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Lessons from the 21-Day Push Up Challenge

By Jacob Andreae

The 21-day push up challenge is an Australian initiative. There is a strong correlation between exercise and mental health, which drives their motto, ‘Push for Better’. You have the option to fundraise for Headspace and you’ll learn about mental wellness with daily and practical tips. The total number of push ups each day represents a mental health statistic in Australia. 

 

The total number of push ups done is 3046, which represents the total number of lives lost in Australia due to mental health issues in 2018. You have the option to complete this number as a team; 4 is recommended if doing it as a team. Our team of 4 consisted of the 4 PE teachers at the school I work at, Darwin High, and we decided to do all 3046 push ups each. 

 

There's always a "messy middle"


The fact that this challenge encourages you to exercise on a regular basis, forming great routines, and in a way that aligns with what behaviour change experts...

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How a Positive Mind Really Can Create a Healthier Body

By Jacob Andreae

What you think about — everything from the food you eat to the stress you experience — directly influences how your body responds. Even doing all the right things for your health may be undermined by simply thinking negatively about them. Positive thinking is a key component of optimism, and the good news is, optimism can be learned, practiced and bettered.

 

Many years ago, I was suggested to read a book by one of my cousins who is a psychologist, which I truly believe changed my life. The book was called Learned Optimism and was written by Dr Martin E. P. Seligman. The book explains how optimism can be learned and how you can use the three P’s do so. The 3 P’s are: Permanent, Pervasive and Positive. Learning to be more optimistic is habit change, and it needs to be practiced so.

 

Mindset underpins everything.


Positive thinking isn’t about burying your head in the sand and ignoring all of life’s challenges and...

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A Brief History of the Brain

 
By Jacob Andreae

Around 200,000 years ago, our brains stopped growing, and about 10,000 years ago, they actually began to shrink. The human brain is the most powerful “computer” on the planet. And it has modest beginnings. 


Where did it all begin?

 

The story begins in the oceans, long before animals even existed. Single-celled organisms didn’t have brains. But they did have advanced ways of communicating. They sensed and responded to their environment by releasing chemicals (which is slow) or shooting an electrical impulse across their body. 

 

From the single-celled choanoflagelletes that gave rise to animals 850 million years ago, the brain is now a 100 billion-celled organ. 


How did it all begin?

 

Choanoflagellates are single-celled organisms thought to give rise to animals. The nerve cells of ancient animals evolved long extensions known as axons. This enabled messages to be sent much more quickly as the chemical messengers...

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The You Delusion: Why Your Sense of Self is Just a Trick of the Mind

By Jacob Andreae

Who are you? Really ponder that question. I bet you come up with your name. But who is that strange combination of letters, which are just sounds that come from the way you push air out of your mouth and manipulate your cheeks, tongue and lips?

 

Your brain makes sense of the world through interpreting your senses. Sensory information reaches your brain at different speeds, although this is happening so fast it appears to occur simultaneously. Sensory information travels along neural pathways and your brain then needs to process it. This takes time. What happens when an event occurs in less time than your system takes to process it?

 

"Perception does not equal reality."

 

It’s history! It’s already happened. We are constantly living in the past. There is a lag time between when something occurs and when we process it. So if conscious perception is not truly “live”, what is the brain doing when it processes events that...

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Mindset, Lockdown and Quarantine in China

By Loris Bertolacci

I write this more to explain the stages of my emotions, how I perceived this situation and how I changed or evolved my coping strategies or even perceptions as it all evolved.

 

When the first information started coming out in China about COVID-19, I remember being really rattled. I had a flight booked for early February for holidays in Australia. It was mid January and the coach at the Kunming Altitude Training Centre told me we had cancelled our move from there to Guanzhou due to the virus. We were at a large institute in Kunming at an altitude of 1900m finishing a phase of training. My thoughts at first were to get the hell out of China ASAP. Things didn’t change too much for a week. When I was told the Institute would go into total lockdown on Monday 27th January I panicked because I knew then already I had to cancel my flight home in early February due to the massive uncertainty. I organised this with staff in Shanghai and I will never...

