Our mental and physical health is of the upmost importance. It is very easy to eat junk food all the time or slip into an unhappy mood that just will not go away. Our brains are powerful things and have many ways of dealing with stress and keeping us happy and our bodies can take some abuse as long as we don't overdo it! Here I look at some ways of helping our general wellbeing.
The happier we are, the healthier we are in mind and body so there is good reason to nurture feelings of happiness. Happier people are more productive and their happy mood rubs off on those around them.
There is clear evidence that once we're above the poverty line, having extra money brings us very little extra joy in life. Even millionaire lottery winners return to their original level of happiness within a few months of their windfall. Some people believe that beauty equals happiness but in fact beautiful people find little extra happiness in looking drop-dead gorgeous. It seems that Mother Nature has given each of us a clear self-motivating mechanism which means that rich or poor, young or old, pretty or plain, we can all feel a sense of joy in striving and actively moving our life forward.
Our attitude to our past present and future needs to be controlled to help stay happy. Feeling bad about a painful past is a sure-fire way to feel down. To value the good times is far more productive and doing this for just five minutes every day can help boost your happiness levels. Waiting for some impossible dream to come true can mean failing to make the most of the present.
One of the keys to happiness lies in identifying personal strengths and building on these in different areas of your life. It can be useful to ask a couple of close friends to help you compile a list of your strengths. Reduce the list to your top five and put them to use as often as possible.
Taking vigorous exercise for 45 minutes three times a week has been shown on average to be equally as effective as taking anti-depressants. Try and get outdoors into the fresh air every day. An hour of bright sunshine is known to lift our spirits.
If you want to boost your mood try switching off your TV and do something that is less passive. Psychologists have found that instead of helping you to relax, watching TV is likely to put you in a mood that is similar to mild depression.
Singing out loud can give a powerful boost to both your mood and immune system. Looking at art that contains natural scenes, listening to gentle music, and enjoying outbursts of rib-tickling laughter also have well documented benefits for mental wellbeing. We need to put these 'natural nutrients' on our daily menu of things to do, rather than regard them as luxuries to squeeze into a hectic life!
Foods to help boost immunity
Grapefruit seed extract offers natural antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and ant parasitic actions.
Olive leaf extract has anti-bacterial and antiviral actions which help combat infective organisms, such as the herpes cold sore virus.
Siberian ginseng can help to neutralise the negative effects of stress, and boost immunity against infections, such as cold and flu viruses.
Reishi known in China as the mushroom of immortality, has antibacterial and antiviral actions, which increase energy levels and provide a more restful night's sleep.
Garlic contains antioxidants that can stimulate immunity and allicin, a natural antibiotic.
Almonds and Mushrooms boosts production of white blood cells that fight infection, making them more active.
Tea both green and black contain antioxidants to combat free radicals.
Cruciferous veg (cabbage, broccoli etc) contains antioxidants and phytochemicals mop up cell-damaging free radicals.
Orange coloured produce like carrots and peppers are rich in beta-carotene and mangos, oranges and peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C.
Probiotics are gut-friendly bacteria found in live yogurt and probiotic drinks.
Prebiotics are fuel for probiotics, in garlic, onions, bananas, artichokes and wholegrains.
Go for the burn!
In just 30 minutes a day you can shift the calories and get fit.
To burn 100 calories:
Walking - keep up a brisk pace (you should just be able to hold a conversation) and allow your arms to swing.
Vacuuming - make the most of it with leg-toning lunges (step forwards, bending the front knee to a right angle, lowering the back knee towards the floor). Remember to swap legs!
Window cleaning - keep abdominals tight as you reach up and use a combination of moves, e.g. little circles with both hands and large sweeps.
Dancing - with or without a partner, to the radio or at a dance class. From slow dancing to vigorous salsa, you'll burn those calories.
To burn 200 calories:
Mowing - strengthens arms, shoulders and abdominals, especially if you hold in your stomach! Stride out with vigour to work the thighs too.
