The Happy Australians

Australia is ranked among the world’s top 10 happiest countries!

The World Happiness Report, released at a United Nations conference at the beginning of this year, places Australia in ninth position, with Denmark topping the list, followed by Finland, Norway, The Netherlands, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia and Ireland, as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Action for Happiness has developed the 10 Keys to Happier Living based on a review of the latest scientific research relating to happiness.

Everyone’s path to happiness is different, but the research suggests these 10Keys consistently tend to have a positive impact on people’s overall happiness and well-being.

The first five (GREAT) relate to how we interact with the outside world in our daily activities.

The second five (DREAM) come more from inside us and depend on our attitude to life.

October- the Mental Health Month

October is the Mental Health Month, and this year’s theme is “Celebrate, Connect and Grow”.

Celebrate:

Celebrating the positive things in your life, as well as the, strengths and values that have helped you through more challenging times.

Be satisfied and happy with small things, for example, the bus comes on time, your friends ask you out for dinner, or simply the weather is fine today, can make you happy!

Connect:

Paying attention to your close relationships, or by reaching out and making new friends.

People often stressed because of relationship, according to the facebook poll result, so it’s time to change. Take the initiate to ask your friend out for a coffee, ask for forgiveness for past mistakes, saying hi to the person sitting next to you in the lecture.

Grow:

Expanding your horizons and trying something new that creates meaning and purpose for you.

This is more complicated, but takes some time to reflect and think, what are you pursuing in life? Is it just fame and money? What makes you happy and having the sense of success? Try plotting a timeline, brainstorm a “To Do” list that gives meanings to your life!

Here is the SYDNEY EVENT CALENDER. See what you can do this month to understand and help promote mental health!

Instant stress relief

 

 

Stress sometimes just comes suddenly that you’re not prepared to fight against it. And this may happen during the most inconvenient or embarrassing times. If stress comes during a company conference or meeting presentation, people might not know how to deal with it.

 

When stress strikes, people might  experience and have certain physical symptoms, including aggression, headaches, diarrhea, sweating, nightmares, inability to focus, low self-esteem, speeded heartbeat Being, tiredness and more.

 

Don’t worry if this really happens! Here are some good tips for you to de-stress within short period of time. This way, you could face your emotion, regulate that feeling, and behave appropriately.

According to Lawrence Robinson, here are some quick stress relief tips for effective communication:

Recognize when you’re becoming stressed. Your body will let you know if you’re stressed as you communicate. Are your muscles or your stomach tight and/or sore? Are your hands clenched? Is your breath shallow? Are you “forgetting” to breathe?

  • Take a moment to calm down before deciding to continue a conversation or postpone it.
  • Bring your senses to the rescue and quickly manage stress by taking a few deep breaths, clenching and relaxing muscles, or recalling a soothing, sensory-rich image, for example. The best way to rapidly and reliably relieve stress is through the senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. But each person responds differently to sensory input, so you need to find things that are soothing to you.
  • Look for humor in the situation. When used appropriately, humor is a great way to relieve stress when communicating. When you or those around you start taking things too seriously, find a way to lighten the mood by sharing a joke or amusing story.
  • Be willing to compromise. Sometimes, if you can both bend a little, you’ll be able to find a happy middle ground that reduces the stress levels for everyone concerned. If you realize that the other person cares much more about something than you do, compromise may be easier for you and a good investment in the future of the relationship.
  • Agree to disagree, if necessary, and take time away so everyone can calm down. Take a quick break and move away from the situation. Take a stroll outside if possible, or spend a few minutes meditating. Physical movement or finding a quiet place to regain your balance can quickly reduce stress.

 

Understanding the stressed smoking myth

When people get stressed, many people choose to smoke in order to get a quick relief from stress. In fact, researches have shown the opposite, that smokers are having higher stress level than non-smokers.

Studies show that adult smokers experience periods of heightened stress between cigarettes, and that smoking only restores their stress levels to normal S. However, soon after smoking, they will require another cigarette to keep their stress at normal levels because if they don’t they will experience the stress that comes from nicotine withdrawal.

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics, smoking is recognised as the ‘largest single preventable cause of death and disease in Australia’. It is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, emphysema, bronchitis, asthma, renal disease and eye disease. About one-fifth (21%) of people (aged 18 years and over) were current smokers in 2007-08, down from 23% in 2004-05 and 24% in 2001.

 

To quit smoking, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation has some tips:

  • Pick a quitting date one to three weeks in the future. Prepare for the date by cutting down on smoking, staying away from your favorite places to smoke, and making a plan for how you will deal with stressful events without smoking.
  • On your quitting date, get rid of all cigarettes, keep busy, and stay in smoke-free places.
  • “The nicotine patch, nicotine gum, or other medication that may be prescribed to help you quit can be helpful but they will not take away your cravings to smoke.”
  • Make a clean break. Do not allow yourself to smoke “now and then.” An addiction to nicotine can be reactivated anytime, even years after quitting.
  • Take it one moment, one hour, one day at time. Cravings to smoke are usually short-lived and will go away whether or not you have a cigarette.  Repeat to yourself that “smoking is no longer an option”.
  • Get help with quitting if you need it. Choose a comprehensive smoking cessation program that does not rely on a single technique (such as hypnosis).

