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  1. A minimum of 30 minutes a day can allow you to enjoy these benefits. A number of studies have found that exercise helps depression. There are many views as to how exercise helps people with depression: Exercise may block negative thoughts or distract you from daily worries. Exercising with others provides an opportunity for increased social contact. Increased fitness may lift your mood and improve your sleep patterns. Exercise may also change levels of chemicals in your brain, such as serotonin, endorphins and stress hormones. My Health Calculator
  2. Hi! I'm sharing a few articles from the Magazine regarding stress management and different ways of dealing with stress and anxiety. Hope you find them useful! 🌱
  3. What are exercises , yoga and food can help to reduce anxiety and stress?
  4. Can tapping into your intuition help you create the life you want? Sonia Vadlamani explains why it’s beneficial to hone our intuitive sense to make better decisions and lead a happier, meaningful life. Many of us have frequently encountered an ‘inner voice’ or a ‘gut feeling’ guiding us along in a tricky situation. Perhaps in a meeting regarding a potential collaboration or business association that appeared fruitful, but a nagging feeling told you to exercise caution; or at a first date with a seemingly polite person, yet something bothered you about their behavior. Very often, this intuitive sense ends up being accurate, and even helpful for avoiding unnecessary disappointment due to potentially poor choices. However, what exactly powers this gut emotion, and how do you tap into your intuition to make it a reliable source of guidance? Intuition is often typecast as an impulsive force or instinct that drives our decisions on certain occasions, or a mysterious ‘hunch’ that we sometimes get regarding an experience. However, intuition is neither an impulse nor an instinct, but “our mind’s ‘automated response’ to various situations,” based on our conscious and subconscious learnings, says Dr. Seana Moran, who specializes in developmental psychology at Clark University, Massachusetts. What is intuition? While the term intuition is often used in varying contexts in different fields, in a general sense it refers to the ability to know something immediately without the need to resort to conscious reasoning. According to Dr Moran, “Intuition is, [the feeling of] ‘I just know.’ It’s involved in the ‘aha!’ moment when a good idea suddenly comes to mind.” Intuition is often interchangeably called gut feeling, thus validating every time that you’ve “gone with your gut”, asserts Jay Pasricha, MD, director of Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology. Pasricha further explains that our gut comprises of an entire microbial ecosystem that acts as a network of neurotransmitters, deeming that the gut essentially acts as a second brain. Indeed, this recent discovery of the gut-brain axis offers crucial insight into how our digestion and food choices affect our emotions, mood, health and thoughts. You can learn to tap into your intuition shutterstock/Triff Being able to tap into your intuition is essential for beating indecisiveness, as studies point out. In fact, there is substantial research that establishes that intuition or sixth sense powers our thoughts and decisions by influencing our ideas and feelings. Studies indicate that intuitive reasoning often results in right choices regarding complex purchases like cars and houses. Interestingly, researchers reveal that women tend to access their intuition more often than men. Dr. Judith Orloff MD, professor of psychiatry at UCLA, points out that women have a thicker corpus collosum or the connective matter that links the left and right hemispheres in the brain. This thicker structure boosts their ability to access and integrate emotions and gut feelings from the right hemisphere with the logical reasoning of the left hemisphere of the brain for a more balanced decision-making. “While tapping into your intuition may seem like an intangible concept, it is possible to build and strengthen our intuitive sense, just like a muscle.” “Women are also psychologically more in touch with their emotions and are more likely to integrate hunches, emotional ‘hits’ about people and logic,” states Dr Orloff. He further explains that men are less inclined to shift gears between logical thinking and intuition due to the thinner structure of their corpus collosum, which supports more compartmentalized thinking. Fortunately, tapping into your intuition doesn’t require you to deny logic or facts. In addition to the input provided by the rational brain, tapping into your intuition requires you to tune into various forms of intelligence – your subconscious mind, the heart as well as the body. In fact, combining logic-based intelligence with your intuitive reasoning enables you to take a comprehensive view of a scenario, without restricting you to utilize your conscious thought-process alone. Ways to tap into your intuition While tapping into your intuition may seem like an intangible concept, it is possible to build and strengthen our intuitive sense, just like a muscle, states Katrine Kjaer in her TED Talk centered on The Power of Intuition. We can learn to fine-tune these intuitive responses based on our experiences and lessons over time, and with the help of the right input from our environment. Here are seven scientifically-proven ways to access your intuition readily and with greater accuracy over time. Try them and see if you notice a difference. 1. Cultivating a meditation routine There is ample research to prove the various benefits of meditation, including the important role it plays in honing your intuitive thinking. In addition to reducing stress, combating depression and boosting productivity, a regular meditation practice can improve our self-awareness by reducing mental chatter. Getting your Om on with morning meditation is a great way to start your day, since it enables you to remain calm and rejuvenated as your day progresses. There are many different types of meditation to choose from, so you can pick the right one for you according to the skills you wish to learn from meditation and the style that suits you best. For instance, while gratitude meditation allows you to recognize the various gifts you’re bestowed with in life, Tonglen meditation enables you to transform your pain into compassion for yourself and others. It’s important here to recognize that a daily meditation routine can help you tap into your intuition and improve your ability to trust it as well. 2. Staying engaged Psychologists agree that existential boredom or one’s inability to find joy or interest in anything in life can impact mental health and well-being. By being more interested in the world around, you are less likely to feel bored with life and more inclined to learn new things. Planning your day ahead of time and including at least one interesting activity every week can help incorporate awe into your daily life. This can make the process of tapping into your intuition easier, especially since deeper knowing arises from our learnings. 3. Practising mindful listening Mindful listening entails paying attention and being free of prejudice or resistance. Focusing on the conversation by removing all distractions and allowing the speaker to express their opinions and experiences freely will improve the quality of any communication. Additionally, deep listening allows you to consciously gather useful information, making it possible to tap into your intuition when needed. Intuition means paying attention to the present shutterstock/sun ok 4. Learning to go with the flow Sometimes we end up feeling lost in life if we are not in control, or if our plans are not working out exactly the way we envisioned. Listening to your gut feeling and doing what feels right, or in other words, following your bliss instead of mindlessly chasing goals at breakneck speed can prevent burnout and enable you to be more self-aware. Living in the moment as you absorb yourself in activities you’re passionate about, like volunteering or campaigning for climate change awareness, etc. can help expand your intuitive sense. 5. Journaling daily Journaling is recognized as a ‘keystone habit’, wherein small, conscious changes or habits bring about a dramatic transformation if carried out as a routine. Jotting down your thoughts and feelings can help you travel into your interiors, bringing awareness to unresolved emotions and deepening your learnings, thus helping you tap into your intuition with ease. 6. Paying attention to your body People with heightened internal awareness are more in tune with their body, and often have heightened mind-body connection. Focusing-oriented psychotherapist Eugene Gandlin describes this bodily awareness as the ‘felt sense’, which involves emotional and intuitive awareness. Mental health practitioners recommend focusing on the felt sense, or checking in with your inner-self to improve your ability to tap into your intuition. “Tapping into your intuition is essential for beating indecisiveness. There is substantial research that establishes that intuition or sixth sense powers our thoughts and decisions by influencing our ideas and feelings.” Observing your emotions and pinpointing the location where the emotion arises from in your body helps you identify when your intuition is in action. Combining this focusing process with conscious breathing or body scan meditation can help calm your mind and help you get in touch with your body more effectively. 7. Being present “Intuition is nothing more and nothing less than recognition,” states renowned psychologist and Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman. In his book Thinking Fast and Slow, Kahneman indicates that our brain is conditioned to take note of and store all our experiences and thoughts, be it first-hand or something that we ingrained subconsciously. When you find yourself in a situation that resembles this ingrained learning, your brain recognizes the stored information, thus tapping into your intuition. Kahneman asserts that our intuitive sense may prove to be accurate more often in the longer run, and with sufficient practice. Learning to live life in the present moment can help us take notice and improve our retention abilities, thus enhancing our mental recognition blocks. Indulging in activities like gardening, knitting or pottering etc can help us stay in the present. Takeaway: tapping into your intuition There’s more to intuition than just helpful inputs for small decisions or impulsive changes. “Intuition gives us detailed, targeted, and proactive information about anything and anyone,” states Laura Day, author of Practical Intuition and an intuitive healer by profession. Indeed, tapping into your intuition can be the key to living a meaningful life and finding happiness. happiness.com | The fine art of being: learn, practise, share Are you a happiness.com member? Sign up for free now to enjoy: ■ our happiness magazine with practical life tips ■ share and support others in our happiness forum ■ Develop with free online classes in our happiness Academy Positive Psychology | Breathwork | Dream Interpretation Written by Sonia Vadlamani Fitness and healthy food blogger, food photographer and stylist, travel-addict and future self journaler. Sonia loves to write and has resolved to dedicate her life to revealing how easy and important it is to be happier, stronger and fitter each day. Follow her daily pursuits at FitFoodieDiary or on Instagram.
  5. A fear of being abandoned can wreck relationships. Psychologist Stanislava Puač Jovanović explores the signs to look out for when it comes to abandonment issues and how you can work through them. Fear of abandonment comes in more than a single shape. Many of those experiencing abandonment issues may not even recognise their nemesis. Sometimes, conversely, it is rather apparent. You may constantly be seeking reassurance from your friends, family or partner. However, some people avoid getting too close to others altogether — for the same reason. Emotional coldness and being distanced are often a manifestation of the fear of being abandoned. This article will help you understand and recognise fear of abandonment and its causes — as well as how to cope with it. What is fear of abandonment? Every relationship resides on a healthy balance of togetherness and individuality. In other words, we all have our borders, no matter how close the relationship may be. However, when people have abandonment issues, they cannot tolerate any distance from their loved ones. They interpret these boundaries as rejection and abandonment. Fear of abandonment is essentially an attachment issue. We will get more into how it develops later. At this point, we need to understand that fear of being abandoned is usually deeply entrenched in one’s psyche. A fear of being abandoned can cause issues shutterstock/Red Umbrella and Donkey It can make you irrationally scared of your loved ones leaving. As a result, you find yourself seeking reassurance. Yet, there is no consoling you. No matter what the other person does, you obsess over the possibility of them walking out on you. Fear of abandonment makes one clingy and needy. And, sometimes, to defend themselves from the prospect of getting hurt, people decide to withdraw from relationships. They grow distant and cold and never get into a deeper, meaningful connection with the other person. Is fear of abandonment a mental disorder? Abandonment issues exist on a continuum. In some cases, fear of being abandoned surfaces only in stressful situations. It is mild and does not severely affect the person’s life. Nonetheless, even in those cases, it is an uncomfortable emotion to live with. On the other end of the scale, such a fear may overtake the affected person’s relationships. If it becomes excessive and lasts for over six months, it may be classified as a form of anxiety disorder. In fact, the fear of abandonment is quite prevalent and debilitating. To meet the diagnostic criteria, fear of abandonment needs to be recurrent, disproportionate and incapacitating. Signs of fear of abandonment It is perfectly normal to feel somewhat insecure in a relationship. Yearning for the feeling of safety and acceptance is natural. Asking for extra support from your friends, family or romantic partners when you need it is a sign of a healthy bond. However, there is a difference between the wish to feel supported and accepted and abandonment anxiety. Here are a few signs that you – or perhaps someone you love – is living with fear of abandonment: Thoughts of being separated from your loved one(s) cause terror and unbearable anxiety You have obsessive thoughts about something horrible happening to your loved one or them leaving you You have trouble functioning optimally because of the fear of being abandoned, and it is affecting your relationships, education or career When your loved one reassures you about their devotion, it does not calm you for long The constant reassurance-seeking stresses you and your loved ones, putting strain on your relationship Fear of being abandoned most often tends to manifest itself in two situations, according to research. One is when you meet the right person — in this context, it means the partner who triggers your insecurities. When you get involved with such a person, a night out with their friends or business trip become the source of dread. You start obsessing over a myriad of ways in which you could be forsaken — from love affairs to planes crashing down. The other situation with high potency in triggering abandonment issues is when one becomes a parent. You might be described as a helicopter parent. You are terrified that your child would hurt themselves. Deep inside, you are petrified because you believe they will not love you and would leave the moment they get old enough to do so. So, you hover and never leave their side. Causes of fear of abandonment There is no single cause (or theory explaining) fear of abandonment. In most cases, our childhood experiences predisposed us to fear being abandoned as adults. Whether it was an enacted abandonment or an emotional one, it can leave a psychological scar. Anxiety associated with the initial trauma gets ingrained into the mind. It becomes a blueprint for how future relationships are going to be perceived. The pattern is then likely to be replayed throughout life. Sometimes, the abandonment happened because the caregiver had left (forever or for longer periods) or passed away. Such an early abandonment might have caused problems with developing object constancy. Unconditional love and the basic sense of emotional security are necessary for a child to learn that parents are there and care, even when they are not present. If the process is