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MY TOP TIPS FOR A GREAT NIGHT’S SLEEP!

MY TOP TIPS FOR A GREAT NIGHT’S SLEEP!

 

Life today has taken us so very far from the life we were designed to be living. This allows us fabulous opportunities in terms of things such as technological advance, but it can also put tremendous stresses and strains on our bodies. This in turn often results in sleep issues, or at least in poor quality sleep, which means our bodies are not being allowed to rejuvenate as they should through the night.

 

If you are someone who struggles to get to sleep (or to stay asleep) you will be aware of this, but there’s more to it than that. If you are a “fall asleep as soon as my head touches the pillow” type, it is still worth taking a moment to ask yourself what the quality of your sleep is like. Do you wake feeling refreshed? Do you sense ease in your movement when you first get out of bed? Do you wake with a clear head? If the answer to any of these is “no”, then you too could benefit from the ideas below, especially because:

“Sleep is the golden chain

that ties health and our bodies together”

 

MY TOP TIPS

Creating a bedtime routine can be incredibly powerful. We know all about doing this for our kids: why shouldn’t it work for us too? Establishing a peaceful atmosphere can help induce relaxation, and a regular and calming routine can send a powerful message to the brain that it is time to unwind and switch off from the day’s happenings.

As someone who once experienced horrendous sleep problems, I had to work hard to discover the routine that worked best for me. So here are the habits I’ve established – and I truly know how effective these can be…

 

1. No screens for AT LEAST 1 hour before bedtime, and then be aware of using dimmer lighting as bedtime draws near. This one is all about melatonin production & how we can utilise understanding of this to enhance our sleep. If you feel you need a little help with getting “un-stuck” from those screens, download my FREE 10 Tips to Detox from Tech. 

2. Consider alternatives to television as a pre-bed activity. Although some TV can be a great switch off, it is still a form of blue light (and therefore suppresses melatonin production), and additionally it often encourages such a degree of engagement that it is sometimes over-stimulating. Reading a book, listening to a podcast or simply listening to music are all options which may be more relaxing.

3. Enjoy a relaxing warm drink. Various herbal teas are good, (my own preference would always be for chamomile tea), but for others warm milk does the trick (it contains both tryptophan and melatonin). Milk needs care though, because for some it can have the opposite effect: try it out yourself before making the decision. Whatever drink you choose, make sure that this too is a part of your calming routine: for example drink it whilst listening to something calming, and with the lights turned low…

 

 

4. Avoid vigorous exercise too close to bedtime, but do consider doing something calming such as yoga, with its emphasis on focused breathing and relaxation. If you combine a little mindfulness or meditation, you are also training the mind to become quiet and therefore still more ready to sleep.

5. Even if you don’t want to do a full yoga workout, I thoroughly believe in the benefits of a few yoga stretches before bed. Although we may think we’ve become physically relaxed during our evening, actually a day of postural imbalance followed by a tendency to sit in one position – whether watching TV or reading a book – for most of the evening can leave muscles and joints far from relaxed. We then get into bed & lie pretty much in one position for many hours: the combination of all this can lead to waking feeling stiff and aching. Instead, try a few gentle mobilisation exercises such as some shoulder rolls, a Pilates “roll down”, or a yoga “cat stretch” to ease out sore muscles and “re-mobilise” before getting in to bed. If you do this regularly you should start to see a difference to your movement quality in the mornings.

6. Make your cleansing routine – however simple or complex it may be – a calming ritual. Think of consciously massaging the skin as you cleanse it: take in the scents of your products and focus on your breathing throughout. Once again, you are making a pleasurable and calming event out of something which otherwise is just a “chore”. I would add here that it’s worth thinking about which products you use near to bedtime. Using natural products containing essential oils can aid relaxation and sleep, whereas other commercial alternatives may do the opposite. A great example would be a moisturiser containing frankincense. This essential oil has been used since ancient times to heal, strengthen, tighten and tone skin, whilst also inducing relaxation as it slows the heart rate…

 

 

7. A quick spritz around your bed or over your pillow with an essential oil based Pillow Mist will leave a waft of lavender or whatever your chosen scent may be, and can be another fabulous way to encourage relaxation and therefore enhance sleep.

