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Why feeling connected makes us feel good

The following article was published via Beyond Blue and explains why connection can improve mental health.

How much social connection we seek out varies from one person to another, but one thing’s for sure – as humans, we share a fundamental need to interact with and feel connected to others.

“We are social creatures by nature,” says Relationships Australia National Executive Officer, Nick Tebbey. “That feeling of belonging and being connected is really important for our wellbeing.”

Research backs that up, with a 2017 study finding that social connectedness and mental health are not only inextricably linked, it tends to be connectedness that promotes good mental health rather than the other way around.

“On the other hand,” says Tebbey, “we know that feeling isolated and lonely has a significant impact on our mental and physical health.”

The many faces of connection

What it takes to feel connected can be different for everyone.

“Connection doesn’t look the same for all of us and that’s actually a real positive,” says Tebbey. “It means we’re able to connect – and feel connected – in so many different ways, regardless of our circumstances.”

So, while some kinds of connectedness revolve around physically spending time with like-minded people or doing something unifying – such as being part of a sports team or a book club – others are far less organised.

Woman giving some groceries to her elderly neighbour

“Sometimes all it takes is making the effort to say hello to a neighbour,” says Tebbey. “Even small acts like that foster a genuine sense of connection.”

A study of Relationships Australia’s 2019 Neighbour Day – an annual campaign that encourages people to connect with others in their community – proved exactly that. Those who made the effort to do something neighbourly experienced an increased sense of belonging.

“It doesn’t have to be your next-door neighbour or neighbourhood community either,” explains Tebbey. “Communities exist in many different forms, including those you belong to online.”

And don’t forget how nice it can be to receive something in the post. Letter writing may be a lost art but there’s something really lovely about knowing someone has taken the time to put pen to paper just for you. Our premier partner Australia Post have launched a special release stamp set to encourage people to stay connected. Learn more here.

Sometimes you don’t even need anything tangible or actual interaction with others to feel connected.

“A really good example of that was the ‘teddy bear hunt’ that popped up all over the world as a response to COVID-19,” recalls Tebbey. “Simply participating made you feel like you were a part of something and, through that, more connected.”

One explanation for that is the fact that connectedness is actually a subjective thing, which means it relies far less on hard facts, like how large your social circle is, and far more on what you believe, sense or feel.

“This subjectiveness explains why it’s possible to feel connected to a group of strangers, but also why you can sometimes feel lonely or unconnected among a group of people you know,” adds Tebbey.

Bear in window

Starting a conversation

If you are experiencing loneliness or struggling to feel a real sense of connection, Tebbey suggests speaking up or reaching out.

“Surveys we’ve conducted at Relationships Australia indicate that most of us are quite capable of recognising when we’re feeling isolated or lonely. However, we’re less well equipped to understand why we’re feeling like that, and, importantly, what we can do about it.

“Talking to people you’re close to about how you’re feeling and asking them for help – if you feel comfortable – can be a good starting point. It may even help you identify larger issues that you need to seek support around in order to feel more connected.

“And if you don’t have someone close to talk to or find that it doesn’t help, reach out to a support service like Beyond Blue.”

The Beyond Blue online forums are a great way to connect with people online in a safe and anonymous environment. Discussion topics cover anxiety, depression, suicide, and a range of other life issues. Anyone in Australia can participate in discussions, connect with others, and share their experiences with our community.

If you need assistance visit Beyond Blue’s support services. Our mental health professionals are available 24/7 on: 1300 22 4636. Click here for a web chat (3pm-12am AEST). Alternatively, contact us via email (responses within 24 hours).

For immediate support call Lifeline on 13 11 14 and in an emergency, always call triple zero (000)

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Challenge – what makes you feel better?

When you live your life around chronic pain, finding things that make you smile and make you feel better can be challenging.  However, research shows that pleasurable thoughts raises serotonin and reduces the impact of pain.  Mental health management is one arm of a medical management and can include pacing, mindfulness, acceptance and gratitude.

We are dedicated to raising awareness and more research for long term improvement of the impacts that trigeminal neuralgia pose in as many ways as we can, Facebook, Instagram and our main tool – our website.

