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7 Science-Supported Ways To Boost Your Happiness

7 Ways To Boost Your Happiness
Graphic – herbsandhealth.net

People in the USA alone spend an average of $550 million on self-help books and $1 billion on motivational speakers in a year, with the global figure being far higher of course. These figures reflect people’s ongoing quest for happiness. It may be best to spare yourself the unnecessary expenses though. Happiness is easier to achieve than most people expect. And no, happiness is not the temporary feelings of elation you get when you experience achievements like a job promotion, the birth of a child, or a wedding. Happiness is a more enduring sense of well-being. [1]

Social psychologists Diener and Chan have established positive causal effects between happiness and physiological health and longevity. The quest for happiness is definitely a worthwhile one. [2] Here are seven ways you can achieve true happiness.

1. Be More Optimistic

As shown by a Harvard University study, optimists are happier and are 50% less likely to have a stroke, a heart attack, or heart disease. Keeping a positive outlook protects your body against cardiovascular diseases. Pessimists, on the other hand, are three times more likely to acquire health problems as they grow older. [3]

2. Learn From The Happiest Nation In The World

According to the European Commission’s “Eurobarometer”, a series of public opinion surveys, Denmark has earned the top spot in terms of happiness and well-being every year since the study was commissioned in 1973. [4] The United Nations had their own search for the happiest nation in the world, and found Denmark to be first in ranking. The UN World Happiness Report points to six factors as the main reasons for the Danes’ self-reported well-being, namely healthy life expectancy, real GDP per capita, having someone to count on, freedom from corruption, perceived freedom to make life choices, and generosity. Many of these factors are well within your control, like establishing meaningful connections with other people and nurturing a generous spirit. [5]

3. Strike A Work-Life Balance

The Danes are also known for striking a great work-life balance, which contributes to their increased levels of happiness. They make sure they do not overwork, clocking in an average of 33 hours per week. Only 2% of Danes work for more than 40 hours in a week. Although they go right back to work after childbirth, almost 80% of Danish mothers are found to be effective at balancing their free time between spending time with their families, taking part in community club programs, and enjoying weekly happy hour with their friends. [6]

4. Invest In Experiences

The Danes know better than to put too much weight on gadgets and material things. They are more invested in building memories. Studies reveal that people who focus more on having experiences compared to spending on material things report higher levels of satisfaction. And this feeling of satisfaction lingers long after the experience had passed. Moreover, too much material possessions tend to lead to debt, stress and time wasted on maintaining the properties, cars, clothes, gadgets, and the like.

Researchers say that people who focus on experiences report a greater sense of “being alive” not only during the experience but long after. This focus on experience also allow people to be mentally closer to the people around them, giving their happiness a boost. [7]

5. Get Social

Being social can help slow down your biological ageing. Research has revealed that a strong social support system contributes to the lengthening of the body’s telomeres.

Telomeres are the tiny caps on DNA chromosomes that determine cellular age. As per experts, having no friends can result to shorter telomeres and, consequently, a shorter life. Other studies show that loneliness lead to increased rates of depression, stress and health problems. To avoid such problems, it is recommended to have at least one close friend. [8]

6. Go Volunteer

According to dozens of studies, people who spend time volunteering are found to be happier with their lives compared to those who don’t. The United Nations points to volunteerism as one of the reasons Danes are among the happiest people in the world. 43% of people in Denmark regularly contribute to their community, a higher rate compared to USA’s 25%. [6]

A 2012 study found that the joy of helping others start at a young age. It showed that children prefer to give than to receive. The researchers conducted the study by handing out snacks to two groups of toddlers, and asking those from one of the groups to give their treats away. The children who gave away their treats displayed greater levels of happiness, suggesting that the act was more emotionally rewarding. [9]

The act of giving does not have to entail a big sacrifice. Previous research has shown that spending or donating as little as $5 has its emotional benefits. Experts reveal that people are inherently compassionate. Volunteering time, performing acts of kindness, and donating money increase levels of happiness by improving people’s sense of community, self-image and purpose. [10]