8. If you have difficulty getting to sleep, a few drops of cedarwood essential oil on the soles of your feet can work wonders for insomnia.

9. All the many benefits of essential oils can be enjoyed best by using a diffuser, which is my own absolute preferred bedtime soother. Choose your own favourite from the many scents that can aid relaxation: lavender, frankincense, cedarwood, marjoram, chamomile, vetiver… If you’d like more ideas on which oils may be best for you, do grab my FREE DOWNLOAD to learn more about the many options.

10. If in spite of all these suggestions you are still struggling to sleep, or if thoughts are still racing around in your head, try Belly Breathing whilst focusing on slowly relaxing body and mind. If you struggle to focus yourself, you may find that listening to an audio guide for relaxation techniques helps, until you gradually drift to the land of dreams…

As you can see, every one of my suggestions above offers a NATURAL solution. We can choose from so many natural remedies that go back to ancient times – and those of you who follow me surely know my theory that to enjoy and prosper from the wonderful opportunities that this modern world of “tech” offers us, we have to find a balance between the ancient and the modern worlds. I truly believe that a return to those ancient and proven methods that originated when we lived life in the way it was intended can be a great (& necessary) antidote to modern life and its stresses – and to its sleep problems.

RELAXING FOODS

RELAXING FOODS

This week I am thrilled to be sharing a post by Emily Fawell of 4wellpeople. Emily is a friend & colleague, whose work as a Nutritional Therapist I greatly admire. In this post she gives some simple, practicable ideas on how best to use our nutrition as an aid to relaxation…

Relaxing foods are precious resources for all of us leading hectic lives. Every day, we rush from a demanding job and family life, to a full-on social life, giving little thought to our body’s desire to relax.

 

If you find it hard to wind down after a demanding day, or need to introduce a little extra calmness into your weekend, then try adding the following relaxing foods into your diet…

 

OATS

Oats have many health benefits: they contain beta-glucans which support the immune system, and lower cholesterol; they are packed full of fibre which means that they release their energy slowly, which means more sustained energy levels; and they are an excellent source of selenium which is a powerful antioxidant and an important mineral for thyroid function. In addition to all this, they also contain good levels of tryptophan which promotes good mood and sleep.

 

LETTUCE

Remember Beatrix Potter’s Flopsy Bunnies?  They ate so much prized lettuce that Farmer McGregor was able to pick them up and pop them in his sack, to take them home for the pot. The milky sap that oozes from lettuce when it is cut contains the chemical Lactucarium, a sedative and pain reliever, structurally similar to opium, but not nearly as strong. In some cultures, lettuce is served at the end of an evening meal because of its soporific qualities.

MAGNESIUM RICH FOODS

Magnesium is a mineral which is vital for nerve function, and a common sign of deficiency is muscle twitching and restless legs. We use up large quantities of Magnesium when we are stressed or exhausted, and a twitching eyelid is often a sign that we are doing too much. To boost your magnesium intake eat

  • plenty of nuts,
  • seeds
  • and dark green leafy vegetables such as
  • spinach,
  • chard,
  • broccoli,
  • cucumbers
  • and green beans.

Another relaxing way to increase your magnesium levels is to take a bath in Epsom Salts.

 

DARK CHOCOLATE

Dark chocolate is packed full of antioxidants, and as a result is good for heart health and the immune system. But it also has other benefits – it can lower cortisol (the stress hormone) and it stimulates your brain to produce opioids which make you feel good.

Make sure you choose a good quality dark chocolate, the higher the cocoa content, the better – at least 70%.

 

MILK AND OTHER DAIRY PRODUCTS

Calcium, the mineral which is found in milk and dairy products has a sedative effect on the body. This explains why many of us were given milky drinks at bedtime. Dairy products are also high in tryptophan, which the body converts into serotonin, a feel-good neurotransmitter – good levels of which are needed for sufficient melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone.

