Stand tall to feel happier

Category: Article or Blog
Published: Wednesday, 24 January 2018
Written by Sarah PJ White

We know that our posture often reflects our mood. Feeling down? Your shoulders will go down, you’ll slump down on yourself a bit and hold your head low. Feel positive? Your head will be up, you’ll be more likely to make eye contact and your stance will be a firm but relaxed one.

But how many of you have heard of the philosophy of embodied cognition?

Embodied cognition

Embodied cognition means the relationship between our mind and body is a two-way thing. This means our posture and stance affect how we think – but also, that the way we think impacts our posture and stance.

So you could say you’re slouching down because you’re depressed, however it’s also true that you’re feeling depressed BECAUSE you’re slouching down.

What this means for your mood

This is a truly powerful concept, as it means you can work on both your mind-set AND your posture, if you want to change your moods.

So think about it for a minute. We all make assumptions about how mood is reflected in a person’s posture. For example, swinging your arms whilst walking can help you feel more positive and happier, so if we see someone doing this, we assume they’re happy. If we see someone walking tall, with their back straightened, shoulders back and head held high, we immediately think they’re confident and assured.

Change your stance to change your mood

It’s been said that it only takes two minutes to change the chemistry and hormones in our body. We could therefore work on changing our posture IN ORDER TO feel a different mood.

Try it and see. For example, right now straighten your back, pull your shoulders back and hold your head higher and switch your focus to something slightly higher than eye level. Hold this stance, whilst you breathe steadily in and out. Feel calmer or more content?

Another good example is hugging. It’s amazing how hugging makes us feel safe, protected and warm – but did you know that hugging yourself has a very similar effect on your feelings?

Make the choice

The important thing to remember is to acknowledge whatever mood you’re feeling, but state it as a choice, not a definite. ‘I am sad’ has a different feel to that of the statement ‘I choose to feel sad’. ‘I choose to feel happy’ feels even more special than ‘I feel happy’.

So make a choice to feel the mood you want to feel. If you want to feel happy, choose that mood – and then stand tall and act happy. Smile, grin, skip, dance or jump on the spot if it helps, but make the decision AND take on the stance of happy person – and you WILL start feeling happier.

Discover your happiness at: http://thejoyscientist.co.uk/index.php/ways-to-feel-great/the-joy-journey

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Yoga for flexibility

Category: Article or Blog
Published: Wednesday, 17 January 2018
Written by Sarah PJ White

Yoga is an excellent way to increase flexibility, no matter how flexible you already are. Most people who need to improve their flexibility however, tend to mistakenly shy away from yoga, as they think they need to be flexible in order to do it!

Yoga is the perfect way to stretch all of the muscle groups. It also improves your overall flexibility and posture. It’s a well-known fact that yoga can be effective for those people suffering from stress and anxiety, as yoga helps you focus and calm your mind – this is why it’s also great for your concentration too.

General tips before you get started

If you’ve read about the benefits of yoga and want to use it to improve your flexibility, make sure you follow these simple tips:

Tip #1: Use it daily

As with anything, you want to make it a habitual thing. In order to get the very best out of yoga, look to implement some (or all) of these poses on a daily basis.

Tip #2: Hold each pose

The idea behind yoga isn’t to rush through the poses as fast as you can – take the time to get maximum benefit from each of the poses. Hold yourself in each position for at least 5 – 10 steady, even breaths. If you can hold each pose for several minutes, that’s even better.

Tip #3: Be patient with yourself

As with any form of exercise, it takes time to see results. Be patient and gentle with yourself. Don’t push yourself too hard, too fast, otherwise you’ll end up giving up, before you’ve started to see any of the benefits.

If you’ve never exercised before or have any concerns about your health, make sure you consult your local GP, before you start any new form of exercise.

Yoga poses for flexibility

There are masses of great yoga poses to help you improve your flexibility. Take a look at this list and look to add them into your daily yoga routine!

