Be Inspired

Be Inspired

A holistic connection between mind and body

Do you have that friend who seemingly has it all: a brilliant career, a wonderful family and a fit body? What most people don’t realize is, she too struggles with her own demons.

As much as we’d all love for a healthy life to be a sum of healthy habits, such as eating well, exercising, and sleeping, we are much more complex beings than that. We are a sum of our thoughts, perceptions, and feelings, just as much as our daily choices and actions.

So, it’s no wonder that low self-esteem has the power to affect your immune system, as research has shown that for example people who struggle with self-blame at work experience drops in their immunity more frequently than those who are confident. This is merely one part of an intricate equation of life, and we are only scratching the surface of how our emotional wellbeing affects our mind, as well as how our physical vitality impacts our mental state.

Be happy to live longer
Let’s consider this “chicken or the egg” conundrum: do you believe that you need to be healthy in order to be happy, or the other way around? Apparently, thinking positive thoughts has been linked to increased life longevity, even for patients with heart disease.

However, if you need to start somewhere, start with the things you can control with ease. Think about what makes you happy and do it more often! It can be exercise, which is known to boost your happy hormones, but it can also be something like enjoying a funny book. Just stick to what makes you smile, laugh out loud, and detox from daily stress!

Balanced nutrition for all-around resilience
We’re often told that the quality of our meals shapes our physical resilience, but what about our mental fortitude? This is where the famous expression “trusting your gut feeling” gains a whole new level of meaning, because studies have shown that a healthy gut flora is a key ingredient in our emotional stability and mental health.

The right foods give us the right amount of energy, they balance our hormones, and protect our bodies from harmful microbes. Sources of essential macro and micronutrients are crucial for gut balance, so ingredients such as anti-inflammatory Manuka Oil, antioxidant-packed Matcha tea, and the protein-rich Spirulina should reign supreme on your menu.

It takes time to master the art of listening to our body and recognizing our needs.

Mindfulness for prevention
More people join the mindfulness movement every day, and due to this simple practice’s incredible potential to soothe the mind and heal the body, it has become one of the pillars of health. It may start as a meditation practice and breathing exercises, but mindfulness reflects a permanent mindset anchored in the present moment, embracing its beauty, and letting go of all the things we cannot change.

When you incorporate mindful meditation into your life, science has shown that it helps alleviate the impact of stress by controlling our inflammatory responses. There are even studies that aim to explore how mindfulness can help us regulate our emotional responses and how this may help reduce the risk of brain degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or help those who already suffer from it.

The art of listening 
The entire story of how our physical, cognitive, and emotional behaviour is intertwined is based upon the premise that we have the ability to recognize our own needs. However, our internal signals often get crossed, so what sounds to us like hunger may in fact be boredom, so we end up stress-eating.

It takes time to master the art of listening to our body and recognizing our needs. Some of the best actions in life may not feel as pleasant from the get-go, such as starting an exercise regime, or a challenging job, but it is precisely these choices that will end up shaping our existence both inside and out. The beauty of it all? Most of what happens in your body and your mind is in your hands. Perhaps it’s time to embrace the responsibility and start listening to our internal voice!


By: Sophia Smith. Sophia is beauty and style blogger, an eco-lifestyle lover and a food enthusiast. She is very passionate about natural skincare, minimalist wardrobe, yoga and mindful living.  You can find out more about her writing by following her on: Facebook  Twitter  Google +

Be Inspired

Simple ways to practice gratitude   

Gratitude is such a powerful emotion which can give a more optimistic view towards life. Yet so few of us practice it on a daily basis. Things tend to get a tad too complicated, and we want to change that, creating a positive attitude towards the practice of gratitude .

