best of you

Health and Wellbeing Event
22nd February 2015
10:30am – 5pm
Paget Rooms, Penarth

The ‘Best of You’ Exhibition is an event providing you with the best in Health and Wellbeing. It’s an opportunity for you to discover the businesses in the local and surrounding areas, aiming to improve your physical, emotional and spiritual health.

There will be exhibitors sharing their expertise in Holistic Therapies, Nutrition, Fitness, Beauty and much more, including workshops and demonstrations.

Come along and experience a taster session, join in with a fitness demonstration or even sample some delicious healthy food & drink and a whole lot more.

Our chosen charity is Follow Your Dreams and we have some fantastic prizes available to raise money for this worthwhile charity.

So come and join us and experience this wonderful day and let’s discover the ‘Best of You’!

With improved sleep, more positive thinking and the formation of achievable goals we can go a long way to combat the effects of stress and living in today’s hectic and demanding world. Couple these with some enjoyable regular exercise and we really can tip the balance in our brains, being much more relaxed and calm, and when we are relaxed and clam we remain in control and able to make a proper assessment of the situation. Taking frequent effective exercise is one of the best physical stress-reduction techniques available. Exercise not only improves your health and reduces stress; it also relaxes tense muscles and helps you to sleep. Once free from the negative and primitive brain responses that are instinctively tied to feelings of anger, anxiety and depression; all of which fuel negativity… we are once again able to see the wood for the trees and that feels good. Once we have something to feel good about we are winning … instead of stress chemicals coursing through our veins we can instead generate serotonin, dopamine, noradrenalin etc. chemicals that make us feel happy, motivated and successful. We can’t argue with our chemistry!

So said Einstein apparently…  to make a change we have to do something different.  I was running a CBT course this week and we stumbled on this. If you were driving from Swansea and you wanted to get to Cardiff.. you would take the M4 and you would fully expect it to take you to Cardiff.  If you wanted to go somewhere different, say, Nottingham … you would need to travel on a different network of roads. You would indeed be labelled as mad if you decided that to get to Nottingham you would still complete your usual journey on the M4 to Cardiff… how could you possibly expect to end up somewhere else?

Beat the Winter Blues!
Do you or someone you know suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)?
Are you affected by the loss of light?
The lack of light and endless cloudy skies can have a big impact on our mood even if we wouldn’t be characterised as having SAD.
Help is at hand, read this handy guide to boosting the right hormones and chemicals, and get your brain boosted to beat those blues!
The Happiness Manifesto
This is a workable 10 point plan to help you feel more positive about things

1. Get physical – take at least half an hour exercise 3 to 4 times a week

2. Count your blessings – at the end of each day reflect on one or two things you are grateful for.

3. Take time to talk – have an uninterrupted conversation with your partner, close friend or neighbour each week.

4. Plant something – and keep it alive!

5. Cut your TV viewing down

6. Smile and look up – be mindful of your environment, be in the moment, notice the sky, the trees, the tops of buildings etc.

7. Do something different – break habits, do something different, go somewhere different…. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result (Einstein)