Swimming - improve your pool performance! Get down to the local swimming baths and practice your strokes.
Tennis - to get started or get better locate your nearest club or tennis coach.
Weight training - make sure you devise a weights programme with a qualified instructor.
To burn 300 calories:
Skipping - burns 10-15 calories per minute. Incorporate short bursts within a half-hour high impact aerobics session or skip little and often throughout the day.
Jogging - cost-free and great for burning calories. Choose grass over concrete to protect joints. Work your arms for greater calorific and cardiovascular benefits.
Cycling - a good calorie burner at any speed, but to burn 300 or mare calories you need to cycle at 13mph.
Natures own remedies
Here is a list of common ailments with some natural treatments.
Acne - For chronic acne, try Kali Bichromicum. For inflamed or infected pustules that are worsened by washing use Sulphur and for severe and itchy infections use Psorinum.
Asthma - Keep to a whole food diet, preferably organic and avoid eating anything containing food additives such as tartrazine which can trigger allergic reaction, refined products such as white flour and sugar. Also reduce your intake of dairy products. Include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables especially onions and garlic which are said to counteract the production of mucous, and raw juices such as carrot, celery, spinach and grapefruit. One of two teaspoons of cider vinegar with a little honey in a glass of water taken three times a day may be helpful.
Bruises - Arnica oil or ointment can be applied on unbroken skin, calendula ointment can be used if the skin is broken. A compress made from comfrey can be applied - seep a handful of fresh or dried leaves in a quart of hot water for 5-10 minutes - do not boil them. Remove the leaves, place them in a thin cotton sock or piece of muslin and apply to the bruised area, if possible secure the compress and leave on overnight. A rosemary compress can be applied to encourage circulation and the healing process.
Burns - Every fifteen minutes, give Arnica 30c for up to three doses, followed by Cantharis 30c for up to 6 doses. If the burn continues to sting, use Urtica 6c for up to 6 doses. The following can be given every 4 hours for up to 10 doses: Kali bichron 6c for burns that are second degree and looking like ulcers, Hepar Sulph 6c for burns that become infected.
Cold Sores - Bergamot, eucalyptus and tea tree oils will help to treat the blisters and should be applied in a carrier oil at the first sign of a sore. Lavender oil will help to heal any sores that erupt.
Colic - For babies, massage the abdomen in a clockwise direction with 2 drops of fennel essential oil in 1/2 tsp carrier oil. Adults can also try cinnamon, juniper, lavender or patchouli.
Common Colds - Aconite taken at the first stage of a cold, particularly if it is the type that has come on suddenly and the patient feels chilly. Belladonna for colds with a high temperature and great thirst. Arsenicum album if there is much painful sneezing with watery discharge, which makes the skin sore. Kali Mur for catarrhal colds. If the cold affects a child and the child is clingy and irritable with thick yellow discharge, then try Pulsatilla. Bryonia can help the irritable child who is thirsty and wants to be left alone.
Cuts and Scrapes - Make an antiseptic herbal infusion to wash the cut - elder leaves are excellent or soak in 4 parts diluted witch hazel. Calendula tincture reduces and stops bleeding and prevents infection - if you have calendula growing in your garden you can peel off the petals of a couple of flowers, chew on them for a few seconds and apply them directly on the wound to stop bleeding. For slow-healing wounds, apply compresses of comfrey, self heal, pantain or yarrow.
Eczema - Make an infusion from 1oz calendula flowers or petals or chamomile flowers to 1 pint of boiling water, let it soak from 5-10 minutes, strain and drink as required. Both calendula and chamomile have long been recommended to relieve symptoms of itching, blisters and flaking skin. You could also use a calendula cream applied topically. Compresses of chickweed, golden-seal, comfrey, burdock or witch hazel helps to reduce inflammation and heal blisters. You can make a tea from the following blend: 1 part chickweed, 1 part red clover and 1 part nettle - rub the herbs until they resemble tealeaves and store in a glass jar. Use 1 tsp of the mix to 1 cup boiling water. Alternatively make a decoction from 1 part burdock root, 1 part dandelion root and 1 part yellow dock - grind the roots finely and store in a glass jar. Place 1 tsp of the mixed herbs into 1 cup water and simmer for 10 minutes, strain, cool and drink. For children's eczema and nervous eczema, nettle infusion taken three times a day is specifically recommended by herbalists.
