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The Power of the Mind

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The mind has amazing power over our lives, our emotions and has the ability to do amazing things. Ever noticed how having a pessimistic outlook can change the course of the day? Think about this….You wake up, stub your toe on the door, spill the milk on the floor while making your breakfast – there are two ways it can go. You say angrily, ‘It’s going to be “One of those” days’ and so it is and you have a hell of a day. Or you tell yourself to snap out of it and take 5 minutes over a coffee to recharge, get some positivity and travel to work noticing all the beauty around you, the sun shining, the birds singing and spend the rest of the day upbeat.

As Buddha said ‘The mind is everything; what you think you become’ which as an article in breathe magazine (issue 8, page 16) shows, through research on the placebo effect – if we expect something to happen it will bring about that expected result be it positive or negative as ‘the brain is in control’ (Newlyn, E, 2017, Breathe Magazine, Issue 8, Page 17).
In the same article Emma Newlyn gives some great advice about creating your own placebo effect to give your life a little boost of positivity, if you’re a naturally pessimistic person this may take a bit of practise but will be well worth the effort for your mind, to alleviate low self-confidence and negative feelings. She recommends using the mind power you waste on worrying to turn it around into a positive response, focusing on something good and so occupying the mind in a more positive way to ‘take the body out of its cycle of stress’.
You can also use the power of the mind to visualise an image of what you want to achieve, this is something I do regularly when I struggle to sleep. Imagining how a situation will go, or at least how I would like it to go. Try it the next time you have a job interview or presentation. See yourself sat in your smart outfit, confident, smiling, answering the questions with ease. You will go in there with a little bit more positivity, a little more confidence and who knows you may even get the job.

Give these bits of advice a try and let me know how it works out for you.

In my next post I will be sticking with the theme of mind power but focusing more on positive affirmations and how words can shape your life, emotions, wellbeing and self- confidence.

This blog post was inspired by Issue 8 of Breathe Magazine – if you haven’t seen it I would highly recommend grabbing a copy, there’s so much wonderful advice surrounding a variety of topics that all lead to increased wellbeing.


LemonMint Foot Soak

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How beautiful has the weather been these last few days? I know many of you will have struggled to cool down with the heat but that’s where our LemonMint foot soak comes in, it is most definitely our product of the month.

If you follow us on social media you will have seen this delicious creation featured in the June Box of Happiness! (Order yours before Friday!) Its also been a big seller on its own, its available through our Etsy shop by itself or make a create your own box and request it in the notes section!

Its a beautiful mixture of Himalayan pink salt and Epsom salt (for fantastic detoxification), lemon peel, peppermint and essential oils of lemon, peppermint and eucalyptus. I chose those oils for their anti-bacterial, cleansing and refreshing properties but they are also great for anybody that suffers with allergies. So if you’re a hay fever sufferer try inhaling deeply while using the soak for some relief. It truly is an amazing way to soothe tired and hot achy feet after a long day.

Lemon and Peppermint are such a beautiful combination, they are fresh and inviting and leave your tootsies tingly fresh!

Breaking the Stigma Around Mental Health

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Today I attended the BuyYorkshire event at Leeds Royal Armouries where I had the pleasure of seeing Alastair Campbell talk about mental health.

Wow, what an inspiration. His talk was honest and frank about his own mental health issues, the way he recalls his episode of psychosis as though it happened just yesterday. Describing the feeling of his mind being made of glass – smashing into thousands of shards. Hearing what he describes as a ‘cacophony’ of voices and noise in his head.
The talk highlighted some very important points, things we can all do to break the stigma of mental health.

Stop being afraid!
Stop hiding from it.
“Be open, be proud” because just about everybody will be affected by mental health problems at some point in their lives and there isn’t anything to be ashamed about.

The stigma can only be broken with honesty on the subject and things are not going to change unless we do something about it. As Alastair points out there is a huge gap between the care we receive for physical health and mental health although both are just as important as each other for us to be healthy and happy. He describes psychosis as on par with being in a horrific car crash, being thrown out of the front windscreen – in that situation you would be given immediate care, however somebody suffering psychosis is expected to be seen within 2 weeks before they receive treatment in the UK.

We all need to break this stigma and push for change just like people before us pushed for womens rights, racial equality and gay marriage.

I always say we need to be the change we want to see in the world and this works in so many ways.

The end of the talk saw an opportunity for a quick Q&A, the most interesting question on the subject of mental health was how each and every one of us could take a call to action from the talk to which Alastair replied “Don’t avoid it, don’t look the other way”, if you see somebody in distress ask them if they’re OK. Just that can mean so much.

Be the change you want to see in the world, break the stigma and join our Happiness Revolution!

Aim for Progress NOT Perfection!

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Just a quick pep talk for you on a sunny but windy Tuesday afternoon about something I have come to realise over the last few years. And that is that we don’t need to aim to be perfect at everything, progress is what we should be celebrating!
I have always had goals I wanted to achieve and also an idea about the kind of person I wanted to be. The image I wanted to convey to others. I wanted to be seen to be a good mum, I wanted to be slim, healthy, fit. I wanted a nice, clean, perfect home. I wanted the great job, nice stuff, I wanted to get up early every day and be as productive as I could be. I wanted my own business, I wanted to go to college and finish my degree. I wanted lots of friends and a fantastic social life. I wanted happy, healthy, clean children who were angelic. I wanted the perfect marriage, a nice car, my own home.

Now just take a look at that list. Its pretty long isn’t it? That list is exhausting – physically and mentally. Because, realistically all of those things on that list take time and energy. One thing I found was that I couldn’t possibly have every single thing on that list to a ‘perfect’ standard. But you know what? That’s OK!!

