Stress and the Immune System

anxious

THE IMPACT THAT STRESS AND ANXIOUS FEELINGS HAVE ON THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

immune booster
strengthen immune system

Many of us would like to feel a little happier, especially in this currently stressful world of Covid-19.  Isolating at home during the Covid 19 pandemic can be one of several stressors that can result in psychological stress, which can in turn lead to a compromised immune system. This can reduce your immunity to viral infections. Reduced immunity is one of the physical symptoms of anxiety that can affect your health and wellbeing.

LAUGHING TO BOOST A WEAK IMMUNE SYSTEM

happier
joy meaning

One of the best ways of reducing anxious feelings and stress-related issues is to try laughing more often.  Laughing out loud can be an effective way of combating feelings of being socially anxious, especially if you are staying at home during the crisis of Covid-19.  

It has often been said that laughing is the best medicine and it’s true that laughter can directly improve your feeling of wellness and even make you happier at home. You don’t need to be the joker, laughing all the time, but to be happy and to relieve stress symptoms, you need to make laughing out loud a regular part of your day.

WHAT IS STRESS?

We experience stress when demands are placed upon us, but we fear we do not have the resources to cope.  Stress is an internal reaction that can be caused by either physical or emotional pressure. Stress can result in an uncomfortable, anxious feeling that can even cause overwhelming distress.  Such feelings are often described as anxiety disorder or strain. It occurs in circumstances of environmental pain and suffering.  

When feeling highly anxious about possible events, whether real or imagined, a symptom of such anxiety may be its effect on the immune system.

Psychological stress can result in one being socially anxious when going out.  (Social anxiety is the fear of being judged by others).

Overwhelming Psychological stress can result in physical symptoms of anxiety that can affect not only the immune system but your overall health and wellbeing.  

If you are feeling highly anxious about having to stay home alone, it may be that you need to destress, and this might include an online chat with a professional at a health and wellness centre.

EFFECTS OF STRESS

When you are highly anxious, stress affects the body and particularly the immune system. Whether it be a psychological stress, an environmental stress, or even or a physical stress signifying danger, your automatic response mechanism reacts immediately with the “fight-or-flight” reaction.

Stress can be related to your own internal perceptions of an outside force. Stressors or environmental situations, that may impact on your health and wellbeing, cause you not only distress, but to become highly anxious.  When you are regularly in a heightened state of stress, your health and wellbeing is compromised, and you may be at a much higher risk of stroke or heart attack.

SIGNS OF STRESS

When you experience significant stress… either physical, emotional, or psychological stress, your nervous system reacts and causes the adrenal glands to respond suddenly to the stressors, putting a huge strain on your heart.

When the nervous system frequently reacts to stressors, it puts continuous strain on the heart and blood vessels.  When frequent chronic stress is experienced from stressors, this also puts extra strain and stress on your digestive system. So, your heart, your blood vessels and your immune system are all affected. Even children can suffer from childhood anxiety and distress which can compound and develop into chronic stress in adult life.

If you have experienced childhood anxiety, work stress, or chronic stress or feelings of being socially anxious all these stress-related issues have a negative impact on your immune system.

STRESS SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of anxiety and stress

A certain amount of stress in daily situations is normal and can be a good thing, but……

if you are experiencing the following symptoms, you may be experiencing overwhelming stress which may be detrimental to your health and wellbeing …….

These are the warning signs of stress

  • Memory and cognitive problems
  • Feelings of depression or excessive anxiety
  • Lacking clear thinking
  • Anxious feelings or distress
  • Weight fluctuations
  • Digestive problems
  • Problems sleeping
  • Reproductive system issues
  • Feelings of isolation and being lonely

CAUSES OF STRESS

OUTSIDE INFLUENCES THAT CAN AFFECT YOUR STRESS LEVELS …

  • Marriage or partner breakdowns
  • Shifting house
  • Financial difficulties
  • Loss of employment
  • Having a new baby
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Custody battles
  • Overwhelmed with work
  • Change of school, uni. or work
  • Facing a deadline, or exam
  • A death of a family member
  • A major health issue or crisis
  • Hospitalisation
  • A major accident
  • An impending retirement

STRESS MANAGEMENT

We all experience stress and resulting anxiety differently.

Many people, facing challenging situations, thrive on the adrenalin rush whereas others melt with anxiety and are overwhelmed with anxious feelings, resulting in sleepless nights and psychological stress and strain.

These unexpected emotions caused by sudden stress can be tremendously debilitating. When a person experiences one, two or more of these stress related situations all at the same time, this could lead to major chronic stress, depression, serious health, and wellbeing issues, all affecting your immune system.

It’s always wise to seek a professional’s advice if you find yourself suffering with overwhelming stress and anxiety, whether it be from external stress causes or from emotional or psychological stressors.

HOW DOES STRESS AFFECT THE IMMUNE SYSTEM?

Whether it be psychological stress, work stress, exam stress or just feeling stressed and depressed, studies have shown that your immune system function will be affected to some degree.

Depending on the severity of the stress the responses to stress vary somewhat. Many changes to behaviours can occur, putting stress on the immune system. Such examples might be influences to sleeping patterns or increased alcohol use, changes to diet, a precondition to health and wellbeing issues.

For a healthy immune system, it is particularly important that the body has an adequate amount of the varying types of immune cells. Studies have shown that differing degrees of stress and stressors can play a damaging role in the capacity of the immune system to function normally.

Studies have shown that in some cases of increased levels of stress, there were changes to a person’s immunity because of their age, precondition health issues plus other issues such as bereavement and trauma. This chronic stress made them more vulnerable to a significant decrease in T cell response and the killer cell cytotoxicity, when subjected to infections and viruses.

Stress shifts the balance of the immune response and opens it up to becoming a weak immune system. Psychological stress, acute stressors, anxious thoughts and thinking patterns of behaviour weaken a person’s health and wellbeing and it eventually takes its toll on your immunity.

A healthy immune system subsequently becomes a compromised immune system and is more susceptible to infections, virus, and other health issues.

3 WAYS TO BEST DEAL WITH…

THE SYMPTOMS OF STRESS,

ANXIETY AND

THE STRESSORS IN YOUR LIFE…


1 LAUGHTER AS STRESS RELIEF

LAUGHTER IMPROVES HEALTH AND WELLBEING

There are many ways to relieve stress but laughing is the best medicine to destress and unwind. When we are with friends, family and with kids, laughing is a great way to relieve stress and anxious feelings.

Laughing is the best medicine for not only releasing stress but laughing has the power to help overcome and heal any anxious thoughts and feelings.

LAUGHTER AND HEALING

The experience of laughing and being a happier person releases endorphins in the brain allowing you to better cope with pain and anxious feelings. This allows the body to heal itself. These naturally produced endorphins affect the nervous system when laughter occurs and allows the body to better cope with pain, whether it be from psychological stress or other stressors that put strain on your everyday health and wellbeing.

Laughing with friends can reduce anxiety about health, giving you a better feeling of self-worth and wellness.

LAUGHTER AS EXERCISE

The body needs regular physical exercise and a good belly laugh exercises many muscles, A good dose of laughter is healthy as laughing is the best medicine to relieve stress and anxious feelings while reinvigorating the body. There is nothing better than laughter to soothe the mind, body, and spirit. Laughter is often regarded as a stress release, just the same as physical exercise.

