Home' Aurora : Aurora October 2014 Contents 9
www.mn.catholic.org.au Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
To learn more Phone 4979 1200 or visit www.mn.catholic.edu.au
Catholic schools in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle offer families
a nurturing and encouraging environment for their children to learn,
achieve and grow from Kindergarten to Year 12.
More than a great
2015 Enrolments are now open.
Contact your local Catholic school today.
Being proactive about mental
health is just as impor tant as
being proactive in r elation to
physical health. Taking steps to
look after your mental health
will provide long la sting benefits.
You have touched on one of the factor s
that contribute to the onset of mental
illness. However, family histor y alone is
not enough for you to develop mental
illness so please be reassured by this.
Three other major factor s also determine
whether there is a strong possibility of
becoming unwell. They are : personality
(our psychological disposition), biology and
environment. We know there are cer tain
personality traits such as per fectionism
that can increase vulnerability to mental
illness. Sometimes an imbalance of the
chemicals in the br ain can cause mental
illness, a s can past and present home,
social and work environments impact on
our overall health.
If you have concerns relating to some or
all causative factor s, you can work on
increasing factors that can protect you
from developing mental health issues.
Social Connectedness It is impor tant
to reach out to people and spend time
with other s, whether through shared
interests or just being around family
Physical Health Physical exercise is
considered nature's antidepr essant, as
"feel-good" hor mones are released
through activity. Even rela xing walks add to
the feeling of physical wellbeing and at the
same time, you are practising a mindfulness
activity. A balanced diet will also feed your
br ain which in turn will produce positive
feelings in you.
Mindfulness Practising mindfulness on
a daily basis has shown through scientific
study to change brain functioning.
Mindfulness is extremely effective
for rela xation purposes but it is really
something you can incorporate into
everyday life . The premise of mindfulness
is focusing all your senses and thoughts
on the present moment. Instead of
judging experiences, people and your self,
mindfulness is about noticing and
obser ving, and not getting tangled up in
all of the negative thoughts that arise. It
is really about getting out of your head
and into the "right now". You can pr actise
mindfulness when going for a walk. This
means that when you are walking, don't
use it a s thinking time; focus your thoughts
on what you see, hear and feel while you
are walking. Notice the scenery, hear the
sounds of nature or the city, and obser ve
how your body feels as you are walking.
There are thousands, perhaps millions of
ar ticles on mindfulness on the internet and
I encour age you to look into this fur ther.
Sleep Quality of sleep is vital. If sleep is
a concern for you, start taking note of
what is happening. Keep a sleep diary of
your sleep patter ns and explore ways to
make some changes, r uling out medical
conditions or medications first. Again,
there are many ways to ensure quality
sleep and if you continue to str uggle, seek
further suppor t, from a counsellor or
your GP. Type the words "sleep hygiene"
if you decide to search the inter net for
These are just a few suggestions that can
help in maintaining good mental health
and I encour age you to continue to
CatholicCare's Counselling Team
Leader, registered psychologist
Tanya Russell, will address an
issue each month.
The advice provided is general
in nature and does not replace
ongoing support and advice
from your health professional.
To talk to someone about
counselling support, P 4979 1172.
Email your question to aurora@
mn.catholic.org.au or write to
Aurora-CareTalk PO Box 756
My family has a history of mental health issues and even though I haven't suffered from depression
or anxiety, I am scared that mental illness may be hereditary. How can I stay mentally healthy and
prevent future possible mental illness?
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