Keep smiling and remember to reach out

Jess Milne

It is a physical fact that a smile stimulates nerve systems within our body that nullify the physical effects of depression.

‘A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones,’ (Proverbs 17:22.) As a documented origin of the saying ‘laughter is the best medicine,’ the ancient words of wisdom have relevance in modern times.

Laughter has many physical effects that don’t necessarily need a mental stimulus to boost our health.

Laughter improves mental functioning, exercises and relaxes muscles, promotes cardiovascular health, stimulates circulation, decreases stress hormones, increases immune system defences, increases production of endorphins (feel-good hormones and a natural painkiller,) reduces anxiety, tension, stress, depression, loneliness, improves self-esteem, restores hope and energy, and provides a sense of empowerment and control.

With the massive changes made to the way we all live, work and play along with the uncertainty of the future, we must remember to give our minds a health check. Take those thoughts and shake them up with a good old chuckle, because your body will thank you as well.

Be mindful of your family, friends, neighbours and community. Are they okay? A smile in these challenging times doesn’t require close contact nor does a cheerful voice down the phone line or over the back fence.

And it’s okay to not be okay, and there is plenty of support available to work through it. Phone and online assistance and advice is either a dial or click away, so don’t hesitate to make contact.

Lifeline – call 13 11 14.

Beyondblue – call 1300 22 4636 or visit their website.

National Domestic Violence Hotline – Call 1800 200 526, 24 hours a day.

SANE Australia Helpline – call 1800 18 7263.

Mensline Australia – call 1300 78 99 78 or visit their website.

Black Dog Institute – visit their website.

Mindhealthconnect – access mental health care services, resources and online programs.

Relationships Australia – call 1300 364 277 or visit the website.

Direct Line – call 1800 888 236 for confidential alcohol and drug counselling and referral.

At Ease – an online suite of self help mental health tools by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Suicide Call Back Service – call 1300 659 467.

Kids Help Line – call 1800 55 1800 for young people between the ages of five and 25.

Youth Beyond Blue– call 1300 22 4636 or visit their website.

ReachOut – visit their website for information, tools and support for young people with mental health issues.

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