broken, the child never learns to trust their bond with another human being. “Fear of abandonment makes one clingy and needy. And, sometimes, to defend themselves from the prospect of getting hurt, people decide to withdraw from relationships.” Inconsistent and emotionally distant parenting could also lead to the development of the predisposition for abandonment issues. If your parents were cold or withdrawn for any reason (such as in severely depressive parents or when substance abuse is involved), you might have felt abandoned. Even though they were physically present, your attempts to get them to become more affectionate had failed. You transferred the model to your adult relationships. However, childhood separation trauma is not the only trigger of adult abandonment issues. Severely stressful experiences in adulthood also have the power to induce separation anxiety. Clingy partners can push the other away shutterstock/Studio Romantic Research revealed that adult refugees had developed separation anxiety due to the continual threats to them and their families. Other traumatic experiences can also lead to abandonment issues, even in adults who had idyllic relationships with their caregivers in childhood. As a result of past experiences of abandonment, you now need the consistent presence of your loved ones to be able to see and trust their commitment. If they do not pick up the phone or check in, you become flooded with fears, doubts, and anxiety. Coping with fear of abandonment The need for closeness with the ones we love is an inborn human trait. We cannot get rid of the uneasiness when we imagine being deserted completely. Yet, when your fear of being abandoned grows out of proportion, you expose yourself to risk. Of what sort? Pushing others away As I mentioned in the introduction, some people try to fight off the fear of abandonment by preventing it. They minimise the chances of getting hurt by not allowing themselves to create a profound bond with others. However, if you end up doing this, you are robbing yourself of the opportunity to enjoy rewarding relationships. Abuse and dysfunctional relationships Unfortunately, those afraid of being abandoned sometimes bend over backwards to please the significant other. As a result, they are often involved with abusive partners and live in codependent relationships. Abuse is bound to have detrimental consequences in one way or the other. A study on incarcerated women determined a high prevalence of abandonment issues in those who ended up murdering their abusive partners. Emotional disturbances Abandonment issues make you vulnerable to emotional disturbances. High levels of depression, anxiety and stress are pervasive among those who experience severe fear of abandonment. Insecure attachment can even increase the risk of suicide, according to research. So, how to prevent all of this from happening to you? Or how to heal from fear of abandonment and its aftermath? Here are a few possible routes for you to take: 1. Self-care and self-love When you fear being abandoned, you might become a people-pleaser. You could be bending over backwards to ensure your loved ones are happy with you and would not leave your side. However, now you need to start taking care of yourself — and learn to love yourself unconditionally. Develop healthy habits. Nurture self-kindness and be compassionate to yourself. Love and forgive yourself. You are worthy. 2. Challenging and transforming your self-image Abandonment fears are based on a distorted self-image. You might be unconsciously evaluating yourself against unrealistic standards. For example, unless your partner adores you divinely — and shows this love incessantly — you might be convinced that you are entirely unlovable. This is simply not realistic. So, start journaling about your automated reactions and thoughts. Examine them. Are you truly loathsome if your partner does not respond to a message right away? Or is there another, more rational explanation? 3. Change the way you see relationships In a similar way in which you may be basing your self-respect (or lack thereof) on twisted self-image, your relationship expectations could also be coming from unrealistic convictions. Use the same journal you did in the previous step. Only now, explore your potentially erroneous beliefs about how relationships work. 4. If you are on the receiving end Being the one who is on the receiving end of abandonment issues is challenging for sure. To try and build a healthy relationship for both, start with empathy. Understand where your partner’s or loved one’s fears are coming from. This article explained how this might be a pattern for which you are probably not responsible. Nonetheless, the fear is real, and it is reflected in your relationship. Therefore, be mindful of the triggers. “Being the one who is on the receiving end of abandonment issues is challenging for sure. To try and build a healthy relationship for both, start with empathy.” Ask your partner for some realistic ways in which you can help them calm down when they are feeling anxious. Devise a plan together. Also, do not forget to take care of your emotional and other needs too. Self-care is universal advice. We need to be well in order to help anyone feel better, too. 5. Reach out to a psychotherapist Lastly, but importantly — do reach out. Contact a therapist or a counsellor who can help you work through your abandonment issues. Sometimes, no matter how much we try, we are unable to see ourselves objectively. A psychologist will be able to provide a safe place for you to explore your insecurities. With their help, you will get rid of your fears once and for all so that you can enjoy fulfilling deep relationships and all that comes with them. Saying goodbye to your abandonment issues Fear of abandonment may have been your companion for a long time. It probably feels familiar and safe. You put up with it even though it is ruining your chances of healthy relationships — with others, as well as with yourself. You do it because you feel that it protects you. However, as this article has shown you, abandonment issues merely expose you to pain, not prevent it. If you are ready to move on and abandon your fear of abandonment for good, make the first step today. Acknowledge the anxiety and its causes, recognise its outcomes, and decide to part with it. Seek professional help to support you on your path towards the new, confident and independent you — and you will get there sooner than you expected. • happiness.com | The fine art of being: learn, practise, share Are you a happiness.com member? Sign up for free to enjoy: ■ our happiness magazine with practical life tips ■ sharing and supporting others in our happiness forum ■ developing with free online classes in our Academy Authenticity | Self-help | Coaching Written by Stanislava Puač Jovanović Stanislava Puač Jovanović has a master’s degree in psychology and works as a freelance writer and researcher in this area. Her primary focus is on questions relating to mental health, stress-management, self-development and well-being.
  6. Hi there, Nice list! Hope you'll consider The Language of Mindfulness podcast as well ! https://anchor.fm/languageofmindfulness Best to you.
  7. A bad working environment, difficult colleagues, a heavy workload: many factors can cause us to feel overwhelmed in our jobs. Dee Marques suggests nine practical ways you can take back control and feel more content on the job. Life has been turned upside down over the past year or two. The frequency and magnitude of changes we’ve experienced can make us feel overwhelmed and incapable of handling the new situation. This applies to the world of work too, which has become a source of additional stress in recent months due to Zoom fatigue, new working environments and changing rules. Enduring high stress levels for a period of time can lead to burnout, so we need to understand why this happens and what can be done to stop feeling overwhelmed at work. What makes us feel overwhelmed at work? There are many factors that can make working life stressful. Do you recognize any of the following? The work environment If you’re back to your usual workplace, dealing with difficult colleagues or with new rules can become extremely burdensome. This can eat away at your enthusiasm and energy very quickly. Moreover, some companies have reduced their staff numbers and the remaining employees may feel overworked or without sufficient support. The heavier the workload and responsibilities, the more support you should get. But unfortunately, not all employers understand this. The realities of working from home When home becomes the workplace, the lack of boundaries can make it look like you’re always at work. A home office has its pros, but it can also make it harder to disconnect from your job and create the feeling that you’re never getting a break. Not only that, you may feel you have to juggle multiple responsibilities in a limited physical space (work, home life, family, etc.). Home office can make work overwhelming Lack of clarity Not understanding what you’re supposed to do can easily lead to burnout. This is common among employees who’ve recently switched to remote work, since this arrangement can lead to ambiguity or conflicting roles. As we discussed in a previous article, feeling purposeless is one of the reasons why people are unhappy at work. Unproductive time Sometimes you have everything you need to do your job, but too much of your time is spent in unproductive meetings. Collaboration is great, but it’s possible to overdo it, which leaves you feeling depleted. We all deal with these situations every now and then. Sometimes we’re better at handling the stressors onnected to them, but it’s also possible to reach a point where you feel you just can’t do it anymore. In other words: it’s important to differentiate occasional stress from burnout. You can take our stress at work questionnaire here. Nine ways to manage feeling overwhelmed at work 
If you're struggling to cope with your work and this is affecting your motivation or well-being, there are certain steps you can take to improve the situation: 1. Pinpoint the problem Take some time to think about what exactly is making you feel overwhelmed at work. Is it colleagues, the job itself, other commitments, or lack of organisation? Understanding what triggers the feeling can set you off in the right direction when looking for solutions. Keeping a journal can help with this. RELATED: How stressed are you at work? Find out! 2. Make a to-do list The very thought of having too much to do can be paralysing. Sometimes, writing down all your tasks and rearranging their priority level can help bring some relief and clarity so you don’t put all your energy into every single task. Having a written list can also help you stay away from the temptation to multi-task, since the list is a visual reminder that you can only do one thing at a time. 3. Work during peak productivity hours We don’t operate at 100 per cent every single hour of the day. Forcing ourselves to work on demanding tasks when we’re not at our most productive can easily make us feel overwhelmed at work. “Take some time to think about what exactly is making you feel overwhelmed at work. Is it colleagues, the job itself, other commitments, or lack of organisation?” Over the years and as I keep adding or removing tasks to my daily routine, I’ve had to rearrange my schedule based on the importance of tasks and my peak productivity hours. For example, I’m most active between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., so I get my workouts and most challenging work done in that time frame. Although everyone is different, some studies agree that the majority of people do best in intellectual tasks in the mornings. 4. Balance focus and breaks Constant distractions and not taking breaks are two of the main reasons why people feel overwhelmed at work. According to research, it takes more than 23 minutes to get back on track after getting distracted. Suddenly, the end of the work day is there and you realise you haven’t got much done. If this happens often, burnout is guaranteed. RELATED: How to show compassion at work The same applies to the other extreme: not taking breaks. The length and frequency of breaks vary from person to person, but you can experiment with the Pomodoro technique, taking micro breaks, or trying intermittent resting. Take small breaks and practise mindfulness at work to disconnect and recharge – 5. You don’t have to do it all Learning to delegate is difficult, but failing to do it can create that burdensome feeling of being overwhelmed at work. If you struggle with delegating, it can be helpful to challenge some common assumptions about it. For example, delegating work is not a sign of weakness and it doesn’t reflect poorly on your abilities. It doesn’t mean you avoid accountability or are trying to get away from doing something. Learning to delegate can relieve work stress shutterstock/ G-Stock Studio It’s also important to understand that delegating goes hand-in-hand with mentoring the person you’re delegating to. This can give you peace of mind, especially if you avoid delegating because you don’t think others can do the job to your standard. 6. The key to time management… … is learning to say “no”. No time management technique will alleviate the feeling of being overwhelmed at work if you keep piling things on your plate. If you say “yes” to everything, you’ll never have enough hours in the day. This requires being honest about your workload and recognising your limitations, but don’t look at it as a defeat. Learning to say “no” is actually a statement of courage that shows you’re committed to your well-being. If you feel overwhelmed at work at want more free time, “no” is the way to freedom! I found this infographic very useful when deciding whether “no” is the best answer. 7. Set boundaries Saying “no” is a way of setting boundaries. But sometimes, you need to set physical boundaries too. This is easier if you work remotely. I’ve been working online since 2012, and I learnt quite early in the process that working from home has to be treated the same as working from an office. For me, that means having a definite space to work from and not working from the sofa or in bed. 8. A place to escape When my workload is higher than usual and I start feeling restless and overwhelmed at work, I retreat to my “cozy corner” for a 15-minute break. This is a small area in a landing where I’ve set up some cushions and a curtain of string lights. I got the idea from a book called The Little Book of Hygge, which talks about the importance of having places that make us feel comforted and secure. “Learning to say 'no' is a statement of courage that shows you’re committed to your well-being. If you feel overwhelmed at work at want more free time, 'no' is the way to freedom.” This can help counter the feeling of being overwhelmed at work, especially if you use the space to do breathing exercises or a short meditation session. 9. If all else fails It might be time to look for a new job. If you’ve done all you could and still feel overwhelmed at work, staying put will likely make the feeling worse. One of our blog posts talks about the importance of showing compassion at work, but remember that compassion can also be extended to yourself. What would you recommend to a friend who’s exhausted all their options and still feels burnt out? Chances are you would encourage them to explore other ideas and prioritise their well-being. So, why not be kind and compassionate to yourself too? You have tools to manage being overwhelmed Feeling overwhelmed at work is normal when there are changes to the work environment, to your role, or you’re juggling too many responsibilities at the same time. However, carrying this burden for too long can have a negative impact on your well-being. Don’t let that happen – you have tools to manage that feeling and become more comfortable with your work routine. And if you try all of the suggestions mentioned here and still feel something is wrong… it may be time to start looking for a new job! • Main image: shutterstock/FamVeld Are you feeling overwhelmed at work? How has the pandemic affected your worklife? Let the community know in the comments below... happiness.com | The fine art of being: learn, practice, share Are you a happiness.com member? Sign up for free now to enjoy: ■ our happiness magazine with practical life tips ■ share and support others in our happiness forum ■ self-develop with free online classes in our happiness Academy Anger management | Resilience | Leadership Written by Dee Marques A social sciences graduate with a keen interest in languages, communication, and personal development strategies. Dee loves exercising, being out in nature, and discovering warm and sunny places where she can escape the winter.