7. Just Laugh

Research has shown that more than just signaling happiness, laughing produces it. When you laugh, your level of endorphins rise and your stress hormones decrease. Endorphins are the brain chemicals responsible for the “runner’s high” people get from exercising. Laughing is also believed to be good for the heart. A study revealed that only 8% of heart patients who laughed daily experienced a second heart attack, while 42% of the non-laughers had a second attack. [11]

Another study further revealed that your body cannot differentiate between real and fake laughter. You will get the same benefits either way. So feel free to fake it until you make it. Take the opportunity to laugh whenever you can. Not only is the experience fun, it comes with enormous health benefits as well. [12]

[1] CNN. 7 ways to boost your happiness. http://edition.cnn.com/2014/09/19/health/finding-happiness/index.html

[2] Science. Happy People Live Longer. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/331/6017/542

[3] Harvard Health Publications. Why optimists enjoy better health. http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/why-optimists-enjoy-better-health

[4] European Commission. Standard Eurobarometer 83. http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/index_en.htm

[5] UN Sustainable Development solutions Network. World Happiness Report 2013. http://unsdsn.org/resources/publications/world-happiness-report-2013/

[6] OECD Better Life Index. Denmark. http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/countries/denmark/

[7] The National Center for Biotechnology Information. Low Social Support Is Associated With Shorter Leukocyte Telomere Length in Late Life: Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3881963/

[8] PLOS. Giving Leads to Happiness in Young Children. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0039211

[9] Science. Spending Money on Others Promotes Happiness. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/319/5870/1687.full

[10] The National Center for Biotechnology Information. Humor and Laughter May Influence Health: III. Laughter and Health Outcomes. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2249748/

[11] Journey to Awareness and Beyond: with Modern Technology and Ancient Wisdom. https://books.google.com.ph/books?id=_ROQAAAAQBAJ&pg=PT171&lpg=PT171

[12] The National Center for Biotechnology Information. Modulation of neuroimmune parameters during the eustress of humor-associated mirthful laughter. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11253418

Science: Spirulina Halts 85% Of Breast Cancer In Vivo

Science - Spirulina Halts 85% Of Breast Cancer In VivoPhoto © mama_mia, shutterstock.com (under license)

Spirulina is a not a new discovery in the world of medical advancements. Older studies as early as the 1960s focused on the nutritional value of Spirulina; only recently has the focus shifted on the health benefits of these plants, specifically how it can boost immunity and fight disease. One of the most recent breakthroughs on this plant is its links with cancer prevention.

Published in January 2014 in The American Journal of Pathology, Ouhtit, et. al.’s study found that spirulina was able to inhibit breast carcinogenesis in rats. Spirulina, which is a filamentous blue-green microalga, has been previously studied for its antioxidant and potentially anticancer properties. The study was conducted in vivo, meaning in live test subjects, which is much more significant than “in vitro” results, which indicates actual potential for anti-carcinogenic action in living beings. The researchers found that Spirulina was able to clear out rat mammary tumors, as confirmed by histopathology, or looking at tissues under a microscope and looking for cancerous cells. [1]

Furthermore, the study found that Spirulina was able to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells within 24 hours; apoptosis or cell death among cancer cells happened within 48 hours after the introduction of treatment with Spirulina. That’s certainly a feat – anti-cancer effects within one to two days of treatment with this algae. All in all, Spirulina was able to reduce the incidence of breast tumors in the rats from 87% to 13%. That’s an 85% reduction of tumors after treatment with Spirulina! The researchers report that their study is most likely the first report of in vivo treatment with spirulina against cancer, highlighting the potential role of this life form in both preventative supplementation and actual cancer therapy. [1]

