Helena Popovic's Blog Entries

  • How to Strengthen Your Immune System

    If there was ever a time to strengthen our immune system, it’s now.  The healthier our bodies, the more we’re able to resist infections.  So what can we do to boost our immunity despite the lifestyle limitations we’re currently facing?   The obvious thing is to n...
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  • The Science of Making Habits Stick

    I previously discussed the science of successful habit formation.  But what about breaking unwanted habits? Once again, neuroscience offers some answers. How do bad habits form in the first place? Bad habits are often the path of least resistance. They can be a way of blocking unwanted...
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  • How to Make Habits Stick

    Being stuck at home is the ideal time to establish new healthy habits.  But how do we go about it?  ABC radio host Julie Clift unpacks the step-by-step formula to successful habit formation.  Why is it so hard to change our habits? Because habits are behaviours we do on autopilot&...
  • To Repair or Not to Repair?

    There’s a Japanese art form called Kintsugi that involves restoring broken pottery by repairing the areas of breakage with lacquer that’s mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum. The philosophy behind the practice is that the breakage and...
  • Hard Doesn't Mean Bad

    The word crisis originates from the Greek krisis meaning ‘decision’ and it was adopted into English to mean ‘decisive point’. However, over the centuries, the word crisis has taken on negative connotations. And it’s the negative connotations — not the cr...
  • How to Press Pause on Panic

      When I was a medical student, the first thing we were taught to do in an emergency was to take our own pulse, NOT the patient’s.  Why?  To calm ourselves down so that we could think rationally.  How does this work? Taking your own pulse grounds you. It brings your foc...
  • No Pain, More Gain!

    South Australian researchers have great news for those who don’t like the idea of ‘no pain no gain’. It turns out that a better motto is 'fun not force'. The reason for this is that if you’re doing something you hate or find stressful, your body is producing the hormone ...
  • How to Manage Uncertainty During a Crisis

    Almost overnight, the world as we knew it dramatically changed. And the situation continues to change on a daily basis. Social isolation … job instability … information overload.  A few days ago I spoke to ABC radio presenter Julie Clift about how to maintain our mental health in...
  • Have You Tried 'Forest Bathing'?

    Recently there’s been a lot of research into the health benefits of spending time in nature. The Japanese call it ‘Forest Bathing’. The English have introduced ‘Ecotherapy’, and a growing number of doctors are being certified in forest medicine. But does it really work ...
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  • The Science of Making Habits Stick

    Being stuck at home is the ideal time to establish new healthy habits.  But how do we go about it?  ABC radio host Julie Clift unpacks the step-by-step formula to successful habit formation.  Q: Why is it so hard to change our habits? Because habits are behaviours we do on autopil...
  • How to Break Unwanted Habits

    Previously I have discussed the science of successful habit formation.  But what about breaking unwanted habits? Once again, neuroscience offers some answers. How do bad habits form in the first place? Bad habits are often the path of least resistance. They can be a way of blocking unwanted...
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  • How to Strengthen Your Immune System

    If there was ever a time to strengthen our immune system, it’s now.  The healthier our bodies, the more we’re able to resist infections.  So what can we do to boost our immunity despite the lifestyle limitations we’re currently facing? I discuss several important strat...
  • Why Do Doorways Make Us Forgetful?

    The door itself—not deficits in your memory—is to blame. Doorways make us forget what we’ve just been thinking about because they signify entering a new environment—and our brain is wired to regard a novel environment as potentially dangerous. Therefore we need to put all ...
  • The Importance of Having a Good Night's Sleep

    Last week was Sleep Awareness Week. This is an annual event that highlights the importance of having good quality sleep. This year’s theme is ‘Sleep on it: Memory and problem solving’ and there was a lot of discussion about ongoing poor sleep (especially sleep apnoea) being a ris...
  • How to Raise Children to Love Eating Vegetables

    If there’s one thing all nutrition experts agree on, it’s that we need to eat more plant food—especially cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, kale and other leafy greens). Yet these seem to be the hardest vegetables to entice our child...
  • Raise Children to Eat Vegetables

    If there’s one thing all nutrition experts agree on, it’s that we need to eat more plant food—especially cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, kale and other leafy greens). Yet these seem to be the hardest vegetables to entice our child...
  • What is Being Stolen From You?

    Could the speed of our lives be sucking the life out of us? The faster we live, the less time we have to truly live. The less we take in of everything we’re experiencing. The less we perceive the exquisite details of something. The less we realise there is exquisiteness. The less we notice ...
  • Do You Choose to Feel Bitter or Better?

    Write down the names of three people who have made a positive difference to your life. Stop reading for a minute and do this right now. This process has the potential to transform your life. How did they make a difference to you? Was it something they did or said? Was it how they treated you? Was i...
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  • What is Hidden from You?

    Ebor is a small town in northern NSW with a population of 166 people. It has one café, one hotel and one waterfall. I stopped there for lunch during my 5 hour drive home from Armidale where I had given two talks. I ordered a vegetable lasagne and salad from Fusspots Café and asked to ...
  • Sitting is the New Smoking

    Dr James Levine, Director of the Mayo Clinic at Arizona State University, found that sitting at a desk for 5 or more hours in a day is the health equivalent of smoking a pack and a quarter of cigarettes in terms of the expected reduction in life expectancy. Researchers at the Australian National Un...
  • My Father's Answer to Everything

    Not long ago, I asked my father for his most important life advice. My first question was: ‘What’s the key to a lasting happy relationship?’ He answered: ‘Find someone you can laugh with and cry with, whom you love and respect, and who loves and respects you in return.&rsquo...
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  • How to Stop Stress-Eating

    Sally Obermeder and Ryan Phelan from Channel 7’s The Daily Edition asked Dr Helena to provide some answers. Here is a transcript of their conversation.   1. Why do we eat in response to stress? When we’re stressed our adrenal glands produce the hormone cortisol which ...
  • Help Your Children Develop a Healthy Relationship with Food

    Following my recent Health-e-Byte, many people have asked how they can best help their children and grandchildren avoid comfort eating. Here are some practical suggestions. Make mealtimes as relaxed and stress-free as possible. I know this can be a challenge when children are restless or not want...
  • Not all Calories are Created Equal

    The average person extracts 6 Calories from eating a medium-sized piece of raw celery. If you cook that same piece of celery, you begin to break down the cellulose (indigestible fibre) and end up extracting 5 times more Calories—about 30. And depending on the specific population of your gut mi...
  • The Key to a Fulfilling Life

    Do you set goals, make resolutions or plan how you’d like the new year to unfold?  We can’t control outcomes but we can make daily decisions that align with our values and contribute to a fulfilling life. In fact research confirms that we feel happiest when we’re working ...
  • Discover your Strengths, Skills and Talents

    Ebor is a small town in northern NSW with a population of 166 people. It has one café, one hotel and one waterfall. I stopped there for lunch during my 5 hour drive home from Armidale where I had given two talks. I ordered a vegetable lasagne and salad from Fusspots Café and asked to ...
  • How to Rewire Your Brain to Shed Excess Body Fat

    The world is drowning in information on health, nutrition and exercise. From liver cleansing to lentils, leotards to lycra, low cal to lavage and portion size to paleo, new weight loss trends are popping up faster than you can sauté kale. Yet 95 per cent of people who try to lose weight put i...
  • Turn Gripes into Gifts

    Whenever I feel disappointed or encounter a painful or difficult situation, I play the Game of Gripes to Gifts. I ask myself: Even though I’m not feeling positive about this, what could be the GIFT in it? In other words: What does this remind me to be Grateful for? What does this Inspire me ...