  8. If you're feeling unhappiness in your work life, there are six things you need to find. Dee Marques explores how you can achieve them, becoming happier in the workplace and your career, while encouraging your colleagues to do the same. Work: we all need it, but given the chance, how many of us would willingly do it if we didn’t? Our work is the place where we often spend one third of our day, so how we feel about it can have a serious impact on our overall psychological well-being. But, as we'll see, unhappiness at work is actually commonplace. So, how we can change that? Studies confirm that being unhappy at work over a period of time is linked to feelings of hopelessness, depression, anxiety, stress and sleep problems, as well as higher chances of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, and digestive issues – so avoiding being miserable at work is a serious matter. However, sometimes we have to accept jobs we’d rather not be doing – the famous “but it pays the bills”. And, truth be told, few people would describe their work environment as being a truly happy place. Indeed, being dissatisfied and unhappy at work has become so common that finding joy in the workplace is almost seen as some sort of luxury. In fact, in the US, nearly half of the workforce claims to be unhappy at work, and the figure is almost identical in the UK, suggesting a happy workplace is uncommon. Unhappy at work? The 6 things you need to find What if achieving happiness at work was more than wishful thinking? If you find the going-back-to-work Monday Blues tends to extend over your entire working week, then read on for our six steps to achieving real happiness in your job. 1. Purpose Purpose is one of the most important factors when it comes to finding happiness at work. Indeed, purpose or meaning ranks high when it comes to achieving a joyful life in general, therefore it’s not surprising that the same applies to finding real happiness in your job, too. In fact, a feeling of purpose of life has been linked to higher motivation, commitment and productivity, all of which are positive emotional states that can contribute to happiness and, by extension, stop you being unhappy in your workplace. Purpose in careers, such as nursing, means happy work You can try to find purpose at work by thinking about what your job means when the greater good comes into the picture. If you're working in the 'helping' or 'saving' professions – a teacher, nurse, doctor, soldier, etc, then this shouldn't be difficult, but meaningful work isn't restricted to these types of professions. Sometimes it's not easy to discover the purpose in your work, but with just a bit of consideration, things become clear. Even work considered menial by others can have a greater purpose. For example, think about the people who built great European monuments, like cathedrals and bridges. Their work would have been physically demanding and they may not have loved it, but they built something that was enjoyed for many generations to come. If you're struggling to find meaning in your work, take some time to consider it more deeply. Furthermore, taking personal responsibility for your professional growth can also help you find meaning and purpose, so set your own goals and make sure they’re aligned with meaningful values. Indeed, if you can find an employer that shares your values, then you're on the way to becoming a happier employee. 2. Engagement Feeling that your work day is plagued by apathy, finding excuses to go on yet another coffee break, arriving late or leaving early, starting a task then jumping away to browse the web… do any of these things sound familiar? These are all signs of disengagement at work and should be addressed as they can lead to unhappiness, depression and even health-related issues. In fact, a 2015 Gallup survey shows that disengagement or feeling disconnected from work can lead to many health issues. For example, comparing engaged and disengaged employees in the United States, 56 per cent of the latter claimed to be stressed every day (compared with 36 per cent of those engaged), 23 per cent were more likely to be in pain (compared to 14 per cent), and 16 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with depression (compared to nine per cent). “A feeling of purpose has been linked to higher motivation, commitment, and productivity, all of which can stop you being unhappy in the workplace.” To stop this from taking away your chance of finding happiness in your career, try to find the source of disengagement. Maybe you feel that your skills are not used to the fullest, or you feel stuck in a rut. Set yourself some short and mid-term goals or new responsibilities and bring them up with your manager. When you do so, explain that you’d like to be challenged and do more for the company, as this is likely to be well received. 3. Kindness A kind workplace is a happy workplace, or has more chances of being so. Your relationship with coworkers is closely connected to overall job satisfaction, and if that relationship is strained or marked by hostility or competition, it can affect your emotions. This makes sense considering that you’re probably spending 40 hours a week – or more – in close contact. Staying engaged depends on your work satisfaction In fact, poor workplace relationships are one of the most common complaints and a leading cause of work-related stress and unhappiness on the job. It’s also worth mentioning that some studies have found that feeling lonely or isolated at work also has a negative impact on job performance. RELATED: Compassion at work Acts of kindness are an easy and quick way to build a positive work environment. Indeed, small gestures can go a long way. Going to the kitchen to make a drink? Make sure you ask your colleagues if they want anything too (and wipe clean the microwave while you're there, even if you didn't make the mess!). Heading on holiday? Bring a few treats back and leave them in the office kitchen or communal area. Small gestures of kindness create positivity and, in fact, boost productivity. “If you're unhappy at work, set yourself some short and mid-term goals or new responsibilities and bring them up with your manager.” Indeed, research from the Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada (APEX) showed that incivility has “profound implications on the level of energy, emotional engagement, and performance of work teams.” Its study found that teams in a respectful environment: Have 26 per cent more energy. Are 30 per cent more likely to feel motivated and enthusiastic about acquiring new skills and being exposed to new ideas. Express 36 per cent more satisfaction with their jobs and are 44 per cent more committed to their companies. 4. Flexibility The working world is becoming increasingly flexible with the growth of options like freelancing, working from home, job sharing, and the compressed working week. Of course, flexi-work comes with its pros and cons: key advantages include reduced commuting expenses and freedom to meet personal/family needs, while common downsides are learning to deal with distractions, isolation, and sticking to a schedule. However, importantly, flexibility at work can help achieve a good work-life balance and contribute to a happy workplace. Indeed, research studies have linked workplace flexibility to individual and team effectiveness, stress reduction, and greater commitment to the job. Balancing act: flexible working is on the up If you think more freedom and flexibility can help you can relieve your unhappiness at work, approach your employer to see how they feel about flexi-work, highlighting the benefits and your willingness to help create a happy workplace that is conducive to productivity. More and more employers are open to flexible working hours and realizing the potential it has for creating happy employees. Indeed, companies are now toying with the idea of introducing four-day working weeks, with some showing positive results in trials. There's emerging evidence that a compressed working week can boost both productivity and happiness in workers. For example, Pursuit Marketing in Glasgow, Scotland, switched 120 people to a four-day week in late 2016 and claims it has been key in a 30 per cent productivity rise. And in January 2019 the Wellcome Trust became the biggest UK employer to jump on the bandwagon when it announced it was considering switching 800 staff to a four-day working week. Let's hope this is one particular fad that catches on! 5. Appreciation Not feeling appreciated is one of the main reasons why people become unhappy and quit their jobs, as it can be both demoralising and frustrating. Not feeling appreciated at work can appear in many ways: your manager not paying attention to you, not being paid what you deserve, or not receiving credit for work (worse still: someone else taking credit for your ideas). Sometimes it can be the case that employers genuinely don't care about their employees, but it's better to first give the benefit of the doubt: often managers are so busy they haven't realised they've been neglecting you. If you're not feeling appreciated, you need to speak with them or human resources directly and ask for regular, six-month reviews to discuss how you're progressing in your role and the company. Kindness pays: be nice to colleagues and create a happy workplace Prepare well for your meeting and draw up a list of what you want to discuss and all your recent achievements (to jog your manager’s memory of your fantastic work), especially if you're going to ask for a pay rise. As well as discussing your strengths, do find out any areas where you can develop further. While you're waiting for your chance to shine, you can still show your appreciation for your coworkers, who may also be wondering how to be happy at work. This can help generate a more positive work atmosphere and create a happy workplace where people feel valued. The link between giving and happiness is well documented, since studies show that being generous increases personal happiness, and this includes giving intangible things like our time or appreciation for others. 6. Resilience Stress, uncertainty and unhappiness cannot be completely avoided in the workplace, so the best thing you can do is grow stronger to cope with professional setbacks. In other words, cultivate resilience. This doesn’t mean putting up with what you dislike, as this would only make you feel more disengaged, but rather to change your mindset. RELATED: Mindfulness at work Instead, focus on being adaptable and start practices like meditation and mindfulness, which can help you develop a more flexible frame of mind – the basis for resilience. In fact, any stress management technique can help build resilience, as you’ll be in control instead of letting workplace stressors take over your mood. You can also invest in activities that strengthen your inner self, whether than means going on a retreat, taking up yoga, or a creative hobby. Work and career unhappiness: final thoughts If you're struggling with feeling unhappy or miserable on the job, take your time to incorporate these six factors – which are some of the many building blocks of happiness – into your professional life. Take your time to work on purpose, engagement, kindness, flexibility, appreciation and resilience, and your efforts will pay off: finding happiness at work will also reflect in other aspects of your life. ● Main image: shutterstock/Pressmaster happiness.com | The fine art of being: learn, practice, share Are you a happiness.com member? Sign up for free now to enjoy: ■ our happiness magazine with practical life tips ■ share and support others in our happiness forum ■ self-develop with free online classes in our happiness Academy Stress management | Healthy habits | Burnout Written by Dee Marques A social sciences graduate with a keen interest in languages, communication, and personal development strategies. Dee loves exercising, being out in nature, and discovering warm and sunny places where she can escape the winter.
  9. Authenticity can seem like a risky venture in the current screen-obsessed age, wherein we constantly strive to fit in and be accepted by others. Sonia Vadlamani explains why it’s necessary to let go of the fear of being judged in order to cultivate an authentic life. Being authentic in this technology-dominated era can be challenging, especially when we’re constantly bombarded with messages of who we ‘ought to be’, what we ‘should’ desire and how we ‘must’ express ourselves. Consequently, many of us have at some point portrayed ourselves as who we think we are or want to be perceived as, rather than representing who we really are. The downside of portraying who we aren’t is that we’re telling ourselves that the real or true version of us isn’t worthy of being seen. This constant fear of being judged or rejected can chip away at our ability to be our most authentic self. Why is it difficult to overcome inauthenticity? As children, most of us were taught by parents, teachers and other shaping forces like society and religion to ‘fit in’ or conform to a prescribed set of rules and practices. As a result, we ingrain beliefs, thoughts and emotions and exhibit behaviors which allow us to ‘blend in’ and be accepted, be it to form connections, find love or pursue success. This need to fit in and do as we’re taught is stimulated by our “Adaptive Self”, which primarily plays the role of helping us function and coexist in the society in a purposeful way. However, in our constant struggle to carve our niche in the society as we balance our inner-selves and our outer aspects, sometimes we tend to suppress or hide our true selves. This can prevent us from activating our “Authentic Self” and living a meaningful life in tune with our values and purpose. What does being your authentic self involve? “Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we actually are,” states Brené Brown, research professor at University of Houston. Brown has spent decades studying shame, courage and vulnerability. Authenticity can mean different things to different people, but in general it refers to the ability to live by our values, speaking our truth with assertiveness, and developing the courage to allow our true selves to be seen. Authenticity means embracing who you truly are Indeed, authenticity is a fundamental component of happiness. A study by Alex M Wood et al revealed that authenticity is an integral part of well-being. Being authentic can also improve self esteem as well as lower stress and anxiety. 8 ways to be your authentic self Discovering our authentic self is essential for happiness and forming meaningful connections. Reclaiming authenticity involves identifying our core values, letting go of borrowed notions of perfection, and changing our perspective to see vulnerability as an act of courage, instead of something to be avoided. Here are eight practical ways you can take steps to cultivate authenticity: 1. Identify your core values Creating a connection with our true nature is essential for building our authentic self. Start by identifying some values that are fundamental for you: which make you happy and which are the values you cannot absolutely compromise upon? Incorporating visualization meditation into your daily routine can help the process of value identification. For example, some of my core values for a happy and meaningful life are honesty and openness in relationships, kindness and empathy for myself and others, gratitude for the gifts I have in my life, along with constant learning for growth. Indeed, your core values arise from your own expectations, needs and experience, and need not be the same as anyone else’s. “Authenticity can mean different things to different people, but in general it refers to the ability to live by our values, speaking our truth with assertiveness, and developing the courage to allow our true selves to be seen.” Once you list down your core values, break each one down into three actionable steps that will help you live these values better. Since I value honesty and openness in my relationships I try to practise mindfulness, deep listening and forgiveness, so that I can live in closer alignment with my core values. 2. Start making conscious decisions Sometimes, we wade through the day in auto mode without even contemplating if our thoughts and actions resonate with our authentic selves. Try observing yourself keenly to learn more about how you react to challenges, what motivates you, the nature of your social interactions, etc. Notice which behaviors and settings evoke responses from your Adaptive Self, and which of these responses feel authentic to you. Once you’ve spotted the discrepancies between your actions and values, you can utilize this self-awareness to devise conscious statements and actions that resonate with your authentic self. 3. Devise and uphold your boundaries “To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves — there lies the great, the singular power of self-respect,” as Joan Didion, the renowned American writer famously quoted. Cultivating authenticity requires us to give up the temptation to appease others and the need to behave in a way that makes us more likeable. Indeed, being your authentic self is not always easy, and living by your principles may require a few difficult conversations, a potential job switch, or even ending a friendship if necessary. However, by being honest about our boundaries, we’re indicating to our subconscious that it’s OK to not be perfect all the time, thus developing self-validation. Authenticity allows us to share our vulnerability with appropriate boundaries in place, ie, with people who have the same values as you, and those who you feel comfortable with. 4. Instill mindfulness Mindfulness can help you find happiness and contentment in the small joys that each day brings, thus boosting your mood and overall happiness levels. Additionally, being mindful allows you to observe and understand how you feel and react towards various stimuli in your environment. Keeping physical reminders of mindfulness quotes and practising mindful listening are some effective ways to improve self-awareness and slowly cultivate your authentic self. 5. Exercise compassion towards yourself and others Practising self-compassion allows us to be supportive, kind and accepting towards ourselves, in addition to boosting authenticity in relationships. That’s according to researcher Kristin Neff, who was the first to measure the construct for self-compassion. Practising loving-kindness meditation can prove to be an effective tool for reinforcing feelings of connection and kindness with oneself and others, thus aiding the development of one’s authentic self. Practising compassion unlocks authenticity shutterstock/imtmphoto 6. Embrace vulnerability We often shirk away from being authentic due to the fear of being potentially judged or getting distanced from people around us. Start by asking yourself what you are afraid may happen if you put yourself out there in a scenario that makes you feel vulnerable. Next, proceed to imagine what would happen if you avoided expressing your feelings or needs or asking for that raise that you think you undoubtedly deserve. Could the inability to share or express yourself potentially result in depression or self-sabotage? Thereupon, remind yourself why it’s important for you to live your authentic self by overcoming the vulnerability hangover. Further, you can formulate a rational approach or well-devised plan for expressing your feelings and needs, in a way that is in sync with your authentic self. 7. Practise letting go In her bestseller book The Gifts of Imperfection, Dr Brown reveals that letting go plays an essential role in cultivating your authentic self. While Brown’s research on shame and vulnerability largely reveal that most people allow their inhibitions to take over due to the fear of being emotionally exposed, she came across a group of outliers who reacted differently to such potentially uncertain situations. Dr Brown calls these outliers ‘the wholehearted’, and she named this way of living the ‘wholehearted living’. “Cultivating authenticity requires us to give up the temptation to appease others and the need to behave in a way that makes us more likeable.” According to her research, wholehearted living comprises of embracing imperfections and living life to one’s fullest potential, without letting the fear of other people’s opinions affect their beliefs and actions. Being your authentic self requires you to accept that what others think of you is none of your business, and cultivate the courage to let go of thought-patterns and limiting beliefs that no longer serve you. 8. Set goals for constant learning Developing a growth mindset and being open to self-improvement through ongoing learning can help you attain your authentic self at a sustained pace. Your goals need not just be related to the pursuit of wealth and success – in fact, research points out that non-materialistic life goals lead to happiness as surely – if not more consistently – than materialistic goals. An objective as simple as integrating awe into your daily life can inspire you to learn new things about yourself and life around you. Round-up: cultivating authentic self While we are conditioned from an early age to suppress or hide our authentic self, authenticity is essential for building a life that brings us meaning and joy. Examining our true self to develop authenticity can be a long and cumbersome process, but the rewards in terms of greater life satisfaction and improved relationships make it worth the effort. Main image: shutterstock/ESB Basic happiness.com | The fine art of being: learn, practise, share Are you a happiness.com member? Sign up for free now to enjoy: ■ our happiness magazine with practical life tips ■ share and support others in our happiness forum ■ Develop with free online classes in our happiness Academy Written by Sonia Vadlamani Fitness and healthy food blogger, food photographer and stylist, travel-addict and future self journaler. Sonia loves to write and has resolved to dedicate her life to revealing how easy and important it is to be happier, stronger and fitter each day. Follow her daily pursuits at FitFoodieDiary or on Instagram.