8. Have a good laugh – at least once a week.

9. Give yourself a treat – every day and take the time to enjoy it.

10. Spread some kindness – do a good turn for someone whenever you can.

The modern way of living has dramatically altered nature’s cues. A modern day no longer starts at the break of dawn and ends at sunset. Workdays are getting longer and many people face shift work schedules. Additionally, the advent of electric lighting allows social gatherings and personal activities to extend well into the night. These factors have diminished the body’s natural ability to regulate the body clock and this work/life change has resulted in a dramatic increase in light deficiency symptoms.
Unfortunately we have an old brain in a modern world – in other words when we face threat and stress the primitive ‘old’ part of our brain kicks in, forcing us into flight, flight or freeze, also known as anxiety (flight), anger (fight) and depression (freeze).
Our hormones are out of balance and so our brain tells us to hide at the back of the cave and wait it out, or the modern day cave equivalent – your 13 tog duvet!
What is SAD, or winter Blues?
SAD is sometimes known as “winter depression” because the symptoms are more apparent and tend to be more severe at this time of the year.
The symptoms often begin in the autumn as the days start getting shorter. They are most severe during December, January and February.
In most cases, the symptoms of SAD begin to improve in the spring before disappearing.
The exact cause of SAD is not fully understood, but it is thought to be linked to reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter days of the year.
Sunlight can affect some of the brain’s chemicals and hormones. However, it is not clear what this effect is. One theory is that light stimulates a part of the brain called the hypothalamus which controls mood, appetite and sleep. These things can affect how you feel.
In people with SAD, a lack of sunlight and a problem with certain brain chemicals stops the hypothalamus working properly. The lack of light is thought to affect:
• the production of the hormone melatonin
• the production of the hormone serotonin
• the body’s circadian rhythm (the body’s internal clock, which regulates several biological processes during a 24-hour period)
Light passes through the eye to the hypothalamus, a part of the brain which controls a wide range of functions, so symptoms may include a number of the following:
* Low mood, worse than and different from normal sadness
* Negative thoughts and feelings
* Guilt and loss of self-esteem
* Hopelessness and despair
* Apathy
* Fatigue, often making it difficult or impossible to do normal tasks
* Difficulties with memory and concentration
* Brain does not work as efficiently or as quickly
* Feelings of tension
* Inability to deal with stress
* Lowered immune system in winter
* More vulnerability to infections
* The need to sleep more
* Oversleeping or difficulty staying awake during the day
* Disturbed sleep patterns and/or early morning awakening
* Insomnia
* Increased desire for carbohydrates to boost mood
* Weight gain
* Increased irritability
* Finding it harder to be with people
* Less interest in sex and physical contact
* Sudden lift in mood
* Agitation/Restlessness or short period of hypomania (over-activity)
* Gradual loss of winter symptoms
As well as training ourselves to think differently, complimentary therapies can also help:
Psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Counselling may help the sufferer to deal with SAD. Complementary therapies and meditation which help relaxation and acceptance of the illness are also useful, such hypnotherapy, mindfulness training etc.
Light therapy has been shown to be effective in up to 85 per cent of diagnosed cases. Treatment using modern light boxes emitting 10,000 lux takes 30 – 60 minutes a day.
Boosting your ‘serotonin pool’ will also help, doing things that make you feel good, volunteer, go dancing, try a new class, art, crafts, yoga? Follow the Happiness Manifesto and get your brain on broad!

Further info:

Our minds cannot differentiate between imagination and reality, so if we keep thinking about things we should have done, or tell ourselves we will never be able to do something, that negative repetition impacts on us and becomes a habit- to think we can’t rather than think we can. There is a really simple test of this theory… if I say to you now, don’t think about an elephant, don’t think about a BLUE elephant, don’t think about a BLUE elephant with RED spots! What are you thinking about?

Just as we start to sort out our autumn clothes and hoping it will still be a while before we need the old bobbly jumper lurking at the back of the closet, we can sort out old thoughts, feelings and issues and re-evaluate them – are they useful to us any more? And how can we do this anyway?

To be physically healthy, we have to be mentally healthy, and more people recognise these days that medication alone or “just getting on with it” may not be enough and want to make change happen in an ongoing, realistic and sustainable way. There are various ways to learn how you can use your full mental resources to achieve your goals and give you tools that you can use right now, and for the rest of your life.

One crucial aspect to a healthy mind is SELF CARE. Too many of us are rushing here there and everywhere always doing for others, our jobs and our relationships and it is our self that comes at the bottom of the pile? How can we expect our brain to do as we ask it to, to follow through on out motivations and even our dreams if we are not respecting ourselves and putting in VALUE to our self-consciousness?

Do any of the following apply?

  • Too busy to meet friends, family?
  • Too busy to go the gym, go for a walk? Yet you can still fit in an hour of TV?
  • Forgotten how much you like to read, listen to music, play an instrument? Cook, garden?

We must follow the three golden rules in order or get motivated, give ourselves an internal promotion before expecting our brain to follow suit and help us out when we want to make changes but lack the necessary ‘oomph’ to do so.

The 3 golden rules are:

  • Positive actions
  • Positive interactions
  • Positive thoughts

These help us increase our own sense of well-being and therefore help increase our serotonin pool. More serotonin means more happiness, more motivation and more oomph!