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The Mood & Mind Centre

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Children and Corona Virus

Posted on 6 May, 2020 at 21:25

Written by Jessica Parker (May 2020) Covid19 or Corona Virus have become common words that can be heard in all households over the last few months. Our worlds have been turned upside down by this global pandemic. And this can be particularly scary for children! It’s important to know that children experience complex feelings just like adults, however, young children usually don’t have the vocabulary to talk about how they are feeling. Imagine for a moment how worried or anxious you may have been feeling lately, now try and describe it without using any feeling words like scared, anxious or worried. Yup, this may be how your child is feeling, all mixed up and overwhelmed and this often leads to behaviour that we see as ‘playing up’ or ‘acting out’.


Here are 5 ways that you can help your child deal with these big emotions:

 

1. Bibliotherapy: Bibliotherapy which is also sometimes called “book therapy" is a fancy way of saying that we use storytelling or the reading of specific texts with the purpose of healing. This is such a wonderful tool as it gives children the opportunity to step back from her/his problem which allows them a safe avenue to investigate their feelings. There are so many wonderful books available for children and of course heaps of free books available online, all you need to do is google free stories for kids about x (feelings, anger, sadness or whatever you would like to focus on). Or my personal favourite is to look up ‘kids stories read aloud’ on youtube. You could even help your child come up with their own story, which can be a lot of fun drawing and putting together.


2. Get Active: Research shows that keeping physically active is critical to boosting mood. Boredom and pent up physical energy can quickly turn to frustration and meltdowns. Avoid this by making sure that regular physical activity is a part of your family's routine. 'Activity' can include anything from games of Simon Says to kids yoga. Again, YouTube has some fun follow along videos and websites such as Go Noodle which have plenty of exercises and activities to keep your little ones busy for ages.


3. Breathing: Breathing is one of the most useful tools we can teach our child. Teaching children to breathe provides them with a simple but effective strategy for slowing down, both mentally and physically, helping them to take notice of how they’re feeling and to relax or calm down in the face of overwhelming emotions. Deep breaths send oxygen to the brain, soothing the amygdala, a small area in the middle that acts as the brain’s alarm system. There are so many fun ways to teach relaxed breathing. Here is one called Elephant Breathing: Stand with your feet wide apart and your arms dangling in front of your body like an elephant’s trunk. As you breathe in deeply through your nose, raise your arms up high above your head. Then slowly swing your arms down again as you breathe out through your mouth.


4. Routine: Routine gives children a sense of security and helps them to feel like they have some control over their world. Maintaining this routine doesn't need to be super strict and should allow for flexibility, aim to keep things like bedtimes and bath times similar each day.


5. Play: Not only is play an important part of development, but it is also a natural stress reliever for children. You can help facilitate your child’s play by arranging safe places for play, providing some playthings that allow for creativity and imagination such as building blocks or play dough and join in when invited, following the child’s lead and resisting the urge to direct, criticise or turn play into a lesson. It is important to remember that while your child may be allowed some ‘screen time’ to play video games, this does not replace the active, creative and imaginative ‘playtime’.

 

The power of Forgiveness

Posted on 14 March, 2020 at 22:45

Written by Dirk Vermooten (March 2020)  In October 2006, after a long shift at the fire department, 20-year-old Matt Swatzell fell asleep while driving and crashed into June Fitzgerald, who was pregnant and had her 19-month old daughter, Faith with her in the car. Faith survived the crash, but June and her unborn child did not. It is hard to imagine how devastating this must have been for her husband. Still, we could probably put ourselves in his shoes and find it in your heart to forgive Matt – it was an accident after all. And, that is exactly how it played out. June’s husband did indeed forgive the person who killed his wife and child and continues to have contact with him many years later.

But, what if it if the wrong-doing was not an accident? According to the book:”Why Forgive?”, Steven McDonald was a young police officer in 1986 when he was shot by a teenager in New York’s Central Park, an incident that left him paralysed. “I forgave him because I believe the only thing worse than receiving a bullet in my spine would have been to nurture revenge in my heart,” McDonald wrote.

If these people can forgive in the most horrific of circumstances, surely, we too can forgive those that have wronged us. But, let’s face it, it is not an easy process, and, in most cases, we have to forgive many times before it truly sets us free. You see, forgiveness (or unforgiveness if we choose it), has everything to do with the forgiver, and very little with the person that is being forgiven (or not).

