Positive Attitude, Laughtering, Immunity Builder, Foods For Healthier, Happier Life

Positive Attitude, Laughtering, Immunity Builder, Foods For Healthier, Happier Life

Positive Attitude, Laughtering, Immunity Builder, foods For Healthier, happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being which can be defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. Happy mental states may reflect judgements by a person about their overall well-being.It was shown on Network The programme also helped re-invent the then-ailing network after its financial collapse of the late

12 Tips To Start Your Day With A Positive Attitude

It’s difficult to begin your day on a positive note, especially if you’re not a morning person. By performing simple stretches and going out for a quick run, you can increase your endorphin level and begin the day feeling pumped up and happy. It also helps to organize your day beforehand and put your thoughts out on a piece of paper. Additionally, express gratitude – it’ll make you feel thankful and positive.

The moment you open your eyes, you can do one of two things – you can either hop out of bed and make the best of your day, or hit the snooze button, pull the covers over your head, and dread the day ahead. We all know that mornings can set the tone for the rest of the day, but waking up “happy and excited” isn’t easy for most of us. But starting your day with a positive attitude has its benefits.

When you wake up in the mornings, the serotonin (or happy hormone) level in your brain is at its highest.

For this reason, research declares that morning people are more positive and productive than night owls.Now that we’ve established how precious your mornings can be for your mental health, here are a few things you can do to make the best of this delicate, lovely time that you have all to yourself.

1. Start The Night Before

Do you often wake up feeling more exhausted than you did when you got into bed? Lack of sleep could be the culprit. Instead of watching “just one more episode,” turn off your TV and try to get into bed by 10 o’clock. If you can’t fall asleep immediately, try reading a book. You are bound to drift off soon enough, and this way, your body can get its 8 hours of rest.

2. Stretch Yourself Out

This is something you can do while you’re still in bed! Stretch your limbs out as much as you can. This triggers the release of dopamine, a hormone that boosts your mood, energy, and self-esteem. Pair this with a few breathing exercises and you’ll find yourself beating the urge to hit the snooze button.

3. Take A Moment Of Personal Praise

If you constantly juggle between multiple tasks throughout the day, you might feel anxious and incompetent. Finding faults with yourself, especially over situations that you have no control over, will only make your day worse.

To avoid self-sabotaging thoughts from attacking your mood, try this simple exercise. Take a few minutes and think of five qualities in you that are you are proud of. You could be a kind person, or maybe you can cook really well. Maybe you’re extremely responsible about your work, or you’re the kind who takes great care of the people you love. This is will make you feel more positive about yourself and will help you start the day on a high note!

4. Stay Connected And Express Gratitude

Just as it’s important to praise yourself, it’s equally important to give thanks to the people who love you for who you are. Studies claim that people who express gratitude about their lives are more optimistic about their lives in general. Another fun fact? They also tend to pay fewer visits to their doctor, which further proves that there may indeed be a strong connection between positive attitude and good physical health.

Also, pick up the phone and give a quick call to your parents, or call your best friends to tell them how lucky you are to know them. Even if you don’t thank them all the time, just connecting with the people you love at the start of your day can do wonders for your mood.

5. Drink Enough Water

After all those long hours of rest, your body wakes up feeling dehydrated and needs a wake-up drink. If you’re already reaching out for the coffee, stop. It is true that coffee can make you more alert, but not when you drink it first thing in the morning. Drinking coffee, especially on an empty stomach is just asking for more stress – because caffeine is notorious for releasing cortisol, your body’s stress hormone.

Instead, head over to the stove to warm yourself some water. Add a quick squeeze or two of lemon juice into this and drink up. This not only keeps you hydrated, but also helps in digestion, losing weight, and clarifying your skin. But, if you absolutely cannot do without your coffee, get yourself a mug while eating breakfast. That way you can alleviate the side effects of caffeine and the release of cortisol will only make you alert, not overtly stressed.

6. Go For A Walk

It is a well-known fact that exercise helps boost endorphin, lovingly nicknamed the ‘Happy Hormone’, and will make you feel more energized in the mornings. Additionally a quick run in the morning will help your skin intake vitamin D, which strengthens your bones and boosts your immunity. This sunshine vitamin also helps regulate the serotonin level in your brain, thus calming your nerves and giving your mood a quick positive boost.

7. Get Mentally Organized

Right from the time you open your eyes, you will find your mind at the mercy of a vast deluge of thoughts which makes you all the more tempted to go back to sleep. The first step is to get this jumble of thoughts is to pen it down on paper. Grab a notepad and list out what’s in your head, one by one. Now segregate these thoughts and tasks into various categories, depending on priority. Not only will this help clear your head and make you feel more prepared to take on the day, it may even lead to better chances of you finishing all your tasks.

8. Tune Into Something Happy

It always helps to play something in the background as you go about preparing yourself for the day, and with the current media onslaught, you’re definitely spoilt for choice. There are, of course, television and radio news channels, but they may be a little too noisy to help you start your day on a peaceful note. Choose to play some soothing music, and soak yourself in the melody. Not feeling like music? You could even choose to tune out altogether and just enjoy the silence before the chaos sets in.

