Laughter Really Is The Best Medicine – Even If You’re Not Sick!

You’ve heard laughter is the best medicine right? Well, the science is in and it’s proven to be true!smiley-163510__180

Do you, or does anyone you know, suffer from any of the following?

  • Health concerns such as high blood pressure, heart disease or hypertension?
  • Do you feel blue and want to feel yellow (ie happy and positive)?
  • Do you know you need to exercise but the idea of going to the gym is just not for you?
  • Does your brain feel foggy and you wish you could think more clearly? Is this impacting your performance at work, or enjoying your favourite activities?
  • Do you shove your feelings down and not let them out for fear of… well, just for fear?
  • Do you feel social isolated but hate the idea of ‘joining’ groups?
  • Do you travel for work and find it hard to connect with anyone outside the office?
  • Do you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks?

Then you may need a regular dose of laughter. Laughter can do amazing things for you, including:

  • Helping you stay RESILIENT in the face of life’s challenges
  • Improving your MIND POWER performance through increased oxygen flow to your brain
  • Gives you HEALTH BENEFITS including strengthening your immune system so you can ward against illness, reducing high blood pressure, helping with anxiety, and even aiding those suffering from depression
  • Helping you to MANAGE STRESS, the number one killer in the western world, and
  • Enhancing your mood by releasing ENDORPHINS 
What would you rather be - yellow, or blue?
What would you rather be – yellow, or blue?

Doesn’t that sound fabulous!!!

So how does this work? You attend a Laughter Yoga class!

Laughter Yoga is about fun. It is NOT about turning yourself into a pretzel, or telling bad jokes.

 

You see, our brains don’t know the difference between something that is real and something we imagine.

That means that even when laughter is forced, your body and mind still get the benefits as if you were laughing for real. Think about that. You can do a fake laugh and still get the benefits.

Here are some other great things about Laughter Yoga:

Who can do Laughter Yoga? Everyone. Well, sick, stressed. Old, young, in the middle. Age doesn’t matter.

Where do people do Laughter Yoga? Laughter Yoga is run in hospitals, aged care facilities and schools. At work in big, medium and small businesses, non-profit groups, community groups, private clubs, senior citizens clubs, men’s sheds. And if you’re shy, or don’t want to be around people just yet, Laughter Yoga can also be done one-on-one – in private homes, and by Skype, Zoom or using some other geographically shrinking technology.

Why do people do Laughter Yoga? Because of the benefits that I’ve listed above, and more. It can aid connection for those who are socially isolated. It can help people deal better with pain. It’s terrific exercise as it gets your heart rate going. Science has proven that Laughter Yoga can have a positive affect on many health issues, increases innovation and creative thinking, and just adds more laughter to life!

What if I have mobility issues and can’t get on the floor. No problem! The ‘Yoga’ part of Laughter Yoga is the breathing – there is no need to get on the floor in a pretzel shape! In fact, Laughter Yoga can even be practiced sitting down! So if you are mobility challenged, even to the point of being in a wheelchair – you can still participate in Laughter Yoga.

The great news is that:

I am now a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader and am available to run
a Laughter Yoga class for YOU!
(this is me being presented with my certificate 21 August 2016)

LY cert present

I can take you through a LAUGHTER YOGA class in a big group, a small group, a two-on-one or a one-on-one. We can do this face-to-face (depending on location) or online via Skype, Zoom or using other technology.

A Brief History of Laughter Yoga 

Dr Madan Kataria (a medical doctor) started a small laughter yoga class in a park with four friends in 1995. Although it started with joke telling, it quickly developed into something far more powerful.

Dr Kataria worked with his Yoga teacher wife Madhuri, and incorporated her expertise of Yogic breathing, as well as the findings of the celebrated author Norman Cousins (from his 1979 book Anatomy of an Illness), and the scientific studies of Dr William Fry and Dr Lee Berk PdD, into what is now called Laughter Yoga.

Laughter Yoga is an exercise tens of thousands of people in more 105 countries around the world enjoy.

