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In the mood

…for dancing? Hell yeah! Oh to be able to dance properly. It’s creeping up my list of New Year resolutions.  I’d love it, and come on, our attractive but non rythmic Italian friend has set the bar quite low. Oddly enough I find that quite encouraging, surely I could manage to look less like the painfully described donkey, drunk and/or disaster. Poor Nancy, not nice.  And now Holly has the “difficult to work with” Brendan Cole.  He looks like fun to me, he wasn’t up Lulu’s street perhaps?

As I sit on the train, heading south once again, I sense justification in feeling a smidgen of delight in what lies ahead.  Sometimes it can feel like a battlefield to get to where you want to be but my advice, for what it’s worth, is to stick with it.

Variety - the spice of life don't you know?

I’m moving. To Bath.  Appropriate don’t you think?  A lover of spa moves to the UK capital of that indulgent and therapeutic pastime, what joy! And in my usual ‘hurricane hood’ style I need to manage it in three weeks.  Start to finish. Sometimes you’ve just gotta go with it and I’m surprised (I shouldn’t be by now) at how much I enjoy chaos.  Once I’ve calmed the said bedlam I instinctively feel the need to seek out more, to feel in natural balance again.  It seems that a healthy amount of disarray is my drug of choice, it could be worse.

So what keeps us ‘in the mood’?  I’ve been examining the evidence in my own wee life and whilst not particularly conclusive I’d have to say that variety and contrast, features heavily.

Blissed out

The new Happiness Index laid down by David Cameron is source for much discussion in the UK.  There are many cynics.  Can you believe that?  In Britain? Personally I’m thrilled that he’s sticking his head above the parapet on this, it would have been easy not to, bearing in mind the current pandemonium.  His (Dave’s) people have put together a ‘question shortlist’ that they intend to use to gauge just how happy we all are.  In true democratic style we can contribute to the list if we feel some important aspects have been missed and I am quite sure that everyone’s contribution will be considered equally.

This was the last four minutes of discussion on Question Time last Thursday night. I love it and I’ve included the link below incase you fancy a peek.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01704ky/Question_Time_03_11_2011/

And here it is, as reported by the BBC November 1st…

Happiness Index – question shortlist and potential inclusions;

  • Are you satisfied with life?
  • Are you satisfied with your husband, wife or partner?
  • How satisfied are you with your mental and physical health?
  • Are you happy in your job?
  • Do you feel involved in your neighbourhood?
  • Are you happy with your personal income?
  • Are you satisfied with your education?
  • Data on how many voted and trust in Parliament will also be measured
  • Statistics on the economy will also be included
  • Environmental factors, including greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants

The fabulous David Dimbleby asked the panel what made them happy.  The politicians played it typically safe (curious) citing, a good relationship, watching their children flourish and countryside, family and friends as things that make them happiest. Benjamin Zephaniah said ‘breathing’ made him happy and Peter Hitchins (a marmite sort of chap) said ‘faith in god’ and followed it with a rant against the BBC.  Made me laugh out loud. All those tweets sending lots of love surprised me a bit.

Food as medicine

I think it’s fair to say that feeling happy is pretty important and what we eat has a significant impact. I was delighted to see The Food Hospital debuted on Channel Four last week.  To mixed review I felt. I think it is incredibly valuable that these sort of programmes feature and I saw a lot of appreciation but also some disappointment and a feeling of ‘same old, same old’.  A little reminiscent of embarrassing bodies , actually, not sure I could tell the difference for a few moments there, urgh.

Food, undeniably, has an effect on how we feel.  There are many articles telling us of mood enhancing food, foods said to, ahem, ramp up our excitement levels and the much acclaimed superfoods that got a bit of a battering on the aforementioned TV show despite rather compelling scientific evidence to the contrary for one such food, the humble blueberry.

Now, I have to be honest.  I am a self confessed superfood advocate (make that superfood junky). There, I’ve said it.  Will there now be a knock on my door from Dr Pixie for a suitable reprimand?

As a general rule of thumb, the healthier the food we eat, the more ‘well’ we feel, the happier we are.  This was evident in the results shown for both Chris, a man diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and Lauren who has an extreme case of polycystic ovary syndrome which has meant weight gain, fertility issues and excessive facial and body hair.  A seven year old boy (Harvey) had been suffering with severe and very debilitating migraines.  A change to all of their diets toward a healthier, fresher and less fatty menu made a huge difference (as you would expect in cases of overweight) to every one of them. But little Harvey’s story, for me, was the most compelling.  His migraines were eliminated in a matter of weeks through a change in his diet. For Chris and Lauren, their weightloss meant increased confidence, they were visibly happier, not to mention healthier, as a result.

Bravo, I hope viewing numbers are going through the roof!

Food as medicine has a powerful and often dramatic effect. Poor quality food intake is no less dramatic, but the undisputed antithesis.

‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’

- Hippocrates

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About Anni Hood

A sassie Brit from the north east of England, Anni left to explore the world many years ago and has spent recent years globetrotting for both work and pleasure. Somewhere in the melee of culture, inspiration and joie de vivre, she discovered a great passion not only for sport, fitness and activity, but also a zeal for all things healthy.

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