  10. Hi: I'm a long time humor writer who over the course of the last 3 years has really gotten into happiness and positive psychology. Along those lines I'm trying to create a cartoon that is funny and promotes positive affirmations and happiness. Which is interesting and challenging since much of humor is based on pain. I'd love the groups food back.
  11. Überlegst du der konsumgeilen Welt zu entfliehen und ein einfaches Leben zu leben? Calvin Holbrook tut es und er ist damit nicht alleine. Lies über die Bewegung ‘freiwillige Einfachheit’ und entdecke sechs Vorteile ein einfaches Leben zu leben, einschließlich der Erkenntnis des Sinns deines Lebens, besserer Gesundheit und verbesserter Konzentration. Dieser Text erschien original im englischen happiness-Magazin Seit ich in meinen 40ern bin gefällt mir der Gedanke immer besser, freiwillig ein einfaches Leben zu führen und mehr Minimalismus in meinen Alltag zu bringen. Mein Leben sah bisher so aus, dass ich in großen und aufregenden Städten lebte mit viel Unterhaltung, irren Möglichkeiten und Zerstreuung bis zum Abwinken. Aber was ich einst als aufregend empfand ist für mich nun zunehmend schwierig. Mein Gehirn ist immer mehr überfordert von Lärm, Überstimulierung, Ablenkungen und ständig wachsenden Menschenmengen, was mein persönliches Stressniveau in die Höhe treibt. Dies führt dazu, dass ich über einen ruhigen Weg nachdenke, ein einfaches Leben zu führen. Näher an der Natur und in friedlicher Umgebung. Ein einfaches Leben zu führen muss jedoch nicht heißen, allein in einer Holzhütte mitten im Nirgendwo zu hocken (obwohl das eigentlich ganz ansprechend klingt). Tatsächlich gibt es viele praktische und nicht ganz so drastische Methoden, ein einfaches Leben für dich selbst zu schaffen, dessen Vorteile wissenschaftlich belegt sind. Und ich bin nicht der einzige Mensch, der so denkt. Ein ‘einfaches Leben’ oder die ‘selbstgewählte Einfachheit‘ ist ein anerkannter, traditionsreicher Lebensstil, der Konsum sowie das Streben nach Reichtum und materiellen Besitztümern minimiert. Das einfache Leben ist ein wesentliches Element der Lehren vieler religiöser Gruppen, von den Mönchsorden des Mittelalters bis hin zu den heutigen Amischen und Quäkern. Ein einfaches Leben führen: In der Natur zu sein ist eine unglaubliche Energiequelle Die heutige Bewegung für ein einfaches Leben entstand aus der Gegenkultur der 1960er und 70er. 1981 dann gewann diese Bewegung mit dem Erscheinen von Duane Eligns Buch “Voluntary simplicity” (‚Selbstgewählte Einfachheit‘) einen neuen Namen. In seinem Buch erklärte er die Tugenden einer “Art zu leben, die nach außen einfach, aber nach innen reich ist“. Während der 90er wurde auch das Konzept des Minimalismus, das Elemente des einfachen Lebens beinhaltet, populär. Was beinhaltet ein einfaches Leben? Während sich Minimalismus hauptsächlich darauf konzentriert, Besitztümer einzuschränken oder ganz aufzugeben, hat der Ansatz für ein einfaches Leben mehr Elemente. Die Entscheidung für ein einfaches Leben schafft ein bedeutungsvolles Dasein, ein Leben nach den eigenen Bedingungen. Es hilft, Zeit und Raum zu schaffen, um dich deinen wahren Interessen und Leidenschaften zu widmen. Einfaches Leben widerspricht völlig den gewöhnlichen Werten der westlichen Welt, mit denen die meisten von uns aufgewachsen sind. Ein einfaches Leben zu führen heißt, dich von allen unwesentlichen Dingen zu befreien, um deine Zeit und Energie auf das zu konzentrieren, das dir am wichtigsten ist. Wie kann ich mein Leben vereinfachen? Wie ich zu Anfang erwähnt habe ist es mein Traum und vieler anderer Menschen, zum Zwecke eines einfacheren, ruhigeren Lebens aufs Land oder an die Küste zu ziehen. Die Realität jedoch ist, dass viele aufgrund ihrer Verpflichtungen in ihrem Beruf oder ihrer Familie gegenüber nicht einfach spontan alles Bisherige aufgeben können. Dich langsam Schritt für Schritt aus deinem zu umtriebigen Leben und dem Konsumüberfluss zu entfernen bringt dich ebenfalls an dein Ziel. “Ein einfaches Leben zu führen bedeutet nicht nur, deine Besitztümer aufzugeben. Vereinfachung schafft ein mit Bedeutung gefülltes einfaches Leben zu deinen eigenen Bedingungen.” Ein Kick-Off in dein einfaches Leben kann sein, deine Besitztümer einzuschränken, über neue Anschaffungen genauer als bisher nachzudenken, deine Zeit auf sozialen Medien und am Smartphone zu begrenzen, nicht an sozialen Anlässen teilzunehmen, die dich nicht interessieren, und Multitasking nicht mehr als Superkraft sondern als Stressfaktor zu begreifen. Einiges oder alles davon zu tun, kann dir große Vorteile und Zufriedenheit bringen. Lass uns also einen genaueren Blick auf diese wissenschaftlich erwiesenen sechs Hauptvorteile werfen, die dir ein einfaches Leben bringt. 1. Vereinfache dein Leben, um mehr über dich selbst zu lernen Wenn du dich nicht mit sozialen Medien ablenkst, Serien auf Netflix durchnudelst, auf der Suche nach den neuesten heissem Sch*** bist, oder To-Do-Listen ohne Ende führst, gibst du dir selbst die Zeit und den geistigen Raum, dankbar für das zu sein, was du bereits hast. Dies gibt dir außerdem die Möglichkeit zu reflektieren und mehr über dich selbst zu lernen. Ähnliches Thema: The Top 5 benefits of gratitude practice Tatsächlich kann ein einfaches Leben uns dabei helfen, Sinn zu finden und spirituell zu wachsen, da es den Fokus von materiellen Besitztümern nimmt und uns hilft, nach innen zu schauen. Es hilft, mehr Stille – und sogar eine positive Einsamkeit – zu schaffen, alles Hauptfaktoren für spirituelle Reflektion. Natürlich kann es auch schmerzhaft und anstrengend sein sich ablenkungsfrei mit sich selbst auseinanderzusetzen, aber schlussendlich hilft es uns, uns darauf zu konzentrieren, wer wir sind, was unserem Leben Sinn und Bedeutung gibt und was wir mit dem Rest unseres Lebens machen wollen. Zielgerichtet und bedeutungsvoll zu leben wiederum steigert erwiesenermaßen unser Glücksniveau. 2. Ein einfaches Leben zu führen kann Beziehungen verbessern In seinem Werk “Selbstgewählte Einfachheit: Charakterisierung, ausgewählte psychologische Implikationen und gesellschaftliche Konsequenzen” führt Amitai Etzioli an, dass wir uns mehr auf Beziehungen konzentrieren, wenn wir aufhören, unsere Zeit auf die Ansammlung materieller Besitztümer zu verwenden. Gleichermaßen kann exzessive Nutzung sozialer Medien bedeuten, dass offline Beziehungen leiden. Wenn wir diese Faktoren reduzieren oder eliminieren, schaffen wir mehr Zeit, die wir mit Freunden und Familie verbringen können. Ein einfaches Leben kann deine Beziehungen und deren Intensität verbessern Zusätzlich kann ein einfaches Leben bedeuten, dass sich deine Freundesgruppen verändern. Vielleicht hast du viele verschiedene Freund*innen, mit denen du bei verschiedenen Aktivitäten Zeit verbringst, zum Beispiel die „Partyfreund*innen“, die „Shoppingfreund*innen“, die „Fitnessstudiokumpel*inen“. Dein Leben zu vereinfachen und weniger zu tun kann bedeuten, dich auf wenige, dafür aber qualitativ hochwertige Freundschaften und engere Beziehungen zu konzentrieren. Deine Interaktionen in deinem Freundeskreis werden echter, wenn der Trieb, andere durch Besitztum zu beeindrucken wegfällt. Im Gegenzug hat es gesundheitliche Vorteile, deine Freundschaften so zu intensivieren. Verschiedene Studien haben ergeben, dass die Entwicklung starker, solider Freundschaften dein Krankheitsrisiko verringern kann – von geringerer Wahrscheinlichkeit, eine simple Erkältung zu bekommen bis hin zu geringerem Risiko fettleibig zu werden oder an einem Herzleiden zu erkranken. Eine Harvard Studie ergab ebenfalls, dass enge Freundschaften die Gesundheit des Gehirns während des Alterns begünstigen können. 3. Ein einfaches Leben stärkt dein Bankkonto In vielen westlichen Ländern führt das Missverhältnis zwischen dem, was wir kaufen und dem, was wir brauchen zu einem enormen Mehrverbrauch, der die Ressourcen der Erde erschöpft und den Klimawandel beschleunigt. Ein selbstbestimmtes einfaches Leben ist ein Lebensstil, der den Konsum sowie das Streben nach Reichtum und materiellen Besitztümern minimiert. Dein Leben durch weniger Konsum zu vereinfachen bedeutet, dass du weniger ausgeben (und auch weniger Schulden haben) wirst. Vorteile finanzieller Unabhängigkeit können zum Beispiel weniger Stress und Sorgen sein. Dies könnte einer großen Menge Menschen nützen: Einer Studie aus Großbritannien von 2018 zufolge, in der 2.000 Leute befragt wurden, haben 40 Prozent der Bevölkerung Geldsorgen. “Ein einfaches Leben zu führen heißt, sich von allen unwesentlichen Dingen zu befreien, um deine Zeit und Energie auf das zu konzentrieren, das dir am wichtigsten ist.” Um deinen Konsum einzuschränken wirf zuerst einen Blick auf deine Ausgaben und überlege, wofür du dein Geld ausgibst. Der Coffee to go? Das neueste iPhone oder Samsung? Netflix und andere zeitvertreibende Abos? Die Fitnessstudio-Mitgliedschaft, die du fast nie nutzt? Es gibt so viele Möglichkeiten, unsere Ausgaben einzuschränken, also kündige, was du nicht brauchst und ändere deine Gewohnheiten. Bei der Durchsicht deiner Ausgaben fallen dir vielleicht auch noch Abos auf, die du schon längst vergessen hast... Setze dir als zweites zum Ziel, alle noch bestehenden Schulden zu begleichen und nur noch im Rahmen deiner Mittel zu leben. Hör auf, ungebremst Kreditkarten zu benutzen und setze dir stattdessen ein monatliches Budget. Und drittens, falls du entschieden hast, deine materiellen Besitztümer zu vereinfachen: Verdien ein bisschen nebenbei, indem du unnötigen Kram bei eBay oder ähnlichen Anbietern verkaufst (alternativ kannst du den Kram oder den Erlös natürlich auch spenden). Falls du entschieden hast, dein Sozialleben zu vereinfachen, um dich auf Dinge wie deine Verbindung zur Natur, Spaziergänge oder Meditation zu konzentrieren, wird das deinem Bankkonto ebenfalls gut tun, denn die meisten dieser Aktivitäten sind kostenlos oder bedürfen nur geringer Ausgaben. 4. Ein einfaches Leben zu führen ist großartig für deine Gesundheit Ein einfacher Lebensstil kann auch vorteilhaft für deine körperliche und geistige Gesundheit sein. Eine 2014 im Journal of Personality and Social Psychology veröffentlichte Studie stellte eine Verbindung zwischen Materialismus (der Wertschätzung von Besitztümern und Geld) und schlechter geistiger Gesundheit fest. Das Team des Knox College in Illinois entdeckte auch eine noch stärkere Verbindung zwischen Materialismus und risikoreichem, gesundheitsschädlichem Verhalten, beispielsweise Rauchen, Alkohol- und Drogenkonsum. Es macht also Sinn, dass das Gegenteil, nämlich eine nicht-materialistische Einstellung zu haben, sich positiv für die Gesundheit auswirken kann. Diese Theorie wurde durch eine Umfrage der University of Sciences in Pennsylvania gestützt, die ergab, dass 90 Prozent der Menschen, die sich als Anhänger der Bewegung für ein einfaches Leben sehen, angaben, ihre körperliche Gesundheit habe sich nach ihrem Entschluss, weniger Geld zu verdienen, verbessert. Beinahe genauso viele Befragte behaupteten, dass sich auch ihre geistige Gesundheit gebessert habe. Der Grund dafür kann sein, dass ein einfaches Leben weniger Stress und mehr Ruhe bedeutet. Ein einfaches Leben auf dem Land © shutterstock/Monkey Business Images Diese Vorteile können durch mehr mit der Familie oder Freunden verbrachte Zeit, gesteigerte körperliche Aktivität und einen Karrierewechsel hin zu einer erfüllenderen und weniger geldorientierten Arbeit begründet sein. Außerdem ziehen die Menschen, die sich auf ein einfaches Leben konzentrieren oft weg aus städtischen Zentren aufs Land oder an die See, was in aller Regel auch gut für die Gesundheit ist. Eine Studie der University of Exeter aus dem Jahr 2012 zeigte, dass Küstenbewohner in Großbritannien gesünder sind als Stadtbewohner. Es wird angenommen, dass dies zum Teil an vermindertem Stress durch das Leben am Meer und mehr Möglichkeiten für körperliche Aktivität liegt. Die Küste bietet ebenfalls sauberere, gesündere Luft, die besseren Schlaf fördert (von dem wir wissen, dass er für gute geistige Gesundheit essentiell ist). Und generell gibt uns die Natur mit ihrer Atmosphäre und ihren Geräuschen und Gerüchen mehr positive Energie als Verkehrslärm und Abgase dies können 5. Ein einfaches Leben bedeutet gesteigerte Konzentration Materielle Besitztümer und soziale Verpflichtungen einzuschränken geht mit einer Verringerung von störenden Einflüssen und damit auch weniger körperlicher und mentaler Ablenkung einher. Während du dein Leben vereinfachst und häusliches Chaos durch viel zu viele Dinge beseitigst, schaffst du Raum, um zu atmen und dich sorgsamer auf das Wesentliche zu konzentrieren. Tatsächlich ist bewiesen, dass die Beseitigung von Unordnung in deinem Heim die Konzentration steigert. Forscher am Princeton University Neuroscience