How to be happier_ 5 tips this happiness guru wants you to know about FEATURED

How to be happier: 5 tips this happiness guru wants you to know about

Find yourself in a slump or bombarded with negative thoughts? Founder of The Happy News, Emily Coxhead reveals five tips on how to be happier

Firstly, there is no simple way ‘to be happier’, happiness doesn’t come from one particular place or person or thing (although, cups of tea and lying on a beach would definitely be top of the list for me).

We need to try and steer away from this idea that after our next holiday, pay-rise, new purchase we will be happier because if there is an underlying problem, niggling thought or feeling or generally just a reason to be unhappy then that will still be there no matter how much stuff gets in the way.

we can’t wake up one morning worry and stress-free, that is not how the world works

Of course, it’s not as easy as finding total peace and happiness in yourself, we can’t wake up one morning worry and stress-free, that is not how the world works.

What we can do is try to understand the underlying issues and try to build our own strength and resilience so we can firstly recognise our thoughts and feelings, but then also try to understand and work through them whether that’s writing them down or talking to somebody you trust.

It can be incredibly important and helpful if you’re able to share the load and just take away a bit of the weight you’re carrying around.

Here are five very basic tips which may help you find a little happiness now or later down the line…

How to be happier tip #1 Be mindful about what you’re consuming

Especially now more than ever we are constantly bombarded with terrifying headlines and statistics not to mention scrolling through social media looking for glimpses of positivity and often being met with a whole heap of negativity, comparing and not feeling good enough.

Know that it’s okay to turn off news notifications if you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s also absolutely okay to unfollow or ‘mute’ people on social media who aren’t making you feel good.

In the same way that you have (or should have) control over who you have around you in real life you also must apply this to the ‘virtual world’ too.

how to be happier book picture

How to be happier tip #2 You cannot please all of the people all of the time

I get it, it’s not as simple as just shrugging off your boss’s comments or not taking to heart something a friend has said, these are all very normal situations which we can often find difficult to process.

However, as you go through life there will be many people who come and go and the truth is that you just cannot and will not please all of the people all of the time, this is something people say to me a lot, it’s one of my Dad’s favourite sayings but it’s still something I have to remind myself of constantly.

you just cannot and will not please all of the people all of the time

I think once you can realise and admit that there are certain things or ways or traits that some people simply just won’t like or understand about you then it makes it slightly easier to process if you do lose contact with somebody whether that’s gradually or suddenly.

Talking to people is so important and a huge way we figure things out and move through sticky situations even if it’s really difficult to do so.

However, sometimes it just doesn’t work out and that may not be anything specifically to do with either person and is likely to be totally out of your control.

How to be happier tip #3 Find stuff or people that make you happy

We can quickly and often unknowingly get trapped in these ideas of what should make us happy or what makes our friend or partner happy and it’s really important to sometimes step back and think about what makes you happy, when was the last time you did something just for you?

Whether it’s swimming or baking or running or painting, whatever brings you a little happiness, do more of that.

Woman baking cupcakes how to be happier

How to be happier tip #4 Embrace what makes you… well, you!

We live in a world which unfortunately isn’t always designed to make us happy, it’s far quicker to point out our flaws – that we should have less wrinkly skin, fewer stretch marks or shinier hair.

Every little bit of us is what makes us who we are and tells our story and makes us different to the next person, it’s not always easy but we should be SO proud of that.

Change doesn’t need to be ground-breaking or news-worthy, often the smallest of things have a positive difference

Our body is the most incredible thing and looks after us in ways we can’t comprehend at times, we shouldn’t be constantly berating it or considering how it could be or look better.

We would never do that with our mum or our friends so why do we do it to ourselves?

How to be happier tip #5 Be the change

I know we hear this a lot; ‘be the change you wish to see’ but it’s such a simple message which I think every single one of us could get on board with.

be the change you wish to see

What would make the world a better place? I can think for one, if we were all a tiny bit kinder to ourselves and others it would make a huge difference.

There are so many very small things we could do which would make a big impact if more of us did them; from picking up pieces of litter, writing to our grandparents or friends we haven’t seen for ages or buying a colleague their favourite chocolate bar.

Change doesn’t need to be ground-breaking or news-worthy, often the smallest of things have a positive difference far greater than you will realise, it makes you feel good, it makes the other person feel good and it has a ripple effect even further than that.

You are incredible just as you are book jacket how to be happier Emily Coxhead

You Are Incredible Just As You Are: How To Embrace Your Perfectly Imperfect Self by Emily Coxhead is available to buy on Amazon in the US and in the UK

Subscribe to The Happy News, for every 2 newspapers we send to subscribers we will send one to a school in the UK so children can hear about the good things going on in the world.

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LUMITY Could this anti ageing supplement be the key to younger-looking skin FEATURED (1)

Could an anti-ageing supplement be the key to younger-looking skin?

Wish you could banish your wrinkles and fine lines? If you covet younger-looking skin, you’ll need to make sure you’re getting the right nutrients. Olivia Hartland-Robbins reports

Ageing is one thing we all have in common, and none of us are exactly fond of the effect it has on our skin.

From our genetic makeup to our environment, factors such as ultraviolet (UV) radiation, stress, poor nutrition, alcohol intake, smoking and pollution can take its toll.

Plus, demands from modern-day life and working around the clock often leads to insufficient sleep, bad food choices and an increase in our reliance on caffeine and sugar as we try to fight fatigue and boost our energy levels.

it’s not about stopping the ageing process, it’s about slowing down the process and ageing well

This fast-paced lifestyle often leads to exhaustion and can diminish our reserve of essential nutrients, resulting in accelerated ageing, which isn’t ideal considering our bodies start to lose efficiency as early as our 20’s.

In an attempt to maintain our youth, we invest in creams, face oils, face masks, serums, moisturisers, facials, facial toners, botox and fillers – the list is endless.

