1. Understanding the Nature of Happiness

    April 14, 2016

    Understanding the Nature of Happiness

    Throughout human history, few things have been debated by philosophers so often and so deeply as the nature of happiness. Is it an illusion, or a state of feeling content, either through letting go of anxiety or through attaining a state of satisfaction with one’s life? Is it simply a feeling of pleasure? What does it mean, exactly, to be happy?

    Over the past few decades, those who study happiness have favoured the ranking of one’s overall “life satisfaction” (through questions such as, “On a scale of one to ten, how satisfied with your life are you right now?”) as indicative of one’s relative happiness— a hypothesis which has formed the basis of many of the happiness studies you’ve likely read about. Happiness has therefore been treated as something of a judgment, an equation people process based on observations of their lives.

    This view, logical as it may seem at first glance, may be somewhat reductive, however. Psychologists have discovered there is a curious aspect to human satisfaction that possibly makes it a poor indicator of that elusive quality we call happiness—almost everyone, even those living in the most miserable of conditions (such as the slums of Calcutta), claims to be fairly satisfied with their lives overall. In a recent study of impoverished Egyptians, for example, researchers asked the study’s participants to explain why they were satisfied, and generally received responses following a similar central theme: “One day is good and the other one is bad; whoever accepts the least lives.”

    Of course, the above statement does not exactly dance with ebullient joy; instead, it seems as though the poor Egyptians had long ago accepted the fact that they likely could do little to improve their lot in life, so had decided to accept it and remain as content as possible regardless. Doing so was an act of resignation, but by now it has become so practiced for many of these people that they rank their overall satisfaction with life as being pretty good.

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  2. Turning points in life: how to make the best of them?

    July 1, 2014

    Turning points in life: how to make the best of them?

    Have you read our previous post on crisis? Well, this is its sequel. There comes a time in life when you come across a choice: the choice is to go forward or pass on an opportunity. Those are what I like to call turning points in life.

    Over time, luckily for us, we’re faced with several turning points in our lives, chances to evolve or to stagnate. Are you making the best of those moments towards a better version of yourself and hopefully a more meaningful and happy life? Do you recognize a turning point when faced with one?

    Of course, you’re going to have to be a little bit of an optimistic to make the most out the turning points in your life. Fear of the unknown and a pessimistic attitude could enable you from taking an opportunity to make positive changes in your life, transforming a low point into an upwards one. Are you ready to live a full life? And discover what lies ahead when you take chances and dare to dream a brighter future?

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  3. My Own Worst Enemy

    February 12, 2014

    My Own Worst Enemy

    by Michelle Blessing

     

    I want to be happy.  Not just content, but truly HAPPY.  And just when I think I have it figured out, it’s gone.  She takes it away again, leaving me broken and defeated.  Left to rebuild myself, I try again, only to once again almost reach the top of the happiness hill – and she pushes me back to the bottom.  I feel as if I will never win this battle.

     

    Who is she, you might be wondering?  Well, she is very simply put, ME.  I am my own worst enemy in the pursuit of happiness.  I find myself becoming content with the way life is going, finally settling into a pattern, and then I start to wonder – is this really it?  Have I reached the pinnacle of happiness?  My focus begins to drift, and I start to refocus my energy on the negative aspects of life, slipping back down the hill it took me so long to climb.

     

    This has been an ongoing battle for me for many, many years.  At one point, I decided I simply wasn’t meant to be happy; after all, not everyone can become a doctor or a lawyer, so why should everyone get to be happy?  Maybe I was meant to live a life of suffering and misery, while others enjoyed the people, places and things around them.

     

    And then I really started to think about it – what made those happy people different from me?  Why were they so jovial and free, while I was trapped in a prison of unhappiness?  I really didn’t have an answer, so I started doing some soul searching.  Why did their happiness seem so easy, so effortless, while mine seemed to be a full-time job?  And it was in that soul searching that I started to find the answers.

     

    First and foremost, happiness is not something we can force.  It is not something we can buy, nor is it something we should even strive for.  Let me explain that last part – because I’m sure many of you are scratching your head – I mean, are we supposed to strive for happiness?  Isn’t that what life is all about?

     

    Yes, it is, but the pursuit of happiness need not be specifically about happiness itself.  Because when it comes down to it, we all define happiness is different ways.  So to say we are striving to be happy has not just one, but also MANY, different meanings.  And that’s okay, but that means that we aren’t necessarily striving for happiness itself, but for the different situations that produce happiness.  Once I learned that happiness was not a quest per say but rather the end result of a journey, I found that what had eluded me for so long was suddenly right at my fingertips.

