Brain Food

brain foodThere is always lots of focus in the health industry on how to be fit and look after yourself properly, concentrating on your bodily physic and fitness levels.

Recently this has expanded to an increased awareness regarding the fact that what you put in your body affects how your skin looks, and what you put on it has an effect too.

However, lots of people are so concentrated on their outside muscles that the most important muscle in the body gets overlooked. That muscle? The brain.

Believe it or not, the brain needs feeding too. Like any other muscle the brain needs nutrients to function at its optimum level, to retain memories, and to develop and learn.

But what foods should you eat if you want to increase your brain power?

[1] We’ve all probably heard that fish is great for you, but did you know that the more oily the fish, the better it is for the brain?

This is because it contains lots of omega-3 fats (the good type of fat that lowers your cholesterol), namely EPA and DHA.

These omega 3 fats have been linked to reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and memory loss, keeping your brain in perfect working order.

[2] Blackcurrant’s are a fantastic source of vitamin C, and vitamin C is thought to be linked to mental agility. Have a chess match coming up? Make sure that you stock up!

[3] Need a quick snack to boost your thinking power and enhance your memory? Why not try pumpkin seeds? They’re full of zinc which is a great nutrient for your brain and can help combative function. Definitely something to add to your diet!

There are lots of other foods that are great for your brain muscle too, and can help your memory and brain function.

Without our brains everything else becomes irrelevant, so it’s super important to keep it in top condition and feed it with the proper nutrients needed!

Can Positivity Make You Healthier?

positivityIt has been widely accepted that stress is bad news for your immune system and health, leading to a whole variety of problems, particularly if it is long lasting and there is no break from it.

However the study of positive mental attitudes and their affect on health is relatively new, and has been mostly swept aside by mass media.

Yet, a positive mental attitude is definitely an important factor in the discussion of health and wellbeing, and one that should be looked at in more depth.

Barbara Fredrickson for example, in her book “Positivity” has taken a massive stride in discussing the affect a positive attitude has on health and well being. One of her main arguments is that positive mental health contributes to a broader outlook on life.

This broader outlook is one that encourages more creativity, better problem solving, and the ability to get back up after a rough spot, brush yourself down and continue.

This increase in resilience is super important in the long run as it will help you to deal with the hard times in life (which happen to everyone regardless of how positive you are), and makes sure that you are emotionally equipped to get through these situations without any health complaints such as elevated stress or depression.

By building up your emotional resilience, you are therefore also building up your immunity to other diseases and illnesses as prolonged stress lowers your immunity making it easier for you to get sick, and having the potential to make you even more stressed.

She also makes the point that positivity helps you to connect with others. Connecting with others is a crucial part of wellbeing as other people provide a support network that we can call on in times of need, as well as being the people who celebrate with you when you are at your highest.

This network also means that you will also be called on to be a positive influence in a hard situation, and helping people boosts self-esteem and altruism which again, boosts health.

Positivity is therefore an important factor in health, and one that shouldn’t be ignored.

Motivation

motivationIt can be hard to stay motivated when you have experienced a set back, regardless of if this setback is because of a health condition, in relation to your goals and aspirations, or mentally.

Lack of motivation can lead to decreased confidence, low self-esteem and increased stress levels. These conditions usually lead to lowered levels of motivation and thus, the circle goes on.

However, pushing through a motivational low point has been proven to have a beneficial effect on the mind and body.

By continuing activities that you have lost the motivation for to a point where you can see substantial improvement or changes, your motivation can be renewed, your confidence boosted, and your sense of self worth elevated. But how do you remain motivated after the initial excitement has run its course?

Well, the following things may help!

 1. Look at what you’re doing from a different angle! – Whatever it is that you are lacking motivation for, try to look at it from a different perspective. Mix it up, or get a friend to give you their opinion on ways to spice up your routine. Routine is often the cause of most drops in motivation as you get used to the task at hand and stop pushing yourself. Introducing some challenges into what you are doing is a great way to keep pushing forward and avoid giving up.

2.     Set small targets – It can be all too easy to give up at the smallest hurdle if you aren’t working towards anything, or if the thing you are working towards is so huge that it seems unachievable. Once you have broken the task down into smaller bites however, you will be able to track your progress and each milestone will give you the motivation to continue.