Despite our best efforts, turning back the clock simply isn’t possible. See, it’s not about stopping the ageing process, it’s about slowing down the process and ageing well.

In order to do that, our skin needs a menu of nutrients, vitamins and minerals to function effectively and look as healthy as it possibly can.

What nutrients do we need for younger-looking skin?

Vitamins, peptides for collagen production, minerals such as zinc, cleansers, oils, hydrators, hyaluronic acids as well as antioxidants in their many forms are all needed in order to maintain healthy, younger looking skin.

We can come by most of these when eating a healthy, balanced diet – but there are few nutrients in particular that we need to be absolutely sure we are getting enough of, in order to maintain our youthful glow.


Collagen – a natural protein produced by our bodies – is a major structural component of the human body that we depend on to keep our skin looking plump, hair strong, bones and muscles healthy, joints lubricated as well as helping our digestive system to work smoothly.

unfortunately after the age of 25, our bodily production of collagen (and quality) begins to decline

Our body is able to produce sufficient amounts of collagen when we are young, but unfortunately after the age of 25, our bodily production of collagen (and quality) begins to decline at a rate of 1.5 per cent per year. That means, by the time you reach your mid-40s, collagen levels may have fallen by as much as 30 per cent.

Without ample amounts of collagen, our cells lose their structure, becoming weaker and thinner. This is the cause of our many skin woes – wrinkles, fine lines, dark circles, dry skin and cellulite.

Collagen is sourced from fish, chicken, pigs and cows. However, it doesn’t come from the actual meat but instead is found in the animals’ skin, joints, bones, cartilage and muscle tissue. Typically though, we do not eat these parts of the animals.

Despite this, we are still able to make up for the collagen we lose. This can be done by consuming  supplements that contain nutrients that stimulate collagen production such as vitamin C, turmeric and zinc.

skin wrinkles anti ageing supplement

Vitamin C

Healthy skin contains high concentrations of vitamin C, which is essential to stimulating collagen production and building antioxidant protection against UV-induced skin damage. Unfortunately though like collagen, the amount of vitamin C in our skin declines as we age.

According to a review by dermatologists at Oregon State University, ‘Oral supplementation with vitamin C may help prevent UV-induced skin damage, skin wrinkling and may also benefit dry skin and wound healing’.

Healthy skin contains high concentrations of vitamin C

In one study on 4000 women aged 40 to 74, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, higher intakes of vitamin C were associated with a lower chance of having a wrinkled appearance and dry skin.

Interestingly, the research also found that diets high in saturated fat and refined carbohydrates were associated with a higher probability of skin wrinkling and sagging.


Turmeric is an ancient root packed with curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help to screen us from damaging free radicals we are exposed to in a heavily polluted modern world.

Curcumin is also reported to increase our body’s collagen synthesis, in addition to helping aid cell regeneration (which allows for faster wound healing in skin).

In fact, studies suggest that curcumin may possess particularly strong antioxidant activity and may directly reduce skin ageing, including preventing dry skin and protecting against wrinkles.

Turmeric anti ageing supplement for skin


Zinc is a micronutrient essential for the development and functioning of human skin. It improves wound healing, is anti-inflammatory, has anti-bacterial effects against acne and plays a critical role in collagen synthesis.

Those who are deficient in zinc may also show signs of scabby skin, sores and marks that take a long time to heal.

Studies have shown that patients with acne often are deficient in zinc and its oral supplementation has a positive effect on the treatment of acne.

Indeed, one study in The Journal of the Turkish Academy of Dermatology, found that a staggering 54 per cent of those with acne had low zinc levels.


CoQ10, also known as Coenzyme Q10, is a compound that helps generate energy in our cells.

Our bodies produce CoQ10 naturally and it is stored in the mitochondria of our cells – these are the powerhouses, or ‘engines’ in every cell in our body – but its production tends to decrease with age.

CoQ10 is also integral for defending cells against damage caused by free radicals found in the environment

CoQ10 has also gained popularity in the beauty industry as a popular addition to many anti ageing, skin care products due to it’s antioxidant properties.

This is because, CoQ10 is also integral for defending cells against damage caused by free radicals found in the environment that contribute to our bodies’ ageing says a study by National Centre of Biotechnology.

So, can we supplement ourselves young?

A pill that holds back the years may sound too good to be true, but we can maintain younger-looking skin through a supplement – if you invest in the right one.

Be sure to check the ingredients. Do they feature the anti ageing vitamins and minerals mentioned above such as zinc, turmeric and vitamin C to support collagen formation, as well as amino acid Co-Q10?

To make sure you’re getting your money’s worth, it’s also a good idea to make sure you are buying a supplement that is clinically proven to deliver results, such as Lumity’s Morning and Night Female Supplements, from £65.00 for a one month supply.

thumbnail_Layer 7

Lumity’s twice-daily supplement is proven to repair, restore and sustain youthfulness at a cellular level well beyond what is possible through diet and lifestyle alone.

Indeed, a placebo-controlled, double-blind, two-cell clinical trial was conducted on 50 female subjects, aged 35 to 65, for 12 weeks. Subjects took either Lumity’s Morning and Night Female Supplements or a placebo twice daily.

After 12 weeks, of the the women taking Lumity, 92 per cent registered significant improvements in skin condition over those taking the placebo, including improved skin hydration, radiance, firmness and overall appearance. They also registered quality of life improvements, including a reduction in tiredness.

Fascinated by the human body and the role nutrition plays in health, Lumity’s founder and creator, Sara Palmer Hussey PhD wanted to create a supplement that helps you age well.

The Cambridge-educated PhD and research scientist started to notice her first few wrinkles in her mid-thirties, as well as her energy levels waning and a weakened immune system. Because of this, she set out to find a solution that works, to help other people going through the same thing.

‘Packed with vitamins, minerals, omega 3s and amino acids, Lumity is a gentle, well-balanced and effective support to help the body sustain optimum health, energy and confidence through the years, so that you can feel like the best version of yourself every day,’ says Hussey.