  • Downward dog pose
  • Child pose
  • Chair pose
  • Tree pose
  • Plank pose
  • Bridge pose
  • Locust pose
  • Warrior poses – particularly Warrior 2
  • Triangle pose
  • Eagle pose
  • Forward bend
  • Straddle pose
  • Mountain pose
  • Legs-up-the-wall pose
  • Wide legged standing and forward bend pose

Remember to cool down at the end of your yoga session. The Shavasana pose is a perfect one to use at the end of your yoga workout, when you’re ready to cool down and relax. As with all yoga poses, it can look deceptively simple, but it will be creating a benefit to your overall health and wellbeing.

For more Yoga info, visit us at http://thejoyscientist.co.uk/index.php/ways-to-feel-great/dru-yoga

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Journaling – welcome to a happier you!

Category: Article or Blog
Published: Tuesday, 02 February 2016
Written by Sarah PJ White

Journaling is often seen as simply writing down what you’ve achieved or seen throughout your day. But, if it’s done right, it’s so much more than a summary of your day – journaling can help you come to terms with events and situations in your life, to get clarity and to clear negative, stuck emotions – leading to a happier, more positive you!

What does journaling do for you?

The act of writing uses the left side, or analytical and rational part, of your brain. This leaves the right, creative, intuitive and emotional side, to do what it does best – create, make links and unravel emotions. This makes journaling the perfect way to increase these right-side traits.

Journaling therefore helps you to clear any mental blocks you have, around events and situations you have been in, whilst also freeing blocks in your creativity and intuition.

The importance of clearing thoughts and emotions

Journaling helps you make sense of the thoughts in your head. It unravels them and enables you to better understand the attached feelings and emotions you have linked to them.

Bottled up emotions are never a good idea, but we are notoriously bad at letting them out. Writing enables you to gently take the lid off them, to clarify what those emotions are and to acknowledge and let them go in a safe, constructive way. This will help you feel calmer, more centred and less stressed.

Defuse and resolve

If you’re currently experiencing a disagreement with someone or have a problem you want to solve, journaling can help. As mentioned earlier, it frees the right-side of your brain – and this is the side that can work through problems and possibly come up with a solution. It also helps you to understand the other side of the argument, potentially defusing those disagreements and arguments.

So how do you correctly use a journal?

When it comes to writing in your journal, you need to be honest with yourself – and be prepared to dig deep. You could skim over your day’s events, but you won’t reap the benefits. Don’t be afraid to write about your feelings, thoughts and moods.

Set aside 5-10 minutes each morning to write in your journal – either first thing in the morning or last thing at night.

Don’t censor your writing. Write quickly and don’t edit it as you along – just go for fast and forget about spelling and punctuation.

Finally, remember there are no rules! You could pick a theme for the day (such as anger or emotion) or just go with the flow – there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way – just get it down on paper.

Image © Alexandra Thompson/Dollar Photo Club

Stop beating yourself up!

Category: Article or Blog
Published: Monday, 08 February 2016
Written by Sarah PJ White

We can be our own worst critic. When we do something wrong, silly or just plain thoughtless, we find it so easy to chastise ourselves so harshly, using words and tones we wouldn’t even dare to speak to others – so why do we find it so ‘normal’ to do this to ourselves?

The way we talk to ourselves can have a lasting and damaging effect on everything, from our confidence and motivation, right through to our mood and general health. Our inner self-talk can talk us out of, or into, anything!

Why? Well the root cause of our self-talk is to actually keep us safe. It wants to prevent us from getting hurt, being hurt and generally suffering. But it’s operating from a sense of fear and is constantly anxious for us – and thrives on drama.

Everything is so easily expanded on, blown out of proportion and exaggerated, when self-talk gets involved – both for the better and, in this case, the worse. We then listen to it, as we feel there’s an element of truth there and, if left unchecked that too, will get exaggerated. That little criticism of ourselves becomes bigger, that feeling of disappointment becomes a massive feeling of failure and it all becomes second nature to us.