Laughing is an anxiety reducing exercise. So, watch a funny movie when you can.  Laughter benefits your health and wellbeing and can consequently improve your immune system.

LAUGHTER AND HAPPINESS

Laughing is a great way to destress and allow highly anxious feelings to subside for a moment and allow you to be or feel much happier.  Laughing out loud at a joke or comedy show releases tension and stress.

Laughter not only helps to relieve stress but helps you to feel a much happier person. Laughter boosts not only your mood but enhances your emotional health and wellbeing, while helping protect your immune system from the effects of stress.

Join a laughing group

Perhaps join a laughing group. These groups are specifically set up to destress the body from stressed or depressed feelings. It helps socially anxious people to cope better while in a small group and is a way of meeting new friends.

These groups have found that laughing improves a person’s health and wellbeing and people feel much happier within themselves. Laughing with others strengthens a person’s resilience to stress.

Laughing, as when someone tells a joke, is releasing stress and boosting your happiness level.

2 EXERCISE TO RELIEVE STRESS

It’s always a good idea to regularly schedule an exercise program because it allows the body to destress from daily work stress tensions or any unforeseen stressors that may affect your health and wellbeing.

Exercise is an excellent remedy for stress symptoms.

Benefits of exercise on your health and wellbeing

Exercise not only stimulates movement in the muscles and joints, but it pumps good blood flow to the heart, lungs, and blood vessels around the body, while filling the lungs with oxygen.

If you’re out of shape, stuck behind a desk all day, or feeling stressed and depressed, exercise (even indoors) will not only activate, but boost your brain’s production of the feel-good endorphin.

These endorphins are important for strengthening the immune system and your overall health and wellbeing while building a much happier person and a better sense of self.

So, set a goal to exercise more, engage in walking, yoga, or more physical exercise as this helps alleviate stress and anxious feelings.

Get up out of the chair or from in front of the TV and start walking. Buy a bike (or exercise bike) and ride with a friend. If possible, join a walking group, meet new friends, and explore the outdoors and you will soon feel happier.

To relieve stress in cold weather or if you don’t like walking outdoors, join the local shopping centre walking group who walk safely around inside. 30 minutes of low impact exercise will strengthen your muscles and joints and provide a boost to your immune system and your mood, while strengthening your health and wellbeing.

Exercise helps you become a much happier person

  • + Exercising Regularly Strengthens Your Health and Wellbeing
    • It’s an excellent remedy for stress symptoms. Walking, running, jogging all destress the body from stress related issues. Deep breathing increases better oxygen flow to the lungs and heart and strengthens the immune system function.
  • + Exercise Improves Your Mood
    • Join a dance class, exercising while meeting new people improves your mood and you will be a much happier person.
  • + Exercise Increases Your Energy Levels
    • It helps you to cope with the stressors in your life. Your immunity will improve, and you will feel happier.
  • + Exercise Helps You Sleep Better
    • Most people need 8 hours per night of good quality sleep to cope with the day’s events. Exercise increases your deep sleep and your quality of health and wellbeing improves.

3 BUILD STRONG SOCIAL BONDS

Socialising helps to relieve stress.

There is huge value in socialising for stress reduction. Socialising strengthens your immune system and those who do appear to have increased longevity. A strong engaged social network of happy, laughing friends not only improves your health and wellbeing, it supports your brain health, lowers your blood pressure and wards off any symptoms of anxiety or stress related issues.

Socialising and increased laughter greatly decreases stress while helping you to feel much happier at home. Having good social connections where you can perhaps all be laughing out loud strengthens your immune system are and is a great ways to become happier in life.

It’s important to surround yourself with positive people who promote laughter that you can feel relaxed with, while having a lot of fun.

To relieve stress, set about increasing your endorphin levels. Meet with friends or family on a regular basis as connecting with others, laughing, having fun, or watching a funny movie together is a great way to engage in lots of laughter and destress.

Meeting with friends on a regular basis for coffee or lunch will aid in helping you feel happier.

If you have any of the signs of stress, symptoms of anxiety, or feel stressed or depressed, and you feel your health and wellbeing may have affected your immune system in some way, it’s important to seek advice from a professional health provider and get a health check.

Read More About Boosting Your Immune System


BOOSTING YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

immune system

Your immune system is the body’s first line of defence when it comes up against harmful pathogens.  A low immune system means that your body is more susceptible to germs such as bacteria, air-borne viruses and to coming into contact with other infected people.

HEALTHY WAYS TO STRENGTHEN YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM.

Your immune system can be affected by such factors as your physical health, mental stress, and smoking.  If your diet lacks healthy nutrition, your mental health will also suffer and put more stress on your immune system.

If you have a compromised immune system or a low immune system, your health is at high risk. This is because an immune deficiency allows pathogens to take a strong hold… to invade and attack different organs of the body.

BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM…

by EATING HEALTHY FOOD

Not eating healthy food plays havoc on a weak immune system, whereby disease can greatly affect, not only your physical health, but your mental health as well.

A healthy well-balanced diet each day will not only strengthen a low immune system but keep the immune system strong and healthy. It has the potential to fight off any impending disease or pathogens as it creates a strong barrier.  

A HEALTHY DIET WITH NUTRIENT-RICH FOOD…

PROTECTS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

Three quarters of your immune system resides within the gut. This is why it’s important that you eat healthy nutrient-rich foods, along with probiotics for immune system boosting.

Eating healthy food, full of nutrition, helps the body’s first line of defence against the likelihood of chronic disease developing.  Eating a variety of healthy fruits and vegetables, as well as natural Greek yogurt containing probiotics for immune system building, allows the healthy gut flora to flourish. The digestive system absorbs the essential nutrients in food and transports them into the bloodstream, thereby strengthening the immune system and gives the body immunity to bacteria that maybe harmful.  

Quick fixes don’t happen overnight and eating an orange or two now and then won’t prevent a cold or the flu from developing. Most people are chronically lacking in many of the important vitamins and minerals the body requires for a healthy diet. However, you can boost a low immune system by paying close attention to your diet choices. Having nutrient-rich healthy meals builds a healthy immune system.

A healthy immune system requires a variety of nutrients

IMMUNE BOOSTER NUTRIENTS

Vitamin C

Found in citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, and oranges as well as tomatoes, red bell peppers, broccoli, and berries.

Vitamin E.

Vitamin E is found in broccoli and spinach, some seeds, and almonds.  Both Vitamin E and C help fight infection due to their powerful antioxidant benefits.

Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is found in eggs, and fatty, oily fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, and tuna.

Vitamin A.

Found in colourful carotenoids such as sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots, and cantaloupe. These foods containing Vitamin A have antioxidants with strengthening benefits to the immune system to helps fight against infections.

Folic acid.

Folic acid is found in green leafy vegetables, beans, and peas.

Iron.

Iron is found in lean poultry, turkey, red meats, fish, and seafood.

Zinc.

Zinc is found in crab, lean poultry and meat, chickpeas, and yogurt.

Selenium

Selenium is an important antioxidant for maintaining a strong immune system.  Eating selenium-rich foods is one of the best ways to boost the immune system.

Selenium is an important mineral which plays an active role in turning on the immune system cells and protecting them from any damage, while helping eliminate infections and pathogens.  The amounts of selenium in different foods varies depending on how rich the soil is in selenium, where it is grown, the amounts of water availability, pH levels and whether pesticides are present.

