You better believe it! There’s a strong link between gut health and happiness.
As you’re juggle life’s challenges big and small, while keeping all the balls of family, work, relationships and your health all balanced in the air. You may have overlooked an essential piece of your overall well being and happiness – your microbiome.
Did you know you have more bacteria in your body than cells in your body?
Scary isn’t it!! Well, these bacteria live in your gut, in your mouth, on your skin, in fact all over. Now they can be your friend or foe depending on the balance. You ideally want loads of the good guys that help to make your nutrients, decrease inflammation, help to digest your food and enable you to feel happy, energised and clear headed.
A healthy gut microbiome controls your ability to deal with stress, and that starts in your gut. If you have messed-up digestion, you’ll have a diminished ability to deal with stressful situations. And without the ability to release stress and get to a happy mind space, you end up building a higher and higher threshold for stress.
Your gut health is about way more than just digestion.
Let’s find out how gut health and happiness are linked.
Creates healthy immune system.
Did you know 80 percent of your immune system is in your gut? Right where the bulk of your microbiome lives. So protecting your gut barrier, crowding out and killing bad bacteria and infections and allergies all help your immune system play it’s A game.
What does this mean for you? Well, when your immune system is humming along, protecting you from bad guys and welcoming friends in, you can put the pedal to the metal and go after your dreams. Fewer sick days and more time to enjoy life and be productive.
Natural energy boost.
I’m sure no one would say no to more real energy – it’s the fuel of life. Helping you to blitz through jam-packed schedules, endless deadlines, and often having little time to relax in today’s on-the-go culture. So, many people rely on caffeine and energy drinks to stay ahead of the game. Did you know your good gut bacteria can help you maintain your day-to-day energy levels naturally? No sugar and caffeine required.
How does it work? Well your microbiome helps to break down and digest all the food you eat so you can up take the nutrients you need to feel great. It also produces energy boosting B vitamins and keeps your blood sugar balanced, so no more mid-afternoon humps.
Your good bacteria cranks up your sleep quality so you are recharged and at your best producing and regulating important neurotransmitters and amino acids, like serotonin and tryptophan.
Helps you find and maintain your ideal weight.
Not being at your ideal weight can affect your energy levels, your mood, your hormones, your cognitive function, and even your immunity.
Where does your microbiome fit in? Well, it supports your metabolism and a healthy weight by producing enzymes that help digest food and absorb nutrients. So, no more overeating yet being malnourished, wavering blood sugar levels so you’re constantly searching for that next sugar fix and plenty of hormones that tell your brain when you’re full.
If you can get to that weight that is perfect for your frame, you’ll be on track to enjoying all the benefits of a performance-ready body and mind that are ready to tackle whatever comes your way.
Sharpens your focus.
Say goodbye to brain fog. Think of all the energy you’ll save when your clarity is dialled up. Did you know your gut is your second brain?
You see your microbiome communicates with your brain via the vagus nerve, where good bacteria send mind-boosting chemicals and messages to the brain that improve your memory and cognitive function.
A gut that doesn’t have billions of good bacteria can get out of balance and overrun with yeast and bad bacteria, producing chemicals and by-products that are toxic to the brain—leading to brain fog and memory problems.
This is also where your warrior gut barrier is so important. If you don’t have enough of the good guys standing guard, the barrier can become “leaky” and allow toxins into your bloodstream that negatively affect your brain. Focusing on the health of your gut microbiome can help ensure that your brain is getting all the communication it needs to support you.
Boosts and balances your mood
Your gut and brain are inextricably linked, so a disruption in either one has the capacity to seriously affect the other. Your gut bacteria produces more than 90% of all the serotonin, the “happy” chemical that plays a role in everything from mood and appetite to sleep in your body. Your gut microbiome also lowers cortisol (the “stress” hormone) levels, turns down anxiety, decreases depression and lowers inflammation that can cause loads of emotional and physical health challenges.
When it comes to living your happiest life, staying positive may just be the key to realizing all your goals. A healthy population of good gut bacteria will keep your mood balanced and high.
Your skin can be the first sign that your gut isn’t going well – breakouts, infection, dullness. When your gut is absorbing nutrients—thanks to your good bacteria—and getting rid of toxins and chemicals, your whole body is better for it and your skin glows it!
When fungus, yeast, and bad bacteria overrun your microbiome, it leads to chronic, systemwide inflammation that shows up as acne, redness, irritation, dry patches, fine lines, and even premature aging.
Your skin also has its own unique microbiome that plays a huge role in a healthy complexion. Not only do good bacteria in your dermal layers discourage the growth of nasty bacteria that can cause problems, but they produce substances like hyaluronic acid that plumps and moisturizes skin, and ceramide that strengthens and firms the skin barrier.
Healthy skin and a glowing complexion really do start from the inside out!
