Wellbeing Hub

Welcome to the Wellbeing Hub At Granary Chiropractic we believe your body has a natural ability to restore your health from the inside out. Chiropractic care supports your body and allows you to heal and repair which allows you a better quality of life. Our vision is to support you and to help you create lasting changes in your life. The merger of these beliefs is where the vision of the Wellbeing Hub was born. Having the trinity as our logo was at the inception of this birth, combining chiropractic with nutrition and movement, all leading us to better health and wellbeing. But where do we go to find the information that can support this vision and the journey? Lots of the information is scattered through books and the internet as well as dotted through social media, so bit by bit we aim to add articles and blogs to this Wellness Hub that add little pieces of the puzzle. The information might be recipes or useful websites to look at, or current research that has been done, it might be articles or even just personal journey stories, but our hope is that you will be able to pop back again and again, always learning new things or simply finding inspiration. Dotted through will be gentle ways to support your mental health as well as your physical health since they are inextricably entwined.

  • Block Booking
    Wellbeing Hub

    Welcome to the Wellbeing Hub

    At Granary Chiropractic we believe your body has a natural ability to restore your health from the inside out. Chiropractic care supports your body and allows you to heal and repair which allows you a better quality of life.

    Our vision is to support you and to help you create lasting changes in your life. The merger of these beliefs is where the vision of the Wellbeing Hub was born. Having the trinity as our logo was at the inception of this birth, combining chiropractic with nutrition and movement, all leading us to better health and wellbeing.

    But where do we go to find the information that can support this vision and the journey?

    Lots of the information is scattered through books and the internet as well as dotted through social media, so bit by bit we aim to add articles and blogs to this Wellness Hub that add little pieces of the puzzle.

    The information might be recipes or useful websites to look at, or current research that has been done, it might be articles or even just personal journey stories, but our hope is that you will be able to pop back again and again, always learning new things or simply finding inspiration.

    Dotted through will be gentle ways to support your mental health as well as your physical health since they are inextricably entwined.

  • Let's Get Moving and Can It Help Us Connect
    Wellbeing Hub

    Let’s Get Moving and Can It Help Us Connect?

    I have always loved sports and have always tried to move my body, but what I have struggled with is the slower type of movements like yoga and Pilates.

    There is compelling research that there is a powerful effect of movement on our brains. Just one thirty-minute session can improve our cognition, attention and concentration. When we do aerobic exercise, things that get our heart rate up, like brisk walking, running, or swimming, the blood flow to our brains increases, which in turn increases the levels of connectivity between different parts of our brains and can result in neurogenesis, new cells forming. When we move, we also feed back into the brains reward system which makes us feel good.

    Lots of studies have been done looking specifically at mental health, depression, and exercise and many of them are incredibly insightful. In many trials exercise shows a reduction in people’s depressive symptoms. In other trials those that were more active were less likely to develop depression compared to those that were less active. The most significant difference is found in people who do 150 minutes of exercise each week (equivalent to thirty minutes, five times a week). Lifestyle is not a cure all, but it can be empowering to note the potential of something as simple as walking, and how incorporating something as achievable as a thirty-minute power walk each day could have a huge impact on our well-being.

    Don’t get me wrong I love a lazy morning or watching a trashy romantic comedy, I even love occasionally binging on Netflix. None of us can be learning, growing, moving and doing the whole time. But it is interesting to note that being more mindful in the way we spend our time can have a real impact on our well-being.

    As with anything, nothing is truly sustainable if it is not enjoyable, which comes back to finding what works for you. It is not about copying what someone else does, if what they do doesn’t resonate with you or if it feels as though you are actually depleting your body and making yourself feel more exhausted. I have tried many types of exercise over the years, I have seen so many people who were in incredible shape doing exercise such as HIIT or boot camp and all kinds of other extremely strenuous workouts, so I tried them, thinking it would suit me too. In fact, it has often been the opposite. I simply become ill and managed to injure myself, there is no magic cure for this, it is just simply too much for my body.

    I combine yoga with other exercise such as running or cycling. I find that physically moving helps me to make space mentally too. Flowing with the yoga always works to quieten my mind (although some days are much easier than others) and creates a sense of peace, positivity and gratitude that I have never been able to cultivate from any other exercise. Yoga has seen me through big challenges and small day to day nuisances. Yoga helps me feel stronger and fitter and because I love the practise it is something I make time for and is now an essential part of my life. Yoga isn’t for everyone, and burpees might work much better for you, so it’s about finding what you love and that will make prioritising it much easier. I also love a long walk outside in nature with my dog Oscar, it is simple, free and effective at keeping my body fitter and my mind in a more positive place.

    Just one song

    Movement can make us feel amazing, but when we are feeling stressed or unhappy it seems almost impossible to find the motivation. We have already discussed the physical benefits of moving your body on a regular basis and that movement can help reduce stress and increase happiness. The difficulty is, that when we are feeling stressed or unhappy, we rarely want to exercise. It is a tough cycle to break, but there are a few motivational tricks to get you going. So, if you want to move but struggle to do so every day, then this one might be for you. If like me you are naturally motivated to exercise, then perhaps this will add some fun into the mix, and we all need a little bit more fun in our lives.

    When you think about moving your body, how does it make you feel? Perhaps you don’t feel very motivated to move right now, maybe you know it will make you feel better, but you can’t find the energy to get changed into workout gear or trainers and get moving. You may even feel motivated to move, but not sure you can face another HIIT workout or another 5K run. If this is the case, I want you to try a little challenge for me. I’d like you to pick just one song that makes you feel happy and energised and then move for the duration of that one song. That’s it! It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you do, if you are moving for the whole song. You could walk to the end of the road and back, do star jumps on the spot, or treat yourself to a kitchen disco. If you do have any kind of mobility issues, then you can always move in your seat. Once the song is over, decide what you want to do next, do you want to take it up a level and move into another song? If so keep going! If not, that’s okay, you still moved for a few minutes longer than you would have done before. There is plenty of time to expand on this technique and get moving for longer when you feel the time is right.

    This just one song approach can be applied to pretty much anything that you are feeling unmotivated for, whether it’s moving your body, cleaning the house or working on an important project for work. Promise that you will move, clean or work for just one song and then see how you feel afterwards. Maybe, once the blood is pumping through your body you will simply want to carry on, you might even end up doing a full hour before you know it.

    Daily movement has so many benefits, from reducing your risk of heart disease through to boosting mental health and improving sleep. Promise yourself that you will move for just one song.


    What I would say about yoga is that it has helped me create a sense of intuition and connection with my body that nothing else ever has. It has been a game changer for self-acceptance and self-love, allowing me to tune into how I feel mentally and physically everyday. Yoga can be simple, quiet stretching or an intense sweaty flow, there is no right or wrong way to do it and by the very nature of yoga philosophy you can’t be good or bad at its physical side. But yoga is not about learning to do the splits, master headstands or balance on one arm, it has nothing to do with any of these things.

    My love of yoga has helped guide me towards meditation, mindfulness, and a deeper practise of gratitude, three areas that can be powerful when it comes to finding a little calm, balance and grounding in our lives. I must be honest though and say I have always found these areas a little trickier. They are not as practical as cooking dinner or putting your trainers on for a run, so they tend to require more self discipline and as a result I find that they are the first things that fall by the wayside when life gets intense, even though I know I probably need them the most at these points. The more I have looked at the philosophy that shapes ancient movement practises, the more I have been able to understand why they are so relevant today and there is a lot to learn from them.