Selenium is found in foods such as Brazil nuts, salmon, sardines, tuna, halibut, some grains, brown rice, oatmeal, whole wheat breads, sunflower seeds. baked beans, some nuts, mushrooms, milk and yogurt and spinach, all with varying amounts.  Mushrooms and broccoli may also help slow cancer cell invasion.

PROBIOTICS FOR IMMUNE SYSTEM BOOSTING

Probiotics are active bacteria, often referred to as good gut flora. They create a barrier defence mechanism whereby they fight and protect against diseases that may harm the immune system.

Probiotics not only assist digestion but detoxify your system, allowing healthy absorption of essential nutrients to be far more efficient.  One of the main organs in the body is your liver and it relies heavily on healthy gut flora to enable it to detoxify and remove any toxins.  Filtering out pathogens enables the body to recover from illness or stress more quickly.

Replenishing the body’s gut with probiotics each day helps the liver to function properly by removing any toxins, as it relies on healthy gut flora. Probiotics also promote active energy levels that are essential for maintaining a strong immune system.

Probiotics not only promote a healthy immune system but have a direct effect on your mood and general wellbeing.  When you have an imbalance of good gut flora in your system, bad gut bacteria can take over, causing major gut bacteria problems to exacerbate.

Taking medications or foods containing preservatives or eating foods exposed to pesticides can destroy any good flora, which can further deplete a low immune system and result in a compromised immune system.

PROBIOTIC FOODS

A healthy immune system relies on a healthy gut flora.  Therefore, feeding your gut with active live bacterial cultures promotes immune support.

Immune system probiotic foods are one of the best ways to not only strengthen but maintain a strong immune system.  Natural Greek style yogurt augments your natural immune system and has greater propensity for improving your overall health and wellbeing.

When buying probiotic yogurt and foods, select your food carefully and pay close attention to the label. Select refrigerated foods, those containing “active live cultures” raw and unpasteurised.  Avoid others, as your immune system will not receive the necessary benefits.

FERMENTED FOODS

Raw, unpasteurised milk cheese develops its natural bacteria when placed in a special cool environment where live cultures can begin the fermentation process.  Fermentation takes varying times with differing cheeses, but all the probiotic goodness is preserved.

When you are eating these wonderfully aged, fermented cheeses, your immune system gets a huge boost of healthy probiotics. There are a wide variety of milk cheeses available these days in speciality stores and supermarkets.  There are many hard cheeses as well as soft delicate cheese to indulge yourself, such as delicious goat’s cheese that will not only tantalise your taste buds but enhance your immune system.

Fermented foods provide the greatest benefits to the immune system and it’s for this reason you should eat them every day.  Fermentation preserves food for longer and has long been used throughout the world.  It’s an excellent way of sealing in the goodness, whilst still enabling us to eat these foods out of season at a later date.  Some of these foods need to be kept in the fridge so that your immune system gets the greatest benefit.

Select probiotic foods carefully by always reading the labels… make it a habit.  Check for hidden extras, as your immune system will only get the greatest benefit from fully fermented probiotic foods.

There is a wide range of fermented probiotic foods available.  Here are a few you might like to try first.

+ Yogurt, sour cream, and buttermilk fermented, beets, carrots

+ Milk cheese as well as goat’s cheese

+ Fermented, beets, carrots, sauerkraut

+ Fermented relishes, pickles, ginger, jams, and chutney.

Sauerkraut, Cheese, Fermented Vinegar, Fermented Cucumber

Many of these popular foods can be easily added to an array of so many other healthy foods to make a delicious meal, full of immune system boosting, nutrient-rich foods.

THE IMMUNE SYSTEM AND MENTAL HEALTH

A healthy immune system creates a buffer for stress and quickly restores you back to health.  It allows stress levels to ease while it strengthens your mental health.

THE IMMUNE SYSTEM AND GENERAL HEALTH

The bottom line is that eating lots of good nutrition-based healthy foods with fermented probiotics improves your overall health and wellness.  If you have been taking antibiotics, probiotics will counteract any negative effects very quickly and restore and strengthen your immune system.

Read more about maintaining Good Health

Boosting Your Self-Esteem

self confidence

It is important that you have a good opinion of your self-worth or self-value. 

We all should have high self-esteem.  Your self-confidence will diminish if you feel that you have low self-worth.  Having a low self-esteem can deprive you greatly of the fulfilling life you were meant to have, where your self-worth and self-respect are energised and valued by both you and others. 

Low self-esteem can take you on a journey of negative self-talk that can lead to a negative self-image.  It takes strength of character and an enormous self-belief to emerge from the downward spiral of low self-esteem.

Many people have a self-image that is not what they would regard as their ideal self. 

How would you rate your own self-esteem on a scale of 1 – 10? 

If your score is under 7, then you should seriously consider looking at a way of boosting your self-esteem. 

Building Self-esteem begins with having Self-respect.

Achieving self-respect is the first step in building self-esteem.  So then, how do you boost self-respect?

To begin building your self-respect, it is helpful to take part in confidence building activities. Such action can give you a real confidence boost and will, in turn, help you to gain self-respect.  Building self-confidence is not only important for adults, but for developing confident kids as well.

Why is it important to have a high self-esteem?

A HIGH SELF ESTEEM IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE:

  • You will gain more respect from others
  • You will have more self-confidence to take on new challenges, boosting your self-worth
  • You will be happier, feeling better about your self-worth
  • You will attract more friends, improving your self esteem
  • You will be far more successful in life, achieving the things that are important to you
  • You will have much more fun and be a happy person to be around

5 STEPS TO BOOSTING YOUR SELF-ESTEEM

1         Recognise Your Limiting Belief System

A LIMITING BELIEF is a perception of something that is not true about yourself and prevents you from reaching your full potential.  Limiting beliefs are often created from your own feelings of inadequacy. They may have come from learnt behaviours or can be passed on from others. 

This inaccurate viewpoint is often built up over many years and reinforced by those around you who may think in a similar way. These inaccuracies generate negative thoughts that can cause great harm or frustration, and can develop into long term damaging assumptions, affecting one’s self-respect and self-esteem.

Limiting beliefs hold you back from discovering your true passions, happiness, and true fulfilment.  They stifle your capacity to learn and grow.  A limiting belief system impacts heavily on your self-esteem because it disempowers you.

2        Identify your limiting beliefs

You need firstly to identify your individual limiting beliefs around your self-worth and make deliberate amends to eradicate these self-esteem-damaging thoughts.

By identifying the specific areas of your life where limiting beliefs are holding you back from achieving success, you need to ask yourself…

  • Where did your limiting beliefs come from and why?
  • Is it of your own making?
  • Is it from your parents, family, friends, or colleagues?
  • Is it your environment? Is it difficult at school or in the workplace?
  • How do you perceive yourself?
  • How do you think others perceive you?
  • Is it a false perception of yourself?

Identify these limiting beliefs by making a list and writing down which areas of your life you wish to change.  A change is the only way forward to boost self-esteem, transforming your thought processes into positive ones, thereby improving your overall self-image.

Areas for change may be…

  • Your behaviour and the way you speak to others
  • Your health, weight, and exercise
  • Your mental health and well-being
  • Your relationships with family, friends, and work colleagues
  • Your body image as well as your self-image.
  • Your schooling, study, and career
  • Your attitude towards money, finances, and wealth-building
  • Your happiness… your right to be happy
  • Your dreams for the future… what is important to you

3  Eliminate Negative Thinking

Negative thinking processes need to be challenged, as they hold a huge sway over your self-image.  They will tend to damage creative or clear-thinking processes.  Doubt is a direct result of negative thinking and can be very damaging to both self-worth and self-respect.