 

GREEN TEA

If you feel stressed out during the day try replacing regular tea with Green tea. Green tea has higher levels of a chemical called L-Theanine than other teas. L-Theanine promotes a state of relaxation in the brain. It does, however, contain some caffeine (less than regular tea or coffee) so if you are caffeine sensitive you could try a decaffeinated Green tea.

 

CHAMOMILE TEA

Chamomile is renowned for its calming properties and is a great tea to take in the evening before bedtime. Its relaxing benefits are due to high levels of a chemical called apigenin, which in clinical trials has been proven to reduce anxiety.

 

 

So why not try adding a few of these relaxing foods and drinks to your diet and see if you can induce a greater sense of calm?

 

 

If you have enjoyed this blog post, why not learn more about nutritional therapy and how it could help you if you are worried about your anxiety levels.

If you think you might benefit from some support, please call Emily Fawell, on 07967 639347 for a free 15-minute consultation or email emily@4wellpeople.co.uk.

PLASTIC & FOOD PACKAGING

PLASTIC & FOOD PACKAGING

I am delighted to welcome back Lisa Patient as this week’s guest blogger. Lisa works together with my friend and colleague Emily Fawell. Both are registered nutritionists, and you can learn more about their work at Vital Health Nutrition here. In this article which was initially written for the #ion_nutrition Institute for Optimum Nutrition magazine, Lisa paints an honest picture of the desperate need for a Plastic Pollution Solution. This is something I feel incredibly strongly about: please do read and share, and then maybe take just a few minutes to consider what YOU might do to cut down on your own plastic consumption…

 

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization estimates that 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted annually, so keeping food fresh for as long as possible is vitally important for the economy and the environment. But how safe is the plastic packaging that we use today? Lisa Patient writes for the Optimum Nutrition Magazine:

 

Plastic, in many forms, is the most widely-used material for food packaging. It was first introduced in 1949 as a product called Saran Wrap (a forerunner to products such as Clingfilm in the UK), and soon went on to replace traditional methods that used cloth, paper, or glass. Developed from the first type of plastic to be invented [polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC)], food wrap plastic could keep out air, moisture, and chemicals. It was also versatile, lightweight and cheap to transport — unlike glass, which incredibly dates back to 1,500 BC as a food packaging and meets many of the criteria for food storage.

 

HORMONES

But despite all of plastic’s positives, it has been suggested that exposure to some types could disrupt our hormones. Some research, predominantly using rats and mice, has shown that the chemical structure of certain plastics causes them to either mimic the function of a hormone with a similar molecular structure, or block the action of a hormone by latching on to the receptor site that triggers a hormone to activate. For example, a chemical called Bisphenol-A (BPA), which is used in plastics, has a structure similar to the female hormone oestrogen; a comprehensive review of BPA published by the State of California links it to a number of female hormone conditions including recurrent miscarriage and polycystic ovary syndrome.

Many of us will have encountered the term ‘BPA’ on products that are marketed as BPA-free. Widely used since the 1960s, BPA is a component part of the white lining inside food cans, and 
is found in drinks cans, plastic water bottles, and bottle tops. Studies, mostly from the US, have found that circulation of BPA in women’s bloodstreams is common: one study that tested 85 samples of umbilical cord blood found that all 85 contained BPA. In another study of 268 pregnant women, 96 per cent tested positive for BPA in their urine.

Whether or not BPA causes actual harm to human health, however, is contested by the plastics industry because very few studies have been carried out on human subjects — although one 2015 study linked levels of BPA in mothers to low birth weight in babies, with female babies affected more than male babies.

But it is not just women’s hormones that are suspected to be affected by plastics. A recent study found that surfynol, a chemical used to create multi- layer food packaging, damaged sperm in laboratory tests. Analysis of the sperm showed multiple defects including their ability to swim, to make energy, and in their protection mechanisms.

 

 

CARDIOVASCULAR & WEIGHT WORRIES

Another area of concern is phthalates, which are chemicals that are used to soften plastics, and which can leach onto food during microwaving and heating. Emerging evidence suggests these may damage the walls of arteries and may directly damage heart cells. A 2014 study linked dietary phthalate exposure to higher systolic blood pressure in children and adolescents.

