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Mind Body

Our generation often gets branded as lazy and entitled, but this couldn't be further from the truth.

Most of us are constantly working, thanks to the Internet.

Being able to be online or connected to your email means that we rarely just work our 9-5 job.

Often our work spills over into our weekends and evenings.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Now research from VHI has shown that nearly 80 percent of employees believe that mental health issues are of increasing concern.

Additionally, 67 percent of those surveyed said they need to take more care of their mental health.

Even though workers are drawing these conclusions, they're still hesitant to reach out for help. 

A staggering 61 percent have never sought help and half of the people surveyed actually believe that they must hide the stress they feel at work if they are to maintain their career prospects.

Furthermore, 41 percent said they would even hide their mental health from a friend.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Researches said the report represents worrying levels of unhappiness, dissatisfaction and stress amongst a significant proportion of the working population.

In particular, those under 34 and people working in the tech industries characterise their levels of stress as problematic rather than as part of the normal cut and thrust of life.

Attempting to tackle this problem by giving young professionals the tools to maintain their mental and physical health is Jamie White alongside The Happy Pear.

On January 5 in Dublin Castle, the duo along with Alison Canavan, an award-winning author and wellness coach, and Fiona Brennan will be offering their expert advice.

The Fresh Resolutions Conference will be covering topics such as nutrition and training, wellness and mental health, goal setting and personal motivation, budgeting and financial planning.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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If this sounds like something that would float your boat, you can get tickets here

If you're struggling with your mental health, help is only a click away.

You can find helplines and support services here.

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If you curse like a sailor during your workout sessions, you may actually be doing your body good.

According to recent research conducted at Keele University, swearing can increase an individual's strength and stamina as well as doing wonders for their pain threshold.

To test the hypothesis, researchers created two groups, one of which was advised to curse 30 seconds before cardio and strength training, the second of which was advised to say a 'neutral' word.

Researchers discovered that the group who cursed exhibited more power and strength than the other group.

Speaking to Newsweek, Richard Stephens explained that "on one measure of power in the first five seconds, it was a four percent increase in the swearing versus non-swearing group, then across the full 30 seconds it was about two percent increase."

"In the grip task they produced about eight percent stronger grip in swearing versus non-swearing. Quite why it is that swearing has these effects on strength and pain tolerance remains to be discovered."

"We have yet to understand the power of swearing fully," he added.

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Period week is probably the hardest time of the month when you are trying to be healthy.

Thanks to those hormones, all you want is to crawl onto the couch under a blanket with a bottomless carton of cookie dough ice-cream.

While cramps, bad skin, back and breast pain are on the menu, there are good food options you should try and include in your diet to make you feel better. 

Iron is your friend…

Losing blood probably means you are running low on iron, which makes you feel weak, tired, probably moody, and could lead to anaemia.

To prevent it, choose food that provides a good amount of iron, such as clams, mussels, red meat, leafy greens, beans and legumes.

Dark chocolate is also a good source of the mineral, should you need another reason to always keep a supply at your desk. 

… and so is vitamin C

To enhance iron absorption, you need to make sure to get enough vitamin C, which also helps you feel more energised.

Good sources of vitamin C are kiwis, oranges, mangoes, strawberries, as well as broccoli and peppers.

Don’t forget magnesium 

While magnesium is essential to prevent premenstrual syndrome (whose effects include mood swings, irritability, anxiety, bloating, fluid retention, breast pain or headaches), it is also an important nutrient you need during your period, as it helps relieve muscle pain, stress and tensions in the body.

Go for bananas, nuts, spinach, porridge, quinoa and dark chocolate and you should meet your daily needs.

Calcium calms the cramps

Calcium has been shown to help reduce menstrual pain so if you suffer from cramps, watch your calcium intake.

Dairy products are obvious sources of calcium but almonds, kale, broccoli, oats, spinach, beans and tofu also provide a healthy amount of the mineral.

Good fats are anti-inflammatory

Salmon, sardines and mackerel are among the good sources of Omega 3, a fatty acid that helps combat inflammation. If you don’t like fish, avocado and rapeseed oil also contain a lot of Omega 3.

Do as well as you can, but no pressure…

We know it might be hard to find motivation to go to the gym and reach for healthy food at that time of the month, but maybe you could, say, eat your ice-cream, but have a healthy stir-fry beforehand to make sure you get all the nutrients you need?

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​​​​Siohan O'Hagan took home the #FitFam award at this year's inaugural SHEmazing HP Awards, and it's not hard to see why.

The personal trainer adopted a fitness regime that totally transformed her body and mind and through the power of social media, she is inspiring thousands of others to do the same.

Fitness was always a part of Siobhan's life, but she admits that she didn't take it too seriously. 

Like most of us, she would try to squeeze in a few gym sessions each week while also make time to indulge in a few drinks at the weekend. 

''I was always into fitness – it went along side my social life.''

After growing tired of the same old routine, Siobhan decided it was time to make a change and so she started to take a more serious approach to her training.

 

Nothing can kill my vibe these days

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Everyone has to start somewhere, and believe it or not even Siobhan struggled to make fitness a priority at the beginning.

''It was absolute hell… I was just exhausted, but I knew I was doing it to make a change.''

However, with the right mind set and a huge sense of determination Siobhan was able to power through and in November 2014 she began to document her progress on Instagram.

She quickly gained a significant following and less than three years later ohfitness_ie boasts over 85,000 followers. 

Siobhan qualified as a personal trainer in June 2015, and since then has launched her online training program OH Fitness Factory.

The focus here is not on weight loss, but rather it's about ''educating females on nutrition and training.''

So, if you're thinking about starting you own fitness journey, here are Siobhan's top tips:

Keep it simple 

Eat whole foods and move more. Start by making small, manageable changes to your daily routine. 

