emale how to meditate “treat the cause.. not just the illness”

making a difference in men’s health & wellbeing
how to meditate
“treat the cause..
not just the illness”
men’s shed attack
effects of shift work
issue 102 September 2011 Australia’s leading free national men’s health & wellbeing
ebulletin www.menshealthservices.com.au
meditation - being in the present moment
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The most effective and simple forms of meditation require no
preparation and are very simple to do. The benefits are enormous –
decreasing respiratory rate, increasing blood flow and slowing heart
rate, providing general relaxation from stress, increasing energy
levels, reducing anxiety, decreasing muscle tension and headaches,
improving your self confidence, increasing the production of a hormone called serotonin which improves your mood, enhancing your
immune system and helping your body to heal and fight off infection. You also get amazing spiritual insight. What great value!
Some folks think that meditation evokes images of monks and mystics in exotic locales. But to many others, the very simple exercise of
quieting the mind through breathing is a real way to combat stress
and gain perspective on your life. Many people these days are anxious, overwhelmed or overloaded at times in their life or have a
range of these feelings every day.
When stress becomes a burden, finding easy and effective tools to manage it is really important. Meditation is one such
tool. Our minds, most of the time, have been conditioned to either be in the past or in the future. And because of that,
there's a lot of internal suffering that goes on, anxiety especially, some depression, and a sense of expectation to either
work to be something or work to not be something. Meditation is a practice that uses the breath to quiet the mind and
concentrate on the present moment and get a greater sense of peace and insight into your thoughts, feelings and experiences.
Physiologically, it engages the parasympathetic nervous system, the part that takes over when we rest or sleep – when
our bodies do a lot of physical repair. Meditation helps us make the most of the healing aspect of the parasympathetic
nervous system. People meditate to feel calm and reduce anxiety, deal with anger or uncomfortable feelings we have, reduce high blood pressure and sooth aches and pains. Others say it just makes them think and work better and more clearly.
Meditation can give us distance from negative feelings and help us be more objective and less reactive to problems we
might be having.
It is easy to learn how to meditate, search the internet or check out your local library or bookstore for DVDs, CDs and
books to guide you – buy what best works for you. Often when beginning to learn how to meditate use a recording or DVD
with a voice to guide you as well as music. This is sometimes known as “creative visualisation”, the voice will help you to
focus on what you need to do. If you find voices annoying, just use a favourite piece of music. There is not one right or
wrong way to meditate. If the process works for you, you are doing it the right way and you will benefit immediately.
Some tips on how to meditate:
Create an environment that’s free of all disturbances.
Find a comfortable place to sit, either on the floor or a chair. If you have back problems use a chair.
Create your own quiet place to meditate – inside or outside the house - and return to it each time.
Keep your spine straight, but not rigid
Wear loose clothes and take off your shoes.
Sit quietly, close your eyes, and draw attention to your breath going in and out.
When your mind starts to wander, gently return your focus to your breathing.
You don’t have to close out the rest of the world. Accept noises, smells or sensations you become aware of.
Thoughts and feelings will come to you. Don’t be sidetracked. Just accept them and keep meditating. Let your
thoughts flow in and go out of your mind.
Some people find trying to focus on ‘thinking of nothing’ is helpful.
Practice with other people as those with more experience can help you stick with meditation and get more from it.
Pick a time of day to meditate that suits you best. Fifteen minutes in the morning and in the evening is a good way
to start and try to stick with it, and meditate every day or as often as you can.
© “men’s health & wellbeing: an a-z guide” Greg Millan 2010
Men’s health SERVICES training program
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Working with men affected by violence Training Program
PERTH September 19 2nd floor, 100 St George’s Terrace, Perth CBD
In Australia up to one in three victims of family violence are male and while many services have been established over the
past three decades to support female victims of family violence, the needs of male victims remain largely unmet. This is
Australia’s only training program for workers in the domestic violence, community and family relationship sectors that
provides background information and strategies for working with men affected by violence in their relationships. The program covers what organisations need to consider when developing services and promoting work for men affected by violence. This program is run by Lifeline in Perth with support from the Men’s Advisory Network. Cost is $180 which
includes all refreshments plus lunch, resource pack and follow up support. Places still available.
