. We propose a new route through the thicket. Read more: What causes depression? What we know, don’t know and suspect Classifying mental disorders How we describe and classify mental disorders is a fundamental step towards explaining and…

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1 In 3 Young Adults Is Lonely – And It Affects Their Mental Health

By Anxiety, Depression, Mental Health

One in three 18 to 25 year olds reported feeling lonely three or more times in the past week. Todd Diemer 1 in 3 young adults is lonely – and it affects their mental health Michelle H Lim, Swinburne University of Technology More than one in three young adults aged 18 to 25 reported problematic levels of loneliness, according to a new report from Swinburne University and VicHealth. We surveyed 1,520 Victorians aged 12 to 25, and examined their experience of loneliness. We also asked about their symptoms of depression and social anxiety. Overall, one in four young people (aged 12 to 25) reported feeling lonely for three or more days within the last week. Read more: Loneliness is a health issue, and needs targeted solutions Among 18 to 25 year olds, one in three (35%) reported feeling lonely three or more times a week. We also found that higher levels of loneliness increases a young adult’s risk of developing depression by 12% and social anxiety by 10%. Adolescents aged 12 to 17 reported better outcomes, with one in seven (13%) feeling lonely three or more times a week. Participants in this age group were also less likely to report…

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Are Memories Reliable? Expert Explains How They Change More Than We Realise

By Mental Health

Are memories reliable? Expert explains how they change more than we realise Robert Nash, Aston University Your memory probably isn’t as good as you think it is. We rely on our memories not only for sharing stories with friends or learning from our past experiences, but we also use it for crucial things like creating a sense of personal identity. Yet evidence shows that our memory isn’t as consistent as we’d like to believe. What’s worse, we’re often guilty of changing the facts and adding false details to our memories without even realising. To understand a bit about how remembering works, consider the “telephone game” (also known as “Chinese whispers”). In the game, one person quietly whispers a message to the person beside them, who then passes it on to the next person in line, and so on. Each time the message is relayed, some parts might be misheard or misunderstood, others might get innocently altered, improved, or forgotten. Over time the message can become very different from the original. The same can happen to our memories. There are countless reasons why tiny mistakes or embellishments might happen each time we recall past events, ranging from what we believe is…

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More Australians Are Diagnose With Depression And Anxiety But It Doesn’t Mean Mental Illness Is Rising

By Anxiety, Depression, Mental Health

More Australians are diagnosed with depression and anxiety but it doesn’t mean mental illness is rising Anthony Jorm, University of Melbourne Image: Women are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression or anxiety as men. Eric Ward Diagnoses of depression and anxiety disorders have risen dramatically over the past eight years. That’s according to new data out today from the Housing Income and Labour Dynamics (HILDA) Survey, which tracks the lives of 17,500 Australians. The increase spans across all age groups, but is most notably in young people. The percentage of young women (aged 15-34) who had been diagnosed with these conditions increased from 12.8% in 2009, to 20.1% in 2017. In young men, there was a similar increase, from 6.1% to 11.2%. But this doesn’t mean Australians’ mental health is worsening. Read more: Explainer: what is an anxiety disorder? What’s behind the numbers? HILDA surveys collate data on the “reported diagnosis” of depression and anxiety disorders. Many people with these conditions have remained undiagnosed by a health practitioner, so it could simply be a matter of more people seeking professional help and getting diagnosed. To find out whether there is a real increase, we need to survey…

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Dissociative Disorders Are Nearly As Common As Depression. So Why Haven’t We Heard About Them?

By Mental Health, Therapy, Trauma

Dissociative disorders are nearly as common as depression. So why haven’t we heard about them? Mary-Anne Kate, University of New England Dissociative disorders are often said to be rare. But our soon-to-be published analysis of international studies suggest they affect 10-11% of the population at some point in their lives. This makes them nearly as common as mood disorders (such as clinical depression). So what are dissociative disorders, why is diagnosis controversial and how can people be treated? Read more: Mood and personality disorders are often misconceived: here’s what you need to know What is dissociation? Dissociation occurs when a person experiences being disconnected from themselves, including their memories, feelings, actions, thoughts, body and even their identity. People with dissociative disorders have one or more of the following symptoms: amnesia and other memory problems a sense of detachment or disconnection from their self, familiar people or surroundings an inner struggle about their sense of self and identity acting like a different person (identity alteration). For some people, symptoms can last days or weeks, but for others they can persist for months, years, or a lifetime. Dissociation allows the person to compartmentalise and disconnect from aspects of traumatic and challenging experiences…

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One In Four Australians Are Lonely, Which Affects Their Physical and Mental Health

By Counselling, Mental Health

One in four Australians are lonely, which affects their physical and mental health Younger Australians struggle more with loneliness than older generations. Toa Heftiba Michelle H Lim, Swinburne University of Technology One in four Australians are lonely, our new report has found, and it’s not just a problem among older Australians – it affects both genders and almost all age groups. The Australian Loneliness Report, released today by my colleagues and I at the Australian Psychological Society and Swinburne University, found one in two (50.5%) Australians feel lonely for at least one day in a week, while more than one in four (27.6%) feel lonely for three or more days. Our results come from a survey of 1,678 Australians from across the nation. We used a comprehensive measure of loneliness to assess how it relates to mental health and physical health outcomes. Read more: Politics with Michelle Grattan: Andrew Giles on the growing issue of loneliness We found nearly 55% of the population feel they lack companionship at least sometime. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Australians who are married or in a de facto relationship are the least lonely, compared to those who are single, separated or divorced. While Australians are reasonably connected…

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