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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

WEB: www.chrysaliswellnessservices.com

TEL: 52112 or email drkate@iinet.net.au

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Norfolk Island Fitness and Health News

Thursday, March 07, 2019


  • Need some motivation to focus on your health and fitness?

MOVE, IMPROVE and find your Health and Fitness "GROOVE" with our 8 WEEK BODY BLITZ Program. Complete on your own or with a like-minded Training buddy. YOU choose the Start Date.

  • Members only competition!

Register now for our 30 Day "METRE MADNESS" Rowing Challenge starting MONDAY APRIL 1st and finishing on TUESDAY APRIL 30th.
Earn the right to "beat the Boss".

  • NEW LORNA JANE Active Wear in stock.

All Gym Enquiries to 52809 or 23569.

                "Motivate the Mind and the Body will follow."

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Non-Violent Communication: Tackling Domestic and Family Abuse

Friday, March 01, 2019


This week’s three-day training with the NSW Education Centre Against Violence (ECAV) has been a reminder about the critical importance for all of us to raise our skills in positive relationship-building. With so many changes in our community over recent years, and the distress and tension felt by many Norfolk Islanders who don’t share identical views on this, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that a thriving community depends on peaceful processes for building connections and maintaining healthy patterns of communication.


Statistics about domestic abuse are sobering - the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released a report last year on family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia. It revealed that 1 in 6 women and 1 in 9 men were physically and/or sexually abused before the age of 15. Almost 1 in 4 (23%) women and 1 in 6 (16%) men have experienced emotional abuse from a current or previous partner. Close to 8 women and 2 men are hospitalised each day after being assaulted by their spouse or partner. The Norfolk Island Health Survey conducted in 20914 showed that 1 in 4 people in our community are “at risk” from violence within intimate partner relationships or within the family. 

Whilst these statistics are headline-grabbing because they draw attention to what is obviously a very serious social problem, with the potential to inflict grave harm on many people, myths about abusive behaviour remain common. For example, surveys show that because coverage of domestic violence overwhelmingly focuses on physical abuse, many people have difficulty self-identifying as victims of its verbal, emotional, psychological or financial forms. Verbal put-downs, threats, intimidation, emotional withholding, property destruction, and harm to pets are all forms of abuse where one person is imposing power and coercive control over another. 

Another common myth is that “real” domestic abuse is primarily men against women. But according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 7 men in the United States have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner, and 29% of heterosexual men have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner. The Australian Bureau of Statistics “Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia, 2017” released last year found that males comprised just under half (43% - 54 victims) of all victims of Family and Domestic Violence-related Murders.
Men, more so than women, can also experience legal and administrative abuse - the use of institutions such as legal systems to inflict further abuse on a victim, for example, taking out false restraining orders or not allowing the victim access to his children. Male victims are still excluded from many government anti-violence programs and there are few refuges available for men to seek safety from abusive relationships. 
Abuse in any form should never be tolerated. But if it’s so prevalent, where do we start to try stamping it out?

According to organisations such as the Center for Non-Violent Communication, it starts with learning to clarify what we are observing, what emotions we are feeling, what values we want to live by, and what we want for ourselves and others. That is, we commit to making sure every day we seek opportunities to contribute to each other’s wellbeing, whether in the home, the workplace, our social networks, and the wider community. 

We do this through learning the skills of deep listening along with authentic communication – letting others know with honesty how we feel, what we need, and our thoughts. Deep listening, according to Aboriginal people, is an almost spiritual skill based on respect, and involves inner quiet, still awareness, and waiting .

Tony Robbins describes “deep listening” as “not only allowing yourself the time and space to fully absorb what your conversation partner is saying, you can actually encourage him or her to feel heard and to speak more openly and honestly” . This requires eye contact; presence (stopping your mind from shifting away from the conversation and being truly present); giving nonverbal feedback such as the occasional nod, smile, or other sign that you are attuned to the conversation partner; and connection -  positioning your body in a way that creates a safe and welcoming space for him or her to speak openly.

These seem like easy things to do, but when our passions run high on issues, or we feel overwhelmed by life events that seem out of our control, it’s too easy to let go of higher-level skills and revert to our more primitive “reptilian” behaviour patterns. With committed effort, however, we all have the potential to grow healthier ways of responding to triggers, and when we commit individually to adopting peaceful ways of dealing with frustration or hurt, we build a far stronger and more resilient community. 

Dr Kate Lemerle, Psychologist
Chrysalis Counselling & Coaching, Norfolk Island
WEB: www.chrysaliswellnessservices.com 
TEL: 52112 or email drkate@iinet.net.au 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

Can Anger Be Tamed?

Thursday, February 14, 2019



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Norfolk Island Fitness and Health News

Thursday, February 14, 2019


Who are we and what do we offer?

We are a functional facility offering Personal Training, an 8 week Body Blitz program which can start at any time, Group Exercise and Gym Memberships.

Health and wellness is what we do and have done on Norfolk Island since 2012.

Your health and happiness starts with you and we will assist and guide you where we can.

However YOU need to hold yourself accountable for YOUR lifestyle choices.

We provide key programs that will help you and give you that energy and productivity that a healthy lifestyle brings.

                                UP FOR A TEAM CHALLENGE?
"LETS MOVE FOR A BETTER WORLD" starts in early March and runs for 8 weeks.

This is a TEAM challenge and Teams of 4 is ideal.

Lots of inclusions. As a Team you will be collecting "MOVE" points weekly.

Support the global fight against physical inactivity and the Chronic disease it brings and get your Team ready.

Contact Kay for more detail on 52809 and to register your interest.

                                   "ONE LIFE. LIVE IT WELL."

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The good in the Bad: Facing Negative Emotions as Food for Growth

Thursday, January 24, 2019


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Norfolk Island Fitness and Health News

Saturday, September 22, 2018


WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW? ... Our 8 WEEK BODY BLITZ PROGRAM ... Want to drop a size?

This program helps you Exercise and Eat wise!!

WHAT'S COMING? ... Our NEW GROUP EXERCISE CLASS "Pump It" ... Monday night at 5:15pm

                                                                      ... Our 6 week FITLITE program. Live life fit and healthy.
                                  
                                    ... New Lorna Jane Active Wear
                                                       
                                           Just in time for Xmas!!!!

                                        

                        "Fit is the new rich and Healthy is the new wealthy."

                                    All enquiries to 52809 or 57989.

Please 'contact us' for more information.



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