1_Mind & Body or Mind vs Body.

1. How exercise can help postpartum depression.

This article is written by Roma Van Der Walt, a member of “Well Rounded NY” and works to support mothers through the process of prenatal and postpartum. Her professional background gives us insight into what mental stresses mothers go through in the process of having offspring.

The article explores how mothers are affected during postpartum and how the body and the mind of the patient is going through after birth. For some woman the symptoms of postpartum can be a hormonal imbalance, as they have a drop in progesterone, estrogen and other hormones after delivery, but for other women this can be a trigger for postpartum anxiety and feelings of isolation, sadness, and failure. The causes of this can be returning to work, separation anxiety that the baby experiences, reintroduction of physical intimacy between their partners, there are a whole host of reasons that a mother can be triggered by after birth and can be supported to make a full recovery from the support of the community and family members.

The reason why I chose this article as one of articles to analyse is the interest I have with mental health and the effect it has on the body and visa versa. With more and more information being available to us, how do we “keep upto date” and sensitive to peoples needs without losing our resilience or coddling individuals that we just need to approached with respect and encouragement like any other person. These are the types of questions I want to ask about mental health in the new age of information and for my research task.

2. Loneliness is a modern curse – and it needs our children to lift it.

Loneliness has become more prevalent more connected we’ve become, the technologies that we have developed to increase our ability to stay in contact and bring us closer can be actually making us come undone. What about those who lives began when technology wasn’t so abundant? This is what James Bartholomew explores in this article with a quarter of people over 65 suffer from loneliness, but this isn’t a new phenomenon. For most of human history it was socially acceptable and encouraged to take care of the old and weak, they have always live with or near their grown-up children. Now, there has been a shift. Older people live in residential care, nursing homes or alone and it very uncommon to find a family that live together with their adult children.

Bartholomew (2016) view is that this is because of the shift towards the pursuit of “self-actualisation” and believes that true actualisation is when you sacrifice your time to honour your duty to your parents. After trying to search for more information on Bartholomew (which was to be found), I think that the credibility of his cause and solution was at best “half-baked”. I did still think the seed of the idea had merit in the need to look after the elderly needs just as highly as the young and perhaps finding roles in which they can play in the community that can keep them contributing towards society in the best way they can.

This returns me back to how much of our problems are mental and how much are they physical or are they so interlaced that it would be hard to separate the two without effecting the other? When is a persons body to aged to help their mental health? or is it matter of staying physically and mentally active to stay healthy and happy? Because I feel as though “self-actualisation” would help with ageing, however what about those who weren’t afforded such luxuries?

3. Online study could help migraine suffers reduce frequency of episodes.

The age of self help and self diagnosis is here. People curing themselves using home brewed remedies, self-actualisation and enlightenment through quotivation. It is truly amazing what we are able to accomplish as individuals with the abundance of resources around us. Queensland researchers have realised this and have taken advantage of these technologies to help reduce migraines through a online service. “Headache disorders and migraines are among the most common disorders of the nervous system and affect more than half the world’s population.” (Mitchell-Whittington, A. 2016). The researchers at Griffith University have created a way in which people can receive self-help from a ebook, that helps those affected the triggers and causes of migraines and tension headaches.

Access is one of the biggest issues for mental health help whether it is due to a restriction of time, availability or financial stability. Any barrier between the patient and the psychologist can deter a person from seeking out aid, this is why creating channels that can help people seek help is a step in the direction. This is my reasoning for selecting this article for analysis, if I understand the way in which people seek and get helped, this can in turn create a understanding of how you can apply similar practices to other areas of mental wellbeing. This case is also another example of how powerful the mind can be with affecting our physical state and how it can be employed to help fix a physical issue.