3.     Make a list that features all of the reasons why you want to achieve your target, why you started in the first place, and visualise what it would be like to have accomplished your goal. That way, you have a constant reminder of why you started in the first place and can look at it when you’re thinking of giving in. What is more, it came from you, so you’re more likely to listen!

Most importantly though, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Sometimes it takes a while to learn a new skill or achieve something great.

Don’t compare you’re success with others, instead find the motivation within you and keep going.

Stress Relief

stress reliefIn today’s high-tech society we are never even 5 metres away from our smart phones or a computer. We are consistently switched on to every email or buzz from colleagues or clients asking us questions long into the night.

Thus, it is no wonder that more people than ever are reporting signs of stress and even anxiety to their doctors, everything from headaches, to irritability and dizziness. But what can we do to aid stress relief and  help ourselves break this cycle?

 The first thing would be to acknowledge the problem. If you know that you’re checking your phone well into the night, it wakes you up, or you feel like you can’t physically switch it off in case of an emergency, you need to recognise that maybe this isn’t the healthiest of habits.

Everyone needs sleep and if your sleep is being disturbed by your smart phone devices or anxiety relating to them, it is important to change your habits. This could include anything from working on putting these emails and texts into perspective, asking yourself if they really need to be answered straight away, what is the worst that could happen if you don’t, to switching your phone to plane mode throughout the night.

Of course, it isn’t only mobile devices that cause stress. Stress can be caused by a whole array of different things from work and relationships to money trouble. If you can acknowledge that there is one thing that is consistently causing you stress then remember, you are half way to dealing with it! As stress is such a personal thing however, there is no one method that helps. Yet, there are some things you can do to boost your chances of leading a happy and healthy life.

 1.    Exercise, it boosts your immune system, releasing endorphins that make you feel happier!

2.    Talk to people, lack of communication causes problems and stress. Besides, having a chat with a friend can take your mind off any woes.

3.    Treat yourself. Regardless of if it’s to a bubble bath or a new wardrobe. Do something for yourself, relax and enjoy life! Taking time out can help with stress immensely!

4.    Get out of your comfort zone, it boosts confidence enabling you to have a more positive mind set.

5.    Don’t hide from your problems, or rely on alcohol or smoking to comfort you.

6.    Lend a helping hand! Helping others boosts endorphins and you’re making a difference!

7.    Prioritise, nobody expects you to do everything. Prioritise the most important tasks and work your way through them. To-do lists are super helpful too!

Valentine’s Day and Singledom!

It’s that time of the year again. Valentine’s Day…valentine's day

If you aren’t with anyone at this time of year, it can be quite lonely especially when it seems like everyone else is in love or at least has someone to hold there hand. But don’t fret! We have come up with a few ideas to get you through this holiday.

They might not be the same as having a special someone there with you, but they may make this year a little more bearable. Besides just because its “meant” to be for couples, doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate other types of love too!

1. Grab some friends and have a movie / baking night – it’s best to keep yourself busy, and if one or more of your friends are single, it makes sense to celebrate your friendship and have fun. Just make sure the movies are comedies (without the “Rom”) to keep your spirits up.

2. Try focusing on what you do have. Do you have an awesome career? Or have you got lots of amazing friends? How about family? It’s easy to overlook what we have when we don’t have something and keep focusing on it, and sometimes we just need to put in a little bit more effort to get things into perspective.

3. Remember that it’s just a day! Despite the cards and garish presents, it is in reality a day like any other, besides, with the money you’ve saved by not taking part in it, you can treat yourself. Go on, you know you want to!

And if these tips don’t work, just remember, you are an amazing human being and someone, somewhere will understand that. You just have to be patient. And, if being single on Valentine’s Day really does bother you, perhaps make 2014 the year that you try something new. Make the effort to meet more people this year, join a club, or even try online dating! There are a whole variety of ways that you can change this part of your life if you want to, but the first and foremost thing is you!

Make sure you realise how wonderful you are.