Fluid Retention - Dandelion leaves mixed in a salad are a powerful diuretic.
Headaches - Ignatia for headaches caused by emotional stress. Nux vomica for headaches caused by overindulgence or stress. Nux vomica or Pulsatilla for migraines. Aconite when it feels that there is a tight band around the head. Belladonna for throbbing, bursting headache with a flushed face. Bryonia for sharp, stabbing pain when the eyes are moved. Ruta for a pressing headache caused by fatigue and made worse by reading. Thuja for a left-sided headache / migraine with the sensation of a nail being driven into the skull. For right-sided pains with dizziness and painful temples, try Lycopodium - this is a good remedy for many children.
Nappy Rash - Rhus Tox for itchy, blistered skin. Sulphur if the skin is dry and scaled. Merc Sol can help to reduce acidity of the urine.
PMT - Pulsatilla for painful breasts, irregular periods, bursts into tears easily and possibly nausea. Sepia if chilly, depressed and weepy with indifference to sex and tendency to turn away from loved ones. Nat Mur for sadness, irritability, fluid retention and painful breasts.
Sore Throats - Infusions made from myrrh tincture, thyme or sage can be used as a gargle, several times throughout the day. Calendula tincture can be added to a cup of boiled water and used as a mouthwash to encourage healing and treat infection. Echinacea tincture can be diluted in water and used to spray the throat. Infusions of goldenseal, echinacea and goldenseal help to build up immunity.
Teething - Chamomilla 3X teething granules can be bought at chemists and used freely during teething bouts.
Toothache - Chamomilla for unbearable pain made worse by cold air, warm food and drinks. Apis when gums feel tight and swollen and the toothache burns and stings. Staphisagria for severe toothache made worse by cold air, food and pressure. Cheeks red and swollen. Belladonna for throbbing pain and dry mouth. Aconite for acute pain. Arnica for pain after dental work.
Healthy sleep plays an essential role in the wellbeing of a person. Understanding our sleep allows us to balance our mind and body.
Sleep disorders or inefficient sleep, on the other hand, can lead to:
Serious long-term health problems.
Impaired quality of life.
Daytime fatigue and thus inefficiency at work.
Good sleep increases stress resistance, enhances creativity and promotes general wellbeing and health. Given that sleep plays a key role in a person’s overall wellbeing, caring about sleep at night is as important as taking care about one’s overall health during the day.
Tibetan rites for healthy chakras
First Rite is the practice of spinning which has an effect on the Emotional Body. As one spins clockwise, negative residues are literally flung out of the body as the energies take up the expansion pattern. Strengthens the bridge between left and right hemispheres and helps us become more holographic. The chakras are greatly increased by this action. Chakras are essentially energies within spinning vortexes. As the vortex is increased, the life force becomes stronger and more directed.
Method: Extend arms out to the sides. Follow your right arm so that you spin around to your right. Fix your attention on something in front of you at eye level as you turn. This lessens the feeling of imbalance and allows you to spin longer before you feel dizzy. Commence with 3 turns and build up gradually build up mastery to 21 turns. Stop as soon as you feel slightly dizzy. Lay down on the floor and breathe deeply before you begin the next rite. Raise your hands above your head to stretch the back.
This appears similar to typical abdominal exercises. By raising the head to the chest, you are creating an extra stimulus to the solar plexus chakras and the conception vessel moving through the centre of the truck. Be sure you have a thick rug to protect your back as you lay on the floor.