    One of the main lessons that I have learnt from my practise of yoga comes back to our question of the day, what practises are we doing for our health and what are we doing for aesthetics? There are eight limbs of yoga, of which the physical practise, the asanas only comprise one of them. The rest revolve around ethical considerations (the yamas), self-observations (niyamas), breath control (pranayama), sense withdrawal (pratyahara), concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana) and a state of bliss or enlightenment (samadhi). Now we may not reach enlightenment, but creating more peace, calm and a sense of bliss in among the busyness of the world could do us the world of good.

    Being happy is normally something that we work on, that we nurture every day and yoga practise can help us to create a framework for doing just that. The limbs of yoga are a practical guide to creating a better relationship with both the world around us and ourselves, they can teach us how to live our happiest life, one that is focused on creating more kindness, love and compassion in the world, which I love because lots of us need a little guidance on this road.

    The five yamas effectively act as a moral compass:

    • Ahimsa or non-violence or non-harming, teaches us to be kind and gentle both to those around us and to ourselves, letting go of negative thoughts, not speaking badly to others or ourselves and going about each day with a desire to only do good.
    • Satya or not telling lies or truthfulness is about being open and honest with those around us and with ourselves, it is about honouring how we really feel and not living in denial.
    • Asteya or not stealing means more than simply not physically stealing an item from someone, it is about being mindful of what we take from others and also about giving back and acknowledging the time and resources that someone has put into something that they share with us. It is also about being grateful and ensuring we always aim to give more than we take in our lives.
    • Brahmacharya or moderation is often described as the right use of energy, or being aware of how we spend our energy each day, working towards nourishing relationships and practises that help us find contentment rather than fleeting moments of happiness.
    • Aparigraha or non-attachment is about not defining ourselves by what is around us and in finding a sense of whole just as we are, it is not about needing possessions or other people to complete us and create fulfilment.

    The niyamas are concepts we can practice to create peace in our lives:

    • Saucha or purity is about purifying our lives so that we can sit in stillness with ourselves, keeping our environment clean, and keeping our mind clear.
    • Santosha or contentment is about being happy where we are today, not looking to the past or the future, not externalising our happiness or pinning it on to anyone else. It is also about not looking for it in material possessions, simply appreciating the here and the now.
    • Tapas or discipline is about cultivating self discipline, showing up and doing our best, every time we commit to something and having the courage to push ourselves.
    • Svadhyaya or self-education is about observing ourselves, noting any patterns and ways of being and looking to better ourselves through this. It is always seeing ourselves as a student and honouring a hunger to learn and to grow every day.
    • Isvara pranidhana is about meditation on the divine, or devotion, but this devotion doesn’t need to be to a God unless you choose it to be, rather it symbolises the idea that we are all one, we all exist in a universe that is so much bigger than us as individuals. I find this concept fits in perfectly with my views as a Chiropractor and the idea of innate.

    Movement, yoga and meditation are all much more than what happens in a gym class, on your mat or when you are listening to a podcast. They are ever evolving, ever deepening ways of being, ways of creating calm, ease, kindness, and peace, of grounding and connecting and centring the mind. In the craziness of the current world that we live in today, it feels very relevant and very very important to help cultivate these elements. Stress can impact both our physical and mental health, so finding tools to relieve it is incredibly important.

    Namaste, Kat x

    Wellbeing Hub

    Making Healthy Easy, Affordable and For The Planet

    In another article (How To Eat a Plant-Based Diet) I talked about why we should take care of ourselves and why eating more plants and nourishing our minds and bodies makes a difference to our overall wellbeing. Here I wanted to talk about the how; how to make eating well a little easier, how to do it on a budget, how to cut down on food waste and how to eat more seasonally. Here are some tips and tricks to make a healthy lifestyle a little more sustainable and enjoyable.

    For the planet

    It has become clearer in the past few years that we are facing a climate emergency and that one of the easiest ways to make a positive impact is by changing our diets. It has been suggested that the single biggest way to reduce your impact on the earth is with the power of vegetables. Agriculture is one of the most polluting industries on the planet, and the meat and dairy industries produce about 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions. Believe it or not the meat and dairy industries create more greenhouse gases than the transport industry. If the world ate more plant-based, we could even plant trees on the farmland that was no longer needed.

    Do we have to go fully plant-based to get the benefits? I know that this would be a massive ask and a lot of people are not a huge fan of making such sweeping changes overnight. I also think that things like this often need to be gradual so that they are not overwhelming. The good news is that you can still have a huge positive impact on the planet by switching to a flexitarian diet (following a semi-vegetarian diet, not permanently excluding any meat or fish but with many of your meals being focused on plants). I think this is exciting as it feels a little more doable and it is something we could start to do right now.

    One of the negatives that I often hear about healthy eating is that it is expensive. Plant-based eating has become linked with super foods, fancy powders and hard to get ingredients. This can be off putting for some and totally out of the realms of affordability for others. However, cooking nutritious, plant-based meals doesn’t need to be expensive, especially not your everyday recipes and weeknight staples. It is about choosing your recipes and making staples like lentils a big part of your shopping list. Here are a few tips, because removing cost as a barrier is important if we want to change the way we are eating as a society:

    • Stock your cupboard with staples, it makes a huge difference. You can buy them in bulk which means that you are ready to go when you get home from work, you just need to stop and pick up a couple of fresh ingredients. The easier it feels to make a recipe the more likely you are to make it. If I know that all I need to buy is onion, garlic and spinach then I’m much more likely to stop, buy them and cook from scratch.
    • Focus on ingredients like beans and pulses, which are relatively cheap, easy to cook with and easy to get hold of. They are also really filling, as they are full of both fibre and protein, so you can make them the centre of a healthy, balanced meal. These kinds of recipes are also ideal for batch cooking and freezing, which cuts down on food waste as you can use a whole bag of carrots, spinach etc and you can make extra so that each meal goes a little further, saving you time and energy later in the week. I do a lot of batch cooking and swear by it.
    • Shopping seasonally helps, but I know that is often easier said than done and may depend on the shops or markets that you have access to.
    • Buying frozen berries, frozen spinach and other frozen vegetables makes a big difference. Not only are they normally cheaper, but they also make healthy eating easier as you can stock your freezer with them and know that you have always got them ready to go.

    Here are some of my kitchen staples:

    • Dried lentils, pasta and rice.
    • Cartons of oat milk and tubs of coconut yogurt.
    • Tins of chopped tomato’s, coconut milk, chickpeas and various types of beans.
    • Dried herbs and spices.
    • Tahini, almond butter, various seeds.
    • Olive oil, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, vegetable stock cubes, tomato purée, miso paste and maple syrup.
    • Coconut oil, dark chocolate, dates, chia seeds, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, oats, buckwheat flour, spelt flour and various types of nuts.

    Avoiding waste

    The other thing that makes a big difference, both to our wallets and the environment is using our leftovers. The statistics around food waste are terrifying, right now, a third of all food produced around the world goes to waste, what’s more, we’re using an area roughly the size of China and 25% of the worlds freshwater supply to grow the food that goes straight into the bin!

    It is easy to dismiss the problem as something that happens in shops and restaurants, but sadly that’s not the case at all. In most developed countries, over half of all food waste is happening at home and in UK households we throw away around twenty-five million slices of bread, six million potatoes and over a million bananas everyday.