So how can you stop beating yourself up, with this negative self-talk?

Catch it early

Negative self-talk can quickly go on a downward spiral; the more you focus on it, the worse it gets. So stop it in its tracks, as soon as you notice it happening.

Give your inner critic a name

Preferably a silly one and, even better, give it a squeaky, high-pitched voice. It’s so much harder to take it seriously this way!

Acknowledge and thank it

Thank it by name, for bringing this fear/worry/thought to your attention – after all, that’s what it’s trying to do; get your attention.

Put it into perspective

This is important, as it may have already been exaggerated. Get to the root facts behind the negativity.

Question it

Once you notice what that inner self-talk is saying and have put it into perspective, now question the truth in it. Is there any truth there? What references is it using? Whose voice is it using – and how much faith do you put in the owner of that voice?

Choose another thought

Once you’ve thanked it and questioned it, make the decision to choose another, more empowering thought and option.

Make a decision

Now you can make a decision to replace the negative thought with the new thought, moving forward. If it helps, write down this small victory, along with how it made you feel to choose this new thought. You could even turn it into an affirmation and use this to retrain your inner critic to think of this new thought permanently.

Image courtesy of Allen Penton/Dollar Photo Club

Are you taking responsibility for your own life?

Category: Article or Blog
Published: Friday, 22 January 2016
Written by Sarah PJ White

Responsibility. It’s something we all feel we have on a daily basis, from bringing up our children to our work-related tasks.

It’s therefore little wonder that we can get a bit tired of all that responsibility, tired of the pressure it produces and the onus on being there for others. However, we still forge ahead with that responsibility, regardless of how we may complain about it – so why then, when it comes to our own life, do we tend to step back from taking the same level of persistent responsibility?

Using outside factors

No matter what level of religious or spiritual belief you may (or may not) have, we find it all too easy to reference how fate, destiny and luck all have control over the direction of our lives. If it’s good, they’re smiling upon us and, if it’s bad – they’re punishing or looking down on us.

To further compound the problem, we also blame those around us, for their part in causing our life to be the way it is! We blame them for not knowing what we think and feel, for not understanding and for not helping – when we’re not even knowing, feeling and helping ourselves!

What it really means

However, the simple fact is this – we control how our life goes. We control whether it feels fulfilling or empty and we control how others affect us.

The need to use outside influences as our controller, simply means we are stepping back from taking responsibility for our own lives. We can then take a passive role and find ourselves reacting to the situations we find ourselves encountering – rather than acting on our own will and creating the life we want.

Learn to take responsibility

So how can you start to take responsibility for your life and start taking a more active role in its outcome?

#1: Stop blaming others

As the saying goes: the buck stops here. It stops with you. Other people are reacting to their own situations, experiences and thoughts – the state of your life probably doesn’t even occur to them!

#2: Acknowledge what’s happening

Become aware of what is going on in your life. Not just the events, but how you’re reacting too. Acknowledge how you feel and think, what you like and dislike, as well as getting a clear picture of the facts around your life at the moment.

#3: Have no judgement, only acceptance

When you look at where you presently are, what things are happening and how you feel, don’t judge them – just accept they are as they are, at this moment in time. Remember, accepting them doesn’t mean resigning yourself to them – it’s about accepting they are there, at this moment.

#4: Change your mind-set

If you want to take responsibility, you need to start with your mind-set. What do you want to believe, moving forward? Do you want to be a passenger in your own life or the driver? If you want to be in control, accept that you have to start making decisions. Stop using language that dictates you have no control of what happens in your life, such as ‘that’s life’, ‘it’s in my genes’ and ‘it’s because I’m male/female’.

#5: Take consistent action

Moving forward, make the decision to act on your feelings, thoughts and emotions. If you want to do something, do it. If you say you want to do something, do it. But taking action also means being active – actively monitor your language and terminology, actively watch your actions and reactions and vocalise your thoughts and feelings.

 

If you want to take responsibility for your life and your happiness find out more here

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