1


Newsletters

**Check out this page regularly for inspirational ideas and articles.**

March 2017

Now Beyond Doubt: Yoga Improves

Mental AND Physical Health

The essence of yoga is a balanced practice that incorporates asanas (or postures), pranayama (breathing exercises), savasana (relaxation), and meditation.  By that I mean that when I refer to the practice of yoga I’m not including fad or trendy yoga that isn’t fully grounded in the knowledge, discipline, and balance of traditional yoga.  

There is now plentiful evidence that yoga is an effective practice for physical and mental health.  Since the Western world has taken an interest in the potential health benefits of yoga, various studies have shown that regular practice of yoga and meditation provides a variety of health benefits including:

  • lowers blood pressure

  • builds muscle strength and improves balance

  • improves flexibility and posture

  • reduces cartilage and joint deterioration

  • protects the spine by helping to keep it supple

  • strengthens bones (thereby protecting against osteoporosis)

  • improves blood flow (assisting heart function)

  • improves immunity (through lymph drainage)

  • regulates adrenal glands

  • lowers blood sugar and LDL (bad) and increases HDL (good) cholesterol

  • improves concentration and focus

  • relaxes your nervous system

  • improves mood

  • relieves muscle tension and assists sleep

  • quietens the mind (reducing the mental agitation of anxiety and depression)

Mental Health:

It is the latter benefits that are, of course, specifically related to mental health; however improved physical health is an important factor in mental health.  That is why a regular balanced yoga practice with a yoga teacher well-trained in the traditional foundations of yoga is a great way to benefit the whole body – mental, emotional, physical.

 The Role of a Psychologist:

Just as having a well-trained and experience yoga teacher is important, so is having a well-trained and experienced psychologist or mental health worker very important is helping you to reduce mental and emotional difficulties and improve your happiness, peace, and quality of life.  Even if you think yoga is not for you, your psychologist can help you to develop anxiety, depression, and stress reduction strategies that draw on the practice of relaxation, meditation, mindfulness, and acceptance. 

 DON’T SUFFER ALONE – contact us for an appointment to discuss your health needs.

 Warm regards, Trish

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

THE IMPORTANCE OF BOUNDARIES FOR OUR OWN HEALTH AND JOY

AND FOR HEALTHY JOYFUL RELATIONSHIPS.

May 2016

 

Have you ever felt resentful in your relationships with others?  Do you feel that often? Take a moment to reflect on past and present relationships.  Ask yourself “do I feel resentful in any of my current relationships?”

We all experience feelings of resentment at some point – maybe towards a partner, family member, friend, boss, or someone else.  If we are self-aware we can recognise the feeling early, before it damages our own health and joy or our relationships.  In other words, be aware of you feelings/emotions and be grateful if you notice some resentment creeping in.

Why?

Because those early buds of resentment can be your ‘amber light’ warning you that you need to pay attention to how you are operating in the relationship/s where you feel that resentment growing.

You may resent someone you feel has taken advantage of you, brushed you aside, failed to express appreciation for you…or maybe you resent someone who asks or expects a lot from you without giving much back in return.

There are lots of reasons for feeling resentful, and at the core of those issues is an absence of healthy boundaries.

When we’re able to say no and create boundaries that support our wellbeing, we can more successfully avoid the situations that cause us to feel resentful.

With healthy boundaries in place, we are healthier and happier and our relationships are also healthier.

But what are boundaries and how do you set boundaries in a relational context? 

Personal boundaries are like the fences between properties: they let us know the limits of that property. Having healthy personal boundaries means knowing and understanding what your own personal limits are.

So, again, you need to be self-aware.  You can’t set good boundaries if you not sure of where you stand. So identify your physical, emotional, mental, financial and spiritual limits,

Look out for early feelings of resentment. It’s can be a sign that you are pushing yourself  beyond your own limits because you want to please and appease others, or be seen as a good partner, friend, employee (maybe all three and more!);  Or maybe you are feeling resentful because someone else is imposing their expectations, choices, views or values on you and you are not expressing your boundaries clearly.

HOW DO YOU SET BOUNDARIES IN PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS?

