Health

Learn how mysterious opal brings inner peace

Opal is a stone that has been revered for its healing properties for centuries.

It is said to encourage hope and optimism while promoting inner peace and harmony.

The mysterious stone is usually opaque but can also appear translucent when cut properly so that light gets through them – just like stained-glass windows!

If you are looking for a gemstone to wear in a piece of jewellery that can help promote overall good health, opal might be the right choice for you.

 

Disclosure: As an Amazon Australia Associate I earn from qualifying purchases made through links in this post.

Opal is the #1 gemstone for mental health

Opal is one of the most fascinating and mysterious gemstones.

Many people believe opal is beneficial in alleviating stress and anxiety, as well as curing various other ailments.

It brings peace and calmness to you and your environment, which is why people who struggle with anxiety or depression often choose to use wear opal jewellery.

Opal also promotes self-confidence and personal growth by enhancing creativity, imagination, intuition, wisdom, cheerfulness, love and beauty– all qualities that will help you feel more at home with yourself.

In some cultures, opal is considered to be a stone with mystical powers.

Ancient Greeks and Romans particularly believed the stone to have special powers.

They used it to improve their mental health and ward off evil spirits.

Today, opals are still popular gemstones for jewellery.

People wear them for their beauty and because they believe that opals have healing properties.

Some of these include:

  • Improving mental health
  • Warding off evil spirits
  • Enhancing creativity and imagination
  • Helping with emotional problems

You too can wear opal jewellery to bring you happiness, improve your mental health or attract love.

Keeping an opal gemstone in your pocket when going through hard times, is believed to help ease your pain.

If you are interested in learning more about the mysterious opal gemstone, here are some books to help get you started:

Choosing the best opal jewellery for you

Here are some opal jewellery pieces that you can consider when shopping for an opal gemstone piece!

Opal necklace

This Blue Green Australian Fire Opal Triplet Necklace is simple and elegant. The gemstone is set in a gold-plated sterling silver setting on a delicate chain. This necklace is so versatile. It can be worn with anything from your favourite dress to more casual outfits.

Opal ring

This women’s opal ring is an eye-catcher for any occasion and makes the perfect gift for your wife or girlfriend. The opal gemstone adds an elegant and chic touch to the sterling silver setting.

Opal earrings

These minimalist white opal stud earrings for women are simple and classic at the same time – two words that also describe this gemstone perfectly. They feature a stunning opal gemstone in a sterling silver bezel setting. Add these light and dainty earrings to your outfit for a touch of elegance.

Opal pendant

This Blue Australian Opal Pendant is simple, yet stunning. It features a beautiful opal gemstone in a modern sterling silver pear shape classic setting and comes on a delicate chain. This pendant would be perfect for everyday wear or special occasions.

Opal bracelet

This opal bracelet is delicate and pretty. It features a beautiful round Cabochon White Ethiopian Opal in a sterling silver bracelet. It would be the perfect addition to any jewellery collection.

So, if you’re looking for a gemstone that has many healing properties, opal is definitely one to go for.

PHOTO GALLERY: WINTON

Want to hunt for your own mysterious opal?

Discover where and how the Outback Opal Hunters do it at the Winton Opal Festival.

Resources:

  • ‘The Opal: A Study In Color And Light’ by G. Neri
  • ‘Opal: The gemstone of the gods’ by John H. Betts
  • ‘The gem and mineral guide: a field guide to over 1500 gems, minerals & gemstones’ by Jack Stormonth

Aromatherapy enhances your wellbeing

Aromatherapy is an ancient method of using the sense of smell to promote feelings of calmness, balance, peace, and harmony in peoples’ lives.

However, it was not until the 1920s that it got this name as we know it today. Aromatherapy uses essential oils to enhance a therapeutic feeling in your body and mind and can help both your physical and emotional wellbeing.

Aromatherapy has gained much recognition in science and medicine today. Even though this form of therapy is almost a thousand years old, there have emerged many modern ways of reaping its benefits in the present age.

In this article, I will take you through how you can make it a part of your home and life using products like aromatherapy essential oils and aromatherapy candles.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Australia Associate I earn from qualifying purchases made through links in this post.

1. Aromatherapy essential oils

Essential oils are derived from plant extracts by steaming or pressing various parts of the plant like flowers, leaves, bark, or fruit. This method helps to capture the elements that produce a beautiful fragrance. A single bottle of essential oil might have to be made using several pounds of a plant. Aromatherapy essential oils are available in clean and modern bottles.