We follow a blog from Liz at Despite Pain and below is her list of 100 things that make her day better.

I am putting out a challenge to our readers.  Comment on this article the top 5 things that make your day better.  We will add the comments to a draw and send a TNAA stubby Holder to the winner.  Closing date for the challenge is 7th October which is our International Trigeminal Neuralgia Awareness Day.

Help us help others💙

100 Small Things That Make My Day Better

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Mental Health Management

Mental health management is a key part of your care plan when dealing with chronic pain and the ensuring you achieve the best quality of life available.

Mental health is now recognised as a contributor to how badly pain can effect you.  Following a good management program will assist you in coping with bad days along with the good.

Mental health is more than just talking about mental health conditions, like anxiety or depression.

Research shows that good mental health is linked to:

  • improved learning
  • creativity
  • higher levels of productivity
  • better social relationships
  • good physical health
  • increased life expectancy

Beyond Blue have developed a tool called

The mental health continuum

It can be hard to talk about mental health. Maybe your family and friends feel uncomfortable talking about it. Maybe you don’t know where to start or how it relates to you.

We’ve developed the mental health continuum to help you talk about social and emotional wellbeing. It will give you the words to describe how you’re feeling, and to ask how others are feeling. It can also help you decide what steps to take to look after your mental health right now.

Review steps here

Make sure you sign up for  a Beyond Blue newsletters so you can keep upto date with information, ideas, research and most importantly help when you need it.


(World Health Organisation)

Mental health is a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community. It is an integral component of health and well-being that underpins our individual and collective abilities to make decisions, build relationships and shape the world we live in




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Mental Health and Trigeminal Neuralgia

The Mental Health of sufferers with Trigeminal Neuralgia and that of their carer or support network is as important as their medical health.

“Mental health is about wellness rather than illness”

Sufferers of Trigeminal Neuralgia often refer to their condition as “having a flare up”, and “not having a flare up”.

For people unfamiliar with the condition, the statement that a sufferer is “not having a flare up”, would be seen as a very positive thing. What they may not know is that the pain may have been controlled on that day by medication or surgical intervention. In addition, what the statement does not reveal is the deep anxiety that at any moment the pain could be back. Everyday, as a sufferer goes about the business of living, s/he can’t totally relax and enjoy the moment because the fear of striking back is forever there. That fear is something like being a deer in the headlights of an oncoming truck, becoming stuck and not able to move out of the way

Our Association is extremely fortunate that we have dedicated volunteers who run Support Groups around the country. All of our volunteers suffer from Trigeminal Neuralgia. Some have had surgical intervention but that does not mean they have been cured. Trigeminal Neuralgia pain can come back….and that is a huge mental burden to carry around.

Mental Health or Mental Wellness is now recognised as a key contributor to how anyone with a chronic or acute condition copes and improves quality of life. But how do you get onto the path of supporting mental health, especially when in pain, feeling isolated, depressed, anxious and calm thinking is impossible?

As an Association we have on our website information about what to do when a sufferer presents to the Emergency Department of a Hospital, where a qualified Medical practitioner will take over the care. A sufferer may also need to consider the Emergency Department for Mental Health and find a Counsellor.

While TNAA is not funded for Mental Health purposes, in Australia we are extremely fortunate to have a national organisation funded by State and Federal Government called Beyond Blue who have trained counsellors on hand to help in the time of need. They assist callers to improve their quality of life and provide tips on how to move forward

When sufferers are in pain it is not easy to think clearly, and sometimes talking is impossible. By adding a link to Beyond Blue in your browser, mobile phone, or address book, the organisation can be easily accessed. When a sufferer is not in pain that is the time to get to know how Beyond Blue can be of assistance.

Why not create an account and get information sent directly to you?

To contact Beyond Blue Phone 1300 22 4636,

click on this link to read the article  What is mental health – Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue – Chronic physical illness, anxiety and depression fact sheet

395015_1117_BL0124_v2_FA (beyondblue.org.au

Complete the checklist and receive recommendations

Anxiety and depression checklist (K10 test) – Beyond Blue