9. Step Into A Cold Shower

If you’re going to have a long day, why not look your best while you’re tackling it? Don’t skimp on shower-time. Start with lukewarm water to open up the pores of your skin and work your way slowly towards water that’s on the colder side. The idea of a cold shower may not sound very tempting but it comes with a number of benefits.

  • Cold water has a great ability to help you snap out of your drowsiness.
  • It has been proven that cold showers can positively boost the mood and trigger creative thinking.
  • Cold showers aid in vasodilation that helps improve blood circulation. Thus, it’s great for maintaining healthy skin and hair.

Note: It’s all good to dress well and look presentable, but try not to spend too much time figuring out what to wear and how to do your hair. Save that energy for the rest of the day.

10. Eat A Healthy Breakfast

The most important meal of the day gets its title for a very good reason. Not only does a healthy breakfast give your body the energy it needs to take on the day, it also helps you maintain your weight, boost your mood, and keeps chronic-degenerative diseases at bay. But remember that by eating healthy, we do not mean helping yourself to boxed cereals, glasses of processed fruit juices, and pancakes dripping with sugary syrup; these will do you more harm than good. Instead, opt for:

  • Oats with blueberries
  • Oats with chia seeds
  • Wholegrain toast and omelets
  • Wholegrain toast with nut butter
  • Yogurt with whole fruits
  • Fruit smoothies
  • Fruit salads with nuts and pumpkin or flax seeds

11. Plan Something Fun For The End Of The Day

Giving yourself something fun to look forward to can give you a great reason for smiling all day. Studies claim that the anticipation of something exciting can give you just as much happiness as the event itself.

So go right ahead and book those tickets to the latest movie, or make a reservation for yourself and your friends at the new restaurant in town!

12. Execute Random Acts Of Kindness

Often, we get so caught up in all that we have to do in a day, we forget about the fact that there may be others around us who are having as tough a day as we are. Every morning, resolve to do an act of kindness. It could be something as simple as holding the door open for an elderly person or offering up your seat to someone on the bus, or maybe even carrying someone’s bags for them. Being able to make a difference in someone else’s life, even in the tiniest of ways, can bring you immense happiness. Kindness also has a funny way of coming back to you in unexpected ways, so go ahead, knock yourself out!

Starting your day on a positive note is not easy, especially if you’re suffering from depression or anxiety. Try to be determined and have a strong willpower – that’s half the battle won! These tips will help you begin your day positively and increase your productivity. Just stay the path for a few months and you’ll start seeing the difference for yourself!

Here’s How People Maintain Their Ideal Weight After Dieting

You’ve finally reached your weight-loss goal and the feeling is absolutely heavenly! But, tough as it was, this was just the beginning. A much harder path lies in maintaining the weight lifelong. The idea of having to eat strictly and exercise regularly can sound daunting. But, don’t give up. With a tad bit of willpower and self-restraint, you can keep up the ideal weight all your life. Here’s how.

Mind What You Eat And How

1. Stick To Your Routine

By now, your diet involves a decided number of meals. Do not deviate from this. Eating on time, on a regular basis, will prevent hunger pangs and helps you avoid unplanned snacking that can soon turn to overeating.

2. Follow A Balanced Diet

If you’ve come so far as to reach a desired weight, we don’t need to tell you much about this. Dieting doesn’t end with reaching the right number on the scale. If you wish to continue being fit, eat healthily and in moderation.

3. Stay Away From The Carbs

According to studies, those who follow a low-carb diet have seen much more success in maintaining/losing weight than those who don’t. Also, refined carbs like pasta and bread lose all the fiber once they go through processing. Eating these does no good to you. Avoiding high-carb foods will also help you eat fewer calories.

4. Load Up On The Proteins

Protein is your best bud in weight maintenance. Here’s how:

  • Burning up protein requires a lot of energy. By eating protein, you make your body use up a lot more calories too.
  • Eating high-protein foods will keep you feeling full for a long time, thus avoiding the need for any extra meals or calories.
  • Proteins reduce your appetite by regulating the levels of hormones that control your feelings of hunger.3
  • Protein-rich foods will also boost your metabolism and help you burn off the foods.

5. Eat Lots Of Veggies

A low-calorie, high-fiber diet is what you need to maintain a healthy weight. The fiber keeps you full and reduces appetite while the lack of calories prevents weight gain. The perfect food option with these features is vegetables. By eating a plateful of veggies for a meal, you eat enough without doing anything to put on weight.

