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NB Medicare rebates are available if you see a GP for a mental healthcare plan
38 Granville Way (cnr High Road), Willetton
Western Australia 6155
Medicare Provider 442250BY
For Appointments Phone/SMS 0408 890 887
Stirk Medical Group
32 Newburn Road
Western Australia 6057
Medicare Provider 4422502X
For Appointments Phone 9454 5233
To mail: PO Box 260
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This is NOT an emergency service. For Western Australian mental health emergencies please contact the Mental Health Emergency Response Line on 1300 555 788
attend the nearest Emergency Department of a hospital.
Alternatively contact Lifeline on
13 11 14.
Other support services:
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 - for 24/7 telephone counselling for young people 5-25 years
Suicide Callback Service: 1300 659 467 - for 24/7 telephone crisis support for people at-risk of suicide, carers and bereaved
MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78 - for 24/7 telephone and online support, information and referral services for men
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636 - for 24/7 telephone support and online chat 4pm - 10pm (AEST)
Meth Helpline : 1800 874 878 - The Meth Helpline is a free confidential telephone counselling, information and referral service for anyone concerned about their own or another person's meth use.
1800RESPECT - 1800 737 732 - 24 hour 7 days a week, confidential telephone and online support - 1800RESPECT is not only a support service for people affected by sexual assault, domestic and family violence. It is also an information and support service for family, friends, and frontline workers.
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Permission given on 27 Nov 2016 by Kris Vallotton for #KVM (Kris Vallotton Ministries).
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Counsellor is sometimes misspelled as counselor, councelor, councellor or councillor and Counselling is sometimes spelled as counselin.,
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Fighting Depression with Evidence Based Tools
This 7 minute clip is worthy of your time. It presents a live experiment on improving mood.
There are many physical health causes of depression that ought to be investigated and treated or eliminated as causes. Yet there are lots of things we can do with our mind to reverse symptoms.
Feelings Follow Our Focus
One of the biggest concerns with major depression is not simply the thought that life seems less worth living but the possibility of acting on those thoughts. "It turns out that gratitute actually reduces the likelihood of suicidal thoughts. Importantly, the effect of gratitude is greatest in people with the highest levels of hopelessness." (Korb 2015)
Gratitude reduces anxiety. Worry and anxiety arise out of the possibility that something bad might happen. Since the brain can only focus on so many things at once thankful thoughts about what might happen in the future replaces the negative thoughts. (Korb 2015)
A Swiss study found that both physical health and psychological health improve in people who express more gratitude, and they are more likely to engage in healthy activities and do something about poor health. Alex Korb suggests that the drive to change current circumstances is most likely mediated by the neuro-transmitter serotonin because without serotonin people tend to become resigned to their fates. The simple act of trying to think of things to be grateful for forces me to focus on the positive aspects of my life. This simple act boosts serotonin. Remembering sad events reduces serotinin but gratitude keeps you from remembering negative events. (Korb 2015)
Researchers reported that when people participated in a “gratitude visit,” which involves writing and delivering a letter of gratitude to someone who had been especially significant to them, the giver’s level of happiness increased and remained elevated for one month afterward.
In a fascinating study, participants were asked to complete a short writing activity called “Three good things” before they went to sleep every night for one week. The task involved them writing down three things that went well that day and why they went well. The participants benefitted so much from the activity that many of them stuck with it, but what was truly remarkable is that their happiness progressively increased for the next six months.
Together Feels Better
The combined results of more than 100 studies show that strong social relationships are as important to a long life as not smoking. We are designed to operate in community. We are better together.
One the other hand MRI scans have showed when people experience social rejection their brain lights up in a way that it does when they experience physical pain.
In one study it was discovered that a change in the happiness of a person in the social network affected the happiness of the friends of their friends’ friends! We influence each other in far reaching ways.
When researchers study the top 10 per cent of happy people, the single most important factor that emerges is that these very happy people have good social relationships.
The brain craves real connection though, not virtual connection. A recent study found that the extent to which young people interacted on Facebook actually predicated a decline in their happiness. Face-to-face interactions did not cause any such decline.
Social support helps create an upwards mood spiral and gratitude actually increases social support. One study found that people who do a weekly journal of things they are grateful for had higher quality of life as a whole, became more optimistic, had less aches and pains and actually exercised more. It starts with gratitude, social support increases, that "helps you feel better and have more to be grateful for - and onward and upward." (Korb 2015) Even in people in chronic pain gratitude improves sleep and reduces anxiety and depression. (Korb 2015)
Feeling grateful activates the brain stem region that produces the neurotransmitter dopamine. "Gratitude toward others increases activity in social dopamine circuits, which makes social interactions more enjoyable." (Korb 2015)
Optimism is gratitude for the future. With optimism you don't even have to believe good things will happen; you just have to believe they could happen, or that no matter what happens you'll be ok. Optimism is being grateful for your resilience. (Korb 2015) So look for the positive if you want to feel happier.
Try the following gratitude activities until you feel happier:
1. think of someone who has been especially kind to you, a friend, a teacher, a co-worker, and write a thank you email/letter to this person being specific about what s/he did that affected your life. Either schedule a meeting to deliver it in person (don't tell them why you are meeting so it can be a surprise) or send it if they are too far away. (one study found the effects of writing and delivering a thank you letter lasted as long as 2 months).