Institute haben die Auswirkung von Unordnung untersucht und die Ergebnisse im Journal of Neuroscience veröffentlicht. Sie zogen den Schluss, dass Unordnung in deinem Heim und deinem Arbeitsumfeld zu beseitigen die Fähigkeit, sich auf Informationen zu konzentrieren und sie zu verarbeiten, deutlich verbessert. Ihre Forschung zeigte auch, dass Menschen in ordentlichen Umgebungen sich weniger reizbar fühlen, produktiver und weniger häufiger abgelenkt sind. Nicht ohne Grund haben viele erfolgreiche Kreative einen ablenkungsfreien Arbeitsplatz. “ Einfach zu leben kann uns helfen, Sinn zu finden und spirituell zu wachsen, da es den Fokus von materiellen Besitztümern nimmt und uns hilft, nach innen zu blicken.” Dein Leben durch Fokussierung auf nur eine Aufgabe auf einmal zu vereinfachen, anstatt Multitasking zu betreiben, kann ebenfalls deine Konzentration steigern. Multitasking wurde als effektiv angepriesen, aber Psychology Today berichtet, dass es tatsächlich die Leistungsfähigkeit um bis zu 40 Prozent verringern kann. Viele von uns beschäftigen sich ständig mit verschiedenen Technologien: Im Durchschnitt alle 12 Minuten schauen wir auf unser Handy, was weitere Ablenkungen und Unterbrechungen hervorruft und unsere Fähigkeit uns zu konzentrieren beeinflusst. Entscheide dich, dein Leben zu vereinfachen, indem du diese Unterbrechungen reduzierst: Schalte soziale Medien ganz ab oder reduziere die Zeit, die du damit verbringst und schalte Push-Mitteilungen aus. 6. Ein einfaches Leben zu führen ist gut für die Umwelt Während die hier beschriebenen Vorteile für ein einfaches Leben für uns persönlich eindeutig sind, funktioniert ein einfaches Leben auch wunderbar für die weitere Umgebung. Es wurde bereits erforscht, dass, wenn jeder so viel konsumieren würde wie der durchschnittliche US Bürger, es vierer Erden bedürfe, um den Bedarf weiterhinzu decken. Weniger zu konsumieren und weniger materielle Besitztümer zu haben verringert die Menge an Abfall, die eine Person produziert. Es gibt in der Tat viele praktische Arten, auf die du deine Gewohnheiten ändern kannst, um einfacher zu leben und damit dir, deiner Umgebung und der Umwelt zu helfen. Ein guter Anfang ist damit gemacht, weniger Kleidung zu kaufen. Aufgrund von sich schnell wandelnder Mode (Stichwort: Fast Fashion) ist die Textilindustrie inzwischen eine der größten Umweltverschmutzer und Energieverbraucher über ihre gesamte Lieferkette. Und dazu kommen noch die menschenunwürdigen Arbeitsbedingungen in den meist ostasiatischen Herstellerländern. Fragen wir uns doch einfach mal: Wer verdient am meisten, wenn wir für ein trendiges Shirt nur 4,99 € bezahlen? Klare Antwort: Die Näher*innen sind es nicht mit ca. 0,18 € Stundenlohn. Wiederverwerte oder spende alte Kleidung © shutterstock/wavebreakmedia Wir kaufen heutzutage 400 Prozent mehr Kleidung als noch vor zwei Jahrzehnten. Circa 80 Milliarden Kleidungsstücke werden jährlich gekauft und die USA allein produziert jedes Jahr 11 Millionen Tonnen Textilabfall. Wähle also statt billiger Fast Fashion lieber Klamotten, die länger halten und die du, wenn sie nicht mehr passen in der Wertstofftonne entsorgen kannst. Und wenn du durch dein neues einfaches Leben mehr Zeit fürs Wesentliche hast, warum verarbeitest du deine abgelegte Kleidung nicht einfach weiter? Aus einem Shirt kann eine Einkaufstasche werden, aus einem Pulli ein cooler Kissenbezug und wirklich abgenutzte Baumwollklamotten haben ein zweites Leben als Putztücher. Es gibt auch viele andere Arten, durch die Einschränkung von Konsum und Abfallproduktion die Umwelt zu schützen. Zum Beispiel, indem du eine wiederverwendbare Flasche kaufst, anstatt in Wegwerfplastik zu “investieren”. Und erfreue dich an dem, was du bereits hast, statt dir immer die neueste Technik zu holen. Als Konsumenten denken wir nur selten über die Auswirkungen nach, wenn wir etwas kaufen. An die Arbeiter in den Fabriken zum Beispiel, die das Produkt hergestellt haben, die Reise des Produktes zum Geschäft, wie die Verpackung produziert wurde, etc. Ein einfaches Leben zu führen bedeutet, aufmerksamer auf das zu achten, was du konsumierst und über die Reise eines Produktes sowie die Auswirkungen auf die Umwelt nachzudenken, weshalb deine Einkäufe durchdachter sind. Du entwickelst das wichtige Gespür dafür, was tatsächlich sein muss und was du und die Umwelt nicht braucht. Fazit zum Thema “einfaches Leben“ Dem chinesischen Philosophen Konfuzius nach, ist “das Leben wirklich einfach, jedoch bestehen wir darauf, es kompliziert zu machen“. Dem muss ich zustimmen. Für mich ist klar, dass die wissenschaftlich erwiesenen Vorteile für ein einfaches Leben enorm sind und zu gesteigerter Zufriedenheit beitragen. Einfaches Leben und Nachhaltigkeit gehen Hand in Hand und eine gesündere Umwelt wird zu besserer Lebensqualität der kommenden Generationen führen. Wenn du ein einfaches Leben beginnst und lebst, dann sammelst du Erinnerungen und Erfahrungen statt Besitztümer und davon landet nichts in der Mülltonne! Geschrieben von Calvin Holbrook Calvin gestaltet unser englischsprachiges Magazin, er liebt schwimmen, Yoga zu praktizieren, zu House & Techno zu tanzen, und vor allem alles, was vintage ist! Und nebenher ist er auch noch ein grossartiger Kollagen-Künstler. Hier mehr von ihm.
  12. Welcome to happiness 🌱 Why don't you check out the Academy where you can find our free Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course along with many others that you might find interesting. I hope you'll find our community helpful! 🌈
  13. Chandi devi or devi mahatmaya is the goddess who is the another form of maa durga.She is the supreme goddess of power.chandi path is the unique way of worshipping goddess mahatmya involving powerful saptashati mantras. Recitation of mantras performed based on the troubles.She is the carrier of immense energy, power and stregngth that helps in conquering over all troubles and struggles of life. There are 700 mantras in this chandi path which are emphasized on solving various problems of life.Sahasatra chandi 1000 path is the much beneficial path which resolves life’s very serious problems. Perforeming chandi path also helps in eliminating problems like court cases, family issues, wealth, disputes and job, career etc.It is performed on the full moon day of the month, where all positive energies mixed each other.This puja cleans the ill effects of planetary motions. Advantages of chandi path - Remove the negative energies from your surroundings - Bestows you with the power of facing challenges and obstructions. - Reduces the chances of untimely death and increases the longevity of person. - Get rid of all harmful effects of witch crafts. - Cleans the mind, body and soul.
  14. Mangal denotes “mars”.Mars is the hottest planet in the solar system.Guru is the Dakshinamurthy who is the Devaguru power of knowledge and wisdom.He is the biggest planet in the solar system.These both important planets play a vital role in the every person’s life.Mars is the malefic planet and it incorporates ill characteristic in a human being.While Jupiter is the naturally a beneficial planet which produces auspicious things in a person’s life. Badly placed or misplaced of these planets in a person’s birth chart creates chaos and misfortunes in his/her life.It affects them severely like hindrance in marriage, no job, being childless, legal disputes and sudden losses in business.These two planets creates more unfavorable situations in a person’s life and make his/her life extreme difficulty. To nullify those negative effects of both planets, guru mangal puja is the best remedy.To neutralize those planets this puja is the best solution.Mnay individuals get trapped into legal cases due to mangal dosha or their 2nd, 3rd, 6th house is inflicted by malefic planets.Some people generally fall into this kind legal fights or others may be due to mistake of other people or betrayal of their friends or relatives. All these problems due to guru-mangal dosha in the chart of the natal.any kind of lawsuits involves huge amount of money and time which is wasted, and also created stress, anxiety and depression among the person who undergoing this. Guru-mangal puja relieves the person from the stress, tension and clears the path of winning the enemies. Benefits of Guru-mangal puja - Resolves the any kind of lawsuits and gains victory. - Destroys your enemies and like a protective shield for you. - Stops your enemies to do any harmful things against you. - Jupiter is the planet of justice, which grants you justice and win over the enemies of you. - Induces rational thinking and removes obstacles in the way of success
  15. Rahu is the head part of the spiritualsnake. It is the first shadow planet of the solar system. Invedic astrology rahu is considered as “North node” and cruel planet. It has great impact on all the beings and lives.It gives result based on the position it has been placed in a person’s birth chart.Rahu denotes desires,illusion,mystery,secrets,aspirations,ambitions.It is responsible for all the negative things happening in one’s life, cheated by friends and family, sudden loss in health and wealth. Ketu is the lower part of the spiritual snake. It is considered as South node in vedic astrology.Ketu denotes moksha, sudden gains, spiritualpursuits. He can create sudden loss of job, Legal disputes and family problems.ketu is the malefic planet can causes blocks in your journey of life, he can lead to sorrowful existence.He can create emotional disturbances and create problems in marital relationships if he is badly positioned in the birth chart of any person. To overcome the adverse effects of Rahu ketu malefic planets Rahu ketupuja can be performed.It helps in pacifying the harmful effects of the those two planets. While you can perform this puja at any time or any day, but performing puja during rahu kalam is considered to be auspicious one. Sunday and Tuesday are the best days to perform rahu ketu shanti puja as Sunday and Tuesday are the days considered to bebest for Rahu and Kethu Benefits of rahu ketu shanthi puja - Effective in reducing the ill-effects of the malefic Rahu and ketu. - It helps to alleviate the karmic debt (baggage in past life) of a person. - It helps to cure chronic diseasesand long standing problems. - Ability to overcome negative influences and or enemies. Resolves legal problems. - Enjoying the material comforts, prosperity and acquire a good level of concentration
  16. The word “Ayush” represents “Age” and the person who wishes for healthy long life/improving the longevitycan perform Ayusha homam. Ayush homam is the worship of “Ayurdevatha(God of life)”.If a person/child getting affected easily/ suffering of unhealthiness often or getting illness often can perform this puja. Ayush puja can be performed on the first birthday of child on the Janma nakshatara.It is believed that performing Ayush homam on theiroccasion of birthday eradicates all the health issues and evill effects on the child.The child will be blessed with good health and good long life.The Ayush Homam/puja is also performed during completion of the 60th birthday, 80th birthday & 100th year to earn the benevolence of longevity, relief from mental trauma and attain success. Ayush homam performed whether in temple or home, when the person came out from thesufferings of terminal illness or any ailment for longer days.In general, ayush homa performed once in a year/even multiple times which is to be effective in curing serious health ailments and will have a great impact on the mind and mental health of a person. Ayush homa is the powerful remedy to restore health and remove the bad yogas. Benefits of Ayush homam/puja · Performing this puja removes the bad or negative effects in the previous birth/past karma and improves the overall well being of the person. · Reduces the chances of accidents, major health threats, injuries and untimely death. · Eliminate the health related issues and physical stress in life. · Get relief from the chronic diseases and incurable illness. · Achieving success in both material and spiritual life. · Attain Positivity, sacredness, happiness and prosperity
  17. Hello my name is Mai-Mai Estrella I'm new here and also I''m struggle with math and other subjects because our topic is hard and I''m a student grade 9. im also feel depress and stress as well . How can I control my mindset sometime my minset thinks me negative thought I have mental disability. Epilepsy.
  18. Im new with this i just all need a exercise to make me feel no stress because of the online learning and many more of it so I also need a trainer for me actually im 19 i be 20 this october 4,2001 so to help me feel calm and relaxed is music but i need more exercise. and Im a JHS Student.