Taken in the morning and evening, Lumity delivers high-quality nutrients that supplement your skin and body throughout the day and night from £65 for a one month supply.

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Garlic bread - how this foodie favourite can help boost your immune system FEATURED

Garlic bread – how this foodie favourite can help boost your immune system

Garlic – a foodie favourite and aromatic vegetable that can also improve immunity. We officially have an excuse to eat nothing but garlic bread as a way to protect ourselves from that virus

Garlic flavoured anything is an all time foodie favourite. Type garlic bread into Instagram and you’ll be inundated with pictures of golden, crispy, cheesy garlic bread – #foodporn alert.

But garlic isn’t just a delicious flavouring, it’s also pretty good at improving our immunity – which at the moment is pretty important, wouldn’t you agree?

We are all aware that social distance, frequent hand washing and wearing a face covering are all ways we can help protect ourselves from contracting Covid-19.

But thinking long-term, boosting our immunity should be one of our priorities as it can help to prevent and reverse chronic diseases.

One natural remedy and way to boost our immunity is through the small but powerful vegetable, the garlic bulb. Despite it being a kitchen staple for a majority of culinary cuisines, it works wonders for your immune system too.

Yes, it can leave you with a deadly stench in your mouth (not pleasant, I know) but the benefits are far greater and quite frankly worth the smelly breath.

And better yet, for those of you who aren’t exactly garlic lovers, we’re not saying to force an entire garlic clove into your mouth.

Instead add some crushed up pieces of garlic to your food and you’re good to go – or make your own garlic bread – a simple and scrummy preventative measure which your immune system will thank you for.

So, what really is garlic?

Garlic, also known as Allium Sativum, is part of the onion family which includes chives, shallots, leeks and scallions. The sections of garlic (called the cloves), are peeled, and either cut or crushed giving raw garlic that pungent odour.

So what causes that smell you ask? Well apparently it’s due to the compound called sulfur which also possesses anti-cancer properties.

Besides the various sulfur compounds that garlic is made up of, garlic also interestingly contains around 0.2 grams of protein, 0.01 grams of fat, 0.05 grams of fibre, 1 gram of carbohydrates as well as the essential vitamins A, B and C. Who would of thought huh?


Does garlic have a place of origin?

Like with many things, garlic also has some sort of origin which traces as far back as Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greek times.

An extract published in the Journal of Nutrition, highlights how the Egyptians implemented garlic into the diet of labourers to increase their strength when building the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Likewise, the Ancient Greek also included garlic in their diet, particularly of the original Olympic athletes as a ‘performance enhancing’ agent.

Also, the Ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates used garlic as a form of medication and prescribed it to people who were suffering from various illnesses and diseases such as respiratory conditions (e.g. pneumonia), poor digestion and parasites.

So now modern science has caught up with this popular food additive, sighting garlic as the golden egg for survival and immunity.

What makes garlic so powerful?

Those delicious bulbs of heaven contain a compound called allicin that has been well studied for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects.

Allicin can easily absorb through membranes in your body, making it highly permeable, allowing this active ingredient to reach vital cells in your immune system and interact with them in a positive way to enhance immune activity.

Chopped or crushed raw garlic releases the active ingredient, allicin, which helps boost your immune system

How does garlic improve your immune system?

One study published in Malaria Journal, demonstrates how allicin partially aids the immune response in mice infected with malaria. Mice treated with allicin showed a greater production of pro-inflammatory mediators (cells that help fight infection and inflammation) compared to those treated without allicin.

Another study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2016, showed just how effective garlic is in minimising cold and flu symptoms.

Indeed, 120 healthy participants between the ages of 21 and 50 were given either 2.5 grams of aged garlic extract (AGE) or a placebo. This was carried out for 90 days during the cold and flu season.

Those who consumed garlic for 45 days showed that their immune cells (e.g. natural killer cells and T cells) responsible for fighting pathogens (aka the bad guys) were increased and more activated than those who didn’t consume garlic.

After 90 days, although there was no significant difference, participants who consumed garlic also noticed a reduction in the severity of their cold and flu symptoms and a reduction in the number of days missed for school or work.

The benefits of garlic therefore show that it can aid in combating immune related diseases or illnesses by working alongside immune fighting cells to boost the health of your immune system and reduce inflammation.

How to choose the best ones?

Look for those that are plump and have tight skin, rather than those that look messy with skin already peeling.

It’s best to buy them fresh and consume within a week to get most of the benefits this beautiful bulb has to offer, but you can also store them for a couple of months in a cool dry place away from sunlight but with a good supply of ventilation.

Pick garlic that look plump and skin tight- they tend to be the best ones

Is there a garlic supplement?

Some studies have tried to take this active ingredient out of garlic and make it into a supplement, but they haven’t been shown to be effective.

However, one study did prove to be effective over a 12 week period where 146 participants given a daily supplement containing allicin reported significantly lower cases of cold symptoms by 63 per cent compared to the placebo group.

Participants were also noted to have quicker recovery periods from the cold virus compared to those who didn’t consume allicin containing supplements.

Another study published in Clinical Nutrition also demonstrates aged garlic extract supplements to prove beneficial. Participants reported a reduction in the severity of their cold symptoms by 21 per cent and noted a 61 per cent reduction in the duration of their symptoms than compared with the placebo group.

For best results, fresh garlic reaps all the benefits for a healthier immune system

As with everything however, more research needs to be carried out to determine the effectiveness of garlic supplements.

There are also powdered and dried forms of garlic. Powdered garlic is prepared from the bulbs which are cut, freeze-dried or dried at a maximum temperature of 65 °C and contains around 1 per cent alliin – which is the original sulfur compound before being converted by enzymes into allicin when garlic is cut or crushed.

Garlic oil, steam-distilled garlic and aged garlic extract are also available but they don’t have quite the same benefits as raw or powdered garlic form.

For best results, fresh garlic reaps all the benefits for a healthier immune system.