6. Never Skip Breakfast

Want to be a success story? Follow those who’ve been there, done that. People who’ve maintained a steady weight, post weight loss, never skip breakfast. Here’s how it can help:

  • Breakfast habits set the tone for the day. A healthy, satisfying breakfast will keep you in good mood all day long.
  • A well-planned breakfast gives you the energy required to handle the day ahead, with essential nutrients, fibers, and minerals.4
  • Scheduling breakfast will also help you schedule the rest of the morning and thus workout on time. Also, eating the right food post-workout will help your muscles recover.
  • Breakfast might even keep you away from overeating or snacking later on.
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7. Eat Properly

How you eat can be as important as what you eat. Eating at a calm, relaxed pace will help you stop chewing the moment your hunger is satisfied. This is extremely helpful, especially in cases like emotional eating, which is a major cause of obesity. So, when you eat, do not talk, do not watch TV, and just focus on what you eat instead.

8. Drinks Lots Of Water

Drinking water is one of the essentials for weight loss and maintenance. Drinking water just before a meal will make you feel full and thus reduce your appetite. According to some studies, it might even increase the number of calories your body burns by improving the metabolism.

Do Not Stop Working Out

1. Exercise Regularly

Following a healthy diet will take you far, but not all the way. Exercising is equally important. Aim to get at least 150 minutes of exercise in a week. Most people who’ve successfully maintained weight after reaching their goal, for more than a few years, tend to exercise at least for 60 minutes every day. How you about planning this 1-hour exercise routine is up to you.

2. Boost Those Happy Hormones

Exercising is not all about making you feel exhausted and ripped. The disconnection from work, focussing on something you’re passionate about, and being able to zone out for a while all give your brain a healthy boost. The additional release of endorphins put you in a happy mood, reduce stress, and encourage you to eat right.

3. Reduce Cardio And Work On The Muscles

While it might have helped you reach your weight-loss goal, cardio alone can’t help you maintain the weight for a longer period as it ignores the muscles reduces metabolism. Taking up weights will help with muscle growth, prevent its loss, and thus give the metabolism a quick boost. Discuss with your instructor and come with a workout plan that will target all the muscles.8

Put Your Mind To It

1. Keep An Eye On The Scale

By now, you know that there won’t be any drastic changes to your weight overnight. However, checking your weight regularly is a good way to keep you motivated. A slight increase from your ideal weight can wake you up. According to studies, people who check their weight regularly have been seen to eat fewer calories.9 This trick might or might not work for you, but give it a shot.

2. Suit Up To Fight The Temptations

Once you reach your goal, it can be quite tempting to have a cheat meal every now and then. After all, you did succeed in doing something really big! But don’t let up. No matter what, never miss a day of exercise or eat something that’ll ruin your efforts. To make it easier, plan a detailed the workouts and meal for an entire month. Even more important, stick to this plan every single day.

3. Sleep

Fewer hours of sleep or poor-quality sleep is a major cause of obesity as it naturally leads to impulsive eating. By messing up the levels of the hormone ghrelin, lack of sleep will shoot up your appetite. Additionally, with the workouts, dieting, and your regular workout, you deserve those few hours of blissful peace.

4. Partner Up

Have a support system, be it in the form of a friend or family. With somebody else keeping track of your goals, you will be more inclined to keep up the pace. Even better, partner up with a friend or your spouse to help stick to your routine.

5. Blow Off Some Steam

Stress is a factor that has a major role to play in weight gain and obesity as it increases the level of the hormone cortisol. This rounds up your belly nicely while making you feel like eating more and more, constantly. Adding to that, we’ve all had those days when we just dig into a big bucket of ice cream to deal with stress. Focus on your goal of maintaining your weight and deal with the stress first. Combining your workouts with a few sessions of yoga and meditation might do the trick.

There’s no one specific way to perfectly maintain weight throughout your life. Find tricks that work out for you as an individual. Avoid following strict diets and get enough of nutritious foods. With a little bit of self-restraint and control, taking these steps to stay fit will soon become a natural part of your life

7 Foods For Healthier, Happier Living

Foods For Healthier, Happier Living

A healthy and nutritious diet has both short and long term health benefits, especially when it comes to reducing your risk for chronic diseases. The key is to eat a rainbow of fruits and veggies every day, rather than focusing on one magic bullet. Other must-haves include antioxidant-rich foods like green tea, clams, oysters, legumes, yogurt, and dark chocolate.

If single foods could end frequent allergy woes or make everyone slim and happy, grocery stores would have to ward off a massive amount of desperate shoppers on a daily basis. While we (thankfully) haven’t reached that point yet, science promises to bring a chain of food and nutrients that will benefit us in the long run.

According to Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, associate professor of cardiovascular medicine at Harvard Medical School, diet affects our long and short-term health especially when it comes to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. He adds, “Eat a variety of healthy foods, rather than focus on one magic bullet.”

Here are the list of 7 happy and healthy foods that you should pick up on your next visit to the grocery store.

1. Clams

A small dose of iron-packed clams on a regular basis can be immensely healthy. Clams contain high levels of vitamin B12 – the vitamin responsible for lessening anxiety levels and depression.

Since the brain requires it to make dopamine and serotonin, depressed individuals with low levels of B12 usually feel better after taking B12 supplements.