    We all want to stop climate breakdown and make a difference, and avoiding food waste is one of the easiest, most straight forward things that we can do. We can simply take control of what we buy and how we use it so that we never throw anything away again. If we all did this and moved to a largely plant-based diet, we could make a shift that would help protect the planet for our future. Here are some ways that I avoid food waste:

    • I freeze left over food. For example, frozen ripe bananas make yummy smoothies or ice cream. If I have left over stew, curry or soup, I freeze it in batches, portioning it out and letting it cool before popping it in the freezer.
    • Adapt recipes. Lots of recipes can be added to or adjusted easily to use left-over odds and ends in the fridge, like a spare carrot or potato. I find stews, soups and curries are the best place to sneak in left over veg. For example, vegetable noodles could contain just about any vegetables from cauliflower to green beans, kale, peppers, celery and so much more.
    • Try turning your left-over vegetables into dips or sandwich fillings, if you make an excess of hummus for example, then use it in a sandwich the next day or add it to a packed lunch with carrots to dip in it.
    • Shopping at a local greengrocer can also help since you don’t have to buy a big bag of vegetables when you only want two carrots or one potato. This doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, just smaller scale producers where you can buy single, seasonal ingredients.

    Eat seasonally

    Eating seasonly if you are able, can also taste better, be a little cheaper and a little more sustainable.

    For example, In the summer tomatoes, courgettes, aubergines, cucumber, berries and french beans are all in season and taste extra delicious. In autumn mushrooms, squash, apples and pears are all in season. In winter why not try beetroot, cauliflower, celery, potatoes, kale, brussel sprouts and parsnips. In spring it is all about broccoli, lettuce, rocket, spinach, carrots, asparagus and fresh peas (often these spring vegetables taste even better straight from the plants if you are lucky enough).

    So why not give plant-based eating a try and help protect the planet while you are doing it.

    Love Kat, x

  • Self-Acceptance, Body Image and Calories
    Wellbeing Hub

    Self-Acceptance, Body Image and Calories

    These are concepts that I have struggled with personally for many years. I want to dive into the idea of positive change and find out if the changes we are making to the way we live are done to better our mental and physical health, rather than to change the way we look. How do we find that all important self-acceptance, in ourselves generally but more specifically in relation to our body image?

    Self-esteem and body image have some crazy statistics and our online life seems to exacerbate the issue. Social media appears to make school age children feel less confident about their appearance and how interesting their life is, while older eighteen to twenty-four year-olds say that their social media feeds make them feel less attractive. As much as 93% of women when analysed said they engage in toxic self-talk. We convince ourselves that our success is simply luck and being in the right place at the right time and as a result we are terrified that our shortcomings will be exposed. This puts us into a state of constant fear of not being truly enough.

    The same sense of unworthiness seems to find its way into the world of body image and dieting. When questioned women often say that most of the time, they are trying to lose weight. This is almost matched with the number of men saying it. Finding acceptance of ourselves and moving away from a notion that certain bodies have more value than others can be difficult, especially with such easy access to everyone’s lives online and the culture of constant comparison that exists as a result. I do think that we must remember that what we see online is a highlights reel, or a best of, rather than the minute-to-minute insight into someone’s life that it can appear to be. Rarely ever do you see the whole picture. How often do you see the children smiling eating ice-cream in a picture when a few minutes earlier they were screaming that they wanted lollies instead of ice-cream and a few minutes later they are covered in a sticky mess and accusing each other of having a bigger scoop.

    When it comes to moving past comparisons and finding a more positive image of ourselves, I firmly believe that we need to start by finding a better connection to ourselves. In this way we can reclaim a happier, more consistent relationship with cooking, eating, exercising and nourishing ourselves.

    Shifting the focus to nurturing your body rather than on depriving it of something or a lack of something helps break the negative cycle of restricting our lives to look a certain way. Shifting to a positive mindset helps us to sustain a healthy lifestyle and increase our health. You remove the guilt and truly enjoy eating, exercising and simply being in your body.

    Some days you may be cold and miserable, and you are simply tired and hungry, so have a satisfying dinner such as a stew or risotto and snuggle up at home. If another day you have loads of energy and want to pack in the nutrients, maybe a big salad and lots of vegetables after a run might be the answer. It doesn’t come down to good food or bad food it comes down to listening to what your body knows and what will make you feel good at that moment in time on that day. Every day is different, our emotional state fluctuates, our hunger levels go up and down, the amount of movement we get in a day changes and so on. It makes more sense to tune into the impact of what we cook, what we eat, what we think and how we move.

    Becoming a mother has really helped me to re-define the way that I see the body. Appearance feels so much less important than it ever did before and setting a healthy attitude for my children when it comes to body image and creating good habits around mealtimes has become even more important. I try to help my children understand that loving themselves is vital and together we work towards finding an acceptance in our physical self without judgement.

    This idea works on the premise that while loving every part of ourselves is a beautiful concept it still means focusing on our physical body and aesthetics a lot when we should be aiming to move past that and just let it be. It becomes more a question of what you want to be known for, do you want to be known for being the person with abs and shiny hair, or someone that is really kind, clever, hard working and diligent. Do you want to be someone who always shows up for their friends? That’s not to say we can’t enjoy going to the gym and eating healthily and want to feel good in our body, it just means not getting too hung up on it and seeing ourselves and our attributes as part of a much bigger picture. I mean, why do we love our friends? Is it because of their long legs or because of their great laugh? Is it because they support us lovingly and consistently or because they are good on a bike? We don’t tend to put those around us in the same limiting boxes that we sometimes create for ourselves and when you put this in such a simple way, the idea of defining ourselves by our looks feels a little mad too.

    I understand that it is easy to talk about these concepts and that being more accepting of ourselves can only be a good thing, but the question is how do we do it? How do we make what we eat a delicious satisfying part of our life and how do we make our movement and exercise fit into this category, rather than something negative or all consuming? How do we feel comfortable in our own skin while we do it?

    Diet culture is changing. Focusing on a natural, whole foods diet and eating more vegetables is less about aesthetics and more about creating a way of cooking, eating and living that feels genuinely enjoyable and therefore sustainable for the long term. Something that you enjoy and something that makes you feel good physically and mentally every day is far easier to stick to.

    Recently I tried calorie counting and looking at my macro breakdown to see if I could improve my diet and my relationship with food. However, I found that both were bad for my mental well-being but also for my health. The first thing I need to say here is that part of the reason that I stopped calorie counting and looking at my macros was because my daughter started to watch what she was eating as well. She is seven years of age! So, let’s look at what calories are. A calorie isn’t a thing, it’s simply a unit of energy. A calorie essentially measures the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one gramme of water by one degree Celsius. When we discuss calories, we often look at the calorie balance, or more simply, how many we need to take in versus how much we expend. This poses a variety of issues since it is far too simplistic.

    Our bodies are complex biochemical systems, where a calorie isn’t just a unit of energy. When looking at how things are absorbed by the body, we need to ask, are all calories created equal? Is an avocado equal to a chocolate bar? The short answer is no and that is why calorie counting can be an inaccurate and unhelpful way of looking at what you are eating. Each food has its own unique thermic effect, which is the number of calories needed by your body to digest, absorbed and process the nutrients. Everybody is as unique as our personalities, which inevitably means that we will use calories differently. Comparing an avocado which has more fibre, fat and a plethora of other ingredients to a basic chocolate bar which has a lot of sugar and different kinds of fat in is just illogical. Nutritional science is not straight forward and the food we eat must undergo a complex process in the body, which takes time and involves a lot more interactions than a simple mouth to stomach pathway. Instead of looking at calories we should be focusing on nutrients, how many colourful pieces of fruit and vegetables, beans, pulses, nuts and seeds we are eating rather than the numbers. Now that’s not to say we shouldn’t enjoy the chocolate, if it is part of a balanced, intuitive way of living, but it’s a great example of why we shouldn’t make our decisions based on the number on the back of a packet, because the numbers don’t tell you all you need to know.