To register contact Client Services Coordinator at Lifeline E: [email protected] Phone: 08-9261 4451
Adult refugee men's wellbeing
A new study by the La Trobe Refugee Research Centre (LaRRC) has
found that there is a pressing need to tackle barriers in economic
participation and reduce discrimination of men from refugee
The longitudinal study—SettleMEN: Health and settlement among men
from refugee backgrounds living in South East Queensland— was conducted by Dr Ignacio Correa-Velez and Professor Sandy Gifford from La
Trobe University. ‘One third of refugee and humanitarian entrants to
Australia are adult men. The most important implications of the SettleMEN study for policy makers, employers, service providers, and host
communities is that economic participation underpins the wellbeing
and successful integration of men from refugee backgrounds for their
families and the whole Australian community.
‘Discrimination in rural and regional areas is a particular challenge that requires specific targeted strategies and whole of
local government approaches,’ says Dr Correa-Velez.
Conducted between 2008 and 2010, the SettleMEN study followed a cohort of 233 recently arrived men from refugee backgrounds living in urban and regional areas of South East Queensland. The study consisted of four surveys administered at
six-month intervals with the participants. In addition, interviews were conducted over the last year of data collection with
a sample of 28 participants.T hese interviews aimed at exploring in more detail participants’ experiences of health and settlement. Obtaining this evidence is highly important, particularly in the context of the recently developed Australian National Men's Health Policy which has called for the need to build a strong evidence base on males at risk of poor health.
‘SettleMEN has shown that most participants reported good levels of subjective health status and mental health, low
prevalence of health risk behaviours, and moderate to good levels of wellbeing on arrival to Australia.
‘However, levels of the men’s wellbeing decrease as they experience a range of barriers to their social participation and
inclusion within their host community,’ says Dr Correa-Velez. Multiple barriers, including discrimination, significantly hinder
the ability for these men to secure work in Australia—even for those who have obtained tertiary or trade qualifications
from Australian educational institutions. ‘Financial difficulties, difficulties accessing adequate housing, and experiences of
racism and discrimination all impact negatively on men’s wellbeing, their status within their family and community, their
satisfaction with life in Australia and their ability to settle successfully,’ says Dr Correa-Velez.
The study in full—SettleMEN: Health and settlement among men from refugee backgrounds living in South East
Queensland—is available for download here
emale is Australia’s largest free men’s health and wellbeing ebulletin produced by Greg Millan, Men’s Health Consultant
and Director of Men’s health SERVICES. emale is distributed throughout Australia and internationally. Subscription is by
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M 0417 772 390 E [email protected] W www.menshealthservices.com.au
treat the cause not just the illness by Professor John Macdonald
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To improve the health of
Australian men, we must
build a culture that
examines men’s wellness
as much as their illness.
Whichever way you look at it, men’s health in Australia is uniformly worse than women’s. Men die, on average, five years
earlier than women born at the same time and are likely to experience more health complaints throughout their life.
This is despite years of well-executed campaigns designed to motivate men to reduce risky behaviours: cut down on
booze, quit smoking, eat healthily and drive safely. But viewing barriers to good health simply as behaviours that must be
“dealt with” overlooks the broader environment of men’s lives – the “causes of the causes” of poor health.
The Commonwealth Government’s 2010 National Male Health Policy marked a promising departure from this traditional
view of men’s health. For the first time, policy makers acknowledged the impact of life factors – income, relationships,
food, housing, family life, transportation and stress – on men’s overall health. What we need now is for this policy shift to
translate to changes in health service delivery and health promotion initiatives. Rather than just treating illness, health professionals must consider how a person’s life “road map” influences the current and future state of their health. Currently,
if a man presents to his doctor with chest pains, he’ll immediately have checks on the health of his heart. But subsequent
assessments are also needed to determine whether life factors are also to blame.