Bonus cla(i)m: even canned clams can give you a good B12 boost. If you think you can’t have clams every day, don’t worry. You can easily get the vitamin from other seafood variety such as salmon or milk and other dairy products.

2. Oysters

Oysters are, hands-down, nature’s richest sources of zinc. A 2013 randomized clinical trial proved that zinc can reduce anxiety levels and improve mood. The experiment involved 44 people with depression. Those who were given a 25 mg zinc supplement along with an antidepressant enjoyed a ‘happier mood’ over the 3-month study period.

In order to keep yourself zinc-dated, get your daily dose of fresh oysters from the fish market and embrace life, happily!

3. Coffee

While coffee drinkers are generally thought of as hot-headed (sometimes even ‘snobbish’), recent research has proved that your regular cabinet java can actually induce positivity in individuals. One study proved that coffee consumed early in the morning was responsible for pleasant feelings, kindness, and positive energy.

Another study found that women who consumed more than 2 cups of coffee a day were at a lower risk of developing depression over the span of 10 years, compared to those who took less than one cup.2 Coffee is socially tied with affection, good friendship and satisfaction and when sipped leisurely, the few bonafide cups of joy can induce feelings of internal calmness and tranquility.

4. Legumes

Peas, beans, and peanuts are considered to be the main sources of magnesium – involved in more than 300 biochemical reactions in your system that generate energy for bodily function. Forrest H. Nielsen, Ph.D., a research nutritionist in the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, explains that when you exercise, magnesium is redistributed throughout your body to help energy molecules get where they’re needed.

5. Yogurt

Yogurt is taken as one of the cultured dairy products that enhance the growth of probiotic bacteria in your gut. A comprehensive UCLA study found that women who consumed probiotic yogurt every day were less likely to react stressfully to fear or anger.

But how does it work? The traditional probiotic stance of yogurt firmly establishes a content view of life by making your brain have regular chats with the gut via the vagus nerve. The oh-so-good bacteria might be spreading a chill-out-and-live message throughout the body in this way.

6. Dark Chocolate

We are sure that the word ‘dark chocolate’ must bring a smile to your face. Fortunately for you, scientific research has backed its immense ‘happy health’ benefits. The various antioxidants in dark chocolate relax your blood pathways; lowering blood pressure and improving overall circulation.

One such 2014 study found that consuming an ounce of dark chocolate a day for two weeks lessens an individual’s stress levels. Why it is really amazing – Dark chocolate is packed with magnesium, a mineral that helps to calm PMS symptoms in women such as untimely fatigue and irritability. Moreover, dark chocolate’s unique, natural substances, known to trigger feelings of euphoria, can make you fall in love with life!

7. Green Tea

While herbal remedies are effective in a staunch weight loss process, one cup of green tea a day can be responsible for soothing your daily stressed-out mental reserves. A 2016 Japanese study, conducted with more than 40,000 people (all factors such as age, sex, medical history accounted for), found that those who consumed five or more cups of green tea a day were at a lower risk of being psychologically stressed, compared to those who drank one cup or less.

The best part: Green tea is also fantastic in smoothies, marinades, soups, and numerous sauces! So, pick up some green tea the next time you visit a supermarket. I’m sure many of us would feel happier digging into a scoop of ice cream or a juicy burger than a bland-looking bowl of nuts.

The strange truth, however, is that not all ‘happy’ foods appear delicious. These simple, everyday ingredients might seem uninteresting, but they secretly hack our bodies into feeling content.

By following a healthy eating habit with the foods mentioned in this article, you can ensure a pleasant and healthy life!

10 Effective Tips For Being Happy At Work

Happiness at work can be tricky to achieve. Even if you love your job, there will be a few bad days here and there. These debacles can cause unhappiness and make you dislike your job. But it is important to be happy at work as happiness at work has a strong influence on your productivity. Simple techniques mentioned here can help overcome setbacks and regain happiness at work.

Irrespective of whether you like your job or dislike it, you are bound to have good and bad days at work. Being happy at work indicates that you love what you are doing. It also helps boost productivity and makes you a great co-worker. More importantly, if you are unhappy at work, it can lead to unhealthy physical and mental conditions and even cause depression. So, you must learn to be happy at work. Here are 10 simple methods that can help you to be happy at work.

1. Don’t Over-Promise And Under-Deliver

When you agree to complete a task, you are naturally expected to deliver results. It is important to meet expectations in order to feel good about what you are doing. When expectations are not met, questions are asked and fingers are pointed. This can negatively impact your mood at work. Hence, it is important that you only make promises that you can keep. It is always better to set smaller expectations and exceed them. Commit on a task completion only if you think it can be accomplished within the time frame and it qualifies as quality work.

2. Make Friends With Co-Workers

Having friends at work can contribute to your happiness. Your work may take up most of your time at the office, but it is important to take some time to make friends. Getting to know another person and what they do can help in building rapport with the person. Talking to a friend also gives you a chance to take your mind off work for a few minutes and give you that much-needed breather. Sometimes, you may be stuck with what you are doing and a friend can probably help you find a solution.