However, plastics containing these phthalates are commonly used to package processed foods, and so it may be that further studies need to separate the risk factors of phthalates and quality of diet.

It has also been suggested that some plastics may affect cholesterol levels. Widely used perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been shown to interfere with the genes that regulate cholesterol metabolism, affecting how much cholesterol we produce, and how effectively it is transported around the body. Resistant to heat, water and grease, PFAS are used to line non-stick cookware, greaseproof paper, fast food wrappers (particularly burgers and fries) and microwave popcorn bags.

And it may be the case that dieters in particular should beware of these plastics. More than 620 people participated in a weight-loss trial in Louisiana over two years, during which time blood samples were regularly taken to assess subjects’ blood levels of PFAS. After two years of dieting, higher PFAS concentrations in the blood were linked to weight regain and slower metabolic rates (the rate at which we extract energy from food), particularly in women. The study concluded that “the possible impact of environmental chemicals on the obesity epidemic therefore deserves attention”.

In mouse studies, BPA has also been linked to weight-gain; one study found that even a low dose of BPA caused disruption to the metabolisms of male mice, affecting body weight, food appetite, and insulin and glucose regulation.

SCALE OF THE PROBLEM

Currently, we can’t seem to escape plastics. Samples taken from water supplies around the world have shown that the vast majority of water supplies across all continents are contaminated by microscopic plastic fibres. In the UK, plastics were found in 74 per cent of samples — so avoiding plastics may be more difficult than we might like to think.

And it’s not just tap water that is affected. A broad analysis of 259 bottles of water from 11 different brands sampled from Europe, Asia, Africa and America, found that 93 per cent contained particles of microplastic, including polypropylene, polystyrene, nylon and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

 

Demonstrating how difficult it is to avoid plastics, one fascinating study in 2012 analysed the blood levels of phthalates and BPA in a group of volunteers that had been restricted to an organic natural diet that had not been in contact with any plastic packaging. These were compared to samples from a group eating a regular plastic-wrapped diet. Much to everyone’s surprise the concentration of phthalates in the blood of the organic group actually increased over the course of the study. After much investigation, the research team attributed this to leaching of phthalates from the plastic tubes that were used to extract organic milk from the cows’ udders.

 

INNOVATIONS IN FOOD PACKAGING 

The plastics used in food packaging do not biodegrade, but instead break down into smaller and smaller pieces until they become tiny particles called microplastics.

Frans Timmermans, first vice-president of the EU, has said that Brussels’ priority is to clamp down on “single-use plastics that take five seconds to produce, you use it for five minutes and it takes 500 years to break down again”.

But nature may have a solution — in the form of microbes. A paper published in
 the Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research discusses how microbes and fungi could be used to break down plastics.

For example, mangrove soil taken from the Niger delta contains a family of bacteria called the Aspergillus species, which feed on carbon from both high-density and low- density polyethylene, the latter of which accounts for about 60 per cent of all plastic waste.

The race is on to produce packaging and bottles that are wholly or partially made from plants or biomass such as corn, sugarcane, cellulose, seaweed and algae. In the meantime, some consumers are looking for more natural ways of storing food. Herbs, for example, have been used for centuries as a means of preserving foods, and recent publications describe success with cinnamon oil, rosemary extracts and green tea as preservatives, using them to line the inside of packaging.

However, any changes to our use of plastic is likely to be consumer-driven rather than led by manufacturers. This is because the success of plastic remains: it’s very low cost to produce, and change can be expensive.

 

For a referenced version of this article, please click here.

 

 

 

If you would like to learn about the alternative to plastic food wrapping that Shaw Lifestyle recommends click here

 

HOW (& WHY) TO START A JOURNEY OF SELF CARE IN 2019

HOW (& WHY) TO START A JOURNEY OF SELF CARE IN 2019

What is this mania with “self care”? And what even IS self care??

