Being Optimistic Has Some Serious Health Benefits

Optimism

You’re either a glass half full or half empty kind of person. Few of us want to be grouped with the latter – there are few things less warming than someone who can’t see the bright side in anything. Aside from being more pleasant to be around, being an optimist has some impressive health benefits. 

Back in 2009, a study by the University of Pittsburgh found that optimists were less likely to get ill, while in 2013 researchers at Concordia University found that those with a positive approach were better at dealing with stressful situations. “On days where they experience higher than average stress, that’s when we see that the pessimists’ stress response is much elevated, and they have trouble bringing their cortisol levels back down. Optimists, by contrast, were protected in these circumstances,” Joelle Jobin, the co-author of the study told Science Daily at the time.

A more recent study by Boston University went one step further and found that an optimistic outlook can improve your chances of living longer. The study surveyed 69,744 women over 10 years and 1,429 men over 30 years to measure their levels of optimism, as well as their overall health and lifestyle habits, including whether their smoked or drank alcohol.

“Previous studies reported that more optimistic individuals are less likely to suffer from chronic diseases and die prematurely,” says Lewina O. Lee, clinical research psychologist at Boston University. “Our results further suggest that optimism is specifically related to 11 to 15% longer life span, on average, and to greater odds of achieving “exceptional longevity,” that is, living to the age of 85 or beyond.”

How can you be more optimistic?

Keep a journal: In a world where few of us have a minute to collect our thoughts, the idea of writing them down feels like a luxury. However, taking five minutes out before you go to bed to write down a couple of things you’re most grateful for in that moment can help reset your mind, and it can also help you sleep. 

Search for solutions: The office pessimist is never more obvious than when you’re in a crisis meeting looking for a way around the issue. Stewing on a problem often makes it feel bigger than it is and can exacerbate negative feelings. Where and when possible it is good to switch from being problem-focused to solution-focused. 

Focus on the improvement: It’s easy to set ambitious goals and lose enthusiasm halfway through when you haven’t reached them. However, there is that popular saying: ‘your speed doesn’t matter – forward is forward’. Try focusing on how far you have come rather than how far you have to go. Making small mindset tweaks can ultimately change your overall approach.

Look after your gut: Plenty of studies have linked our gut with our nervous systems. Making sure the bacteria in your gut is well-balanced and thriving can have a surprising impact on your mood. Life Extension noted this and formulated Florassist Mood, a probiotic that contains the two strains of bacteria that help improve our mood, Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum. 

Build up a sweat: Whether it’s a run in the park or a brisk walk, it’s worth getting your heart rate up as when we exercise our body releases endorphins, which help boost our mood. Recent research has also suggested that those who spend more time surrounded by nature also tend to be happier and more positive, so perhaps it’s time we all started or ended the day with a stroll in the park?

The Molecule That Could Reduce Your Anxiety

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Ever heard of neurotrophin-3? We hadn’t either up until a couple of weeks ago. But, if you regularly battle with bouts of anxiety then it’s a molecule worth learning about. According to a new study neurotrophin-3, or a lack of it, plays a key role in how and if we respond to outside threats. Read More…

Battling With Anxiety? Look After Your Gut

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The gut has been described as our body’s second brain and this week researchers at Shanghai Mental Health Center at Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine in China confirmed the link between the two. After reviewing a whopping 21 studies, the researchers found that over half of them pointed to a substantial link between gut bacteria and anxiety. So much so, researchers concluded that changing the microbiota in your gut could help alleviate anxiety. Read More…

Middle-Aged Brits Are The Most Miserable People In The UK

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Its been quite a week. What with England failing to make the final of the World Cup after being defeated by Croatia on Wednesday; the unexpected but much appreciated lengthy heatwave beginning to cool off; and the various political tussles that we’re not even going to touch on. It’s not surprising that some of us are feeling a little blue. If you’re aged between 45 and 59 years, this week might have hit you harder than most.

A new survey has revealed that middle-aged Brits are the most miserable, unfulfilled people in the UK. Health is the most common reason for unhappiness among this age group. Those who believe their health is bad are 14 times more likely to be unhappy than those in good health. However, being separated, divorced, unemployed or unhappy in their job and renting rather than owning their home can also play a role.

On the other end of the spectrum, students and those in early retirement are likely to be the most content and if you’re young, educated and married you might just be living your best life.