2. journal 3 things per day (preferably at the same time of day) for which you can be grateful (if you can't think of 3 at least write 1, even if it is for the clothes you are wearing or a portion of a meal you liked). Even if a situation is 90% what you don't want find the 10% for which you can feel gratitude.
3. ask for help if you are having trouble remembering happier times or dig out hard evidence; talk to an old friend, look through yearbooks and photo albums together; read old entries from a diary (another reason to keep a gratitude journal); read your CV again to remind yourself of what you have accomplished, and let yourself enjoy pride for doing those things.
4. keep a list of positive statements people have made about you from old SMS messages or emails, notes, from cards etc. When you need to encourage yourself read them over.
5. start the day each day with a check-in on your emotions and ask yourself 'Is this a day I need to encourage myself?' Then try to think of one thing you are looking forward to even if it is just breakfast.
6. humour apprecation is another form of gratitude: plan to watch some funny YouTube clips, a comedy show/movie; humour appreciation activates dopamine rich parts of the brain producing a feeling of enjoyment. (Korb 2015)
Blue and Green Should Often Be Seen
Spending time out of doors with water, living greenery and sky improves mood.
People being shown scenes of natural beauty for even 1/100 of a second while their brain is scanned in a fMRI light up parts of the brain that are associated with positivity. Scenes of cityscapes stirred up parts of the brain associated with threat and stress. Our brains also respond positively to natural sunlight.
Motion Creates Emotion
Act how you want to feel, and that includes the way you breathe. Fake-it-'til-you-make-it works. We don't have to wait until we are happy to laugh or smile. Apparently it works both ways.
Food Feeds Our Mood
Have you ever noticed when you get a cold or flu infection how much you feel depressed? When inflammation rises while fighting the infection our mood drops. Inflammation affects our brain and our mood.
Morton, author of Live More Happy, writes that scientists have discovered that, if our great-great-grandma wouldn’t recognise it as food, our body doesn’t either. Instead, a lot of what we eat today is better described as a food-like substance, heavily processed and packaged; our body sees it as a foreign invader and hence goes into defence and depressed—mode (inflammation rises).
Morton states that diets that are plant-based, dominated by whole fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes imporve mood within days. The body recognises these foods as “real food,” so welcomes them on board as a friend, not foe.
In a study involving more than 80,000 people in Great Britain, the researchers discovered a dose-response relationship between the consumption of fruits and vegetables and happiness—the more fruits and vegetables people consumed, the happier they were, even after taking into account a number of other personal, social and economic factors known to influence happiness.
Researchers from New Zealand found that people who ate the most fruit and vegetables were the happiest. The participants reported feeling happier the very next day after they consumed higher levels of fruits and vegetables.
Another study by Australian researchers found that a Mediterranean-style diet, which emphasised fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes, relieved depression four times more effectively than when only social support was offered to the study participants.
More recently, studies have found that a higher consumption of fruit and vegetables not only improves happiness, but also other mental measures including curiosity and creativity.10 Berries can beat the blues and carrots can cultivate creativity!
There is a gut-brain connection. The state of our gut can affect our state of mind through chemicals produced by our gut bacteria that are absorbed into our blood and make their way to the brain to lift mood. Because of this gut–brain connection, a poor diet can actually contribute to depression. So having the right bacteria living a healthy life in our gut can affect out state of mind. Some of our best friends can be germs!
The best way to ensure the happiness of gut bacteria is to feed them fibre. Fibre is the non-digestible parts of plants—there is no fibre in animal products—and our gut bacteria love the stuff! Unfortunately, most people today starve their gut bacteria. Processing strips the fibre out so 97 per cent of people don’t consume the recommended daily intake of fibre.
There is some evidence that taking probiotics, which help put good bacteria into our gut, can actually decrease symptoms of anxiety, depression, anger and hostility. But Morton states the consensus among the experts is that feeding the good bacteria we already have so that they can flourish is a better way to go.
Also out brain is very sensitive to dehydration. Our brain is 75% water and actually shrinks if we are dehydrated in cluding the parts of the brain that generate happiness. So it is a good idea to make a concerted effort to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day. As a tip, you know you are sufficiently well hydrated if your urine is clear.
Sleep Affects Mood
Now we all know how we feel when we don't get enough sleep. Motivation drops when we are tired. The parts of the brain that generate emotion in particular take a hit from loss of sleep. Researchers have found that participants were more than twice as likely to remember negative words in the sleepy state.
Sleep stealers include:
Inactivity - we all feel more like sleeping after physical activity so long as it is not too close to bed time
Caffeine - the most commonly used psychoactive drug in the world makes it harder to fall asleep and then reduces our ability to enter the deeper and more restorative levels of sleep we need; its effects can last 14 hours.
Morton, Darren. Live More Happy: Scientifically Proven Ways to Lift Your Mood and Your Life (Kindle Location 2004). Signs Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Morton, Darren. Live More Happy: Scientifically Proven Ways to Lift Your Mood and Your Life (Kindle Location 1997). Signs Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Morton, Darren. Live More Happy: Scientifically Proven Ways to Lift Your Mood and Your Life (Kindle Locations 1973-1974). Signs Publishing. Kindle Edition.
The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time - by Alex Korb PhD (2015)
Live More Happy: Scientifically Proven Ways to Lift Your Mood and Your Life - by Dr Darren Morton PhD (2018)