Beyond the Blues Kootenay Style

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Music ~ Nature ~ Helping Others ~ Exercise ~ Reaching out for Help ~ Sitting on the deck and drinking tea . . . .. . .

Last week Selkirk Students told us  what they did to stay well and the Beyond the Blues events ended with lots of happy bananas and incredible vocal harmonies by the Tenth Street music students.

  Thanks everyone for your songs, your thoughtful ideas, your help and your wisdom!

Beyond the Blues is a provincial initiative that helps educate people around mental health and offers screenings for depression, anxiety and risky drinking.  Selkirk College had BTB events recently in Castlegar, Silver King and Tenth Street campus where students and staff had an opportunity to get information, enter a draw for abundant wellness baskets and talk about ways they cope with stress and get “beyond the blues.”  Counsellors from Mental Health and the college also went into classrooms to host discussions around workplace stress and ways of calming our nervous systems so we can get through pressured times.

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If you are “Going Bananas” –  Eat a banana!

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You’ll never look at a banana the same way again after discovering the many health benefits and reasons to add them to your diet. Bananas combat depression, make you smarter, cure hangovers, relieve morning sickness, protect against kidney cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and blindness. They can cure the itch of a mosquito bite and put a great shine on your shoes.

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Ami was the excited winner of the Wellness Basket!

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creativity relaxes your nervous system

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Two Third year nursing students had information from the OPT clinic about sexual health, contraception and healthy relationships.

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In the Tenth Street residence atrium music students gathered and those of us listening could feel our moods and energy soar as we were surrounded by the gorgeous harmonies. 

Did you know that singing is a powerful way to boost your health and happiness?

What researchers are beginning to discover is that singing is like an infusion of the perfect tranquilizer, the kind that both soothes your nerves and elevates your spirits.

The elation may come from endorphins, a hormone released by singing, which is associated with feelings of pleasure.  Or it might be from oxytocin, another hormone released during singing, which has been found to alleviate anxiety and stress. Oxytocin also enhances feelings of trust and bonding, which may explain why still more studies have found that singing lessens feelings of depression and loneliness.  A very recent study even attempts to make the case that “music evolved as a tool of social living,” and that the pleasure that comes from singing together is our evolutionary reward for coming together cooperatively, instead of hiding alone, every cave-dweller for him or herself.

The benefits of singing regularly seem to be cumulative. In one study, singers were found to have lower levels of cortisol, indicating lower stress.  A very preliminary investigation suggesting that our heart rates may sync up during group singing could also explain why singing together sometimes feels like a guided group meditation.  Study after study has found that singing relieves anxiety and contributes to quality of life.

– from

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Everyone has “blue” days and often music, walking in nature, being with friends or eating nutritious food (and happy bananas 🙂 can be helpful.  However, if low, dark moods accompanied by difficulty sleeping, eating or concentrating persists for more than two weeks, please talk to a doctor or counsellor.  The web-site above,     has great info and a self-screening tool that can help you assess your well-being.

Take a look at this post for more info and a couple potent videos on depression and the stigma around seeking help:

And thank-you so much to volunteers Grant Bracken, Melissa Rilkoff, Jessie Keczan, the OPT clinic nursing students, Karen Miller from Mental Health and the awesome music students who sang us happy!

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