1 Thing You Can Do Today


Daydreaming, often dismissed as a distraction, is a mental activity with surprising health benefits. Beyond providing a momentary escape from the demands of daily life, daydreaming has been linked to improved cognitive function and enhanced creativity.

Research suggests that allowing the mind to wander fosters problem-solving skills and encourages innovative thinking.


Reduce your stress and boost your mood

You probably do it instinctively, but it turns out that daydreaming has a positive impact on stress reduction. Engaging in pleasant and imaginative thoughts during moments of relaxation can lower cortisol levels, the hormone associated with stress.

Daydreaming has also been associated with enhanced memory consolidation. During these mental wanderings, the brain consolidates and organises information, potentially aiding in learning and memory retention.


Improve your problem solving ability

When your mind is allowed to wander freely, it can make connections between seemingly unrelated ideas, leading to novel insights and solutions.

During daydreaming, the brain engages in what psychologists call “incubation”, a process where the subconscious mind continues to work on a problem even when the conscious mind is at rest. This incubation period allows the brain to consider alternative perspectives, and generate new ideas and think divergently.

Research has shown that people who take breaks and engage in mind-wandering during tasks requiring creativity often demonstrate improved problem-solving abilities compared to those who remain intensely focused.

Eat Smarter

Fresh Ginger

Fresh ginger is not just for stir fries, it is a nutrient-packed powerhouse that can do wonders for your wellbeing. Here are eight reasons to eat more fresh ginger.

1. Digestion

Ginger contains gingerol, a bioactive compound that kickstart the digestive process, reducing bloating, indigestion, and nausea. That is why so many motion-sickness supplements include ginger.

2. Anti-inflammatory

Gingerol is also a powerful anti-inflammatory compound. Anti-inflammatories can potentially lower the risk of chronic diseases like arthritis and heart conditions.

3. Immunity

Ginger is a nutrient-packed immunity booster. Rich in antioxidants, it strengthens your body’s defenses, helping you fend off common colds and flu.

4. Pain relief

Ginger is often used as a natural pain reliever, and clinical trials have shown it is effective in reducing pain, although more research is required. Its analgesic properties make it effective in soothing various types of pain, from menstrual cramps to muscle soreness.

5. Mood booster

Research suggests ginger can positively impact mood by influencing serotonin levels in the brain. Chemicals found in ginger can interact with the serotonin receptor responsible for antidepressant effects.

6. Weight management

Ginger can help you manage your weight by promoting a feeling of fullness. Additionally, its thermogenic properties can give your metabolism a gentle boost.

7. Cognitive clarity

Ginger’s antioxidants are thought to protect your brain against the oxidative stress behind neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease.

8. Nutrient-rich

Ginger contains essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, B6, and potassium, making it a wholesome addition to your diet.

Are You a People Pleaser?

Do you want people to see you as ‘good’, always put others’ needs first and go out of your way to make life easier for everyone? If so, it may come at a cost.

Being warm, kind and agreeable are positive traits and an important part of being in nurturing relationships. But they can become problematic if they do not develop healthy boundaries.

“A lot of the time I didn’t like myself.” Says Natalie Lue, a relationship expert based in the UK, who describes herself as a recovering ‘people-pleaser’. I really had this fear of saying no.”

Lue, author of the book The Joy of Saying No, says ‘people-pleasing is when we suppress and repress our own needs, desires, expectations, feelings and opinions to put others ahead of ourselves so that we can gain attention, affection, validation, approval and love.

“Or we do it to avoid conflict, criticism, additional stress, disappointments, loss, rejection and… abandonment.”

Trying hard to make others happy comes at a cost, says clinical psychologist Jennifer Guttman, writing in Psychology Today. She says people-pleasing behaviour can lead to resentment and frustration, problems with decision making, and low self-worth.

Putting in boundaries

If you recognise yourself as a people pleaser, Guttman recommends some simple exercises.

- Practise saying ‘no’. This is a hard one for many of us, but it does not have to come across as uncaring. Assertive communication can be done in a firm but respectful way, says Guttman. Try statements like: “I would really love to be able to help you, but unfortunately I am already committed at that time.”

Lue suggests you do not start by saying ‘no’ to everything. She also discourages trying your first ‘no’ on someone you are most afraid of telling ‘no’, such as a parent or partner.

- Do not offer. Try to stop offering, doing things, or advising, unless you are specifically asked, advises Guttman. While this may be difficult if you are used to anticipating other people’s wants or needs, use restraint and wait to be asked.

If you are unsure, Guttman suggests doing something called a ‘resentment check-in’. When someone asks you to do something, do a body scan and ask yourself: “Were this behaviour never to be reciprocated or validated in any way, do I feel a twinge anywhere in my body?” if you feel a twinge, delegate, edit, or deny the request. If you do not then go ahead and accept.

- Make a decision by yourself. If you are used to making decisions in agreement with others, Guttman suggests you practise making small independent decisions, building up to bigger ones. Remind yourself that you do not always have to please everyone with your decisions. Start small, for example, by picking a restaurant, then work your way up to larger decisions as you feel more competent and confident in yourself.


Finding help

If you struggle to set boundaries and speak up for yourself, seek support from a trusted professional such as your doctor, a psychologist or counsellor.

Alcohol-Free Drinks: Are They Actually Good For You?

Most people would assume that an alcohol-free wine is healthier than a full-strength wine, but does it have inherent health benefits as well? Or is it just ‘less bad’ than the alcoholic options?

If you are choosing between an alcoholic wine or beer and a non-alcoholic one on the basis of health, the alcohol-free version wins hands down. Here is why:

1. You avoid the damage of alcohol

Any drink which does not contain alcohol will logically, allow you to avoid all the many health issues caused by alcohol.

These include but are not limited to: headaches and hangovers, higher levels of anxiety and depression, weight gain, sleep loss, liver disease, higher blood pressure, heart disease and several forms of cancer.

Remember, alcohol is a Group 1 carcinogen, which causes long-term damage to your body.

2. You get even more antioxidants

Many people say they drink wine for the health benefits of the antioxidants, particularly polyphenols such as resveratrol.

Polyphenols are a plant chemical linked with lowered blood pressure, improved response to insulin, and reduced oxidative stress. All these effects could help decrease the risk of heart disease.

Alcohol-free wines have the same polyphenols as regular wine – sometimes even more.

Plus, the removal of alcohol gives the antioxidants a chance to work on your immune system.

3. You will consume fewer calories

The alcohol-free versions of most alcoholic drinks are, by and large, lower in calories. For wines, beers and spirits, the zero version contains around a third to half the calories.

However, you need tp keep in mind three things:

A. What you mix it with. If you are drinking alcohol-free spirits and you are mixing it with a lemonade, cola or tonic, you are still consuming a lot of sugar.

B. What else if added. Just because it is non-alcoholic does not mean it is low in sugar or additives. Always read the ingredients.

C. How much you have. It is easy to knock back more alcohol-free drinks than you would an alcoholic drink.