If you want some laughter in your life, then look no further.

Just email me and we’ll set up a time for you (and maybe your family or friends) to experience the uplifting experience of Laughter Yoga! You won’t be able to stop at one! And my first class is free!

Premature Death Statistic – Are You At Risk?

Another week – how’s yours been?

Last week I posted an entertaining piece about how life has changed over the last hundred years. Things we enjoy now could never even have been dreamed of in the early part of the 20th century.

What I didn’t inlcude was the top five leading causes of death. And I left it out because I wanted to do some research. Well I did, and here it is: Five leading causes of death in 1915 vs 2015

I created this graph to show how our health has changed over a 100 years.

What we see now is really a domination of lifestyle diseases on mortality rates (the 2015 statistics came from the National Health Scheme in the UK and the Australian Bureau of Statistics in Australia.)

Dementia aside (so much is unknown about this condition), our leading causes of illnesses are basically how we treat ourselves. No-one else is doing this to us – but us!

I think that is astounding information. Even more shocking, is that suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians between the ages of 15 and 44.

What can be done about it? The answers are easy to find – but perhaps not so simple to implement.

Here are the top 5 things I do to make sure I don’t end up on this list:

Food – I eat whole foods – farm fresh as often as I can source fruits & vegiesthem. Small amounts of protein (about the size of my palm) and large amounts of plant foods. Lots of nuts and seeds.And I have treats, good quality dark chocolate, and home made things like my paleo mini-muffins are a great way to have something sweet without eating foods laden with highly refined sugars and chemicals. I also make sure I take  good quality pro- and pre-biotics so my gut health is supported.

 

 

SuppNutrisearch independent Comparative Guidelementation – I take a quality nutritional supplement – because no matter how good the quality of my food is, the quality of our soil and modern farming practices have reduced the minerals that are now in our food (more detailed information on this is in my upcoming book – I will certainly let you know when it’s coming out!)

This book on the left here (The Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements) is an independent study of the supplements on the market (there is one for North America, and one for Australia/ New Zealand.) It’s what I used to make my choice for pharmaceutical grade, athlete quality supplements.

 

Exercise – I exercise every day so I’m building muscle, strong bones and flexibility. This will help me as I age because I won’t be at the mercy of falling over, breaking bones and ending up sitting in a chair all day (or worse.) I’ve been sharing my progress on this blog so feel free to go into the Archives and check out what I’ve been doing.

As you probably know if you’ve been reading my blog, I have an exercise physiologist who I see every eight weeks or so, and she reviews my routine and makes adjustments. This last visit saw my weights training move up a significant notch – which I find really exciting and challenging! I’ve found having a ‘coach’ really helps keep me on track.

 

Active mind and social connection – I keep my mind active with reading, researching (for my book as well as for my own benefits), crossword puzzles and word games, sudokus. I keep socially connected through memberships so I get to hang out with interesting people, some who may not have the same ideas as me, which challenges my thinking.
newspaper crossword

 

 

Reflection and gratitude – I meditate regularly and keep a gratitude journal. woman meditating
Reflection helps me focus on quiet and silence, and helps me have a place where I can do some dedicated, mindful breathing. This helps my nervous system stay in the calm place, not the being-chased-by-a-tiger place where I lived in my corporate career.

Gratitude because, well, there is so much to be thankful for: my loving husband, the beautiful place where I live, my ability to travel, good friends – the list goes on. I believe it’s really important to acknowledge how thankful I am for the life I live.

 

What are you doing so you don’t become a victim of your lifestyle? I’d love you to share your suggestions and ideas – that way we can all learn from each other!

If you want to see something truly extraordinary, check out my EnrichYourEnergy Facebook page for the post I did on Thursday 24 March about Ernestine Shepherd, the oldest female body builder in the world. Then try to give yourself an excuse for not caring about yourself!!

Until next week,201507 me in green copy 200 pixel

Cheers, Meredith

Update On My Health And Fitness Journey

I shared my measurements with you last time, and I was pretty pleased with the result.

