Meditation and Happiness

Meditation is an incredibly powerful tool for processing emotions, alleviating stress and also for boosting happiness. The latter of these concepts may not be one that you have connected to meditation before, but with regular meditation you are highly likely to soon feel your happiness grow.

Happiness & Relaxation

When you spend an ample amount of time in a state of meditation you are likely to feel lighter, more relaxed and more equipped to deal with the day afterwards. When you partake in this activity regularly, this feeling of preparedness for your day and ability to deal with all life has to throw at you will start to become your normal attitude.

As the days, weeks, months etc pass where you continue to meditate regularly, you are going to notice that not only are you happier before your sessions, but also that your happiness is visibly boosted afterwards. One of the greatest things about this is that you can then extend this happiness and positivity to those around you.

Rewire Your Brain

So, what is it about meditation that increases our potential to find this happiness and also to hold onto it? When you meditate you are actually helping to rewire your brain to be able to better handle your emotions and to retain balance and clarity in all areas of your life. Far from being a quick and temporary fix, this will be a long term concept that you can continue to work on and expand. All you have to do to keep this glow going is to persist with your meditation practice, and also make an effort to develop your practice in a variety of ways.

Developing Your Meditation

You can develop your meditation by working to do so for longer periods of time, and also to focus more clearly on addressing specific issues that you are aware of. For example, if you have concerns about your self-esteem, or you know that you are not loving yourself as you deserve to be loved, then spending time working on these things during your meditation can help you to progress in a well-rounded way.

This is something that can be done endlessly as you address the different aspects of yourself that you want to work on, and then revisit them again after a period of time!

If you have seen my new wellness for women membership site – Truly Julie – then you will know that I am on a mission to inspire and motivate women to become healthier and happier – and I would love it if you would join me on this journey as we keep moving through 2017!

The Super Nutrient: Vitamin D

Finding ways to boost the presence of vitamin D in the body is a great idea for improving and maintaining your general health.

With our busy modern day lives it can be super easy to negate our own health, and to pay little attention to the nutrients that we are consuming. However, this can quickly lead to our health and happiness becoming compromised.

As discussed in a previous blog post, Vitamin D is an incredibly important vitamin. And, since there is not something that can be found in abundance in many foods, it is essential that you get an ample amount from sunshine!

Your body utilises stores of cholesterol to convert sunlight into usable vitamin D. Although it is a vitamin, it actually acts more like a hormone in the body and contributes to many essential regulatory functions. Every cell in your body relies on vitamin D and a deficiency can cause long-lasting health issues.

Mental Health

The incidence of depression can be seen to increase during the winter months, and this can be linked (in part) to less sunshine during the day. In order to combat this issue it is important to aim to get more vitamin D from dietary sources during the winter, and you can also opt for supplements.

Immune System Function

Your immune system relies on vitamin D to function effectively. Low levels of vitamin D can contribute to the onset of several health conditions and ensuring you get an adequate amount is a great way to help protect yourself.

Bone Strength

This super vitamin is incredibly beneficial when it comes to the health of your bones. It helps to prevent the breakdown of the bones, as well as increasing the overall strength of your entire skeletal system.

Brain Health

It may surprise you to learn that your memory can actually be affected by long-term vitamin D deficiency. Persistent low levels of this vitamin has also been linked to the development of certain neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

As you can clearly see, there is much to be gained from vitamin D and much to be lost by not making sure you have get an adequate amount!

If you have seen my new wellness for women membership site – Truly Julie – then you will know that I am on a mission to inspire and motivate women to become healthier and happier – and I would love it if you would join me on this journey as we keep moving through 2017!

Plant Based Foods to Beat Anxiety

Anxiety is a worldwide problem and manifests in many different shapes and forms. It can range in seriousness from slightly inconvenient to completely debilitating and relief is sought in many different places. Approximately 40 million adults in the United States currently suffer, have suffered or will suffer from some form of anxiety disorder. This equates to over 18% of the population! That huge number demonstrates just how many of us are afflicted with this condition.

Many people immediately turn to medication to manage their anxiety but in some cases it can be addressed through diet and exercise. Medication can cause some unfavourable side effects so if it is possible to avoid it then it is always worth exploring alternative options. Additionally, medication often only masks the root of the anxiety and as soon as treatment stops the problem can resurface. Finding ways to naturally treat imbalances in the body is the optimum way to move towards better long term mental health.

So let’s take a look at the things you can aim to include in your diet to combat the causes and symptoms of anxiety.

Green tea is cheap, simple and delicious. It is generally calming for the mind and when consumed regularly can work to decrease anxiety overall. Some variations of green tea are believed to have a positive effect on cortisol production in terms of balancing levels of this stress hormone in the body.

Turmeric is an amazing spice, both in terms of colour and taste and is known to enhance your mood. This spice contains antioxidants called curcuminoids which has neuroprotective qualities. Studies into the effectiveness of turmeric to combat depression have yielded encouraging results.

Avocados are an all round super food and can be useful for tackling anxiety. They contain high levels of potassium which works to control blood pressure, which in turn can help to keep your mood balanced. Avocados also contain a wealth of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which help to keep your brain functioning as it should!

Finally, asparagus can also be consumed regularly in an effort to reduce feelings of anxiety. This is because it contains folic acid which is connected to the health of your neurological function. Impaired neurological function can be an underlying cause of anxiety and it is always worth making sure you get ample amounts of folic acid in your diet. As an added bonus, asparagus contains a small amount of potassium too, which as mentioned previously helps with that all important blood pressure!

Why is Vitamin D Essential for Optimal Health?

As many of my clients are already aware, vitamin D is one of the only vitamin supplements that I often recommend people include. Getting an adequate amount of this vitamin is incredibly important and unfortunately many of us fail to do so! Experts have predicted that at least one billion people around the globe are deficient in this vitamin. A quick blood test will determine your vitamin D levels and an optimum range is between 50-80 ng/ml. On the other hand, it is also important not to overdose on vitamin D as excess amounts will remain in your system, often leading to high blood calcium levels, nausea and sometimes even kidney stones.

The main roles that vitamin D has in the body are to maintain bone mass, help the body to properly absorb calcium and also to protect against injury whilst also alleviating any musculoskelatal pain.

Your immune system is one of several aspects of your body that will benefit from optimum vitamin D levels. This is especially true if you are an athlete or if you are someone who engages in regular exercise. Strenuous workouts can have quite an impact on the body and keeping healthy is key to efficient recovery. Vitamin D helps to defend the body in this way and combats viruses.

Your brain will also benefit from this vitamin, with studies showing that cognitive function is improved as the damage caused by free radicals is reduced. Not only does this mean that your general brain activity in the present is optimised, but also that your risk of degenerative diseases becomes less. Alzheimer’s is one disease that is thought to have strong links to decreased levels of vitamin D.

Testosterone levels, in men and women, are directly influenced by the amount of vitamin D present in the body. In fact, those who are taking testosterone for hormone replacement therapy are generally advised to take a weekly dose of vitamin D in order to keep their levels of testosterone up. Testosterone plays a huge role in building and maintaining muscles and making sure vitamin D levels are adequate will aid this process.

As we can see, this is an extremely useful and essential aspect of our basic nutrition. The best ways to make sure you are getting enough vitamin D are to enjoy sufficient time outdoors in the sunlight, consume foods that are high in this vitamin and then also of course you can take supplements if you find the first two option aren’t hitting the quota.

If you feel like you might be lacking in any areas of your nutrition, then click to get a nutrition consultation!