    Current science also suggests that the gut microbiome often holds the answer to why different people develop different diseases. The gut impacts our health and well-being on a scale far beyond what we can imagine. Every single body has a unique microbiome, and the microbiome determines how we react when we eat food. We have come to understand that every body will respond to the same meal differently. Even if we live in the same place and eat the same thing as each other, even if we were identical twins, we would still react differently. How we react to a meal is determined by our microbiome and therefore is incredibly complex. Reducing food to just carbohydrates, fat, protein, and calories is far too simple and the much-used concept of weight loss being calories in versus calories out or in simply exercising more, just isn’t valid anymore. This in turn highlights why one person can eat one thing and lose weight, while someone else will eat the same meal and gain weight. Our guts are different and how we react to calories is very different, so focusing on a calorie count won’t necessarily help us in any way and simply highlights why there will never be a one size fits all and why we all need to do what feels right to us as individuals.

    The only blanket advice with regards to this that I can give is to look after your gut microbiome and that means aiming to include thirty different plant-based foods in your diet each week, as this greatly assists the microbiome diversity in our gut.

    Ultimately, having said all of that, it all goes back to the old age wisdom but ever so slightly boring concept of balance, or trying not to see anything in isolation when it comes to creating a healthy mind and a healthy body. You need to make recipes, ideas, exercise, and lifestyle changes fit in with what works for you. Implementing something new or making a change is often difficult and asking yourself if this is right for me can make all the difference. Can you imagine yourself doing it in five year’s time? Are you truly enjoying it and is it really making you feel good? Short term diets, quick fixes, calorie counting and macro watching never seem to work. Practising a deeper acceptance of yourself and how you want to truly turn up in the world can make a difference. But ultimately make sure that what you do is done in a kind, loving, slow and gentle way.

    Love Kat, x

  • What Does Wellness Mean?
    Wellbeing Hub

    What Does Wellness Mean?

    So what does wellness mean? When I started writing this article, I asked lots of friends, family and clients what they thought that ‘wellness’ meant. The responses that I had showed the importance of the concept even if the wording isn’t the same for us all. The main answers were:

    • Balanced.
    • Self-love.
    • Happiness.
    • Nourishing my mind and body.
    • Listening to my body.
    • Being content in all aspects of my life.
    • Feeling good physically and mentally.
    • Taking steps to feel healthy and happy.
    • Feeling good in my own skin.
    • Waking up feeling strong, positive and healthy.
    • Being kind to myself, others and the planet.

    The World Health Organisation defines wellness as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. Lots of us believe that wellness is about nourishing our mental and physical health, so the next question I want to ask is what are the tools we need to do that, and how do we achieve this healthier and happier? Another important question is how do we achieve this in a way that fits into a busy lifestyle and without it breaking the bank, while still feeling the rightness of it?

    Before I write any more, I wanted to take a moment to say that even though I use the phrase ‘wellness’, it may not resonate with everyone. The word itself can sound a little cheesy, but there is a huge amount of science behind so many of the practises that sit under the umbrella term of ‘wellness’. There is an increasing decline in our mental and physical health. Making lifestyle changes and incorporating some of these practises into our daily habits and lives does feel timely and incredibly important. Ignore the terminology, especially if the word wellness doesn’t immediately resonate with you and come back to the core of the rationale behind it, finding simple, everyday tools, resources, even recipes to help us all feel a little healthier and happier.

    I have learnt that there is no one clear definition of being healthy and certainly no one right way to do it. Feeling healthy is not just about what goes on my plate or what exercise I do. It isn’t solely defined by how much broccoli or kale I eat or even whether I get my daily steps in. If I’m too stressed, tired, or run down then I don’t feel at my best. If I don’t make time to stop and consciously breathe or move my body, then I don’t feel as energised and positive as normal. I can make healthy meals, but it doesn’t always mean that I am taking care of myself properly and it becomes obvious that I need to do this to find the inner strength required to get through a difficult day or week. I learnt that yoga before work doesn’t work for me, but that listening to an inspiring pod cast on my way to work or when I’m out walking with the dog puts me in a far better frame of mind. A ten-minute meditation before bed helps me sleep and helps get rid of a lot of the late-night worries, whereas journaling just gets tedious before bed and is better in the morning for me. Turning off my phone and reading a chapter of a book before bed rather than emailing and scrolling through social media helps me as well. These are simple changes they aren’t expensive or huge commitments; they are about small tweaks that make the world of difference and I want to learn more about why they help. I also want to pass that information along to you.

    I have always been interested in the why. I feel that you must know why you are doing something and often why it works as well, in order to feel motivated to do it. When it comes to our health, we are constantly told to do things. Eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day (it is now ten portions), walk 10,000 steps a day, get our heart rate up for thirty minutes five or so times a week, meditate, sleep eight hours, manage your stress, eat more fibre… but why? Understanding what happens in our brains and our bodies when we do these things, whether it matters and what potential biological or chemical differences the changes can make to us is for me important.

    While studying nutrition I learnt about gut health and the ways in which our gut is connected to the brain. During my MSc I learnt about the power of exercise on our mental health and how moving our bodies in certain ways can even help forge new pathways in our brains. Studying NLP helped me understand trauma and mindset. You will often hear me talk about the powerful impact of plant-based diets on the environment as well as the astonishing issues surrounding food waste. Our stress levels and how they can result in loneliness, technology addiction and the fragmented relationships lots of us now have can all negatively affect our physical health and are all important to wellness.

    I hope to walk you through how Chiropractic works and how it can support your immune system, how to get a balanced plant-based diet and unpick some diet myths, what calories really are and how to navigate all the conflicting advice within the nutrition space, how to move your body and build those mind body connections.

    Like so many of you I am busy juggling work and home, and it often feels like a game of spinning plates. While building Granary Chiropractic hasn’t been easy, I am also incredibly proud of the journey that it has been and that it wouldn’t be this way without its challenges.

    Feeling great isn’t easy, doesn’t happen every day and takes day to day work, but it doesn’t need to be nearly as complex as it is sometimes made out to be. That is what the recipes and advice in this space is all about, fast, free, simple ways to help you feel better. I hope you love this new Wellbeing Hub as much as I will love making it.

    Love Kat, x

  • How To Eat a Balanced Plant-Based Diet
    Wellbeing Hub

    How To Eat a Balanced Plant-Based Diet

    When it comes to our health, there seems to be a gap between knowing what is good for us and implementing that information. I find this super frustrating and often ask the question why. We all know, for example, that we should eat our five to ten portions of fruit and vegetables a day, it’s one of the only non disputed concepts in nutrition, yet people still don’t do it. Why is that? I believe a big part of this is because most of us don’t really know why we should be doing it. It’s no good being told what to do, if we don’t understand how and why it will benefit us.

    If I’m honest, I ask the why question a lot. My journey to nutrition has been over many years and started from being unable to boil an egg when I left home at the age of eighteen. In 2016 I completed a naturopathic nutrition course and things started to fall into place. Part of me couldn’t believe I didn’t know this information before and that learning about the power of nutrition was not a central part of our standard school curriculum, but at the same time I was really excited by the information I now had and the idea that implementing it could have such a profound impact on my life, and on the health of my clients.

    There are so many facts and figures on the benefits of eating more plants, but one of the areas that stands out most is how good it is for our gut and how this then impacts our overall health. Here are some of those facts and figures of why out gut is so important:

    • Our gut is directly linked to our brain via the gut-brain axis, which means that our gut is in constant communication with our brain and therefore impacts on our mental health, as well as our physical health.
    • About 90% of our serotonin, our happy hormone, is made in our guts, again showing the link between our gut and our wellbeing.
    • 70% of our immune cells live within our guts, so we need a healthy gut for a healthy immune system.
    • Our gut needs fibre, which we find in plant-based foods such as fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds and pulses. Fibre is the gut bacteria’s favourite food and for gut health we should aim to include thirty different plant-based foods in our meals each week. Try switching up your veggies in a stir fry, blending some roasted vegetables into hummus or adding a handful of greens into your pasta, this way it’s easy to get the numbers to start adding up.