Method: Place your hands on the floor at your sides, palms down with fingers close together. Taking an in-breath, raise your head and your legs simultaneously towards each other. Tuck your chin to your chest as you bring your legs up vertically towards your head. It is important to maintain the knees in the locked position. Now, slowly lower the legs while exhaling your breath and relaxing your head back on to the floor. Relax all the muscles and repeat the rite as many times as you can without strain. Ultimate - 21x.. You can do half that number twice a day and see amazing results. Upon sitting up, stretch your legs out in front of you. Starting at the thigh area, stroke down the outside of your legs with your hands until you reach your feet. Grab your feet on the outside, pulling your head as close to your straight knees as possible. This is not an easy exercise and will cause a lot of groaning at times. The promise of straight legs, rather than the saddle-bags of lowered hormonal action and digestive sluggishness will spur you on.
This rite is powerful for opening the solar plexus and the heart. As we begin life drawing in through the umbilical area, we tend to continue that habit of sucking in to the solar plexus, which is the seat of the Emotional Body, without any awareness of what we are taking in. All kinds of emotional energies enter in this way. Psychically, we attract negative emotions that relate to those we ourselves are carrying. Thus fear or anger inside us acts as a magnet to people who are carrying the same kind of energies. Whilst in the midst of a crowd, we draw those energies into us without ever even knowing it, though we may comment how shopping malls and theatres make us "tired". Contraction interferes with the functioning of the solar plexus ganglion that relays messages to the brain relevant to our sense of safety. The "fight or flight" reflex is stimulated by emotional reaction every bit as much as by physical response. This rite provides an extension and a powerful lifting of the entire trunk, which is the opposite of a defensive, contractive stance. By doing this motion, you are reversing the energy flow and raising the energy up to the heart area. As you do the motion, it feels almost as if the heart is reaching up to happiness, and indeed, it makes you feel happy to do it.
Method: Kneel down with your toes curled toward so that the bottoms touch the floor. Place your hands behind you to hold the back of your legs under the buttocks. Exhale as you lower your head and neck to touch your chin to your chest. Now, breathe in and bring your head back while arching your back fully. Lean back as far as you can and keep your eyes gently closed so that your focus is inward while you experience the freedom of your extended body. Come back to the original straight position and begin again. Extension: When you are through with this series of motions, extend your arms at shoulder level straight out in front of you and lean back without arching your back. You will feel this stretching the Facia lata at the outer thighs. This area reflexes to the intestines and is wonderful for balancing their job of elimination.
Seems equally difficult at first - but sixty and seventy -year olds can do it. It actually causes a pleasant stimulation throughout the sacral area which stirs and reflexes, meridians, and thus the energies going to and from the sexual area of the body and down the legs.
Method: Sit with your back straight and your legs out in front of you. Place your arms straight down at your sides with palms on the floor. Breathe out as you touch your chin to your chest, and then gathering your strength with your inhaling breath, raise your head all the way back as your lift your body up horizontal to the floor by pushing onto your feet with your arms supporting you. You will now be making a table with your body and it is good to tense all your muscles before you sweep back down feeling your buttocks brushing the floor and returning to the sitting position. Continue the same deep breathing between movements and begin again. Ultimate - 21x
This brings an immediate change in the energy currents of the body. It makes one feel strong and invigorated and brings a happy glow to the face. This is the most powerful in terms of speeding up the chakric vortexes.
Method: Start as if you were going to do push-ups with your body, face down on the floor. Both the arms and legs are held straight supporting you and are spread out about the width of your shoulders and hips. Begin by extending the head back and arching the back so that the body is in a sagging position. Now breathe in and bend at the hips, making your body into a living pyramid with your sacrum at the apex. Tuck your chin to chest and tighten all your muscles for a moment before you swing down with an exhalation into the half-moon with your head backward, holding your muscles tight for a moment again. After the five rites, there is a sixth rite, which is the most powerful of all.