Practicing gratitude is often dismissed, because it involves too much commitment. Like writing a journal every day, that´s not for everyone. Nevertheless, there are simpler ways to make gratitude a part of everyday life. But let us first consider why we should practice more gratitude:

  • It can help us lessen our longings for more all the time. Creating more awareness to what you have, not what you want.
  • It strengthens relationships, reduces stress and makes us in general more appreciative.
  • It sets things in perspective and helps us see the goodness in what we usually take for granted.

So, how do we practice gratitude? Let´s start simple, because why make small, positive things so damn complicated, right?

  • Tell someone you love them.
  • Nurture your friendships. Maybe time to book in a friend-date or tell a friend that you appreciate him or her.
  • Smile more often. The power of a smile is truly underrated!
  • Be kind, always. Include an act of kindness in your daily routines.
  • See the growth opportunity in your mistakes.
  • Be thankful when you learn something new.

Small, but effective steps. Notice your life from a point of gratitude and you will quickly see how it will affect you in a positive way.


By: Henriette Danielsen

Be Inspired

The road to success

Success; something many of us dream about and work very hard for. But achieving it is a totally different story and often involves a long and bumpy road.

It is in fact a topic that has been equally discussed by experts, older and younger, men and women. Some argue that only talent and hard work lead to success, some that the factor of happiness is crucial, some that the story of every successful person is unique and different.

In this article, I will share some factors I think can ease your way to success. Nevertheless, don’t forget to enjoy whatever you do, because the greatest success in my opinion is to be happy.

Now let´s take a closer look:

Having a clear and defined goal
We should know how, why and in what way we will achieve our goal. We all have many different desires, but often our goals aren’t clearly defined and therefore we don’t know how to achieve these desires. Without a defined goal, we don’t know in which direction to go and our vision becomes unclear. The success criterion is always the achievement of the goal we set.

Positive motivation
With a clear defined goal, motivation grows, which drives us and makes us work towards achieving our goal. Unfortunately, we are often ambivalent when it comes to the goals we have chosen. We want something and at the same time we are afraid of it, and this will affect our reduction of positive motivation. What more affects the reduction of positive motivation is the fair of failure. Fair of failure occurs when we identify ourselves with the goal and create a pressure that is expressed through fear. Positive motivation is growing with the reduction of fear of failure so stick to positivity!

Persistence
Many say that persistence this is the key factor to success. Persistence implies that we don’t give up when we are confronted by obstacles, but instead we are making extra efforts to overcome them. When we really want something, we are persistent and we work long and hard, until we succeed. Being persistent doesn’t mean the same as being stubborn though. Stubbornness is resistance in a negative direction, opposed to persistence.

Flexibility
To avoid being stubborn and persistent in something that doesn’t bring us profit, we need to be flexible. For success in life we need to constantly grow and develop, adapt to new circumstances and changes. This is necessary because the whole world around us constantly changes and if we are not ready to follow it, we will not succeed in the long run.

Courage
That means willingness to take risks. Success always involve risk. So, the bigger the goal is, the greater the risk will be. The willingness to risk implies that we can rationally assess the risk even when we feel fear and uncertainty. Courage doesn’t imply the absence of fear, but precisely the opposite, it means you are ready to make rational decisions and take action when it is the riskiest. Here also flexibility comes to expression. It is sometimes wise to think carefully and give yourself enough time for important decisions and sometimes it needs to be an impulsive reaction. Risk strategies should be customized in line with the given situation.

These are just some of the factors that can ease our way to success. If this interests you I recommend you to listen to some of these amazing TED Talks to learn more about what success is and the road to getting there.


 By: Sonja Josipovic / Photo cred: edce.ca

Be Inspired Featured

Let´s get moving

We have all heard it a hundred times before; physical activity equals better health. In fact, there is no way around it if you want to improve your overall well-being and quality of life. Time to put that to a test!

It is said that to reduced risk of health problems and maintain an overall good health, a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate to high intensity physical activity is required each day. In fact, the list of benefits is endless, and you would think that knowing this would make most of us jump out of the couch. But the sad truth is that only 1 out of 3 meets WHOs (World Health Organization) minimum recommendations and many of today’s major public health problems are related to our lifestyle and lack of movement. Time to change that, don’t you think?

