Check in, say hello, share a laugh on RU OK Day

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R U OK - four letters in text-talk that check in to see how someone else is

Australia’s national suicide prevention charity R U OK has revealed disturbing survey results ahead of RU OK? Day next Thursday (8 September 2016).

Australians spend an average of 46 hours a week of their downtime looking at TV and digital devices and only 6 hours eyeballing family and friends.

Around half of Australians spend 2 hours or less connecting with people who actually matter to them.

“Connecting with people we care about is so important for maintaining good mental health. We know that strong and caring connections with friends and family provide a vital safety net to help people cope with challenging moments in life,” says executive director of the Black Dog Institute, Professor Helen Christensen.

“Conversely, withdrawing from social engagement is often a sign of poor mental health. This is the time when loved ones need to stay connected, no matter how difficult it may be.”

The message is clear: connect with family, friends and workmates in reality, not the virtual world. Please.

This year, I will have to rely on phone calls to family and friends on R U OK? Day as I’ll be 600km or so away from home. Central Queensland University’s Rockhampton Campus Life Committee has organised a range of wellness activities for students and staff on 8 September at both its Rocky campuses including free massages, entertainment — and moi!

“The uni supports positive mental health activities for its students and staff and wanted to provide an opportunity for the local community to also experience laughter yoga,” CQ University Associate Vice-Chancellor (Rockhampton Region) Kim Harrington told me.

Much is said about laughter yoga’s stress-busting and mood-enhancing qualities.  Personally and professionally, I’ve seen the way it creates social connections – and that is so very important when you feel alone in the world.

I’ve also seen how, in  giving in to the process of laughter yoga, which I consider a form of ‘active mindfulness’ , the  blues switch flicks off and life becomes a little lighter and brighter.

As part of CQU’s investment in bringing laughter yoga to Rockhampton, there’s a free one-hour public laughter yoga presentation session on Wednesday 7 September starting at 6pm, held at the Rocky North campus. Online registrations via http://bit.ly/2bKfztd

 

(c) Heather Joy aka Heather Grant-Campbell, 2016

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