Exercise and Happiness

Physical Health – Exercise

The part can never be well unless the whole is well. –Plato

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. -World Health Organization

The top line: abundant scientific research demonstrates the close connection of the mind and body. Positive lifestyle factors including exercise, nutrition, sunlight, and sleep are associated with improved mental well-being and lower incidence of depression and anxiety.

Have you ever noticed that you feel great after going for a run? Do you love working out or playing sports on a regular basis? The vast majority of studies addressing this subject have shown that there is a significant association between exercise and improved mood and mental well-being. However, it has proven difficult to show that exercise directly causes these improvements. Are “happier people” simply more inclined to exercise or does exercise result in a more positive mood and greater mental well-being?

Researchers studying exercise have consistently found that it has a positive impact on mood. It has been proven that physical activity stimulates the release of “feel-good” chemicals in the brain, called endorphins (Fox, 1999). Some researchers argue that exercise acts as a diversion from negative thoughts (Smith, 2006). Others argue that exercise improves mood by virtue of the personal growth and goal attainment that results from efforts to master a physical skill (Ströhle, 2009). Furthermore, research evidence indicates that the social interaction involved in certain kinds of exercise (such as team sports) contributes to personal satisfaction and consequently, mood enhancement (Stubbe, 2007)

Exercise has also been studied as an alternative treatment to the traditional antidepressant medications and cognitive-behavioral therapies used for depression. The Cochrane Review (the most world-renowned review of its kind) has produced a landmark meta-analysis of studies on exercise and depression. Twenty-three studies were rigorously selected amongst a pool of over 100 studies. Based on collective evidence, it was concluded that exercise has a “large clinical impact” on depression.

Blumenthal et al. studied the effect of exercise on older adults experiencing clinical depression. They compared exercise to a commonly prescribed anti-depressant medication (Zoloft), and found that both treatments were equally effective in reducing depressive symptoms.

The jury still seems to be out in terms of whether or not exercise causes happiness and to what degree it has a positive impact on well-being compared to other factors. While we think the evidence supports exercise as being beneficial, we look forward to seeing new studies in this area in the upcoming years.


Practical Tips for Exercise

  • If possible, engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intense physical activity on a daily basis.
  • Vary the type of exercise you do, and choose activities that use your strengths and that you enjoy.
  • For those who cannot do high impact workouts, try low impact activities like walking, swimming, or biking.

Here’s an infographic about 16 reasons why exercise makes us happy, contributed by one of our readers (source).

Today’s article was shared from the following website:http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/science-of-happiness/exercise/

 

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This is how gossip destroys relationships! (and 7 ways to put a FULL STOP to it)

Gossip: A weed watered by words Soul Dancer

“We are not gossiping, we are just networking!” – If you are discussing the negative information about others in their absence, you are already gossiping.

Gossip brings serious irreversible damages to relationships! We all might have been involved in ‘gossip’, in one way or the other, and we all have once been a victim of it. In this post, I would like to share with you what I learned about how gossip adversely affects personal relationships and how to put a full stop when someone starts gossip!

I have observed families being broken, relationships getting affected, and communities being destroyed, all because of  ‘few words’, which were conveyed by someone, which were not completely true.

Before proceeding, let me give you the proper definition of gossip so that you can check for yourself whether you are involved in any type of gossip or had been a victim of it.

Gossip is the casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details which are not confirmed as true. [Oxford Dictionary]

Here is a simple definition, (restructured into simple words)

If you have ever involved in a conversation, where the topic is about some information about another person, in his/her absence, which are not confirmed as truth, then you have already taken part in gossiping.

I will give you a scenario:

There were three people, lets say, Person A, Person B and Person C. A and B are good frienABCds. B and C were good friends, but now they were not in good terms. A doesn’t know C personally.

A and B started a conversation in the absence of C. A and B started talking, and after some time they started to speak about C. Even though, they started discussing the positive things of Person C, B unintentionally shared some of the ‘negative things’ of C, to his friend A. Person A believed this report. Person A was curious to know more and the conversation became intense and both of them started to discuss more about C. Most of the things B shared about C were not fully true, as B had a grudge towards C.

Suddenly Person C comes and joins A and B. A and B started to act as if they were discussing something else.  