In fact, according to Harvard Medical School, forgiveness can have powerful health benefits. Research shows that forgiveness is associated with lower levels of depression, anxiety, and hostility; reduced substance abuse; higher self-esteem; and greater life satisfaction – all this to the benefit of the forgiver. In stark contrast, unforgiveness leads to high blood pressure, digestive problems, poor quality sleep, increased stress, chronic back pain, anxiety and depression.

So, forgiving is good for us. Yet, most of us find it to be quite a difficult process and we need lots of practice to get it right. According to Dr. Tyler VanderWeele, co-director of the Initiative on Health, Religion, and Spirituality at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, one of the best ways is to practice forgiveness is with the REACH method. REACH stands for Recall, Emphasize, Altruistic gift, Commit, and Hold.

Recall - The first step is to recall the wrongdoing in an objective way. The goal is not to think of the person in a negative light nor to wallow in self-pity, but to come to a clear understanding of the wrong that was done. Visualize the person and situation and all the feelings that come with it. Don't push aside anything, especially if it makes you feel angry or upset.

Empathise - Next, try to understand the other person's point of view regarding why he or she hurt you, but without minimizing or downplaying the wrong that was done. Sometimes the wrongdoing was not personal, but due to something the other person was dealing with.

Altruistic gift - This step is about addressing your own shortcomings. Recall a time when you treated someone harshly and were forgiven. How did it make you feel? Recognizing this helps you realize that forgiveness is an altruistic gift that you can give to others.

Commit - Commit yourself to forgive. For instance, write about your forgiveness in a journal or a letter that you don't send or tell a friend.

Hold - Finally, hold on to your forgiveness. This step is tough because memories of the event will often recur. "Forgiveness is not erasure," says Dr. VanderWeele. "Rather, it's about changing your reaction to those memories." When the bad feelings arise, remind yourself that you have forgiven and that ultimately you are the one that suffers in body and spirit if unforgiveness creeps back.

It is like Lewis B. Smedes said, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”

 

Youth Relationships

Posted on 4 March, 2020 at 23:05
Written by Colette Dekker (March 2020) Being young is not easy. Relationships with parents change and relationships with peers are getting more involved and we start feeling butterflies when a certain someone is close by or just looking at you. Knowing the characteristics of a healthy relationship can keep us safe from unhealthy relationships and help us build healthy relationships inside and outside of the family circle. So keep the following in mind: Mutual respect. each person values who the other is and understands the other persons boundaries. Trust. Both should place trust in each other and give each other the benefit of the doubt. Honesty. Honesty builds trust and strengthens the relationship. Compromise. Each person does not always get his or her way. Each should acknowledge different points of view and be willing to give and take. Individuality. No one should have to compromise who he/she is, and his/her identity should not be based on someone elses. Communication. Speaking honestly and openly to avoid miscommunication. Remember that others cannot read your mind. Anger control. We all get angry, but how we express it can affect our relationships with others. Anger can be handled in healthy ways such as taking a deep breath, counting to ten, walking away until calm or talking it out. Understanding. Taking time to understand what the other might be feeling. Being a role model. By exemplifying what respect means, we can inspire each other, friends, and family to also behave in a respectful way. Healthy sexual relationship. When you engage in a sexual relationship, both parties need to be comfortable with it and neither should feel pressured or forced to engage in any sexual activity that is outside his or her comfort zone and NEVER without consent. NO ONE IS PERFECT. If you love someone, you should not expect her or him to be perfect. You need to accept his or her mistakes and if something needs working on, do it with love and patience.

Mindfulness: What is it and how to do it?