  19. There have been plenty of feel-good health and environmental stories in the press during August. Ed Gould rounds up his Top Ten from the past month to uplift and inspire. Not all of the news stories that hit the front pages were what you might call positive in August. However, there were plenty of news items that were undeniably rosy in their outlook. If you missed some of the good things that happened in the last month, then read on to discover some of the positivity from around the globe that you may have been yearning for. 1. IKEA moves into renewable energies IKEA may be one of the most recognisable Swedish brands around the world but it hasn't been associated with renewable energy – until now. The home furnishings retailer has entered the domestic renewable energy market, according to numerous international reports. The idea is to supply energy from renewable sources to Swedish consumers and then to break out into other European markets. IKEA already sell solar panels for home installation. 2. Cheap device developed to help breathing problems The world has seen a big rise in respiratory problems since the pandemic took hold but a new device being trialled in Uganda could improve the lives of many sufferers. It's hoped that this relatively cheap system will help people with a wide range of respiratory conditions more effectively and with a much lower cost than the main alternatives. As reported in the Engineer, the device is likely to be of most benefit in the developing world which has limited resources available for such treatments. 3. Mindfulness reduces COVID-related stress A report published in Medical Xpress suggested that people suffering from the mental health fallouts associated with the pandemic saw better outcomes if they practised mindfulness techniques. A group of volunteers was asked to take part in a daily ritual of mindfulness through an app that lasted as little as ten minutes. Those people who did the sessions every day reported a happier mood than those who did not in the control group. Crucially, those who were happier reported being less affected by COVID-related news. Staying mindful is proven to reduce COVID stress shutterstock/maxpetrov 4. Could we charge electric vehicles as we drive them? One of the drawbacks associated with electric cars is that they need longer to charge than refuelling at a pump. However, if they could be charged while driving, that could be a game changer. According to the automotive press, a German firm has developed a type of concrete that can be used for road surfaces which will charge electric vehicles as they pass over it. There's already a test bed in operation over a stretch of road which charges cars wirelessly via coils embedded in the road. It functions well over a distance of a quarter of a mile and could soon be upgraded. 5. Ecological steel being used commercially Making steel comes with an associated high energy cost. It's a material that's incredibly useful but steel makers have long sought more environmentally sound ways of producing it. In August the Swedish carmaker Volvo accepted its first batch of so-called green steel from a producer in the country. As reported in the Guardian, a company called Hybrit has managed to make steel of a commercial grade without burning any coal and it's hoped this will become the new way many steel makers produce it in the future. 6. Thailand takes steps to protect rare coral reefs The Kingdom of Thailand has placed an outright ban on the use of certain sunscreens in the entire country. This is because certain chemical agents in some of these products are known to damage corals. Given that corals are largely endangered globally, the move could set a precedent in that other countries will now follow. According to a report in Oceanographic, oxybenzone, butylparaben octinoxate and 4-methylbenzylidene camphor are the banned substances. People who are found to be applying a sunscreen with the forbidden chemical ingredients could now face a fine of over £2,000. The move follows a similar one in force in Hawaii. Protection of Thailand's coral reefs is being stepped up shutterstock/solarisys 7. Robot filters plastic particles from beaches efficiently A new robot has been developed that's said to be able to pick up tiny fragments of plastic from sandy beaches at a rate that's around 30 times more efficient than collection by hand. The so-called BeBot works down into the sand to collect plastic and other rubbish that's on the surface and beneath. Making use of on-board solar panels to power it, the robot is semi-autonomous and controlled by an operator who can be up to 300 metres way. According to Design Boom, plastic parts as small as 1cm wide can be sifted from beaches using the bot. 8. Exercise impact greater on depression A report in Science Daily highlighted a scientific study into physical activity and depression in August. According to the findings of the research, exercising does more to the brain than merely releasing endorphins that give the brain a sense of neural reward. The German researchers have found that physical activity increases the brain's ability to change itself. Although it's long been known that exercise reduces the severity of symptoms of chronic depression, it now seems that it can have a more deep-rooted and long-term effect, as well. Exercise is a great anti-depression tool Syda Productions 9. Illegal trawling halted by art in Italy In a model that could be repeated around the world, illegal trawling by fishermen has been stopped in an Italian bay because a conservationist there has placed sculptures beneath the waves. According to the Telegraph, the move has encouraged a raft of sea life to return to the Tuscan bay. This, along with the underwater artwork, has made the area more attractive to divers. However, it's also meant trawlers have stopped using the bay to fish in because their nets cannot slide easily over the statues. 10. Innovative cooling technology developed A professor in California has developed a type of radiator panel that's able to create a localised cooling effect. Simply by installing them nearby, it's possible to drop the temperature by around 12 degrees Celsius, a significant difference. What's more, unlike conventional air-conditioning systems, the technology requires no external power source. It works passively, a little like the large ears of animals that live in hot parts of the world that are used to radiate heat away naturally. According to a report in the National Geographic, this system could be a big player in the fight against climate change. • Written by Ed Gould Ed Gould is a UK-based journalist and practitioner of Reiki.
  20. Relaxing, fun, mood-enhancing: most of us have enjoyed the short-term benefits of drinking alcohol. But as Dee Marques discovers, many more of us are now choosing to quit alcohol all together due to the mental and physical health gains of living a teetotal life... You know that warm, fuzzy feeling that comes after having had a few? It can sometimes be hard to say no to the de-stressing effect alcohol, especially after a tough day – or a tough year. Truth is, moderate alcohol consumption has been proven to have a calming or even sedative effect. And that’s precisely why many people have made drinking alcohol a part of their daily routine. The problem is that there’s a fine line between 'moderate' and 'excessive', and in many countries, excessive drinking isn’t just tolerated, but also encouraged. For example, countries like the US and the UK are known for their drinking culture, since the consumption of alcohol is built into socialising. Indeed, in the UK, it’s estimated that nearly 25 per cent of adults drink more than the recommended daily units, and binge drinking is still a reality for 27 per cent of the population. And in the US, data show that 25 per cent of people over 18 engaged in binge drinking in the month before being interviewed. Recent lockdowns and pandemic-related stress have driven even more people to regular drinking, or to increasing the amounts of alcohol they consume. In a UK survey from July 2020, a third of the people admitted to having increased both the frequency and the amount of alcohol they drank during the country's first lockdown. However, there has also been a shift in attitudes to drinking. Since the mid-2000s, alcohol consumption has been falling, especially among the younger generations. In fact, Brits aged 65 and above are the heaviest drinkers, while 20 per cent of all adults claim to be non-drinkers, with those aged 16 to 24 being the largest group of teetotalers. “One of the greatest benefits of being teetotal is that your body builds its natural defences against disease. Quitting alcohol can reduce the risk of developing diabetes as well as cancer.” Also, the low-alcohol or alcohol-free beer and wine market is growing, which suggests a trend towards moderation. Sober September was created a while back to help more people experience the benefits of teetotal living. Need reasons to join the challenge? Here are some. Reasons to stop drinking To understand the benefits of teetotal living, we first need to know the consequences alcohol has on mind and body. The effects vary from person to person, depending on their age, health condition and tolerance to alcohol. But the effects exist, and they include: Physical short-term effects: Headaches Poor coordination, perception and reaction times Slurred speech and blurred vision. Nausea and vomiting. Drowsiness. Long-term effects can include: Hepatitis and cirrhosis. Heart disease and stroke. Cognitive problems affecting learning ability, blackouts and brain damage. Being teetotal means hangovers are a thing of the past shutterstock/Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley There are also mental health issues linked to frequent alcohol consumption, which include mood swings, disrupted sleep patterns, irritability and depression. Plus, frequent drinking is also felt in your wallet. The average UK family spends nearly £1,000 a year in booze, whereas some studies say the lifetime cost of drinking is approximately £50,000. In view of the disadvantages, it’s time to weigh the costs against the benefits of being teetotal. Nine long-term benefits of being teetotal The benefits of being teetotal are scientifically proven and include: 1. Improved sleep quality That night cap before bed is not as effective as it may seem. Instant relaxation is often followed by frequent awakenings through the night, since alcohol disrupts the sleep cycle by interfering with the hormones that regulate it. Once you remove that interference, you’re more likely to enjoy a full night of rest, although a third of heavy drinkers struggle with insomnia when they quit as part of the withdrawal process. But the struggle is worth it and we’ve written about the benefits of deep sleep meditation to help you get through this. 2. More energy Poor sleep and waking up feeling tired set the mood for the rest of the day. Quit alcohol to experience improved energy levels, which can also motivate you to achieve goals you had set aside just because you were too tired. 3. Clearer skin Alcohol interferes with the absorption of nutrients and can damage gut health. Once you quit, you give your digestive system a boost so it processes all vitamins and nutrients, which is reflected in skin health. And because alcohol causes dehydration, one of the benefits of being teetotal is a healthier and more youthful complexion. 4. Healthier weight When I started exercising regularly, I was surprised at how much my trainer emphasised that better and faster results would come if I didn’t drink alcohol at all. After all, alcoholic drinks are just empty calories responsible for abdominal obesity since they keep the body busy digesting those calories instead of burning fat. Quitting booze can you help make better food choices, as a study found that people are more likely to go for fatty foods after drinking. “Poor sleep and waking up feeling tired set the mood for the rest of the day. Quit alcohol to experience improved energy levels.” This handy calculator shows how much money and calories you could save if you gave up your usual alcohol intake. The figures can be quite shocking, even if you only have three or four alcoholic drinks per week, as in my case. It definitely makes you consider the benefits of being teetotal. 5. Better focus Being alcohol-free can improve cognitive abilities, from decision making to problem solving and enhanced concentration. This type of focus can also help get in touch with your creative side, which has health benefits in its own right. 6. Better mood Alcohol disrupts several mood-regulating hormones. Once you hormonal profile is stable, you’re less prone to depressive symptoms. Moreover, you can gain self-confidence knowing you have control over your mood and don’t need alcohol to feel better. Cutting out alcohol is a mood-booster shutterstock/Cookie Studio 7. Improved liver function We’ve already said that alcohol takes its toll on the liver. This is one of the body’s most important organs, since it supports the digestive system, is responsible for processing nutrients and eliminating toxins. Over the years, even moderate drinking can affect the liver’s ability to function normally. Fortunately, the liver can repair itself once it’s given a break from alcohol. It’s generally agreed that going alcohol-free for a month while eating healthily and exercising can help boost liver function. 8. Reduced risk of disease One of the greatest benefits of being teetotal is that your body builds its natural defences against disease. Studies show that quitting alcohol can reduce the risk of developing diabetes as well as various types of cancer and heart disease. 9. Connect with your true strong self Drinking is the go-to coping mechanism for many people. But is it really a good strategy? Resorting to alcohol to feel better could actually be getting in the way of your self-development. On the other hand, one of the benefits of teetotal living is that it may prompt you to dig deep into the resources you already have or could have to become stronger in the face of adversity. 30 days to experience the benefits of teetotal living Being alcohol-free can help your body function at its best, reduce the risk of disease and contribute to a more stable mood. I don’t drink much, but I’m curious about what would happen if I didn’t drink at all. So, as it's Sober September, I’ll be trying to stay alcohol-free to experience the benefits of living a teetotal life. Will you join me? • Main image: shutterstock/wavebreakmedia happiness.com | The fine art of being: learn, practice, share Are you a happiness.com member? Sign up for free now to enjoy: ■ our happiness magazine with practical life tips ■ share and support others in our happiness forum ■ self-develop with free online classes in our happiness Academy Gut health | Healthy habits | Anxiety Written by Dee Marques A social sciences graduate with a keen interest in languages, communication, and personal development strategies. Dee loves exercising, being out in nature, and discovering warm and sunny places where she can escape the winter.