Mental Health Awareness

mental_health_awarenessWhen we say the word “health” many things spring to mind, such as exercise, healthy eating, and the avoidance of illness. However, last Monday, the 20th of January, was dubbed as 2014’s “Blue Monday”. “Blue Monday” is apparently the most “depressing” day of the year, and with the cold, dark weather outside it seems hardly surprising. However, despite this day not really carrying much weight psychologically (there is no proof that this day is any more depressing than any other day in January), and has been labelled a type of pseudoscience by academics, it can be argued that it does have a deeper significance in building awareness and breaking down barriers surrounding mental health.

Mental health is still something that is still largely ignored or stigmatised by society, making people feel uncomfortable or unable to speak out about their experiences and making it difficult for them to seek help. However, pushing it to the forefront of the public consciousness through “Blue Monday” is definitely a step in the right direction, although I would argue that it needs to be highlighted for more than one day a year, and in a way that takes mental health issues like depression seriously and doesn’t just label being ‘blue’ or mildly upset along with depressed.

According to the NHS website, around 1 in 4 people experience some type of mental health issue throughout their lives. The mental health foundation (mentalhealth.org.uk) have expanded upon this sharing that the most common mental health issue in Britain is a mixture of anxiety and depression, and, of these people, more women are more likely to have been treated for mental health problems relating to anxiety and depression than men.  This indicates that despite women being more able to speak out about issues that they have been having and being comfortable enough to seek the professional help they need (perhaps after talking to friends and family), men still aren’t.

One of the main reasons for this is perhaps the social expectation’s of what it is to be a man and not talking about emotional issues that they may be going through with support systems that may or may not be in place, but it is also due to the types of mental health issues that affect men and women and how they affect the genders differently. The National Institute for clinical excellence have even suggested that the number of men being diagnosed with depression is lower than women because when they do go to the doctor with concerns, the symptoms that they have of depression physiologically present different.

Regardless of gender or social expectations and pressures however, we have to talk about mental illnesses and take them seriously, for a healthy body is only good thing when accompanied by a healthy mind.

Coping with Stress

Coping with stress is something we all have to deal with at some point.

In many cases stress is often put to the back of our minds, especially when we are dealing with it so sometimes it can be hard to realise that you are stressed.

 

Here are the main symptoms to look out for:

Anxiousness

Irritability

Low self-esteem

Racing thoughts

Constantly worrying

Going over things in your head

Losing your temperature easily

Drinking more

Acting unreasonably

Headaches

Muscle tension

Dizziness

 

If you are consistently stressed or stressed for a long period of time it can have a negative effect on your immune system and cause you to sick. Our Beta Glucan can help with this, however in order to live a healthy life-style you need to fix the core problem.

 

Find your trigger

Stress can be caused by a whole array of different things from work and relationships to money trouble. If there is one thing that is consistently causing you stress then you are half way to dealing with it. As stress is such a personal thing, there is no one method to deal with it. However there are some things you can do to help.

Methods for dealing with stress

 

There is no one method of coping with stress, however the following can help to relieve it.

Exercise – Exercising boosts your immune system and helps release endorphins to help you feel happier and more positive.

Realise that it’s ok to be stressed- The more you become anxious about being stressed and letting everything get on top of you, the more stressed you will become.

Talk to people – Lack of communication is often the cause of stress, so talking things through can help immensely. It’s also important to talk to close friends and family members too, they will often help you to think of solutions or just take your mind off of your problems for a moment.

Be selfish – With work taking up so much time nowadays, it’s important to take some time out for yourself to relax and socialise. Not having enough time for yourself often affects your sleeping patterns, making you tired causing everything to build up and make you stressed.

Challenge yourself – Challenging yourself helps you become more confident and equips you with a positive attitude that makes it harder for you to become stressed.

Tackle the cause of your problems – Don’t rely on alcohol or smoking to help with stress. It can cause more problems that it fixes.

Help others- Helping others always boosts positive feeling and may make a difference in the other persons life too.

Accept you can’t do everything – Prioritise the most important tasks. Don’t expect to do everything at once or you risk spending too much time working and risk getting more stressed.

 

If you are consistently getting stressed and none of these tips help, visit your doctor.