This is an area where many people struggle.  People often don’t say what they feel or what they want because they want to avoid confrontation, fear losing the relationship, or don’t know how to express their boundaries clearly.

As a result, people often use PASSIVE ways of expressing their dissatisfaction and resentment  eg withdraw and go quiet, withhold affection or praise, stop helping or cooperating with the other person without saying why (a form of punishment), or make obscure or sarcastic comments.

But, eventually, when the ‘tank’ of resentment gets too full, their resentment can pour out in ANGRY, AGGRESSIVE and UNHELPFUL ways eg criticise the person for some other issue or behaviour, attacking the other person verbally with a litany of complaints, often using global words such as “you always” (eg ‘you always just do what you want”) or “you never ” (eg “you never listen to me or think of me”), or threatening to leave a relationship and/or storming out of the room or setting.  Yelling and tears may also be part of trying to express their resentment and dissatisfaction.

As you read the paragraphs above you may recognise some of your own, or others, behaviours.  You might also recognise that neither way of trying to address boundaries is likely to be successful or healthy to the person or their relationship/s.

Setting and expressing your personal boundaries requires knowing your ‘limits’ as described above and knowing how to express them in a timely manner and in a clear, assertive, and respectful way.  Communication skills are important.  How we set a boundary with a stranger is different to how we set a boundary with our child, our partner, an ailing parent, a relative, a neighbour or a work colleague.  In each of these relationships our limits are likely to be somewhat different and our way of expressing them needs to adapt to the context.

So if you need some help with understanding your personal boundaries and how to communicate them clearly and respectfully, we are here to help.

Any to our warm and caring therapist will be able to assist:

Dr Patricia (Trish) O’Rourke

Dr Fiona Bosly

Tricia Chandra (parents and families)

Rachael Ambler

Pauline King

 

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Why Meditation Improves Performance and Peace:

Understanding Brain Waves

March 2016

Scientists are now discovering what yogis have known for centuries – THAT THE BENEFITS OF MEDITATION ARE PROFOUND. Meditation is a crucial instrument to harness the power of thought and to cultivate more peace, clarity and happiness. Learning to train the brain and focus our attention is crucial to thriving and cultivating peak performance in any endeavour. Information on how to increase our body’s strength and resiliency abounds but MIND STRENGTH AND RESILIENCY is equally important. We can employ Mind Strength to impact and improve all aspects of life.

MEDITATION BUILDS MIND STRENGTH

Meditation enables us to move from higher frequency to lower frequency brain waves which activates different centres in the brain.

There are five major categories of brain waves, each corresponding to different activities. Slower wavelengths = more time between thoughts = more opportunity to skilfully choose which thoughts you invest in and what actions you take.

5 Categories of Brain Waves: 1. Gamma State: (30 – 100Hz).

This is the state of hyperactivity and active learning. Gamma state is the most opportune time to retain information. This is why educators often have audiences jumping up and down or dancing around — to increase the likelihood of permanent assimilation of information. If over stimulated, it can lead to anxiety.

2. Beta State: (13 – 30Hz)

We function in this state for most of the day.  Beta state is associated with the alert mind state of the prefrontal cortex. This is a state of the “working” or “thinking mind” — analytical, planning, assessing and categorizing.

3.  Alpha State: (9 – 13Hz)

In this state brain waves start to slow down. We feel more peaceful and grounded. We often find ourselves in an “alpha state” after a yoga class, a walk in the woods, a pleasurable sexual encounter or during any activity that helps relax the body and mind. We are lucid, reflective, and have a somewhat diffused awareness. The hemispheres of the brain are more balanced creating neural integration.

4. Theta State: (4 – 8Hz)

In this state we are able to begin meditation. This is the point where the verbal/thinking mind transitions to the meditative/visual mind. We begin to move from the planning mind to a deeper state of awareness. The theta state is associated visualization, stronger intuition, and more concentrated problem solving.

5. Delta State: (1-3 Hz)

Tibetan monks and others who have been meditating consistently for decades can reach this state in an alert wakeful state most of us reach this final state during deep, dreamless sleep.