The different varieties of essential oils include spruce, peppermint, lemon, grapefruit, and tea tree. These contain antibacterial properties that are a great way to refresh your mind and body. Aromatherapy essential oils are a natural remedy for many ailments, such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Low appetite
  • Dry mouth

Aromatherapy essential oils can be used through aromatherapy accessories such as necklaces, key chains, and bracelets that can be sniffed throughout the day. You can also purchase aroma sticks from the market. These are plastic sticks that have an absorbent wick to soak up the essential oil.

2. Oil burners

Oil burners are a very efficient way to fill up your home with soothing scents. The traditional oil burners come in the shape of a tripod that holds a beaker. The beaker contains scented oil. So here, you need to put a candle below the tripod, which heats the oil and releases the fragrance across the room.

Nowadays, there are electric oil burners available in the market as well. All you need is some water and a few drops of essential oil, and you are ready.

The rest is taken care of by the electricity, which helps release the scent into the air.

These electric oil burners are available in different shapes and styles like pot-shaped, porcelain, spherical, etc. These burners not only make your home smell good but also give it a visual aesthetic touch.

3. Aromatherapy candles

Aromatherapy candles have become immensely popular these days because of how easy they are to use and their long-lasting ability. These are usually available in a container that has wicks attached all the way through. All you need to do is find a safe place and light the wick. The candle is scented with fragrances like lavender or clary sage. Lighting these aromatherapy candles as you take a rest after a long day’s work can be a great stress relief.

4. Reed diffusers

Another way to enjoy your aromatherapy essentials is by using reed diffusers. Pre-blended oils are available, and these come with diffuser sticks made of charcoal or wood in most cases. You can also make your blends depending on the aroma you like and even build a diffuser using materials already available at home.

5. Non-reed diffusers

While reed diffusers are a great way to enjoy your aromatherapy essentials, there is also the option of using non-reed diffusers that function equally well. These are found in all shapes, sizes, styles and made using different materials. You can use non-reed diffusers in multiple settings. All you have to do is place a few drops of the essential oil on the stone, and the scent will get released instantly. Woodgrain diffusers are also available, which are not just meant for aromatherapy but also function as humidifiers.

6. Tech-based aromatherapy

It is a fact of the human body that when we smell the same fragrance for a long time, we build ‘scent fatigue’. Here, our scent receptors become saturated with the same smell, and it stops sending the scent information to the brain. As a result, we stop receiving this smell.

However, with technology, you can have a more versatile experience of aromatherapy. You can connect this device with your smartphone and switch from one scented aromatherapy essential oil to another.

Which essential oils are the best for you?

There are a wide variety of essential oils available in the market today. Which essential oil is best suited to your senses depends on what you are expecting from aromatherapy. However, there are a few aromatherapy essential oils liked by most people. These are:

  • Lavender oil– This oil has proven to reduce stress and promote good sleep.
  • Peppermint oil– Research has shown that peppermint oil can relieve the symptoms of Irritable Bowel (IBS) Syndrome.
  • Lemon oil– Many people find the citrusy smell of lemon oil to be an instant mood lifter. This can be a great fragrance after a hard day to bring your spirits up.
  • Tea tree oil– Originally, the Australian aboriginal people used this aromatherapy essential oil for healing wounds. The oil has a refreshing fragrance and is also used to treat acne or insect bites.

To sum up

In modern times, when we all are swamped with work or something else at all times, aromatherapy is a great way to treat our stressed mind and body.

While all the items mentioned in this article are beneficial in helping you relieve your body of all stress, try something more dramatic, like creating the perfect ambience to go with the fragrance.

So take a shower, get those essential oils ready, lean back on your bed, close your eyes, and meditate for some time as the beautiful scents surround you. Doing this will surely freshen you up for the day.

Looking for inspiration?

Is the daily rat race leaving you feeling exhausted?

My blog acts as a source of inspiration to help you relax, follow your dreams or indulge your creativity.

So if you are looking for inspiration, check out some of my latest lifestyle and travel blogs here.

7 Steps to recover after trauma

A traumatic experience such as the death of a loved one, divorce or being made redundant from work can cause you unforgettable pain.

Unfortunately, experiencing trauma can sometimes lead to severe depression and other health complications.

Some of the biggest problems people face with recovering are they don’t know where to start and how to keep living.

It’s important to remember that life goes on and even if you hit a rough patch, you are a healthy person who can live a happy life again.

Below is a list of steps to help you heal from a traumatic experience; however, keep in mind that recovery is an individual experience and is different for everyone.

1. Accept that what you’re feeling is normal

Know that it’s ok to feel the way you do and don’t be ashamed to admit it. By allowing yourself to feel emotions, you are giving yourself the chance to begin the recovery process. No one should feel a “certain way” while recovering. Whatever you feel is very personal.