     

    So, what exactly did I do?  To start, I quit my 9 to 5 job and went back to school.  I started freelance writing and I spent more time with my kids and my family.  I know that is extreme, but you don’t have to overhaul your life to find true happiness.  Start small with something that you really, truly enjoy.  Take time each week to do that one simple thing.  It might be reading a chapter in a great book, taking a cooking or yoga class or making a telephone call to an old friend.  Whatever it is, you simply must do it.  As you start to make that part of your routine, add something else.  Keep adding enjoyable things to your life, slowly, until you feel that sense of contentment we all long for.  It might not come tomorrow, next week or even next month, but rest assured, as you continue to pursue the things in life you truly enjoy, it will.  After all, life is too short to be anything but happy.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/viggum/3536424433


  4. Your Mind, Body, and Spirit

    October 17, 2013

    by Joanna Hughes

    Does the power of positive thinking have the ability to heal the human body? What about religious belief, or the commitment to spiritual wholeness? In all cases, an increasing amount of scientific research point in the direction of “yes.”

    Scientists from all over the world are discovering what many ancient cultures have known since the beginning of time: enabling balance between mind, body and soul promotes comprehensive wellness and improved quality of life.

     

    Meditate for Better Health
    While spirituality is often associated with religious practice, it can also be derived from secular sources, such as meditation. A recent study conducted collaboratively between Milwaukee’s Medical College of Wisconsin and Fairfield and Iowa’s Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention of the Maharishi University of Management suggests that people with coronary artery disease reap significant therapeutic value from transcendental meditation.

    Total peace
    It’s not just relaxing, meditation is good for your physical health!

    Participants in the study experienced a 50% decrease in risk of heart attack and stroke compared to the placebo group. Presented at the American Heart Association meeting, this study joins a wealth of other results connecting spirituality to overall well-being. In fact, the establishment of a meditative practice has been linked to everything from decreased blood pressure to lessening chemotherapy-related nausea to reducing chronic pain.

    Religion, too, has been scientifically linked to better physical health, with studies demonstrating fewer emergency room visits as well as faster recovery from heart surgery by patients who profess strong religious beliefs.

     

    Mind Control
    Other research results–evaluating everything from group therapy’s influence on breast cancer survival rates to the effects of biofeedback on migraine headaches in children–demonstrate the power of mind over matter when it comes to health. Unfortunately, the relationship can also work in reverse: for example, chronic illness is a major cause of depression.

     

    So Now What?
    Now that the connection has been established, the next step is applying this information in a meaningful way. Proper nutrition and healthy eating are cure-alls for a number of physical ailments, and can lead to improved mental energy as well as a heightened sense of fulfillment. If you are religious, attending services or becoming involved with your church or synagogue can have a beneficial bearing on your well-being. Non-secular programs which integrate the mind and the body include meditation, yoga, and group therapy.

    Hippocrates himself was a believer in the connection between mind, body and soul. Considered the father of modern medicine, he promoted balance as an important component of ideal health.


    Hippocrates figured it out thousands of years ago.

    Today’s physicians are increasingly accepting this ancient wisdom, which forms the basis for contemporary integrative medicine. After all, we can acknowledge that the body and mind are biologically programmed to communicate with each other. It is not a far reach to conclude, therefore, that one’s positive or negative state has direct bearing on the other. It is a complex system of connectedness, and one which we are only beginning to comprehend.

     


  5. How to Break the Mental Barriers Caused by Hopelessness and Anxiety

    September 18, 2013

    break mental barriers

    by Sue Chehrenegar

     

    Unlike a brick wall, a mental barrier is not something that is easy to see. Sometimes, friends and family members fail to note the telltale signs of hopelessness and helplessness. They fail to recognize the mental barrier that has resulted in a lack of positive thinking. The person who lacks such thinking often seems to expect that any experience will have a negative outcome.

    Some people fail to note the positive aspect to any situation. Some men and women even refuse to seek out the “silver lining” around any cloud. If such feelings of hopelessness and helplessness are carried to the extreme, the affected individual may find it impossible to see a reason for living. In other words, such a person has failed to recognize the meaning of life.

