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

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

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.

Movember declares all men have capacity for better health

Spirituality positively impacts men’s health © Glowimages – models used for illustrative purpose

Spirituality positively impacts men’s health © Glowimages – models used for illustrative purpose

I’m re-posting this 2012 piece for Movember 2013. It’s been published in this format on Noosa NewsFraser Coast Chronicle and Coffs Coast Advocate.

Love and devotion just shone from my son-in-law’s face as we watched him gently bathe his new daughter for the first time in the hospital. When so much attention is focussed on mum and bub it’s so important to celebrate the indispensable supportive traits and contributions of the male of the species.

During November each year, Movember “is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces around the world” with an aim to raise funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate and testicular cancer and male mental health.

According to the statistics listed on this website, it’s expected 1 in 2 Australian men will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85; around 1 in 5 men experience mental illness in any given 12 month period; and, over 85% of suicides are men – that’s 5 every day in Australia. Dire statistics indeed!

So many of my male family members and friends share dynamic focus, an uncomplicated life direction, unswerving loyalty and a commitment to and love of science. But could it be a sole focus on physical science that hinders men’s quest to be healthier?Continue Reading

Women opt to take a different sort of health pledge

Women find a spiritual approach to wellbeing

Women find a spiritual approach for wellbeing © Glowimages

Picture this. A young mum powering around the front lawn behind a lawn mower, baby in the pouch on her chest screaming his head off.

Reserve your judgement, because in a very short time he has calmed down owing to the monotonous noise and rhythm. The mother has used her wisdom, love and creativity to avert several hours of frustration for them both.Continue Reading

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

Sam Johnson www.loveyoursister.org

Sam Johnson www.loveyoursister.org

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