Posted on 16 January, 2020 at 22:15
Written by Kathleen McEvoy (January 2020) Mindfulness-based practices can be thought of as the melding of eastern and western philosophies into a scientifically proven method to improve our mental health and enhance our overall wellbeing. In fact, mindfulness-based practices are thought to rewire our brain to become calmer and less reactive to the stressors in our environment. Some research even suggests that regular mindfulness practice strengthens the part of our brain responsible for things like planning, problem solving, goal setting, relationship skills, and mood regulation. At its core, mindfulness techniques are about accessing your awareness and leveraging this part of you to accept your current experience. You can think of your awareness as the part of you that notices what you think, feel, touch, taste, hear and smell. It is the part of you that is aware of what you are thinking right now as you are reading this article. It is the part of you that is aware of how you are sitting or standing; whether you are hungry, full, or somewhere in between; interested, or bored; the taste of coffee in your mouth; and the smallest sound you can hear right now. You might like to think of your awareness as the sky. It is the part of you that is always present and unchanging. And while your awareness is like the sky, your thoughts and feelings are like the weather- changing moment to moment, and day to day. Its comforting to know that regardless of the weather, the sky is always and will always be there- just like your awareness. While the goal of mindfulness is acceptance of symptoms, unpleasant symptoms often decrease as a result of regular practice. You may ask yourself why on earth you would want to accept your symptoms? Well, once you can accept your experience, you can redirect your energies and take effective action towards creating a rich, full, and meaningful life. Consider the time, energy and effort you have spent battling with your symptoms, trying to force them away?.Now imagine if you were able to use all of that time, effort, and energy that energy into creating the life you wanted?. What might you be able to achieve? Here are some ways you can start to practice mindful awareness. Remember the goal is not to change, but to accept your experience so you can stop the struggle and redirect your energies into creating the life you want. 1. Using mindful awareness to observe your morning routine: Tomorrow morning try paying particularly close attention to each action you take to get ready for the day. a. Upon waking, you might focus your awareness on the sensation of your sheets, on your feet, or on the temperature of your bed. See if you can notice areas of your skin that feel warmer or cooler. b. While brushing your teeth, notice the colour and texture of your toothpaste, notice the smells in your nose, and the tastes in your mouth, see if you can notice the first part of your mouth where you experience the taste of the toothpaste and how the taste floods your mouth or changes as you continue to brush. See if you can notice how your toothbrush feels, the sensation of the bristles on your gums, and the pressure of the brush on your teeth. For extra points try brushing with your opposite hand for a few days- this is a sure way to focus your awareness. If you choose to try this, pay particular attention to the uncomfortable sensations, or thoughts you might have, and see if you an continue to brush with your opposite hand regardless of what your mind may be telling you about the experience (maybe "this is a waste of time"), or the mild discomfort (frustration) in your body. 2. Using mindful awareness to observe your thoughts: Practice noticing what your mind is telling you. See if you can identify your minds favourite thoughts- these are the ones that tend to play in the background throughout our day- like a song stuck on repeat. Often with anxiety, these thoughts will be related to things that may happen I the future; for example, "What if my spouse leaves me? What if I get sick? Or what if I lose my job? When you notice one of your minds favourite thoughts say to yourself "I'm having a thought that (whatever the thought is), or trying to thank you mind by saying "thank you mind for trying to help me". Then refocus your awareness on whatever you are doing at that moment. 3. Using mindful awareness to describe feeling or sensations: Practice observing and describing the sensations in your body as if you were a curious scientist who has never experienced that sensation before. Where is the sensation in your body? How would you describe the sensation; aching, stinging, tight, fluttery? Does it move or stay in the same place? If it had a temperature what would it be? What about weight; would it be light, heavy, or somewhere in between? What colour might you assign it? If you would like to give mindfulness a try in a structured class why don't you register for our weekly Mindfulness Class by clicking here. Places are limited so Register now!

How to develop a positive mindset

Posted on 10 January, 2020 at 17:05
Written by Dirk Vermooten (January 2020) The latest research shows that a positive mindset is a better predictor of success than IQ, school grades, or almost any other factor you can think of. In contrast, negative people get sick more often, are divorced more frequently and raise kids who get in more trouble! Unfortunately, our minds are 5 times more likely to jump to a negative thought than a positive one. So, does that mean we are victims of never-ending negativity? Not at all! You see, free choice always wins, and we can choose to be positive anytime we want. One way of developing a positive mindset is through changing your thoughts. You have probably heard numerous people say: "Just be positive!" and you had to fight back the urge to slap them because if it was that easy you would have done it already. Well you're right, changing your thoughts and developing a positive mindset requires a CONSTANT, CONSCIOUS EFFORT. Here is the steps you need to take in order to change your thinking: Step 1 - Catch your negative thought when it pops into your head, like "I am not good enough" Step 2 - Immediately beat it back with by repeating the opposite positive affirmation 3 times. In this example: "I AM good enough, I AM good enough, I AM good enough". If you do this consistently with every negative thought you have, you will soon teach your mind not to default to negativity and develop a positive mindset in the process.

