10 Foods To Make You Happy

Food can affect our mood in different ways. It can increase our levels of feel-good brain chemicals, it can cause fluctuations in our blood sugar levels and it can create adverse reactions to the artificial additives used in processed food.

Eating a healthy and balanced diet is an essential component to maintaining good mental health, below we have listed 10 foods that have been proven to help boost your levels of happiness:

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Five Top Tips For Protecting Yourself From Workplace Stress

Over 20% of us describe our jobs as very or extremely stressful. Workplace stress isn’t just about us and the way that we think and the way that we respond to things, it is often about our environment, our relationships and the demands that are being made of us. The Health and Safety Executive have identified six key areas that if not managed properly can lead to poor health and wellbeing, lower productivity and increased sickness absence. At WorkGuru we recognise the importance of our working environments. None of us can flourish in a toxic environment. We also recognise that often the one thing that we have any direct control over is ourselves, and how we respond to things. So with this in mind, here are our top tips for protecting yourself from workplace stress:

1. Learn to let go

balloonLearning to let go is about identifying the things that we can directly control or influence, and learning to let go of the things that we can’t. Holding on to injustices, anger and negativity really does only hurt ourselves and the people that we care about. We have a choice; we can choose to ruminate and ponder or we choose to let go and focus our energy on the positive things in our life.

2.  Have a balanced life

jugglerResilient people, the people most able to bounce back from life’s adversities are people who have a balanced life. Work is important, but so are family, friends, hobbies and interests. Spending time thinking about what a balanced life would look like for you, and spending time nurturing those relationships, and enjoying those interests will help you to be more resilient to stress.

3.  Look after your physical health

yogaLooking after your mental health goes hand in hand with looking after your physical health. Exercising, spending time outdoors, eating well, making time for sleep, are all things that help us maintain our energy and protect us from stress.

 

4.  Think positively 

okThinking positively isn’t about ignoring the difficult things in your life, but it is about finding joy and gratitude within those difficulties. All of us can get into negative thinking habits; learning to be grateful and seeing the positives helps us to boost our levels of happiness and protects us from workplace stress.

5.  Increase your self awareness

lookinmirrorWe are all different. We all have different stress triggers and we all respond to stress differently. Understanding yourself, your values (the things that are important to you), the things that trigger your stress, and what the physical, emotional and behavioural signs of stress are for you, will help you to spot the signs of stress early, and do something about it.

 

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Do something every day that helps you to protect yourself from workplace stress.

World Mental Health Day 2015

October the 10th is World Mental Health Day. To mark the occasion and to raise awareness of the importance of good mental health WorkGuru is getting back to basics; we are revisiting the brilliant Foresight report and their Five Ways to Mental Wellbeing. Five simple things that we can all be doing to boost and maintain our mental wellbeing.

Connect
discussionConnect with the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of life and invest time in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.

Be Active
olddancersGo for a walk or a run. Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Dance. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness.

Take Notice
safarimanBe curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.

Keep Learning
plumberTry something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Take on a different responsibility at work. Fix a bike. Learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food. Set a challenge you enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.

Give
walterpressieDo something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Look out, as well as in. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, as linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.

The Art Of Positive Thinking

benefits

I met up with a friend recently and asked him how his work was going. “Miserable” he replied. He then stopped himself and said: “Do you know, I have to stop doing that. Work is great. I have a good job, I am well paid, and I will get a great pension. But we are all miserable, we have all got in the habit of telling everyone how miserable our jobs are – and it is infectious. You begin to believe it”.

This reminded me of an article I had read recently which talked about how negative thinking in school staff rooms was affecting teachers: “All teachers need the odd whinge, but our workloads and mental health would improve greatly if we stopped mithering and focused on the highlights”.

Yes negative thinking can be infectious, but so can positive thinking. Research has shown that we can change the way that we think, and by doing that we can change the way that we feel and behave. We can learn to see the positives in our day and as a result feel happier and more fulfilled; and – as a bonus, evidence suggests that happier workers are more productive workers and score more highly across all performance indicators.

Here is an exercise that has been shown to help boost your happiness and change negative thinking into more positive thinking:

At the end of each day write down three things that brought you happiness and joy. You may wish to create your own happiness jar – each evening write down the things that made you happy and add them to your jar. When you are feeling low you can read your pieces of paper and remember the moments that brought you joy.

Learn to see through the fog of habitual misery and spot the silver lining.

Giving With Love

christmas

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”. Mahatma Gandhi

A BBC poll suggests that almost half of adults in England experience loneliness – people of all ages and in all circumstances.

In last year’s Christmas blog I spoke about the impact of loneliness and encouraged people who were experiencing loneliness to reach out. This year I want to focus on the act of giving. Whether or not someone reaches out to us, we all need to be there to provide each other with the emotional and practical support that at times in our lives we all need.

Of course, no giving is truly altruistic. The giver benefits just as much as the recipient. Giving helps us to feel:

  • More socially connected – it fosters a sense of trust and strengthens our bonds with others. The more we give the more likely we are to receive support from others when we need it.
  • Happier – the act of giving activates the regions in our brains connected with pleasure, social connection and trust.
  • Healthier – the more we help others the lower our blood pressure, the healthier we feel and the lower our risk of dying within the next 5 years!
  • Less stressed – giving to others and creating a sense of social connectedness acts as a buffer against feelings of negative stress.
  • Better about ourselves – giving boosts our self-esteem and mood and gives us a sense of purpose.

Plus, giving has been shown to be contagious, by giving to others we create a ripple effect throughout our community – encouraging others to give as well.

The tough bit though, the really tough bit, is being able to give in a way that is open hearted, generous, and without strings. Giving so that the recipient feels that they are helping us, and giving in a way that it makes it easy for people to receive. That is the challenge – giving with love.