Need some garlic recipes?

Other than gorging on garlic bread – and we totally wouldn’t blame you after reading about all its wonderful benefits – why not try a few of these simple recipes which involve crushed garlic to boost your immune health in no time. Bon appetite.

Garlic recipe #1 Garlicky kale and and mushroom one-pan eggs

This is a breakfast choice option created by Sarah Malcolm who is a London based yoga teacher, content creator, recipe developer and blogger.

‘This is my go-to for anything quick and easy during the week when I need to teach and make a quick breakfast, but it’s also perfect for a lazy weekend brunch,’ says Sarah Malcolm.


Serves 2

  • 1 tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Handful of fresh parsley, stems roughly chopped and leaves saved for topping
  • 250g mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2 handfuls of kale / Cavolo Nero, roughly torn
  • 4 British Lion Eggs
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • Sprinkling of feta

1. In a large wide frying pan, heat 1 tbsp butter, then gently soften the garlic with the chopped parsley stalks before adding the mushrooms.

2. Add the splash of apple cider vinegar, pinch of salt and let that fry for about 5 minutes on a high heat.

3. Add the kale and let soften for a few more minutes.

4. Give everything a good stir, then make 4 gaps and craxk the eggs into each dip.

5. Sprinkle over more salt then put the lid on for about 5 minutes, until the whites have set but the yolks are still runny.

6. Sprinkle with chilli flakes and feta cheese.

7. Serve with some warmed sourdough bread.

Garlic recipe #2 No fuss feast – Cheat’s paella

Charlie Watson‘s latest book Cook Eat Run (available to buy on Amazon US and UK), is the ultimate beginner runner’s guide, featuring recipes, meal ideas and nutritional advice.

This is one of those dishes where you can use up whatever veg, meat or fish you have in the refrigerator or freezer and it tastes great.

I think it’s excellent with leftover roast chicken and king prawns (jumbo shrimp), but it also works with squid, roast pork, chorizo, white fish, or even just packed full of vegetables, as here.



Serves 4

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 2 red, orange or yellow (bell) peppers, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • pinch saffron
  • 150g (5½oz/1 cup) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 300g (10½oz/1½ cups) orzo pasta
  • 750ml (25fl oz/3¼ cups) vegetable (or chicken or fish stock) (bouillon)
  • 100g (3½oz/¾ cup) frozen peas
  • large handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • lemon wedges, to serve

1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan (skillet) or paella pan (with a lid) over a medium heat, add the onion and peppers and gently fry for 8 minutes, until softened.

2. Add the garlic, paprika, saffron and tomatoes and cook for 1 minute, then add the orzo pasta, stock (bouillon) and peas.

3. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover with the lid, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Season to taste, then stir through the parsley. Serve with lemon wedges.

Garlic recipe #3 Spicy red lentil and quinoa pot

Bettina Campolucci Bordi’s new book 7 Day Vegan Challenge (available to buy on Amazon US and UK), combines budget friendly ingredients with big flavours so you won’t feel left out.

This recipe is a  protein boost in the form of a deliciously quick, one-pot fix. Easy to make and even easier to eat.



Serves 2

  • Olive oil, for frying
  • ½ onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 large handful of chopped cavolo nero or kale
  • 80 g (3 oz/1/3 cup) red lentils
  • 100 g (3. oz/. cup) dry quinoa
  • 400 g (14 oz) passata (sieved tomatoes) or tinned chopped tomatoes
  • Salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Dollop of coconut yoghurt, to serve


Black sesame seeds
Hemp hearts
Toasted nuts


1. Heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan (skillet) and fry the onion, garlic, carrot and spices for 5 minutes until the onion is brown and the carrot soft.

2. Add the chopped cavolo nero, the red lentils and quinoa, cover with the passata and bring to a simmer.

3. Season with salt and pepper to taste and leave to simmer under a lid for about 10–15 minutes until the quinoa and lentils are tender.

Tip: Serve with a dollop of yoghurt to take the edge off the spice.

Garlic recipe #4 Garlic Mushroom Lentils and Fried Eggs with Parmesan and Rosemary

Tin Can Magic, by Jessica Elliott Dennison has conveniently created a cookbook dedicated to the mighty power of our beloved tinned food. She has unleashed her magic to create the latest delicious recipes to keep you ready and more prepared than ever to fight this apocalypse (I mean pandemic).

(Tin Can Magic is available to buy on Amazon US and UK)


Serves 2 

Time: 20 mins 

  • 4 tablespoons rapeseed (canola), vegetable or light olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • 200 g (7 oz) mushrooms, dirt brushed off, roughly torn (ideally a mix of wild, chestnut and button)
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves only, roughly chopped
  • 1 x 390 g (13 3/4 oz) tin of green lentils in water, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 100 g (3 1/2 oz) spinach, washed and drained
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan


–Rosemary – sage, tarragon, thyme

–Green lentils – cooked puy lentils, cooked pearl barley, cooked spelt, cooked brown rice

–Parmesan – pecorino, feta, goat’s cheese, mature Cheddar, halloumi

–Walnuts – almonds, hazelnuts, pecans


1. First, heat two tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat. Add the garlic and, stirring regularly, fry for one to two minutes until golden and fragrant. Take care not to burn the garlic or it will become overly bitter. Transfer the garlic to a small bowl and set aside.

2. Next, increase the heat to high and add one tablespoon more oil. Add the mushrooms and cook for four minutes, or until browning and catching at the edges. Stir in the rosemary, fry for one to two minutes until crisp and fragrant. Stir in the lentils, lemon juice, salt and spinach until wilted. Add a few splashes of water if the pan contents look a bit dry.

3. Heat one tablespoon of oil in another non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Crack in the eggs and fry for one to two minutes until crisp on the base but still with a runny yolk, or to your liking.

4. Divide the mushroomy-lentils between two plates. Top with a fried egg and the reserved crispy garlic. Sprinkle over the Parmesan and the zest of the remaining lemon half.