While Ouhtit, et. al.’s study is one of the first in vivo studies on Spirulina, there are plenty of other studies that came after, showing how the plant is able to fight against other kinds of cancer. In March 2014, a study was published by Konickova, et. al. in the Annals of Hepatology, showing that Spirulina was able to work in vivo against pancreatic cancer cells after the third day of treatment! In November 2015, Pan, et. al. found that Spirulina was able to cause apoptosis in ovarian cancer cells, targeting multiple proteins in the ovarian cancer cell line and causing cell death. [2][3]

These are fantastic discoveries. You can find Spirulina in a variety of forms, the most common being capsule and tablet forms, though you can find it in powder or flake form as well. If you have pre-existing health conditions, make sure to seek medical advice from your doctor if you can take Spirulina supplements without any problems. Otherwise, just follow the instructions on dosing on the package. Dosing varies depending on the type of product you get. Seek a high-purity, high quality product. This scientific research indicates that you may be able to reduce your cancer risk today by including Spirulina in your diet!

Where to get spirulina: We’ve located the spirulina supplement on Amazon.com that got the highest star-rating! You can find it here – Non-GMO Spirulina Powder – Sustainably Grown in California – Highest Quality Spirulina on Earth – 100% Vegetarian, Gluten Free & Non-Irradiated.


[1] Ouhtit, A., et. al. (2014). Chemoprevention of rat mammary carcinogenesis by spirulina. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24269837

[2] Konickova, R., et. al. (2014). Anti-cancer effects of blue-green alga Spirulina platensis, a natural source of bilirubin-like tetrapyrrolic compounds. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24552870

[3] Pan, R., et. al. (2015). Spirulina phycocyanin induces differential protein expression and apoptosis in SKOV-3 cells. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26410814

This Fungus Affects Over 500 Million People – How To Protect Yourself

This Fungus Affects Over 500 Million People - How To Protect YourselfPhoto – Wikipedia lic. under CC 3.0

Candida is a genus of yeasts and is the most common cause of fungal infections worldwide. Yeasts are single-celled fungi and can cause infections when they grow on the body’s mucous membranes.

The statistics for occurrence of candida are astonishing. It has been estimated that 75% of all adult women (of childbearing age) will be afflicted by VVC (vulvovaginal candidiasis) at least once in their lifetime – that’s over 2.7 billion women. Of these, approximately 150 million suffer from recurring bouts of the condition. [1] And this is not the only possible type of candida infection or region of the body it can occur in.

There have been numerous controversial claims for candida; with it being blamed for numerous health conditions. These claims are difficult to ascertain. One thing that is known is that candida is a normal resident of the digestive tract, so in one sense, everyone “has candida”! However under normal conditions, it will not be causing an infection or sickness.

According to the CDC, invasive candidiasis is the most common type of healthcare-associated infection – however despite annual sales in the hundreds of millions of dollars for OTC vaginal antifungals [2] the statistics for candida infections in the US have gone up in the past 20 years. [3]

Candida infections can occur in any part of the body with a mucous membrane, typically the mouth, throat, and female genitals. The CDCs reports an emerging fungus, Candida auris, as a potential global health threat, causing hospitalizations all over the world and being “resistant to all three major classes of antifungal drugs”. [4][5][6] (Editor’s note – did they consider natural remedies? No! have you ever heard of fungal infections becoming immune to natural remedies? No!)

Systemic / Invasisve Candidiasis

Invasive or systemic candidiasis occurs when the infection spreads from beyond the mucous membranes to the blood. This is a serious infection that can affect the blood, heart, brain, eyes, bones, or other parts of the body. Diagnosis can be difficult, as the symptoms vary depending on the organ affected. Typical treatments are oral or intravenous antifungal medications.