4        Take Action on Building Self-Esteem

The only person who can change the situation is you!   

Set Goals to Strengthen Your Self-Esteem

You may be being bullied and it is affecting your self-esteem.  You may feel useless, unworthy, incompetent, or stupid.  

What exactly are you going to do to gain back your self-respect, self-worth, and self-confidence in the particular areas that you have identified?  

ACTIONS YOU MIGHT TAKE TO BOOST SELF-ESTEEM…

  • Distance yourself from negative or bullying people. Spend less time with them.
  • Seek out positive people who build each other up
  • Encourage new friendships that are supportive
  • Look after your health and wellbeing
  • Develop a health program of exercise, weight loss and fun
  • Spend more time building positive family relationships
  • Find new opportunities for career prospects
  • Create a budget to overcome debt and finance traps
  • Create a wealth building program
  • Plan for your dream future-happiness holiday

5        Recreate yourself into the person you want to be…

Letting go of the old beliefs, habits, behaviours means creating a new mindset…YOUR NEW BELIEF SYSTEM

BE YOURSELF AND BECOME THE PERSON YOU WANT TO BE.

CREATE VALUE-BASED GOALS … STRENGTHEN YOUR SELF-ESTEEM

Create your own road map based around your core value system…

  • Have a clear purpose, time frame and always allow for changes
  • Your goals and values should be aligned with each other
  • Take control of every aspect of your life, your values, attitudes, behaviour
  • Build on your strengths for a more solid self-esteem and self-image
  • Accept your imperfections, acknowledge them… just do your best
  • Believe in your own abilities as it will strengthen your self-confidence
  • Always plan ahead because setbacks will happen
  • Allow for slip-ups that will test your resolve and affect your self-respect
  • Stay focused on the goal of building self-esteem your self-confidence.

Read more about what it takes to be Happy…

12 STEPS TO INNER HAPPINESS

happy words

You may have noticed that happiness can be contagious when you’re around happy people. They seem to enjoy life, know how to have fun and experience joy, meaning and purpose in their lives.  Happy people not only appear to know how to be happy but they have the ability to make other people happy also.

This is because their happiness comes from within.

When you take off your blindfold and finally realise that true happiness can be found within, you too can become a much happier person, achieving success of your own making.  This may be a major light bulb moment for you, or a reality check, that the source of happiness and your feelings around happiness can be found at your very own doorstep.

HOW TO BE HAPPY…

Before we get into the ways to inner happiness, it may be wise, if you are continually unhappy, to ask yourself, whether you perhaps have a fear of happiness. Such a fear is fairly common and is known as cherophobia.

What is Cherophobia?

Cherophobia Definition — “A phobia where a person feels afraid of being happy or having fun as it may cause something bad to happen”.

There are those who have an irrational aversion to happiness and suffer from what is referred to as “cherophobia, a fear of being happy. These people seem to avoid, at all cost, participating in anything that might be a fun activity with happy people as it makes them feel anxious and fearful.

There may be many different reasons why cherophobia occurs in some people.  Those who suffer from this fear of happiness may have built up a defence system as a protective barrier against anything that might cause past events, related to happy emotions, to resurface. However, if anyone feels they may identify in any way with these feelings… a fear of happiness or being with happy people, they should seek some professional advice or speak with a counsellor or their family doctor for guidance about the matter.

12 STEPS TO INNER HAPPINESS

We often equate success with happiness and think that only successful people are happier than most. We delude ourselves if we think this to be true. We may conclude that rich people seem to have more rights to happiness than others and that happiness will only come to those who are self-made millionaires.

So, what exactly is it that happy people do to stay happy? 

Here are some tips for being genuinely happy…

1          SET GOALS

Happy People Set Purposeful Goals

Whilst financial success does not guarantee happiness, it is also true that financial struggle can be an inhibiter of inner happiness.

Happiness can simply be the by-product of many years of toil and hardship.  However, happiness may have been reached much earlier if certain guidelines had been followed and specific goals had strategically been drawn up to monitor progress and to avoid any pitfalls that may have occurred along the way.

Goals create purpose. They provide guidelines and structure that permit monitoring of progress toward a specific future outcome.  Goals set the parameters around a specific target, that can be measured, balanced and quantified.

Success, in the sense of fulfilling cherished dreams can provide the basis to a much happier life. Such success doesn’t always happen overnight. Nevertheless, having a plan and setting goals for the future can instil purpose and produce rewards along the way as incentives, as one strives to achieve goals that could well lead to happiness within.

You may have heard this many times before, but it’s true, successful people always focus on the end goal, setting structure, allowing for any adjustments along the way. But it is their commitment to the goal that gives them the energy, willpower, and ability to stay the course.  Inner strength and focus come from your willpower, your inner voice that wills you on to succeed and achieve happiness over everything else.  

Having your eyes firmly focused on the end goal, front and center of your mind every day, is what will drive you forward, with the ability to create your dreams and give you the inner happiness you are looking for.

You need to lay down clear ground rules about how you are going to achieve your dream of finding true happiness.

If your aim is to be a much happier person, one goal might be to get to know happy people and make new friends. Or your goal might be losing weight, getting fit, finishing your uni course.  Or perhaps your ultimate goal is to start your own business.  Whatever it might be, being genuinely happy will take effort, persistence and constantly working towards your goal each and every day.

You need to set achievable goals that you know are realistic and that will produce the true happiness that you are looking for.  Write down your goals and work out a time frame for achieving those goals. Have small rewards or incentives along the way for crucial achievements.  Use a diary or notebook to record your milestones along the way.

Regularly write down happy thoughts or happy words of encouragement for yourself.  Remember that making other people happy is a great way to experience happiness within yourself.  Think of things to make people happy, demonstrate happy emotions to others, and genuinely try to be a much happier person.

2 VISUALISE YOUR DREAMS

Happy People Visualise their Dreams

Many successful and happy people spend time regularly visualising their dreams for the future. This creates more self-motivation. Their imaginative happy thoughts spur them on to achieve their goals and realise their dreams.

Create mental pictures in your mind and don’t limit yourself.  Use your visualisations to create mental pictures.  Imagine the impossible… this is your chance to create big dreams to become happier along the way to success.

Visualise what your path to happiness might look like.  Cut out pictures and place them on your vision board.  When you focus on your vision board daily, weekly or monthly, you will soon be able to see your dream being fulfilled.  If it’s front of mind every day, happy things will come your way.  If you are keeping your mind happy with positive, self-praising happy emotions and thoughts, many more opportunities will present themselves to you.  This is because you are focused on the end result and not being distracted in any way by moments of diversion.  Visualisation of the end goal every day helps you to identify any pitfalls more easily, the everyday distractions and blocking mechanisms that inhibit your focus.

By continually focusing on your path to happiness, you have the power to create what may now seem impossible.  When you realise that commitment is crucial to leading you forward to that one big happy life you’re creating for yourself, your inner happiness is inevitable.  Visualise your future self and how your future might look.  Happiness comes from within, so throw off the negative thought processes.  Be committed and change to a positive mindset.  This is where the road to genuine happiness begins.