    If you are altering your diet to include more plants or plant-based meals then you may be wondering how to make it a healthy, balanced diet. I did a lot of reading when I first started to change my diet, so that I could understand how you could get calcium, iron, protein and all the other nutrients we need from a vegan diet. This was something that I had never really appreciated before. So, I wanted to clear up some of the confusion and outline some of the ways in which you can eat a balanced plant-based diet.

    What to look for in a plant-based diet


    Your body contains thousands of different proteins, all of which are made up from amino acids. There are twenty different amino acids that combine to form these proteins, eleven of which can be made by your body and nine of which can’t be, and these ones must come through your diet. Lots of plant sources of protein only contain four or five of these amino acids, which means you need to eat a variety of ingredients each day to get the full spectrum and create complete proteins. The average adult needs between 45g and 56g of protein per day. Active individuals or pregnant women need more than this.

    Good sources of vegan protein are tofu, tempeh, and edamame beans (these are all complete proteins). Quinoa is also a complete source of protein. Lentils, chickpeas and beans are amazing because as well as being a source of protein, they are full of dietary fibre and nutrients. Hemp seeds are great added to smoothies or sprinkled over breakfast. Peas are another rich source of protein. Nuts, nut butters, seeds and tahini are all very versatile and could be added to most foods.


    Iron has many important roles in the body. It is crucial for energy, hair health, thyroid health, immunity and brain function. About 70% of your bodies iron is found in red blood cells where it binds and transports oxygen around the body, this means that if levels drop you can really notice it, with low energy, feeling dizzy or faint, or struggling with exercise and concentration. Because of menstruation and childbearing, women have a higher risk of deficiency and therefore need to eat more iron (around 14g per day) than men (around 9g per day). Iron comes in two forms in our food. Haem iron is only found in animal sources and is easily absorbed, whereas non-haem iron is found in plant sources and isn’t absorbed as efficiently, so we need to be eating enough iron rich foods to keep our levels high enough.

    Iron requires vitamin C for absorption, so having vegetables or fruit alongside grains and nuts is recommended and it’s worth noting that tea and coffee can also reduce absorption of iron. Leaving time between these drinks and meals will really help.

    Good sources of plant-based iron are lentils, chickpeas, beans, tofu, quinoa, beetroot, cocoa, sesame seeds, tahini, pumpkin seeds, spinach, swiss chard, kale, dried apricots, dates, figs and raisins.


    Calcium is required by the body for our bones and teeth, but it also keeps our blood at the right pH and is needed for muscle contractions. We tend to think of calcium rich foods as all being dairy products, but plant-based foods contain equally good levels of calcium meaning it isn’t difficult for a plant-based diet to supply enough calcium, if you are eating a variety of different foods. Eating a wide variety of ingredients everyday makes getting all the vitamins and minerals you need a lot easier. Vitamin D is required for calcium absorption in the gut, so having your levels checked can be important, especially if you aren’t exposed to much sunlight or have darker skin tones, since vitamin D comes from sunlight.

    Great sources of plant-based calcium include cabbage, kale, broccoli and cauliflower, sesame seeds and tahini, almonds, edamame beans, tofu, flax seeds and lentils.

    Healthy fats

    Fat has been seen as bad for a very long time, but our bodies need a constant supply of the right types of fat to stay healthy. Healthy fats work to support our mood, memory, hormone balance, immunity, cardiovascular health and joints, as well as keeping our hair and skin healthy, so we want a good amount of omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids.

    Unlike older dietary advice, research now shows that we don’t need to be afraid of saturated fats, if they are supportive of immunity, energy and brain health. The plant-based foods that contain some beneficial saturated fats (such as those found in peanuts, macadamia nuts, avocado and coconut oil) also tend to contain other nutritious compounds such as fat-soluble vitamins, fibre and antioxidants. A plant-based diet rich in nuts, seeds, avocado and olive oil tends to contain good levels of omega 6 and 9 fatty acids, however deficiency of omega 3 is more common since this is mostly found in oily fish. It is important to keep the ratio of omega 3 to 6 balanced. Walnuts, flaxseed, milled chia, leafy green vegetables and spirulina are good plant-based sources of omega 3 so look to include these whenever you can.

    It is worth remembering that these plant-based omega 3’s need converting into other forms to fulfil their function in the body, and this requires magnesium, B6 and zinc. This shows how important a balanced diet is since nothing works alone in our bodies.


    Another important nutrient to consider is zinc, which is needed throughout the body, and is involved in over 300 reactions that keep immunity, mood, energy, hormones, skin and memory working properly. It is a nutrient that becomes easily depleted in those that are stressed, drink alcohol or smoke. Zinc is found in lower levels in plant-based foods, so it is important to make sure you have enough to help avoid a deficiency, especially as it helps you process omega 3 properly in the body.

    The best sources are tahini, sunflower seeds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, lentils and raw cocoa. Hemp seeds are also a good source.

    Supplementing B12

    If you are eating a varied, balanced plant-based diet then you should be able to get everything you need from your diet except vitamin B12, which is found in animal products. B12 is required for DNA synthesis, detoxification, fertility hormone balance, brain function and the nervous system. The impacts of B12 deficiency are far reaching, so getting your levels checked is a must if you have been eating plant based for more than six months and plan to continue. If you do need to supplement, then it’s advisable to consult your doctor or a nutritionist about what dose you might need but choosing an absorbable form is a good idea.

    But remember

    These are all general recommendations, and everybody has different nutrient requirements. If you feel you need more detailed advice, a good nutritionalist is a great place to start. Having said that, the most important thing to remember is that there is no such thing as perfect. Some meals will be more balanced than others and that’s fine, it’s about what we do over a lifetime, not a day that matters. And enjoying your food is vital to your wellbeing, well I think so any way.

    Love Kat, x

  • Finding Calm
    Wellbeing Hub

    Finding Calm

    In today’s world we have been conditioned to feel that the busier we are the more successful we must be. We often see an ability to function on limited sleep as a sign of strength and pride ourselves on pushing everything to the max, burning the candle at both ends and never taking time just to breathe and reset. When someone asks how are you? Really busy is often the answer. Many of us would describe our current state as stressed a lot of the time. Unfortunately, stress can have a big impact on our bodies and minds if we let it, so the question is how can we manage it and still get on with our lives? The answer lies within us; it can’t be sitting waiting for a holiday or a time when life becomes less complex as we just never know what is around the corner. Stopping the ‘when I achieve x’ or ‘when I finish y’ mentality feels like step one, and step two is finding tools to carve out a little headspace on a regular basis.

    That’s why I love meditation. It can be as little as five or ten minutes, even just a few breaths, but it helps to create that sense of balance and calm in the mind. One philosophy that I heard recently is that we are all looking for happiness and a sense of calm and balance in places that we won’t find them. We try to find external sources of happiness when true happiness lies within us. Finding a way to transform the way that we react to our thoughts is the answer.