All you need to do is make a conscious decision to get moving.

I for one want to be healthy, happy and be filled with endless energy, so I decided it was time to put it to a test. So, I am adding at least 30 minutes of physical activity into my daily routine for the next two months and will see what happens. And I of course want you with me on my journey.

But before we start, let’s first look into what moderate and high intensity physical activity means:

  • Moderate intensity corresponds to activities that result in faster breathing than usual, such as power walking.
  • High intensity is equivalent to activities that result in much faster breathing than usual, such as running.
  • In addition, WHO advises doing strength-training exercise twice a week, working all the major muscle groups. Strength exercises should be adapted to the individual with regard to type of exercises, number of sets, number of repetitions and frequency of training.

So, let´s do this! And remember, there is not need to run to the gym! A walk in fresh air, a swim, playing with your children, a dance off in the living room; everything counts as movement. Keep it simply my friends, no need to complicate things. You just need to find what gets you moving!

Join the journey by entering the Facebook group “Let´s get moving“, where we can inspire each other to a more active life. I have also teamed up with some amazing brands so during the next two months I will be sharing discount codes and have some fun giveaways (motivation is key, right)! So stay tuned.

Exercise is if one of the most important things you can do for yourself they keep saying, so let’s get moving. Goodbye couch, hello new and energized us!


By: Henriette Danielsen 

Be Inspired

Forever a dreamer

Goal setting seems to be a huge trend today. Whether it’s losing x number of kilos, get that certain promotion at work, get more active or get rich. Whatever the goal is, it’s in fact a dream with a deadline, and why add that type of stress to your life?

I have always been a dreamer. For as long as I can remember, I would have these visions of doing and achieving tons of different things in life. I still do. And turns out there are enormous benefits to dreaming often and dreaming big. It for example provides us with a platform for growth and success.

The same goes for goals. Except they come with that deadline.

Just taste the word: DEADline. The word itself is negatively charged. And with a deadline comes pressure, and with pressure the possibility of failure. And we all fail, at some point. And then we get upset, punish ourselves and get demotivated. When we in fact should try to accept it, and ask ourselves what we learned from it. Move on, continue our journey.

 Goals may give focus, but dreams give power

I am not saying goals are bad, but why not embrace dreams instead? Because they come without pressure, timelines and rules. Dreams are all about kindness. Maybe try to get yourself a dream diary, put your dreams down on paper. Visualize and embrace creativity, but without the time pressure.

If you on the other hand love goals and have tons of them; That’s great too! Just remember to be kind to yourself. Because the kinder you are, the more efficient you will be and the better you will feel. Skip the rules of what you MUST and SHOULD accomplish and simply trust your journey. Let what is supposed to happen, happen. Preferably without a deadline.


By: Henriette Danielsen

Be Inspired

From couch potato to a more energized self

We have all heard it a hundred times; moving more equals better health. You get more productive at work, you sleep better and you feel more energized and happy. But then there is the hard truth that getting up from the couch is easier said than done. And the gym frightens many of us.  

The good news is that the benefits of physical activity are not restricted to exercise performed only in the gym. There are other steps you can take to increase physical activity that don’t involve hours lifting weights or running on a treadmill.

Simply be on the lookout for little ways to move more.

The small things that can increase your everyday exercise. And you just wait and see; it will do wonders to your overall health!

Use your legs
Get up and start walking. It is as simple as that. Walk to the store, suggest a walking meeting at work if possible, take a Sunday walk with a friend instead of meeting over lunch, get off the bus one stop before home, choose the stairs instead of the elevator. Nothing you probably haven’t heard before, but try it. It really works.

House chores
Cleaning your house or apartment can definitely get your pulse up. Vacuuming, mopping floors, scrubbing the shower, wipe dust, all of it requires movement. And why not add some music and dance around a little while doing it? Makes a boring chore more fun in an instant.

