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5 More Ways to Make January Brilliant

Last week we gave you five ways to make January brilliant and we hope they've helped you have a positive start to the year. How are you feeling? Better or worse than last week? Can't see the end of January, or feeling closer to the spring? In the process of bringing them to you we realised that there are actually many other ways, so we thought we'd share a few more.

1. No Negative Thinking

If you want to feel positive, you've got to get rid of those negative thoughts. Of course this is another one that is easier said than done – I know as I have a tendency to be a touch negative – but if I have a negative thought I try to turn it around and look for something positive. For instance, last Sunday would have been my Mum's birthday, but she died almost 14 years ago. I was feeling sad about her missing another birthday and my thoughts turned negative as I ran through the usual regrets about her untimely death, such as her never meeting my lovely husband or getting to see her beautiful grandson. But then I stopped for a moment and thought about all the wonderful memories she gave me that I now have to share with them and this led me to thinking of a couple of funny things she'd done – which were many due to her naughty and mischievous sense of humour - I started to smile, then laugh and I reminded myself that the best way to deal with her birthday was to celebrate her life and focus on the all the good things . If we do this, the negative aspects will soon start to fade.

2. Exercise More

We're not telling you to join a gym or get in training to run a marathon, just do a bit more exercise than you do now. Try to get your heart rate up for 30 minutes at some point in the next 7 days, don't eat lunch at your desk go for a walk instead, increase your usual pace when you do walk, run upstairs. According to Michael Mosley, host of the Horizon special episode Horizon: The Truth About Exercise, even three minutes of exercise a week can keep you fit. Any of these small things will increase your fitness and exercise releases endorphins that make you feel happy so why not give it a go?

3. Have a Brew

You can't beat a good brew. Having a break is a great way to refresh your energy and a cuppa is a perfect accompaniment to a break - and by the way you need breaks or you'll burn out – studies show we can only hold focus and concentration for about 90 minutes, so you need your breaks to tackle the next 90 minutes. Caffeine is a central nervous stimulant and can have some positive effects on the human body. Caffeine in low doses is thought to be associated increased alertness and reduction in fatigue potentially lifting a person's mood. Coffee and tea also contain some antioxidants which have positive effects on heart health. There are a myriad of herbal and fruit teas you can drink too – my personal favourite is fennel – which don't contain caffeine if you're worried about that. So what are you waiting for? Put the kettle on.

4. Get Outside

Ok so the wet and windy weather we've been having recently hasn't been ideal for getting outside, but most of us have been lucky enough to get a few hours of sunshine in between and that's the time to grab a scarf and coat, put on your wellies and head outdoors. My four year old son and I went on a 'troll hunt' to a local country park a couple of weeks ago and although trudging in the mud was hard work, we had great fun and came back with aching muscles and red cheeks. It really blew the cobwebs away. Research proves that going outside helps reduce stress and elevates your mood. Get out there and feel good.

5. Meditate

Ok, so this sounds a bit "new age hippy" and some of you may take some persuading to give it a go – and I ought to make time to do this now and again too! – But just a few minutes a day can bring your stress levels right down. It doesn't have to be a full blown, cross legged, chanting meditation. You can meditate wherever you are, in the office, on the bus, walking the dog or waiting in the supermarket queue. Just close your eyes and focus on your breathing, let your mind drift off and you'll literally feel your troubles float away. Don't believe us? Then read this research in the Harvard Medical School blog. What have you got to lose? Give it a try.

I hope our tips help dispel those January blues and are giving you a positive start to 2014. Keep reading our blogs for more hints and tips on being Practically Positive and don't forget to send us your own tips too!

Well being


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