How to Meditate: A simple meditation to use to begin the transition from Beta or Alpha to the Theta State is to focus on the breath. The breath and mind work in tandem so, as breath begins to lengthen, brain waves begin to slow down. To begin the meditation, sit comfortably with your shoulders relaxed and spine tall. Place your hands mindfully on your lap, close your eyes and as much as possible eliminate any stimulus that may distract you. Observe your breath. Simply notice your breath flowing in – flowing out. Don’t try to change it in any way. Just notice. Silently repeat “Breathing In, Breathing Out” in time with the rhythm of your breath.  As your mind begins to wander, draw it back to your breath non-judgementally. Notice that as your breath begins to lengthen and fill your body, your mind begins to calm. CONSISTENCY IS KEY        . Try to do this breath meditation first thing in the morning and/or at night. Be consistent with your meditation. Shorter meditations on a regular basis are more productive than long sessions every few weeks. Start with 5 minutes a day and add 1 minute each week building up to a regular 30 to 40 minutes each day.

ENJOY THE PROCESS AND OBSERVE THE BENEFITS IN DAILY LIFE!

 

######################################################################################################

July 2015

 

Developing a Set of Core Values

 

When people hear the word ‘faith’ they often associate it with religious belief but no matter what your religious beliefs, or even if you don’t hold to a religious view, there is one faith we can all aspire to developing to its full capacity …. Faith in your self! 

The following article builds on the article i posted last month on the importance of having your own personal mission statement.  That article and the one below combine to provide you with your own ‘GPS’ for your life.

In 2013 I wrote this article on how having a Personal Mission Statement brings purpose and direction to your life and that having a set of core values that support that mission statement is like having the directions to your desired destination.  Having a clear Personal Mission Statement and a set of Core Values that guides your choices, decisions, and actions is a great way to develop faith in yourself.

I explained what a Personal Mission Statement is and how to develop your own.  This month I build on that article by discussing Core Values.  There are many well-known quotes that give us the same message – that is, that what a person thinks influences what they do, and what they do, they become.  If we develop a set of Core Values that we keep in the forefront of our thoughts, they will guide what we do, and that is how we become who we want to be; or to put it another way, that is how we achieve our Personal Mission Statement.  The better we understand this and put it into action the more we can have faith in ourselves.

Knowing your values gives you purpose. When you haven’t clearly defined your core values you can drift through life basing your choices, decisions and actions on circumstances and others expectations of you. This way of living can contribute to frustration, fatigue, resentment, confusion, and a lack of progress in any way that is satisfying or fulfilling for you.  Conversely, living a life according to your core values promotes purpose, resilience, enthusiasm, happiness and a sense of progress and achievement.

Knowing your values can help you make better choices.  As part of my work I sometimes ask people what are their Core Values.  Some people are initially stumped by the question and need time to think about it.  Others can list of what is commonly held as positive qualities in our society such as care for others, honesty, reliability.  Then I sometimes pose a situation to them that is not clear cut and ask how they would apply their values (ie what they would do).  For example, being completely honest in the situation may hurt the other person’s feelings and therefore conflict with the ‘care for others value. When your actions conflict with your values the result can be unhappiness and frustration. Therefore it is important to clearly define YOUR core values (not just what society espouses), write them down, and to think through how you will apply them moment to moment each day.

Knowing your values simplifies life.

When you have clearly defined your core values decision making is simpler because you only have to ask yourself  “What action aligns best with my core values?”  and then follow through.

Values are not goals:  A goal is a specific target or end point such as gaining promotion, finishing a university degree, losing 5kg.  Values are qualities and behavior that you hold in high regard such as loyalty, kindness, determination.

Time to get started: Take time to reflect on this article and what you hold as important qualities and behavior. When you feel clear about what values are important to you, make a list.  It is useful to do this in a special journal that already has your Personal Mission Statement so that you can always refer back to them.  Do your list of values in pencil and again take time to reflect on your list.  You will probably see that some of your values overlap; try to reduce the number so your list is clear and concise.  Read your list regularly so that you can be mindful of applying them in daily life. 

I hope you enjoy the purpose and peace that having a mission statement and applying core values can bring to your life on a daily basis. 