Here is my update, the first lot of figures were from 17 July 2015, the second lot of figures are from last Wednesday, 16 March 2016.

blood pressure                132/84       132/78

oxygen saturation          98                95

Resting Heart rate         84                 73

Body fat                            45.7              34.2    (this is one of the things I’m happiest about!)

Waist                                  102               96      (half of this I achieved over the past 2 months)

Waist to Hip ration        .94                .86

So how am I doing this? (and I say doing, because I don’t intend to stop).

At the gym, 5 times a week. Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays I do cardio – bike and treadmill, with a bit of rowing and step machine thrown in.

On Tuesdays and Thursday I do weights – so am building strength – strong bones and denser muscles.

And I do yoga at home. And walk along the beach. And wear a Fitbit to make sure I do my 10,000 steps a day, track my activity, and keep my water intake up.

It doesn’t have to be the gym, but I like the discipline of it, it works for me.

I have an exercise physiologist I see every two months to keep me on track. I have realized that really, it’s impossible to achieve great things without a coach of some sort – whether it’s exercise or business or changing behaviors – a coach or support of some sort really helps make the difference by keeping you accountable.

DSCF3399Think about it!
Until  next time,
Cheers, Meredith

 

 

Bad Habits – 5 Steps To Getting Rid Of Them

Of course, New Year’s resolutions are not just about establishing new habits – it can also be about getting rid of old habits. In this article from Success Magazine, (February 2015),  Jim Rohn, author, speaker, personal development guru and entrepreneur, suggests five simple steps to help you get rid of your bad habits.

Ditch Your Bad Habits in 5 Simple Steps

How to start the daunting process of changing negative practices into positive ones 

Your habits will determine your future, and if you keep doing things a certain way, you’ll be able to predict the results. It’s the simple law of cause and effect: Successful habits create positive rewards. Negative habits breed negative consequences.

If you ignore healthy habits in favor of lazy couch time or quick fast food, you shouldn’t expect to feel healthy. If you are in the habit of starving your most important relationships of time, energy and love, you can’t enjoy a great relationship. If you spend money recklessly or don’t save any money, you may have to expect a never-ending cycle of work.

Don’t like the way these scenarios play out? Then shift yourself out of your worst habits to guarantee yourself a happily ever after. All it takes is some applied focus. And this step-by-step plan will help you get started:

1.  Clearly identify your bad or unproductive habits. Write them down. 

Be specific—and totally honest. Remember to consider the long-term consequences should you continue in this bad habit. Consider habits at home, at work, in your free time, and in matters related to your physical, emotional and spiritual health.

2. Define your new successful habit and visualize its results in your life. 

Your new habit is usually the simple opposite of your bad one. Think about all the benefits and rewards you’ll enjoy once you adopt your new successful habit. The more vividly you describe the benefits, creating the new picture in your mind, the more likely you are to make changes.

3. Create a three-part action plan. 

For every bad habit, there are at least 15 action steps you can take to help you stop. Put some time into this and think about it. It might seem easy to come up with action steps, but they have to be customized for you, actions you know are within your realm of taking. Don’t list things that you know in your heart you won’t do.

4. For the next three weeks, schedule these action steps into your day. 

Whatever the new habit and its action plan, work each step into your schedule for the month ahead. Most habits—even the very ugliest ones—can be completely re-patterned in this short timeframe.

5. Take action.

Start with one habit that you desperately want to change. Focus on the three immediate steps you have and put them into action. Do it now.

Remember, nothing will change until you do.

Jim Rohn

 

Hope you enjoyed Jim Rohn’s suggestions. I’d love to hear from you if you implement any of them, or anything else that I’ve suggested in my last few posts.

Until next week, stay healthy and safe

cheers Meredith

Me in August 2015

A Walk In The Woods By Bill Bryson – A Book Review

One of the things I find most enjoyable over the Christmas break, is the time to sit back and read. Just for fun. For the pure, unadulterated pleasure of it. Just to feel a book in my hands, a soft pillow behind my head, and not care what the time is, or how much of it has passed – until my tummy rumbles or I feel it’s time for a cup of tea.