Signs And Symptoms Of Candidiasis:

Vaginal infections: itching of the vagina and vaginal opening, painful intercourse and/or urination, inflammation (redness and swelling) of the vaginal opening, vaginal pain, watery vaginal discharge or thick, white odorless discharge [7]

Mouth infections (oral thrush): white lesions on the tongue, inner cheeks, roof of the mouth, gums, and tonsils (almost cottage-cheese like in appearance), mouth soreness, dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), cracking at the corners of the mouth, problems with taste [8]

Systemic candidiasis: Symptoms can include fever and chills that do not improve with antibiotics.

Some Natural Ways To Manage A Candida Infection:

1. Diet – The “Candida Diet” eliminates sugar (regarded as enemy #1!), white flour, alcohol coffee, reduces starchy vegetables (carrots, radishes, yams, parsnips, potatoes) and fruits – and includes fresh, organic steamed non-starchy vegetables, rice, millet, healthy fats i.e. coconut oil, plenty of pure water, fermented vegetables, manuka honey, garlic, chia seeds, turmeric, lemon juice, apples, apple cider vinegar. It has been suggested by some that candida may fuel sugar addiction.

2. Yogurt And honey Topical For vaginal infections, the best way is still to seek medical advice regarding what creams and oral medications you can take to manage the infection. However, there are several studies that have focused on the benefits of using yogurt (as unconventional as it may seem) on the affected areas. Darvishi, et. al. published a study in 2015 reporting that there were significant therapeutic effects of using natural (probiotic) yogurt and honey on vaginal candidiasis, achieving similar results to antibiotic (clotrimozole) vaginal cream. [9] Use raw, pure honey (typically not the major brand varieties as some may be adulterated with HFCS!)

3. Oral Hygiene Oral thrush is a little easier to manage, with focus being placed on good oral hygiene in order to prevent and treat oral candidia infections. [8] Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once. Don’t forget to keep replacing your toothbrush regularly, especially during and after the infection has cleared up. Avoid using mouthwash (unless ordered by your doctor) because this might irritate the lesions or cause new ones in your mouth. Mouth wash can also alter normal microorganisms in the mouth and can slow the healing process. Use a saltwater rinse. Mix half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of water and swish around your mouth for several seconds. Don’t swallow it, spit it out.

4. For breastfeeding women, it is advisable to use nursing pads (avoid plastic pads, as they are a perfect place for Candida to grow). Pads can prevent the infection from sticking to your clothes. If you using resusable pads, don’t forget to wash and bleach them thoroughly.

5. Overall Cleanliness To fight both vaginal and oral candidiasis, make sure to practice good hygiene. Take daily baths and don’t forget to clean your genital area; put on fresh thoroughly washed clothes and change underwear daily.

6. Probiotics have been suggested by numerous scientific studies as a potential candida remedy. [10]

7. Socks and Shoes Change socks very frequently. Twice a day or more is fine. If you suffer from fungal infections on your feet, rotating shoes rather than using the same pair daily may be beneficial also. UVC lamps – the kind that sit inside shoes to zap fungus – may be beneficial too.

More Info:

For more detailed info on how to combat candida naturally, without the use prescription medications and their side effects, check out the book “Yeast Infection No More”.


[1] “Candida Vaginitis: When Opportunism Knocks, the Host Responds”. PLoS Pathog. (2014) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3974868/

[2] “Candida Infections of the Genitourinary Tract”. (Clin Microbiol Rev. (2010) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2863365/

[3] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Invasive Candidiasis Statistics. https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/invasive/statistics.html

[4] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Candidiasis. https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/

[5] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Candida auris. https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/candida-auris.html

[6] Wikipedia – “Antifungal”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antifungal

[7] The Mayo Clinic. Yeast infection (vaginal). http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/yeast-infection/basics/symptoms/con-20035129

[8] The Mayo Clinic. Oral thrush. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/oral-thrush/basics/symptoms/con-20022381

[9] Darvishi, M., et. al. (2015). The Comparison of vaginal cream of mixing yogurt, honey and clotrimazole on symptoms of vaginal candidiasis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26153168

[10] Pubmed search on probiotics + candida. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=probiotics+candida