Fitness Fridays #1

It’s here!!! #FitnessFridays – I’m starting up this new series where I’ll be talking about fitness every week. This is because feeling healthy and being proud of your body is a big step towards being happy. Don’t get the wrong idea, this post isn’t going to be like Men’s Health, where I talk about how to get a six-pack in 5 minutes. I will cover physical fitness, but only

staying fit and healthy, not being at the gym 24/7. Also, I will talk about mental fitness, and how to stimulate and sharpen your mind. Finally, I will talk about diet as well, because it’s very important to put healthy food into your body, which can actually affect your mood and happiness (and of course it gives you the energy you need for the day). 

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DISCLAIMER: This post will largely focus on health as well as fitness. However, I like alliteration, and “Health & Fitness Fridays” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Health – a state of complete mental, physical and social well-being; not merely the absence of illness or infirmity.

Fitness – the ability to meet the demands of the environment. 

Week 1: DIET:

Today I’m going to be talking about diet, and the best food to eat. Everyone knows fruit and vegetables are good for you, and you need to have your five-a-day. But do you know why each individual type of fruit and vegetable is good for your body? In this post I’ll focus on fruit.

(I won’t cover all the effects of each fruit, just the main effects)

Berries – Slow down brain ageing and protect your heart.

Bananas – Make us more alert (as they give us more energy).

Watermelon – Keeps memory sharp and helps control heart rate.

Cherries – Help calm your nervous system.

Peaches – Rich in potassium, fluoride and iron.

Strawberries – Can potentially help fight against cancer and ageing.

Pineapples – Help fight arthritis.

Kiwis – Increase bone mass.

Grapes – Relax blood vessels and helps the brain retain new information.

Apples – Helps your body develop resistance against infections.

Oranges – Maintains good skin and vision, as well as providing a lot of vitamin C.

Mangos – Protect against several kinds of cancer.

I eat a lot of fruit, and a juicy fruit salad can serve as a tasty alternative to sweets and chocolate for pudding (if you’re trying to go cold turkey on chocolate and sweets). Fruit is very healthy and refreshing, and I hope this post shows you just how good they are for the body. So really, there’s no excuse not to have your five-a-day.

 

 

Self-Affirmation

This is the first post written by my friend (I helped write it too). Motivational Mondays and Fitness Fridays will be published weekly from next week onwards.

Affirmation – emotional support or encouragement.

Sometimes affirming yourself is difficult, as a lot of people are very critical of themselves and sometimes fail to see the positive qualities they possess. For those who think that they are alone in being this way, I’m here to reach out to you and say that you are far from alone. There might be days when your critical nature can really make you depressed. However, as someone who has experienced long-term depression, I would suggest that continuous self-criticism serves no purpose. Often, you see much bigger flaws in yourself than any of your friends do. The cycle of depression will continue endlessly unless you realise that nobody is perfect, and accept that your own imperfections are what makes you perfect.

 
If you come to the realisation, and understand that you are unique and special, you will look at yourself in a different light, having a more positive outlook on yourself and your surroundings. Slowly and surely you will build self-confidence and you will learn to love yourself so that when the days come when you are feeling down you will be able to reflect the positive qualities that you have. There is no point surrounding yourself with positive people who encourage and support you unless you learn to love yourself too. This can be done by talking to your loved ones about yourself, listing 3 things that you like about yourself every day, being positive, and reading articles about being happy such as http://ow.ly/PLgL307vBf0. Self-Affirmation is very important in becoming happy, and one of the first steps to being proud and self-satisfied (but not in itself enough) is by surrounding yourself with positive people (this also, on average, increases your lifespan). Just remember, you need to be positive too.

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Seven Steps To Sustained Serenity

I thought that as it is Christmas, a time of joy and happiness, it would be good to write about being positive and euphoric.

