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9 Daily Habits That Will Make You Healthier

9 Daily Habits That Will Make You Healthier

We all try to be healthier in our daily routines, and we focus mainly on food and exercise, but these simple daily habits will help make you not only healthier, but happier too.

1. Begin the day with a positive affirmation of yourself.

The way you view yourself and feel about your life in the morning will set the standard for the rest of your day. So every morning, say something positive to yourself, such as:

“I’m happy with my life and I have plenty of opportunities to be successful.”

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Or:

“I am proud of myself and I will continue to make myself proud in everything I do.”

Or:

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“I’m capable of doing great things and will live up to the expectations I set for myself.”

If you’re finding it difficult to come up with positive affirmations about yourself, write down 3–7 affirmations that target areas you’re not so confident in. Changing your internal thought processes is fundamental in changing your perspective on your life as a whole for the better.

2. Swap your coffee for tea.

Coffee has much more caffeine than tea and can leave you feeling wired, which can ultimately affect the quality of your sleep. This can lead to an increase in stress levels. Try to cut back on a few cups and replace them with tea. I did this and was delighted with how I felt; you’re still consuming a warm beverage, but with the calmness and softness of tea. There are copious amounts of tea flavors out there, so you’ll have a great time trying out all the different types.

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3. Take the time to enjoy your food.

Many people tend to rush eating when eating on the go, and some even eat their meals while doing work. Taking the time out of your day to choose your food carefully. Sitting down to eat it will work wonders. It will take you away from the stress of your work and will help prevent you from snacking in between your meals.

4. Chew your food slowly.

If you can’t avoid eating on the go or while you work, make the conscious decision to chew your food. The saliva in your mouth is full of enzymes that help to break down food, making it easier for your body to digest. Chewing your food into smaller pieces helps the body to absorb the nutrients from your food too. It can also help you to avoid overeating, bloating and weight gain, so slow down and chew!

5. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Not only does this have a positive impact on your health, you’ll feel psychologically better too! Even a slight increase in physical activity can release endorphins, which will make you feel good about yourself. Try walking up the stairs on the balls of your feet rather than planting your whole food down, and you’ll improve the muscle definition in your calves.

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6. Get outside.

Vitamin D can be obtained naturally from the sun and is essential for the body to maintain healthy bones. It also helps regulate your immune system, helps lower the risk of a heart attack, and helps to maintain a healthy body weight. Science has also shown that a simple 20 minute walk can increase brain activity substantially, making you feel a lot better and happier, not to mention the positive impact this could have on your work and productivity.

7. Listen to calming music.

I studied in London and know how crowded the trains, tubes and streets can be; everyone seems to be in a rush and stressed out. While you’re walking around or sitting on a train or bus, listen to some calming music—it will work wonders. Trust me, it is extremely relaxing; I do it every day! If you drive, listen to some music when you’re stuck in traffic. It’ll help reduce that road rage and make traffic jams more manageable.

8. Smile.

Studies have shown that smiling has tremendous health benefits. It relieves stress levels, boosts your immune system, lowers your blood pressure and also releases those endorphins, natural pain killers and serotonin which together make us feel great! If you’re still not smiling, you might want to start now because it will lift your face and make you look younger.

9. Gently stretch throughout your day.

Now, I’m not talking about a whole routine; I’m simply talking about lifting your arms above your head, rotating your neck, bending forward and stretching your wrists. Stretching will reduce the tightness in your shoulders, neck and back. A simple routine will go a long way to increasing your blood flow, loosening your muscles, mobilizing your joints and clearing your mind. So what are you waiting for? Get up and start stretching!

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Last Updated on October 23, 2018

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

My mother was a great knitter and produced some wonderful garments such as Aran sweaters which were extremely fashionable when I was young. She also knitted while my father drove, which caused great amusement. I often wondered why she did that but I think I know the answer now.

Knitting is good for your mental health, according to some research studies. The Washington Post mentions a 2013 survey of about 3,500 knitters who were asked how they felt after a knitting session. Over 80% of them said they definitely felt happier. It is not a totally female occupation as more and more men take it up to get the same benefits. Harry Styles (One Direction) enjoys knitting. So does Russell Crowe although he does it to help him with anger management!

The Neural Knitwork Project

In Australia, Neural Knitworks was started to encourage people to knit and also become aware of neuroscience and mental health issues. Knit-ins were organized but garments were not the only things created. The knitters produced handmade neurons (1,665 of them!) to make a giant brain. The 2015 project will make more neural knitted networks (neural knitworks) and they will be visible online. You can see some more examples of woolly neurons on the Neural Knitworks Facebook page.

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While people knitted, crocheted and crafted yarn, they listened to experts talking about mental health issues such as addiction, dementia, depression, and how neurons work.

The knitting and neural connection

The human brain has about 80 billion neurons. Learning new skills, social interaction, and physical activity all help to forge neural connections which keep the brain healthy and active. They are creating networks to control movement and make memories. The knitters learn that as they create the woollen neurons, their own neurons are forming new pathways in their brains. Their creations are mimicking the processes in their brains to a certain extent. At the same time, their brains are registering new and interesting information as they learn interesting facts about the brain and how it works. I love the knitworks and networks pun. What a brilliant idea!

More mental health benefits from knitting

Betsan Corkhill is a physiotherapist and has published some results of completed studies on her website, appropriately named Stitchlinks. She conducted some experiments herself and found that knitting was really helpful in reducing panic and anxiety attacks.

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“You are using up an awful lot of brain capacity to perform a coordinated series of movements. The more capacity you take up by being involved in a complex task, the less capacity you have for bad thoughts.”- Betsan Corkhill

Knitters feel happier and in a better mood

Ann Futterman-Collier, Well Being Lab at Northern Arizona University, is very interested in how textile therapy (sewing, knitting, weaving and lace-making) can play an important role in mood repair and in lifting depressive states.

She researched 60 women and divided them into three different groups to do some writing, meditating and work with textiles. She monitored their heartbeat, blood pressure and saliva production. The women in the textiles group had the best results when their mood was assessed afterwards. They were in a better mood and had managed to reduce their negative thoughts better than those in the writing and meditation groups.

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“People who were given the task to make something actually had less of an inflammatory response in the face of a ‘stressor’.” – Dr. Futterman Collier

The dopamine effect on our happiness

Our brains produce a chemical called dopamine. This helps us to feel happy, more motivated, and assists also with focus and concentration. We get a boost of dopamine after sex, food, exercise, sleep, and creative activities.

There are medications to increase dopamine but there are lots of ways we can do it naturally. Textile therapy and crafting are the easiest and cheapest. We can create something and then admire it. In addition, this allows for a little bit of praise and congratulations. Although this is likely not your goal, all these can boost our dopamine and we just feel happier and more fulfilled. These are essential in facing new challenges and coping with disappointment in life.

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“Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time? First, I never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.” – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.

If you thought knitting and textiles were for old ladies, think again!

Featured photo credit: DSC_0012/Mary-Frances Main via flickr.com

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