If demands at work are layered with relationship stress, and a two-hour daily commute prevents him from seeing his kids
before bedtime, his physical health may well be a product of ongoing stressors in his life. A treatment plan which addresses these stressors, is therefore likely to have more impact on his health than any technological or medical initiative
alone. This has been done in the Health Leads program in the United States, where physicians “prescribe” food, housing,
health insurance, job training, fuel assistance, or other resources for their patients as routinely as they do medication.
Results show this approach is relieving the burden on doctors and leading to better patient outcomes than traditional prescriptive approaches to care. We still have a long way to go in Australia but one organisation – the Men’s Shed movement
– is making ground. The sheds are a place for men of all ages to informally meet and collaborate on projects such as restoring furniture, fixing bicycles or making kids' cubby houses.
The sheds engage men in positive environments that promote their health and well-being with feelings of connectedness,
satisfaction of achievement and reward for their contributions. In the sheds, men can communicate “shoulder to shoulder”, while working on project, rather than talk to each other face to face. This reflects the way most men prefer to communicate and avoids perceptions of being lectured, admonished or disciplined.
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“The Shed” at Mount Druitt in Western Sydney is another example of a health program considering the broader context of
men’s lives – in this case, in an effort to prevent suicide. The Shed offers a safe place where men can socialise with each
other and connect with local services such as Legal Aid, housing providers and Centrelink. Our own research has shown
that suicide is often the last resort for men who have lost – and haven’t been able to regain – the factors that kept them
alive. A man may lose his job, which may lead to financial problems that cause him to lose his house and damage his relationships. He may turn to alcohol, drugs or gambling and, progressively, see his reasons to live diminish. Health-giving environmental factors can work both ways. Being employed, for example, is universally acknowledged as one of the most important factors in men’s health outcomes. Employment offers the opportunity for achievement, income, a sense of being
valued and socially connected – all improving overall health and well-being.
At the same time, men exposed to stress, physical danger, job insecurity, long commutes or isolation at work are as likely
to have poor health outcomes as unemployed men. What counts is the overall balance. To improve the health of Australian
men, we must build a culture that examines men’s wellness as much as their illness.
Author Professor John Macdonald Foundation Chair in Primary Health Care at University of Western Sydney
men’s shed under attack
A group of semi-retired Coast men has been left hurt and angry after
their plans for a social club at Palmwoods were thwarted by claims
they could present a danger to children living nearby.
The men started the Sunshine Valley Men’s Shed group as part of
the national initiative to improve the health of older men by giving
them a chance to socialise and work together.
But the dream has been crushed after a nearby resident made an
official complaint to council, saying a large gathering of elderly men
could be a danger to local children.
Chairman of this men’s shed, former council candidate Ron
Campbell, said the complaint to council referred to a “concern of
lascivious behaviour” by members of the group.
“Lascivious” refers to being lewd or driven by lust.
“They felt we would create a risk to their children,”
Group chairman Ron Campbell is angry Men’s Shed has been
portrayed as a threat to children.
Mr Campbell said. “ He (the complainant) now had to go to the bus stop with his child, instead of letting them walk past.”
The Men’s Shed members were handed a 20-year-lease from Coast philanthropist Ray Grace, who donated a small, unused
strawberry farm and shed for their use.
Plans were discussed for the group to help less fortunate children on the Coast, with former mechanics and builders easily
capable of building or repairing toys and bikes. There was even an idea of having the group act as communal “poppies” –
acting as ring-in role models so youngsters could learn basic mechanics, how to repair a bike or work on the Palmwoods
“There was no complaint about parking or noise,” Mr Campbell said. “There was no other complaint but that we might
pose a risk of pedophiles.” The complainant warned council he would pursue any use of the land by the men and have
them removed from the site. So, for now, members can do anything on the land as long as it is considered “rural use”.
Anything beyond that – including any work for the benefit of children or the elderly – will be done at an abandoned Eudlo
sawmill which has no electricity, water supply or other facilities. “This nimrod doesn’t want any of our work to happen,”
Mr Campbell said.
“How much good has already been lost because of this?” He said councillor Jenny McKay and council staff had backed the
Sunshine Valley Men’s Shed. On the council’s behalf, the group is already beginning to restore a dray – or pull-cart – that
was once a Eudlo attraction. “We were all lined up and ready to go,” Mr Campbell said.