    Obviously, such feelings could cause someone to consider committing suicide. That is especially true if someone has refused to search for meaning. The people who answer calls to a suicide hot line must be ready to banish a caller’s anxious feelings and to instill renewed hope into the caller’s mind. The caller must show a caring attitude, so that there can be no question that the caller’s perception of failed hope must be re-examined.

    Mankind has been seeking help with problems for centuries. It could not have advanced to the point where it is today, if every potential inventor/innovator chose to give-up, when the going got tough. He or she gained the motivation to continue by recognizing the care and understanding in a friend or relative.  Even if you are not ready to recognize the love of your creator, you can learn to seek out and to find love in the world in which you live.

    That world is full of amazing gifts. As you come across more and more of the gifts that have been bestowed on the people of this world, you should understand better why you ought to be happy and hopeful. Ideally, you will feel less agitated. You will start to feel at ease in your heart and soul.

    Sometimes a person focuses on trying to have a normal life. In that case, he or she may get depressed, after suffering an illness. The person who must live with a medical condition may not have what others view as a normal life. However, once that condition has been treated properly, he or she can enjoy a full and useful life.

    Another behavior that can invite feels of despair is backstabbing. You are not going to have many friends, if you make a habit of backbiting about them constantly. No friend is perfect; still that fact should not be used as an excuse for being disloyal. Friends should help each other to strengthen their talents and skills and to eliminate any big weakness in their character.

    Recently, I learned about the death of a friend’s husband. Soon after I had been informed about that sad news, I discovered that a gentleman who was one of my Facebook friends had been the college roommate of the recently-deceased husband. He even posted on FB the picture of he and his roommate on the day of their graduation.

    At that time, both appeared full of hope. Both appeared to have a very positive attitude, although I do not think that either of them had a job at that time. Eventually both went to graduate school and became college professors. Each discovered how to confront challenges by finding a way to empower the spirit and strengthen exhausted nerves.

    A willingness to open the eyes can be used as a way to empower the spirit and strengthen the nerves. It can aid with recognition of the beauty and love that is in the world; it can facilitate a search for meaning. Those men and women who are ready to acknowledge the presence of that love and beauty are not apt to have disturbing thoughts. Each of them can look forward to a life that is full of meaning and hope.

     

     

    Author Bio: Sue Chehrenegar holds an MS in biomedical research. At one time, she was on the administrative body of a local faith-based group. While serving in that capacity, she had to study literature about violence in the home and listen to differences of opinion, as expressed by one or both members of an unhappy couple.

    Image Credit: Mark Sebastian at http://www.flickr.com/photos/markjsebastian/2820214199


  6. Happiness and Better Health

    September 5, 2013

    Happiness Leads to Better Health

    Lately, physicians, researchers, and even economists have embarked on a journey to unveil the secrets of achieving better health. What could be deciphered from the secrets of nature is that happiness leads to better health. Well, modern research just validates what was established ages ago by sages.

    What exactly is happiness?

     

    Happiness as a concept is fairly subjective and dynamic. It often revolves around various vague aspects and so there are innumerable definitions of happiness. What has been derived from myriad definitions is that happiness is a felling of elation that protects you from stress and ill-thoughts, instilling the spirit with joy and jubilation.

    Many scholars categorize happiness as a sense of inner peace, comfort, an positive attitude that paves way for a healthier, more balanced and a long lasting life. If you are a religious person than, according to saints and spiritual teachers, happiness is a feeling of gratitude towards God for showering his blessings on our poor souls.

    Hundreds of writers, poets, and intellectuals have used their pen to describe what happiness means to them – I personally like this one:

    “Under the deep blue sea

    It’s always better my darling

    Down the wetter lines

    Take me further O my Lord – So I can either find you or happiness!”

    Does happiness really affect our health?

     

    Amusingly so, most of really happy and cheerful people comes across as exceptionally healthy for their age. Once in a blue moon we get news of our distant relative (Uncle Cheerful – almost every one of us have one) suffering from cardiac arrest.

    Statistics show that happiness is correlated with better health for individuals, communities, and even countries. So what could be the secret? Is it inner peace and comfort? Is it a positive attitude to the outside world? Is it positive thinking? Happy people certainly have less negative thoughts that cause negative emotions. It is well known from medical studies that these negative emotions ruin our psychological and physical health. As per medical researchers, happiness is the surest way to stimulate the release of anti-stress hormones and improve your immune system.