Affirmations: Why they work and how to use them

Posted on 10 January, 2020 at 16:20
Written by - Irene Vermooten (January 2020) To "affirm" something, by dictionary definition, means that you are declaring it to be true. So when I affirm that I am fit when I am not, wealthy when I am financially struggling, or loved when I am lonely, how exactly does that work in the guise of living authentically and who the heck am I kidding? An affirmation is usually a sentence or phrase that you repeat regularly to make a formal declaration to yourself and the universe of your intention for it to be the truth. While some may say it is the same as fake it until you make it, I see it a bit more like holding the vision of what I know can be true. Here is my experience of how they work. We all have in our brains a thing called a Reticular Activating System (RAS), which is like a filter that lets in information that we need, and filters out information that we don't need. If we didn't have this system, we would be bombarded with so much information that our senses would overload and we would go into massive overwhelm. Instead, our brain registers what matters to us based on our goals, needs, interests, and desires. For example, if you and your friend were driving down the street and you were hungry and your friend was looking for a date, you would see all the restaurants (and none of the hot guys or gals) while your friend would see all the potential sweethearts (and none of the restaurants). Most of us have had this experience when someone shows us their new car and it's a make and model we have never seen before. Then, now that it is important to us, we suddenly begin to see that particular make and model everywhere we look. When I was pregnant, I starting noticing seeing pregnant woman everywhere which I definitely didn't notice before. My reticular activating system recognized what was important to me and allowed the information in. When you say an affirmation over and over again, a couple of things happen. One is that it sends a very clear message to your RAS that this is important to you. When you do that, it gets busy noticing ways to help you achieve your goals. If ideal weight is your emphasis, you will suddenly begin to see every gym and weight loss product. If money is your goal, investment and earning opportunities will move to the forefront of your awareness. In essence, the affirmation can kick your creativity into high gear. The other way affirmations work is that they create a dynamic tension in our beings. If what I am saying is at a higher vibration that what I perceive the truth to be, the dynamic tension is uncomfortable. For instance, if I am saying: "I am joyfully and healthfully at my ideal weight" when in actuality I am 10, 20, 30+ kilograms above my ideal weight, a painful incongruence is felt between what I perceive the truth to be and what I am saying. Since this is uncomfortable, we want to rid ourselves of the tension. There are only two ways to do that: one is to stop saying the affirmation; the other is to raise the bar on reality by making the affirmation and reality match. So what makes an effective affirmation? First, determine what kind of transformation you want to bring about in yourself, a goal or intention. Or determine what quality, attitude, value, or characteristic you want to remind yourself of or develop in yourself. Second, if it fits, add an emotion to the mix or a word that qualities the statement. For instance, I am joyfully at my ideal weight of 65kg. Or, I'm happily living in my own home. I personally like affirmations that strum my heartstrings: I offer gratitude for every step and every breath. Third, make it positive vs. negative: "I am healthy and fit" rather than "I am no longer fat." Dr Caroline Leaf, cognitive neuroscientist found that it takes 21 days of repetition of any thought/affirmation to make its mark on your psyche, so aim to keep your affirmation going for at least a month. In the beginning you will have to consciously choose to repeat your affirmations. If you repeat them at every opportunity they will begin to replace the negative mind banter that takes over when we are not monitoring our thoughts. See if you can make the dynamic tension go away by making your words and reality match. Here are a few positive affirmations to get you started. Please feel free to share your own in the comments below! I choose to be happy and love myself today I am worthy My possibilities are endless Today is going to be a great day I am content in my body, heart, and soul. I easily see the lesson or the blessing in all that is. Every day, I offer gratitude, trust and faith for everything that happens in my life. I am authentic and present. I am successful in everything I attempt. I am a magnet for money and abundance. Love, wisdom, and discernment coexist in my heart. Deep love is my birthright. When faced with two choices, I always take the higher path. I am guided by a higher power. I am energetic and strong. I see the best in everyone and they in me.