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How to Get Back on Track with Your New Years Resolutions

It’s that time of year when, despite the best of intentions and steely grit to get fit again, you start to feel yourself slipping. The 5-mornings-a-week exercise regime and Sunday arvo food prepping are becoming increasingly difficult to maintain, and life is getting so busy… oh so busy. Here’s how to stop the slide and get back on track.

First of all, don’t ever think you are a failure or that you are failing. Making changes to your life are difficult for anybody. We love to stick with the norm — with what we are used to. It’s an evolutionary trait and it’s designed to protect us. So take it as a good thing.

“If you’re feeling yourself slip back into old habits; like old priorities are taking precedence, you might be self-sabotaging yourself.”


If you’re finding yourself sliding; like old demands are taking back priority, and you just can’t find time for your new and improved self, reconnect with why you...

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The Discipline Conundrum: When to Exert Self-Control and When to Cut Yourself Some Slack

The ability to exert self-control is considered a fundamental trait of people who are successful. It has been a long held view since Walter Mischel’s marshmallow experiments of the 1960s that people who can exercise self-control at will must possess some kind of super-power.

Self-control, or discipline as it is more commonly referred to by people who sense they lack it, is a learned skill. Like a muscle, self-control can be developed to essentially unlimited levels. But is a strong ability to exert self-control a good thing? New research suggests not.

"Developing your discipline muscle and practicing self-control is important. We should all do it. But we also need to know when to give it a rest and cut yourself some slack."

The Marshmallow Experiment

Most of our current understanding of self-control comes from the work of Walter Mischel’s marshmallow experiments of the 1960’s. I learnt about these experiments when I was studying psychology at university and, with...

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5 Benefits of a 5-Day Challenge

Imagine if you could wave a magical wand and wallah, you were living the life you’ve always dreamed of. That’s what challenges allow you to do. Challenges have become incredibly popular; particularly in the health and fitness industry, and particularly in Australia.

Challenges speak to peoples desire to challenge themselves. But more than that, their specific timeframe allows people to feel like there’s light at the end of the tunnel. And when it comes to motivation, that is an incredibly important distinction that needs to be made.

"5-day challenges are an amazing way to kickstart any new habit."

Motivation is one characteristic that many people feel as though they lack. And motivation to repeat a given behaviour develops as you experience pleasure from an experience. But if you’re not experiencing pleasure, or worse, you’re experiencing pain, of course you’re going to feel unmotivated. Challenges give you a system to experience pleasure. And...

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How to Get Motivated for Exercise

We all know we should be exercising. But for many people, finding the motivation to exercise, and the ongoing motivation to make it a habit, is extremely difficult.

For a while now I’ve been paying attention to what the people who are successful do in their pursuit of health, and what the people who aren’t successful don’t do. And there is one major distinction.

That distinction is in how they start their journey. The ones who get off to a good start are far, far more likely to not only be successful, but to integrate exercise into their life long-term.

How to Get Motivated to Exercise

  1. Get enough pain. 
    We all move towards pleasure and away from pain. However, we will do much more to avoid pain than to gain pleasure. Therefore, most people start a new fitness regime when they’ve finally had enough of where they’re at, and motivated to do something about it.
  2. Do more of what you already do. 
    We all do something...
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Know Someone With a Crazy Unhealthy Habit? 3 Ideas for Them

It’s okay not to be 100% healthy, 100% of the time. For most of us, some of the most enjoyable things in life are a little bit unhealthy. Take eating pizza and drinking beer while watching the footy, or sipping cocktails by the pool in Bali; some of the things we enjoy are a little bit unhealthy. But the unhealthy habits some people have are just down right crazy!

I’m not going to pretend I’m perfect. I myself have unhealthy habits, starting with dessert. When it comes to dessert, my favourites are ice cream, chocolate and chips. The trigger for me is the finishing of dinner. And that’s an important association to make — what triggers your behaviour. Whether your habit is what I would consider as quite normal, like mine, or just a tad crazy, like I’ll explain, recognising your trigger is all so important.

"This is all about putting the mindset shift ahead of the physical shift. And this is the way it should be."

I’m used to hearing of...

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