4. UK growth not being converted to increased wellbeing, says report.

Countries depend on economic growth to gauge how well they are progressing in relation to other nations. This increase in financial worth, however sometimes neglects to factor in other forms of wealth such as economic freedom, health and wellbeing. If ignored to a extreme it can lead to economic breakdown, a standstill of economic grow and national protest and is a good indicator for sustainable economic growth(As seen with Greece who are ranked lowest in wellbeing). The article compares UK with countries with the highest and lowest overall wellbeing score and the most and the least made progress on wellbeing from 2006 to 2014. Duncan (2016) interprets the sustainable economic development assessment (Seda) that uses measures such as “employment rates, economic stability, income equality and environment, to gives countries an overall score and a recent progress score, and compares their ability to convert wealth and growth into wellbeing.” (Duncan 2016) and comes to the understanding that the leaders of globalising countries need to make sure that growth as well as benefits are able to reach the people, which is hard to indicate using GDP along.

Now…how does growth of a nation effect mental health? This thought returns back to the questions of how much of our mental health is influenced by our thoughts vs how much of our mental health is influenced by our environment? If our mental health is effected greatly by our environment then it would make sense that a country with prolong poor living standards would lead to a poor performance in economic growth but not only that what happens if our economic growth which is great but the benefits are not directly translated to the individual level? The way in which a society performs economically is set by the governments standards, this could be through bank interest rates, housing affordability, government policy and spending. Now if a mental health was largely dependant on environmental factors then it would be in the best interest of government and corporations to work in favour of the individual. However, if the individuals health was largely influenced by the thoughts a individual was having then it would make sense to utilise more funds for the “greater good”. It’s a balancing act that the Govt. and large corporations have to manage everyday but it would be helpful to have a better understanding of what we can do to improve peoples mental health by rewarding them for their hard work.

5. How stress affects your brain – Madhumita Murgia

This animation style talk was adapted by Ted Ed from a lecture made by Madhumita Murgia explaining the way in which stress affects your brain and body. Stress can give you a quick burst of focus to a burst of energy to help you in situations in everyday life, however prolong exposure to stress can decrease brain size, function and change the structure of the brain. Prolong exposure to stress increases activity in the amydala (fear centre), which leads to decrease activity in the hippocampus (learning, memory and fear control).  A study in rats found that mothers who were nurturing developed more cortisol receptors making them less susceptible to stress where as mothers who are less nurturing became more stressed causing epigenetic changes (these are changes on the genetic level and that can be passed down to future generations), but these changes can be reversed if the mothers are swapped.

At the beginnings of my research I was interested in how a persons environment, genetics and understanding interacted with each other to see if there was one factor that was the most influential the health and wellbeing of our mental health and if there was there a way to combat the issue with a practical solution. Through the research it showed  instances that it was possible to change an environment to improve a individuals mental state and visa versa. It is ultimately about a balancing act that everyone must deal with and yes there can be major factors that sway you more into grey days (genetics,education level, social and economical status), but it is comforting to know that there is some control we have in changing the way in which we see the world and how it sees us, it is just about walking the line for ourselves and not for others to create the life that we would like for ourselves.


  1. Walt, R. 2016, ‘How Exercise can help postpartum depression’, The Huffington Post, July 19 2016, viewed 1 August 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/well-rounded-ny/how-exercise-can-help-pos_b_11296486.html?utm_hp_ref=mental-health
  2. Bartholomew, J. 2016, ‘Loneliness is a modern curse – and it needs our children to lift it’, The Sydney Morning Herald, July 29 2016, viewed 1 August 2016, http://www.smh.com.au/comment/loneliness-is-a-modern-curse–and-it-needs-our-children-to-lift-it-20160728-gqga87.html
  3. Mitchell-Whittington, A. 2016, ‘Online study could help migraine suffers reduce frequency of episodes’, Sydney Morning Herald, July 26 2016, viewed 1 August 2016, http://www.smh.com.au/queensland/online-study-could-help-migraine-suffers-reduce-frequency-of-episodes-20160726-gqe0zc.html
  4. Duncan, P. 2016, ‘UK growth not being converted to increased wellbeing, says report’, The Guardian, July 21 2016, viewed 1 August 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jul/21/uk-economic-growth-not-converted-ncreased-wellbeing-seda-report
  5. Murgia, M. 2015, ‘How stress affects your brain – Madhumita Murgia’, TED-Ed, November 9 2015, viewed 1 August 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuyPuH9ojCE
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