Sing! Sing a Song

Something I hadn’t really thought about until I saw the Wessex Cancer Trust choir sing at a Christmas fundraising service, were the benefits of singing.

Of course, being Christmas and a charity event in a beautiful abbey, it was always going to prove to be an incredibly moving experience, not only because the choristers had all been affected by cancer in some way or other or because the lyrics of the songs they were singing were particularly poignant, but because I could really feel the emotion that went in to their every word of their performance.

As I was sitting there soaking up the atmosphere becoming more and more engrossed, it dawned on me that singing is something that not only brings people together but is actually a great way to breath deeply and as we know, breathing deeply is good for lymph flow!

So, sing! Sing a song. Sing out loud and sing out strong!

Benefits of singing:

  • Increase self confidence
  • Lower feelings of isolation
  • Natural anti-depressant
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Improves interpersonal skills
  • Feelings of empowerment
  • Improves posture
  • Creates endorphins
  • Improves circulation
  • Stimulates lymph flow

(Source: Bupa and Telegraph)

Showing Support

I don’t know about you but I can get a bit emotional when colleagues, friends and family show their support. The video clip below is no exception.

A group of people (aka a Flash Mob) celebrate their loved ones and show support for those who have faced a cancer diagnosis by performing a surprise dance in the middle of a busy shopping centre.

What would you do to show someone they are not alone?

Juice Master Pro Bounce

rebounderBack in the summer I bought a second-hand mini trampoline off eBay. It was probably the best £10 I have spent over the last 6 months. Not only is it highly recommended to aid lymph flow but it proved to be a lot of fun too, and, helped me stay physically active post surgery despite struggling with severely low energy levels at times.

I can honestly say I’ve used the trampoline most weekday mornings. Just a 20 minute workout has helped me wake up, feel positive, alive and in control of my health.

For those days when my arm ached I knew that with a quick blast on the mini trampoline it would feel an awful lot better. It has been a huge help to me physically and emotionally and has also proved to be a lot of fun when friends have come to visit too – watching them bounce around, laughing and grinning from ear to ear within seconds of trying it out.

It is addictive and so, when I was asked what I wanted for Christmas, I knew… a brand new trampoline please!!

Having been following Jason Vale’s Rebounding DVD for months, I had worked my way up from the “easy” bounce to the “medium” quite quickly but had struggled to get through the “high bounce” workout. I couldn’t figure out why it was proving so difficult, I was trying to jump as high as Jason was but I just couldn’t get the momentum to keep up. I thought maybe the trampoline had lost its bounce over the years so when I tried the “medium” workout on my new trampoline I was delighted that I was able to jump higher than ever before with less effort and without even breaking a sweat!

The new trampoline seems to me about 5 times more bouncy than the old one. So, today I thought I would give the “high” bounce routine a go. To my surprise I got through the entire workout only stopping occasionally to regain my posture and position because I was bouncing so high I was nearly falling off!

Using the second-hand trampoline for so long had really paid off. The extra effort I was putting in trying to keep up meant that the higher workout with the new trampoline was a piece of cake.

I would definitely recommend trying a second-hand trampoline before buying new. If you like it or even love it, then invest in a new one and you will love it even more.

Be Happy & Healthy & Live Longer

Not sleeping and feeling stressed? Not sure what to do? Well it seems there is something we can all do that’s free, fun and makes us not only feel happy but can reduce our stress levels, make us less anxious and depressed and boost our immune systems too. What is it? Hug! All we have to do is hug! Apparently 8 good hugs a day is recommended.

A proper deep hug, where hearts are pressing together, has the following benefits:

  1. The nurturing touch of a hug builds trust and a sense of safety. This helps with open and honest communication.
  2. Hugs can instantly boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.
  3. Holding a hug for an extended time lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.
  4. Hugs strengthen the immune system. The gentle pressure on the sternum and the emotional charge this creates activates the solar plexus chakra. This stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells, which keep you healthy and disease free.
  5. Hugging boosts self-esteem. When we were babies touch showed us that we were loved and special. Those associations of self-worth and tactile sensations are still embedded in our nervous system as adults. The cuddles we received as children remain imprinted at a cellular level, and hugs remind us at a somatic level of that. Hugs, therefore, connect us to our ability to self love.
  6. Hugging relaxes muscles, releasing tension in the body and can take away pain by increasing circulation into the soft tissues.
  7. Hugs balance out the nervous system. The galvanic skin response of someone receiving and giving a hug shows a change in skin conductance. The effect in moisture and electricity in the skin suggests a more balanced state in the nervous system – parasympathetic.
  8. Hugs teach us how to give and receive. There is equal value in receiving and being receptive to warmth, as to giving and sharing. Hugs educate us how love flows both ways.
  9. Hugs, like meditation and laughter, teach us to let go and be present in the moment by getting us out of our circular thinking patterns and connecting us with our hearts, feelings and breath.
  10. The energy exchange between people hugging encourages empathy and understanding.

Source: Mind, Body, Green, BBC News and The Mail Online

The Science of Happiness – Gratitude

Here’s something worth trying…

Close your eyes and think of someone really influential in your life right now, someone who has done something amazing or important for you. Then write down as much as you can about why this person is so important to you. When you’ve finished call them and read what you’ve written.

If we start every day by thinking about what is is we are grateful for in our lives, then write those things down in a “gratitude” diary, by the end of the week we will have created quite a list. Imagine what that list would look like at the end of a month, a year, five years! It’s a great start to the day but also makes great reading particularly when we are feeling low, and even then, I’m pretty sure we can all think of something or someone we are glad or grateful to have in our life.

Blackberry Picking

blackberriesIt’s blackberry picking season! So my plan for the week is to get out and get stocked up.

Found in abundance in hedgerows and free to all, great as puddings or fresh as snacks, the health benefits of the humble blackberry are huge.

Rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, highly nutritious and rich in antioxidants, blackberries are also low in calories, carbohydrates and fat, making them one of the best fruits in the world.

Just one cup of blackberries contains half of your daily recommend intake of vitamin C, which protects the immune system, helps to heal wounds and may lower the risk of developing certain types of cancer.  Vitamin C may even help to lessen the appearance of wrinkles.

For me, its a win, win situation. I’m out in the countryside, picking free food, which not only tastes amazing but can be made in to so many delicious dishes, they are super nutritious, and, if that’s not enough, they may even help with my wrinkles!

Top tip: Remember blackberry bushes are really thorny so cover your arms and wear some gardening gloves. Choose blackberry bushes away from main roads. Leave the low hanging fruit as they may have been caught by foxes or dogs taking a comfort break. Don’t store loads of on top of each other as they will bruise. Make a day of it and go blackberry picking in the countryside with friends then invite them over to share your home-made blackberry and apple pie.

Source: Health Diaries and BBC Good Food