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3. Get Involved In Fun Activities

Having fun at the office is crucial for your happiness at work. Interesting games and activities not only help people take their minds off work for a short duration but also adds the fun quotient to work, which keeps employees happy. It could be simple team building activities, memory games, get-to-know-others games, or simply a session to tell others about yourself. These activities not only help you take a break, but also improve the relationship between colleagues.

4. Practice Meditation

Meditation can improve the mood of a person and bring positive changes in thinking pattern. You don’t have to sit cross-legged and chant the mantra. You can sit normally on a chair and close your eyes for a few minutes and even listen to soothing music. Meditation helps you control your emotions and increases productivity. By breathing deeply, the brain receives more oxygen. This is a sure shot technique to drive away lethargy and negative emotions and bring in happiness and harmony.

5. Eat Mood-Enhancing Foods

Food has a huge impact on your mood. The quantity of food you eat and the nutritional value of the food plays a crucial role in your post-meal performance. Foods that contain ample nutrients and minerals nourish your body and keep the mind alert. Eating oily junk foods can adversely affect your body and mind. Also, ensure that you don’t overeat. Eating too much means the energy gets diverted to the digestion process and hinders your thinking capability. Eat light and eat right.

6. Ensure Constant Fluid Intake

Water is an essential commodity that the body requires at frequent intervals. Lack of water in the body restricts your mental function and adversely impacts your performance. Without enough fluids, you feel tired and this drains your energy leaving you incapable of accomplishing tasks. Dehydration hinders effective assimilation of nutrients and even the best health foods cease to have a beneficial effect on the body. Drinking fluids, especially water and fresh fruit juice that don’t contain added sugars, helps elevate your mood and ensures overall health.

7. Ensure Quality Sleep

No, we don’t suggest that you sleep at work although power naps are known to help you perform better. Sleep is extremely important for any person to function normally. Quality sleep for 7-8 hours allows you to focus and think better. Sleep deprivation can make you a nervous wreck. Forget working, even thinking clearly is impossible without providing your body and mind its share of rest. Deep sleep refreshes the mind and enables the body to rejuvenate itself. Your emotions are directly related to sleep patterns and people who achieve sound sleep are happier and emotionally balanced.

8. Keep Away Personal Problems

When you’re preoccupied with personal issues, it is hard to concentrate or be happy at work. Everybody has their share of personal problems. Just as you have to forget about work to enjoy your time at home with family and friends, it is crucial that you leave personal problems back at home so that you can focus and be productive at work. Of course, you can talk to your colleague about your personal problem, but set aside a time for that to ensure neither your work-time or theirs is compromised.

9. Think Positive

Whatever the nature of your work maybe, it will have its ups and downs. Some days are smooth sailing, while other days may be full of obstacles. By thinking only about what went wrong cannot solve a problem. Instead of focusing on the problem, think about possible solutions. Adopting a positive mindset can make problem-solving easier and equips you to look at a problem objectively. Positive thinking makes you happy while negative thoughts leave you feeling sad and dejected. By looking at the positive aspects of your work, you can make your job more enjoyable. Worrying about the negatives only cause you to become overwhelmed.

10. Decorate Your Workplace

The place where you work has the ability to make you happy. Imagine a workstation that is drab and unappealing, where you have to spend about eight hours. That can be quite demotivating. Decorate your workspace with anything that can uplift your mood and put a smile on your face. Placing a few plants, artifacts, graffiti or pictures of people you like can alleviate your mood and make you cheerful. It also tells a lot about who you are. An interesting looking workstation entices you to work more than a drab, ordinary workstation.

9 Tips To Walk Correctly: Dos And Don’ts For Every Walker

Tips To Walk Correctly

To burn 120–170 calories by walking for 30 mins at 3.5 mph, you need to walk correctly. Breathe in through your nose, keep your spine erect, swing your hands at a right angle to your body, look straight ahead, and push off with your toes and land on your heel. Move your hips and waist, keep the abs taut, and find a comfortable stride.

Walking burns anywhere between 120 and 178 calories in half an hour, if you are walking at about 3.5 mph. That is pretty good for an activity that needs no major investment and which can be made interesting with the help of company, a good walking route, or a killer music playlist.

What you should keep in mind, though, is that walking too – like any exercise – needs to be done right if you want to make the most of it. Even if you are not walking to burn calories, a proper form is a must since it prevents injuries related to posture or stress. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep track of so you are walking correctly.

1. Breathe Right

If you get your breathing right, that is half the battle won, especially if you are walking longer distances or using walking as a form of exercise.

Avoid breathing in through your mouth. Stick to inhaling through your nose, relaxing your stomach as you do this. You should be able to feel the air filling your lungs, right to the very lower sections.

To breathe out properly, feel your belly flatten as you exhale, pushing the air out of your lungs until it whooshes out of your mouth.