 

Strangely enough, #selfcare means taking care of yourself!  But what I really mean is truly taking care of yourself with little acts of kindness to YOU. To my mind it is a huge comment on the life we are living that we have to consciously stop & think about engaging in self care: about being kind to ourselves, and giving ourselves a little hug…

That “little hug” can be anything that equates to giving a little special time to yourself. It might be stealing some time in the afternoon to indulge in reading a favourite book, or getting up half an hour earlier to start a practice of mediation in solitude, or treating yourself to a long ramble in the woods once a week. It can be ANYTHING that genuinely feels like a little “me time”. This fact is important: if you don’t actually enjoy reading, then reading a book will NOT constitute me time for you; if the thought of lying in the bath for 20 minutes just makes you feel frustrated and bored then that isn’t self care for you. Choose wisely: select something you will genuinely enjoy, and something which will be a true “switch off”. Time to “park” everything else for a while and simply focus on YOU: on doing something you like whilst not even thinking about anything else…

 

 

In today’s society our day to day lives are such that we are forever being pulled in different directions. We have constant demands on our time, from a work ethic that (largely due to our digital world) often demands 24/7 availability, to children whose clubs and hobbies have become a full time job, to the “MUST DO” habit whereby we MUST fit in exercise/meditation/self development too. It can all seem totally overwhelming, & it can feel nigh on impossible to fit in anything else, but I promise you it is possible to carve out an extra 5 or 10 minutes in your day if you set your mind to it. It is YOUR choice, and it has to be YOUR commitment: if you make that commitment, the benefits to be had are endless…

 

THE BENEFITS OF SELF CARE

Giving a little back to YOU makes you feel less resentful of ‘giving’ to everyone else. If we’re honest, we’ve all been there. That feeling that everyone always wants a piece of us: the kids, your partner, work, neighbours – even the dog! It is impossible to achieve this without some degree of resentment unless we find a way to give a little back to us too.

Breathing space: time to “switch off”. In a society of constant demands – from the “ping” and “woosh” of notifications on our phone, to the endless stream of info for our kids activities – the chance to “switch off” or “unplug” for a while becomes a luxury. It is a NECESSARY luxury: one we need to make time for.

Welcome release from from mind chatter. The idea of “mind chatter” goes back to the Buddhist concept of “monkey mind”. Buddhists observed the never ending restlessness of a monkey and compared this to our own restless minds. Our minds are never still, (it is believed humans have around fifty thousand separate thoughts each day), and when this is added to the stresses of modern day society, we can see how real a NEED we have for this release.

Improved health. Taking time out for ourselves will enhance both physical and mental health. When we are forever “on the run” our bodies and our minds feel the pressure. Both end up “running on empty” and this can lead at best to feeling a little run down, and at worst to burnout.

Lowered stress levels. If we are a little clever about which activities we choose as self care, we can succeed in significantly lowering stress levels (see below).

A chance to be mindful. There is a very good reason why “mindfulness” has become such a buzzword: it is SO very necessary as an antidote to what today’s world throws at us. But how easy is it to be mindful in the midst of our never ending day-to-day? Not at all! Giving yourself a few minutes each day for self care however can double up as an opportunity to be mindful as well.

Feeling better about YOU. Giving yourself a little time, a little kindness, equates to giving value to yourself. If we don’t believe we’re worthy of that, then we are really not respecting “self”: not awarding ourselves enough self worth. Committing to a regular practice of self care gives value to YOU, thus increasing self esteem.

AN EXTRA “PLUS”

An added advantage of elevating self esteem is that feeling better about yourself can be the first step to start to doing other (perhaps more challenging) things to make you feel better still: to make you the best version of you that you can become! So we’re talking the biggies like exercise and nutrition, which are themselves a hugely important aspect of your self care. If you start with simple “me time” activities such as those discussed above, this will get your self esteem back where it belongs. This in turn will do wonders for your ability to tackle the bigger challenges a little further down the line: just think what that might do for your 2019 New Year’s Resolutions, and your ability to stick to them…

 

 

 

 

HOW TO “UP” YOUR SELF CARE TO THE NEXT LEVEL

If you can include some activities that are more specifically related to stress management, then this will enhance ALL of the above even more. Some examples might be:

  • Getting out in nature (scientifically proven to lower stress hormones)
  • Practising “Belly Breathing”
  • Starting a daily practise of Gratitude
  • Starting a daily meditation or mindfulness practise

Once again, ALL the above are pleasant things to do: I’m not asking you to go clean the house, I’m asking you to find the time to do something lovely!