    Every day we have between 60,000 and 80,000 thoughts and we all know that many of these can be negative or stress enhancing. Spiritual leaders believe that if we can get a better handle on these thoughts then we can consistently choose happiness rather than falling into habits of worry, stress and anxiety. We think we can only be happy when our goals are completed, but that means that life is always about the future rather than the present. It is for this reason that I don’t really like to use goal setting. Thoughts and emotions create turmoil inside us. Moment to moment, we might find ourselves in an argument with reality, wishing things were different. Happiness involves looking at these thoughts and emotions and embracing things just as they are, it means we relax and stop trying to manipulate our circumstances. If we can learn how to stay in the present moment, even when facing difficulties and we train our minds not to judge, we can discover within ourselves a source of happiness and satisfaction.

    Sitting for a few moments in the quiet, with your eyes closed and focusing on your breath can help you achieve this. Focusing on how you feel with your feet touching the ground and your back against the chair or the floor can really focus the mind. Each time the mind wanders, just bring it back to the breath, it is a simple thing to do, but effective. Whenever I feel overwhelmed this is what I come back to, slow steady breaths. Sometimes I just inhale for the count of four, hold for four, exhale for four (square breathing). Try it a couple of times, it takes just a minute or two and you can do it at your desk, on a train or lying-in bed. I find it helps to re-balance my mind, counteracting some of the inevitable stress in my life. You can even do it on the toilet or in the shower if things are really that busy.

    Our brains record things as we perceive them, through the filter of our own experiences, not necessarily as they happen. So, if you launch a massive stress reaction every time someone nudges you on the train, or you read an annoying news headline, or discover you have run out of milk, your brain will record your day as having been stressful, when it was quite ordinary. Over time, an overactive emotional brain has trouble bouncing back. Of course I appreciate that it isn’t always this simple, mental health is an incredibly complex topic and the external events that cause chronic stress are almost always beyond our control, but for those of us who simply feel burnt out, overwhelmed or anxious about the busyness and hectic nature of our lives, working on controlling our minds and thought patterns can make such a difference to our stress levels, which in turn impacts on our overall wellbeing. The more we flex this brain muscle and make controlling our thoughts a part of our day to day, the better we become at controlling the way we feel, a little like going to the gym for the brain.

    Even though we often dismiss and sweep stress under the rug, controlling it really matters for our mental as well as a physical health. And it seems that we are increasingly understanding the extent to which it impacts on us. Dr Rangan Chatterjee notes that 70 to 90% of all GP consultations today are related to stress in some way. Stress is linked to a vast array of conditions from fatigue to anxiety, from gut problems and IBS to type 2 diabetes. Sleep is also of huge benefit and can help us when we are overwhelmed because it stops us losing perspective or overreacting to things. But again, in our culture of celebrating being busy and our need to fit it all in, we can be quick to dismiss it so that we don’t feel we are missing out or inadequate for not doing as much as the next person.

    Neuroscientist Matthew Walker, the author of why we sleep argues that sleep is not the indulgent luxury that we sometimes view it as, but an absolute necessity for maintaining our health. He says there are links between sleep deprivation and cancer, diabetes, strokes and Alzheimer’s, as well as how it impairs the immune system, disrupts blood sugar levels and harms the brain. The amount we sleep has decreased by 15 to 20% over the last 100 years, and we are now getting an average of less than seven hours sleep per night in the UK. Of course, as with everything I appreciate that life gets in the way, we don’t always have the luxury of choosing to get a good night’s sleep, whether that’s because of work, children or something else, but it is interesting to take on board some of the ideas behind the importance of getting good sleep and explore whether prioritising sleep over another episode of Netflix, writing another couple of emails or doing a little Instagram stalking could help you get closer to your eight hours sleep a night and subsequently give you a little more energy each day.

    I think that happiness boils down to the idea that it is the little things that together make a big difference to our health and happiness. Being healthy isn’t about only eating fancy super foods or expensive spa days, it is finding a few minutes to sit and breathe quietly to manage stress levels, getting outside in the fresh air for a walk or for a run, connecting to those around us and just being a little more aware of how we feel and of what we put back into the world. It is realising that we don’t have to do it all. We can’t spin every plate all the time and it’s OK to say no, to slow down, to be more internal and give up on the concept of perfectionism. It is finding a way to be happy where we are today. There is no right way to do it, there is no quick fix. What works for me might not work for you, but helping you explore a few of these concepts and learning a little more about them will I hope be helpful in some way.

    How will you find a little calm today??

    Love Kat, x

  • Changing Habits
    Wellbeing Hub

    Changing Habits

    Creating a sense of perspective is important if we want to live a genuinely happy, healthy, balanced life, focused on true spiritual, mental and physical health. If something isn’t right and it needs to change, then change it, even if you must start with tiny little changes. It’s not about striving for perfection, a concept which is totally elusive, subjective, and unattainable anyway (and believe me, I was a perfectionist). It is about finding a balance that suits you at any given time in your life. Most days I love yoga, green smoothies and meditation, but other days I love an Indian takeaway and watch films on Netflix for hours. It’s about balance, listening to your body and simply being human. I know why self-care is vital, what tools suit me and when I need them to nourish my mental, spiritual and physical health, but sometimes it’s the small steps that need to be taken to lead to the bigger changes. It is about bringing balance into all things.

    So, having said that, what habits do you want to change? What habits are needed to make our intentions a reality? How do we start to slowly build our way up and form new habits? What do we do if we fall off the waggon? By ensuring we focus on the right habits, and build them up slowly, we can stay on the right track to achieving whatever it is we want to achieve.

    What habits do you really want to focus on?

    Before you start putting a whole load of new habits in place, in the hope that you will achieve your intentions, spend some time really thinking about which habits are going to help you move forward. Are these habits achievable and realistic?

    To do this, think about your intentions and write down at least ten habits that you think you need in your life to be able to achieve these intentions. Perhaps you wanted to bring more balance into your life, so a daily meditation practise could be one of your new habits. Maybe you think drinking two litres of water a day or moving your body every day for at least fifteen minutes would help you achieve better health. Maybe reading ten pages of a book or eating thirty different plant-based foods every week are more the sort of habits that excite you. Whatever they are, scribble down at least ten.

    Once you have ten habits, go back and pick what you think is the most important habit off the list that will make the biggest difference to your life. Which one gets you excited? Picking the right habits will make you far more likely to stick to them. Often, we give up on habits that are too difficult, that we don’t enjoy, or when we try to change too many things at once. Whatever you pick, make sure that they are habits that light you up, and that they are realistic for you.

    Now, go back through this list and pick four more in order of priority. You should end up with five habits that you believe will help you achieve your intentions. Make sure these are habits that enliven you and that you feel will make the biggest difference to your life and well being.

    Small steps lead to big steps

    When we start something new, it’s easy to think that we will wake up the next morning and be a completely different person. We tell ourselves that tomorrow we will drink more water, exercise everyday, eat well, meditate, get eight hours of sleep, have a hobby, cook fresh food, eat our ten a day, spend time with our family and friends and so on. However, we can often put too much on our plates and begin to get overwhelmed with all these changes in our life.

    Building up to a life centred around well-being is a slow and steady evolution rather than an overnight shift. Adding small little changes to your routine that make your life better, that enhance your life and how you feel every day is a more realistic approach rather than chasing an elusive concept of perfection that just creates stress in your life. A good start is to look at the stuff you’re adding in, instead of what you’re taking out, go for the positive not the negative.

    The pressure to do it all is often what makes the world of Wellness feel inaccessible, as though the space is not designed for anyone trying to look after themselves while working, raising a family and living a busy life, but I don’t think that has to be the case. It’s just about identifying what’s important to you and what’s not, and then finding easy ways to make the practises part of your day. I often find it is easiest to start small and focus on one change to time, so that I can find a way to make it an enjoyable, exciting part of my life.