Sleep, Diet and Exercise can improve Depression

Posted on 15 December, 2019 at 10:00
The proven positive effects that sleep, diet and exercise have on people suffering from Depression is not a quick fix but a lifestyle that can help improve general mental health. Since sleep and depression both affect your brain, they can have big effects on each other, as well. When you're well-rested, you'll not only have more energy, but you may also have a more upbeat view on life and better focus. Regular exercise may help ease depression and anxiety by: Releasing feel-good endorphins, natural cannabis-like brain chemicals (endogenous cannabinoids) and other natural brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of well-being. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts your overall mood. But, we are realistic - Depression manifests physically by causing disturbed sleep, reduced energy, appetite changes, body aches, and increased pain perception, all of which can result in less motivation to exercise. It's a hard cycle to break, but getting up and moving just a little bit will help. Start with five minutes a day of walking or any activity you enjoy. Soon, five minutes of activity will become 10, and 10 will become 15. You probably know that the food you eat affects your body. Eating a nutritious diet helps you keep a healthy body weight and a healthy heart. It also helps reduce your risk of developing some chronic diseases AND it also affects your mood and mental health. Studies have advised that people who eat lots of fast food are more likely to have depression than those who eat mostly fresh produce. Processed foods, especially those high in sugar and refined carbs, may contribute to a higher risk of depression. Your diet also has an effect on your sleeping pattern. For your best night's sleep, strive to eat a balanced diet that emphasizes fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat proteins that are rich in B vitamins, like fish, poultry, meat, eggs, and dairy. What it boils down to is that what we eat matters for every aspect of our health, but especially our mental health and when we eat good foods, we have the energy to exercise, which helps with sleep and a good night??s sleep leaves us well rested with more energy. And so the healthy living cycle goes on. Keep moving, keep eating healthy and sleep well! You CAN do this. Written by Colette Dekker, December 2019

Understanding Anxiety

Posted on 10 December, 2019 at 20:35

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a human emotion that occurs when you’re confronted with a possible threat, danger or negative event, particularly something over which you have little control. Our Amygdala (aka the danger detection system in our brain) scans the environment for possible threats and will trigger the Fight-Flight-Freeze Response if it detects danger. In ancient times, threats/danger were when lions were chasing us but these days threats are a lot different and it can include things like being rejected; bullied; excluded; personally attacked or your integrity could be questioned, to name just a few. Unfortunately the Amygdala cannot distinguish between lions chasing us and modern day threats and will cause the same physiological response in your body. When you feel anxious, your body becomes aroused.


You may experience muscle tension, increased heart rate, and other physical changes. Your attention also becomes more focussed on the possible source of the threat as well as on your own functioning) for example, on your feelings of arousal. This process is designed to help you prevent or avoid possible danger in the future and is called hypervigilance.


Hypervigilance makes it hard to concentrate and you might start to worry, which involves making plans to disarm the perceived threat. Finally, anxiety is often associated with avoidance. You may try to avoid situations that you perceive as threatening or your own experiences, like physical sensations or anxiety-provoking thoughts.


Anxiety vs Fear

Anxiety is focussed on some future threat and fear is an intense emotional reaction to an immediate threat or danger (like snakes)


The benefit of Anxiety

Anxiety and fear serve a useful function! Yes they are unpleasant, but you wouldn’t want to be entirely rid of them. You need them to survive! Just as you might adjust the sensitivity of the smoke detector so that it stops blaring when you are cooking, your goal here is to adjust your anxiety and fear so that they turn on only when they’re appropriate to the situation. In some way people with an Anxiety disorder has an overly sensitive smoke detector which can be adjusted through therapy.


Types of Anxiety

Generalized Anxiety: An excessive amount of anxiety or worry in several areas of life, such as job responsibilities, health, finances, or minor concerns (e.g. completing housework).


Specific Phobias: A very intense fear of a specific situation or object, which is out of proportion to its actual threat. For example, a fear of giving speeches, or of spiders, could be considered a phobia.


Panic Disorder: An extreme anxious response where a person experiences a panic attack. During a panic attack, the individual experiences numerous physical symptoms, and is overwhelmed by a feeling of dread.


Agoraphobia: Fear or avoidance of multiple situations due to thoughts that escape might be difficult or help might not be available in the event of developing panic-like symptoms.


Social Anxiety/Social Phobia: Avoidance specifically of social situations in which the person will be exposed to the scrutiny of others.


Separation Anxiety Disorder: Avoidance of situations that involve being away from major attachment figures, including refusing to go out of one’s house because of a fear of separation from your attachment figure.


Treatment of Anxiety


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a very effective treatment for anxiety. During CBT, the unhealthy thinking patterns that create anxiety are identified, and challenged by the psychologist. Oftentimes, CBT will also include components of exposure therapy and relaxation skills.


Exposure Therapy

During exposure therapy, the therapist and their client create a plan to gradually face anxiety producing situations, thus breaking the cycle of avoidance. With enough exposure, the anxiety loses its power, and the symptoms diminish.


Relaxation Skills

Various techniques—such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness—provide immediate relief from the symptoms of anxiety. With practice, relaxation skills will become a powerful way to manage anxiety in the moment.


Medication

Medication can help control the uncomfortable symptoms of anxiety. However, because medication does not fix the underlying problems of anxiety, it is typically used in conjunction with therapy. The need for medication varies greatly, case-by-case.


What do I do now?

Book an appointment with a psychologist and discuss your symptoms with them. Your psychologist will be able to tailor a treatment program specifically for you and your situation.


You don’t have to suffer from Anxiety for the rest of your life. It is possible to manage Anxiety effectively and live a fully functional life, so take the step and book an appointment with a Psychologist today.


Written by: Irene Vermooten Clinical Psychologist, The Mood & Mind Centre


CoordiKids helps with brain development

Posted on 31 July, 2019 at 23:25

But how?

Coordikids uses easy-to-follow, and clinically acclaimed exercises to develop and organise the brain.

Why do some children and adults have disorganised brains?

THREE important developmental stages have to do with organising the brain:

First there is the Primitive Reflex maturity: A baby is born with reflexes to protect the child. Through the maturity of the nervous system and the brain, these reflexes become integrated. This can only happen through using the correct movements. Most children do these movements as part of normal development. However, the environment (walking rings, supportive seating for babies are to blame as well!) and some medical issues such as general illness with low energy levels, multiple ear infections or upper respiratory infections prevent the normal development and inhibit some movements.

Secondly we have Postural Reflexes: as the primitive reflexes integrate, the postural reflexes develop. Most of them are being used throughout our life. An example is to put your hands and arms out when you are falling.

Basic movement patterns are the third stage. Reflexes and basic movement patterns such as rolling over, rotation of the body, crawling, sitting, standing and walking develop while the baby and young child moves and plays. The above mentioned environmental and medical issues are to blame for some children not developing all of these movement patterns at the expected time. The result is a child that child looks a bit clumsy or awkward; it prevents optimal participation in movement activities and games. These children then often avoid some exercises and movement activities because they do not receive positive feedback from their bodies and from others. They feel they are struggling and prefer to revert to stationary games and activities such as watching TV.

Marga Grey (CoordiKids, 2017), a Paediatric Occupational Therapist explained that primitive reflexes, postural reflexes and movement patterns are controlled by the ‘lower brain’. The lower brain consists of the Brainstem, and the Midbrain. These structures organise our basic movements. The sensory pathways and structures in the brain are closely linked to the movement structures.

When primitive reflexes are retained and did not mature, when postural reflexes did not develop optimally and when basic movement patterns have been inhibited, the brain is not organised for optimal use.

These basic structures in the Brainstem and Midbrain have a major effect on the Cortex, or the thinking brain. Thus, people with learning and attention problems most often have disorganised brain stems and midbrains, according to Marga Grey (CoordiKids, 2017). Once the basic reflexes and movement patterns are developed through specific exercises and activities, the outcome is seen in organised movement and behavioural patterns.

CoordiKids calls these movements sensory motor skills. They form the foundation of an organised brain. A brain ready for learning and for paying attention to tasks.

Written by Colette Dekker, Counsellor (B.A. Hons Psych & Criminology, MA Forensic Mental Health)

Moving our bodies to move our brain!

Posted on 11 July, 2019 at 6:05

It is no secret that exercise is good for the body. But physical movement is great for the brain as well.

During movement (exercise), the brain gets flooded with important nutrients and neurotrophins. Physical movement helps the brain form neural pathways which increases cognition, improve memory and help us to acquire knowledge faster.

Efficient brains have high levels of interconnectivity – so how do we get that higher interconnectivity? It is actually easy! All we have to do is MOVE!

AND there is added benefits to getting your children to move, as the whole family can get involved and build positive family interaction and relationships.

Movement activities that the whole family can enjoy include:

  • Fine motor movements - Doodling, colouring in and painting.
  • I fill spray water bottles with different colour water based paint and cover one of my garden walls with old cardboard boxes or scrap paper and we have lots of fun spray painting. And they can do this from as young as 1 year old (might need to help them pull the trigger on the spray bottle though)
  • Drawing on the pavement with black board chalk is fun …. And washing off is easy and fun as well.
  • Gross motor movements - sitting on yoga balls – who can stay on the longest?, moving up and around chairs – playing musical chairs
  • Body movements including kicking and throwing balls, balancing games, hopping – old school hop-scotch, rolling – forward, side ways

Happy moving and enjoying quality time with the whole family.

Written by Colette Dekker, Counsellor (B.A. Hons Psych & Criminology, MA Forensic Mental Health)


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