When you run a business, you find most of your reading is, in some way, chosen to support improving your business. It could be new studies released, new business concepts, new psychologies, new processes, new ideas. But all of your reading is focused on providing a better service to your clients.

But in Australia (where I live) Christmas, New Year (and my birthday!) are all in summer. Lazy, hot, kick back your shoes and chillax summer. Sleep in, swim, entertain, catch up with family and friends – it’s a wonderful time of year.

And, as I said, the chance to read – just for fun.

So I51avHY1QAfL._AA160_ read one book this Christmas break – and it was A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson.

It charts his walk, with his friend Stephen Katz, along the Appalachian Trail (AT) on the east coast of the United States.

It’s usual Bryson, laugh-out-loud funny, witty, observant, honest, packed with facts and figures in a way that makes them enjoyable to read. And with Bryson, I learn stuff, really interesting stuff, about another country.

I had no idea that AT was such a monumental undertaking. Traversing 2,150 miles (the exact length keeps changing  because the AT route keeps changing), across seven states, is a serious undertaking. And not everyone achieves it.

First there are the weather conditions to deal with, snow, sun, rain, stinking hot, freezing cold. There is the trail itself, which is often difficult, in one place they have to swim to reach the rest of the trail! Then you have the dangers, natural such as bears, cougars, rattle snakes and other nasties big and small. And then, sadly, there are dangers of the human kind.

It’s also not a cheap, as good quality hiking equipment is expensive.

And a choice of travelling companion could make or break your trip – or at the very least, the enjoyment of it. (That reminds me of my first trip to Europe with a poorly chosen companion – but more of that another time. Let’s just say it has given me stories to dine out on for two decades!)

And when talking to my husband Henri about it,  it occurred to me that what Bryson was doing – taking time out to walk the AT (and I won’t tell you what happens because that would just spoil it for when you read it!) mirrored what I was doing. Taking time out – in my case, reading about his taking time out.

And I think I’ll write about that for my first post in February – because taking time out and recharging your batteries is absolutely vital to living a healthy life.

Until next week!

cheer Meredith

PS. I’m so pleased I bought Bill Bryson’s latest book, The Road to Little Dribbling, for my husband Henri for Christmas. I might even let him read it first!

Me in August 2015

I Am A Corporate Refugee

When I was 16 I left school and worked in a curtain factory. I didn’t like school, it had ridiculous rules like having to wear hats and gloves (yes gloves!), so much of it didn’t make sense to me. And I wanted to earn my own money. I couldn’t wait to grow up and make my own decisions about my life. So I got a job in a small family business which I did for about a year.

manual typewriterThen my grandparents (who wisely saw there wasn’t much of a future for me where I was) asked if I’d like to go to a business college and learn clerical skills. I have always loved the new and exciting, and of course said ‘yes’. And I learned to type on one of these! Who remembers these old manual typewriters?

I also learned shorthand (which I didn’t keep doing – of course wish like crazy I could do it now), bookkeeping (which I never maintained), and other clerical activities.

My typing was fast (could have been more accurate), and jobs were easy to get back in the early 1980s, so I didn’t have much of a problem finding employment. And I am so glad I was given that opportunity of because keyboard skills are really needed now!

I did a number of clerical, typing, and secretarial roles until I got what was a dream job for me and a huge change of pace – working on a major newspaper. In fact, I was third generation on this newspaper. One of my grandmother’s brothers had worked there, then my mother and father met there (they were journalists), and then I worked there for eight years as the personal assistant to the Editor. It was a very exciting time and I loved most of it! No two days were alike, and I liked being at the centre of the news during really exciting (and sometimes tragic) events like the first and second Gulf Wars, the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, the Newcastle earthquake (NSW, Australia), and major sporting events.

One day one of the other secretaries popped into my office to tell me she’d been accepted at university to study by distance. I didn’t even know there was such a thing.  She told me why she was doing it and a thought popped into my head “If she can do it, I can do it”.

