Nigel, the loneliest bird in the world

What a heartbreaking tale of loneliness. Nigel the gannet, an Australasian seabird, lived in solitude for several years courting a concrete replica of himself. He became a social media darling, winning hearts from admirers from all over the world who sympathised with his plight.

Day in, day out, on Mana Island about 25km northwest of Wellington, New Zealand, Nigel would preen his mate, with conservationists hoping that this oddly manufactured colony would entice others to join and help revitalise the surrounding environment.

It worked. In December, some mates arrived to join "Nigel No Mates", as a regular observer affectionately dubbed him. Nigel, however, remained aloof from the new group and three weeks later he passed away.

Maybe Nigel wasn't lonely at all. He may have been perfectly happy with his lifeless companion. Loneliness is very subjective.

In the human world, we all have our own level of tolerance of social connectedness. Sometimes we enjoy having lots of people around us, sometimes we just want to be alone. That's OK and that's normal.

Sometimes we're forced into feelings of loneliness, like when we've got a cold and, like it or not, we're placed in quarantine by friends and family who don't want us passing on our germs. That's very normal too and passes quickly when we're back up and running at full steam again.

When feelings of loneliness move beyond a temporary state and we feel lonely no matter if we're alone or in a social situation then that can have a negative impact on your physical, mental and social health.

There are so many reasons we can feel lonely and everyone is different. It's important to remember that loneliness can be overcome.

There are things to try...

  • Taking control is one step. Your health and fitness is a great place to start. Go for a walk, get some fresh air. It doesn't have to be with someone else. Maybe that can come later when you're ready. But setting a regular schedule and sticking to it, is a great foundation for showing yourself that you have the ability to take charge and make changes in your life.
  • Replace negative self talk with more positive thoughts. Instead of saying to yourself, "I'm such an idiot" when you arrived at work 10 minutes late because you missed the news about the rail strike, try saying "Well, that didn't turn out how I thought. Next time I'm going to check the timetable before I have breakfast, just to be safe". Negative self-talk can send us in a downward spiral, leading to more feelings of isolation.
  • Book yourself into a course to learn something new. That can be a great way of meeting new friends, or just participating in something in the company of others with no commitment to take it further until you're ready.
  • Get support. Reach out to someone you trust about your feelings, or see a GP, or a counsellor.

Feelings of loneliness don't have to last forever. Be confident that you can make changes and get back on track.

Boost to funding for mental health issues in youth is welcome news

Now there’s some news that's worth celebrating. The federal government is set to announce a $110 million package to tackle anxiety and depression in Australian youth. 

A huge $46 million will go towards equipping teachers with resources to identify mental health issues in the classroom.

The statistics regarding mental health from Beyond Blue are astounding, with one in seven young Australians experiencing a mental health condition, so this funding is much needed. 

 Around one in 35 young Australians aged 4-17 experience a depressive disorder. Breakdown: 2.8% of Australians aged 4-17 have experienced an affective disorder.* This is equivalent to 112,000 young people. One in seven young Australians experience a mental health condition. Youth Beyond Blue

In my practice, I have counselled youth who have taken a step in the right direction to seek help. A common theme amongst them, is that the main barrier to seeking help is that there is a stigma attached to mental health. My hope is that this funding boost will equip our youth with the confidence to seek help from friends, family or a professional.

Beyond Blue has an excellent resource for supporting someone with anxiety or depression. I really like their advice that having a conversation can make a difference in helping someone feel less alone and more supported in recovering from anxiety and depression. We can never underestimate the value of just ‘being there’ for someone who is facing these challenges.

On a related note, at the end of 2017, my business partner Janine Rod, and I, launched a new program called The Keys for Kids. We recognised a real need to provide equip kids with skills that help them:

  • Build resiliency to stress
  • Maximize focus and concentration
  • Increase motivation
  • Set themselves up for success

So you can imagine how happy we are that Australian government is also taking the issue seriously.

Healing illness with the subconscious mind by Neurolinguistic Hypnotherapist Danna Pycher

This is a wonderful presentation by Danna Pycher, who is a certified Neuro-Linguistic Hypnotherapist specialising in chronic illness and trauma.

Danna shares her story about trauma and the transformative insight she gained that allowed her to harness the healing power of the subconscious mind. 

This talk was given at a TEDx event in 2015 and is a wonderful day example of the power of our minds. 

If you would like to know how you can harness the healing power of hypnosis contact me today.