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Suicide prevention how to help someone who is suicidal FEATURED

Suicide prevention: how to help someone who is suicidal

For Suicide Prevention Day, founder of the Suicide Crisis Centre Joy Hibbins writes exclusively for Healthista on how to help someone who is suicidal

Suicide is a significant public health issue that isn’t going away any time soon, with more than one in 20 people attempting suicide at some point in their lives.

Each year, more than 6,000 people across the UK and Republic of Ireland take their own life, and tens of thousands more attempt suicide.

more than one in 20 people attempting suicide at some point in their lives

Indeed, according to Samaritans, in the UK suicide rates among young people have been increasing in recent years with the suicide rate for young females now at its highest rate on record.

Some people who consider suicide may hint or disclose to friends or relatives that they intend to take their own life. Other people who are feeling suicidal might not mention it at all or give any indication.

In 2012, Joy Hibbins tried to take her own life – twice.

The available suicide services and helplines didn’t work for her and it was clear that something very different was needed, so she set up the Suicide Crisis Centre.

The main aim was to support people who were not accessing services, who had disengaged from mental health services or had found them unhelpful. Since then, the centre has achieved a zero suicide rate, with no client under their care dying.

In 2012, Joy Hibbins tried to take her own life – twice

‘It can be very difficult to know whether someone you care about is feeling suicidal. A person who is at risk can be extremely good at covering it up,’ explains Hibbins.

‘However, if someone you love seems low in mood or depressed, it’s important to ask the right direct questions to find out the level and immediacy of the risk’.

There is no evidence to suggest that asking someone if they are OK will make them feel worse. Talking about these things can help.

Hibbins reveals what you should say – and not say – to someone who is suicidal…

4 potentially life-saving questions to ask:

#1 Are you feeling suicidal?

Don’t be afraid to ask this, then move on to the questions below.

#2 Have you thought about how you would do it?

You need to know whether they have thought about a method already, because this shows they are further along in their plans. If they say yes, then ask:

#3 Do you have it already?

Or ask if they have thought about where they would go, if they specify a location for a suicide attempt. Then ask:

#4 When are you planning to do it?

This tells you how immediate the risk is. If it’s today, the quickest way to get help is to take the person immediately to an Accident and Emergency department at the local hospital.

Or call 999 or 111 if you cannot take them there yourself.

Woman comforting depressed friend suicide prevention

Giving support: what’s helpful, what’s not

Let them know how much they matter to you

And how much their survival matters to you and to everyone that cares about them.

A person who is feeling suicidal may be depressed and this distorts their thinking. They may feel that they are a burden and that people would be better off without them. This is wholly inaccurate, of course.

Emphasise all the things that make them unique and special

Including all their good qualities, their personality traits – the things they contribute to the world. All these would be lost, if the person died.

A person who is depressed will often feel they are entirely worthless. They may no longer be able to see anything positive in themselves and what they bring to the world. You can help them to see how much they matter.

Let them know you are there for them and that you want to help and support them

You may fear that you don’t know the right things to say. You may fear that you’ll say the wrong things. The most important message to give to the person is that you care, and that you want to help.

If you make the occasional unintentional unfortunate remark, it will be heard in the much wider context of a person who is really trying to do their best for the person.

Encourage them to seek other help with your support

Offer to call their GP. Call a GP or a crisis service yourself, if they feel they can’t or if they don’t want to. If you feel overwhelmed and don’t know what to do, call the NHS number 111 and seek their advice.

At our Suicide Crisis Centre we often receive calls from people who want advice on what to do.

It’s understandable that you might feel afraid in this situation. But please don’t let your fear make you avoid asking the right questions about suicide risk or deter you from trying to help.

Depressed sick woman suicide prevention

4 things NOT to say

#1 It’s unhelpful to minimise the situation or to play it down

Take it extremely seriously, always, when someone says they are feeling suicidal.

#2 ‘It will get better’ or ‘You’ll be all right’

It can sometimes be hard for a person to hear the words ‘It will get better’ or ‘You’ll be all right’ because it may be impossible for them to envisage that, in the midst of deep depression.

It can often be more helpful to let them know you empathise with their situation: ‘I can hear how extremely low, depressed or distressed you are feeling’.

#3 Please don’t comment that it is selfish to feel this way

A person who is feeling suicidal is in deep emotional pain. They are thinking in a way they would not think if they were well or if they were not highly distressed. They are not themselves at this point.

#4 The phrase ‘Stay strong’ can be unhelpful, too

It implies that feeling suicidal may be ‘weak’. It is not about strength or weakness. Every one of us has a limit to what we can endure.

A suicidal crisis can happen to any one of us. It takes huge courage to say that you are feeling suicidal and to seek help. We should be emphasising that.

joy-hibbins-for-media-1Joy Hibbins is the Founder and CEO of a charity (Suicide Crisis) which runs a Suicide Crisis Centre in Gloucestershire.

For information about the Crisis Centre phone 07975 974455 or visit

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Migraine symptoms_ 10 things you didn’t know but probably should FEATURED

Migraine symptoms? 10 things you didn’t know but probably should

Are your headaches worse than normal? You could be suffering migraine symptoms. Nutritional Therapist Hannah Braye reveals 10 things you may not know about migraines but probably should

If you think your throbbing headaches aren’t migraines, you may want to think again – especially as women are three times more likely to suffer from them than men.

If your headaches make you feel sick, sensitive to light or they stop you from functioning on a daily basis, there is a good chance that you have migraine.

migraine is the third most prevalent illness in the world

A migraine is a brain disease that causes a number of uncomfortable symptoms. The NHS define migraine as a moderate or severe headache felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head.

According to Migraine Research Foundation (MRF), migraine is the third most prevalent illness in the world, with more than four million adults experiencing chronic daily migraine.

