Posted by Arjen Lentz on January 30th, 2014
Many people can recall reading at least one cherished story that they say changed their life. Now researchers have detected what may be biological traces related to this feeling: Actual changes in the brain that linger, at least for a few days, after reading a novel. Their findings, that reading a novel may cause changes in resting-state connectivity of the brain that persist, were published by the journal Brain Connectivity.
Posted by Arjen Lentz on January 3rd, 2014
BlueHackers.org is an informal initiative with a focus on the wellbeing of geeks who are dealing with depression, anxiety and related matters.
This year we’re more organised than ever with a number of goodies, events and services!
- BlueHackers stickers
- BlueHackers BoF (Tuesday)
- BlueHackers funded psychologist on Thursday and Friday
- extra resources and friendly people to chat with at the conference
This year, we’ll have a professional psychologist, Alyssa Garrett (a Perth local) funded by BlueHackers, LCA2014 and Linux Australia. Alyssa will be available Thursday and part of Friday, we’ll allocate her time in half-hour slots using a simple (paper-based) anonymous booking system. Ask a question, tell a story, take time out, find out what psychology is about… particularly if you’re wondering whether you could use some professional help, or you’ve been procrastinating taking that step, this is your chance. It won’t cost you a thing, and it’s absolutely confidential. We just offer this service because we know how important it is! There will be about 15 slots available.
You can meet Alyssa on Tuesday afternoon already, at the BoF. Just to say hi!
The booking sheet will be at the BoF and from Wednesday near the rego desk.
The BlueHackers BoF is on Tuesday afternoon, 5:40pm – 6:40pm (just before the speakers dinner). Check the BoF schedule closer to the time to see which room we’re in. The format will be similar to last year: short lightning talks of people who are happy to talk – either from their own experience, as a support, or professional. No therapy, just sharing some ideas and experience. You can prep slides if you want, but not required. Anything discussed during the BoF stays there – people have to feel comfortable.
We may have some additional paper resources available during the conference, and a friendly face for an informal chat for part of the week.
Every conference bag will have a couple of BlueHackers stickers to put on your laptop and show your quiet support for the cause – letting others know they’re not alone is a great help.
If you have any logistical or other questions, just catch me (Arjen) at the conference or write to: l i f e (at) b l u e h a c k e r s (dot) o r g
Posted by Arjen Lentz on January 2nd, 2014
Researchers found that the most common emotions trigger strong bodily sensations, and the bodily maps of these sensations were topographically different for different emotions. The sensation patterns were, however, consistent across different West European and East Asian cultures, highlighting that emotions and their corresponding bodily sensation patterns have a biological basis.
Posted by Arjen Lentz on December 23rd, 2013
Gina Rose of Nourished Naturally writes:
I often spend 5-30 minutes a day with my feet up the wall.
What’s going on in this pose?
Your femur bones are dropping into your hip sockets, relaxing the muscles that help you walk and support your back.
Blood is draining out of your tired feet and legs.
Your nervous system is getting a signal to slow down. Stress release and recovery time.
This position is great for sore legs, helps with digestion & circulation as well as thyroid support. If you suffer from insomnia try this before bed.
I’ve done this at times but at the time never thought through why it might be beneficial. Worth a try! And as they say, it doesn’t hurt to try – but of course it could and if it does hurt, obviously stop straight away.
Posted by Arjen Lentz on November 20th, 2013
Mark and then sync all your calendars – Wednesday 20 November is this year’s national Go Home on Time Day. Go Home on Time Day is an annual initiative of The Australia Institute, in partnership with beyondblue. The Day is a light-hearted way to start a serious conversation about work-life balance.
Posted by Arjen Lentz on November 12th, 2013
One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey. He invited all his neighbours to come over and help him. They each grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well.
At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw.
With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer’s neighbours continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!
MORAL : Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. You can get even out of the deepest well.
Posted by Arjen Lentz on October 10th, 2013
October 10th is World Mental Health Day
, a yearly item of awareness on the agenda since 1992. A few links:
On this day, I would like to draw your attention to an article
(in the Vancouver Sun) this week on Dr Gary Greenberg, about the American Psychiatric Association
‘s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the leading authority on mental health
diagnosis and research. This document is used in the US, (Canada?) and UK for assessment/diagnosis.
Dr Greenberg makes the point that in recent times in particular, the number of classified “disorders” has skyrocketed, in general but also in particular in the realm of young children. A small child having a temper tantrum can now be classified as a disorder!
This in itself is of course already a problem. Obviously, not diagnosing something is detrimental. But from my perspective, lowering the bar too far and casting the net too wide has the potential to do a great deal of harm to the wellbeing of lots of people. I’d suggest that beyond not being helpful, it’s counterproductive.
Dr Greenberg also notes that with DSM regarded as authoritative, and diagnosis increasingly resulting in medication, the problem is exacerbated. When other organisations use DSM diagnoses as a reference point for policy, things go bad. Take for instance the forced medication of children based on ADHD diagnoses – it’s forced because the medication is a prerequisite for schools accepting them. Of course there will be kids with issues that merit some form of support and treatment. But you can see how the aforementioned trail from DSM to school authorities forces the child on medication, even though medication might not be the (most) appropriate avenue. Medicating everything is not the way – life is not a disease, and what’s considered “normal” has a pretty broad spectrum. Demanding narrow conformity and medicating everything outside that boundary is scary.
On the other hand, other support mechanisms (including education) hinges on diagnoses as well – so when a threshold is effectively raised, this might remove some people from the medication realm, but it also removes other support. So there it goes wrong again. Complicated matters.
Posted by Arjen Lentz on October 3rd, 2013
Posted by Arjen Lentz on July 20th, 2013
Posted by Arjen Lentz on July 11th, 2013