2. Express what you are feeling

Seek counselling and maintain close communication with family and friends. You need to express what you’re feeling in order to understand what you’re going through. Be open and honest; hold nothing back.

3. Maintain a daily routine

Return to “normal” as soon as you can. Having a routine not only helps to take your mind off things, but also provides a sense of safety and stability. Keep a healthy balance of your work and social life.

4. Be patient with yourself

Don’t get frustrated with yourself if you don’t recover as fast as you think you should. Everyone is different and will need a different amount of time to process traumatic experiences. Healing could take months or years–the important thing is to keep looking forward.

5. Turn a negative into a positive

Even the most horrible situations can have a positive impact, even if it’s as simple as giving you a new outlook on life. Don’t dwell on the negative and try to find something positive about what you’re dealing with.

6. Make time for yourself

Give yourself time to do things you enjoy–read a book at the park, drink a cup of tea on the porch, or go for a walk. Make time every day, even if it’s only 10 minutes, to do something you enjoy.

7. Allow yourself to let go

This is probably the hardest step in the recovery process. The moment you stop pointing the blame is the moment you free yourself from the past. Accept reality and give yourself the power to become free again.

Remember, recovery after traumatic experiences can be difficult for many people, but the human psyche can recover and grow.

Where to get help

Phoenix Australia has been Australia’s National Centre of Excellence in Post Traumatic Mental Health, with internationally recognised leaders in their field, for over 25 years.
https://www.phoenixaustralia.org/

The Blackdog Institute is the only medical research institute in Australia to investigate mental health across the lifespan, its aim is to create a mentally healthier world for everyone
https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/resources-support/post-traumatic-stress-order/help-support/

The Heal For Life Foundation has residential programs that empower people to heal from childhood trauma as part of a holistic approach to trauma counselling and healing.
https://healforlife.com.au/

Psychopath traits favoured in some environments

While it’s common for workers to claim their bosses are psychopaths, research shows only one per cent of Australia’s population can be officially classed with the personality disorder.

Stephen Bell, Hervey Bay and Maryborough Hospital director of community and allied health, said that percentage increased to 3.5% in the corporate world and 25% in correctional centres.

Mr Bell, a registered psychologist of 20 years, said the corporate executive world statistically had a higher level of individuals with psychopathic traits than the general population, particularly in senior positions.

“That’s partly because some corporate environments have cultures that favour manipulative, egotistical, and self-centred managerial behaviour leadership styles that get results.

“In addition, if these executives are delivering to, and meeting the corporate objectives of the business, attention to these negative tendencies may be overlooked.”

Mr Bell will talk about psychopathology in the workplace when he presents the next professional development session for health experts at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Fraser Coast on February 17, 2015.

“I will spend quite a bit of time talking about personality disorders. In particular, I’ll delve into functional psychopathy,” Mr Bell said.

Psychopaths can be charming and persuasive

“That’s about people who have traits which predispose them to have low levels of empathy, self-serving, opportunistic, ego-centric and ruthlessness but who can also mask these traits by being superficially charming and persuasive.”

Mr Bell said that while psychopathic traits were undesirable in most workplaces, those same traits might predispose workers to do better in other careers that require quick and ruthless decision-making with low levels of empathy for other people.

“Research shows that people who are able to remain detached and have limited empathy can be quite suitable in niche careers, for example, you wouldn’t want that in a social worker but you would in a sniper.”

Mr Bell’s session, hosted by the Fraser Coast Health Professionals Local Education Research Nexus (FCHP: LEARN), will also cover the workplace impacts of other personality and mental health issues such as social skill deficits, marital and family problems, depression and anxiety.

“I’ve got some contemporary statistics on those topics which people should find interesting in terms of the prevalence of those conditions in the general population and therefore in the workplace as well.”

Some theoretical explanations of psychopathology will also be discussed.

“Is maladaptive behaviour biological or behavioural? For example, is it an imbalance in brain chemistry? Has it been learnt over time? Or is it a combination of both?”

Mr Bell said shift work, imbalances between work and personal lives, and even physical work conditions such as exposure to chemicals or excessive noise could also impact psychopathology.

He will wrap up the session with strategies for accommodating pathological behaviour including how to support co-workers and employees.

“There is a range of solutions such as redesigning tasks, making environmental changes and allowing more flexible hours.”

Mr Bell has been employed by Queensland Health for 19 years, working in health management roles for the past nine years.

He has held several executive leadership positions in hospital health services in the Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay areas.

Mr Bell has clinical expertise in acute mental health care and in the area of complex psychological trauma and child abuse.

He has presented papers at state and international conferences on collaborative models for the treatment of traumatised and disabled children in state care.

