July 6, 2015 · 11:30 am
In the northern hemisphere we are now well into summer and it is glorious.
I’m not particularly a summer person – I don’t like to be too hot, I’m not a big fan of sunbathing, I can live without ever going near a bikini – but it’s still glorious.
So what is it about summer that makes us feel so good?
Well, obviously a large part of it is the sun. Longer days means more hours of daylight. Our bodies naturally respond better with more light as it makes us feel more alert and energised. We feel that we have more time to enjoy ourselves and do things. Also, because the weather is warmer, we can do more outdoor activities which means that we feel less cooped up and closer to our environment. There’s an old saying that you should spend at least 20 minutes a day in nature – unless you’re busy – then you should spend an hour! Being outside without the distraction of TV’s and computers gives your brain a chance to rest and recharge, which in turn helps you to be more present and happy.
Try taking some time to look at what’s around you – in detail. I know the old cliché of taking time to smell the roses, but seriously take the time to smell them, to look at them, each petal, each leaf, the construction of the stem, the shape of the prickles…think about the ecosystem it lives in and what lives on it….see where that takes you. This is all part of being mindfull – being in the moment. It is becoming increasingly significant as a form of therapy and self help as research evidences more and more the beneficial outcomes of this kind of thought process. It reduces stress, anxiety and helps to prevent relapses in depressive episodes. All of these help to increase mental health which in turn promotes physical health. It really is worth taking the time to smell the roses!
On the same theme, another thing that summer tends to provide us with, is holiday. Most people will take at least a portion of their holiday during the summer. Unlike other times of the year like Christmas, where the ‘break’ actually comes with a lot of other pressures and work, the summer holiday tends to be a time to relax and have a rest. If you are taking a holiday this year, make the most of it by ditching as much technology as you dare. At the very least avoid calls and emails from work. By staying in contact you aren’t letting your mind and body get the full benefits from being away. Your subconscious doesn’t know that the office is 2000 miles away. If you’re thinking about it, you may as well be in it!
I’m a big believer in ‘you are what you eat’ so another advantage of summer is the abundance of great seasonal fruits and vegetables. Salads are an amazing way of giving your bodies a variety of nutrients without too many calories. If you want to stay healthy (and younger looking) make sure that you eat the rainbow. Certain Buddhist traditions say that you should have at least 5 different colours in every meal – I love that idea. Not only does it promote variety in what you are eating, but it also means that you have a beautiful tasty meal to look forward to.
Enjoy your summer – whether it’s short or long. Eat well, take time to be and get some (but not too much) sun while you can.
Filed under Breathing, coaching, depression, Development, Dieting, Exercise, Food, Good News, Happy, Health, inspiration, lifestyle, meditation, Mental Health, Motivation, nutrition, Peace, Positivity, Psychology, Relaxation, Self Help, support
Tagged as advice, awesome, body, brain, mental health, mindfulness, summer, sun
June 26, 2015 · 2:40 pm
Laughter is the best medicine – unless you have an upset stomach.
Fortunately my stomach is doing just fine, because I’m off out tonight to watch Jimmy Carr do his live show – No pressure Jimmy, but I’m expecting it to be hilarious.
When someone is feeling down, low and generally a bit rubbish, laughter can really lift the spirits and get you back to feeling good again. Why?
Well first of all laughing produces lots of lovely hormones in our bodies that make us feel good. Endorphins and seratonins can become elevated which just cheers us up. Literally just the act of laughing.
Don’t believe me – give it a try. Laugh as mightily as you can for a minute or two. Do real ‘belly laughs’ and a few giggles. Even if you start out faking it, you will soon find you are genuinely laughing and that it feels good.
There are many laugh therapists all over the world who use this special aspect of laughter to help people to feel better in themselves. Quite often they will work with groups of people at the same time because laughter is contagious. It also brings me onto my second point about why laughter is good for you.
As a very general rule of thumb, when we laugh out loud we are in company. Now you might think about a time that you watched or read something and laughed to yourself, and you were completely alone. This can happen, but usually if we are alone we tend to smile, or just give a little exhale of air. This is NOT the same. Laughing is often considered to be a social cue to demonstrate to others in a group that we are on the same page, that we understand what is going on and we are participating in it. Have you ever noticed that you laugh much more if you are at a comedy performance than you do if you are watching the same or a similar performance alone on DVD? Being around others and having social interaction is incredibly important for your mental health. I’m not saying you have to be around people all the time to be mentally well, but those who spend more time isolated are much more likely to suffer from mental health issues. Whether you’re naturally an introvert or en extrovert, millennia of evolution has formed you into a social being. How much you crave and accept that social aspect varies from person to person, but we all need to have some interaction.
Another reason laughter is good for our mental health is that it’s distracting. When you laugh you are generally in the moment. Your conscious thought processes are working on whatever it is that is amusing you – you are not thinking about what may happen tomorrow (anxiety) or what did or did not happen in the past (depression). By simply being present in the moment you can distract yourself from a lot of other worries. This gives your poor old brain a break and lets it know that it’s not all about stress and worry.
So, I say again, Laughter is the best medicine – unless you have a serious illness – then maybe a visit to a health practitioner rather than the local comedy club is your best bet.
Filed under coaching, depression, Development, experiment, fun, Good News, Happy, Health, humour, inspiration, lifestyle, meditation, Mental Health, Motivation, Positivity, Psychology, Relaxation, Self Help, support, Worrying
Tagged as anxiety, Comedy, Depression, Development, dvd, endorphin, interaction, jimmy carr, laughing, laughter, live, medicine, mental health, performance, social
December 10, 2014 · 11:16 am
What’s important to you?
Your mental health?
What are you doing about it?
Most of us spend more time doing what we think we need to be doing, rather than the things that will help us to achieve our goals.
Make your schedule reflect your priorities, not the other way around.
We’re less than half way through the week – there is still time to make a difference.
Filed under coaching, depression, Development, Dieting, Exercise, Happy, Health, inspiration, Mental Health, Motivation, Positivity, Psychology, Self Help, Stress, Worrying
Tagged as anxiety, brain, career, Coaching, coping, Coventry Hypnotherapy, Depression, Development, family, friends, goal, Health, mental health, prioritise, schedule, stress, wealth