NAIDOC Week 2014: Spirituality linked to better indigenous health

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A spiritual concept of ‘country’ is linked to health @Glowimages

Beloved Australian ABC gardening show host, Peter Cundall, is now retired. But when interviewed by Scott Stephens on Life’s Big Questions a year or two ago, he equated religious/spiritual teaching on a par with fairy stories.

It’s ironic really, because it seems to me that Peter’s joy for life and gratitude for every tiny evidence of good in his days is what has ensured his perfect health for more than 50 years. To me, this is spirituality in action!

I can see a similarity between Peter’s spirituality and that of aboriginal peoples. Continue Reading

Tune out the downbeat and ‘laugh, love, pray’ for winter wellness

Research says laugh, love, pray for winter wellness  © Glowimages

Research says laugh, love, pray for winter wellness © Glowimages

Are you sometimes mesmerised by the latest medication for the common cold on the TV? Fascinated by the computer graphics used to depict the symptoms and their soothing remedy being promoted? Impressed by the subliminal suggestion that responsible people purchase the latest advertised medication? Influenced by society’s bland acceptance of the assumption that colds and flu are unavoidable at this time of year?

Or are you often repelled by these downward tugs, loaded with obvious big pharmaceutical company backing?

Good thinking!

You’re part of a growing movement of individuals who have become more discerning and are prepared to take responsibility for their thoughts, and ultimately for their health and wellbeing.

“Your health care shouldn’t be all about drugs”, says family physician, Dr Chandra. They are just not the answer for healing and more consistent wellbeing. She points to considerable and repeated research that has found that alternative therapies, which recognise the influence of our thoughts and beliefs on our health, are far superior treatments.

In fact, if we truly want to maintain health “we should prevent the images of disease from taking form in thought” by “look(ing) away from the body into Truth and Love”, spirituality and health researcher, Mary Baker Eddy, recommends. If we “hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true…” we’ll bring them into our experience, she confirms in Science and Health.

Negative advertisements and chit-chat about colds and flu need no longer control us. Positive and health-based thought and action offer a powerful immunity.

If you think back on your life experience for a moment, you’d have to agree to the value of these five healthy habits; but maybe their health benefits are news to you.

  • Stay connected. Research has found that people literally feel cold when they experience being socially excluded. Choose not to hibernate this winter, but warm up by joining in and having fun.
  • A positive attitude can broaden our perspective on the world, inspiring more creativity and life options, and promote lasting resilience and wellbeing. Dr Frederickson of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Lab at the University of North Carolina has found that the physical and emotional benefits of positivity include fewer colds, faster recovery from stress, and better sleep.
  • Forgive yourself and others. It’s great for your sense of wellbeing and has also been linked to better immune function. In a Stanford Forgiveness Project, 260 adults were trained to forgive over a 6-week period. 70% reported a decrease in their feelings of hurt, while nearly 30% experienced fewer physical complaints.
  • Pray or meditate on your special place in this wonderful universe. Researchers have proved time and again that spirituality and faith in a loving higher power are overwhelmingly good for your health.

It could be worth your time to meditate on how you’ll get these spiritual practices into gear, because it seems that they will most certainly affect your all-round wellbeing this winter and well into summer.

This article has been published here: Bundaberg News-Mail, Fraser Coast Chronicle, Gladstone Observer, Mackay Daily Mercury, Lismore Northern Star, Rockhampton Morning Bulletin, Central Queensland Telegraph, Whitsunday Times.

Full recovery from PTSD is possible

PTSD sufferers address spirituality to rebuild lives © Glowimages

PTSD sufferers address spirituality to rebuild lives © Glowimages

Last week’s ANZAC Day commemorations highlighted the best of human conduct – servicemen’s and servicewomen’s courage, mateship, decency and willingness to lay down their lives for country and comrades in battle.

At the same time though, and in a quieter way, there was mention of those suffering from trauma as a result of seeing the devastation and brutality that go hand-in-hand with war. During the panel discussion on ABC Big Ideas ANZAC Day Special: Boys Don’t Cry, it was stated that 8% of serving Australian defence force personnel experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But it was also pointed that that figure indicates only those who have been diagnosed and there could be upwards of 30% of all who have served.

Not only Australian Defence Force personnel but also other first responders like ambulance personnel, fire fighters, police officers and hospital staff are all too often confronted with devastating accidents, natural disasters or and the basest of human behaviours, leaving them with recurring images of the carnage and devastation. It also often leaves them numb and detached, and sometimes suicidal.Continue Reading

Our View of Easter can Improve our Health

 

Easter signifies life instead of death © Glowimages

Easter signifies life instead of death © Glowimages

I felt really privileged to have time to amble through the cemetery on one of those picture perfect mornings recently. As I ventured further in, the structure of the cemetery impressed me. Dating from the 1860s, I discovered that early graves and headstones were grouped according to the professed religion of the deceased. Some of the signs read: Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Other Christian, Muslim.

Towards the end of the 20th century the fashion became the lawn cemetery. However I noticed that these were still divided into groupings by religion. More than half of Australians prefer cremation now, and this number is growing, but the lawn cemetery is still the preferred method for a lot of people, though not necessarily divided into religious groupings any more.

Then I got to thinking. It seems that our idea of God, our conception of heaven and earth has dictated how we bury our dead. It was clear in the early days that it was believed that our wealth needed to be displayed so that a manlike god could decide where we fitted into a mortal-like heaven. He also needed to know whether we believed in Him or not, if we were in high church, the chosen church, or none.