3          STEP OUT FROM THE COMFORT ZONE

Happy people step out of their comfort zone

Many people balk at the thought of change, because they are safely ensconced in very familiar surroundings and changing in any way would greatly upset the status quo.  However, setting goals makes change inevitable.  Setting definite goals allows the once solid goal posts to be moved to a far better position.  This allows for new creative activities to develop and flourish, bringing new joy, meaning, happiness and the building of new dreams

Shifting from your comfort zone takes courage, determination, planning, goal setting and commitment to change.  However, successful people discover what’s possible in their lives when they take that giant leap of faith and shift the goal posts of their comfort zone.  Happy things happen to those who dare to dream.  Creating your own dream is one of the things that make people happy.

Settings goals for change leads to a happier person.  Opportunities are created when you shift from the old ways of doing things, that stunted growth.   Shifting from your cosy comfort zone, whilst scary, will suddenly make possible a world of happiness where dreams become possible.  But it means moving out of your comfort zone.

4          DEVELOP STRATEGIES

Happy People Create Strategies

Shifting from your comfort zone means setting clear, constructive goals for the future. It means writing down your plans for success, exactly how you are going to achieve your dreams and what your time frame will be. You must monitor your progress on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis to ascertain how long your goals will realistically take to achieve.

By setting out clear strategies that are manageable and achievable and allowing for changes, true happiness will not elude you.  You need to be clearly defining how you are going to manage any setbacks, challenges or frustrations so that you will stay motivated and focused to stay the course.

You cannot change others, but you surely can change yourself.  You need to monitor your feelings around mood, respect, your values, your spoken words, the way your think and those you mix with.  Ask yourself how you see the world around you?… the people you mix with, your work situation, what occupies your mind, what do you take for granted, how many people follow your lead, are others respectful to you, do you have respect for others?  Are you in the happiest place on earth?… if not, why not?

5          SET BOUNDARIES

Happy People Set Boundaries

Setting clear boundaries around how you think, what are your core values, is vital for change.  How is your self-esteem, and do you say what you mean and mean what you say?  Happiness will elude you if you are not true to your values and yourself. We can control what we think and who we mix with.  Write down clear strategies and boundaries around the things that need to change and be specific about how you are going to succeed.

Thinking happy thoughts, speaking happy words, need to become the norm.  You need to surround yourself with genuinely happy people who express real joy, meaning and gratitude in their lives.  These will be the strategic flow-on effects when you set strict boundaries for achieving true happiness for yourself.

6          MOTIVATION

Happy People are Motivated

In your quest to find happiness, motivation is often a key contributor to success. You need strategies around how you are going to stay motivated and keep yourself on course.

Happy people generally know what it takes to recharge their batteries. They seem to know how to create happiness by spoiling themselves every now and then.  They not only know how to recharge their batteries to keep their motivation level up, but regularly reward themselves for any achievements made.  Happy people spoil themselves and others by booking a regular camping trip to their favourite spots or taking a well-deserved massage… or just having an enjoyable weekend away. These are the things that make people happy while they are on the way to fulfilling the dreams.  Happier people create fun activities around how to reward themselves or pamper themselves.

So, what’s it going to take you to keep yourself motivated to reach that one big happy life you are craving?  A good way to keep you focused each day is to collect “happiness within” quotes for keeping you motivated.  This feeds your mind with positivity while creating attractive incentives.  The end result will be that you too will be a much happier person. .

7 COMMITMENT

Happy People are Committed

Achieving goals requires commitment. The first step to commitment is to write down why you want to achieve those goals.  The road to happiness will take both effort and will power.  Success doesn’t usually happen overnight. It takes hard work, staying the course and committing yourself to the objective.

So often, folks get so bogged down with the day-to-day business of work, family or other demanding situations, that they fail to step back and take a closer look at where they are headed. Stress or anxiety can easily take hold of them. They are working so hard that happiness is eluding them.  

However, when you make a commitment to yourself, you will be able to keep on track for true happiness.  Successful people are not always the happiest people in the world, but they generally know what’s required to continually invest in their own personal happiness.

7 HAVE GOOD FRIENDS

Happy People have Good Friends

A strong supportive family and good social relationships are more likely to increase your longevity as well as improve your levels of happiness.  Good friends enrich your happiness. People who have a network of good friends are much happier.

Choose your friends wisely because they can influence you. Seek out supportive, positive friends that you know will strengthen each other’s happiness, by encouraging each other.

The benefits of having good, happy people as your friends not only enriches your life, but also improves your overall health and wellbeing, as it reduces your stress levels.  Having supportive friendships generally make you happier than those without good socially connected friendships.

Therefore, it’s important to build social relationships with several happy people, doing happy things together, laughing and having fun.  This is what builds strong lifetime friendships.  Engaging in strong social networks with local clubs and sporting activities is where lots of happy people gather and builds happier connective groups that can support each other.  When times get tough it’s important to have good friends around you. This is when these strong connected friendships are important as they sustain happiness, knowing that there are others out there willing to assist in times of difficulty.

Doing things together is what makes people happy. It not only keeps your mind sharp but strengthens your cognitive ability, while it decreases feelings of loneliness.  Staying connected with good friends is a great strategy for being a much happier person.  

Mixing with happy people who make you laugh and speaking happy words of encouragement is a great way to experience greater happiness.

8 OVERCOME SELF-DOUBT

Happy people overcome their self-doubts and unlearn self-limiting beliefs.

Self-doubt is a huge “stopper” in people’s lives as it cripples their confidence, their ability to get motivated and stay focused, when trying to be in a much happier place than they are now.  Learn to believe in yourself. Create an optimistic mindset where you can overcome your inner self-doubt. Change from having automatic pessimistic, negative thoughts to being a habitual optimist.

REMOVE ROADBLOCKS

Roadblocks congest and obstruct your vision and your ability to move forward and fulfil your aspirations and dreams of success and happiness.  When you allow the negative invasion of doubt to take a strong grip on your thoughts, it cripples any notions of achieving what seems the impossible.  Your doubting inner voice holds you back from achieving what is in fact possible.  If you are frequently being bogged down with negative thoughts, positive affirmations can override your subconscious patterns of behaviour.

You need to talk to your inner voice, that doubting voice that lacks confidence… the voice within your head that holds you back for fear of things perhaps going wrong.

The best strategy is to CHANGE EVERY NEGATIVE THOUGHT TO A POSITIVE…

Fill your mind every day with happy thoughts and happy emotions and say out loud “I am going to be happier today than yesterday”.  

Strive to make someone happy each day by using positive affirmations so that they too can experience joy, meaning and happiness in their lives.  There is an inner power in using happy words of positive affirmation.  It’s a daily reminder that will improve your mental attitude and provide encouragement from within.  

Affirming yourself helps you realise the positive mindset benefits to your happiness, health and wellbeing.  Practice positive phrases every day and challenge any self-doubting thoughts as soon as they arrive. Regularly using positive affirmation not only improves self-esteem but encourages motivation.

“When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun, you can do amazing things.”—Joe Namath

Believe in yourself.  Shift your mindset and reward yourself with praise and acknowledgement of your self-worth.  This strengthens your self-worth, building a much happier state of mind.  Claiming self-worth affirmations everyday improves health and wellbeing.  It not only lowers your stress levels but creates more energy for increased motivation and commitment for change and opens up the door to a much happier life.  True happiness is worth fighting for, as what was once the impossible now becomes possible…

9 BE IN CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE

Happy People are in Control

Taking control of your life means being responsible for your thought processes.  You will find happiness within yourself when you take complete control of your life, by taking responsibility for your choices and actions.