Make time
This is key people. Try to move at least 30 minutes every single day. Might sound a lot, but try to shift the focus of it being something you must do, to something you want to do. Maybe event write it in your day planner, make an appointment with yourself or with others.

Stay motivated
How, you might wonder? Try different things. We have a tendency to stick to what we know and what we are good at, but why not try out new things. Why not give dance class a try, or choose a new route for your Sunday walk? Or why not join your friend for a new activity?  Variation being the key word. And never underestimate the value of the small stuff. As long as you move, your body will thank you for it.

Bring others in on it
Have a family, why not play around in the snow or dance around the house? Have a partner? Why not motivate each other for a little sit up competition? Have co-workers? Why not suggest walking up and down the stairs together, twice a day during your workday? Live alone? Why not call a friend and suggest trying a new activity rather than a movie night?

Don´t limit yourself. Be open for new things and you will see how you will feel better and get more motivated to keep it up. But most importantly; don´t end up punishing yourself if the couch wins over your willpower. Just get up the next day and try again. And remember; start small.


By: Henriette Danielsen

Be Inspired

Is social media messing with our health?

Daily we mindlessly scroll through our social media feeds, being subconsciously fed with a portrait of the perfect life. We start comparing ours with others, getting caught in the delusion that life is flawless. Which is fair to say is a tad unhealthy.

Sometimes it can be just a little sting of jealousy over someone’s vacation photos. Or from someone’s amazing party, event or girl’s night. Or it can be the beautiful clothes, the perfect boyfriend or the fun job. Other times it can be the pressure to post the right picture in order to get enough likes. Everything must be perfect, because while in reality perfection doesn’t exist, in the virtual world it can be achieved simply with the right filter.

We carefully select and portray pieces of our lives which are simply a fraction of what our days actually look like. We choose the best outfits and the best selfies, rarely tapping into the more common moments like sitting on the sofa in sweatpants. Or burring our face in chocolate, or skipping yet another gym class. And we sit on the other side of those screens, swallowing every image, every word.

All of this is not to say that there are no benefits to social media. On the contrary. It keeps us connected across great distances, helps us stay in touch, inspires us, let’s us unfold our creativity and be part of a community. There are so many reasons to why we love it! We just want to give you a friendly reminder that in those moments when you find yourself envying someone, or feel like a failure due to a status or image update, keep in mind that those moments show only a fraction of reality and are usually staged, photoshoped, filtered and styled.

So, consume with caution, and when an account or person makes you feel low, it´s time to defriend or unfollow. Life is too short to be comparing yourself to others and social media should bring you joy and inspiration, not anxiety and depression. Remember; you being you is your superpower!


By: Henriette Danielsen / Photo cred: planoly.com

Be Inspired Featured

Time to embrace those darn feelings

Do you ever wake up and just feel “blah”? Don’t feel like doing anything else then watch meaningless TV shows and even that feels unsatisfying? Our emotions vary and our mood swings, but it is how we deal with them that determines the result of our wellbeing.

We can experience a range of emotions; happiness, sadness, anger, confusion, anxiety, you name it. And there are many things that can affect our mood. Hormones, expectations, our inner critic, lack of Vitamin D or simply the fact that some brains are more sensitive to the effects of stress then others and can end up giving you the blues. Life is like an eternal rollercoaster. Some days you wake up all bubbly and happy, the next you might feel sad or angry. And when we feel out of sorts we often avoid our negative emotions. Hide them, stuff them away in the back of our emotional closet, hoping they will go away.

But as it turns out; negative emotions don’t harm you. It’s your resistance that does.

Not sure you know what I am talking about? Well, let me ask you this: have you ever been afraid of being unhappy, sad or depressed? Have you ever tried to stop yourself from feeling insecure or anxious? Ever resisted grief, shame or guilt?