Did you know that your mouth has a microbiome as well? Beneficial bacteria in your oral cavity are your immune system’s first line of defence and have an enormous effect on the health of your teeth, gums, and even your breath. Harmful bacteria often cause tooth cavities and gum disease that can affect your radiant smile.
Research shows that smiling can improve your mood, lower your stress response, increase your productivity, and make you more creative—and make you seem more approachable and trustworthy to others. Now that’s a win-win!
One of the biggest issues with having an unhealthy gut is that it leads to leaky gut syndrome, which in turn leads to toxins entering the circulatory system and eventually the brain. This causes lower levels of happiness, mood disorders, and disease.
Need help getting your microbiome in tip top shape? Click here to book online.
Hoping this article helped you understand your body a little better. Know anyone who would benefit from it as well, please pass it on.
Loads of gut health and happiness, Julie xo
Emma strode into the café her eyes sparkled, positive energy exuded from every pore and filled the space around her like a radiant star. She had a zest for living that showed in the way she walked, sat, talked, smiled and laughed. It was infectious. I could feel other’s close by thinking, ‘I want what she’s got’. How do I get my spark back?
As I sat and heard Emma’s story, I quickly learnt it hadn’t always been that way. She’d been a bitch (her words!) and hard to be around in a marriage that had blocked her from pursuing her passion and purpose. Her husband just didn’t believe in what she wanted to do – alternative healing – and blocked her at every turn. After 5 years of not being her best self, the day came when she realised she couldn’t be the person he wanted her to be and be happy about it.
Once she got clear on what she wanted her life to have more of, she pursued it and her empowerment grew. A wise mentor had said ‘live the way you want to be happy, as long as nobody gets hurt, relationships will either fall away or adapt and get on board’. Unfortunately, her marriage didn’t adapt to her happiness changes and it fell away.
Emma said:” Looking back now, we were in two different worlds. In that environment I’d forgotten what it was like to feel good. What I’d learnt and had resonated with me over time, was in complete contradiction to what was happening in my marriage. It was like my soul was being ripped out. It’s even hard to go back and remember it all now, many years later.”
The final Secret to Happiness Tip #3 has arrived, Self Love. A word liberally used these days – “you need to love yourself more”, “you can’t love another person until you love yourself first”, “you can tell she doesn’t love herself”, “if you loved yourself better that wouldn’t have happened.”
Self love advice is given freely and copiously by friends, loved ones and well intentioned onlookers to steer us back to a happy, fulfilling life.
Self love is foundational to everything, it influences who you pick as a mate, how you cope with problems, how you look after yourself and the image you project out into the world. Self love is a secret to happiness.
What is self love? Firstly, I’ll tell what it isn’t….a beauty makeover, a new set of clothes, being inspired, falling in love. Sure they’ll make you feel good but you can’t grow your self love from here.
Self love stems from appreciating yourself, which grows from actions that support your physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Cultivating self love is a dynamic process that feeds off all the actions and events that mature us. You can tell it’s happening when you start accepting who you are warts and all and rarely feel the need to explain away your short-comings. You have compassion for yourself and others, seeing mankind collectively as on an adventurous journey to find personal meaning. When you’re getting close to real self love you’re more centered in your life purpose and values, and each day you intentionally choose to make the effort to live a full and meaningful life.
Here’s my Six Self Love Tips:
1. Own Yourself. Get clear on what you think, feel and want. Clarity allows you to be YOU regardless of the outside circumstances. You know this has happened when you’re stable, centered, grounded and can weather life’s storms in your stride.
2. Act on your needs rather than your want. You love yourself when you turn away from things that feel exciting and fun in the moment that may not be good for you, to what you need to stay strong, centered, and moving forward in your life. Metaphorically, it’s like junk food – it can taste good now but it’s bad for you long term. Automatic behavior patterns can keep you stuck in the past and erode self love until there is nothing left.
3. Practice self care. You love yourself more, when you take better care of your basic needs. Like nourishing yourself daily through healthy activities, like eating good foods, exercising, getting enough sleep, engaging in healthy relationships and interactions.
4. Set boundaries. Self love shows up in setting limits or saying no to work, love, or activities that deplete or harm you physically, emotionally and spiritually, or express poorly who you are.
5. Protect yourself by bringing the right people into your life. Frenemies says it all, it’s the type of “friends” who take pleasure in your pain and loss rather than in your happiness and success. Get rid of them, life’s too short.
6. Forgive yourself, accept you’re perfectly imperfect. Cease over punishment for mistakes when learning and growing. Ideally learn the lessons, accept your humanness and turn up the love and compassion dial and in the process master your self love.
Now ideally, pick one or two from the tips above and start cranking up your self love meter. It’s true that you can only love a person as much as you love yourself. The more self-love for yourself, the better prepared for healthy relating. And you’ll start attracting people and circumstances that support your well-being and being the best YOU.