Build Muscle

The more muscle on your body, the more calories you'll burn in your every day life. 

Get a personal trainer

There's no point paying for a gym membership when you have no idea what you're doing. If you're serious about getting fit let a professional guide you through the process. Not only are you more likely to stay motivated, but you'll also see results faster.

Trust the process 

You won't see immediate results, and that's OK. Fitness is a long term process, so keep going.

Get in the right mindset

'Mindset is huge' according to Siobhan. As well as looking at the physical changes, you need to focus more on how you want to feel. All the small decisions you make each day will effect your goal. 

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There's a high chance you have been recommended a must-see TED Talk at least once, but if you're unfamiliar with the platform, it's high-time you acquainted yourself.

Working under the slogan 'Ideas Worth Spreading', TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, is a media organisation established in 1984.

With conferences held all over the world, platforms are provided to leading names across countless industries to share their ideas, observations and advice with a rapt audience.

In recent years Ted Talks have seen a surge in popularity after they became freely available online, with more than one billion talks having been viewed worldwide as of 2012.

And here are just five of the most enlightening and thought-provoking ones which we return to again and again.

1. We Should All be Feminists

"We teach girls that they can have ambition, but not too much … to be successful, but not too successful, or they'll threaten men."

If you only recognise this line from a Beyoncé track, it's about time you watched the Ted Talk from which it originated.

Nigerian-born author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, initiated a worldwide discussion on feminism when she took to the stage back in 2011, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a more inspirational speaker.

2. My Story

In front of a riveted audience at a Ted Talk conference at the University of Nevada, Elizabeth Smart recalled her abduction at the age of 14 and the nine-month horror which ensued.

Providing an insight into an experience beyond all our worst nightmares, Elizabeth encouraged her audience to show courage in the face of adversity, bravery in the face of turmoil and determination in the face of hardship.

Receiving a standing ovation from those gathered, Elizabeth's talk will leave you feeling more galvanised than you might ever imagine.

3. Our Story of Rape and Reconciliation

Featuring Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger, this TedTalk is perhaps one of the most discussed this year.

Reflecting on their teenage relationship which began when Tom, a native of Australia, met Thordis on a student exchange programme in Iceland, these two speakers reveal that an 18-year-old Tom raped a 16-year-old Thordis following a night out.

Immediately parting ways, Thordis was left to pick up the pieces and struggled massively in the years that followed while Tom spent much of his adult years burying his shame and refusing to acknowledge his heinous act.

In a turn of events which many may struggle to comprehend, Thordis and Tom established a relationship via online correspondence, and spent years discussing the night which changed both their lives forever.

4.  The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong

If you've ever found yourself looking longingly at someone else's life or feel that despite your best efforts, things just refuse to fall into place for you, this Ted Talk is for you.

Delivered by Amy Morin, a clinical social worker and psychotherapist, this talk reminds us that everyone has the ability to build their mental strength by eradicating bad habits along with building positive ones.

Drawing on her own devastating experiences, Amy provides her audience with three basic elements needed to build mental health and reach your greatest potential.

5. Conquering Depression: How I Became My Own Hero

Delivered by a high school student named Hunter Kent, this talk is a reflecting on the speaker's own experience of depression and self-harm.

Sharing an insight into the condition which at times crippled her, Hunter seeks to encourage people who have found themselves in a similar position.

 

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We are encouraged to practise mindfulness on a daily basis, right?

And while many of us understand it to be an approach which can impact positively on our mental health, recent studies have suggested that mindfulness can actually impact on our waistline too.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina have established that by focusing on each mouthful of food consumed, the individual increases their likelihood of losing weight.

Dividing 80 participants into two groups, researchers encouraged the first to practice mindful eating which required each individual to pay attention to feelings of hunger, avoid distractions and savour tastes, while the second group were not required to do any of this

Without restricting calories or following a nutrition plan, the first group lost 4 lbs over the course of 15 weeks while the second group lost 0.6 lbs.

Explaining the basis of the study, Dr Carolyn Dunn said:"Mindfulness is paying attention to your surroundings, being in the present moment."

"Mindful eating is eating with purpose, eating on purpose, eating with awareness, eating without distraction, when eating only eating, not watching television or playing computer games or having any other distractions, and not eating at our desks," she continued.

Commenting on the findings of the study, she asserted:"People did increase their mindfulness and they did absolutely decrease their weight”.

Sounds like we might need to start 'losing' the remote around dinner time, right?

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We've all had days where it feels like the universe is conspiring against us and we're just ill-equipped to face the upset head-on.

We all also have various ways of dealing with it; some people simply wait for the mood to pass, others actively seek out support and others lament the day they were born.

But it sounds like these typical responses may take longer to kick in when compared to a technique advised by writer Judi Ketteler who recently wrote on the subject of low moods for The New York Times.

It seems a surefire way to alter your perspective on a situation or instigate a change in mood is to… wait for it… do a handstand.

"The more uncertain, angry, fearful or confused you feel, the more you need to plant your hands on the ground, kick your feet directly above you, and let all those negative emotions drain right back into the earth," she asserted.

"In our most vulnerable times, we tend to look up, whether for a prayer or a primal scream. We search out a higher something in the clouds. It feels like truth is above us and we are stuck on the ground, unable to figure out where we fit in."

"If you have been upright nearly every moment of your life and then you are upside-down – well, that feels different," she wrote.

"Your body experiences space with a new orientation. That experience alone is a worthwhile endeavour, because seeing the world differently for a minute can sometimes put the right-sided world in perspective."

Literally speaking, it makes sense, but emotionally, we don't imagine our problem will seem any smaller just because we have our face centimeters from the ground.

But hey, some days we'll try anything…

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