healthy lifestyle

How to Make The Whole World Happy

I've written before about my desire for a mind switch when it comes to mental health. Not because I'm not concerned about the 20% of our population experiencing mental ill-health each year or because I'm not distressed by our rising rates of suicide. I just wonder whether we can't turn these stats around with prevention rather than treatment or cure?

How to stay mentally healthy.

I have a question for you.

If I say, 'Mental Health' do you think of health?

Or illness?

The terms 'mental health' and 'mental illness' are often used interchangeably in the media and it drives me a bit bonkers.

National Psychology Week: Women, you're doing it tough but getting it right!

Ladies, is this you?

According to the Australian Psychological Society's Stress and Wellbeing survey for 2014, women report poorer wellbeing and greater stress than men.

The top three things that stress us out are:

  1. Money (53%)
  2. Family (52%)
  3. Personal Health (45%).

We're about as depressed and distressed as men but a lot less anxious, which surprises me.

More women than men feel that stress is having a negative impact on our physical health and our mental health.

To de-stress we tend to relax by spending time with friends or family, reading, shopping, visiting social networking websites and avoiding the stressful people or situations in our lives.

Women are slightly more likely than men to think that staying healthy is important but we struggle a bit with life getting in the way, losing motivation and dealing with family demands.

Women are better at staying off the grog than men in order to stay healthy and we're more likely to have a specific plan for making positive changes in our lives.  

My verdict?  It's pretty crappy that we're more stressed and our general wellbeing is not as good as our male counterparts but I'm excited that we know what to do to make life better.   

Let's do more of it ladies and see if we can't reduce our stress and improve our wellbeing that little bit more?  And you know what?  We need to work together with the men in our lives to do this.  Less stress for all I say!

And while you're thinking less stress and improved wellbeing, print this great poster and stick it up somewhere you'll see it regularly - just as a little reminder.

Self Improvement Thursday: Thinking your way to new habits.

healthy lifestyle changes psychology blog

Hola and happy Self Improvement Thursday!

Are you trying to get fit, lose weight, get better sleep, train for an event, improve your diet, give up smoking or drinking, or both? Are you trying to be a kinder person, show more gratitude, be happier, more spiritual or just stop eating chocolate biscuits?  

I'm currently trying (ok, thinking about trying) to go to bed earlier and I'm failing dismally. Changing habits - even simple ones like your bedtime - is DIFFICULT. Sometimes it's nigh on IMPOSSIBLE. Even when you know all of the theory and tips and tricks like I do, it still takes practice and a whole lot of consciousness.  

Quick example: My 'plans' about going to bed earlier have really just been thoughts. I haven't actually done anything to put that plan into action.  It's kind of an idea of something that I think I should do.  That's a long way away from consciously making better lifestyle choices and changing habits.  

On the upside, thinking about it is considered to be an important part of what psychologists call The Change Cycle (it's also known as the Transtheoretical Model of Change but that's a bit wordy isn't it?)  It shows that I'm in the Contemplation phase which is a step ahead of being in the Pre-contemplation phase which is when I'm still blindly staggering on in a somewhat sleep deprived but thoughtless state.  Ignorance is bliss, or so they say.  Although in this case ignorance may be suffering.

The challenge in the Contemplation Phase is that I'm tending to have the aforementioned vague thoughts about changing my behaviour but not doing anything about it other than getting cranky with myself for still feeling addled and sleepy today because it was 11.30pm by the time I went to bed last night - AGAIN!

It's time to start putting some plans into action!

Now that's a cute way of showing it!

I'm going to go away and work on my own plans in the Preparation stage (or Planning as they call it in the cute graphic above) but I challenge you to think about where you might be at with your healthy lifestyle changes?  Are you still blissfully unaware? (Hard to answer that if you are.) Are you thinking? Planning? Doing?  Slipping? 

And as it is National Psychology Week I'm also going to leave you with this great tip sheet on making healthy lifestyle changes.  It explains why it's hard but also gives you tips on how to make it happen.

I'll check back in soon with my update on my improved bed time and I'm keen to see how you're going too. Til then....