I’ll be the first to admit that life can be extremely depressing. However, if you balance out the depression with positivity life can be amazing, and filled with euphoria. It’s quite hard to think positively all the time (it’s easier to think positively at Christmas than if you’re getting a divorce) but I’ve got some tips that can help you out:

  1. Every morning, write down three things that you are genuinely grateful for. Naturally, when a human being sees another human being that is happier than them or has something they do not, they become jealous. Instead, try to find the things you are grateful for, three things that you have or that you like about yourself. This way, you will stop comparing yourself to others, and focus more on what you have.
  2. By simply smiling, you can boost your mood for the rest of the day, and it will help keep you positive.
  3. As I said in an earlier blog, have no regrets or worries. By relaxing, you will feel as if a massive weight has just been taken off your shoulders. I know it is hard to just shrug off worries and regrets, but thinking about them constantly doesn’t help you out in any way.
  4. Realise that you should just be happy in the present moment. Happiness isn’t a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that seems far away from the present and will take a long time to reach. Happiness should be about the journey, not the end. If you truly understand this you will have a long-term happiness, as the metaphorical “journey” is a life-long one.
  5. Find something to look forward to. This increases excitement and euphoria. Please note that you can be happy in the moment and still look forward to something. This is because anxiety doesn’t come from thinking about the future, it comes from trying to control it.
  6. Treat every day as a new start and a new challenge. Also try new things in the day, to make it feel like a new adventure, such as writing a blog or picking up a hobby. This can be done by finding time for you. A lot of people complain that they don’t have any time, but you only need five minutes a day, and that is possible.
  7. Finally, help other people. Nothing is more rewarding than helping others. Whether it be donating to charity or volunteering, anything like that will make you all the more positive. By helping others, it makes you feel like you have a purpose, which can increase self-esteem and happiness.

I hope you’ve learned something from these steps. Even if by trying to do these you are only slightly happier, I will take that as a success. So, enjoy your life, round off 2016 on a high note, and most of all, have a merry Christmas.

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Leaving a Legacy

I’ve recruited another member to join me in writing this blog. This now allows us to post TWICE a week. We will be writing each post together, as I believe that my friend is really well suited to this blog, and we think alike. 

In most religions, there’s some form of immortality, where someone lives on after their death. It is a very comforting belief, as I personally would love to know for certain that everyone that’s ever inspired me but passed away (such as my Granny) is now looking down on me, and enjoying their new life. However, until my death (hopefully not for a very long time), I will never know this for sure – it might be true or it might not be. Although, one thing I know for sure is that someone can live on after their death in the minds of others, and this is a different type of immortality. This can be defined as their “legacy” (leaving something behind when you die).

My Granny passed away a month ago now. That marked the end of her human life. But, she still influences those who loved her even now and will do so for a long while to come. For example, she is the reason that I started this blog. Also, all those that loved her still think of her, and in that sense she lives on. She has left something completely untouchable, and truly immortal. She has left it through her love of others, and through the memories that she has created. This is her legacy.

Now apply that to you. Most people don’t want death to be the end and are a bit scared that things they’ve done wouldn’t have amounted to anything special. To be immortal you just need to live life to the fullest. Meet people, love people, help people. Your acts will live on as memories long after you die. Don’t put things off until the future. Life is fragile, today might be your last day. Imagine, if you died today, what would you be remembered for? What would be your legacy? I implore you, live every day as if it’s solely what you’re going to be remembered for. Stay motivated, do everything to the best of your abilities, love everyone as much as you can. You can judge someone’s life by how many people pay tribute to them after their death. That is how many people they affected, how many people they loved. Just remember, the more people you love, the stronger your legacy is.

 

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Having No Regrets

Firstly I would just like to say that this blog is in beta stage and is still open to a lot of changes, so if you have any suggestions please comment them down below. I am going to make my posts a little bit shorter than the first two from now on. Could you please share my posts and recommend them to any friends that you think would enjoy them, as I am trying to get my message out to more people. Finally, this following post only applies to regret, so if you have a happy memory it might be good to think about it every once in a while.

In life there are a lot of things that can get you down. One of the worst things is regret. Regrets can stay with you for a long time, longer than other emotions such as anger or embarrassment. It is a feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over an occurrence or something that one has done or failed to do.

Normally, when you do something wrong, people might be annoyed at you. However, their feeling of annoyance passes relatively quickly. Your own regret, though, can stay much longer than their annoyance. Usually, you get angry at yourself way more than anyone else does, and you move on much less quickly. Therefore by regretting doing something you can damage your confidence in the future, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it is that confidence is really important for life.

