Monthly Archives: October 2013

How to be happy?

Are you happy?

That question is more and more often asked and to be honest, I find it pretty hard to answer it…

Yes off course, I am happy. I have everything I need and a bit more too. But having my basics needs fulfilled doesn’t prevent me from wanting more. And there is the trick: if I constantly look for what I don’t have, I will certainly not be a happy person. Instead, stop over-thinking my life and live in the present moment have proven successful ways of keeping me happy.

I read an article a couple of weeks ago that was exactly talking about happiness. I wanted to resume it and share it with you as it talks about a big survey that has been done to see what actually makes people happy. Here is what they found:

1. They surround themselves with happy people. We all know that, don’t we? Spending an afternoon with a highly depressed friend doesn’t really make you happy… Saying that, it doesn’t mean that we have to avoid our friends and family members when they are going through a hard time… it is more about choosing to surround ourselves with generally happy people who can uplift you instead of dragging us down.

2. They smile when they mean it! No much to say about that, a smile is contagious and a face looks a lot more attractive when enlightened by a smile. But smiling when you don’t mean it could actually make your mood worse…

3. They cultivate resilience. Well, that’s a big quality to have really… knowing that you grow from failure and mistakes will stop depression instantly. Why being negative when you know that you grow from making mistakes?

4. They try to be happy. Apparently, the study showed that people who genuinely look for happiness and want to be happy are more likely to feel joy and happiness in their lives than people who just sit down and expect happiness to arrive on its own.

5. They are mindful of the good. Always look at what you have, and never at what you don’t have.

6.They devote so of their time to giving. And that’s why I love New Zealand! Here, people know what charity and voluntary work means. So find something to do to help others, that will make you feel so good!

7.They appreciate simple pleasure. A beautiful Tui singing in the trees out the window, your kid playing silly or the sight of the see… All this little -and free- pleasures have to be noticed sometimes. Because life is full of them and being conscious of all these beautiful moments actually lifts up your mood.

8. They promote deeper conversations over small talk. That is well said, small talk takes a lot of energy and gossiping is nothing but bad really… I know, it’s so hard to avoid it but believe me on that one, once you stop gossiping and doing small talks most of your time, you’ll have a clearer mind and a more positive attitude. Moreover, deeper conversation brings you closer to your friends and family.

9. They spend money on others. Now that’s the one to think about as the end of the year is coming! Spoiling the ones you love is the best way, to me, to make me feel good… But don’t forget to spoil yourself too every now and then, that will make you feel good too!

10. They unplugged. Turn all your tv – ipads – phones off and talk to the person sitting next to you or read a book, meditate or whatever really but stop spending time in front of a screen so much (that one is for my hubby;-)

11. They exercise. We all know it, so just get out there, move your lovely behind from the sofa and make it move like never before!

12. They get spiritual. What ever it is, find a ‘spiritual’ practice ti include in your life. It could be belonging to a religion, meditating, doing some personal development course or anything else that looks into awakening that amazing soul that we all have within.

13. They listen to music. When I am alone in my car, I put my music on and sing as loudly as I can, and off course I ‘dance’ in the car. I used to think that my mum was ridiculous doing that back then but now that I am in her shoes I can definitely see the point! Alone! With MY music! And who gives a *** about what people think when I wait for the light to turn green!?! Well, I am happy as and they might even see it and that will makes them smile, then I will have done something good for someone else, so that will make me even happier;-)

 

Do you see that everything is linked? Be social, be present, look at the bright side and look after yourself!

Now, I have to go and pick up my girls from preschool… and YES, I am going to listen to Amy Mac Donald and sing like crazy in the car (maybe not dance while driving on the motorway though…)

Happy day to you!

What is myofascial release???

I absolutely love myofascial release. It brings an amazing feeling of openness to the body, works incredibly well for all sorts of injuries and tight areas and is the best way to work on a deep level without causing any pain to the client. But wait, what exactly is a fascia?

Here after you can see an illustration of the thoraculumbar fascia. It’s huge right? What if by working on those fascias we could get rid of lower back pain? You can see that this huge diamond shape is directly linked to the IT band… if those fascias get tight, it’s just going to affect everything else… and look up on this picture, all those white areas represent superficial fascias… Our head is just one big fascia! So what about headaches? You can see that they are all connected. Let me guess know: I’m absolutely sure that every single person experiences tightness and pain in at least one of these areas; so if left untreated over a long period of time, the pain is just going to spread from one area to the other until you loose motion range, you get injuries and other painful problems. So take action!

A fascia wraps around each of your individual internal parts, keeping them separate and allowing them to slide easily with your movements. It’s strong, slippery and wet. It creates a sheath around each muscle; because it’s stiffer, it resists over-stretching and acts like an anatomical emergency break. It connects your organs to your ribs to your muscles and all your bones to each other

If you want to imagine how it looks like, think about an orange. It is that white skin that you can find just under the actual orange’s skin and before the actual edible part. Without that white skin, there would be no orange. Without fascias, we would only be a big blob…

Fascias are connective tissues, just like ligaments and tendons. Tendons link the muscles to the bones, ligaments joint one bone to the other and fascias surrounds muscles or other structures. They allow them to move smoothly and to work properly.

If the fascia stops working as it should, then the muscles loose their flexibility and become tight too. It is the perfect way of preparing the body for further injuries… So how do I keep my fascias healthy?

  1. Move – if you don’t regularly move, sticky adhesions will form between fascial surfaces and over time these adhesions will get strong enough to inhibit a range of motions. So strecth every now and then, stand up and quickly walk around, take the stairs and use every opportunity to move your dear behind;-)
  2. Drink – fascias are made out of water, so keep on drinking water, it’s just good for everything!
  3. Stretch your muscles – good, real, long stretches are needed to avoid tightening of fascias. If left unstreched for long period of times, the fascias will become rigid, compressing the muscles and nerves. You have to stretch gently, not pull like crazy on your toes to pretend you are flexible and that you can do it. That way you will certainly injure yourself! No, stretch gently for longer period of time, to allow the fascia to open properly you should hold the stretch for 3 to 5 minutes. Think about going to a yoga class!
  4. Relax – if you are stressed all day at your desk it’s the recipe for tight fascias, and much more problems really. So learn to relax, breath, take a step back and gain some perspective: work will be work but your body is unique and so are you; so learn to relax!
  5. Know your body -and look after it. Like our car, our bodies should be having a check every couple of weeks/months to make sure that everything works as it should. Walk, dance, stretch and eat healthy and simple food. Practising a sport is great but be careful of over-doing it, Kiwis love to push themselves hard! Running is great but not if you have lower back problems or knee problems. If you want to run, then get better first by seeing a specialist that will help you recover fully before starting – gently – to run again. It’s like that for any other sport. Your fascias, and muscles need to fully recover before working properly again. So chill out if you have to and look after yourself!
  6. Get a massage with a myofascial release specialist – If you have a nagging injury or you just have been feeling bad lately, book a massage, you’ll be amazed by all the things you’ll learn about yourself and how amazing you’ll feel after taking that time just for you!