Migraines will most often be accompanied by symptoms including nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, poor concentration, vomiting and ‘aura’ before the headache starts which can manifest as zig-zag lines, slurred speech, dizziness and feelings of fear and confusion.

sensitive to light migraine symptoms

While the exact cause of migraine headaches is unknown, the MRF says that many different things have the ability to trigger a migraine including both genes and environmental factors.

Some of the most common triggers include:

  • Bright lights, loud noises, flickering lights, temperature changes
  • Allergies
  • Emotional stress, anxiety or depression
  • Tiredness and poor posture
  • Changes in sleep patterns and poor sleep
  • Dehydration
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Bad gut bacteria
  • Hormonal triggers such as menstrual cycle fluctuations and menopause
  • Foods containing tyramine (red wine, aged cheese, smoked fish, chicken livers, figs, and some beans), monosodium glutamate (MSG), or the artificial sweetener aspartame
  • Other foods such as chocolate, nuts, peanut butter, avocado, banana, citrus, onions, dairy products, and fermented or pickled foods
  • Medication such as sleeping tablets, the contraceptive pill, and hormone replacement therapy

Due to the severity of migraines, they can often stop you performing daily activities, not only that but did you know that a migraine can last between a couple of hours to several days? And did you know there are certain foods that can trigger a migraine?

That’s why Healthista called upon Nutritional Therapist Hannah Braye, who reveals ten things you may not know about migraines but probably should…

#1 Migraine is not just a headache

A migraine is a complex and multi-factorial condition that is often poorly understood by both the public and medical profession. One thing that is for certain, is that for those who suffer with them, they can be significantly debilitating.

pain is much worse and attacks usually start suddenly with severe pain on only one side of the head

Migraine is not the same as the usual kind of headaches that most people have every now and then. The pain is much worse and attacks usually start suddenly with severe pain on only one side of the head.

Headache is also only one possible symptom of migraine disease, with many people also experiencing nausea, vomiting, digestive issues and sensitivity to light, noise, movement and smell with attacks.

#2 Not everyone experiences an aura

Migraines can be experienced with or without aura. Aura is a term used to describe a neurological symptom of migraine, which typically precede the headache.

Visual disturbances are the most common neurological symptoms, but others include numbness or tingling, pins and needles, weakness on one side of the body, dizziness or vertigo and issues with speech, hearing and memory.

Whilst these symptoms are commonly associated with migraine, only around ten to 30 per cent of sufferers actually experience migraine with aura, says The Migraine Trust.

Dizzy and faint woman migraine symptoms

#3 No two migraines are alike

Each individual will experience migraine attacks differently.

Varying forms include: common migraine (without aura), classic migraine (with aura), chronic (occurring more than 15 days a month), episodic (less than 15 days a month), menstrual (relating to the menstrual cycle) and hemiplegic (involving weakness in one side of the body).

Some people also experience digestive upsets or sensitivity to light, noise, movement or smell. When children have migraines, they may not have a headache at all – instead, the main symptoms might be nausea, vomiting or dizziness.

#4 Migraines are more common in women than in men

According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information, about 14 out of 100 women and 7 out of 100 men have recurring migraines.

This is different for children, where migraines are equally common in boys and girls. This is likely due to the role that varying ovarian hormones (especially oestrogen) at different times of the month play in triggering attacks.

Women who suffer with menstrual migraines may therefore find taking steps to naturally balance their hormones through diet and lifestyle beneficial.

Woman with migraine symptoms

#5 Migraine is a neurological not a psychological condition

Migraine is a neurological (nervous system) disease relating to dysfunction in the part of the brainstem important for regulating vascular tone and pain sensation.

A migraine is caused when physiological (not psychological) triggers cause vasodilation of cranial blood vessels. It is a biologically-based disorder with the same validity as other medical conditions such as high blood pressure or asthma.

However, migraine disease is often poorly diagnosed and misdiagnosis can sometimes lead to the inappropriate prescription of medications such as anti-depressants.

#6 Diet can play a role in migraine

Blood magnesium levels have been found to be reduced in many migraine sufferers compared to non-sufferers and research suggests magnesium deficiency may contribute to attacks (particularly in menstrual migraines).

To increase magnesium levels focus on eating more leafy green vegetables (at least two portions a day), avocados, nuts, seeds and legumes and consider taking a supplement.

various foods and food additives are thought to potentially trigger migraine attacks

Migraines are also linked to inflammation, so following an anti-inflammatory diet, high in omega 3 fatty acids from oily fish, antioxidants from colourful fruit and vegetables and spices such as turmeric and ginger, whilst cutting out more pro-inflammatory foods such as processed and high sugar foods and vegetable and sunflower oils is recommended.

In addition, various foods and food additives are thought to potentially trigger migraine attacks in sensitive individuals, so keeping a food diary or carrying out an elimination diet (under the supervision of a nutritional therapist) to identify triggers may be beneficial.

Food journal

#7 Poor gut health could be contributing to your migraines

There is a clear association between the prevalence of migraines and many digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), irritable bowel disease (IBD), coeliac disease and gastro-oesophageal reflux (GORD).

Low levels of beneficial gut bacteria can contribute to gut hyper-permeability (‘leaky gut’), which is a risk factor for both localised and systemic inflammation. It is believed that low-grade inflammation originating from poor gut health may contribute to inflammation of pain pathways in the brain, triggering migraine attacks.

There is a clear association between the prevalence of migraines and many digestive disorders

Newly emerging research indicates that live bacteria supplements may be of benefit. A recent randomized double-blind controlled clinical trial found that the 14 strains of live bacteria in Bio-Kult Migréa significantly reduced both episodic and chronic migraine frequency and severity in as little as eight weeks. (Bio-Kult Migréa is also available to buy on Amazon). 

The product also contains magnesium and vitamin B6, both of which contribute to the normal functioning of the nervous system, and the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. Vitamin B6 also contributes to the regulation of hormonal activity.