To add to that, there is absolutely no use for regret. Yes, by understanding you’ve done something wrong in the moment, it does mean that you can learn from your mistakes. But dwelling on it has no purpose, as you’ll end up feeling sad constantly, and no matter how hard you try you can never change the past. Sometimes, I used to find myself feeling sad without even knowing why, and then I realise I am thinking of when I missed a shot in football, or when I didn’t do something I should’ve done. Now I believe that you should be rooted in the present moment, as the past causes regret and the future can cause anxiety. As the turtle master guy from Kung Fu Panda said: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift, and that’s why it is called the present.”

Sometimes it’s hard getting over your mistakes, or missed opportunities, but it is worth it when you do. I’ve found that by having no regrets it can help you out in the future, as you feel happier and more confident. Also, just remember, never have any regrets, or want to change any part of your past, as your past is what has made you the wonderful, amazing person you are today, and your failures have made you stronger. Everything happens for a reason.

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Staying Motivated

What is the difference between successful people who lead a happy life, and those that aren’t content and abandoned their dreams? The answer: MOTIVATION. Following your dreams can be hard, and it is much easier to just live a normal life and relax all the time, not pushing yourself when you don’t have to. Stimulating your mind and body can be frustrating and boring, but the rewards make it well worth it. If you are one of those people that just desire happiness in the present, I implore you to try working towards long term happiness, because nothing is better than looking at your life and liking what you see (whether that be a leader of a successful company, or an author, or even an athlete – AKA something you have worked hard for).

Take athletes for example. If they only desired happiness in the present they would spend their lives sitting on the sofa eating sweets. But they desire happiness in the long-term, and they work for their whole lives to try and win a medal at the Olympics. They make sacrifices, yes, but they also stay motivated. And when they do win a medal, their EUPHORIA is a million times better than the feeling of relaxation that they would get from watching TV and sitting on the sofa. This is because they feel that they have achieved something, done something special, and in that sense they feel proud of themselves. That’s when all the training and sacrifices pay off, and they are thankful that they stayed motivated.

My point is – the road to success isn’t a road at all, more like a desert. It’s long, it tiring and hard, and the end never looks near. But if you keep going, one step after the other, then eventually you’ll reach the end (the oasis), and the long journey will have been worth it.

Staying motivated isn’t easy though. But I have some tips that I hope will help YOU stay motivated. Sometimes you can feel a bit down, and you might not care about your goal, or you might think that you were aiming too high. What I do when I feel like that is watch a motivational video on Youtube, read Bear Grylls’ A Survival Guide for Life, or even just look out a window and think about life (I have also tried meditating, which works very well). Doing that gets helps keep you motivated, and restores your desire and ambition to succeed. I would suggest watching an inspirational video (doesn’t have to be a long one) in the morning, so it helps you focus and increases your passion and desire for the rest of the day. Then, after that, I would suggest doing your hard work straight away. The motivational video will help keep you on track, and afterwards you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something for the rest of the day. And then you can relax and sit down because there’s nothing wrong with relaxing after you’ve achieved something, but it is wrong to relax all the time. It’s like Easter for example. If you ate Easter eggs every day, then Easter would not be as special and enjoyable as it is when it is only once a year. With relaxation, the less you relax, the better it feels when you do relax. Finally, I would suggest making time every week to follow your dreams. People often say, “I don’t have time” and “I would if I could” when talking about pursuing their dreams. But the answer to that is  to make time. Maybe work harder at something to get it done quicker, or plan a schedule and fit in the time that way. Because the best time to act on your dreams is now, don’t put it off. Always remember: nothing is impossible.

I think why some people don’t follow their dreams is because they are afraid of failure. However, failure is the first step to success. Failure may make it seem like you’re wasting your time, or not being productive. But you are moving forward (and learning) with every failure. For example, Colonel Saunders (founder of KFC) was turned down 1009 times before his chicken recipe was accepted. He stayed motivated because he believed he had something special, and his desire to succeed was so strong. I think what makes people quit or abandon their dreams is that the “easy way out” is so compelling. What they don’t realise is that the easy way makes you feel bad about yourself in the long-term. That is important to remember, along with the reasons for you to follow your dreams. But, in the moment, a lot of people forget their reasons to stay motivated and thus choose the easy way out.

That is why it is important to have a motto, and mine is to live life in 3D. 3D stands for ‘Determination’, ‘Discipline’ and ‘Distinction’. When I do something, I want it to represent who I am. So I approach every obstacle with determination (which keeps me motivated), discipline (I don’t just make rash decisions, or not care about my actions) and distinction (I do everything to the best of my ability – I am a bit of a perfectionist).