    Often starting by overhauling your diet is the easiest for most people, as what we buy, the recipes we use, and what we normally eat sit more within our control. Getting into habits like meditation or yoga can feel more intimidating and further removed from our day to day than pan frying some broccoli or making a bowl of porridge. I found this to be the case, I thought meditation was all about sitting cross legged for an hour in silence and this often feels close to impossible when life is super busy or when I’m in a difficult headspace. However, I have learnt that meditation can be something very different and it’s a tool that I now love and use to keep my mind in a healthy place. It helps keep my stress levels under control and this can often be done by a simple ten-minute session before I get up and have my first coffee.

    Once you feel that you have some control with one aspect of your life, you could move on to another. For me, it’s taken much longer to recover emotionally then physically, since stress for me is a big part of how I was functioning. The sense of not being as good as everyone around me, the fear of being seen as boring for being the first to go to bed, or the sense that nobody would like me if I ate a little differently or didn’t drink, lowered my sense of self worth and felt like it really needed fixing. For me it was no good managing the physical symptoms in my life such as my weight if my mental health was going to hold me back, I had to find a way to take control of my thought patterns and that was the point at which I really started to understand that being healthy and happy was much more then broccoli and kale.

    So, with your newly chosen habits, pick just the top one from your list to focus on this week and next week. You can then add a second habit, but only if you’re ready. Every two weeks, or whenever you are ready, add another habit from your chosen list. It may take you four weeks, eight weeks or even longer to add another habit, but it really doesn’t matter.

    The key is to start slow and focus on one habit at a time, building on these as you go. Only when you feel as though you have a previous habit down should you then move on to the next. If that takes you longer then that is more than ok! Don’t feel pressured to add a new habit to your daily routine until you are fully ready.

    What to do if you fall off the waggon

    I am going to be totally honest with you here, we all fall off the waggon. There are going to be days when things don’t go to plan, and you can’t make time for that particular habit today. The key to success is not about never missing a day but comes when you have the right tools in place to get back on the waggon, without letting a fear of failure takeover.

    If you instantly think, ‘great I’ve missed one day of exercise there’s no point in carrying on’, then you’ve undone all your hard work for one tiny blip.

    When the initial motivation wears off, it can be very difficult to stay consistent and keep your enthusiasm high. Don’t beat yourself up for missing one or two days if life gets in the way, just get straight back on the waggon if you can. Blips happen, consistency is the key.

    In the book Atomic Habits, James Clear has a great analogy about ice cubes.You have a room with an ice cube in it and melting the ice cube is your goal. Every day you stick to your habit is like going into the room and turning up the temperature by one degree. The number of degrees that are needed to turn the ice cube into water differs from person to person and intention to intention. If you fall off the waggon, it’s like you missed walking into the room that day and turning up the temperature. If you walk in the day after and turn up the temperature again, the ice cube will continue to melt, it may just take a little longer. This is the same with your intention, it may just take a little longer for the habit to stick, blips happen.

    Positive habit affirmations

    Here are some positive habit affirmations to get you started:

    • Every day I am developing new and positive habits.
    • I know that creating new healthy habits is the fastest and surest path to changing my life for the better.
    • I always do what is best for me, my body, my spirit and my mind.
    • All my habits support me in positive ways.
    • I release all doubts and insecurities about myself.
    • I am getting 1% closer to my goals everyday with my new positive habits.
    • I let go of my fear of failure and focus only on the life I am creating for myself going forward.
    • I gratefully let go of old, limiting behaviours.
    • My new habits make me feel empowered and strong.
    • I picked these new habits to give myself the best life and I honour myself with these habits.

    Remove obstacles

    If one of your new habits is to do a little bit of yoga every morning, but you need to dig out the mat, your clothes, and find a video before you even get started, then guess what’s going to happen? You’re going to fall at the first hurdle! If you want to stick to good habits, then you’ll need to be a little bit better at forward thinking and removing any obstacles that may stand in your way. So, the night before, make sure you have laid out your mat, you have picked a yoga routine you want to follow, and you have all your yoga clothes ready. Then, when you wake up, all the obstacles are cleared, and you can get going.

    Will power is hard! If one of your habits is to stop snacking on junk food, then you are going to want to get rid of any temptations in the house. That includes those tempting yummy snacks, you know the ones in that drawer. Put out a bowl of healthy snacks and even give away all your unhealthy ones. When you go into the kitchen, the first thing you see are the healthy snacks which will make it easier for you to stick to this habit as opposed to rushing to the shop for more chocolate.

    Good luck, love Kat, x

  • Be-Grateful
    Wellbeing Hub

    Be Grateful

    Why is practising daily gratitude so good for us? It turns out that gratitude’s don’t just make for pretty Instagram pictures… There is a real science behind the power of gratitude!

    There are numerous scientific studies about the benefits of gratitude with some amazing results. In one study it was concluded that gratitude’s could rewire our brain to think differently. What this study found was that those who wrote down three things they are grateful for each day, for twenty-one days, started automatically looking for the good in each day. Their brain stopped scanning the world for negative views, which we often see so much of and instead actively looked for the positive. Other researchers found that simply keeping a gratitude journal could significantly increase wellbeing and life satisfaction once it became a habit. This research also identified a whole range of physical, psychological and social benefits to practising gratitude daily.

    So here are some of the benefits the research on positive psychology has found:

    • Stronger immune systems.
    • Lower blood pressure.
    • Better sleep quality.
    • More energy to exercise more often.
    • Higher levels of positive emotions.
    • More helpful, generous, and compassionate.
    • Less likely to feel lonely and or isolated.

    Happiness, self-confidence and feeling great in ourselves is something most of us must work on every day. I know this might sound boring, the idea of working on happiness almost feels counter intuitive, shouldn’t we just feel it instinctively, shouldn’t we just be happy? Of course, this comes more naturally to some of us but for a lot of us, me included, it needs to be nurtured and cultivated to make it more instinctive. I wish happiness wasn’t so fleeting and that it didn’t ebb and flow, after all, who wouldn’t want to do something once and keep the results forever, but I have noticed that daily practises can make achieving happiness significantly easier. Consciously re-framing my thinking and including gratitude’s, rather than focusing on negatives, has become much more intuitive with practise. Having free will to look at the world through whatever lens we choose helps move us from a place of desperation or sadness to a place of gratitude and stability. Knowing that you have that within you is enabling, powerful and available to anyone if they are willing to dig deep enough. I have learned that it is a choice. Finding that ability to dig deep is of course incredibly difficult. Many of us have habits and patterns that we would like to change but struggle to, I have definitely found that to be the case. It’s often much easier said than done and for me is still very much a work in progress.

    Often, we are looking to make changes from an incredibly negative place and often it is not a lack of will power that inhibits our success, but that we have framed it in a way that makes the issue one of low self-worth. We are simply coming at it from the wrong angle. Making long term, sustained change comes from a completely different set of criteria, it must come from a positive place, a place in which we make ourselves feel worthy of achieving ambitious goals, by raising our self-esteem and sense of resilience, rather than depleting it. It needs to come from a place of worthiness. We must re-frame our thinking and shift our focus from looking at what is wrong to what is right, from what we hate to what we love and let positivity be the driver, so that we are not simply trying to move out of a bad place. I find this shift of perspective potentially life changing.

    The lens we put on any situation can be extraordinarily powerful. Re-framing our thoughts and bringing in gratitude every day, while replacing expectation with appreciation, can be an absolute game changer. This is not a linear journey by any means, there are ups and downs, but by shifting from a negative to a positive mindset we can make phenomenal changes.

    How to practise gratitude

    So now we know why gratitude is so good for us, what is the best way to practise? Well, I think there is no time like the present! So, before you read any further, write down three things that you are grateful for right now. After all, even just a one-time act of gratitude can boost our happiness!