Choose your friends wisely, seek to take control of all aspects of your life.  Dreams are realised by encouraging others with happy words and happy thoughts.  Avoid, at all cost, rumourmongering because that can degenerate into obsessive, negative conversation. Such conversation, that denegrates others, can destroy relationships.  Look beyond yourself, showing gratitude to others… being thankful and speaking meaningful, happy words of appreciation that show that you recognise others’ assistance.

10 CAPTURE THE POWER OF FOCUS

Happy People Focus

The power of focus is in constantly reminding yourself of your intentions and focusing on the goal of being a happier person.  

Create a vision board and write down your goals. Write down affirmations such as… I want to be a happy person… I am going to only say encouraging happy words… I am going to think happy thoughts… I am going to strive to make other people happy… I am going to be a much happier person to be around.  You should read your vision board every day to stay focused.  Focusing will lead to you being the person you want to be.

When you set definite goals, you start the process of capturing the power of focus. This is where you leave all the distractions behind.  On your quest for true happiness, setting intentions is often the first step to staying focused.  This may mean eliminating time-wasting distraction that would jeopardise your happiness.

It’s hard sometimes to focus when the world around you would hamper your progress. Achieving happiness will no doubt take effort and old habits could creep back in.  Focusing on your goal may mean changing your behaviour, seeking out new friends, or going on a diet and exercising more.

Live a purposeful life, full of intention, without self-limiting beliefs, to empower yourself, increase your feeling of self-worth and ultimately to lead to inner happiness.  Being a happier person will also lead to you being influential in other people’s lives and make them much happier also.

11 EMPHASISE THE POSITIVE

Happy People Always Emphasise the Positive

To reach your goals, you need to constantly remind yourself why you have set your goals.

Change any negative thought process to a new positive belief system.  Positive people don’t listen to their self-limiting thought processes.  Positive, happy people emphasise the positives and eliminate any negatives. Their mindset is focused on positive outcomes and not on limiting beliefs that may hold them back in any way from achieving their goals and dreams. Happy people don’t focus on inner doubts or negative frameworks, but fill their minds with happy thoughts, seeking out other happy people they want to be around and learn from.

Our innate personalities and genetic traits are set from birth from our parents. But our environment also plays an important role in our level of happiness and how we behave.  Our attitude towards other people often tends to develop according to how we ourselves were treated by others, or as we watched friends, neighbours, teachers, our parents.  You may naturally be a fairly jovial person, but your environment plays a big part in how you perceive yourself in the world in which you live.  Your environment also plays an important role in your immediate happiness and your future happiness.

12 HAPPINESS IS A MINDSET

Happy People have a Positive State of Mind

Some people seem naturally to know how to be happy.  They have a genuinely happier outlook on life, to make them happier than others. They think happy thoughts, they speak happy words of affirmation to their friends and more importantly, to themselves.

It is, for them, perhaps a natural way of thinking, but for others it’s a definite decision and thought process that needs to be developed. You can easily change your thinking, despite hardships, setbacks, unfortunate circumstances or the lack of friends or family or even the lack of money, education or opportunities.  We cannot blame the past for how things are in the present. The old saying “we have the future in the palm our our hands” is true.  We shape our own destiny.  Happy thoughts develop happy emotions which build happier people.

Happiness is a Choice

The happiest place on earth could well be where you are, curled up by the fireplace, reading a good book, or perhaps out with friends or family enjoying each other’s company.  It may be while playing cricket, or with lots of other happy people at the beach or doing other happy things that you enjoy.

We all desire happiness and often we cannot get enough of it. However, despite our circumstances, happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy or you can choose not to be happy. The choice is in your hands.

So don’t worry, be happy!

Read more about Happiness

Avoiding the Winter Blues

seasonal depression

Beating Sad Winter Blues Feelings

In winter, the wind blows, bringing with it rain and often cold and snowy weather.  When it’s windy, cold, raining or perhaps even snowing outside, our mood can lower significantly.  

Avoid the winter blues

Along with these seasonal depression feelings, our physical energy levels can also decrease dramatically.  This seasonal disorder, or winter depression can take a huge toll on our winter health and wellbeing, and we need to look for different ways of staying healthy in winter.

SAD Seasonal Affective Disorder

The medical term for the winter blues is Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD). 

One of the most common causes of seasonal depression is wintertime when many of us suffer from the seasonal disorder, perhaps better known as cold winter depression or winter blues.

Sad Winter
Seasonal Depression

So, what is the best way of beating sad feelings in wintertime?

TIPS FOR AVOIDING THE WINTER BLUES or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

There are many different reasons why people suffer with seasonal depression or the wintertime blues syndrome.  Those who are affected with the clinical version of seasonal depression, known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), are affected much more severely.  People who feel they may be suffering from SAD, should consult a medical professional.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in most cases is created by seasonal changes, usually commencing in the fall, and continuing through winter into late spring or perhaps early summer.  Signs of SAD Seasonal Affective Disorder are… lower energy, feeling moody and depressed, feelings of unworthiness, troublesome thoughts and having trouble sleeping, diet and weight changes, and perhaps jittery, anxious feelings.  On some days you may feel OK but when these seasonal depression sad winter blues are much more frequent and don’t seem normal, it’s time to book an appointment with your doctor.  

7 TIPS ON HOW TO AVOID THE WINTER BLUES

overcome the winter blues

1 INCREASE VITAMIN D INTAKE

Vitamin D is important for improving winter health. Vitamin D helps maintain the body’s blood sugar levels and is vital for immune system boosting.  You may have a greater risk of seasonal depression if you mostly stay indoors during the colder months.  Sunlight plays an important role in helping the body absorb vitamin D and avoiding the winter blues, as it plays a key role in regulating our mood.

Health Wealth and Happiness
beating the winter blues

Therefore, to avoid the seasonal depression, winter blues symptoms, take advantage of the sun when it is shining.  Get outside and increase your exposure to sunlight as this will improve your winter health.

When the sun is shining, get outside, take advantage of it and increase your exposure to sunlight.

For warding off the seasonal depression, increase your dietary intake of vitamin D-rich foods plus those with high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids such as oily fish… salmon, tuna, mackerel and cod fish.  Cod liver oil is an excellent source of vitamin D, especially for staying healthy in winter.

Eggs are another good source of Vitamin D to ward off the winter blues.  Most of the vitamins and proteins are found in the yolk of the egg.  Eggs are very nutritious and a great winter health food for beating sad feelings or seasonal depression.  Buying eggs labelled “free range eggs” or “direct from the farm” is a good policy, as these are far better quality eggs.

2 EXERCISE

Staying active during the winter months especially outside during daylight hours will help brush off the winter blues.  Get your gumboots on, go for a 30-minute walk taking in the fresh air.  This will not only help you sleep better, but improve your seasonal depression symptoms and contribute to staying healthy in winter.

keeping yourself fit

One of the best ways to combat the wintertime blues is to exercise indoors.  A light-weight training program, step exercises on the stairs, joining an online dance or exercise class will all keep you active during winter.  Whilst staying healthy in winter people, may even find that their seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may diminish as they increase exercise.

Have fun in the snow

Joining a shopping centre walking group is another great way of staying healthy in winter, while meeting new friends and mixing with others, as well as staving off the winter blues.