For the rest of us, here’s a few tips on how to boost your happiness levels…

Move more

Plenty of studies have proved that regular exercise not only improves our health, but also increases our endorphin (happy hormone) levels. This doesn’t mean you have to sign-up to a gruelling, sweaty spin class or hit the gym five times a week, instead find an activity you like and schedule it into your week where you can. Walking, running, swimming, you name it. It could even be a lifestyle change, such as walking to the train station rather than jumping on a bus, or walking up the stairs rather than taking the lift. As long as it raises your heart rate, you’re doing alright.

Look after your gut

Researchers are still exploring the impact our gut has on the rest of our body, but some studies have indicated a link between a healthy functioning gut and our emotional wellbeing. While any good quality probiotic should help promote good bacteria, Florassist Mood by Life Extensions has been specially formulated to help not only rebalance the bacteria in our gut, but also to improve the signalling between our gut and our nervous system.

Make a list

This is particularly useful if you’re feeling unhappy or unfulfilled at work. Making a list of what you like and don’t like, as well as where you’d like to be in the future can help give negative thoughts a constructive twist.

Take time out

For some this might be meditating or partaking in a yoga class, for others it’s binging on trashy TV or reading a book. Taking time for yourself doesn’t have to be virtuous, you just need to switch off from the tensions and dramas of day-to-day life and relax. We recommend investing in Soul Medicine’s Inner Smile Mist to set the tone. Admittedly, this is no mean feat if you have young children, but where possible having a little me-time and checking out can help you relax.

Have a clean-up

There’s the saying ‘tidy home, tidy mind’ and having a good deep clean of your home, desk or car could really help make space in your mind. If you need any more encouragement, it’s also been proven that you sleep better in a tidy bedroom.

Is The Hot Weather Giving You Rage?

Heat Rage

Last week we called it a heatwave, but with the high temperatures set to stay for at least another week it looks like we’re in the midst of the summer we’ve all been dreaming of for the past 20 years. While most of us have been thoroughly enjoying the bout of hot weather with BBQs, picnics and paddling pools, you wouldn’t be alone if you’ve found yourself struggling in the heat.

Whether someone nudges you on the tube, undertakes you on the motorway or jumps the queue in Sainsbury’s, it’s likely to irritate you more than it might usually as your your patience could be more frayed. In fact, there are plenty of studies to show that the heat really can bring out the worst in us. One such study in 2001 found that hot temperatures increase aggression by directly increasing feelings of hostility. Last year, a study revealed that retail workers are 50 percent less likely to actively engage with customers if it’s hot outside.

How can you reduce this rage? The obvious answer would be to stay away from human beings for as long as the heat lasts and relax in that paddling pool. In reality, it’s about keeping cool, calm and hydrated. Scientists believe that dehydration could play a key role in increasing irritability in the heat. In 2012, a study showed that women who lost 1.5 percent of their body’s normal water content were tenser and more anxious.

We’ve recommend Physicool Rapid Cooling Mist, £12.99, several times over the past couple of weeks for the simple fact that it’s inexpensive and cools you down almost instantly. You can mist it over your face, across your pulse points and onto your ankles and feet.

It might also be worth investing in Florassist Mood by Life Extension £26. While taking a probiotic to help keep your rage in-check might sound a little far-fetched, there are links between our nervous system and gut. Florassist Mood helps with the signalling between the two and can genuinely help balance your mood. And with no end for the hot weather in sight, it’s worth taking them now.

January Newsletter

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Hello and welcome to 2018 and the January newsletter; I was ever so tempted to make this the first-ever non-product related newsletter because there are so many things that I want to write about other than products. So this is what we are going to do; I am mostly going to write about health issues (actually Shabir is doing nearly all of that) and in between I will have a few soapbox moments, do some feedback, introduce you to new members of our team (exciting!) and somewhere amongst all of this there are a couple of treats and of course the feature articles, which are pretty profound this month.

As the new year begins, the buzz phase is self-care; it is everywhere you look. The New York Times (and as reported in Grazia) has declared that ‘self-care is the new going out’. We are notoriously bad in the UK at doing self-care and I am no exception. We feel guilty about nurturing ourselves and our needs, but in this brave new self-care world I actually ran away (far away) just before Christmas and for the first time ever I didn’t plug my laptop in and I turned my phone off. Life continued. Read More…