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John Burston:
Microdoses of mindfulness free you from ‘fight or flight’ panic mode by connecting your mind with your body to calm your emotions and think more clearly.
While we celebrate Christmas as a time of families, fun and feasting, it’s also a tough time for many.

As well as the usual loneliness, it’s even easier this year to be overwhelmed by stress as inflation-fuelled price rises and fear of the growing wave of COVID infections assail families and individuals.

“While it’s hard to control what happens to you or your family during the Christmas season, you can learn how to respond more calmly to those events,” advises Lifeflow Mediation Centre Director of Teaching John Burston.

“Mindfulness can’t change how other people behave or the events that occur, but it can help you to manage your emotions better. Instead of being trapped in your worried thoughts, mindfulness frees you from ‘fight or flight’ panic mode by connecting your mind with your body to calm your emotions and think more clearly.

Graham Williams at Tara Hils 2 WEB 2Lifeflow founder Dr Graham WilliamsAfter Australian divorces surged during the pandemic, a Buddhist monk is showing South Australian singles and couples how meditation can enrich their sexuality at an Adelaide Hills event this weekend.

Dr Graham Williams, a Buddhist monk trained in the Tibetan and Burmese meditation traditions, said the pandemic, especially lockdowns, had placed extra stress on relationships since the start of 2020.

Earlier this year, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia reported it had received 47,016 divorce applications during the 2021-22 financial year, after 49,625 in the previous financial year. Both years marked a large rise on the 2018-19 financial year when there were 44,432 divorce applications.

Graham said stress was known to negatively impact both mind and body during sex. “Stress can increase your body’s production of cortisol, the stress hormone known to reduce libido,” he said.

ZERO Living co-founders Ingrid and Tom Graze ZERO Living co-founders Ingrid and Tom Graze

As Australia’s energy costs soar, Melbourne-based company ZERO Living has launched five battery-powered houses with a breakthrough design that makes them more affordable to buy and live in, with zero energy bills and no blackouts.

Costing from $640,000 for a two-bedroom home, the fully engineered houses are in the western Melbourne suburb of Albion, where the median house price is more than $800,000. Fitted with Enphase microinverter-equipped solar panels and Tesla batteries, each house generates more than twice as much energy as it consumes. This effectively reduces its energy costs to zero, saving its owner an average of nearly $50,000 in energy costs over 20 years (in 2021 costs) *.

ZERO energy homes are designed from the roof down for space, comfort and low energy use, with high-quality energy-efficient materials, appliances and insulation. Each home is individually tailored to its building site, maximising its liveable space while reducing the building footprint and property cost.

ZERO Living founders Tom and Ingrid Graze have collaborated for the past three years with Swinburne University of Technology’s School of Engineering to develop smart energy monitoring systems that can help homeowners become even more energy-efficient.  Each home is wired to monitor major appliances in real-time, with Swinburne analysing the data and returning it to the homeowner or occupant via a ZERO smartphone app.

Solaray director and co-founder Jonathan Fisk

Within days of the Australian Federal election, Sydney-based Solaray Energy saw solar photovoltaic (PV) system inquiries double with one in two new customers ordering batteries with their solar panels.

After first-quarter sales cruelled by Omicron, summer floods and the impending election campaign, Solaray’s recent solar sales have rebounded to levels closer to the record demand of 2020 and 2021.

Solaray, a five-time Enphase installer of the year that has installed more than 75,000 Enphase microinverters in Australia, is active in the premium end of the NSW residential solar market.

Solaray director and co-founder Jonathan Fisk attributed the rebound in the solar market to the election delivering a pro-renewable energy parliament and surging energy prices. “In the second half of May, our inquiries jumped by close to 100 per cent,” he said.