3 EAT WARM WINTER FOODS.

We know that getting out into the sunshine is one of the best sources of Vitamin D for beating sad winter blues, but so too is eating a pot full of steamy hot winter health foods.   Hot-pots full of healthy broths made from chicken, fish or beef, and packed with healthy nutritious vegetables are a good way to ward off the winter blues.

winter soup

Staying healthy in winter is one of the best ways of combating the onset of seasonal depression mood feelings.  There is nothing better on a cold dreary day to fight off the winter blues than a delicious healthy root vegetable spicy soup to warm your soul… or a slow-cooked chicken and vegetable soup to diminish the winter blues.

Hot-pots can be enjoyed by the fire in winter with the family while playing games, reading or watching a funny movie.  It’s a great way of improving winter health and also beating sad, seasonal depression.

4 POSITIVE THINKING.

We know that What We Think Greatly Affects Our Mood

When the annual seasonal depression plagues our mind with unhelpful, unhealthy thoughts, or unhealthy behaviours arise, it’s time to deal with the winter blues with some winter health strategies.

Mentally staying healthy in winter requires swapping any winter depression thoughts or sad winter blues for positive thinking strategies.  Immediately exchanging any seasonal depression thinking from sad winter thoughts to positive ones, greatly enhances the possibilities for staying healthy in winter.

Focusing on motivating affirmative action helps in beating sad or negative thinking pattens.

These brain training exercises focus on the positives… Look for the positives in everything

When unhelpful, unhealthy thoughts or behaviours arise, the brain needs to build strong neural networks that send positive information and thought patterns.  Our cognitive function has the ability to process factual information, not ideas based on imagination or hearsay rumour.  Positive thoughts, thinking and reason need to be in line with what is and not on what is not and may never be.  Here are three positive thought strategies…

5 LAUGHTER (The Best Medicine).

We all need to laugh more.  Watch a funny movie and laugh your head off.  There’s nothing like a good belly laugh to subdue sad seasonal winter blues.  Invite friends over and laugh about fun times. This is a great way of staying healthy in winter and good therapy for sad seasonal depression.

The old saying is true, “laughter is the best medicine”.  Laughter stimulates the brain processes as it triggers emotional and physical changes in the body.  Laughter can relieve stress, tension and reduce the winter blues.  Laughter boosts your mood and strengthens the immune system while it helps alleviate winter depression anxieties.

6 REGULAR SLEEP ROUTINE

It’s always tempting, when it’s cold, snowing or there are cloudy skies outside, to sleep at odd hours.  Staying up late or getting up late in the morning can upset your internal sleeping clock and may contribute to the winter blues.

Sleep away the Winter Blues

To lessen your winter blues, it’s always best to stick to a regular sleep routine.  It will greatly enhance your mood and reduce any seasonal blues.  It will take a few days to adjust your internal alarm clock, but in the long run, it may help ward off sad seasonal affective disorder as well as improve your general winter health.

If you have cause to stay up late one evening, try to keep getting up at the same regular time each morning.  A regular sleeping routine is one of the keys to beating sad, wintertime blues.  Why not make it a habit to read for a while before your regular bedtime?

7 SET GOALS FOR THE FUTURE

When it’s cold and miserable weather outside, it’s the perfect time for setting goals and planning for the future.  It’s always a good idea to write down your goals and plans for the future.  It helps you focus on the future.  

Staying healthy in winter, by keeping your mind active and setting goals, making plans or writing a book, helps to keep your brain active.  Focusing on idea creation is one of the best ways to combat any winter blues.

Setting goals keeps you focused on the end result and helps in beating sad, winter depression. Everyone needs goals that motivate the mind, taking the attention off any sad, anxious feelings that may result from seasonal depression or winter blues.  Setting goals takes your mind off troublesome thoughtsthat may plague you and helps you achieve something that you may have always wanted to do.  

Writing down your goals helps cement your dreams and future aspirations into possible outcomes.  The more you plan and think about your goals, daily or monthly, the more likely you will turn your dreams into reality.

A Dream Written Down

Disclaimer:

The above comments are not intended as medical advice and should not be taken as such.  If you feel you may be suffering from clinical depression, you should seek professional medical advice.

Read more about Maintaining Good Health

The Secret to Happiness

happy words

We need three elements in our lives to make us happy. 

The three ingredients for a happy life are:

Purpose

We all need a purpose in life, something that engages us and helps us look forward to the day.  It doesn’t need to be paid work, so long as it is an activity that gives us connection and interaction.

Relationship

We need someone in our lives to share the good and the bad.  Someone who cares about us, someone to love.

Money

We don’t need heaps to make us happy.  We just need a modest amount to feed, clothe and house ourselves with a bit left over for pleasure and to save.

Healthy and Happy
What makes for a Happy Life?

If you are lacking in any of the above three elements of happiness, you must first BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.

What is Happiness?

Be Happy

Happiness means different things to different people. Happiness to some means success. To others it has more to do with looks, height or achievements in life.

Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being, often defined as “living a good life”.  Happiness can also be described as being at peace with oneself… being at one with who we are.

How to be happy

When you are feeling unhappy you have one of two choices .. to stay in that frame of mind or to change your thoughts and your thinking.  We all have the capacity to choose to feel differently or to stay in that negative, self destructing state.  Remember, no-one can make you feel unhappy. It is your choice to be this way and to stay there.  We have choices in every situation. We all have choices.

Our thoughts are what define us, our thinking, both good and bad.  In one day our thoughts can vary depending on what we have to do or what we don’t get done, who does or doesn’t talk to us.  How we start the day often determines our mood for the day.

We need to look at the reasons why people become unhappy.  It is because they allow people, situations, events and things to influence their thinking.   To change your thinking can be confronting and challenging. We have a new opportunity every day to wake up and look afresh at life through new thinking.  To change your frame of mind, use some self talk.  Tell yourself you are a changed person and others will not change or influence your thinking because you have decided to be happy.  

The Power of Positivity

how to be happy

Positivity is a powerful strength in any given situation. Smile more, be friendly and be interesting to be around. Ignore comments that are not positive.  Look happy, smile and stay happy.

Have a happy attitude to life. You will be surprised how much your demeanor will change others’ behaviour. Whenever a situation arises, realize that you have a choice and become the person you want to be.  It is possible to change your situation and if necessary, to change your friends.

Chris Sheldon
Diploma Graduate, Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors (AIPC)

We need three elements in our lives to make us happy.

The Power of Giving

giving to others

Many people go through life accumulating wealth and that’s great, but if it’s not coupled with giving to others, then what is it for?  It is more about themselves than about others. They need to discover the power of giving.

Giving means offering something without expectation of receiving something in return; or more specifically the act of giving generously of time, money or work without expecting return favours.  If we want our lives to count for something, we should live our lives to advance our knowledge and abilities so that we will have money and time to use for the benefit of others as well as ourselves.  This has been described as “win-win”.  Life is not just about getting for ourselves and taking at the expense of others.  Life is so much more.  A full and meaningful life includes the joy of giving.

It can take only one person to influence another person’s life and this can impact on the whole family or the whole community and beyond, for the benefit of so many people.  One person’s giving can change a whole community or even change the world.  Giving to others generously and graciously can not only advance and improve others’ situations in so many ways and for generations into the future, it also does so much for our own sense of worth and well-being.