Now just imagine, how would the conversation proceed? A had already got a negative impression about C, from his friend B. Even if C tries to build a good relationship with A, as long as A has the ‘wrong information about C’ in his mind, it would be very difficult for the relationship to be genuine and strong. Isn’t it?

This is how relationships are adversely affected.

So, what is gossip? With regard to personal relationships, it is a conversation about any information, about a third person, which is mostly not confirmed to be true.

Gossip is like a ‘forest fire’

Once affected, it is impossible to revert the damage caused by it.

There is a story that is often told about the dangers of gossip. One version tells that a woman spreads untruths about a neighbor in her village. When she wants to make amends, she approaches an elder in the community, tells him how sorry she is, and asks what she can do to apologize. He brings her to the top of a hill on a windy day with a pillowcase full of feathers. He instructs her to open the pillowcase, and the feathers fly everywhere. He then asks her to collect the far-flung feathers. She protests, saying that it is impossible to track down each feather. He responds that so too is it impossible to undo the damage that gossip causes, for each piece of gossip told catches the wind and travels far, just like the feathers.

Let us see what the Bible tells about the power of the tongue

the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. James 3: 5-8 [NIV]

  • The tongue is a small part of the body but it can greatly boast
  • The tongue is a fire, and it can cause great damage like a forest fire
  • It is very difficult to tame the tongue
  • It is full of deadly poison

Therefore, we need to be careful about using our ‘tongue’. If you can control your tongue, you can control your whole life.

Now is YOUR turn – You can either quench the fire!! or pour fuel into it and spread the fire!!

Your choice!

7 simple ways to put a FULL STOP to gossip.

Nobody ever starts the gossip intentionally. It mostly happens in the daily conversations even without we being aware of it. Here, are some simple things to consider, to escape from the deadly poison of gossip. (Mostly to be applied in personal relationships)

1. Never ‘believe’ the facts about a third person without proper evidence

Even, if the facts that were given to you, is by a trustworthy person, make it a habit not to quickly believe it, without considering the evidence/facts. If you clearly set this principle in your mind, then you can be sure that you will not be easily pulled into gossiping.

2. Never believe ‘half-truths’

Some facts may seem to be true but are half-truths. Half-truths are whole lies!

Example: Jack and Bobby are brothers. Jack tells his mother, “Bobby hit me”. Mother immediately punishes Bobby. Bobby starts to cry. The truth was that Jack hit Bobby first, and they both fought among each other. But, in order to escape the punishment of his mother, Jack ran towards his mother and complained to her about Bobby, before Bobby could ever tell her. 

Here, what Jack told is ‘truth’, but was a ‘half-truth’. The mother took the wrong action, because she didn’t take time to inquire from Bobby on what happened.

Therefore, never take action on hearing half-truths. Listen to all the parties involved, before jumping to a conclusion.

3. Learn to stop a conversation when it turns into gossip

Listening eagerly to a gossip is also equivalent to gossiping. Therefore, if you observe that, the conversation you are involved with, is shifting to ‘gossip’, gently and politely decline or change the topic. This is how you put a full stop to gossip.

Gossip kills three people: the one who speaks it, the one who listens, and the one about whom it is spoken – unknown

4. If a person gossips about another person to you, remember he/she will gossip about you TOO

This is a simple check to test whether a person is trustworthy. The one who gossips to you cannot be trusted. Therefore refuse to share your secrets or confidential matters with such a person.

5. Never ever spread a negative information about another person

Even if you know that it is the truth, you need not share it with others. It will spoil his/her reputation. Spreading negative information about others will make yourself a less trustworthy person. (Refer the previous point). Speaking evil about others is a negative personality trait.

6. Try to find the positive in others

The next importing thing is to train yourself to find the good in others. Even though someone told wrong about that person, still he has some good in him. Find those and appreciate it. Therefore, whenever someone gossips to you about that person, you can change the conversation by discussing the good about him. Isn’t a good idea?

7. Always remember this warning – You are responsible for your words

But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Matt 12:36, 37

Therefore, if you have already fallen into this great sin of gossip, it is high time to feel sorry about it, and request God to forgive. God is merciful and will forgive your mistakes. Also, only God can heal the damages caused by gossip.