    Research studies by the Harvard’s School of Public Health in Boston and University College in London correlate happiness with longevity and show that optimistic and happy people live longer and healthier years.

    Secrets of happiness

     

    What does it take to be happy in your life? Not much, just follow these golden rules and let happiness come to you.
    1. Find Positive in everything around you
    Positive Psychology teaches us to focus on positive aspects of our life. Every moment we have a choice of focusing on positives or on negatives… this choice is yours. Positive thinking and positive attitude to others is a key to happiness.

     

    2. Eat the diet of happiness

     

    Scientist and dietitians recommend one key ingredient for your diet: Essential fatty acids or EFAs. These acids are the building blocks for your brain and deficiency causes anxiety, depression, and even dementia. EFA supplements and a diet rich in Olive oil, fish, and seasonal fruits and vegetables is essential to keep you in a positive mood.

     

    3. Sleep to heaven

     

    Sleep sets the tone and mood for the following day. Sleep is shown to be the most important factor for your mental health. Statistics prove that those who sleep well can find their joy even in the garden of hell. The insomnia or inability to sleep causes devastating impact in the life of people.

     

    4. Live and Let live

     

    The ultimate mantra to instill loads of bliss and joy within yourself and others is through adherence with the policy of ‘live and let live.’  It is a contagious policy and profits one and all for an entire life.

     

    Can we measure happiness?

     

    Assessment of happiness is subjective and depends on what you consider a happiness scale.  There is no particular criterion other than the glow on your face.

    The indicators of happiness are life satisfaction, health, community engagement. Person need some basic wealth to be happy, yet high income doesn’t really increase the level of happiness.

    The level of happiness could be measured based on surveys. In 1972, Bhutan introduced a Gross National Happiness (GNH) scale, a parameter which is closely monitored by government and considered very important to the development of their economy.

     

    Author Bio: Mike Chapman a happiness expert & fitness consultant with 5+ years of experience working in clinics and gyms and dealing with health, pain and injuries. He is delivering talks on happiness and writing articles telling people how happiness can benefit their lives and the environment.

    Image Credit: Mark Sebastian – http://www.flickr.com/photos/markjsebastian/7824209576

     


  7. 5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Mental Outlook

    August 20, 2013

    Improve Your Mental Outlook
    When we think of ways to improve our overall wellness we tend to think of big projects that tackle big issues head on. That kind of thinking is far to often a symptom of the problem, not a path to a cure. A healthy physical and mental outlook is based on a landscape we exist in, not a destination to achieve. I’ve come up with a short list of simple activities you can add to your routine that, over time, will alleviate stress and tension and help you build wells of positive mental and physical energy to rely on.

     

    Do Something With Your Own Hands

    For most of us hand eye coordination and dexterity are useful only in the context of operating our digital devices: computers, tablets, mobiles. Your hands aren’t made just for accessing more data and downloading your brain into an overheated frenzy. When is the last time you shaped wet clay, carved a piece of wood, kneaded dough? The interplay between hands and mind that only occurs from doing small jobs like this satisfies your mind and relaxes your body. Whether it’s making a birdhouse, preparing a meal to share, or just giving a tired friend a thorough back rub you will gain mental energy by performing simple tasks with your hands.

     

    Do Low Impact Exercise

    Our culture is geared to celebrate high impact exercise. TV Infomercials compete against each other to claim their program is harder, sweatier, and more extreme. Sometimes training for a marathon or getting buff is just what you want and need, but these high impact programs can be extremely stressful and require imposing aggressive forms of self discipline to complete. They are a great way to get ripped, but not always a great way to become more relaxed and happy. Take a slow, relaxing evening walk, or slow bike ride on a quiet road. If you have a place to swim find time to just splash around a little. No laps, no grind, no constant focus on goals and improvement. You’ll be surprised at how much improvement you get from less stressful forms of exercise, and the relaxation you gain will in turn help make you physically more fit.

     

    Perform Manual Labor

    Most of us spend our lives trying to find ways to eliminate manual labor from the equation. The problem is, sometimes we are too successful and we cut ourselves off from any form of work that isn’t intellectually focused. Working with your mind is great, but frequently involves long processes with difficult to measure results. When is the last time you cut your own grass, or picked up trash from a public space, or planted a garden? You don’t need to break your back, just find something simple that fits into your time schedule and work at it. Unlike massive work projects that can bog you down for months without verifiable results when you mow a lawn or weed a garden you have the immediate satisfaction of seeing a job well done. This can be a great way to build positive relationships too: do you know any elderly people who could use help maintaining their yard? A space that could be improved for local children to play in? And besides, who would turn down a basket of fresh picked vegetables from your garden?