Have a great month,           Trish

Dr Patricia O’Rourke is a Clinical Psychologist and Owner of Indigo Health for Mind & Body

PS:  If you need help to put this information into practice please call us to make an appointment.  It just may be the best time and money you spend this year!

 

***********************************************************************************

June 2015

 

What is the Purpose of Your Life? 

Do You Lack Direction or Feel Lost and Confused in Your Day to Day Life?

One Powerful Way to bring Purpose and Direction to Your Life is to have

a Brief Personal Mission Statement and

a set of Core Values that support that Mission Statement.

*****

What is a Mission Statement?

A mission statement is a statement of purpose – a guiding principle.

Your personal mission statement is a statement of who and how you want to be in this life.  It is your vision for your life and it guides you in the choices and decisions you make.  It helps to ground you when life presents challenges.

An example of a Personal Mission Statement would be “My Personal Mission Statement is to help the next generation to learn and develop to the best of their abilities”.  A person with such a mission statement would have the choice of many different roles in life that would help them to live their purpose eg parent, teacher, school counselor, sports coach etc.

How To Develop Your Own Personal Mission Statement?

To develop your own mission statement think about what you would like to look back on with satisfaction later in your life.  How would you like to have contributed during your lifetime? Think about activities you do or have done where you gain a sense of satisfaction, a feeling of flow. Flow is the mental state in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity (Mihály Csíkszentmihályi). Maybe it is when you are gardening, or with children, or engaged in volunteer work, or managing a work team.  Wherever you have a sense of flow, of absorption in an activity, it gives you a hint or clue about where your own satisfaction lies.

You might ask “How does enjoying gardening become part of a Personal Mission Statement?”  Well that depends on your core values eg if one of your values is to limit your environmental footprint (ie to do as little damage as possible to the environment) then growing your own vegetables, sharing with family and neighbours, using your own compost to fertilise etc all contributes to reducing your environmental footprint and would fit with a more general Personal Mission Statement of “doing as little harm as possible during my lifetime” or “contributing to the world in whatever way I can to the best of my abilities”. Knowing your core values supports you in making choices and taking actions that are consistent with your Personal Mission Statement.

 

A few Simple Steps for Formulating Your Personal Mission Statement:

The following steps will help you to understand what is important to you and to develop your Personal Mission Statement

 

 Reflect on Your Goals

What is it you really want to achieve or contribute during your brief time on earth.  If could be one broad goal (eg to be the best person I can be) or a number of specific goals (eg to be a good parent, to be fit and eat healthily, to assist in improving animal welfare). These are the life goals that make up your Mission Statement. Write them down.

How will You Achieve Your Goals?

Reflect on what your need to learn or what skills you need to acquire to achieve those goals.  For example, if one of your goals was “to be a good parent”, you need to know what the research shows is ‘good parenting’.  There are many well research and well written books on parenting and accredited parenting courses.  If “to be a good parent” was your goal you would need to educate yourself and then apply the parenting strategies consistently.  As you identify the knowledge and skills you will need to achieve your life goals, write them down under each life goal.  This list provides further context and direction on a daily basis to support you in living your Personal Mission Statement.

When you have written down your Personal Mission Statement (made up of your life goal/s) and the list of steps (ie what knowledge and skills you need to develop and apply), keep it close to you where you can read it regularly.  You might decide to put it somewhere public (like on your fridge) or somewhere private (like in your diary).  Wherever you put it the important thing is to apply your Mission Statement daily by reading it and reflecting on how the actions you take each day move you closer to or further away from living your Personal Mission Statement.   It is the application, not just the act of developing the Mission Statement, that provides purpose, direction, and satisfaction in your life.  It is the application that will enable you to look back in old age and know you made real effort to contribute in some positive way and do what you believed in.

Note 1: 

Our Personal Mission Statement can change or morph into something slightly different as we move through the different developmental stages of life.  For example, the Personal Mission Statement that a 20 year old develops may change into something different or may become more succinct as that same person reaches 40 or 60 years of age.  In other words, our Personal Mission Statement is a ‘living’ thing that grows and develops with us – as long as we haven’t stuck it in a drawer somewhere and forgotten all about it!!

Note 2:

You may recall earlier in this article I mentioned your Core Values and that knowing your Core Values helps you make choices and take actions that are consistent with your Personal Mission Statement.  I will be posting an article on Core Values in the next few weeks so look out for that during June.    In the meantime get that Personal Mission Statement under way.

If you need assistance to clarify your Personal Mission Statement and the knowledge and skills you need to support it, please make an appointment with me.  I will be happy to help you.

Have a great month,                                                                                                                           Trish

Dr Patricia O’Rourke is a Clinical Psychologist and Owner of Indigo Health for Mind & Body

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

April 2015

Telemores, Exercise and Cell Age

Finally there are signs of the weather changing; the mornings are a little cooler and the nights are closing in a little earlier. Autumn is here and winter is coming.  For some people that means a great time to get out and exercise but for others it can seem harder to get their body moving. The temptation is to stay in bed longer or curl up with a magazine instead of going for a walk, tennis game, heading to the gym or whatever was their preferred activity in warmer months. 

 We already know the benefits of exercise for decreasing stress levels and improving all sorts of physical health measurements.

But now we also know that our telomeres benefit too.

You might remember that a couple of years ago, several scientists won a Nobel prize in medicine for the discovery of their function.

Telomeres reside at the end of chromosomes in order to protect them from deterioration. When cells replicate, telomeres are cut and become increasingly shorter. If the telomere becomes too short, it dies or at the very least becomes dormant.

Many researchers now use telomere length to determine cell age.

Two recent studies from the University of Colorado (Thomas LaRocca) and Germany (Christian Werner), measure the effects of long-term exercise on telomere length, with some interesting results.

They found that young people, regardless of how active they were, have basically the same length of telomere.

The marked changes come only later when looking at people in middle-age.

Middle aged people who were sedentary had telomeres that were about 40% shorter on average than young people, even the sedentary young ones.

Middle-aged people who maintained physical activity had not only higher aerobic capacities but also longer telomeres. In fact, their telomere lengths were only slightly shorter than that of youthful exercisers.

So next time you think of putting off your exercise or the opportunity for active ways to socialise think of your telomeres and improving the health of your cells. The other major plus is that improved cell health has so many implications for brain cells and their capacity for neuroplasticity.

 

So get active, find all sorts of ways to exercise regularly, and keep your telemores long and your cells young!

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

January 2015

WORRY LESS AND LIVE MORE IN 2015

With the fun and festivities of Christmas and New Year behind us many of you may find your mind gradually turning to the ‘fallout’ of the wonderful holiday period.  For example you may find yourself lapsing into worry and rumination about the financial impact of that period, or if you have children the financial impact and time demands of getting them set up for another school year.  Maybe you thoroughly enjoyed all the yummy food and drinks on offer over the festive period only to find yourself now worrying about having put on some weight or not feeling fit.  For some people, family dynamics may be weighing on their mind.  Families often come together at Xmas with the best of intentions only to find old issues emerge, misunderstandings occur, and the close contact can feel like “too much”.

 

Whatever the cause you may be finding your thoughts gradually sinking into worry and negativity.  If so, here are some strategies to help get your thoughts sorted and your energy going into active living versus mental  circles.

 

1)    Increase your awareness of what your mind is doing. 

 

That is, recognise worry and replace it with effective thinking.  Worry is when your thoughts are stuck on a problem/s whereas thinking is when you are focusing on finding solutions.

 

2)    Usually it isn’t that you have too many worries but that you have too few strategies to address them. 

 

More often than not a worried person has what is often referred to as ‘monkey mind’ ie their mind is jumping from one perceived problem to another.  STOP your monkey mind and address one worry or problem at a time.  Make a list of all the worries that are blocking up your mind and monopolising your mental abilities.  Then take each one separately and ask yourself is it a real current  problem or an imagined future problem or maybe even a past issue.  Ditch the imagined future problems and past ‘over and done with’ issues and focus on what is real and current eg getting the children’s school needs organised and the budget under control.

 

3)    Keep your concerns in perspective.