2. Walk Heel To Toe

Walking involves a sequence of movements that experts call the gait cycle. Start with a powerful pushing-away motion from the ground as your heel lifts off from the ground, followed by the rest of the foot, ending with the toes. The heel makes contact first at the new position followed by the toes.

Simply put, you push off with your toes and land on your heels. Use this “heel to toe” walk rather than an “all-at-once” flat-footed walk and you should see an increase in how fast you can walk too.

3. Look Straight Ahead

It is tempting to look down as you walk, watching your feet as they stride forward. But that is not the best position as far as posture goes.

If you look up and forward, with your chin held parallel to the ground, your body will follow with the right posture. But if you are walking on uneven ground, this can be difficult and even dangerous. So choose a route that is on smooth surfaces, like a park or a proper trail even if you go into a nature reserve to walk.

4. Swing The Arms

Walking right does not mean you have to keep those arms hinged to your sides. Feel free to let them swing as you walk – that is the natural motion your body makes as you walk. Allow them to bend a bit at the elbow, making a 90-degree angle to your body. Your hands should be nice and relaxed.

Don’t go overboard with the swinging – it needs to come naturally and that means not letting your arms flail wildly away from your body. You will also see that increasing the speed at which your arms swings forces your legs to keep pace, increasing your pace overall.

5. Move The Hips

Your hips can move while you walk. Allow them to rotate back and forth as you take each step. Resisting this motion can actually slow you down. You should also feel your waist twist as you walk.

6. Keep The Abs Taut

If you felt your abs came into play only while you’re doing crunches or a workout at the gym, this may come as a surprise. Your abs have a role to play when you walk too.

Keep your abs engaged and taut as you walk and it will help you walk neater too. You will find yourself standing more erect, and your pelvis won’t move from one side to the other in an ungainly waddle.

7. Don’t Arch Your Back

Your back needs to be nice and straight, not arched either backward or forward as you walk. You can, however, lean forward from your hips just a little if you need to.

Just be sure your spine is aligned as you do this and gently tilt your upper body so that your shoulders stay just above the hips. Your neck and shoulders need to be nice and relaxed.

8. Don’t Stride Too Big (Or Small)

A stride is the measurement from heel to heel that will tell you how far you go with each step you walk. It may seem like taking huge strides is more effective, but it can actually be counter-productive. Over striding, as it is called, will in fact slow you down.

To walk more effectively, pick something that comes naturally and do not try and alter it to be bigger or smaller. Do not try to match strides with someone else either. Their height, weight, and build may require a different stride length.

9. Don’t Skimp On Gear

You would probably spend a ton on gym gear, from special shoes to a bag for your kit, if you signed up at a local fitness center. Walking comes free, but it may be wise to invest in the right footwear to improve efficiency and protect your feet from injury.

Choose something made from material that can “breathe,” like mesh to allow for air circulation. Also, choose a shoe that has a flexible toe that you can bend – this helps prevent blisters.

Health Benefits Of Laughter: Laugh Away Your Troubles!

Health Benefits of Laughter

Laughter combats stress, pain, and depression by reducing cortisol levels and releasing feel-good hormone endorphins. It boosts immunity and cardiovascular health and helps control blood pressure. This natural aerobic exercise can burn about 10 to 40 calories per 15-minute session and contributes to overall wellness and health. Try out laughter yoga – the systematic practice of incorporating laughter into daily life.

They say all good things in life are illegal, immoral, or fattening. Well, we may have an exception to this rule – laughter! Ever wondered why all your problems seem lighter after a good laugh? Or why you felt a spike in energy after watching a favorite comedy show on TV? A happy, upbeat mindset affects our moods, decisions, our relationships, and even our physical health in a significant way. So impressive are the therapeutic effects of laughter that there is a group of scientists involved in gelotology, the study of the effects of laughter on the mind and body!

Here are some of the benefits you should cash in on today.

Natural Pain Killer: See The Pain Wane

Ever had a nagging headache just vanish after a good chuckle with a friend? Laughter, especially social laughter, kickstarts the release of endorphins, the “feel good” hormones that act as neurotransmitters and have analgesic properties. Endorphins also help you relax and improve your overall sense of well-being. As one study that tested pressure-induced discomfort found, when people listened to “funny” tapes, their discomfort and pain thresholds improved considerably.

There is also the case of Norman Cousins, an American journalist, for whom laughter turned out to be the best medicine after all. Cousins, who was diagnosed with a degenerative condition called ankylosing spondylitis, overcame prolonged episodes of debilitating pain by consistently watching humorous films. He claimed that 10 minutes of intense laughter gave him the kind of pain relief he did not get even from morphine. Not surprising, really, if you consider the opioid properties of endorphins. Cousins went on to live much longer than the doctors had predicted.