The more you allow your feelings to be, the easier it is to let them go.

Resisting “bad” feelings actually intensifies them. The best way to heal your emotions is to embrace them. But how the heck do we do that?

Observe
When a negative emotion rises to the surface, try to observe. You don’t need to act on it, just acknowledge it and most importantly, feel it.

Accept
It is what it is. Love it or hate it, but at least embrace it. You can´t (and shouldn’t) change it. A negative emotion will not last forever and most certainly not define you, so worry not. Try to accept that it is what it is.

Release
Feel like crying or screaming, do so. Want to hit something, do it (something, not someone though). Want to talk about it, turn to a friend. Want to work through it, write it down. Whatever releasing it means to you.

Negative emotions are a natural part of who you are and with that awareness you will more likely respond to whatever is aroused in your behaviour. Accept that life is not perfect and you will feel so much better.


By: Henriette Danielsen

Be Inspired

Winter survival mode

Even though winter can be breathtakingly beautiful it can also be a pain in the ass. However, we will not let the winter darkness dampen our mood (any longer).

Keeping your spirits up during the last weeks of winter can be painfully hard, but we are willing to give it a try. Are you? How on earth are we going to do that you might ask? Impossible you might say. Njaaa, there are some small things you can do that might brighten your mood. Let´s take a closer look:

Stay active
Ok, we know some willpower is required here, but try to fight the urge to sleep the winter away. Because it is actually a vicious cycle: the less active you are, the less energy you have. So do what you need to do to get going and remember: working out from home, some yoga or pilates or even walking to work counts as movement. No need to go “die” at the gym.

Stay social
Again, some willpower is required (might do a post about how to turn on your willpower)! There is nothing more tempting them jumping into your warmest pyjamas, get under a blanket and dig your face into that bag of candy when the cold is raging outside. But booking in some social activities in your calendar will help brighten your spirit!

Fake the sunshine
Due to less exposure to sun during the winter (read: no sun what so ever) can lead to seasonal depression. Yup, turns out that is a thing people. Several studies show that decreased sunlight leads to increased depression. Depressing, right? So, a little daily dose of Vitamin D pills does the trick.

Smile
Yup, just turn that frown upside down! Amazing how your day and mood changes by just smiling. And I am not talking about walking around like a frowning idiot (people might think you´re crazy for heaven’s sake), but just smile when you greet yourself in the mirror, smile to an colleague and/or a stranger and see what happens.

If this doesn’t work, well then get back to Netflix and we will see you in a couple of weeks. Good luck, whatever you choose.


By: Henriette Danielsen 

Be Inspired

One bad day doesn’t make a bad life

Sometimes when the rain is pouring, it´s important to remember that there is sunshine hiding behind those clouds. And it’s going to shine again.

We all have those days. The ones when nothing goes your way and staying in bed under the blanket might be the best thing to do. Sometimes it’s easier to deal with and other times it can be a real nightmare. But, no matter how bad things may be, it is always important to remember that it’s just a phase, and like anything else in life, it too shall pass.

From stress, to hormones, and things not working out as you hoped, there are many factors that can turn your mood sour. A bad meeting, not getting the job you wanted, traffic jam, family drama, heartbreak – the list can go on and on. Some days it may be none of it. Maybe you are just in your PMS or the Mercury is retrograde and you are not feeling it.

When the bad mood sets in, be extra kind to yourself

When the bad mood comes, with or without a specific cause, it is crucial to be extra kind to yourself. Instead of being harsh, try to be your own best friend. Play your favourite song, treat yourself to some ice-cream, light some candles, get a glass of wine or do whatever it is that gets you to relax.

Cry it out if that helps, or call your best friend and confidant that you know will listen to you and try to cheer you up. Sometimes just talking it out can do wonders. Be extra attentive to yourself and give it some time.

Even when the bad day stretches into two or three, just know that it all must end and better days are awaiting just around the corner.


By: Ivona Josipovic