So I applied to three universities and was accepted by all three, chose one, and started studying for my Bachelor of Arts.studying-learning-pile

This was a major change for me, and if I’d thought about it at any length I probably would have talked myself out of it. Luckily I didn’t because I became hooked on learning and discovered I was a pretty good student. University was nothing like school, it was real learning. Putting forward an opinion and backing up your thoughts. Researching. Critical thinking. Philosophy, Literature. My world just opened up.

All the time I was studying, I was working too, climbing that corporate ladder. I decided the career path I wanted was to be head of the Communication department of a major Australian corporate business. So I chose to do a Masters of Arts in Communication Management. That’s what all the hard work was for, right? To climb the corporate ladder? So I worked hard, got one job after another and made a small name for myself in the media, public relations and communication industry.

About 10 years ago I was offered, and accepted, a job I didn’t even know existed, by a global multinational corporation. I was hired for my communication skills in a space called ‘Change Management’. The idea was that I would go into a large corporate, with a number of other people who had complementary skills, and help the staff adopt, and adapt to, a new way of working. This was usually because a new technology was being rolled out and the way they did their jobs was going to change.

This was a huge change for me. I was in the big sandpit! Firstly, I had to learn a whole new business language. I needed to use tried and proven strategies and methodologies. And I needed to travel. In fact, as most people travel to work by train, bus, ferry or car, I mostly travelled by aeroplane. I’d fly out about 6am on a Monday, and return home on Friday evening. Sometimes these jobs would go on for months.

I was earning good money, flying around the country working for different corporate businesses, and working hard to make a positive difference in people’s lives. And I really enjoyed it.

Most of the time.

But then I really started to feel the social dislocation that comes from only being at home on weekends. I couldn’t sign up to a yoga class, or take on a hobby, because I didn’t know where I’d be from one week to another. So my life continued to be work, work and more work. I started to study again, thinking a Change Management diploma would be a smart idea.

I even moved house from one state to another in Australia for a particular role.

And this led me to another major change in my life. I met my beloved husband. This is us on our wedding day

our wedding day     wedding pix 105

We met in January 2010, and married in July 2010. And we realized that the life I was living as a single corporate woman was not congruent with marriage harmony. It’s hard to feel close to someone who spends over half their life away from you.

So I quit. Just like that. And I must admit, took a year off working because I was simply exhausted. I hadn’t realised how burnt out I was, not just the working and traveling, but I really didn’t look after myself very well during this time. At one stage I was so ill I nearly contracted pneumonia.

After a year of doing not much at all but enjoying myself, I decided I wanted to work for myself. No more making someone else rich, I wanted to reap the benefits of my hard work directly.

After a couple of false starts I discovered what my inner self had known all along – I am passionate about change – about supporting people to help them make it work for them. I followed the John De Martini method of discovering my other values and came to the conclusion that I could combine all the things I love into a business – change and growth, health, food, travel, inner peace and mindset.

And Enrich Your Energy was born.

I have worked hard to learn a bunch of new skills too (I never stop studying!) Some of my skills from my corporate days have come in handy in my new life, but some skills I have had to learn. And for many of these I have learned at the feet of an Australian master – Benjamin J Harvey. His business (with his business partner Cham), Authentic Education, has opened up my world, helped me to develop new skills, and capitalise on my existing skills to really be a change agent to help people who want to get the most out of their lives.

So because of my willingness to embrace change, I am now running my own business, I have a product partner who I trust completely (click here to discover how you can support your health as I do mine), and a beloved husband who is on his own road to being healthier.

I have learned a bunch of new stuff. I even have a Nutrition Certificate from Sanoviv Medical Institute, a Coaching Certificate in Heart-Centred Coaching from Direct Selling World Alliance. And I continue to learn and read and study.

And the best bit is,  I help other people embrace change in their lives too – to help them identify, and then achieve their own health and lifestyle goals.

So now you know my story.  If I can help you, please get in touch.

Me in August 2015
Me in August 2015
Us, 5 years married
My beloved and me, 5 years married