 
 
 

“Suicide is no longer a crime”

“Suicide is not a sin and is no longer a crime, so we should stop saying that people ‘commit’ suicide.”

That message from Beyond Blue advisers was explored by Fraser Coast expert Dr Dorothy Ratnarajah when she presented a counselling workshop at USQ Fraser Coast in July 2013.

Dr Ratnarajah, a clinical counsellor with 14 years’ higher degree research experience in suicide bereavement, said suicide was a cause of death yet people never said someone “committed cancer” or “committed heart failure”, even when those affected may have lived lifestyles that contributed to such diseases (for example, smoking or having a high-fat diet).suicide

“Even suggesting they ‘committed’ such diseases as cancer or heart failure sounds ludicrous and yet every day we see such examples in relation to suicide.

“So, let us commit to being vigilant and challenge the use of stigmatising language whenever we hear it used in connection with suicide.”

Instead of “committed suicide,” people should say  “died by suicide.”

Discussing the myths and truths of suicide

USQ Lecturer and counsellor Nathan Beel said banishing the ‘C’ word was discussed along with myths and truths when Ms Ratnarajah presented the workshop for Fraser Coast human service providers and university students.

“Attendees gained an increased awareness of the risk factors and prevention strategies based on the research of leading expert Professor Thomas Joiner,” Mr Beel said.

For help with emotional difficulties, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or www.lifeline.org.au

For help with depression, contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36 or at www.beyondblue.org.au

The SANE Helpline is 1800 18 SANE (7263) or at www.sane.org 

 

 

Feature photo: By Vrushab Aswale

Inset photo: University lecturer Dr Dorothy Ratnarajah by Jocelyn Watts

What is pathological behaviour?

One of the most dangerous forms of pathological behaviour in the workplace is the long-term covert operation in which the offender uses passive-aggressive techniques that go undetected for years, says Director of North Brisbane Psychologists Jenny Laing.

Speaking at a University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Fraser Coast workshop for health professionals in early 2014, Ms Laing said pathological behaviour had no set definition.

“There are a lot of grey areas,” she said. “While a single event can be classed as pathological if serious enough, generally it is a pervasive pattern of counterproductive behaviour that puts a person’s health, safety and/or physical well being at risk.

“That can be shouting, offensive language, denigration, insults, ridicule, sarcasm, rudeness, deliberate silence, exclusion, sabotage, discrediting another person, unreasonable focus on mistakes, over supervision, unrealistic workload and blocking promotions.

“As well as stress, sleep disturbances, ill health, low self-esteem, drug and alcohol abuse and the impaired ability to concentrate, sustained pathological behaviour can also cause relationship and family problems, and in extreme cases, suicide.

“The impact on business can also be huge with high levels of sick leave, poor team morale, reduced productivity, civil and legal action, and poor public image.

Pathological behaviour

Awareness is the key to managing pathological behaviour

Ms Laing said awareness was the key to managing pathological behaviour in the workplace.

“Workplaces are at risk when there is a lack of awareness about appropriate behaviour and also during times of organisational change.

“Uncertainty is anxiety-provoking. If you get anxious you don’t cope, you don’t come to work, your resilience is low and you are quick to fire.

“Wrong levels of supervision and individual personality traits can also be contributing factors, but how do we know the manager doesn’t have an anxiety problem or is obsessive-compulsive or a perfectionist?

“Sometimes we attribute everything as intentional where it may not be. That’s why we need to have conversations that give others feedback and the opportunity to change. If they don’t know, they can’t change.

“However, behaviour is not pathological if management actions are taken in a reasonable way and performance feedback is given in a constructive manner aimed at improving an employees’ work performance or behaviour.”

Recruit someone who fits with the team

Ms Laing said the first strategy for overcoming pathological behaviour in the workplace should happen at the time of employee selection.

“If you recruit someone who fits with the team, there’s less conflict.

“A recommended method of recruitment is behavioural interviewing, which is based on the premise that the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour, for example, you ask questions about how they’ve demonstrated conflict resolution in the past.

Keep a diary of incidents

“Once in the workplace, individuals should approach the offender, if they’re comfortable, and understand the informal and formal resolution processes available. They should also keep a diary of incidents, what they’ve done to try stopping it, and report to the manager.

“If you know a colleague is having issues, encourage them to speak to the offender, be supportive, listen without judging and encourage them to tell their manager.

“Team leaders can help staff by listening, empathising, and validating without judging. Get the facts about what happened, when, where, how often and who was around. Document the discussion and think about possible solutions.

“Organisations can integrate values as benchmarks in performance appraisals. They can also conduct staff surveys and exit interviews, and monitor staff turnover, absenteeism and grievances.”