I am not trying to suggest that I am always motivated, as before I started this blog (which is one of my dreams) I didn’t always try my hardest. But I’m determined to change, no matter how hard it is. And, as they say, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

 

Example of a motivational video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fvGHC2Dayg

 

 

My Epiphany

My Granny died on 7th November 2016, aged only 70. I was very close to her, so it really made me think about life, and how fragile it is, as she should have lived at least another ten years. If I died today, for whatever reason, what would I have achieved in my life? Was I just a waste of space? After all, I spend a lot of my time playing video games (they’re addictive, relaxing and compelling), and don’t always put 100% into my school work. I eat quite a lot of chocolate, laze about most of the day and complain when I am asked to do chores (AKA a typical teenager)!

A lot of adults (not all) have this preconception that children (especially teens) are lazy, badly behaved, impolite, can’t handle responsibility, don’t work hard when they don’t have to and are generally moody. This is true a lot of the time, but I think that one of the reasons that children don’t behave brilliantly 24/7 is that adults don’t expect them too. This is not to say that adults are completely wrong, they probably make this negative conclusion because of their own childhood or seeing a few teenagers like that in public. But to stereotype 27% of the world’s population on the actions of a few is stupid, even if nearly all of them are just how you imagined.

What I’m trying to say is that children aren’t always expected to push themselves, or go out and do productive things (what with computer games and social media preoccupying most of their time). Modern stereotypes suggest that the aim of childhood is to survive, what with “puberty” and “school” having such negative connotations. Also, in modern society, it is hard for kids to be clever and be popular at the same time. If you try too hard in an exam or a teacher makes a big show of your grade in front of the class, you could be called names such as “nerd” or “try-hard”, or you could be bullied. Because of this peer pressure only a select percentage of children do try their best, and make the most of their childhood (as you only live once). You may think I’m over-exaggerating, but my point is clear, a lot of children don’t take advantage of opportunities because either they or their parents don’t push them enough.

So I’ve had an epiphany… I’m going to write a blog. What I aim to do is show the world that people can take every single opportunity given to them, no matter what their age is, and not waste just their life gaming and watching TV. This is because your childhood is one of the most important stages of your life; it sets you up for adulthood, determines your profession, and shapes you as a person. I want to cut back on gaming, take more opportunities, work harder, and I want to help other people around the world do it too. Because, as a child, everyone has dreams. I’m not talking about magical, fairy-tale dreams, I mean desires to become a better or more talented person, or to do something with your life. Personally, I want to learn to play the keyboard, code, and get 11 A*s/9s in my GCSEs. I’m lucky enough to already have a keyboard, raspberry pi, and a brilliant school. But I’m not going to let my “dreams be dreams”, as Shia LeBeouf would say. All I need is time, effort, and a passion. I know I’m going to do it, for my Granny.

I will post regularly about how to achieve goals, improve mental and physical fitness, work hard, motivate yourself, and make your life easier, while also opening up discussion points about controversial topics. I will give you a tip every post, about how to live your life better. Hopefully, you will learn something every time I publish a post. It’s a bit like motivational Life Hacks, just taking five minutes out of your week to live a healthier, better life. (Not every post will be this lengthy).

The idea of writing a blog was inspired by the book I’m reading – Anne Frank’s Diary. During the two years she was in hiding, I got the impression that her Diary was what kept her sane. So I think this blog/project will help me cut back on gaming and live a healthier life, and it will stop me from quitting or going back to my old ways, as then I would become the world’s biggest hypocrite! So I will tell you right now that I’m not going to do this half-heartedly like I do with most things (if I’m to be brutally honest), because I feel stronger about this than I have done about anything before. I will always find time to post, as now I won’t waste six hours at the weekend gaming. I know that there will be people who disagree with what I say (it will naturally happen as this post is so opinionated and personal).But if you disagree… DON’T READ IT!!!

Finally, I believe that success isn’t all about the end result, it is about the journey too. So, by writing on this blog every week, I think that I am taking small steps to success. And I don’t mean financial success, I mean my own success, measured in euphoria.

{Euphoria – a feeling or state of intense excitement and happiness.}