Life in Balance

Through this online art blog/gallery we can encourage, inspire and share hope with one another…We invite who you to share your “NAPS” (News, Art ,Poetry, Songs) or inspirations. Email if you would like to share inspirations. Please note we can not post advice with regards to nutrition and exercise.

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Resilience is a key concept of recovery. Resilience is the ability to overcome challenges and bounce back from tragedy even stronger than before. It is the ability to survive and thrive even in adverse circumstances.

Do you have an example of resilience in your own life, whether it’s you or someone you know? We can draw inspiration from stories of resilience to foster our own strengths and inspire us to stay strong even when we feel like giving up. 

Check out this link to see an example of resilience in nature!

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Mindfulness is a great way to relieve stress we face each day.  There are many ways to be mindful.  Maybe you’re the type of person who likes to be doing something and enjoys movement, and that’s great!  Here’s  a great way to practice being mindful without being still; mindful walking!

imageWalking a labyrinth can be a great way to enjoy the benefits of mindfulness! These large patterns are designed to bring you into the center and then experience moving out back to the periphery perhaps with newly gained insight, calm and  an experience of inner peace.

Labyrinths can be found indoors  as well as outdoors and can be made of natural materials such as cedar bows, sticks, stones, etc.

Would you be interested in walking a labyrinth in your area?  Email to share your thoughts.  We look forward to your comments! 

By Hilary Lougheed
ADMH Graduate Certificate Placement Student

Labyrinth Walk

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Eating Disorder Funding in Alberta: A good start but still far to go

The Alberta government has pledged $165,000 dollars over three years towards eating disorder treatment. Many see this as a sign that the province is taking the issue of eating disorders more seriously.

While this is clearly a step in the right direction, many people are still calling for a greater commitment to treating eating disorders. Wait lists for youth eating disorder programs are 16-18 weeks in length. Over this time, it is likely that people will deteriorate without the proper support.

People involved in advocacy around eating disorders remain cautiously optimistic. The funding is certainly a good start, but the province still has far to go before the issue of eating disorders is adequately addressed.

For more information, you can read the article at

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Children’s desire to be thinner prompts call for parental awareness

Source: The Guardian

Australian study of 4,000 finds children as young as eight are unhappy with their body size and want to lose weight

Parents are being urged to be mindful of their eating habits and comments they make about body image in front of their children after a government report found children as young as eight were unhappy with their body size.

At least two in five children aged 8-11 desired a thinner than average body size, the study of more than 4,000 children by the Australian Institute of Family Studies found.

Children were surveyed about their attitudes towards their body and their desired body size at age 8-9, and again at 10-11. Their mothers also answered questions about their child’s eating habits.

By age 10-11, most children reported trying to control their weight. Among underweight children, 16% of girls and 11% of boys wanted to be even thinner than they were, and half wanted to stay underweight.

Of the boys and girls who were dissatisfied with their body, the proportion of mothers who were concerned about their child eating too much or unhealthy food was greater among boys than girls, at 55% and 49% respectively.

Australia’s peak eating disorder support group, the Butterfly Foundation, said the findings highlighted the importance of parents in promoting self-esteem.

“We would encourage all parents to develop positive body image and a healthy relationship with food and exercise in order to be positive role models for their children and their teenagers,” foundation chief executive Christine Morgan said.

“This is a very serious issue for policy makers and health experts alike in Australia.

“The impact of health campaign messaging about child obesity, and the messages they receive from multiple sources every day about ideal body shape and size, is clearly producing an unintended consequence for young Australians.”

While there were no differences between boys and girls trying to lose weight, more boys tried to gain weight and fewer did nothing to control their weight compared with girls of the same age, the study found.

Regardless of their body mass, those children unhappy with their body were more likely to have poor physical health and socio-emotional well-being compared with children who were happy with their size.

