Wellbeing

I sing because I’m happy

At the end of my blog post “Mental Health Reflection” I promised a follow up about the benefits of singing for depression. Well, here it is!

My psychologist suggested to me that as I have a background in singing, that I might like to start singing once a day for at least 20mins. She didn’t explain more than simply suggesting that it might help. We agreed that I would sing in my car at least once a day when heading to or from work or the gym. I made an appointment to see her in a month and promised to report back on what I noticed.

The first time I put my Disney playlist on (yes, I know, I am a big kid at heart) I did not feel like singing at all. I forced myself to do it and after about 5 songs I was singing a long, if a little more reserved than I used to. Fast forward a few days and I still didn’t feel like singing in my car, but I made myself do it and after about 3 songs I was getting into it a little more – I was starting to do the voices too. A few days later and I was actually starting to look forward to singing in my car. By the time I went back to my psychologist I was singing daily, and not just in my car. My general mood had lifted greatly and if I was feeling down I knew a sure fire way to give myself a boost. When I reported back to my psychologist, this is what she told me:

Apparently, when you’re singing your face is using all the muscles you use to smile. Your brain registers the use of these muscles and thinks “I must be happy, my face is smiling” and then starts to release all the happy chemicals, hence instead mood booster! You don’t even have to be great at singing to experience this feeling – it’s the act of singing, not the sound that improves your mood.

When my psychologist told me all this I was in awe of the brain. How amazing is that?! I walked out of my appointment feeling very proud of myself for sticking to the plan AND seeing results. It’s certainly helped me trust the other little homework exercises my psychologist has given me since then. I’m slowly compiling a list of things that work for me and I will share them one day. In the meantime though, if you’re feeling down, I challenge you to try singing. Even if you don’t feel like it, put on a playlist that has a whole bunch of songs on it that you love and know all the words to and just sing!

Ps. Please enjoy this version of “His Eye is on the Sparrow” by the Idea of North. It’s one of my favourite versions of this song and every time I hear the line “I sing because I’m happy” I think of this.

Education

Feeling pretty chuffed!

I recently inherited the job of setting up and maintaining the website for VALHALLA Strength – South Brisbane and right now, I’m feeling quite proud of myself!

We inherited the site earlier in the year. It was essentially a straight copy of the website for our sister gym on the north side of Brisbane: VALHALLA Strength – Brisbane. I had to change all the details, links, images, and much more to reflect the information required for our gym. Let’s just say, I had a lot of hidden links to uncover, image settings, and many other general settings to find and change. In fact, I’m feeling so proud of myself that I want to share a little list of all that I have achieved in the last week (yes, I’m even celebrating the tiny wins because they’re still wins!):

  • Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 6.24.36 pmSite icon! It’s such a small thing and hardly noticeable, and I may change it again, BUT I STILL DID IT!
  • Site logo! Again, such a simple thing but it was hidden somewhere in the back end of the theme design and it took me days to find it…
  • Different menu options
  • Resizing of featured images for the blog post – this was a massive win!

1

  • Integrating a social stream plugin! So proud of this one as it took LOTS of trial and error (and lots of frustration and head scratching and even consultation with colleagues that are very clued in about this stuff)

Of course, there were numerous other things I had to do and it’s certainly not perfect at the moment but it’s done, and I’m very proud of myself. During all my fumbling around I learned quite a few things about myself and thought I would share some of my learnings…

Here’s what I discovered:

  1. You can figure it out if you don’t give up
  2. Google is your best friend when problem solving the unknown
  3. You don’t have to be an expert but you have to be willing to learn
  4. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s very rare that you’ll do something so horrible that it can’t be undone!
  5. Always ask for help
  6. If you’re starting to get frustrated, WALK AWAY! It’s amazing what a little bit of distance can do for your frustration levels…
  7. And most importantly… PUBLISH FIRST, PERFECT LATER!

While fiddling with the website I couldn’t help thinking about how my students would tackle the problems I encountered. In my classroom, when a student comes up against an issue their first instinct is to ask me, their teacher, for help… They tend to be unwilling to trial things, make mistakes, search for the answer and then give it a go. It’s like they want to be shown exactly how to do it and to know that they won’t fail! Well, this is not what happens in the real world, as I have just proved, and somehow we need to teach them that they are more than capable of discovering the answer to their problem themselves.

I’ve been tossing up with the idea of writing down my thoughts about digital natives and the like, which after this experience I think I’m going to have to, if only to get it straight in my own head! So… stay tuned for that.