We should never give to others simply so that we can gain.  We need to give with gratitude, with no strings attached, no paybacks required and certainly no future reminders of how generous you were.  By giving from a gracious heart you will find you gain back so much more.  It will enrich your life beyond your wildest dreams.

The Benefits of Giving:

  • Giving to others strengthens our own health and well-being.
  • It impacts on all parts of our own lives.
  • We are happier people for giving to others.
  • It improves our own sense of worth.
  • It gives us a sense of contentment, a warm and fuzzy feeling and we in turn reflect on our own self-worth and gain a sense of pride and achievement in contributing something worthwhile and of value to the world.
  • We gain depth of character.
  • It creates a desire within us to be more open to others and their social and economic needs.
  • We gain from giving to others and we then look for new ways to give of our money, our knowledge, our wisdom and insight.
  • It gives us a greater understanding of others and their real needs and a greater desire to resolve issues for them, that impact on the lives of others.
  • It gives us a stronger sense of love and kindness for others and brings serenity to our lives beyond what we could ever imagine.
  • It creates patience, tolerance and acceptance of others and gives us an inner desire to advance others.

Giving will make your own world a better place.  Be generous and give of yourself to others.  If you have a heart to give to others, you will want to grow your own assets so that you are able to give.  Boosting your income is a way of increasing your own wealth and thereby your ability to give to others in need of help.

Read more about Growing Your Wealth

Gut Health

Gut Health

How is your gut feeling?

Our inner microbiome (gut) affects our total wellbeing, from hunger pangs to chronic illnesses, stress and sadness.

It is now well known that gut health is crucial to our overall wellbeing. It is also connected to everything that happens in our bodies. The trillions of bacteria that live in our gut affect our health, our mood and our weight.  In a way these microbes work together to form what can be regarded as an extra internal organ and play a huge role in our health.

“Your gut is the centre of your being – it digests and assimilates nutrients from the food you eat”, says wellness expert Robyn Youkilis

healthy gut

Health and Happiness

Most of your immune system actually resides in your gut and the gut plays an important role in your mood. Robyn had discovered in her practice as a health coach, that healing the gut resolved many of her clients’ health issues, even the most stubborn.

Poor gut health can lead to digestive issues, such as abdominal pain, bloating, reflux and flatulence and other complaints. including fatigue, joint pain, headaches and even skin problems.  Robyn says depression, anxiety, mood swings, irritability and poor concentration are now also being linked to the gut’s microbiome.  Other more serious illnesses and chronic illnesses such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease and even cancer have been linked to an imbalanced microbiome .

Mental connection

The gut has also even been referred to as a “second brain” because it contains millions of neurones which are sensitive to emotion.  Our brain and our gut are, in fact, connected by an extensive network of neurones, chemicals and hormones that constantly provide feedback to and from the brain.  These signals carry information about how hungry we are, stress, sadness or even anger. Have you ever felt a sinking feeling in your gut when something happens that you were dreading? That’s the brain – gut connection in action. The emotion is triggering a reaction in your gut.

The connection can be a two-way street as tummy troubles will impact on our mood and happiness. Serotonin is responsible for good mood and it is estimated that 90% of your serotonin is made in your digestive track and production of this important chemical is reliant on health gut bacteria.

Weight Control

Research suggest that gut bacteria can alter the way that our bodies store fat as well as our response to hormones, making us feel hungry or full. Contrary to popular option, it’s not what your eat, or the number of calories you consume, that’s important, but how your body is using what you eat. You might be eating nutritious whole foods most of the time but still feel foggy, uninspired and generally less than your sparkling best. This is probably because your gut is not in good shape… not properly absorbing all the vitamins and nutrients from your food. This means that your cells don’t have the fuel they need to carry out their role in absorbing and assimilating nutrients from your food.

Sources of gut-friendly nutrients

Sauerkraut (fermented food)

Spinach

Lettuce

Silver beet

Collards

Mustard greens

Kimchi

By Liz McGrath

Read more about maintaining good health

MAINTAINING A HEALTHY BRAIN

Boost brain function

The secret to boosting your brain power

As we age, many of us may think that our mental ability must necessarily decline. But new evidence shows that this is not neccesarily the case.

Many older people think that by regularly completing crosswords or sudoku, they will enhance their brain power. However, this is probably not true.  At best, it will do no more than improve their ability to do crosswords and sudoku.  Unfortunately, there is very little evidence that these activities, along with the myriad of phone apps available to improve brain function, achieve anything at all.

Improving Brain Function

According to Melbourne neuroscientist Dr Jared Cooney Horvath, the secret to keeping your brain fresh is continuing to do something unpredictable.  Recent research has shown that keeping your brain functioning well is not about repeating the same activities over and over, rather it is about undertaking new thinking patterns.  Dr Horvath maintains that there are twelve scientific principles controlling the way that we learn and remember. He says that the idea that we can use tools to boost brain function is not supported by current evidence. In actual fact, there is very little that is known about ways that we can help our brains to function better.

If we understand the way that our brain works, we will have a better chance of adopting habits and behaviours that will benefit us to the extent that we can develop a “super-efficient” brain.  As we learn, the brain starts to develop an automatic prediction mechanism. The secret is “you have to keep doing something unpredictable”.  

Learn Something New

Many people, after they retire, will start doing cross-words and playing golf and and may become very good at these activities, simply by virtue of repetition and practice.  However, if they were to take up something new, such as learning an instrument or another language or playing a new sport or even doing something outlandish, the brain will respond and new thought patterns will develop, thus improving brain function.

The conclusion is that any decline in normal brain function is not inevitable as we age.  In fact, if any decline occurs, it is most likely not due to any biological process, but rather sociological effects.

So, the bottom line, according to Dr Horvath, is… “force yourself to engage in something new and once you get good at it, do something new again”.  If you have never done a crossword, it will help your brain by starting to do them.  But once you get good at it, learn to do something else, such as a cryptic crossword or solitaire.  Keep on stretching your brain to function outside of its comfort zone.

In essence, the secret to keeping the brain fresh is continual learning.  If you want a well-functioning brain, you need to feed it new skills all the time.

THREE WAYS TO BOOST BRAIN POWER

1 Follow the Mediterranean Diet

We have long known that exercise, sleep and stress management are all essential for our brain to function at its optimum. But in addition to these three things, we can improve our brain health when we eat a Mediterranean Diet. The Mediterranean diet helps improve our short term or working memory.

In essence, the Mediterranean diet consists of eating lots of fruits and vegetables, along with fish, nuts and salads topped off with olive oils.  Diets based on these foods have been shown to greatly improve vascular and brain health. These foods can make up a very healthy lunch or dinner with olives, spinach, goat’s cheese, tomatoes, fish, nuts and extra virgin olive oil.

2 Learn Something New

Learning an instrument or learning a new language can help improve our intellectual skills. As well as this, new sensory and motor skills can greatly boost the brain function. Reading about new things also increases our vocabulary and working memory

3 Go out and connect with Nature

Time spent exploring the countryside is time well spent. Go for drives and explore nature. Meditate in nature, relax and have a picnic.  Appreciate nature… the sea, the countryside or bush land.  Being outdoors gets you out and walking, breathing fresh air.  This all broadens your perspective of the world at large around you and your appreciation of nature… bird life and animals.  So slow down, get off the computer or phone and take a picnic and explore nature. Not only will you improve your brain function, you will feel more connected with the outdoors, the people you meet and you will feel more relaxed and calm.

Read more about maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle