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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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Neurons Release Hypnosis Melbourne Hypnotherapy Counselling Neuropsychology

How To Use Your Brain’s “Delete” Button

By Addiction, Anxiety, Depression, Hypnosis, Hypnotherapy, Mindfulness, OCD, Smoking Cessation

How To Use Your Brain’s “Delete” Button Neurons that fire together, wire together. Back in 1949, Canadian Neuropsychologist Daniel Hebb first used this phrase to describe how pathways in the brain are formed and reinforced through repetition. This means that every experience, thought, feeling, and physical sensation triggers thousands of neurons, which form a neural network. When you repeat an experience over and over, the brain learns to trigger the same neurons each time. Our brain cells communicate with one another via synaptic transmission; one brain cell releases a chemical (neurotransmitter) that the next brain cell absorbs. This communication process is known as ‘neuronal firing’. When brain cells communicate frequently, the connection between them strengthens. Messages that travel the same pathway in the brain over and over begin to transmit faster and faster. With enough repetition, they become automatic. You’ve heard the saying that ‘practice makes perfect’; this is the scientific explanation of why it does. This is essentially how we create those unconscious programs that run who we are; the way we think, the perception we see, the experiences that form the beliefs we hold, and the habits that we do. Of course, this can be used in a…

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Enjoy a Mini-Mindfulness Meditation

By ACT, Mindfulness

Enjoy a Mini-Mindfulness Meditation The benefits of mindfulness Let me tell you something; when I first started to do this thing called mindfulness, I didn’t get it. I sat there, trying to focus on the breath, spending half the time wondering if I was going it right and, more importantly, why I was doing this in the first place? What was the point? It wasn’t until I did some study with Dr Russ Harris that it all began to make sense when he started to talk about ‘the distraction’. Go back thousands of years in time, it was ‘distractions’ that kept you alive. The sound of a bush rustling could mean a tiger or a neighbouring villager coming to attack you and so being able to focus on distractions was something that activated the flight, fight or freeze mechanism that we’re hard-wired with and potentially saved us. Now, we don’t have tigers and villagers in bushes, but that hard-wired mechanism still exists and still serves a purpose. When we anticipate that something is wrong, our natural fight, flight or freeze response kicks in. The problem is this; what if it goes off over everything? Even the things that it shouldn’t?…

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In What Ways Do You Want To Be Better In 2019?

By Confidence, Habits, Hypnosis, Hypnotherapy, Mindfulness, Smoking Cessation

In what ways do you want to be better in 2019? I have a question for you. In what ways do you want to be better in 2019? And by ‘better’, I could mean any number of things. Fitter. Healthier. More focused. More financial. Confident. Whatever that ‘better’ could mean to you? It is that time of the year where considering a question like this can help to set the tone for the following year. What do you feel holds you back from being an even better version of yourself right now? For some people, it might be their weight. For others, it might be a habit that they feel has become unhealthy for them such as smoking or drinking or drug use. Perhaps it is just promising to yourself that you’re going to take better care of yourself in the new year, and having that intention is wonderful. Intention alone isn’t likely to make the change you want, or at least not to the level that you would like. Given that we are in the final handful of days before the new year is upon us, I felt it might be a good time to offer some suggestions and…

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Surviving Christmas Stress Anxiety Depression Loneliness Release Hypnosis Melbourne Hypnotherapy Counselling

Surviving Christmas 2018

By Anxiety, Depression, Hypnosis, Hypnotherapy, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Shame, Weight Management

Surviving Christmas 2018 While many people look forward to the end of year celebrations, there are also many other people who struggle to survive and experience stress, anxiety and depression from the Christmas period. For some, Christmas can be a costly experience that impacts on their financial well being. It can be an overwhelming period for people who live with anxiety and depression. It can be a period where high expectations are built, both by ourselves and from others, which can often be hard to meet. It can be a period where we eat too much, drink too much, or just party too much in general, leaving us feeling out of shape, fatigued and not feeling our best. Don’t get me wrong; it can also be a time of joy, happiness, child like wonder and an opportunity for harmonious families to get together. For every joy of love, peace and happy families though, there are an equal number who simply wish Christmas would pass quickly. While not necessarily related, there has been recent research to indicate that Christmas music may not be good for your mental health. Now, I’m not sure if this is 100% true or not but it…

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Mindfulness Can Help PhD Students Shift From Surviving To Thriving

By Anxiety, Confidence, Mindfulness, Motivation, Procrastination

Mindfulness can help PhD students shift from surviving to thriving Karen Barry, University of Tasmania; Emma Warnecke, University of Tasmania, and Megan Woods, University of Tasmania Undertaking a PhD can be very stressful, due to a range of challenges. These include having to develop discipline expertise as well as generic skills (such as academic writing and maintaining motivation) during a largely solo pursuit. Concern has been growing about the prevalence of mental health issues (such as depression and anxiety) among PhD candidates. A survey of more than 2,000 graduate research students from 26 countries published this year found they were six times as likely to experience depression or anxiety as the general population. Read more: Doing a PhD can be a lonely business but it doesn’t have to be A study of PhD students in the United States showed that of those who identified as experiencing depression or anxiety, 84% did not seek help from university support services. Perhaps, then, the best way to help PhD candidates is to give them the skills and strategies to manage their stress. Earlier this month, we published a study in the Journal of American College Health. It provides evidence that practising mindfulness can…

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What Do Dogs In a Park Teach Us About Our Emotions?

By Anxiety, Emotional Release, Mindfulness

What Do Dogs In a Park Teach Us About Our Emotions? It’s a walk in the park Have you ever gone for a walk in a park on a beautiful day? I’ve often found this simple pleasure to be something that just grounds me and allows me to become a content observer. Walking through the park, I’ll come across a wide variety of people going about their day, taking a break from work or going for a job although my favourite tends to be people taking their dogs out for a walk. I simply love watching dogs. Apart from being simply adorable to look at, you have to love their spirit. They always mean well. They’re always there to protect their owner at a moments notice and will switch from playful and joyous one moment to being on alert and guarding the next. Even the smallest of dogs can sometimes forget their size and take on the responsibility of guarding their owners. Have you seen what happens when dogs start to approach each other? Some will be playful and friendly, generally sniffing parts we steer clear of as a way of saying hello. Others, though, may immediately stand on guard….

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How I Learned To Tell Myself To ‘Shut Up’

By Confidence, Inner Child, Mindfulness, Regression, Shame, Trauma

How I Learned To Tell Myself To ‘Shut Up’ Or, how to embrace your confidence and to eliminate toxic shame. For much of my adult working life, I’ve worked within the recruitment sector. Creative recruitment, to be exact. My role was often very demanding. I’d be required to find new clients (including cold calling), maintain existing client relationships, ask for and take job briefs, search for suitable candidates, interview suitable candidates, reference check suitable candidates, present across the suitable candidates and then, lastly, convince the client as to why they were the most suitable candidates that they would be able to find. On top of all of that, while this was going on, we were often finding that we would need to justify our existence and our rate every step of the way. There is often a line within that industry that people never choose to be a recruiter, it is a job that they fall into. When it came to creative recruitment, it was often just that tough harder as we weren’t talking about a job that people just ‘did for the money’. These were creatives and their jobs were often a reflection of who they identified themselves as…

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Download a FREE 10 Minute Mindfulness Meditation

By ACT, Mindfulness

Download a FREE 10 Minute Mindfulness Meditation This 10 Minute Mindfulness Meditation is essentially training for your brain! With repeated listens to this mindfulness meditation, you’ll be assisting the brain in developing the skill of choosing what distraction it would like to focus on; in this instance, either the distraction of ‘the breath’ or the distraction of ‘the thought’. In a world where we can become consumed by our thoughts, having the skill to allow ourselves to notice and acknowledge our thoughts while still being able to focus on what matters is going to be extremely valuable. Whether we like it or not, our lives are going to have moments that make us feel uncomfortable, anxious, stressed or unhappy. Many of the moments we feel these things will be in reaction to circumstances and events that are completely outside of our control. A mindfulness practice will help to develop skills where we can observe those thoughts, acknowledge them, thank the mind for offering them, and choose to focus our energy and attention towards an action that is aligned with our values, our goals and the kind of person we want to be. We can’t change what is outside of our…

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Maintaining Mental Health and Surviving Christmas

By Addiction, Anxiety, Counselling, Depression, Habits, Mental Health, Mindful Eating, Mindfulness, Therapy, Weight Management

Maintaining Mental Health and Surviving Christmas As I wrote last year, while Christmas is a time of joy and family for many, it can also be a source of pain, discomfort, and anxiety for others. For those who have lost or have no family, it can be a period of sadness with constant reminders of a ‘family Christmas’ lurking everywhere. For those who suffer from anxiety, it can be an extremely stressful period as they consider if this overload to the senses (or to their wallet) may leave them feeling apprehensive and on edge. Even just as a ritual in itself, Christmas can potentially trigger a lot of uncomfortable feelings for people that they would rather not experience annually. Then you have those people who are trying to maintain a healthier lifestyle. For those who are trying to lose weight or reduce their drinking or stop smoking, Christmas can prove to be a series of obstacles making their end goal just that little bit more challenging. Let’s face it, you would need to be a saint to get through Christmas without at least a handful of moments of self-indulgence. For some people, giving into this temptation may leave them feeling…

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