Cultural stress in international students

Australia is a popular study destination for students from all around the world. In 2011, 557,425 international students were studying in Australia on a student visa, according to Studies in Australia. Of these, there were 242,351 international students enrolled in the higher education sector.

A study of cultural stress among international students at an Australia University showed that most undergraduate and postgraduate international students reported at least some degree of cultural stress especially for items relating to family and a familiar way of life. Issues of discrimination, discomfort and feelings of lack of safety were less commonly reported as stressful.

Cultural stress is related to students’ cultural background, their communication skills in the new culture and their evaluation of their perceived academic progress. Such stress causes depression, anxiety and stress, and loses social connectedness and lifestyle balance.

Cultural stress is an obvious challenge to the well-being of international students, particularly where the home and host countries are culturally distant, in which they might experience distress and homesickness.

One suggestion is to participate in various clubs and societies in university, where they can meet more people, make friends which they can rely and hang out with. Also, take up positions and make they feel like they belong to the university, they feel important and are connected to the school. Joining associations they link people from the same country together can also help students to adapt to the new environment.

Laughter Is the Best Medicine

According to the University of Michigan’s research, the sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough, sniffle, or sneeze. Humor and laughter has many benefits—and it’s fun!

Striving to see humor in life and attempting to laugh at situations rather than bemoan them will help improve your disposition and the disposition of those around you. Your ability to laugh at yourself and situations will help reduce your stress level and make life more enjoyable. Humor also helps you connect with others. People naturally respond to the smiles and good cheer of those around them.

Research shows that laughter has some amazing health benefits. Laughing can relieve stress, increase pain tolerance and support the immune system, as well as serve several other healthy purposes.

Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones, provides a physical and emotional release, and it’s actually a good internal workout for the diaphragm and the heart. Also, it distract you from stress and negative emotions, and lighten up the environment during a threat or a stressful condition.

With so much power to heal and renew, laughter is a powerful stress relief technique! Feeling stressed? Let’s go HA HA HA HA HA!

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Practice laughing 5 minutes every day. Fake it till you make it.

Laugh with other people when they laugh.

Wear a smile. It puts you closer to laughing.

Seek out entertainment that makes you laugh.

Wave to yourself in the mirror. Every time you pass a mirror, give yourself a little wave and a smile.

Do at least one silly, non-conforming thing a day.

Practice these tips often and soon you will find you have developed a new healthy habit. Keep laughing, pass it on to everyone you meet. We can never laugh too often or too much.

 

Understanding our brain: Sleep and Stress

People always ask the following questions:

-         Do I have stress because I don’t sleep well?

-         Do I not sleep well because I have stress?

The answer is YES to both questions.

 

Stress is the number one cause of sleep problems, according to Mary I. O’Sullivan, and ineffective sleep is a major cause of increased stress. 

 

According to Time, people who sleep between 6.5 hours and 7.5 hours a night, as they report, live the longest! People who sleep 8 hours or more, or less than 6.5 hours, they don’t live quite as long. There is just as much risk associated with sleeping too long as with sleeping too short. The big surprise is that long sleep seems to start at 8 hours Sleeping 8.5 hours might really be a little worse than sleeping 5 hours.

 

Mind Tools Limited pointed out that, on the psychological sides, deep sleep reduces sleep need. This stage of sleep is an especially refreshing part of the sleep cycle, unless you are wakened out of it, in which case you will feel very sluggish and may have sleep drunkenness during which it is unsafe to drive. Some recent neural network research also indicates that deep sleep may be important in helping clear the brain for new learning the next day.

 

A short nap in the afternoon can get your energized, or a high quality sleep at night will keep you sharp the other day. If we are regularly short of sleep, then our concentration and our effectiveness suffer and our energy levels decline. Therefore get enough sleep! Adequate sleep fuels your mind, as well as your body. Feeling tired will increase your stress because it may cause you to think irrationally, diminishes our effectiveness in our job, and can therefore increase stress. As our energy declines, we become less proactive in what we do, reducing our control over events. This means that a situation that is already difficult and stressful can become worse, needing even more sacrifice to bring it back under control.

 

The following are common symptoms of poor sleep.   If you’re experiencing these symptoms on a regular basis, your sleep is showing the effects of stress.   If you:

  1. Have trouble going to sleep and take longer than 10-15 minutes.
  2. Fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow.
  3. Wake up frequently during sleep.
  4. Wake up during sleep and can’t fall back to sleep.
  5. Sleep lightly and have trouble relaxing as you sleep.
  6. Wake up feeling tired.
  7. Wake up feeling aches and pains.
  8. Wake up feeling emotionally down.
  9. Wake up feeling tense and can’t seem to calm down.

10. Sleep less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours.

 

One suggestion for you if you experience insomnia, listen to some soft music! It may help you sleep better, to relieve stress and anxiety, for stress relief and stress management, to improve insomnia. Try this: