The Natural Health Hub: helping you to live a happier, more fulfilled and empowered life.
Sue Leach, owner of Lymington's Hub for health and wellbeing suggests some simple steps to improve our happiness.
Helping people live a happier, more fulfilled life is at the core of what we’re all about here at The Natural Health Hub in Lymington. Achieving happiness is a matter of looking after yourself emotionally, physically and, we reckon, also spiritually. Here are suggestions from Sue Leach, owner of The Hub, on simple steps you can take to improve how happy you feel.
How to feel happier, more fulfulled and more empowered
It is a sad fact that many of us are not happy. In a 2018 survey by the Office for National Statistics people scored 7.5 out of 10 for happiness yesterday, 7.7 out of 10 for life satisfaction and 7.9 out of 10 for feeling worthwhile. That means just about a third of us feel we could be happier and more fulfilled, so it’s hardly surprising that one in six people between the ages of 18 and 65 were prescribed antidepressants in 2017 (the latest year for which we have figures).
At The Natural Health Hub we believe not only in making people healthier, but also happier, more fulfilled and more empowered. How? Here are some suggestions. We do not claim to have all the answers – life’s very complicated and many things are sent to try our happiness – but just have a go at a few of our suggestions and we guarantee you can lift yourself from the doldrums.
Achieving happiness is a matter of looking after yourself emotionally, physically and, we reckon, spiritually.
SPIRITUAL steps to take to being a happier you
Spiritual is nothing to do with religion, or (necessarily) connecting with ‘spirits’… in our book it is about reaching deeper than the day-to-day. That’s having something that affects you on a level that’s more than just material or physical – finding ‘food for the soul’. Sometimes that is nothing more than immersing yourself in something that is deliciously, irresistibly, viscerally fun and satisfying! Maybe giving yourself permission (and acting on it!) to do things for yourself – just for yourself. Here are suggestions…
Make and keep friends
There is multiple evidence that friendship makes us happier. True friends come to your rescue, celebrate your success as if it was their own, and respect the ebb and flow of your life. They show trust, forgiveness, gratitude, honesty, commitment, support, enthusiasm and gladness toward their friends without expectation of gain or return. Psychologists have found that those who have regular meaningful contact with same-sex friends have a greater feeling of self-worth.
Psychologist Dr Miyaly Csíkszentmihályi proved that one key to happiness is to have something you can immerse yourself in – being completely involved in an activity for its own sake to the exclusion of everything else. In his book, Flow: the Psychology of Happiness, he describes this total immersion as when we are making, doing, creating or playing using our skills to the utmost and we go into a ‘flow state’. Experiments show that the grey matter density (GMD) of our brains upgrades itself when we achieve this state.
Studies at Boston University show that yoga increases levels of gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) in the brain. As higher GABA levels are associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety, the scientists have suggested that yoga be used as an alternative treatment for depression and anxiety. And you don’t have to be a yoga devotee – the studies reveal that improvements in happiness are evident after just a single hour of yoga.
Meditation has the power to instil a deep sense of calm and serenity in the innermost part of your being (and brain). Numerous studies prove that meditation reduces levels of our stress hormone cortisol.
In one study the software company Compuware offered employees regular group meditation over seven weeks. Using a meditation technique known as Loving Kindness, designed to increase feelings of warmth and caring for yourself and others, they found that meditation led to increased happiness. Participants reported feeling more positive, having purpose in life, better social support and fewer symptoms of illness – their overall level of life satisfaction and depressive feelings decreased.
Studies by the neuroscientist Sara Lazar show that maintaining a consistent meditation practice leads to thickening in a few major areas of the brain, which in turn increases your ability to cope with uncomfortable and difficult situations and stressful occurrences that life throws at you. If you’re naturally more predisposed to being worried or stressed out meditating on a regular basis can quieten overactive areas of your brain and thicken the areas responsible for joy and pleasure. It is thought that meditation shrinks the portion of the brain called the amygdala, which controls fearfulness and anxiety.
The definition of mindfulness, according to guru Jon Kabat-Zinn, is ‘paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally’. Similar to Dr Miyaly Csíkszentmihályi’s concept of ‘flow’, but being aware that you are immersing yourself in the moment, and trusting (non-judgmentally) that that is totally fine. Increasing research shows that, far from being a 21st-century fad, this is a tool that Buddhists, among others, have espoused for centuries. Proof that being mindful makes you happier is multiple.
When Harvard researcher Matt Killingsworth created a phone app that interrupted people at random times to ask how happy they were feeling at that moment, the data showed that we’re happiest when we are mindful of the moment and least happy when the mind is wandering. The 15,000 people involved in the study were from diverse socio-economic backgrounds and ages and spanned 80 countries. What made people happy had far less to do with what they were doing and significantly more to do with whether their attention was fully present in the moment. People whose minds wandered to happy thoughts were slightly better off than those whose minds strayed off to worries or regrets, but those with wandering minds were still not as happy as people who kept their minds in the moment. Even if they found the activity at hand unpleasant people were still happier when they engaged their attention fully in the now.
Our team are passionate about helping people to find ‘food for the soul’
Here are just some of the things we offer at The Hub to bring you spiritual happiness…
- Reiki – channelling energy, through gentle touch, to activate the natural healing processes of your body and restore physical and emotional well-being.
- Women’s sharing circle – an authentic, caring meeting of minds to nurture the heart and nourish the soul.
- Friday night meditation – connect to your source to discover yourself and your purpose.
- Lomi lomi massage – deeply healing, nurturing massage, derived from Polynesia and known as ‘loving hands’.
- Polarity massage – energy-balancing massage drawing on life energy (prana or chi) to restore equilibrium to mind and body.
- Sound therapy – ‘bathing’ in sound you go into a deep meditative state of relaxation that many describe as a spiritual experience.
The Natural Health Hub is Lymington’s health and well-being centre offering an extensive selection of complementary therapies, classes and workshops. Book online at www.TheNaturalHealthHub.co.uk or call on 01590 670955.
Find out more about The Natural Health Hub in the New Forest, Hampshire.