  21. When we are stuck making a decision, inner turmoil or conflict often arises, leading to both mental and physical health issues. Psychologist Stanislava Puač Jovanović explains the reasons for inner turmoil and the five steps you should take to move past it. For most of my adolescence and adulthood, I felt conflicted about where to live. My mother is from one country, and my father was from another. When I was 14, they divorced. Suddenly, my family was scattered across Europe. So, my inner turmoil started. Where – or rather with whom – to live was a burning question during the period of my parent’s divorce. The same issue arose when I had to pick a high school, then college — and after graduation when I was supposed to get a job. In fact, battling inner turmoil didn’t truly leave my side until recently. And I do not exclude the option of it becoming current again at some point in the future! Inner turmoil is everyone’s known (and rather unpleasant) companion. It does not matter if you are picking a shirt or a spouse. Internal conflicts are usually inseparable from the decision-making process. Therefore, we have little choice but to accept their presence. We can, however, understand inner turmoils and learn how to resolve the chaos they tend to cause. In this article, I'll explain: What inner turmoil is and what adversities may come with it What causes inner turmoil How to move past it First, let us get to know inner turmoil and why it might be the wrong place for you to stay for too long. What is inner turmoil and why is it bad? Inner turmoil is not, strictly speaking, a phrase that psychologists would use. However, it describes the experience very well. The term that is used in academic psychology is inner or internal conflict. Internal conflict is one of the prime notions of psychoanalysis. Sigmund Freud described conflicts as a consequence of the coexistence of two or more incompatible elements in a person’s psyche. These elements can be your needs, wants, beliefs, expectations, actions — conscious or unconscious. Simply put, two forces are clashing inside of you. Inner turmoil can cause mental and physical health problems It could be that there are two (or more) options that seem alluring. This is the “easiest” of the conflicts. For example, you could be courted by two people who both attract you. However, by virtue of the situation, when you pick one, you lose the other. Adding to the ordeal is a common effect — the option you dismissed will start looking more appealing. Double-avoidance conflict is a more difficult one because you must choose between two unfavourable options. For example, you might need to decide if you want to be unemployed and broke or accept a job you hate. Approach-avoidance conflict is something you experience when one option has qualities that both attract and repel you. Moving to a city that you do not like but that offers a better professional outlook is a good example. Or dating someone who you are physically attracted to but whose personality you are unsure of. The problem with this sort of inner turmoil is that the more you approach the option, the more the anxiety grows. On the other hand, the more you move away from it, the more you start to desire it. Why can inner turmoil be bad for you? As I said before – inner turmoils are not something we can avoid. They are a part of our lives. However, staying in one for too long can be bad for you. Why? When you are not at peace with yourself and do not understand your preferences, you will probably have a hard time getting along with others. Inner conflicts and ambivalent desires transfer to your close relationships. “Moving past inner turmoil means making a move. Whether it is a psychological change or an enacted decision, something has to happen.” Inner turmoil in which you are not clear about your role and identity, as a theoretical paper demonstrated, can make you underperform in negotiations in business. Any other sort of negotiations, it may be added, can be affected by your inability to decide which position and role you are taking. When in internal conflict, you might find yourself unable to move forward. Research confirmed that when you are ambivalent, regardless of how much power in a situation you may have, you will probably remain inert and avoid action. Furthermore, inner turmoil may lead to a range of emotional and physical disturbances. Irritable bowel syndrome, for example, has been found to be associated with internal conflicts. In particular, you may be at risk of the syndrome if you feel uneasy about being emotionally open and expressing your feelings. What causes inner turmoil? Remember my example from the beginning of the article? As I was born and spent most of my life in my father’s homeland, I felt more at home there. On the other hand, it was wiser to move to my mother’s homeland as it has incomparably better living standards. Not to mention wanting to be with my little sister, who was four at that point. Understandably so, a long list of problems and issues (logistical and emotional) intertwined with the whole situation. In short, it was a hot mess. And, my inner turmoil was equally as intense. What caused it was too many elements of the situation that did not align with each other. Conflicting needs, beliefs, actions and expectations cause internal turmoil. According to the classic psychoanalytic theory, our Ego has to serve three masters. It has to find a way to reconcile the external world’s demands, instinctual needs and desires (Id), and the ethical and moral principles we acquired growing up (Super-Ego). Needless to say, there is rarely harmony between these masters. Inner turmoil: our ego has to serve three masters shutterstock/Pixel4Images So, inner turmoil arises. You simultaneously want and do not want something. Your longings might clash with your principles. You know that one option is rational, but your heart desires another. Many elements interweave, and you end up in a state of internal chaos. It is an entirely natural position, a part of being a human. You could, for example, be in an utterly unhappy marriage. However, you were raised to consider a divorce something outright wrong. Your need to feel psychologically well and your ethical beliefs oppose each other. You might long to do something creative in life and be an artist, but you feel pressured to meet your family’s hopes and find an office job. Your true desires and wish to please your loved ones’ expectations clash. Or, you have needs that do not match social norms in your culture, like sexual orientation. The authentic You is not in line with society’s standards, and an inner turmoil is born. “Once you have committed to leaving the state of turmoil, help yourself decide what you want and what you will do.” You might find yourself falling for your friend or a coworker. You yearn to make a move, but it poses a risk of losing them and destroying the existing relationship. Your feelings conflict with your desire to maintain the safety of what you have now. You may be torn between your roles of an individual, child, parent, friend, professional, spouse, and the desires and expectations that come with those roles. How to move past inner turmoil If you're wondering how I resolved the conflict of where to live — I had to make a choice. I was compelled to do so when external circumstances called for it (the divorce, the schooling). But, the time came when I did not have to make a choice — I could merely succumb to inertia and avoid making any commitment. And I did for a while. Nonetheless, I could not keep dodging a decision forever. Moving past inner turmoil means making a move. Whether it is a psychological change or an enacted decision, something has to happen. Otherwise, you remain stuck within the whirlpool of conflicting needs and perspectives. Here's what you can do to start dealing with internal conflict: 1. Understand the turmoil Clinical practice shows that you need to explore the symptoms of the conflict — how is it manifested and in what situations do you notice it? What emotions and beliefs are keeping it alive? What rigidities in your mind are preventing you from leaving the conflict behind you? How do you usually try to cope with it? Knowing your most profound traits and desires (even the dark ones) is a must of authentic living and a prerequisite for resolving any inner conflict. 2. Make a decision As I've explained, one of the adversities of inner turmoils is a tendency for inertness they may throw you into. Give yourself enough time to contemplate — but do not procrastinate. Bring yourself to make a move. Fear of change, dread of making a wrong choice, feeling lost in life, or undefined anxiety are perfectly understandable reactions. However, putting a decision off is a sort of self-sabotage. So, promise yourself you are going to move ahead — and do so. Making a choice is essential to escape inner conflict shutterstock/ESB Professional 3. Facilitate the choice Once you have committed to leaving the state of turmoil, help yourself decide what you want and what you will do. Talk to friends, a psychotherapist or a coach, make pros and cons lists — whatever works. 4. Stop feeding the conflict When you have deciphered what has caused your inner turmoil and what you want to do about it, stop adding to the anxiety it causes. For example, if you want to get a divorce, stop evoking the thoughts of how “wrong” it is to do so that your parents or culture imposed on you. 5. Believe in yourself We often feel hindered by self-doubt. You might want to apply for your dream job but are reluctant because you doubt you are good enough. Give yourself plenty of self-love and practise self-compassion. You can do it. Even if you make a wrong choice, you are capable of mending the damage. Takeaway: inner turmoil can also be seen as a hint Internal conflicts are anything but a pleasant experience. A quote from Søren Kierkegaard’s ‘Either/Or’ illustrates the anguishing nature of human lives: “Hang yourself, you will regret it; do not hang yourself, and you will also regret that; hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret both; whether you hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret both.” Now, Kierkegaard was a philosopher, hence the hanging. Yet, if you translate the idea to any other choice, the message is clear. Whatever we chose and do, we will probably end regretting it and up believing that the other option was better. However, it does not mean that we are doomed to despair about missed opportunities and errors we made. Instead, approach your inner turmoil as a hint. Something is going on inside of you, and you need to figure it out. Embrace internal conflicts as a call from your unconscious mind to explore your soul. Use it as a beacon. Let it guide you towards knowing yourself — and making decisions that follow your authentic nature and needs. • Main image: shutterstock/ArtFamily happiness.com | The fine art of being: learn, practise, share Are you a happiness.com member? Sign up for free to enjoy: ■ our happiness magazine with practical life tips ■ sharing and supporting others in our happiness forum ■ developing with free online classes in our Academy Authenticity | Self-help | Coaching | Kindness Written by Stanislava Puač Jovanović Stanislava Puač Jovanović has a master’s degree in psychology and works as a freelance writer and researcher in this area. Her primary focus is on questions relating to mental health, stress-management, self-development and well-being.
  22. Volunteering is a rewarding experience that can unlock a host of benefits. James Frew explains why he started volunteering for the Samaritans helpline in the UK after experiencing his own health struggles and how it's changed his life for the better. There are many different reasons you might choose to volunteer. Some people enjoy the community focus – helping out in their local area, or joining a group of like-minded people. Others decide to spend their time with specific organizations or groups due to their own personal experiences. This was my path to volunteering. In 2014 I experienced the most challenging year of my life. I had been recently diagnosed with a disabling chronic health condition, and some situations related to my illness meant that I woke up every day unwell, stressed and highly anxious. In fact, my symptoms were so severe at the time that I could barely leave the house. I felt isolated and alone. However, I was extremely fortunate to have a close support network in my partner and our families. They offered emotional, practical and financial support when I needed it most. Despite this, I'd still sit alone in our flat some days upset and distressed, and my outlook felt, at times, bleak. But then there were moments where I could see how different things might have been. It was then I made a decision that I would be there for those who weren't in as fortunate a position as I had been. So, in late 2017, I sent an inquiry to join the emotional support charity Samaritans as a Listening Volunteer. What does Samaritans do? Samaritans offers support to anyone in emotional distress, though it is best known for its suicide prevention work. The service is anonymous and confidential, so that you can speak candidly without judgment. It's often hard, if not impossible, to talk openly to friends, family or colleagues about our thoughts and troubles, so Samaritans offers you a space to go through whatever is on your mind. Helpline volunteering is a rewarding experience shutterstock/Krakenimages.com After submitting my application, I attended an information hour where current volunteers talked about the service and general expectations. From there, I was invited to join the Listener training program. Even before officially becoming a volunteer, this training made an enormous impact on me. Every Tuesday evening for several weeks, I'd go to one of the charity's offices and get specialized training and practice with role plays. In day-to-day life, we all too often start conversations but spend most of the time thinking about what we're going to say next. The primary focus of the training is learning to listen, not just in a superficial way but to fully appreciate what the other person is saying. Learning how to use mindful listening has been one of the most lasting benefits of volunteering for me. The quality of my relationships has improved, and I now approach each conversation with more curiosity than I used to. Once equipped with the essential skills for the role, I was brought on as a listening volunteer. Learning to be a better listener If you've heard of Samaritans, you will likely know about its 24/7 freephone line, 116 123 (UK). You can also contact the volunteers via email using jo@samaritans.org or on the recently-launched live web chat service. The way someone gets in touch might change, but the approach is the same — to treat the caller with empathy. As someone who makes a living from written communication, you may think I would have had an easier time with emails and webchat. To a degree, that's been true. But then again, you could craft a technically-impeccable email but still find that what you wrote doesn't isn't what the caller needs. Indeed, without the audible tones of a phone call, it can be hard to get a sense of the caller's state of mind. “Learning how to use mindful listening has been one of the most lasting benefits of volunteering for me. The quality of my relationships has improved, and I now approach each conversation with more curiosity.” As a result, it's essential to learn how to ask questions and ensure that the words you use are carefully thought through. Part of this is placing yourself in the caller's position and imagining the email through their eyes. This has been a significant development for me, personally and professionally. Samaritans volunteer and journalist James Frew Due to living with chronic illness, I work from home and mostly get to know my coworkers through Slack and emails. As part of a remote business, you interact with a diverse team, and everybody's life experiences are different. The thoughtful way we approach digital communication at Samaritans has helped me build better professional and individual relationships with my coworkers, despite not meeting them in person or even speaking to them on a video call. Who contacts Samaritans? A volunteer shift means going into the local branch to work five-hours with a small team of other volunteers. Although requirements vary by branch, I work two daytime shifts per month and one overnight period every five weeks. Alongside volunteers from across the country, we respond to emails, answer phone calls and talk to some people in person. Every call or contact is different, and you give your full attention to each person. They get in touch for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, a specific event has brought on intense short-term stress that they need to vent. Perhaps longer-term circumstances are affecting their lives. Then there are the emotionally intense calls as well. Samaritans volunteers listen and don't judge shutterstock/Dirk Hudson As a volunteer, you have to develop a way to draw a line under each contact when the call ends. This helps clear your mind before answering another call or responding to an email. But it's also crucial for your own well-being, as you will likely never know what happens next in a caller's life. Calls, emails and chats are routed to the next available volunteer across the country, so the chances of you receiving a follow-up or later call are incredibly remote. The point of difference with Samaritans versus other support services is that we don't offer advice. There's no judgment on your situation either, so people are, generally, much more open than they might otherwise be. Consequently, the callers share their most intimate experiences, and some of these can be shocking or upsetting. Fortunately, you don't have to deal with this on your own. Volunteers support each other The other volunteers on the shift support each other, so you essentially get to talk to a Samaritans volunteer about the call you just had. There's a team expressly set up for this purpose if you want to speak to someone outside of your shift. While every volunteer cares deeply about the service and their fellow listeners, I've felt very lucky to have worked with some incredibly supportive and empathetic people. During every shift I know that we'll look out for each other. Whether that's a post-call chat, a second set of eyes on an email, or sharing experiences, we feel connected by the circumstances we're in. This rapport isn't unique to Samaritans, either. A study by the Centre for Economic Performance, published in May 2021, found that those who volunteered for the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic reported higher life satisfaction, social connectedness and a sense of belonging. In fact, the researchers noted that the social benefits of volunteering were at least 140 times greater than the cost of operating the NHS Volunteer Responder scheme. “Spending my time volunteering is incredibly rewarding; supporting even a single person through a tough time is worth every moment.” You might think it'd only be the most challenging calls you need a sympathetic ear for, but there are also those times that a caller's situation resonates with you personally. After a few years of volunteering, I answered the phone to a caller whose life experience so mirrored mine that I became pretty emotional during the call — although I was sure not to let it show it at the time. After ending the call, I spent some time offloading my past to another volunteer. Supporting others through volunteering is rewarding shutterstock/Andy Dean Photography Following this, I was still quite shaken and took a break away from the computer, as it's crucial that we feel able to give 100 per cent to each caller. Until that point, I'd only really spoken to a few close friends about my own personal events of 2014, and the catharsis of getting to talk to someone else, who listened entirely and genuinely cared, without offering any advice, was quite intense and, frankly, relieving. Of course, I didn't go into this work to improve my psychological state, but it was one of the unexpected benefits of volunteering that I was immensely grateful for. More than anything, I feel lucky to be there for people when they need someone to talk to. I vividly remember how lonely everything felt during my worst days, and it makes me glad that Samaritans offers them a place to turn to. The benefits of volunteering Those that get in touch with Samaritans and similar organizations let us into their lives, knowing that we will listen to them without judgement. They share some of their most private experiences and thoughts, which they may not have discussed with anyone before. It's a privilege to get to be on the other end of the line. I'd continue volunteering for that alone, but the experience has been so worthwhile on a personal level, too. Spending my time volunteering is incredibly rewarding; supporting even a single person through a tough time is worth every moment. • happiness.com | The fine art of being: learn, practise, share Are you a happiness.com member yet? Sign up for free now to enjoy: ■ our happiness magazine with practical life tips ■ share and support others in our happiness forum ■ develop with free online classes in our happiness Academy Resilience | Acceptance | Courage Written by James Frew James is a freelance writer based in the UK with a focus on consumer technology, mental health, well-being, and sustainability. When not writing, he's usually listening to podcasts, enjoying music, or going for a walk. You can find all his work on Campsite.bio and follow him on Twitter.
  23. Ugh I'm definitely someone who's struggled a lot with indecisiveness lol It's like I have to explore ALL possible options before I make a decision, and have a strange fear of ending up regretting the choice made. I usually can't decide what food to get from a menu, or which ice cream flavours to go with, and I think I get blocked from the stress of having to pick NOW! If I'm looking to make a big decision on things that are actually really important I find it easier to decide and am way less indecisive. I can spend time researching options and I guess that gives me peace of mind and a feeling of control. It's also funny that even though I'm indecisive with my own choices, it's easy to advise someone else who can't decide what to do!