 

Ask yourself is the worry really worthwhile. Recognise what you have control over and what you haven’t eg to a large degree you have control over how you spend your time whereas you probably don’t have control over the amount of traffic or the cost of living.  Yes, you can stick to your budget, you can shop at the cheaper places eg Aldi goods ares generally better priced than Woolworths, you can cook nourishing meals at home versus highly processed foods or take away which are more expensive and less healthy, you can choose to be organised and leave home/work at the best time to minimise traffic delays, and you can choose to go for a walk or to the gym instead of watching TV or surfing the net – these are examples of the things you do have control over.

 

4)    Do what you can do now/today/this week. 

 

Are you a procrastination pro?  Be really truthful with yourself – is it actually a way of avoiding action?  If you stay stuck in worry does it help solve the problem/s or hinder it?  Maybe you, like many people, don’t address problems til they are overwhelming or at the ‘11th hour’.

I often refer to ‘chunking’ as a great strategy to get yourself moving on worries or even to get those 2015 NY intentions underway. 

 

Point 2 above encouraged you to sort the real current worries/

problems from imagined future or past problems and to make a list of them.  Now, break those problems down into mini tasks or manageable actions you can do each day.  If you take action each day before you know it you will feel energised, organised, stronger and more confident from sorting the problems.  If you can’t think of an effective action to take, either you are focusing on problems you can’t control or you need some help from practitioners such as myself and others at Indigo Health for Mind & Body.  

 

5)    Put your mental energy to good use.

 

Once you have done the problem solving and started the action process, distract yourself from continued worry/rumination by engaging in an activity that brings you joy and captures all of your attention eg a game of tennis, a good conversation, a creative activity, a very active workout etc.  Often people tell me they “switch off by watching TV”.  While a great TV show such as a drama or a really good comedy, has a place in life, research shows that the happiest people spend 30% less time in front of TV.  I think the same probably applies to internet surfing.

 

SO NOW YOU ARE READY TO WORRY LESS AND LIVE MORE IN THE REAL WORLD.  BEST WISHES TO YOU ALL FOR 2015.

 

Regards, Trish

 

Dr Patricia O’Rourke

CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST

 

.  

********************************************************************************

December 2014

New Year > New Resolution > New Habits

 

Congratulations to all of you for your efforts in 2014 to be the best person you can be and to live by your values.  I know for me there is always room for new information and more commitment to continue that process.  Committing to a new behaviour or refining the your current ones in the form of a New Year’s Resolution is a great way to focus your mind and energy on living happy, healthy, and loving lives.

In these last few days of December you no doubt have many other things more pressing on your thoughts and time than New Year’s resolutions; however it is worth planting a little seed in your mind and heart so that when New Year comes (16 days away) you are ready to consider what you would like to do to more fully live life in happiness, health, and love.

Here are a few TIPS to help you consider a ‘resolution’ or commitment you could make to do just that in 2015.

  1. Make it Small:  Often people try to do too much at once or make lists of major changes eg get out of debt, be a size 10, or ‘change my life’ (meaning always be organised, sweet, never upset anyone, have a great relationship, always be calm, gorgeous, a great cook or the most athletic person in their friendship group).  Often by the end of New Year’s Day one of these intentions has fallen into the (metaphorical) abyss due to a misunderstanding with a partner, yelling at the children for arguing, burning the turkey, or eating (or drinking) way too much – and what happens next? The person feels like a failure less than 48 hours into their commitment and it often feels too overwhelming to even try to remedy the situation.

So keep it small – choose one small change and be very clear what you are intending to achieve.

    2.  Anchor it in behaviour:  For example, if you want to be a healthier weight (the goal) choose one or two              specific behaviours to commit to eg commit to one food related behaviour (such as eating nutritious food            at every meal or preparing healthy lunch and snacks for work each day), and one physical activity (such            as committing to 20 minutes of exercise each day in whatever form will work best for you).   If your NY              Resolution is more focused on being happier or more generous you still need to anchor it in a specific                  behaviour to change eg commit to writing three things your grateful for each day or doing one act of                    generosity (sharing what you have, thinking generously/kindly about someone you find difficult to get                along with) each day.

