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Norfolk Island Fitness and Health News

Friday, July 12, 2019

FITLOSOPHY: "Strong today. Strong tomorrow."

FOODLOSOPHY: If you eat what and how you've always eaten you'll weigh what you've always weighed. Winter is the best time to lose weight as the body needs to work harder to maintain the body's Core temperature.

GROUP EXERCISE SPECIAL CONTINUES through JULY: Buy a DISCOUNT CARD for $100 and receive 12 classes instead of 10. No restriction on the number of cards purchased.

Workout out of the cold in our fully equipped Gym. Memberships, Personal Training and Group Exercise available. Or maybe try our 8 WEEK BODY BLITZ PROGRAM to take you through to SPRING.

All Gym inquiries to Kay on 52809.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

Norfolk Island Fitness and Health News

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Join one of our many Group Exercise Classes. Spaces available in all classes including SPIN.
                        GROUP EXERCISE SPECIAL for JUNE/JULY.

  • DISCOUNT CARD with 12 Classes (normally 10) for $100.
  • New participant? First Class is FREE.
  • Current participant? Purchase a Card in advance to save.
  • Cards have a 4 month Expiry.

                    Remember a 1 hour workout is only 4% of your day!

All Gym enquiries to Kay on 52809 or landline 23569

Please 'contact us' for more information.

What is “Mental Illness”?

Thursday, June 06, 2019

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Psychotherapy Is About Repairing the Brain

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

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On Compassion for Mental Wellbeing

Thursday, May 02, 2019

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Not Forgetting…But Forgiving: Is It Good for Us?

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Grandma’s sage advice that we “forgive and forget” is something many of us have grown up hearing. All well and good, we say. But then we have a life experience that shakes this age-old wisdom to the core. Some things – people – we experience seem almost unforgiveable.

And then there’s ourselves. How many of us spend vast amounts of time in our minds beating ourselves up endlessly without self-forgiveness and moving on. What does this do to our mental health and general wellbeing?

Well, research suggests that holding on to emotions like resentment, blame, bitterness, hostility, hatred, anger, which can be be fostered through rumination (or playing the same idea over and over in the mind), has dire health effects along the same lines as chronic or extreme stress. For example, blood pressure can be affected, and another study found that supressed hostility and anger were linked to carotid atherosclerosis in a sample of Finnish men. The underlying process is that these intense negative emotions re-set the autonomic nervous system into a state of hyperarousal, triggering a cascade of potentially serious physical problems.

Slipping into the rut of repressed rage also has social consequences. To stay so deeply entangled into bad feelings and negative thinking typically leads to social isolation, or can result in us connecting only with other negative people so the hostility and distress becomes magnified as each person shares their dreadful stories.

Self-unforgiveness resulting from getting trapped in the web of thoughts about our personal mistakes may increase levels of guilt, shame, and regret that in turn negatively impact mental health. Not only are we likely to suffer anxiety disorders, but depression is a risk especially if we isolate ourselves from everyday activities and connections with other people.

To achieve forgiveness, we need to focus on what we call decisional and emotional forgiveness. Decisional forgiveness is about the actions we commit to take - a behavioural intention to give up an unforgiving stance and to act differently toward a transgressor. Emotional forgiveness is the replacement of negative unforgiving emotions with positive emotions towards the person who hurt us. Emotional forgiveness involves psychophysiological changes, and it has more direct health and well-being consequences.

Since the pain of social transgressions (people doing things to us that hurt, especially if done deliberately) is deep, making the decision to forgive is challenging. One tip is to do a cost-benefit analysis. Make a list of the benefits, for you and the other, of hanging onto the pain or distress. Write out why it would be good to stay unforgiving. Then make a list of the costs – what price is to be paid by not forgiving? What benefits could come your way if you choose to forgive, and what costs will be incurred if you forgive. Do this on a sheet of paper drawn into four sections, and take a few days to think about it, letting new insights come to the surface.

Emotional forgiveness might sound easier but for many people who are well skilled at regulating or managing their own emotions, it can be equally challenging. Give this a go. Every time a thought or memory related to the transgressor comes to mind, look around you and pay attention to something in the present moment that gives you a good feeling. Notice the sun shining, feel and appreciate its warmth. Take a look at something amazing in nature that reignites your wonder and awe. Learn to shift your attention away from the inner world into the outer world. Or try using a mantra or affirmation that is a small group of words that inspire you. Over time, as you do this, the stranglehold of unforgiveness will weaken. Writing a forgiveness letter can also be a powerful way to move forward.