     

    Play a Musical Instrument

    Before the invention of TV and Radio almost everyone in the US and Europe played a musical instrument for entertainment. We have gotten away from that, and now rely on unsatisfying time filler activities instead. There are parts of your mind and spirit that are atrophying away when you don’t express them, and actually making music, however simply, is a world apart from passively listening. You can buy beginners instruments fairly cheaply, and free lessons are available all over the net. Pick up a guitar, or recorder, or small bongo drum and dedicate some time into learning the basics. You will get to the point of playing along with favorite songs before you know it, and you will find that you always feel a little happier and more positive after a half hour of making music.

     

    Write Something

    Writing is one of the most popular forms of personal expression there is. There are lot’s of free blogger sites on the web, pick one and open a blog. Write in it at least weekly. Here’s the catch: most people will tell you writing is all about expressing yourself, or releasing inner thoughts and feelings, and you should just write whatever you want and let the muse take you where it will. That may help you and if you enjoy this please continue in your way. I recommend a little different approach though. Write with a little self discipline. Make sure that everything you write has enough of a plan to include two basic things: a format where you have a clear beginning, middle and end is one. A simple message, or point you are making is the other. Using this approach will force you to do one simple thing every time you write: organize your thoughts. Organizing your thoughts is difficult, and it takes practice, and the goal of writing like this often is to give you that practice. If you think of the people you know who are the calmest, happiest individuals who exude a sense of peace around them they will all tend to have very organized thoughts. No jumbled up nervous tension from them, just simplicity and peace. Using writing to practice this mental sorting and indexing of thoughts will give you a tool you can use to build an island of mental peace around yourself at all times.

     

     

    Author Bio: Hola Backgrinder is a freelance writer and blogger focusing on all things fun and relaxing at http://backgrinder.com/

    Image Credit: Mark Sebastian – www.flickr.com/photos/markjsebastian/4686167305

     

     


  8. Effective Stress and Anger Management Tips for Ensuring Marital Bliss

    July 3, 2013

    anger management

    by Majid Mireskandai

    There is a common saying that marriages are made in heaven. However, the present scenario with the divorce cases pouring in the legal firms and people frequenting the marriage counselors, the fissures in the conjugal lives of the people are becoming too prominent. It really takes a lot for a marriage to work out. Anger and stress are harmful for any relationship and it is definitely the most abhorred fertilizers that you should not choose to nurture the relationship with your spouse. Do not let your anger flare-ups be the poison killing the bliss in your marital life. The mechanical grind of daily life often makes our head like a pressure-cooker without the safety-valve. Take control of your ego, practice the art of ‘letting go’, befriend your ego, before your marriage hit the rocks.

     

    A Stress Relief Plan

     

    Do you meet your agitated self more than often? If yes, then it is time that you take care of things before it slips away from your hand. The initial months or years of marriage things seem rosy with love and sex life going at great guns. Living under the same proof, getting to know each other too well often makes us to suffer take things for granted. Things begin with small tiffs but if anger becomes a part of your marital diet when kids, work and housekeeping come in the picture, then things can really go haywire. A well-sketched stress relief plan can help you:

    • Without avoiding the reasons that gives you the pangs of anxiety and stress, trace out the causes that triggers stress.
    • Do you respect each other’s opinion and listen to each other? It counts in easing things out, without making you to fly into a rage and create mayhem during a discord
    • Agreed that you do not have to show your love every time. However, make him/ her feel special by simple gestures like cooking, buying a small gift,  a little pampering after a fight which often ends with a steamy session on bed
    • When love seems to disappear, it seems too commonplace, do not let predictability to override. Otherwise the marital discords can lead to such deep fissures in a relationship, which cannot be healed

     

    Choose Words over Silence

     

     If your personality trait and temperament dictate that you have a volatile temper, but that does not give you the license to create domestic violence. The bouts of anger often lead to depression which can hurt you apart from putting your marriage at stake. When you utter something in the heat of the moment, you might not mean it, but it pierces the heart of your partner like a sting. The positive side is that when you howl and let your anger go, things often boils down to making love. However, silence kills, so do not keep shut. You might feel that it is like showing tolerance or the tenacity to bear, but it seems avoidance for your partner who wants you to retort back when he is venting out his suppressed feelings. Retaliate till things take an ugly turn, but do not bank on silence.

