Now is a great time to reflect on the past year, and think about what you want to change. Most of us make empty new year promises – but here are some simple and easy ways to make 2019 great.
One: Pranayama breathing
Breath in for 4 seconds, hold it for 4, breath out for 5. This stops your cortisol production, which causes your flight of flight stress response. When you’re in flight or flight, your body shuts down many other non-essential parts of the body until we are far enough away from the sabre-toothed tiger to be safe. That’s why that big breath out at the end of the day is relaxing, because it gets your gut bacteria working again, and also stops excreting magnesium and zinc, which is part of the reason why 60% of the population are low in these two key minerals (see Number 4).
A little more information:
- Pranayama breathing app – free.
- Gabrielle Bernstein Podcast – 5 min meditations while breathing to help you focus on particular aspects of happiness: love, letting go, forgiveness, focusing, etc.
Happy people are not always grateful, but grateful people are always happy. While you do your breathing exercises, breath in all the things you are grateful for, and breath out all the judgement and grudges you are holding onto about other people . This allows you to be more in the moment, you become more curious with people you meet or spent time with, and you will be more liked over all. As Tony Robbins said, “you can’t be grateful and angry at the same time”. 
Three: JOMO – The Joy Of Missing Out
(The opposite of FOMO – the fear of missing out). Turn off your social media feed for 1 day at a time. Then 2 days. Then move to 4 days. Or keep track of your time on social media – Apple phones now have an app called Screen Time you can find in your settings. Feel good about spending time with your friends of family, or just enjoy a good book. Fear of missing out is a form of anxiety, and social media exacerbates this, so be comfortable to enjoy your own company. 
Four: Take a good multi-vitamin
So much research is showing fruit and vegetables just don’t have the same nutritional value they did years ago. We need to top up our intake, but many of the multi-vitamins on a shelf don’t have enough of what we need and too much of what we don’t .
The best I have found is NOW multi-vitamins on iherb.com (this is not a paid endorsement, just good stuff). They are about 5-10 times stronger than ones being sold in supermarkets, which are so low in V&M they’re barely worth it. They are still a bit low in Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin C and Niacin (Vitamin B3), so if you need a top up for optimum happiness take these extra. Make sure you print off the Now multi-vitamins levels and take them to the supermarket and compare for an eye opening practices of other dodgy Vitamin companies trying to sell you an expensive bottle of not much!
Five: Help someone
Volunteering has been shown to be an incredibly powerful anti-depressant , so look to sign up to volunteer, or help a friend/neighbour with something, as it triggers the brain to give you a shot of the feel-good chemical dopamine. Empowering yourself helps create resilience, and helps prevent helplessness and hopelessness, two key depression problems.
Six: Dig in the dirt
There is a bacteria in healthy soil called Mycobacterium vaccae that boosts serotonin levels in the brain similar to the levels of antidepressants, improving your mood, reducing anxiety and it boosting cognition . You need to get your hands dirty every 3 weeks to keep them in your body.
- TED Talk – Brother David Steindl-Rast: Want to be happy? Be grateful. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtBsl3j0YRQ
- Tim Ferris Podcast #186: Tony Robins. “You can’t be grateful and angry at the same time.”
- Trello article on JOMO; https://bit.ly/2C5KFbC
- Christina Crook; The Joy of Missing Out http://www.christinacrook.com/jomo/
Image: Priscilla Du Preez @priscilladupreez