Whether you do this in relation to another person, or you do it in relation to yourself, there’s no doubt that making the decision to let go of unforgiveness and get unstuck from the pain of unforgiveness is a huge step towards better health and wellbeing. Next week’s Mental Fitness class will explore forgiveness in more detail and give you more tools for healing.

Dr Kate Lemerle, Psychologist

Chrysalis Counselling & Coaching, Norfolk Island


TEL: 52112 or email

Please 'contact us' for more information.

On Shame, Guilt and Contempt for Social Control

Friday, April 12, 2019

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What is Post Traumatic Growth?

Friday, April 05, 2019

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Tapping into Resilience...and Beyond

Friday, March 29, 2019

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Why Is Trying To Change Habits So Hard?

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Habits are patterns of activity in the brain that have become “hard wired” – they have been repeated enough times that when activated they let us get on with things without having to consciously focus attention on the activity. They allow the brain to carry on multiple tasks at the same time by reducing the energy needed for commonly occurring tasks so more energy is available to deal with less common or familiar responses. This is Nature’s way of using available brain energy efficiently…but can be troublesome when we’ve decided that a certain habit no longer serves its purpose.

The brain’s habit-forming co-ordination centre is the striatum, one of the principal components of the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia is located deep within the centre of the brain and plays important roles in cognition (thinking and awareness), learning, motivation and other functions. Neural tracts connect the outer cortex with the limbic (emotional) brain through the striatum, which makes it a critical brain structure for linking movement, thoughts and rewarding experiences.

Put simply, this means that repeated actions resulting in pleasure or relief, or those that indirectly result in positive emotional responses such as avoiding failure, are processed quickly by the basal ganglia. This brain structure is directly linked to the amygdala (emotional regulation) and hippocampus (memory) via the striatum which activates dopamine, the brain chemical that causes feelings of pleasure.

Habits – or in some cases addictive patterns of behaviour – are “learned” through repetition which brings about increasing linkages between neurons in this deep part of the brain – as we know, “neurons that fire together, wire together”.

To put this into everyday experience, recall a task you had to learn from scratch, such as operating your computer or a new piece of machinery, learning a new language, or performing a work task such as giving a public presentation. Remember how it felt the very first time you tried to perform the task, especially if you were being observed. Yes, we can all recall that moment of discomfort, if not outright terror! This is the amygdala sending off an alarm signal that you are now in mortal danger, so all your senses are on alert and you might even be experiencing panic.

Now, recall the moment when you completed the task successfully, and maybe even got praise. Relief! Self-satisfaction! And along with that, perhaps a burst of positive self-talk…”I can do this!”.

Fast forward to the tenth, hundredth, thousandth time you repeated the activity …not so much dopamine now because the skill or task has become a habit, something you do now with far less effort put into attention than the first time.

Now consider what’s involved in unravelling that complex set of neural processes in your brain. Now you have to find reasons – conscious thoughts – about the reward likely to be achieved if you stop the habit, and that reward – breaking the habit – has to be more powerful and meaningful than the deeply entrenched relief you gain from doing the habit. If the reasons to stop are not substantially stronger than the reasons to not-stop, then the habit will win.

Then we must make sure that the reward (dopamine hit) from something alternative to the habit is also substantially stronger than the implicit reward gained almost instantaneously from continuing the habit.

Finally, we have to repeat the alternative to the habit many times to establish new neural pathways, literally to retrain the brain’s operating system when the cue that triggers the old habit sets it off. This is called “deep practice” and depends on being mindfully attuned to every moment the activating trigger sets off the old habit, and ready – instantly – to activate the new pattern. This is why we say, “practice makes perfect”.

Now at this point you might be despairing about ever being able to “break” habits you want to change. Don’t forget, though, that your brain has a truly remarkable capacity for learning, adapting and repairing itself. Everything you do easily today was once an unlearned set of skills that grew with repetition – and you can keep adding to your “toolbox” once you know how to drive your brain well.

Dr Kate Lemerle, Psychologist

Chrysalis Counselling & Coaching, Norfolk Island


TEL: 52112 or email

Please 'contact us' for more information.

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