     

    Key Points to Remember with Dealing with Marital Stress

     

    Learning the Art of ‘Prioritizing’

     If you have been craving for peace in your married life, do not go much further, look into yourself. Domestic violence not only affects you and your partner; your kids suffer the most apart from your other family members and your neighbors. If you mix up workplace stress with your family life, then it’s a big mistake you are committing. Close all episodes that happened at the workplace before you step inside your home. Do not let alcohol, smoking or any kind of addiction to work as stress buster. Do not binge in too much of junk food. Eat healthy, get proper sleep to bid goodbye to stress and anger.

    Meditation

     Deep breathing, practicing yoga and meditation, empower your mind to face the challenges of life with more vigor. Your anger leading to stress needs to be controlled so that you do not end up creating a ruckus at your place with small issues that become part and parcel of a marital life. The mind needs to rest, feel free and rejuvenated and meditation is one of the best ways to do it.

    The Stress and Anger Management Classes

    If you are fed up with your anger outbursts and leading a stressful life, then there a number of online programs that you can enroll in to bring your life back on track. Domestic violence can play havoc in your life, so before it’s too late, get the help that you require for dealing with stress and anger.

    Moments of Togetherness

    It pays off often, if you listen to your heart. The mind needs to go into oblivion and be in peace. When you feel that things are not going in the right direction with your spouse, with marital tiffs and domestic violence becoming a common thing, go for a vacation. If a trip is not in the cards, chill out in the weekend, be it partying, playing games, gardening, cooking or whatever that tickles you and your partner’s fancy. Spending quality time with each other also helps in feeling more strongly for each other and realizing the importance and worth of your better half in your life.

     

    Author Bio: Majid Mireskandai takes great interest in studying human behavior and love to probe deep into the psychological aspects of individuals. He has shared his insight on domestic violence anger management tips and suggestions in this write-up.

    Image Credit:Petras Gagilas


  9. Boosting Fertility the Natural Way

    June 20, 2013

    Boosting Fertility

    Getting pregnant is a struggle for many couples. In fact, according to the Fertility Society of Australia, one in six Australian couples experiences problems with infertility. If infertility is a problem for you, you’re certainly not alone.

     

    When you first realise you’re experiencing fertility problems, the natural tendency is often to panic. The thought of having to undergo lots of invasive procedures and investigations is a daunting one. The fact is though; there are certain simple changes you can make to your lifestyle and environment that can provide a real boost to fertility – for both men and women.

     

    Natural Ways to Boosting Fertility – Lifestyle and Diet Changes

     

    Relax

    It’s easy to say it, but it’s true. We’ve all heard stories of couples who’ve been trying to conceive for months or years who find that it’s only when they take a break from their strict ovulation-centered routine that conception actually occurs. Research shows that the odds of pregnancy increase when stress is reduced. Light exercise, yoga, meditation: all of these can aid relaxation for both of you and in doing so can prepare your body for conception.

     

    Exercise

    There are lots of great reasons why both of you should exercise to increase fertility. For one thing, weight problems can be one of the major factors inhibiting fertility. Underweight women produce too little estrogen to fuel optimal ovulation whereas overweight women produce too much. A tailored exercise regime can address both of these problems. In a more general sense, exercise strengthens muscle, builds stamina and improves circulation; all of which are factors which can increase your prospects of conception as well as helping to grow healthy sperm.

     

    Positive Thinking

    We’ve all been told to “think positive” at some time or other. There are actually some pretty good scientific reasons why staying positive can aid conception. Worry and stress are essentially defense mechanisms; instigating the production of adrenaline and prolactin – hormones which provide us with the “fight or flight” impetus. Unfortunately such hormones are definitely not what we need when looking to conceive as these hormones inhibit the pregnancy hormone, progesterone. Positive thinking can be an incredibly effective weapon in combating infertility by aiding the reduction of stress hormone levels in the body.

     

    Quit Smoking

    Smoking can be a huge barrier to fertility. Not only has smoking been linked to poor conception rates and an increased risk of miscarriage, there is also a connection between smoking and poor sperm mobility in addition to distinct general fluctuations in male reproductive hormone levels.