 

I am well aware that for most of us, the most challenging part of this whole article is actually FINDING THE TIME. I get it: I’ve been there. But I PROMISE you that ANYONE can find five minutes extra in their day. It is about prioritising YOU, and that is the very first step in self care. There is a wonderful Zen saying which states:

“You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re too busy: then you should sit for an hour”

…no more need be said!

 

 

HOW TO PUT ALL THIS INTO ACTION

Your first step has to be believing you are worth it, remembering your own self value, and therefore finding that time. The second step is COMMITMENT: make the decision that 2019 is going to be the year that you give back to YOU – and therefore to everyone around you. Write down your commitment to a self care programme, sign it & place it somewhere you will see it regularly. Tell other people about it: telling others increases accountability. Then jot down a list of activities that you consider to be true self care for YOU.

If you’d like to take it all a step further and to engage in a daily 5 minutes of stress relieving self care, then do grab my FREE download here. This is where the real turnaround happens. The guide will take you through a simple, manageable, step-by-step process to carve out that time and practice self care activities that will truly address your stress levels as well. In the space of just seven days you will start to see the difference, and THAT is the turning point: the point at which you realise that SELF CARE WORKS: that it is oh so very worth putting in that time. And you’re not thinking it because you’ve read my article: you’re BELIEVING it because you’ve tried it yourself, and you’ve seen the results .

 

MY TIPS TO CUT BACK ON CAFFEINE…WHY YOU SHOULD & HOW TO DO IT!

MY TIPS TO CUT BACK ON CAFFEINE…WHY YOU SHOULD & HOW TO DO IT!

This is something my clients talk to me about so regularly…& if I’m honest that’s probably because they know how much I love my coffee!! I so love the smell, the look & the feel of that early morning boost with the froth on top, BUT I do know that it isn’t great for my health, & I know that if I’m not mindful of coffee consumption it can very easily creep up, and actually make me feel pretty wretched. Hence I have become somewhat of an expert on how to cut down!

Some of you may want to cut down your intake, whilst others may want to cut it out altogether. Either way, you all know my belief that KNOWLEDGE IS KEY. If you increase your understanding of what it is that caffeine may be doing to you, you have conscious reasons to try to at least cut down (rather than doing it simply because it’s the “right thing”: human nature is such that this alone rarely works!) I am a huge believer in drinking (or eating) mindfully, so that you become more aware of whether you actually need that coffee/biscuit/chocolate bar…and then believe me, you will be half way there in terms of actually achieving your goals and cutting down.

If you feel you need to make changes to your caffeine habit, you might like to download my FREE Coffee Challenge Guide which will give you some great tips to get started. If however you’re still not quite ready to take the plunge, then do read on for a little further inspiration from my own top reasons to think again…

MY TOP REASONS:

1. The two most basic facts to remember are that caffeine is a stimulant, and it is also addictive. These factors form the basis of just about everything else you’re about to read…

2. Caffeine can cause sleep problems. We all know that drinking caffeine too close to bedtime may stop us from getting off to the land of dreams, but did you know that drinking too much caffeine will also disrupt the general quality of your sleep? Most of us are blissfully unaware of just how large an effect caffeine can have. Did you know that:

“half of the caffeine you take in at 7pm is still in your body at 11pm”

Additionally a recent American study concluded that:

“even caffeine consumed 6 hours before bed reduced total nightly sleep amounts by more than 1 hour”

3. Caffeine can increase anxiety. As caffeine is a stimulant, it can evoke the body’s stress response (a primitive, physiological response to threat, often referred to as being in “fight or flight mode”). This means it may make our body respond as it might to a scary event. This may simply make us feel a little jittery, but for someone predisposed to anxiety the effect may be much worse (heart racing, sweaty palms, ringing in the ears): it may even bring on full blown panic attacks. In short, drinking caffeine regularly & long term will increase rather than decrease stress levels.