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Stress Buster: Laugh The Stress Away

Anyone who’s just let go and had a good laugh knows that laughter has a cathartic effect. Well, the “high” that you get when you laugh may not be all in the mind, though. When under stress, the adrenal glands release stress hormones such as cortisol as part of the body’s fight-or-flight mechanism. Elevated levels of cortisol over prolonged periods can weaken the immune system and increase the risk for depression and heart disease. But a regular dose of laughter can keep the cortisol levels under check – reducing levels by as much as 69 percent, as one study found. In fact, the study also suggested that even the anticipation of laughter can bring down cortisol levels significantly. And this, in turn, has a beneficial impact on memory and cognitive functions – the brain can then think faster, make more connections, and comprehend more effectively.

Antidepressant: Beat The Blues

Research reveals that laughter instantly elevates the mood and alleviates symptoms of depression. According to one such study, people with a well-developed sense of humor are less likely to develop depression as a result of stressful situations. Laughter, a phenomenon that involves the entire cerebral cortex, acts like a “brain massage,” instantly boosting mood and helping you beat the blues.

Another study affirms that laughter can improve cognitive function in the elderly and alleviate signs of depression, anxiety, and stress. It may even help improve sleep quality and beat insomnia.

Blood Pressure Antidote: Put A Lid On Hypertension

Laughter seems to give even your blood pressure a high – but the good news is, this spike is momentary. As one study on “mirthful laughter” showed, while your blood pressure tends to increase while you are laughing, regular laughing impacts the blood vessels positively and actually lowers your blood pressure.

So how does this happen? Cortisol and other stress hormones act on the walls of your blood vessels and make them contract. Laughter not only reduces cortisol levels but also gives the cardiac muscles a workout. Though this initially raises the blood pressure, it also dilates the blood vessels, resulting in a sustained drop in blood pressure. For best results, though, you need to go beyond that self-conscious chuckle and indulge in a good belly laugh that lasts a minute or more.

Cardiovascular Health Booster: Take Laughter To Heart

A good laugh is called “hearty” for a reason! Endothelium, the inner lining of blood vessels that regulates blood flow and blood thickening, expands as a result of laughter. Moreover, the deep breathing that accompanies laughter improves the circulation of oxygenated blood in the body. Researchers at the University of Maryland studied the effect of humor on two groups of subjects. While one group watched stressful segments from a war movie, the other group was shown funny parts from a comedy. There was a remarkable improvement in blood circulation in the latter group due to the dilation resulting from laughter.  Laughter also decreases artery inflammation and increases the good cholesterol HDL. This salubrious effect of laughter on the endothelium could even reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Immunity Builder: Give Your Body An Immunity Boost

Beta-endorphins and other hormones released while you laugh may stimulate the production of T-cells, a kind of lymphocytes that increases immunity. An experiment conducted in Japan had some interesting results to share. Patients with atopic keratoconjunctivitis were monitored after watching Charlie Chaplin’s silent comedy Modern Times. It was found that laughter increased the production of certain immunoglobulins, antibodies that your body makes and uses to ward off disease-causing viruses and bacteria. The antibody found to have the greatest sense of humor – the one most responsive to laughter – was IgA, which protects the upper respiratory tract from infections. 14Researchers working with cancer patients have also observed that laughter seems to stimulate the activity of natural killer (NK) cells in the body. Clinical trials should help to establish this further.

Fun Aerobic Exercise: Laugh Away The Extra Pounds

If you’ve ever wished for a fun, easy, and effortless fitness regimen, here’s some good news! The connection of laughter with happiness and positivity is so intense that we often perceive laughter to be an emotion. But laughter is actually a physical activity that involves the abdominal and facial muscles and the diaphragm. When we laugh, the muscles contract and relax, leading to an increased amount of oxygen in the blood – the same benefit we get from aerobic exercise. A 15- minute laughter session can burn as many as 10 to 40 calories, depending on the person’s weight and the intensity of laughter!

Make A Conscious Effort To Laugh!

While laughter may not be a miracle drug (just yet!), its therapeutic properties are undoubtedly being endorsed by physicians and scientists alike. That brings us to the question – when was the last time you had a really good belly laugh? While none of us can resist breaking into a giggle every now and then, getting a daily dose of laughter may not be a laughing matter after all. So, from watching funny movies and shows to that long overdue visit to the neighborhood comedy club, put some effort into keeping the laughter alive. And if that doesn’t seem to work all the time, take a cue from medical professionals and health gurus who’ve been suggesting a structured, conscious regimen involving laughter.

From laughter clubs that have been mushrooming all over the country to a “silly hospital” in rural West Virginia where clowns and comedians share pride of place with doctors and nurses, laughter is being taken seriously by experts in the field.16 Since the mid-1990s, laughter yoga or haasya yoga has caught on as a practice of incorporating voluntary laughter into one’s daily routine. This system encourages prolonged, induced laughter and is accompanied by deep rhythmic breathing. And if you’re skeptical about whether scripted or spontaneous laughter can have health benefits, a Psychological Reports study has some answers. The researchers found that even forced laughter – laughing without a humorous stimulus – can significantly boost physical and emotional wellness. So, effortless or not, it’s time for a good guffaw!

