The common denominator that keeps Sam Johnson, Abbott, Rudd, Obama and Clive Berghofer healthy

Sam Johnson

Sam Johnson

We’re used to seeing our leaders striding out on their early morning power-walks or competing in marathons. Some of them are pretty good examples of keeping fit and healthy – mentally and physically. All power to them! It’s cool to be fit.

We think it’s also rather cool to support the conservation movement by investing in alternative power solutions and participating in water and other conservation measures. It makes us feel good, and politicians who appear to support these initiatives gain our respect, too.

Society is moving ahead in leaps and bounds. As we’ve ditched outdated world views and popular opinions, more and more of us have started to realise that minority groups, like those with disabilities, gays and asylum seekers, suffer from prejudices and circumstances and need to be given a fair go. It’s super cool to show your support and acceptance, politician or not. It makes us feel good.

And the efforts of individuals and charities raising money for medical research seem to ‘take the cake’ as the coolest of cool deeds. Who doesn’t glow with goodwill as we watch Sam Johnson unicycle around Australia to raise a million dollars for Breast Cancer research for the love of his sister, or applaud Clive Berghofer’s $50 million generously donated to the Queensland Institute of Medical Research.

But wait a minute. Continue Reading

There’s a change coming to the sick room

© Stock photos/Glowimages - models used for illustrative purposes

© Stock photos/Glowimages – models used for illustrative purposes

Spirituality may no longer be part of a ‘hidden curriculum’ in medical schools

There is increasing acceptance, both in the community and in the medical fraternity that we benefit from a holistic approach to healthcare. From a patient perspective, being consulted about their spirituality is important to Australians, and there’s a general belief that spirituality helps recovery.

These assertions formed the opening part of Associate Professor Kellie Bennett’s presentation at the recent Compassion, Spirituality and Health Conference held earlier this month in Adelaide.Continue Reading

Are we all now on the same mind, body, spirit page?

© Stock photos/Glowimages – model used for illustrative purpose

© Stock photos/Glowimages – model used for illustrative purpose

A couple of weeks ago, thousands of people attended the Mind Body Spirit Festival in Brisbane. I made my way there through the gloomy weather on Sunday, to find a really ‘happening’ event, a lot like the Health Harmony and Soul Expo held on the Gold Coast earlier in the year.

There were a surprising number of Millennials and Gen Ys amongst the Baby Boomers and Gen Xs in attendance, as ready to explore the ideas of philosophy and religion, as they were to try out the organic tea or get their ‘reading’.

I got the impression that there was general agreement between those on stands and within their vibrant audience that health is about very much more than treating a body.Continue Reading

NAIDOC Week spearheads spirituality question

aboriginal rockart

© Stock photos/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 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

Expect health! Expectation can be a self-fulfilling prophecy

© Stock photo/Glowimages

© Stock photo/Glowimages

“Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can”, exclaims Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), the hero of Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, now showing in cinemas.

While Gatsby, the billionaire with shady business connections, may not be the ideal role model, you’ve got to give him full marks for his tenacity, vision and expectancy! Starting out life in poverty and misery, he turned his life around to achieve his boyhood dream of wealth and security. His aspirations, expectations and capability enabled him to succeed, as he focussed on the grand possibilities, rather than the roadblocks.

Maybe his background and life experience hadn’t equipped him to realise the underpinning significance of honesty, humility and compassion for a fuller, more complete view of himself … and others … and to achieve true happiness.Continue Reading


1. Hope

Hope is the stuff of change, recovery and healing, according to Dr Shane Lopez, author of the new book Making Hope Happen: Create the Future You Want for Yourself and Others,.“Hope is half optimism. The other half is the belief in the power that you can make it so”, writes Lopez.

Hopeful people make an investment in the future that pays off in the present: in the way they eat, exercise, conserve energy, take care of themselves and stick to their treatment plan. He suggests that this sort of “change in mind-set has the power to alter neurochemistry”.Continue Reading

Palliative Care: Seeing a higher view


At the end, it was an ‘uplifting’ experience. However, a couple of months ago I felt ill-prepared for the emotional turmoil that was sure to surface and the decision-making that would be required. I honestly felt like making a run for it.

After 93 years of living a very active life full of work, sport, hobbies and family, Dad wasn’t recovering after an illness and we decided that better care and medical testing were needed. Following admission to hospital and countless medical examinations, he was diagnosed with a terminal illness and given only two months to live.Continue Reading

ANZAC Day triggers reflections on life and health

© Stock photos/Glowimage

© Stock photos/Glowimage

Rush out the door early with my husband ….. head off in two separate cars … leave my car at the auto centre for its 100,000 km service …… drop him at work over the other side of town. Need to do some shopping before heading back to the home office for the day. What to do until the shops open at 9am?  “Hmm…. it looks like quite a lovely view from that cemetery across the road, and I have just enough time to fit in quite a nice walk through the open space and tree plantings.”

I felt really privileged to have time to amble through the cemetery on one of those picture perfect mornings! 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.

As the years unfolded, gravestones became more elaborate (turned into mausoleums in some cases) and were hedged about with iron fences. My heart went out to the family of an eight year old boy who had been laid to rest there. They had erected the most elaborate plot I’d ever seen.

Towards the end of the 20th century the fashion was obviously the lawn cemetery. 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.Continue Reading

Being Mindful of World Health Day

This article first appeared on Australia’s national forum, Online Opinion.

© Stock photos/Glowimages – models used for illustrative purpose

© Stock photos/Glowimages – models used for illustrative purpose

There’ll be a functional cure for AIDs; your brain waves will be able to be manipulated to jog memory or scratch bad recollections; and, bandages will indicate how healing is progressing. These are just three of the many amazing medical breakthroughs that could become reality within the next 10-20 years, according to a recent Brisbane Times report on groundbreaking Melbourne-based research.

While these innovations focus very much on a biomedical approach to treating disease, there are another group of international researchers who are finding equally amazing results through the use of placebos. These treatments are often dispensed as inert sugar pills or ‘pretend operations’ whereby a patient’s belief in their efficacy and/or the authority of the dispensing doctor, results in improvement or healing.

Did you know that the placebo effect can produce higher test scores? Or that simply picking up a bottle of pills (and putting them straight back down again) can effect healing?Continue Reading

Ageing gracefully or ageless grace?

© Stock photos/Glowimages – model used for illustrative purpose

© Stock photos/Glowimages – model used for illustrative purpose

This blog was first published on these APN news sites: Sunshine Coast Daily, Bundaberg NewsMail and Tweed MyDailyNews.

“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” ~ Betty Friedan

“Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

“You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.” ~ Douglas MacArthur

“We are not victims of aging, sickness, and death. These are part of scenery, not the seer, who is immune to any form of change. This seer is the spirit, the expression of eternal being.” ~ Deepak Chopra

Great thinkers throughout time reveal that being old is very much about your attitude or state of mind. I’ve seen people in their 20s who seem old and others in their 90s who appear youthful.

Older Aussies might be whingeing themselves into an early grave, according to new research linking life-expectancy with attitude. Apparently, approaching old age with negative expectations can directly affect how long you liveContinue Reading