 

 

4. Caffeine is addictive. I am a firm believer that anything that is addictive holds hidden dangers for many of us – and also holds a silent message: “time to be mindful”. The point here is to stop and think-before-you-drink. Be aware of whether you really need that caffeine kick. (A great way of persuading yourself to start cutting back is to remember that if you do drink it less often, you will feel that ‘kick’ all the more on the occasions you do!)

5. Caffeine intake can adversely affect the digestive system. As caffeine is acidic, drinking a lot of it may damage the lining of the stomach and intestines. It can also work as a laxative (and some people consciously use it as such, but there are FAR more healthy ways to keep on top of those bowel movements!)

6. Caffeine stimulates the heart muscle. Once again, for those in good health this shouldn’t be a problem, but for others it certainly may be. Regardless of heart health though, it is worth stopping and thinking for a moment: why would ANY of us do something regularly that might become detrimental to our heart…?

7. If your daily coffee hit tends to be from one of the many high street chains that offer endless options for extra froth & flavour, then you are very probably consuming a considerable amount of sugar on top of your caffeine fix…

8. If you are used to drinking takeaway bottled coffee, tea, energy drinks or fizzy drinks then you are probably taking in a large amount of preservatives in addition to the caffeine…

 

  

9. Caffeine can cause headaches . This is an odd one, because for some it can actually help relieve headaches (hence caffeine is found in various painkillers). The answer then is simply to experiment and see whether headaches are a symptom of caffeine intake for you or not.

10. Caffeine prevents calcium absorption. Again, this is of more concern to those that are already predisposed to osteoporosis or joint problems, but it is still worth all of us noting it for our general health. Calcium is key to building and maintaining healthy teeth and bones, regulating muscle function, ensuring effective blood clotting and enzyme activity. It is involved in transmitting messages through the nervous system, and is needed for healthy heart functioning…so all in all, it’s pretty important!

11. Caffeine is a diuretic so can lead to dehydration (especially if we drink it first thing in the morning, when the body is already dehydrated). If you are grabbing a coffee first thing in the morning it is always advisable to drink a glass of water beforehand.

12. Caffeine intake can have a negative impact on dental health. Coffee and tea both stain teeth – and fizzy drinks and energy drinks contain caffeine, are acidic AND contain added sugar…none of these bode well for your next dental appointment!

13. If a trip to the high street coffee shop is a necessary part of your morning (and/or your afternoon) have you ever stopped to consider the effect on your finances? Just take a moment out to think how much you may be spending weekly on this addiction (and how much you could save by putting that money aside…)

14. The sheer amount of plastic cups and bottles that are produced to supply the endless high street coffee vendors is surely contributing to environmental damage. This one is a personal plea from me: if you do continue to grab a caffeine kick in this form, please, please do so with your own, reusable cup...

 

 

SO WHAT IS IT THAT STOPS US FROM SIMPLY GIVING UP? 

One of the most common reasons people are reluctant to give up or cut down on caffeine is the apparent lack of energy we suffer without it. We are simply convinced that we NEED that caffeine kick to get us through the day, but is this a real need, or is it more about habit? In actual fact, the more coffee we drink, the less we will feel its effect. Add to that the many side effects listed above and we can see that caffeine is definitely NOT the best way to get that boost, especially not on a regular basis. A fabulous reason to give up caffeine is to prove to yourself how ‘false’ that supposed boost was. After an initial withdrawal period, you will in fact start to feel more energetic WITHOUT the caffeine, and you’ll also enjoy much greater mental clarity. 

 

A FINAL NOTE…& A FREEBIE!

As a last note I have to remind you that caffeine offers no nutritional value whatsoever, AND it may cause the effects listed above…so what more reason do you need to at least cut down a little? Do be aware that if you decide to start cutting down dramatically, you are likely to suffer withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, irritability, and tension. If this makes you think twice about reducing intake, simply take a moment to stop and take stock: ALL these symptoms are in fact a result of slowly removing toxins from the body – and that has to be a good thing. Drinking plenty of water & getting moving will help to flush out those toxins. If you’re sensing muscular tension try some gentle mobilisation exercises, and get out in nature & try some deep “belly breathing” in fresh air. If headaches are an issue, try rubbing a little peppermint essential oil on your temples to relieve the pain. Do you notice a common theme in these last few lines? All the suggestions I have given for easing the withdrawal symptoms are entirely natural. Just think: cutting down on caffeine can be excellent motivation to move forward to more positive, healthy habits such as these!