I am so pleased that we seem to have a much better understanding of our relation to the divine these days …. that we are all equal(-ly loved) and unfettered by religious differences.Continue Reading

Your calendar age doesn’t define you

Break free from the birthday shackle © Glowimages – models used for illustrative purposes

Break free from the birthday shackle © Glowimages – models used for illustrative purposes

Do you believe that you are you are ‘as young as you feel’? That you’re free to take charge of your own health, happiness and wellbeing, no matter what your age?

In frustration at some of the ingrained beliefs about aging that he saw shackling his colleagues and friends as they grew older, an American baseball legend asked, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?” implying that you need to break out of the mental conditioning that makes you think you are defined by your age.

The calendar is a useful way to let you know the date, but if you let yourself be hemmed in by your chronological age, you may lock yourself out of potentially valuable opportunities.

Nextgen population researchers have recognised the greater import of health, cognitive function and life expectancy rather than age data as they plan for future populations. “We should not consider someone who is 60 or 65 to be an older person,” said researcher Sergei Scherbov. “Saying that ‘40 is the new 30’ .. is truer than people know.”Continue Reading

Working with the Whole Person: Interview with Petrea King

Petrea King talks to Kay Stroud for Holistic Bliss Magazine

Petrea King talks to Kay Stroud for Holistic Bliss Magazine

Read this cover story article where it was published in the February 2014 issue of Holistic Bliss Magazine….

Put simply, the standard prescribed way of treating disease needs to be reviewed and reworked.

This was the message that Petrea King and many of the health practitioners conveyed at the AIMA 19th Integrative Medicine Conference held at the Gold Coast late last year.

Following her workshop, King agreed to talk with me about her work and what she sees as the future of healthcare in Australia. Qualified naturopath, herbalist, clinical hypnotherapist, yoga and meditation teacher, author, founder and CEO of the Quest for Life Foundation, she has been instrumental in healing individuals and communities after tragedies such as the Queensland floods and is regularly sought after as a counsellor and commentator on integrative therapies on ABC Radio.

“… the whole relatively new science of epigenetics shows us that we have to move from treating diseases to treating people”Continue Reading

Want better health? Resolve to ‘think positive’ in 2014

How to become a change-agent in 2014 © Glowimages
How to become a change-agent in 2014 © Glowimages

Have you been following The Paradise on TV? Maybe you went to see the second movie in The Hunger Games trilogy or The Book Thief during the holiday season?

Some of us identify more intensely with the characters on the big screen, but it seems that we all love following an intelligent, positive hero as he or she conquers fear, stays cool and becomes a change-agent in the world.

Their success begs the question: Is it good luck, good genes, ‘right place, right time’ or positive thinking that makes the difference?

And how about in real life?

Digital natives lead way to an ‘unselfie’ New Year

Digital natives lead way to an ‘unselfie’ New Year © Glowimages – model used for illustrative purposes

Digital natives lead way to an ‘unselfie’ New Year © Glowimages – model used for illustrative purposes

“Our generation doesn’t send Christmas cards”, asserted my 30-year-old daughter when I complained about writing them. She followed up with, “I’ll be sending an e-card like last year”.

Whatever your position about handwritten Christmas cards versus e-cards (I’m in both camps this year), you’d have to admit that for most, it’s not so much about having a physical item or possession that counts.

In a digital age, we no longer need to possess an object to give and receive cards, listen to music, to watch videos or to read a book. Things are disappearing right before our eyes, as the dematerialization of society escalates.

Young people view ownership and the act of consumption as far less important today than being part of the perpetual feedback loop of social media and online personas, reports a paper published in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Let’s celebrate the ‘spirit’ that’s disabling limitations

Celebrating the ‘spirit’ that disables limitations © Glowimages

Celebrating the ‘spirit’ that disables limitations © Glowimages

“Break barriers and open doors: to realise an inclusive society for all”, urges the United Nations in its brief for International Day of People with Disability, celebrated earlier this month.

Well, those doors are opening at  Aware Industries in Albury-Wodonga. Aware’s best practice tools, procedures and support mechanisms enable people with disability to work productively and effectively. Similar to Endeavour Foundation services in Queensland and western Sydney, their strong workforce manufacture and distribute timber products and offer mail/despatch services, as well as food, light engineering and packaging services for the community.

My niece really likes working on the marketing team there. She says that the love and support for her from the workers there is palpable.

Spiritual intelligence now the gold standard for success in business

SQ: The gold standard for success in business © Glowimages – models used for illustrative purpose

SQ: The gold standard for success in business © Glowimages – models used for illustrative purpose

It was entertaining watching advertising executive and media personality Tod Sampson try to ramp up his ability to process and retain information and react quickly in the ABC’s recent Redesign My Brain series. As the weeks progressed, these skills, as well as his divergent and lateral thinking improved impressively.

However, as Neil Levy, Head of Neuroethics at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health suggests “it’s not obvious that enhancing lateral and divergent thinking actually leads to an increase in the kinds of creativity we value”, at home or in the workplace. He admits that there is evidence though that some of the skills learned can combat age-related decline.

Many individuals and businesses are seeking ways to enhance abilities, find the key to creativity, open the door to better relationship management, and get worker buy-in to the business.Continue Reading