A clinical psychologist specialising in eating disorders and body image, Dr Vivienne Lewis, said that as society became more image-obsessed, it was becoming more common for children to overhear conversations about diet and exercise.

“It’s difficult for parents, because obviously they want to educate their children about healthy eating,” Lewis, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Canberra, said.

“But children don’t always interpret things the way we intend them to.

“They often overhear conversations where adults are talking about diets, weight, good foods and bad foods – society is now constantly talking about body image and children can be very perceptive of that.”

At the end of 2012 the National Eating Disorders Collaboration, a federal government project managed by the foundation, completed a large review of the crossover between obesity and eating disorders policy and strategy.

That report found the strategies should be reviewed together to ensure obesity messages were not unwittingly causing harm by making vulnerable children overly concerned about their weight and diet.

Previous research from Harvard Medical School in the US found mothers who over-emphasised their concerns about body weight were significantly more likely to pass on these attitudes to their children.

Research demonstrated the importance of parents being aware of what they said, as well as the media they viewed in front of children, Lewis said.

“We also encourage parents emphasise to children that their body is just one part of who they are, and to talk about the amazing functions of their body,” she said.

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How Do You Manage Everyday Stress?

It goes without saying that, at some point, we will be faced with a stressful situation; sometimes we may face several at a time. This is just a symptom of being a human being that we need to learn to live with.

First off, I think that it is relevant to describe why stress happens; it is, essentially, a survival technique from the days when we needed to either fight to survive, or flee danger. Hence, stress is often referred to as the “fight-or-flight” response. Our bodies engage in a state of “hyper-arousal”; that is, hormones are released, our muscles tense up, and our pulse quickens in preparation for one of the two reactions: fight or flight. Clearly, since we are still around after all these years, this reaction has been a pretty successful one! However the downside is that, in modern times, we much more commonly experience this response while we are worried about a work deadline or stressing about relationship troubles instead of outrunning a giant hungry predator. In short, our reaction to life-threatening situations tends to also respond to non-life-threatening events.

Now, I think we can all agree that running a bit late due to traffic is an infinitely better situation than trying to escape a hungry animal; however, the problem lies in the duration of this stress response. We can easily be faced with daily stressors like deadlines, traffic, high-stress meetings, relationship strains,  for long periods of time: days, weeks, even years at a time. Conversely, our stress response is really only designed for short frames of time, ie just long enough to get us to safety. This is where a lot of us face difficulties.

Being in a state of “hyper-arousal” for a long amount of time is, put simply, uncomfortable. Mind racing, heart beating fast, sometimes sweating, tense muscles leading to chronic pain, etc. So naturally, we often turn to the quick solution: unhealthy coping strategies in order to bring these levels down quickly so that we can feel comfortable again.

So, knowing all this, what are some healthy ways to manage stress?

Try mindful walking!

The practice of mindfulness can be used in practically every situation, and has been proven to be an effective technique to relax the body and the mind. Essentially, it is a form of meditation where one takes on a non-judgmental stance and plays the role of an “observer” rather than an “actor”, and focus is shifted to only the present moment. Paying attention to body cues and emotions, and accepting them instead of judging them, allows for more clear thinking and can break the habit of reacting before thinking. A good metaphor for mindfulness is that it is like taking the car off of cruise control and really experiencing the feeling of the road.

Below is a link to a small blurb about Mindful Walking by Jon Kabat-Zinn, a specialist in the act of mindfulness and stress reduction. He outlines ways to engage in the activity, appropriate settings to practice, and other information about the practice.,3

Feel free to comment and respond with your thoughts! We want to know what you think!

  • Is mindful walking something that interests you?
  • Which part of mindfulness do you think would be most helpful to you?
  • Does joining a mindful walking group seem like something that would be beneficial to you?
  • What are some ways that you can introduce mindfulness into your everyday life?

Want to learn more? Please enjoy these other mindfulness links!

By Hilary Lougheed
ADMH Graduate Certificate Placement Student