“We’re now behind the eight-ball because we have just bare buildings (at Eudlo). “It puts it all at risk.” The identity of the
complainant is not know to the men. “They felt we would create a risk to their children. He (the complainant) now had to
go to the bus stop with his child instead of letting them walk past.”
Source: The Coolum News| 21st August 2011
Survey highlights physical and emotional toll of
working night shifts and non-traditional hours
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Our 24/7 society means that some people have to work
while the rest of us are sleeping, but at what cost to their
health and well-being?
A new survey results released by Men's Health Network USA and Cephalon found
that shift workers, people who work non-traditional hours such as overnight
shifts, report that these shifts can negatively impact their health, work and
wellbeing. The survey revealed that the majority of shift workers (79 per cent)
believe that they are negatively impacted by their shift work and report issues
associated with work productivity, negative emotions, concern about sex life and
decreased time spent with family.
Nevertheless, of the 52 per cent of shift workers who want a change in job or
hours, most don't think it will be possible in the near future and 44 per cent feel
that they will have the same job until they retire.
"At least 15 million Americans perform some type of shift work, including nurses, firefighters, factory workers, emergency
medical services staff and IT professionals," explains Scott Williams, Vice President of Men's Health Network. "Our survey
underscores both the issues that impact people who work in these industries and their general dissatisfaction with their
hours." The survey results suggested an impact of shift work on people's work productivity, with one in three shift workers
reporting having missed work altogether at least once in the past year because they were too tired. And three in ten
surveyed (29 per cent) said that they have dozed off at work in the past month, most of them multiple times, with another
37 per cent saying they've come close. Still, more people surveyed are worried about job security than their own safety.
"The recent incidents with air traffic controllers falling asleep while on the clock have helped to highlight the impact of
working night shifts and sleepiness on the job," Williams says. "With increased awareness of the issues associated with
shift work, we hope that such incidents will become fewer and farther between." In terms of emotional and psychological
impact, more than half surveyed reported feeling frustrated (51 per cent) and drained (51 per cent) in the last week, with
many others reporting irritability (42 per cent), anxiety (36 per cent) and anger (32 per cent). Survey respondents also
report daily concern for their energy level (47 per cent), weight (43 per cent), and their sex lives (30 per cent). The average
shift worker has not had a meal with their family in two weeks or exercised in 24 days.
"What we know is that people who work non-traditional hours may be suffering from a real medical condition called shift
work disorder. This can be diagnosed and the symptoms can be treated by a doctor, if only they mention issues caused by
their work schedule during visits to their healthcare professional." Shift work disorder is a recognised medical condition
that occurs when an individual's internal sleep-wake clock is not in sync with their work schedule. Because of this
disruption in the body's natural rhythm, people with shift work disorder may struggle to stay awake during their working
hours, known as excessive sleepiness, or have trouble sleeping during their sleeping hours, known as insomnia, or both.
Experts estimate that up to 25 per cent of night or rotating shift workers have shift work disorder, which has potential
consequences including decreased productivity and trouble focusing, and increased susceptibility to intestinal and heart
diseases. However, the majority of shift workers surveyed (61 per cent) said that they would sooner check in with a doctor
about a cold or flu than if they were tired for three months or longer.
"It is easy to ignore the overall health impact of our work schedules, but it's so important that people experiencing excessive sleepiness or insomnia or both take the time to see a doctor and mention that they work nontraditional shifts," iterates Dr. Bonhomme. "Very often shift work disorder goes undiagnosed because either the physician or the patient is not
making the connections between the symptoms, work schedule and condition."
The survey also found that most shift workers feel behind in their daily responsibilities (55 per cent) and in planning for the
future (67 per cent). A majority of shift workers (60 per cent) report being left off the invitation list for social events such
as birthday parties and weddings.