     

    Limit Exposure to Environmental Toxins

    Traffic fume pollution, trace elements of mercury and other metal contaminants from sea food, chemical in detergents: there are many chemicals that can have a detrimental effect on reproductive health. Studies indicate that pesticides and herbicides sprayed on crops contain xenoestrogens that can cause damage to the female reproductive system. Choosing organic produce, avoiding BPA-containing plastic products and consuming filtered water are three practical steps you can take to help maintain a healthy reproductive system.

    Say “Yes” to healthy fats:

    Healthy omega-3 fats are an effective boost to fertility. Nuts, avocados and flax seeds are prime sources of omega-3. Butter from grass-fed cattle and eggs are high in arachidonic acid, which has also been shown to aid reproductive health.

    Include plenty of greens

    Dark green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and broccoli are excellent sources of foliate, an important vitamin that’s vital for laying a strong foundation for conception. Greens are also rich sources of many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants vital for maintaining reproductive health.

     

    Get adequate vitamin D

    Vitamin D is a vitamin that behaves like a hormone. It is important for the production and secretion of many hormones in the body and helps to maintain a proper hormonal balance. Sensible, limited daily sun exposure without sunscreen helps your body produce enough vitamin D for the day. For light skin an exposure of 15 minutes is sufficient whereas for darker skin, a slightly longer exposure time may be beneficial. If you live somewhere that has long winter months and you have limited scope for exposure to sunlight, consider taking a vitamin D supplement after consulting with your healthcare provider.

     

    These tips can help to promote fertility naturally as well as promoting general good health. If you are actively trying for a child and are experiencing difficulties, you should also consult your physician and a fertility specialist.

     

    Author Bio: Al writes on sexual health and fertility issues in Australia and abroad.

    Image Credit: Mark Sebastian

     


  10. 7 Secrets To A Successful Marriage

    May 20, 2013

    successful marriage

    by Margie Weigler

     

    Divorce rates are high, and even a lasting marriage is no guarantee that the relationship is a happy or successful one. Yet some couples seem to go on year after year and decade after decade and grow stronger through all of the trials of life. What are the secrets of those couples?

    A Change in Attitude

    Nobody feels in love all the time. People can’t force themselves to feel things, of course, but the ebb and flow of emotions during a long marriage are normal. The essence of commitment is continuing to behave in a loving manner even during times when one feels less than loving. The feelings of love will eventually return.

    Build Intimacy

    Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Julie Gottman have done extensive research on marriages that last, and one of their most important findings is that couples need to build intimacy with one another by responding to what the Gottmans refer to as “intimacy bids.” If couples are not responsive to one another in this way, the marriages tend to fail.

    Be Your Own Person

    While building intimacy is crucial, it’s also important to maintain independence. Couples who have their own friends and interests retain a strong sense of self and stay together because they choose to rather than out of an inability to be alone. These types of couples also continually bring a fresh and interesting perspective back to the marriage.

    Communicate

    The ability to communicate about everything from wants and needs to dreams and even just what happened during the day is crucial to a strong marriage. Different people may have different communication needs; some may not want to go over what happened at work that day while others may feel that several texts or phone calls throughout the day are necessary. The important thing is for partners to make an effort to meet one another’s communication needs.

    Avoid Gottman’s “Four Horseman”

    John Gottman has also identified four tendencies that he considers the death knell for relationships. Contempt, criticism, defensiveness and stonewalling are the four behaviors during conflict that will lead nearly every marriage to failure. Couples need to work hard on avoiding these in order to keep their marriages strong.

    Support One Another

    Among other things, marriage is about mutual support. Whether a partner loses a job, returns to school or faces other challenges in life, a marriage should provide a safe haven for both partners. Support also means being there for one another in the good times. No one should be happier than one’s spouse when a promotion or another important goal is reached.

    Make Quality Time

    It can be easy to fall into a pattern of going to work, taking care of chores and looking after children. Couples must make time to simply be together. They shouldn’t use that time to solve problems or deal with the mundane details of life. It’s not necessary to plan expensive weekends away. Date nights can be arranged even if babysitters are hard to come by. Half an hour talking on the sofa after the children are in bed a few times a week can go a long way toward keeping a marriage strong.

    Author Bio: Margie Weigler is a marriage counselor and contributor at Online Marriage and Family Counseling Degree Programs, a site with valuable resources for prospective students.

    Image Credit: Katsu Nojiri