#8 Stress is the most commonly reported trigger for migraine

Stress and anxiety often play a role in migraine, potentially initiating the condition in susceptible individuals, exacerbating attacks and contributing to the progression of the more chronic form.

Relaxation, stress management and resilience techniques and therapies are therefore an important part of an effective management plan. Mindfulness has been shown to be particularly effective in controlling headaches such as migraine, with several studies reporting positive results.

For example, a 2018 review of the evidence from ten different clinical trials found that mindfulness meditation may reduce pain intensity and is a promising treatment option for patients, with an eight week course having a significant positive effect.

stressed woman migraine symptoms

#9 When it comes to exercise and migraine, moderation is important

Evidence indicates that gentle to moderate cardiovascular exercise may be beneficial in migraine, as it is thought to activate multiple pain modulatory mechanisms, potentially decreasing the intensity of migraine pain.

Intense exercise on the other hand can be a trigger for migraines and headaches in some. To reduce the risk of exercise-induced migraines its best to ease yourself into any new exercise regime gently, only exercise when well rested, warm-up properly, reduce your exposure to triggering environmental factors, fuel your body with good nutrition and stay well hydrated.

#10 Overuse of pain-killers could be making your migraines worse

Despite the high prevalence and debilitating nature of migraines, less than 50 per cent of sufferers are satisfied with currently available treatments, and many resort to self-medication with over the counter pain-killers.

However, unfortunately this is not without risks as there is concern of medication over-use and rebound headaches. Many painkillers also have a negative effect on other systems of the body if over-used.

For example, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen have a negative impact on the health of the gut lining, potentially contributing to leaky gut, which is implicated in migraine pathogenesis.

Many painkillers also have a negative effect on other systems of the body if over-used

So whilst painkillers may be necessary on occasion to help manage migraines, investigating the root causes of attacks, rather than just masking symptoms is advisable.

There is no one clear cause or solution to migraines, and some individuals suffer with attacks which appear particularly resistant to treatment. Tackling migraines may therefore require investigation into a number of different aspects of health.

However, by approaching them holistically through changes to diet and lifestyle, supporting the health of the gut, balancing hormones, managing stress, addressing nutrient deficiencies and appropriate supplementation and medication, many sufferers are able to see a significant improvement in symptoms, allowing them to experience a greater quality of life.

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Looking for first date ice breakers_ Celebs Go Dating matchmaker Anna Williamson reveals 11 tips FEATURED

Looking for first date ice breakers? Celebs Go Dating matchmaker Anna Williamson reveals 11 tips

Ice breakers are an important part of a successful first date. Healthista editor Olivia Hartland-Robbins spoke to Celebs Go Dating life and relationship coach Anna Williamson who revealed 11 dating tips 

First dates can be awkward and nerve racking, especially if you’re out of practice or new to the dating world.

Of course, many of us are out of practice no thanks to Covid-19. Lockdown and social distancing rules meant that single people everywhere weren’t allowed to see each other let alone go on dates.

Have you Googled the words ‘ice breakers’ or ‘dating tips’ before a first date?

Aside from lockdown, insecurities, anxieties, fear of rejection, a breakup – there are many reasons someone may not feel their most confident and date-ready self.

Have you Googled the words ‘ice breakers’ or ‘dating tips’ before a first date? We certainly have.

That’s why Healthista editor Olivia Hartland-Robbins spoke to psychology expert and ultimate dating pro, Anna Williamson.

Williamson, 39, is best known for her role as a matchmaking agent on E4’s hit show Celebs Go Dating, where she is tasked with helping the dating agency’s celebrity clients as they face up to the real reasons behind their failed and non-existent relationships.

So it’s safe to say Williamson knows a thing or two about dating and relationships. Here are 11 dating tips she want’s you to know…

#1 Embrace your nerves

When people ask me about nerves and how to ‘get rid’ of them I always tell them that nerves are a good thing and one of the best ice breakers there is. In fact, I think it would be very weird if you weren’t nervous.

nerves also give us a nice little boost of adrenaline

I have been doing live TV for about 20 years, and the day I don’t get nervous is the day I need to worry, because it probably means I have lost my passion or stopped caring about it.

Nerves on a date are great because it shows that you actually care about how that date is going to go. Not only that, but nerves also give us a nice little boost of adrenaline which is exactly what we need for our mind and body to be firing on all cylinders.

nervous first date ice breakers

#2 Prepare three open questions

One of the most awkward things that people often find when going on dates is not knowing what to say or not having enough to say.

That’s why when it comes to ice breakers I always advise that people come to a date prepared with three open questions. That means questions that can open up an easy and flowing conversation, not questions that deliver just a yes or no answer.

choose topics that are interesting or important to you

Oh, and choose topics that are interesting or important to you. Think about any funny anecdotes or facts that are interesting about yourself and frame your questions so that you can blend those facts and stories about yourself into the conversation.

Plus by talking about yourself, your date may feel more open to talk about themselves too and you’ll be able to find out more about them.

Tip: I like to suggest that one of those open questions asks about their family, as it’s often the most important thing to people.

couple eating on first date ice breakers

#3 Get to know yourself first

Meeting someone for a date is a personal interaction and highly intimate, and as I mentioned above, nerves are an inevitable but positive thing.

Those who seem particularly nervous though, are usually not feeling very confident in themselves. This is why first date nerves often come down to low self-esteem and a lack of confidence.

If that sounds like you, I would suggest looking at who you are first. Write down what you think you have to offer and what would make you a great date.

That can include your values, foundations, beliefs and what would your friends and family would say about you. Write them down so you can visually see what you have to offer, believe in them and make them robust. That way you’ll feel self-assured and raring to go.

write down what you think you have to offer and what would make you a great date

Plus, when someone feels confident in themselves, those feelings often radiate onto your date. It’s known as mirroring and matching, how you present yourself – with confidence – you will often find that your date will match that confidence.