Here is a self-checklist

  1. Am I quick to believe the negative reports of someone I do not know?
  2. Did I ever spread a wrong information?
  3. Will I be curious to know the personal private facts of others?
  4. Will I encourage someone who gossips to me?
  5. Am I quick to judge others based on the information I received?
  6. Do I seek information from all parties before believing the report?

These are some of the questions you can ask yourselves. If you have ever been involved in gossip, you will never know how much damage it may cause to the various relationships you are involved with.

Here is a simple prayer

Father, knowingly or unknowingly I have believed the wrong reports about others. I am sorry for it. I chose not to believe it. Help me not to be interested in the negative things of others. Help me to put a stop to gossip next time someone starts it. Give me the boldness to discourage such conversations. Help me to build relationships and not to destroy it. Help me to recognize the traps set by people to pull me into unwanted conversations. Please help me to bring glory to you, by properly taming my ears and tongue. Help me to bring glory to you. Thank you, Jesus, for hearing my prayer. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Today’s article was written by Donny Thomas Kurien and is shared from the following website: http://hisvoiceonline.com/gossip-destroys-relationships/

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Find Your Purpose!

Follow your dreams, silhouette of man at sunset

You may think that your life is nothing special. I can tell you that there is not

a person on earth who is not meant to manifest a wonderful and profound life.

There are no exceptions. You might think that you forgot to get into the talented

gifted line but the truth is that no mistakes were made in heaven as we prepared

and planned for our lives here on earth. That is the nature of heaven – order and

perfection. We all have a unique but profound life that we have been born to live.

What are your passions? What gift(s) are your meant to leave the world? In what

way are you meant to bless the world in which we live? As you find, identify and

develop your gifts, you will find the greatest joy that is possible to experience

iIn this life. You were not born to be a nobody – you were born to be a mortal

version of the special you that existed in heaven prior to your birth. I hope that

you will share your gifts with the world and realize a life of promise that is meant

to be yours!

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The Power of Forgiveness…

He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass George Herbert

Zak Ebrahim was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1983 to an American mother and an Egyptian father, El Sayyid Nosair. When Zak was seven, his father assassinated Meir Kahane, the militant ultra-Orthodox, anti-Arab rabbi who founded the Jewish Defense League. While in prison, Nosair was found guilty in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing trial which killed six people and injured over 1,000 others. He was later convicted as one of the conspirators. Zak’s memoir The Terrorist’s Son charts his own personal journey from hatred to healing.

I remember my early childhood as a happy one although around the age of seven my father exposed me to a side of Islam  that few people  get to see.  In every religion, in every population,  you’ll find a small percentage of people  who hold such fervently beliefs  that they feel they must use any means necessary  to make others live as they do.

A few months prior to his arrest, my father sat me down and explained that  for the past few weekends, he and some friends  had been going to a shooting range on Long Island  for target practice. He told me I’d be going with him the next morning.  We arrived at Calverton Shooting Range,  and when I hit the target my uncle turned to the other men,  and in Arabic said, “Ibn abuh.” [Like father, like son].  Later I realized that they thought they saw in me the same destruction  my father was capable of.  These men were eventually convicted  of placing a van filled with 1,500 pounds of explosives  into the sub-level parking lot of the World Trade Center’s North Tower. These were the men I looked up to, whom I called ammu, which means uncle.

By the time I turned 19  I had already moved 20 times in my life  and that instability meant I found it hard to make friends. I kept my identity a secret  to avoid being targeted,  but even so, being the quiet, chubby new kid in class  was more than enough to get me repeatedly bullied. So for the most part, I spent my time at home.

Growing up around bigotry meant  I’d been raised to judge people  according to their race or religion. One of the first things  that challenged this way of thinking was during the 2000 presidential elections when I was taking part  in the National Youth Convention (a non-partisan organization) in Philadelphia.  Having been the victim of bullying for most of my life I chose to be part of a group that focused on youth violence. The members of our group came from many different walks of life and I soon discovered that one of the kids I’d befriended  was Jewish. I must admit I felt a sense of pride  in having been able to overcome a barrier  that for most of my life I had been led to believe  was insurmountable.

