Archive for September, 2011

The benefits of cinnamon

All spices have great health properties, and cinnamon is no exception to this. Did you know that just a quarter of a teaspoon of cinnamon a day can lower your blood sugar? Put it on some fruit, on a sweet potato or in a glass of warm milk for a delicious and healthy way to help control your sugar levels.

Cinnamon is also anti-bacterial and an anti-inflammatory, helps relieve congestion when you have a cold or the flu, aids the digestive system, protects the teeth and prevents infections (particularly those of the urinary tract).

Just one thing, though- make sure you get real cinnamon. Here’s a helpful webpage to help you tell the difference: http://www.ceylon-cinnamon.com/Identify-Cinnamon.htm

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Stress and anxiety

We all suffer from stress and anxiety from time to time. These afflictions can cause a whole host of problems such as headaches, panic attacks, uncontrollable thoughts and insomnia. In fact, did you know the symptoms of stress can be any of the things on this list? http://www.nomorepanic.co.uk/articles/symptoms/

If you feel as though you can’t cope, it goes without saying that you should see your doctor. But if you just need a bit of calm in your life, here are some things that have helped me.

– Lavender oil. This smells wonderful. You can simply smell it if you’re feeling stressed and it will aid relaxation, but you can also put it in an oil burner, drop it on your pillow before you go to sleep or rub some onto your pulse points.

– Bach’s Rescue Remedy. This is a very popular non-addictive herbal remedy that helps to calm you down. You can place four drops on your tongue directly or dissolve them in a glass of water.

– Don’t feel that you have to focus on negative thoughts. You don’t need to ruminate or analyse, just let them go. Keep your mind on positive things and your thoughts will head in that direction. Don’t allow yourself to be dragged to a place you don’t want to be in. You can’t control what goes through your mind, but you can control what you hold onto.

– Exercise. Exercise helps to improve your mood and is the only way to get rid of excess adrenaline caused by stress. It’s even been labelled as a ‘wonder drug’ for stress, depression and anxiety, more powerful than medication. As you exercise, not only will the negative feelings decrease, but the ‘happy hormones’ such as serotonin will increase. We were made to move, a lot- the more you stay still, the more claustrophic you will feel. Get your blood and lungs working and help to clear your mind.

– Watch what you eat. Diet can really affect your mood, and your mood affects your thoughts (and vice-versa). Processed, refined products such as white sugar and white flour aren’t great for your happiness levels, even though you may be craving more biscuits and cakes when you’re feeling down. Have some dark chocolate, which does increase the serotonin in your body, and make sure you have a good, fresh, natural diet. Particularly pay attention to B vitamins- you may want to get a vitamin B complex to help pick you up if you’re not sure you’ve been getting enough from your food. Love your food, do yourself healthy, delicious meals that you really enjoy and feel spoilt with. It doesn’t have to cost any more than usual and it’s the little, everyday things like this that make a difference and get you smiling.

– Spend time with others. Whether it’s family, friends or simply talking to other people more at work it will help to make you feel more grounded, confident and less focused on your own life. You might want to consider joining an activity group  you are interested in or getting into volunteering to bring something new into your life. We were made to be social and communicative, and loneliness or isolation can cause a lot of emotional problems, so nip it in the bud as soon as you can.

– Spend time with nature and animals. If you have a pet, looking after it is proven to help decrease your stress levels. So also is walking in nature, looking at the beautiful scenery around you and taking in some fresh air.

– Count your blessings. It’s an oldie, but a goodie. Count them on your fingers, get to ten!

Any more tips for cultivating a more positive, content mind? Please share them here.

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