Wishing you loads of happiness Julie xxx
Happiness is the latest buzz word. How’s your happiness barometer going? I’m back with Secrets To Happiness #2. Any burning questions from Secrets To Happiness #1? Didn’t see it? Click here. Next week is final secret in the series.
Secret To Happiness #2: “A happy life exists not in the absence but mastery of hardships.” – Helen Keller
We all have the right to be happy, we just have to go out and find it ourselves.
Happiness is a way rather than a destination. Helping you reach goals faster, enjoy better relationships, do better at work and be nicer to be around.
Our happiness set point is individual and keeps defaulting back regardless of our circumstances. 50% of our happiness set point is derived from your genes, 40% from intentional activity to feel happier and 10% from your circumstances, health and social status.
Variety is one of the secret spices to happiness, as is nature.
Did you know you lose your happiness and pleasure chemical, dopamine if you forget to seek out new experiences?
Don’t forget our brain is like a muscle. Being in flow is fantastic for brain health and happiness. That is being present, forgetting your problems and enjoying the journey of life. Studies have shown those in flow on a regular basis are happier.
Integrating and accepting all parts of your life, the good and the bad is healing. You become grounded, centred, connected and grateful for who you are.
Adversity is good. Your recovery muscles develop and you bounce back to baseline quicker.
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” – Helen Keller
Interestingly, we are taught unconsciously in society that money solves our problems.
Did you know that once our basic needs are met, more money does not dramatically increase your happiness. There’s minimal difference between happiness levels of those earning $50K year to $5 million.
Happy people have things in common –
- Close supportive family and friends
- Value intrinsic goals such as personal growth, making their community a better place, close connective relationships, aligned values.
- Less emphasis on extrinsic goals, such as money, status, image.
- Foster interdependence with others and natural environment
- Practice laughter, compassion and gratitude often.
Did you know Denmark is the happiest country in the world? Free education and medical, co-housing communities where twenty families can live together, sharing cooking, meals. Children are surrounded by elders and there is a real sense of belonging.
Happy people function better, they’re more productive and live longer.
Research has found Islanders in Japan live the longest, where there are rituals of regular contact and gatherings between different villages and generations. Social bonding, interaction, collaboration, sense of community and belonging are highly valued. Did you know co-operation causes a huge release of dopamine (your happiness neurotransmitter)?
As Helen Keller says see with our hearts.
Joy also comes from connection with others.
Be authentic to you. Happiness is a skill and the formula is not the same for everyone.
Things you love to do are the building blocks of a happy life – new experiences, play, fun, friends and family, doing things that are meaningful, appreciating what we have.
So, go out there and blaze your path of happiness.
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller
One of the most asked questions of late is what are the Secrets to Happiness. So thought I’d oblige and give you my take on the Secrets to Happiness. Here’s #1. Each week I’ll go down the list…..
Secret to Happiness #1 : “Love people and use things, because the opposite never works” – the Minimalists
Came across a fascinating doco ….Minimalism: A documentary about the important things on Netflix. Recommended by a friend. Worth a watch.
Great message and concept that I wanted to share as a Secret to Happiness – Quality over quantity.
In Western society we’ve got the best standard of living we’ve ever had, yet we have this auto-craving, longing for more. And yes it’s a great survival mechanism to keep us alive in harsh conditions but now it’s creating disconnect.
We’re filling the void with lots of stuff, which is keeping us in the earn/spend cycle, trying to buy our way to happiness. Mass media brain washes us into the need for more, the latest, the biggest, the dream life, you’ll be happy when you have…….
Wouldn’t it be great if you could live a life that is good for yourself and the people around you.
Decluttering is an important aspect of Secrets to Happiness – simplifying, focusing on what’s important. Surrounding yourself with things you use and have meaning.
If you did a heat map of how you used your house. What rooms do you use and which ones lay idle day after day?
Today, we have a throw away culture. Our fashion is now 52 seasons rather than four. If your clothes are over a week old, we’re made to feel you’re outdated. Children are constantly bombarded by ads for junk food, toys, games and latest crazes from corporations touting their wares.
You get indoctrinated into the rat wheel of earning more and spending more. Yet few of us consciously realize you have a choice to step off – spend less and increase the meaning of what we do.
Ideally honouring our material possessions rather than fueling mindless materialism that’s stripping our planet of all it’s resources. At the current rate of consumption, what will our planet look like in 50-100 years?
Time to think mindfully about the choices you make, rather than impulse buys? Time to focus on relationships, experiences and connections that have more meaning and leave less of a footprint.
A key element is surrounding yourself with people with the same values and being deliberate in your decisions. Knowing this life is yours and your one and only. Your mission being to get the most amount of good and value out of your life with exactly what you need, no more and no less.
An intentional life is a Secret to Happiness. It’s not perfect or easy, but a simple one.