  24. Recently pictured knitting at the Olympics, champion diver Tom Daley has put crochet and yarn back in the public eye. Keen knitter Dee Marques looks at the health benefits of this now-popular pastime – from reducing anxiety and depression to improving cognitive function... Two years ago, I was browsing a crafts store website when something caught my eye. All I saw was a beautifully vibrant teal colour, and then I realised it was yarn. I really wanted to have that colour in my life, so I thought that if that meant learning to knit, so be it! I ordered the yarn, found some YouTube tutorials, and I haven’t stopped knitting since. In fact, it turns out that my experience is quite common. Knitting is going through a revival, and people of all ages are turning to the craft and falling in love with it – and the benefits it brings to their health! Let's look at why this skill is so popular again and at some interesting health advantages knitting can bring you. How knitting became hip When people think about knitting, they usually picture an old lady sitting in a rocking chair and making a pair of thick and furry socks! Well, although old ladies do, of course, still knit, this old-fashioned stereotype is gradually being replaced by a new reality: knitting is no longer just a “housewifey” thing to do. Knitting is proven to reduce both stress and anxiety Indeed, knitting is fast-shedding its fuddy-duddy image. Over the past few years it has gone from being seen as something traditional to something radical. Now, knitting is no longer associated with domesticity, but rather with a creative activity for men and women of all ages. For example, Facebook is full of knitting groups for guys, such as Men Who Knit. And the list of celebrities who are into knitting includes Russell Crowe, Christina Hendricks or more recently, Olympic bronze medallist Tom Daley – you may have spotted him in the crowd recently darning away during a swimming competition. “Knitting is going through a revival, and people of all ages are turning to the craft and falling in love with it – and the benefits it brings to their health.” A quick online search reveals lots of knitting clubs, as well as an endless Instagram feed where people from all over the world show off their skills and new creations. Some designers have started featuring incredibly creative knit garments that show how knitting is a match for unconventional personalities. Diver Tom Daley and one of his creations Instagram/madewithlovebytomdaley Furthermore, knitting has experienced a huge surge in popularity since the start of the pandemic. As millions of us found ourselves stuck at home with nothing to do due to lockdowns, knitting became a great way to learn a new skill and pass the time while doing something both creative and productive. In fact, during the past 18 months knitting stores have experienced a massive increase in sales and a surge in social media followers! Practical advantages of knitting So, before getting into the health benefits of knitting, here are some reasons why it's such a cool hobby to have: It’s affordable. You can get started with just a few knitting needles, yarn, and a couple of stoppers. If you don’t want to buy them new, charity shops have tons of knitting goodies at low prices. In fact, I was able to get started by spending just £5! I found a few used needles at a second-hand store, and a neighbour gave me her kit, which she didn’t use anymore due to arthritis. You can knit at home – and everywhere else you want. I made myself a pouch for my knitting tools and I make sure to always have it in my bag. That way, I can make progress on whatever I’m working on when I’m waiting at the GP surgery or at any other place where I know I have a long wait ahead of me. You don't need much space. When you start knitting, you’ll need to follow patterns. Unlike sewing patterns, which can be huge and take up a lot of space, knitting patterns can be easily downloaded from websites and they barely cover more than an A4-sized piece of paper. And there are plenty of free patterns, too! Knitting is useful! Fancy a pair of fingerless gloves in your favourite colour? You can make them in one day. Want to make someone a handmade gift? Then knit a scarf, a beanie hat or a wash cloth. When it comes to the practical side of knitting, nothing beats knowing that you can make your own clothes and accessories. The knitting community is friendly and supportive. Everyone knows what it’s like to be a beginner. Six key health benefits of knitting The health benefits of knitting are mostly linked to mental health. But since mind and body are closely connected, the health benefits of knitting could also extend to physical well-being. Here are six potential advantages. 1. Reduce stress and anxiety This is one of the greatest health benefits of knitting and the first to be noticed. Once you get “in the zone” (and you will know when this happens!), knitting grabs all your attention and you become so absorbed in working row after row, that it takes your mind away from other worries. For me, knitting is synonymous with serenity, reducing both my anxiety and stress. RELATED: Flow state and happiness – how to achieve it 2. Improved cognitive function At first sight, it may seem that knitting is a simple and repetitive activity. But alternating your knit and purl stitches stimulates brain function. Studies carried out in older adults have shown that this type of productive mental engagement can benefit cognitive skills, including memory and reasoning. Linked to this, some research suggests that the cognitive demands of knitting can also reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia, as it keeps the brain cells fired up. More men than ever are discovering the health benefits of knitting shutterstock/Elmur 3. Boost self-confidence and help with depression Knitting means creating something, and it’s empowering to go from being a consumer to being a producer. This gives knitters a boost of confidence and a feeling of accomplishment when seeing their work progress. Indeed, there’s a feeling of fulfilment involved in being able to wear or use what you made – doing something with your hands has healing power! And while we all know clinical depression requires professional support, studies have shown that knitting has can take negative thoughts off the mind and release serotonin, which helps fight depressive states. 4. A different type of mindfulness practice Knitting requires focus and concentration in the present, one stitch at the time. This craft has been called “the new yoga”, since every knitting session is a great opportunity to disconnect from the outside world, slow down, and focus. Does this sound familiar? Yes, it’s very similar to mindfulness, and so the health benefits of knitting are also similar. “Studies have shown that knitting can take negative thoughts off the mind and release serotonin, which helps fight depressive states.” Some people compare knitting to meditation and have even coined a new term for it: medknitation. Instead of repeating a mantra or focusing on their breathing, some knitters concentrate on the repetitive flow of knitting and are able to achieve a similar meditative state. The teacher of happiness.com's MBSR course, Tine Steiss is an avid knitter and keen proponent of the hobby due to its many benefits: "Knitting keeps my hands busy and this is beneficial in two situations: I can listen more deeply, be it in a meeting, in a conversation or with an audio book or podcast. I don't then reach for my mobile phone, a snack or some other form of distraction. RELATED: How to practise Niksen – the art of doing nothing “But knitting also helps me relax, or in other words, it's an excuse to relax. When my hands are busy, the brain no longer searches for things that need to be done. Unlike mindfulness meditation, where I am actively exercising the brain in a form of focused stillness, when I am knitting, the brain is casually chilling on the couch.” Happy knits from designer Lizzie Kaya Instagram/gimme_kaya 5. The feel-good effect Knitting can be frustrating when you’re a beginner. It took me a while to figure out how to undo mistakes, and until that happened, I was annoyed every time I got a stitch wrong. But it’s also incredibly rewarding. Seeing the progress of your work, gaining self-confidence, and being relaxed are all states that trigger dopamine. This substance is known as the feel-good hormone, and it has a beneficial effect on body and mind. The release of dopamine can help regulate mood, sleep, digestion, blood flow, and many other important functions that contribute to the fabulous health benefits of knitting. RELATED: Happiness hormones – the neurochemicals of happiness 6. Sense of control Most of us have felt things getting out of control over the past year or so. Instead of dwelling on the negative state of things, choosing to spend time doing something over which you do have control can help improve your well-being. Start with an easy project so that you can experience that wonderful feeling of being in control of what can be controlled. To sum up, knitting is another coping tool you can add to your arsenal. Emotional well-being is one of the health benefits of knitting that everyone should experience. The takeaway: why knitting benefits your health The therapeutic effects of knitting range from reduced stress to better cognitive functioning, self-confidence, and the ability to focus on the present. You can experience the health benefits of knitting whether your knit alone or as part of a group. It doesn’t take much to get started, and once you get hooked, you’ll never look back! ● Main image: shutterstock/Samo Trebizan Are you a keen knitter? What benefits does it give you? Share your thoughts and designs with the happiness.com community in the comments below... happiness.com | The fine art of being: learn, practice, share Are you a happiness.com member? Sign up for free now to enjoy: ■ our happiness magazine with practical life tips ■ share and support others in our happiness forum ■ self-develop with free online classes in our happiness Academy Stress management | Sculpturing | Dementia | Painting Written by Dee Marques A social sciences graduate with a keen interest in languages, communication, and personal development strategies. Dee loves exercising, being out in nature, and discovering warm and sunny places where she can escape the winter.
  25. What is Food Yoga Food Yoga is defined as, “a discipline that honours all spiritual paths by embracing their core teaching – that food in its most pure form is divine and, therefore, an excellent medium for expressing our unconditional love and purifying our consciousness. “ Food is an integral part of live, it is the first and foremost essential things that helps to sustain life. One can use food as a tool to achieve progress spiritually - maintaining healthy and pure eating habit is a key to successful spiritual life. Food Yoga is all about employing as much techniques possible to make your food pure and healthy and more than that, divine. Food and God In Hindu religion, the practice of offering food to God is very common. The food that is offered to God is referred as, ‘Naivedhya’. The naivedhya is prepared using pure ingredients and are cooked by trained cooks. The naivedhya offering is not same for all the gods, they differ from deity to deity. For example, modhak is offered to Lord Ganesh and urad vada is offered to Lord Hanuman. The neivedhya offered to the Lord is referred as, ‘Prasad’. The prasad is distributed amongst the devotees. Food and Spirituality Hindu religious scriptures prescribe sattvic food for spiritual development. Like men, food too is classified as Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamsic foods. Depending on their character, foods influence people, sattvic foods promote spiritual leaning whilst food with rajasic qualities boost worldly desires and tamsic food makes you lazy and addicted to senses. Examples of Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamsic foods Sattvic foods They are the purest form of food. Sattvic foods calm the mind, rejuvenate body, and improves your spiritual inclination. Benefits of Sattvic Foods · They reduce chronic disease risks · Sattvic food helps to lose weight · They promote longevity · Aid physical and mental strength · Are easy to digest List of sattvic foods Below is a list of well-known sattvic food items falling under various food categories. 1. Vegetables: Spinach, Carrots, Celery, Potatoes, Broccoli, Kelp, Lettuce, and Peas. 2. Fruits: Apples, Bananas, Papaya, Mangoes, Cherries, Melons, Peaches, and Guava. 3. Juice : Fresh Fruits Juice, Carrot Juice, Spinach Juice, and Bitter Gourd Juice. 4. Grains: Barley, Amaranth, Bulgur, Millet, Quinoa, Wild Rice, and Maize. 5. Nuts and Seeds: Walnuts, Almonds, Peanuts, Pecans, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Unsweetened Coconut, and Flax Seeds. 6. Oils: Olive Oil, Sesame Oil, Flax Oil, Mustard Oil, and Ghee. 7. Dairy products: Cow Milk, Yogurt, Cheese, Coconut Milk, and Cashew Milk. 8. Legumes and Beans: Lentils, Moong Beans, Chickpeas, and Bean Sprouts. 9. Beverages: Water, Non-caffeinated Drinks, and Herbal Tea. 10. Spices and herbs: Coriander, Basil, Nutmeg, Cumin, Fenugreek, and Turmeric, and Ginger. 11. Sweets: Honey and Jaggery. Rajasic foods Rajasic food is believed to be stimulating in nature and may cause physical and emotional stress. Too much of rajasic diet may make life imbalanced. Effects of Rajasic foods · It overstimulates the mind and body. · Can lead to hyperactivity. · Contributes to the overexertion of the body. · Can cause stress, and anxiety. · Can make a person angry. List of Rajasic foods Below is a list of popular rajasic food items falling under various food categories. 1. Vegetables: Eggplant, Onions, Capsicum (Bell Peppers), Leeks, Hot Peppers (Chilis), Potatoes, Radishes, Sea Vegetables, Sprouts, Tomatoes, and Cauliflower. 2. Fruits: Dates (dried), Guava, Lime, Lemon, Apple, and Banana. 3. Grains: Millet, Corn, Buckwheat, Oats, and Parboiled Grains. 4. Nuts and Seeds: Hemp Seeds, Peanuts, Sprouts, and Sunflower Seeds. 5. Oils: Avocado Oil, Hemp Oil, Peanut Oil, and Sunflower Oil. 6. Dairy products: Fresh Cheeses, Cottage Cheese, Egg, and Yogurt. 7. Legumes and Beans: Yellow Dal, Kidney Beans, Navy Beans, and Red Lentils. 8. Beverages: Coffee, Caffeinated Teas, Decaf Tea, and Coffee. 9. Spices and herbs: Asafoetida (Hing), Cayenne, Chili, Black Pepper, Garlic, and Salt. 10. Other: All fermented food, Ice Cream, Olives, Salt, Vinegar, Commercial Almond, Hemp or Rice Milk, all Caffeine. Tamasic foods Tamasic food is not good for body and soul. Intake of tamasic food leads will cause harm to humans in all possible ways. Effects of Tamasic foods · Causes stagnation in thinking · Is a source laziness and lethargy · Results in intense mood swings · Would reduce life span List of tamasic foods Below is a list of well-known sattvic food items falling under various food categories. 1. Vegetables: Mushrooms, Pumpkin, Onion, and Garlic. 2. Fruits: Plums, Watermelons, Avocado, Apricots, and all over-ripe fruits. 3. Grains: Wheat, Rice, extensively refined grains, dried and packaged Pasta. 4. Nuts and Seeds: All old or exposed to light, Chia Seeds. 5. Oils: Vegetable Oil, Rapeseed Oil, Canola Oil, and all older than 1 year or rancid. 6. Legumes and Beans: Urad Dal, Black Dal, Pink Dal, and all canned items. 7. Sweets: Artificial sweeteners, White Sugar and refined sugars. 8. Others: Alcohol, all animal flesh (Beef, Chicken, Fish, Goat, Lamb, Pork, Shellfish), barbecued or blackened food, food with preservatives or synthetic ingredients, deep-fried food, frozen food, leftovers, condiments, smoked food, microwaved food. Knowing what to eat is an important step in practising Food Yoga. Now that you have learnt the same, it is time for you to put it into practice.
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