   3.  Do it for at least one month:  it takes 30 days of regular practice to form a new habit so put all the                       systems you can think of into place to support you to stick with your commitment for the first month at             least.  You don’t have to start on the 1st January if that isn’t going to be the most supportive way to start            eg if you are still on holidays or need a week to recover from the festive season before applying yourself              fully to this commitment.  The key is to focus on that one goal and maintain that focus for at least 30 days.

If you have acted on it every single day it will probably feel more like a habit by then.  Make a commitment to another month and before you know it that new behaviour will just be an easy part of who you are.

Wishing you all a happy and loving Christmas and peace and joy through 2015.

Warm Regards, Trish

 

(Dr Patricia O’Rourke, Clinical Psychologist)

_____________________________________________________________

OCTOBER 2014

 

DEPRESSION – A MULTIDIMENSIONAL DISORDER

 

At many different levels the costs of depression are huge: couples separate, families struggle, individuals suffer, and organisations and societies are affected by absenteeism and the sometimes destructive behaviours of those who suffer depression.  In addition, the economic costs for the health system are high and the tragedy of suicide deeply affects families, communities, and indeed whole societies (such as the death of Robin Williams).  Depression is pervasive and despite advances in treatment the problem continues to grow.

Depression is a multidimensional disorder.  It has biological components based in genetics, neurochemistry, and physical health.  It has psychological components such as cognitive style, coping style, attachment experiences, and other personal and behavioural factors.  It has social components, factors that are mediated by the quality of one’s relationships, support networks, and environmental factors.

Despite this multidimensional nature of depression the medical model receives the most attention and has the most funding for treatment of depression.  By far the greatest share of research money goes to drug research, elevating the pharmacological remedies as the principal source of hope and relief for depression suffers.  As a result antidepressants are the most widely prescribed medications and are still considered a first-line treatment approach. 

Research, however, has shown that psychological treatment has equal rates of success in treating depression and even better success in the area of prevention.  This is not an argument against antidepressant medication.  Antidepressant medication has certainly provided relief for many depression sufferers but it must be used selectively and in conjunction with best-practice skill-building psychotherapy.

The social factors of depression are very important but often overlooked.  Patterns of thinking, coping, behaving, and relating are first learned in our families.  Consider this – the largest demographic group of depression suffers (25-44 years old) are the same group that are now raising children.  Parents can’t teach their children what they don’t know.  We all need to reflect on what it is us humans need for health and happiness and help each other towards calm, loving, tolerant and  positive living.

The state of one’s relationship is also closely associated with depression.  The more distressed a person’s intimate relationship is the more likely that person is to already be depressed or to become depressed.  The quality of one’s relationship is a large risk factor for depression yet many people never consider how powerful a good relationship can be in helping insulate the partners against depression.  In May 2014 I wrote an article on what makes a relationship work over time (scroll down to Together for over 40 years – what makes relationships lasting and healthy?).  A book I recommend all couples read is Five Love Languages to enrich couples ability to recognise how they and their partner show love and care and how they like to receive it.  There are many other good resources around for improving the quality of your relationship including couples counselling – so if you are in a relationship take steps to make it strong and satisfying to insulate yourself and your partner against dissatisfaction and depression.

We are more than our biochemistry so to think of depression as purely an individual’s biochemical disorder is to overlook the powerful social forces of family, organisations, cities, and culture in which we are raised, educated, work, and relate.  Therefore it is extremely limited to think that medication is the only or most effective source of treatment for those with depression.  Addressing individual, relationship, social, and environmental aspects of a person’s life provides a more holistic treatment disorder.

*****************************************************************************

Previous montly articles are listed below.  Please click on the link to open the article.  If you like any or all of our articles please share with your friends and/or comment on our Facebook page.  Thanks for visiting our website.

2014 Articles

2013 Articles

2012 Articles

======================================================== 

Previous entries:

Reflect on the following quote:

“We don’t believe what we see, we see what we believe”

(Dr Libby Weaver: Rushing Woman’s Syndrome)

 How might your past experiences have created beliefs that are affecting what you see in the present?  Do those beliefs need altering to accommodate the reality of what you truly ‘see’ in the present? 

Self-awareness and letting go of unhelpful and inaccurate beliefs is one great stategy for a happy life!

Regards, Trish

Dr Patricia O’Rourke  Clinical Psychologist