"Having worked rotating shifts for a long time, this survey validates what my coworkers and I experience as shift workers –
both physically and emotionally – but don't necessarily talk about," said Roger Greer, a water utility plant worker who
works night shifts, and spokesperson for Cephalon. "It wasn't until I had trouble concentrating and staying awake at work
that I decided to talk to my physician. I would urge people who work non-traditional hours to clearly communicate with
your family, your friends and your doctor."
Page 7
news briefs
This September host a Big Aussie
Barbie for prostate cancer!
September is the start of spring, footy grand finals,
Father’s Day, and time to dust off your Barbie! By
hosting a Big Aussie Barbie and raising funds for
the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA)
you will enable us to continue to invest in world
leading research, raising awareness of prostate
cancer and supporting men and their families affected by the disease. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in
Australian men and the second most common cause of male cancer deaths. Sadly, this year almost 20,000 Australian men
will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 3,300 men will die of the disease. What is not commonly understood is that
men can be diagnosed with prostate cancer as early as in their forties.
This year we've made it even easier for you to spread the word about your Big Aussie Barbie to your friends and family.
You can now create your own fundraising page, complete with photos, a personal message, social media links and a fundraising goal. As your donations come through you can watch your fundraising thermometer climb towards your goal and
let everybody see how you're progressing. Keep your sausage sizzling!
R U OK Day Thursday 15 September, 2011 It’s a national day of action which aims to prevent suicide by encouraging
Australians to connect with someone they care about and help stop little problems turning into big ones. On that day we
want everyone across the country, from all backgrounds and walks of life, to ask family, friends and colleagues: "Are you
OK?". Staying connected with others is crucial to our general health and wellbeing. Feeling isolated or hopeless can contribute to depression and other mental illnesses, which can ultimately result in suicide. Regular, meaningful conversations
can protect those we know and love. It's so simple. In the time it takes to have a coffee, you can start a conversation that
could change a life. www.ruokday.com.au
The Big C – a guide book to cancer for men Produced by The Alfred Hospital with support from partners this is a simple
guide to all cancers that might affect men. It was produced in 2010 and you can download a copy here. This year's men's
health booklet focuses on common health tests: what they mean and what to expect. Health tests and scans play a vital
role in helping clinicians understand their patients. With the assistance of Alfred specialists, this guide helps lift the lid on
the most common tests from a simple blood test to a CT scan and explains how they work, what to expect (if you are referred for one) and how to prepare. Details on this will be in the next copy of emale.
future events
Man Alive 2011 September 16--18 Berry Sport & Recreation Centre South Coast
Man Alive expect a hundred men to attend this year and places are closing quickly so book early to secure a place. This
years theme is “Sharing your Wisdom” and there will be both workshops and adventures mirroring that theme. After many
years of supporting men’s growth nationally it’s wonderful to see a annual event like this develop in this region. You can
fine all information and a complete list of workshops and facilitators here
National Men's Health Gathering 2011 September 19 - 22 2011 Perth Pan Pacific Hotel Australia’s biggest
men’s health event this year. Held every two years this is a must for those working in the field to fine out the latest research, improve their practice skills and network with their colleagues. Visit the website here or contact Jane Yeaman on
02 4984 2554 for more information or to register to attend.
For the latest flyer with the full National Men’s Health Gathering Program click here.
The Time Of Your Life Weekend September 30 - October 2 Serpentine Retreat Centre, outside of
Perth Wes Carter, Peter Efford and Peter Fry invite men over 50 to attend this residential weekend. Join us to consider
how the river of our lives as young blokes, may flow into the ocean of Eldership. This special weekend is for men who are
interested in exploring their own concepts of growing older, who want to identify important issues in their life, find some
new ways to share what we know about the shift from the Warrior to the Elder, its many satisfactions, its bonding and
accord. Its purpose and value to the community.
So, pack your bags and swags (no 20kg limit) plus the standard Elders kit of Heart, Mind, Soul & Spirit, and come on a fascinating journey. Remember to book early to ensure a seat by the window of opportunity. This is a chance to have the time
of your life. with three serious and playful Elders, as we share a weekend of Wisdom, Wonderment & Wizardry. For further
information and bookings contact Peter Fry, 9272 4252 or Email - [email protected]