 

 

If you are keen to give all this a try but are still feeling hesitant, please do download My Coffee Challenge. It gives you some simple hints and tips to get started on cutting out OR cutting down on caffeine, and will also provide aids to help you to COMMIT: to ensure you really do stick with it to genuinely see results. Go on, why not give it a go!

 

HOW AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE BRINGS MORE OF WHAT YOU DESIRE

HOW AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE BRINGS MORE OF WHAT YOU DESIRE

This week I am thrilled to share a blog post by Amelia Critchlow from her own site SoulSpaceHealers. Amelia has been a guest blogger for me in the past, and I know you’ll all love reading more of her material…

 

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Melodie Beattie 

This post will walk you through becoming aware of your thoughts and how to start focusing on the things you DO like in order to bring more of what you desire into your life.

SO, WHAT IS GRATITUDE?

Gratitude is recognising what you already have and acknowledging and expressing appreciation for it, through thoughts, words, and action.

How often do you think about what you have got versus what you haven’t got? And how often do you think about what you don’t like versus what you do like in your life?

We know that what we focus on we get more of, and what ‘we think about we bring about’. Therefore, watching where our focus goes (because that’s where energy flows), we become aware of our thoughts and what we would like to create more of in our lives. I call it conscious creation.

However, are we really aware of what we are most focused on and therefore drawing to us? All of us are energy hubs vibrating our own personal frequencies. The frequency you vibrate will be drawing to you the experiences you have in your life.

 

GRATITUDE NOW

Ask yourself; what do you love about your life right now? What are the things that are going well and you’re really grateful for? Can you list more than three things?

By thinking about what you do have you move your thinking and feeling from a place of lack and scarcity to one of abundance and fulfilment. By focusing on the things we are grateful for we also create new neural pathways in our mind and shift our energy into a higher vibration – knowing that like energy attracts like energy (we are all essentially magnets!). The best things that come in to our lives come from a higher vibration rather than a lower vibration. If you’re not sure about high or low vibrations, think about when you feel sadness or anger (lower vibration) versus when you feel happy or elated (higher vibration), accidents and negative experiences are more likely to occur in our lives when we are in a lower vibration state or mood.

Start now, today, by bringing your awareness into your life and listing out things you are truly grateful for. If you are struggling then ask yourself, ‘what could I be grateful for?’ (Tony Robbins asks this question in his book Awaken The Giant Within).

 

AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE JOURNAL

Find a journal or notebook you love (always has to be one you love of course!) and make it ‘Your Journal Of Gratitude’ or ‘Attitude of Gratitude’. Make it a practice to write in this journal as often as you can, ideally every day. List out 3 things at the end of the day that you are grateful for – it doesn’t matter if you write the same things down over time, this will just be drawing more of it to you remember 🙂

In the morning when you awake, lie quietly and think in your mind about the things you are grateful for and the things you look forward to that day – you will be sending a message to your mind to look out for good things and you are more likely to experience them.

You can also use social media to acknowledge and express what you are grateful for, demonstrating it on a wider level, whilst at the same time encouraging others to adopt the same positive habit too.

Then, in your journal, begin to note if over time your default focus is moving from lack to gratitude. Notice how more of the good stuff is showing up in your life. It’s important to make note of when you seeing good things showing up.

What you acknowledge in gratitude from today, (present), will begin to form your experiences for tomorrow, by focusing your thoughts on positivity and abundance we begin to draw more of precisely that to us.

**Remember you can always contact us at soul.space.healers to discover how to uncover your deeper sub-conscious beliefs with Theta Healing to see even more abundant changes in your life. Check out our soul sessions here.**

 

Amelia has also just launched the dates for her 1 Day Retreat – not previously run before! This is your chance to meet Amelia in person, learn more about Theta Healing® whilst getting creative and understanding more about how to manifest what you want in your life (and gratitude is a key ingredient!) 

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