In fact, mirroring refers to the simultaneous copying of the behavior of another person, as if reflecting their movements back to them. Behavioral research has shown that mirroring and matching (copying other people’s body language, mannerisms and even subtly repeating their words) helps to build trust and establishes rapport.

I like to see it as holding the hand of the other person and willing them to match your positive and confident frame of mind without even realising you are doing it. But if you give off awkward vibes and your date mirrors that, then you’re both likely to stay feeling awkward throughout the date.

couple kissing bubblegum first date ice breakers

#4 Ask your date what their five-year plan is

If you are dating to look for a relationship that will go the distance, then it may be a good idea to find out their five year plan, or even their ten year plan – without sounding too serious of course.

People may not see this as one of the better ice breakers, but I feel that asking someone where they see themselves in five years time is an important thing to establish, plus it can generate quite a good conversation.

#5 Be clever with small talk

Small talk is often the most popular form of ice breakers. What’s your favourite holiday, food, drink, film, colour and so on.

Small talk is nice and all that, but that’s all it is – nice. I think it’s best to weave these things into conversation in a less obvious way. If you have an anecdote that happens to include your favourite holiday that goes on to suggest how much you love beach holidays then great.

make sure you always reflect conversation back onto the other person

But, I think we need to steer away from cliched and naff small talk, and instead keep conversation slightly more fluid and organic.

So it’s more along the lines of ‘this is what I like and why, what about you?’ Think of it as a game of ping pong or tennis, and make sure you always reflect conversation back onto the other person, as that is what helps keep the conversation going.

First date in cafe first date ice breakers

#6 Try online dating first

Face to face dating is important. Being tactile, having sex and kissing are all a huge part of dating and relationships. But online dating does have a place in the dating world and anyone who has been sniffy about it needs to get over it!

The pandemic was about as negative as life can get, but I still believe there is a positive to be found and that was internet dating. It really did come into its own.

One of the best things about internet dating is that you can do it safely

Over the years, virtual dating has gone from being seen as a bit of a joke to being quite acceptable. People used to see dating apps and online dating as a way to just a hook up (or to send dick pics). But now online dating is seen to have many positive benefits.

One of the best things about internet dating is that you can do it safely, as you are dating from the safety of your own home. Not only that but it’s far cheaper than going out on a date, as the average fist date costs well over one hundred pounds.

Online dating has given many the opportunity to try before they buy. Meaning people have been able to work out whether there is enough about that person to make them want to meet them in real life.

You could say that online dating is one of the best ice breakers out there, because you can get to know things about someone before ever meeting them.

That’s why I feel so strongly about why people need to get on board with online dating. I truly believe there is a place for virtual dating in conjunction with face to face dating.

Woman online dating with a view first date ice breakers

#7 Give everyone a chance

‘What if I don’t fancy them?’ Well, if you don’t, I am here to tell you that it’s completely OK.

Have I honestly fancied everybody that I’ve ever been out with? Most definitely not, not straight away at least. In fact most of the men I dated in the past often became a bit of a grower (excuse the pun).

Of course sexual attraction is an important part of dating, but what people need to remember is that there is so much more that goes into fancying someone than what someone looks like.

all kinds of other things make up a person other than looks

There’s personality, culture, hobbies, interests – and all kinds of other things that make up a person other than looks. That’s why I suggest giving someone time to grow on you.

Unless you are completely repulsed by them always go on a second date, even if there is just a tiny flicker of interest, because it’s not until you get to know someone and uncover a few more things about them that you realise how that you are in fact attracted to them.

#8 Glam yourself up and don’t drink too much

When going on a date you want to put forward the best version of yourself right?

In order to do that, my top piece of advice is don’t drink to much alcohol when trying to settle your nerves. Despite popular belief drinking isn’t one of the best ice breakers because it often ends in embarrassment.

Instead, get yourself spruced up but don’t go over the top, and make sure you’re dressed appropriately for whatever the date is that you’re going on. Wear something that makes you feel good and your most confident self. Oh and don’t forget the perfume or aftershave, scent can go a long way.

Always treat the date and your date with respect as you would wish to be treated. You wouldn’t want your date turning up as a scruff bag so don’t not make the effort for someone else.

woman getting ready for a first date

#9 Just breathe

Breathing techniques are key if you are feeling that nervous.

I recommend the 7/11 calming technique, you breathe in for seven seconds through your nose and then out through your mouth for 11 seconds – while doing this you can think of the ice breakers you want to use on the date.

Do that a few times or repeat until you feel calmer.

#10 Enjoy the date for what it is

Before you go on a date, focus on what the beginning, middle and end of a date would be like in your ideal world – aka imagine the perfect date and then imagine your worst possible date scenario.

This will help you to then put your actual date into some perspective of what you expect in a potential partner.

where possible just try and honor that date that you’re on

Go into every date with the mentality of ‘whatever I do or what ever happens tonight on this date I am going to enjoy it to the best of my ability and to be open minded throughout’.

And remember the date may not be amazing, and you may realise that this totally isn’t the person for you, but where possible just try and honor that date that you’re on, even if you get to the end of that date and know you never want to see that person ever again.

first date not going well

#11 If you really are dreading a date – cancel it

Put off after a really bad date? We’ve all been there.

I hear from many people who have experienced a bad date, and they say ‘Oh no I’ve got another date to get through this week’ – if that is you I would advise you to cancel that date right now.

Why? Because you sound as excited about the date as you would a funeral. If you go into a date saying ‘this is going to be a crap date’ then it will be.

Instead take a pause and wait until you’re in the right frame of mind.

Anna Williamson
Photo Credit: Ruth Rose

Anna Williamson also has a number one bestselling book Breaking Mad: The Insider’s Guide to Conquering Anxiety.

Available to buy in the US on Amazon. Also available to buy in the UK.

Catch up on episodes of Celebs Go Virtual Dating on All4.

You can also listen to her podcast Luanna which she co-hosts with her friend Luisa Zissman.

Follow Anna on Twitter and Instagram.

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