Another major turning point came when I found a summer job in  an amusement park. Most of my life I’d been taught  that homosexuality was a sin and by extension, therefore,  that all gay people were a negative influence.  When I ended up working with some of the gay performers  at a show there,  I soon discovered that many were the kindest,  least judgmental people I had ever met.  Having been bullied as a kid  created an immediate sense of empathy in me  toward the suffering of others.

Then there was, The Daily Show.  On a nightly basis, Jon Stewart forced me  to be intellectually honest with myself about my own bigotry  and helped me to realize that people’s race,  religion or sexual orientation  had nothing to do with the quality of their character.  Inspiration can often come from an unexpected place, and a Jewish comedian did more  to positively influence my worldview  than my own extremist father.

One day, I had a conversation with my mother  about how my worldview was starting to change  and she said something to me that I will hold dear to my heart  for as long as I live.  She looked at me with the weary eyes  of someone who had experienced  enough dogmatism to last a lifetime and said, ”I’m tired of hating people.”  In that instant, I realized how much negative energy  it takes to hold hatred inside of you.

Zak Ebrahim is not my real name.  I changed it when my family decided  to end our connection with my father  and start a new life.  But I speak out in the hope that perhaps someone someday  who is compelled to use violence  may hear my story and realize that there is a better way,  that although I was subjected  to a violent and intolerant ideology, I did not become fanaticized.  No matter how much the levels of violence you have experienced it doesn’t have to define your character because in all of us is the ability to change our paths.

Today’s story was written by Zak Ebrahim and is shared from the following website: http://theforgivenessproject.com/stories/zak-ebrahim-usa/

 

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God’s Love and Assistance

God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, or sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it. - Unknown

Poem that will give you goose bumps…………..

A drunk man in an Oldsmobile
They said had run the light
That caused the six-car pileup
On 109 that night.

When broken bodies lay about
And blood was everywhere,
The sirens screamed out eulogies,
For death was in the air.

A mother, trapped inside her car,
Was heard above the noise;
Her plaintive plea near split the air:
Oh, God, please spare my boys!”

She fought to loose her pinned hands;
She struggled to get free,
But mangled metal held her fast
In grim captivity.

Her frightened eyes then focused
On where the back seat once had been,
But all she saw was broken glass and
Two children’s seats crushed in.

Her twins were nowhere to be seen;
She did not hear them cry,
And then she prayed they’d been thrown free,
Oh, God, don’t let them die!”

Then firemen came and cut her loose,
But when they searched the back,
They found therein no little boys,
But the seat belts were intact.

They thought the woman had gone mad
And was travelling alone,
But when they turned to question her,
They discovered she was gone.

Policemen saw her running wild
And screaming above the noise
In beseeching supplication,
Please help me find my boys!

They’re four years old and wear blue shirts;
Their jeans are blue to match.”
One cop spoke up, “They’re in my car,
And they don’t have a scratch.

They said their daddy put them there
And gave them each a cone,
Then told them both to wait for Mom
To come and take them home.

I’ve searched the area high and low,
But I can’t find their dad.
He must have fled the scene,
I guess, and that is very bad.”

The mother hugged the twins and said,
While wiping at a tear,
He could not flee the scene, you see,
For he’s been dead a year.”

The cop just looked confused and asked,
Now, how can that be true?”
The boys said, “Mommy, Daddy came
And left a kiss for you.”

He told us not to worry
And that you would be all right,
And then he put us in this car with
The pretty, flashing light.

We wanted him to stay with us,
Because we miss him so,
But Mommy, he just hugged us tight
And said he had to go.

He said someday we’d understand
And told us not to fuss,
And he said to tell you, Mommy,
He’s watching over us.”

The mother knew without a doubt.
That what they spoke was true,
For she recalled their dad’s last words,
I will watch over you.”

The firemen’s notes could not explain
The twisted, mangled car,
And how the three of them escaped
Without a single scar.

But on the cop’s report was scribed,
In print so very fine,
An angel walked the beat tonight
on Hwy. 109

 Today’s poem was shared from the following website: https://boardofwisdom.com/togo/?viewid=1005&listname=Faith#.WsKuxmbMxBw

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