    Done? If you did struggle to come up with three things that you are grateful for, then know that you are not alone. If you have spent a long time focusing on the negative, then it can be tough to rewire our brains in the beginning. Regular practise can help this become second nature. You can practise gratitude in a huge number of ways, depending on what works for us, however, here are some tips that I have picked up:

    • Get specific: In the beginning, we may be quite vague with our gratitude’s, such as I am grateful for my dog, or I am grateful for my family. Try to really expand on this, trying to get a bit more specific each day. For example, I am grateful that my friend called me today because she knew that I was feeling low. This helps us look outside of the more obvious gratitude’s.
    • Turn it into a game: Struggling to find something to be grateful for? Turn it into a game, challenge yourself to find a positive in everything, no matter how small or silly. You can also re-frame situations that may initially seem negative into something more positive. For example, my friend cancelled on me today, but I am grateful since it meant I had some alone time.
    • Extend your gratitude to someone else: If you put a particular person on your gratitude list, have you told them? If not, why not? Let your friend know you are grateful they called!

    Adding gratitude’s to your evening routine can often be a really good way to ensure that you make it a habit. When you write down your gratitude’s before you go to sleep, your brain is thinking about all the positives for that day instead of focusing on the negatives. You may find it easier to drift off to sleep knowing that there is good in every day. Maybe you need to set a reminder on your phone for the same time each evening to help turn it into a habit.

    Or you could of course begin your day with writing down your gratitude’s and start your day from this amazingly positive place.

    It doesn’t mean that bad things won’t happen, it’s about how you manage those bad things and focus on what is going right in your life.

    Good luck, love Kat, x

  • Shall We Talk Intentions
    Wellbeing Hub

    Shall We Talk Intentions?

    When we start something new, we are often excited however, as time goes on, we can lose that motivation and need something to keep us going. This is where setting intentions comes in. The right intentions can help us find focus and allow us to enjoy the journey.

    It is important to start by asking yourself some more about the intentions you are setting. Here are some questions to think about. Often the answer is in asking the correct question rather than necessarily having the answers:

    • Why do I want to set intentions?
    • What do I want to gain from my intentions?
    • How do I want my intentions to make me feel?
    • What could hold me back from achieving my intentions?
    • What can I put in place to overcome problems before they arise?

    It is likely that you already had certain intentions in mind when you started to read this article. Perhaps you wanted to feel more relaxed, create a better work life balance, or just to improve your overall well-being. Think about your reasons for investing in the time to make intentions and how you want to feel at the end of the journey.

    It is also important to spend a little bit of time thinking about what may hold you back and how you can get over any future problems. By getting one step ahead of these potential issues, you can plan and prepare for them before they arise. Spend a few minutes on each of the above questions and just write down your gut feeling for each answer. What came up as you answered these questions?

    Turning your answers into intentions

    Once you have answered the questions, it’s time to turn these into intentions. To do this, we need to focus on the three P’s.

    Personal: These intentions must be personal to you and what you want from life. Don’t set intentions based on other people’s opinions of you or what you think other people might want from you. Set your intentions for you and you alone.

    Positive: If we set an intention to ‘not be stressed today’ then what’s the one word we are saying to ourselves all the time? Stressed. We are setting a negative tone from the outset. So, frame it positively. For example, ‘I intend to feel calm and relaxed today’.

    Present: Intentions focus on the present and not the future. The joy of intentions is focusing on the here and now, so ensure that yours reflect this.

    Finally, think about those problems or issues that you wrote down when answering the questions. Can you set an intention to combat these? If you think that finding the time is going to be an issue then make this one of your intentions, for example ‘I intend to make time for myself and my writing today’. Maybe you only have ten minutes to yourself because of the children, in this case, having an intention to read a book for thirty minutes wouldn’t really work, but reading a few pages would work.

    The difference between goals and intentions

    Goals and intentions are different.

    Goals: With a goal, you tend to have something in mind that you want to accomplish in the future such as I want to get a promotion, or I want to complete a marathon. Sometimes, we can set goals that seem far out of our reach or just totally unrealistic. Other times, we make more SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, reasonable and time-based) goals that are meaningful and attainable.

    Intentions: Intentions are slightly harder to define, and everyone will think differently about what they are. When I think of intentions, I think of them as a way of being, a way of living; ‘who am I?’ or ‘who will I be today?’. We set intentions when we wake up in the morning as to who we want to be that day or even set intentions before a yoga practise for example as to what we want to get out of being on the mat that day. An intention is all about being in the present moment and taking part in the journey. Intentions might be ‘I intend to feel motivated and driven’ or ‘I intend to bring more mindfulness into my days’.

    So, the key differences between goals and intentions are that goals are much more future focused than intentions. Goals are things you want to achieve in the future, and you likely care more about the destination than the journey. On the other hand, intentions are set in the present and allow you to enjoy the journey.

    Another difference between goals and intentions is the way they can make you feel. We can often lose motivation or get disheartened when setting goals, especially as we are so good at moving the goal post for ourselves! However, when we set intentions to be present and enjoy the process, we find ourselves feeling more fulfilled along the way.

    Here is an example; your goal might be to run a marathon, your destination is to cross that finish line and get your medal. Your intentions however might look something like this:

    • I intend to appreciate all my progress in my training.
    • I intend to commit to my training wholeheartedly.
    • I intend to take in all the sights and sounds around me, whenever I’m training.

    As you can see, the intentions are far more about the journey and less about the destination. Without intentions, your goal is to reach that destination but what if you fail? What if you train for months and then sprain your ankle and can’t compete in the marathon at the last minute. You never cross that finish line, and you are now a failure, right? Or perhaps you did achieve your goal! Congratulations! But then the goal posts move and we decide we want to run an ultra-marathon. Very few of us will celebrate for very long after achieving our goals, instead, we pat ourselves on the back and look at the next goal.

    When we set goals without intentions, we forget to enjoy the journey that got us to where we wanted to be. If you don’t quite achieve that goal, then you are instantly a failure. By setting intentions, we can appreciate every step we took, every time we fell and picked ourselves back up and every second, we got closer to our personal best. We fully enjoy and appreciate all the moments when we focus on the present moment.

    So how do we use intentions and goals together? Step one, decide on your goal or goals. Step two, make sure those goals are smart (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-based). Step 3, create your intentions based on those goals (make sure you frame them in a positive tone and focus on the present, for example I intend to bring more peace into my life today). Step 4 focus on those intentions throughout your journey (wake up in the morning and remind yourself of your intentions). Step 5, remember to experience every single aspect of your journey towards whatever your goal or goals may be. Be present, mindful, and accepting of all the hurdles as well as appreciating the wins.

    Visualising your success

    Now we have our goals and intentions in place, it’s time to visual what life will be like for us at the end of the period that we have set. Will we have more free time? Will we feel calmer and more relaxed? Visualise what life will be like at the end of this exciting journey.

    Although the start of our journey is an important time to use our visualisation to help set our intentions the even more important time to use it is when we are struggling! If you feel as though you are losing motivation or want to throw in the towel, come back to visualising your intentions or remember why you wanted your goals and intentions in the first place.

    I have always been a goal type person and have often moved the goal posts in the past, but now, I practice setting my intentions so that I enjoy the journey with all it’s beautiful ups and down’s. If I reach my goal then great, if I don’t then I can always say that I have enjoyed the journey. What I have found is that often the goal changes as the journey unfolds and that is fine since it is the joy in the journey not necessarily the joy of achieving a goal.

    Make these intentions part of your daily routine and don’t be afraid to upgrade or change them at any time.

    Good Luck!

    Love Kat