As research unravels more of the therapeutic effects of laughter, we can vouch for one thing. Here is one therapy that has no side effects – except that if you really laugh heartily, it may leave you with a pleasant ache in your sides!

Is There A Way To Measure Happiness?

Neurochemicals or “happy chemicals” are released in your blood based on what makes you happy – dopamine when you find something you seek; endorphins to protect you from pain; oxytocin when bonding socially; and serotonin when dominating a social situation. Though research is still in a nascent stage but maybe one day a blood workup could tell how happy you really are.

Every year the World Happiness Report tells us just how happy (or unhappy) the country we live in really is. More often than not, Nordic countries feature heavily at the top. In 2016, Denmark has taken top honors, while the United States has ranked 13th on the World Happiness Index.1 But is there a way, beyond the realms of economics and social sciences, to measure happiness? As the scientific community delves into the psychological and biological indicators of happiness, some interesting insights emerge.

Does Your Body Act Differently When You’re Happy?

Psychological well-being and mental health do have some bearing on physical health, with the former having a positive effect on the latter. Alternative therapy widely believes in the influence one has on the other, as does psychological study. The absence of happiness, when extreme, can result in depression or anxiety, and other negative emotions which also impact the physical body. It follows that there must be a way to look at the physiology of the body to evaluate happiness.

How Is Happiness Measured?

The most common method to measure happiness, especially by social scientists, is a survey administered via questionnaire or interview. However, the limitations of such studies are that they rely on self-scoring by the test subjects. External factors including their mood that day, environmental factors such as how hot or cold they feel can all influence their responses. This makes it very subjective. For a more decisive rating of happiness on a scale that allows for comparison of happiness levels between people, there is the need for a biological measure.3

Studies of the brain have indicated that there is no single happiness center. However, emotion control centers are present in the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, amygdala, insular cortex, and anterior cingulate cortex.

Measuring The Happy Chemicals

Enter the “happy chemicals,” produced by the brain when it sees something it perceives as being good for upping your chances of survival. A primal manifestation of unadulterated happiness. Together these chemicals – endorphin, dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin – give you that familiar feeling associated with happiness.

Specifically, dopamine gives you the happiness associated with finding something you want or seek; endorphins protect you from pain with a happily “oblivious” state; oxytocin is associated with happiness that stems from social bonds/connections; and serotonin makes you feel happy and secure about dominating a social situation. Neurochemicals are the brain’s way of rewarding you with happiness for doing something good.6 However, the exact “normal” levels of these neurochemicals are both hard to determine and difficult to pin down in a specific range that is universally applicable. Instead, psychologists and medical health professionals use a combination of questionnaires, psychological tests, and a check of patient history. This helps determine whether or not someone has experienced a change in specific neurotransmitters. And that’s how they arrive at a clinical diagnosis of happiness or, in many cases, of disorders associated with very high or very low levels of these happiness chemicals.7 Multiple studies are underway to explore the impact of dopamine and serotonin levels in the body, with studies on endorphins also gathering momentum.

Happiness Genes May Hold Key To Determining Happiness

Now it seems like there could be another route to measuring happiness. Recently concluded landmark research, involving 300,000 test subjects and 190 specialists from a whopping 140 institutions, has shown the possible existence of “happiness genes.” With three genetic variants that may determine happiness or feelings someone has about their life, measuring the potential or propensity for happiness could be more effective in a few years’ time. However, as the researchers caution, this isn’t the only factor and environment plays as much of a role in determining happiness.

Research on the happiness genes and happiness chemicals is likely to be in focus in the years ahead. And if things pan out, it may one day even be possible to get a blood workup done to discover just how happy you really are.

References

  1.  Hughes, J.; Bozionelos, N. (2007). “Work-Life Balance as Source of Job Dissatisfaction and Withdrawal Attitudes- An Exploratory Study on the Views of Male Workers” (PDF). Personnel Review36 (1): 145–154. doi:10.1108/00483480710716768. Retrieved 2015-09-21.
  2. “In Pursuit of Happiness Research. Is It Reliable? What Does It Imply for Policy?”. The Cato institute. 2007-04-11.
  3. “Wealth and happiness revisited Growing wealth of nations does go with greater happiness” (PDF). “Maybe Money Does Buy Happiness After All”The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
  4. “Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox” 
  5. In Pursuit of Happiness Research. Is It Reliable? What Does It Imply for Policy? The Cato institute. April 11, 2007
  6. THe Scientist’s Pursuit of Happiness Archived February 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine., Policy, Spring 2005.
  7. “The Benefits of Frequent Positive Affect: Does Happiness Lead to Success?” 
  8. “The Virtuous Organization:: The Value of Happiness in the Workplace
  9. “Know thyself and become what you are: a eudaimonic approach to psychological well-being” (PDF). Journal of Happiness Studiesdoi:10.1007/s10902-006-9019-0. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  10. “the PANAS-X: manual for the positive and negativeaffect schedule”(PDF).

Positive Attitude, Laughtering, Immunity Builder

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