I stopped putting this pressure on myself to create this perfect image. Because that is not what’s important in life. The most important thing in life is just happiness! And who can be happy when every day they are feeling like they have failed because they haven’t managed to achieve their impossible ideologies of perfection?

Once I had realised this I completely scaled back all of those things I was trying to achieve, I have prioritised which things are truly and honestly important to me. I say to ME because to other people they would be completely different. The only things that matter to me are being happy, having a happy family and a happy home and it isn’t the things inside that home that are going to make me happy. Its the people inside it, their happiness as well as my own. The only person that can control my happiness is me. So less pressure to always be perfect because the most important thing is that we try. I may not get all the household jobs done every day, but that’s OK. I may not feel like getting up early on a morning, but that’s OK. I may feed the kids pizza on a regular basis, but hey, that’s OK!!

Absolutely go out there and reach for the moon but don’t feel so bad if it doesn’t work out, just keep on aiming for progress, a little bit at a time and don’t put so much pressure on yourself!



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Fantastic Flowers

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Mother Nature provides us with an abundance of herbs and flowers that naturally provide us with health benefits and have been used as medicines for centuries. But, it can all get a little confusing to us normal people with little knowledge about this. We have a selection of wonderful treats from nature here at A Box of Happiness that we use as a drink, mostly for their delicious taste but also because of these reported health benefits. We use them as a base for our bath salts to create a bath straight from paradise but there are so many uses that we also leave it up to you as the customer to decide whether you want to throw them in the bath, have a floral steam facial or brew them in boiled water to create a tasty tisane.
Here’s a little list of our personal favourites and why we like them:

Chamomile – Renowned for its calming and relaxing properties Chamomile is not only delicious the little marigold coloured flowers also look beautiful mixed with essential oils and Epsom salts to create a floral bath, like a gift from the fairies to soak away the days troubles. According to woodlandherbs.co.uk chamomile is also great for settling the stomach when taken as a drink. We like to mix it with other flowers like lavender and elderflower for the ultimate bedtime tea.

Hibiscus – According to Gaia Herbs hibiscus has been used medicinally in countries like Iran and Egypt to help maintain normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Its even reported to fight the signs of ageing and calm hot flushes which makes it a fabulous tea for us ladies. It can have a strong but sweet flavour and the colour is just beautiful. It would be amazing as an iced tea in the summertime!

Peppermint – Its quite a common idea these days that Peppermint tea is good for digestive problems from reducing bloating to settling the stomach. It also has the added bonus of being rather tasty and refreshing. We like ours mixed with a little green tea for super detoxing.

Lavender – Possibly the go-to herb for all matters of stress-relief in the form of essential oil but did you know you can also drink it and use it in cooking? Lavender scones are amazing! One of my favourite blends is lavender, lime flower and rose petal especially when winding down for bed. Lavender is said to calm the nerves as well as soothe headaches.

Rose – Is there anything more indulgent and luxurious than drinking rose petals? Quite possibly not! With large amounts of vitamin C and polyphenols rose buds and petals are reported to have a host of health benefits too. Livestrong.com mentions the benefits of healthy skin and hair. Rose is also supposed to be great for easing menstrual cramps which is why we like to add it to hibiscus for a soothing treat on a monthly basis.

Jasmine – naturalremedies.org highlight the skin restoring properties of Jasmine, giving the skin a smoother look and improving elasticity amongst others. Jasmine has also been used in the past to treat depression and improve sleep. It is also said to be an aphrodisiac which is why we think its great in massage bars! Jasmine is a delicious tisane often blended with green tea.

We use many herbs and flowers in different forms here at A Box of Happiness from essential oils to flowers and we enjoy using them in many different ways. The raw flowers themselves are fantastic as a tea but you could also use them with oils for a skin care treat or in a pouch for relaxing at bedtime.

*The statements given here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. A Box of Happiness cannot nor intends to make any medicinal claims. It is not our intention to advise or recommend the use of herbs, flowers or teas as a medicinal aid. Always consult your GP before embarking on a course of natural remedies.

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How to Sleep

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If you’re somebody that suffers with sleep stresses you’ve probably heard it all before but it’s always good to have a recap!

Evening Routine: one of the best ways to settle down is to establish an evening routine. For me most days that’s having a lovely hot bath, reading a book and having a relaxing herbal tea like our sweet dreams blend.

You could use essential oils mixed in to the bath to breathe in and calm the mind.

My favourite oil mixture is lavender, chamomile and rose.

Aromatherapy: use an oil burner to burn a relaxing blend of oils in all areas of the home as well as your bedroom. As well as the blend just mentioned, try one of these:

  • Lavender and petitgrain
  • Bergamot, chamomile and clary sage
  • Lemon, mandarin and ylang-ylang
  • Lavender, chamomile and frankincense.

All of which are renowned for their relaxing or de-stressing properties. You could use this same blend in the bath or create a relaxing pillow/room spray by mixing a few drops with witch hazel or floral water.

Meditation: meditation doesn’t have to be scary or hard work, it can be as simple as counting to clear the mind. Try a meditation app like ‘calm’ or ‘headspace’ to guide you or just try counting backwards from 500, you probably won’t make it to 0!!

Set the scene: make your bedroom a peaceful oasis of calm. Black out curtains, clutter free, relaxing colours, soft furnishings but most of all technology free! You need this space to be distraction free and not buzzing with energy. Don’t watch tv, tablets or phones in bed, try reading instead.

Before you go up to bed, try creating a calm environment in the living room too, light some candles and use soft lamps instead of the main ceiling light.

Try some of these tips tonight and let me know how it goes!!

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Self Love

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I hope you will all join me in a week of self love. Our thoughts are powerful and so is the way we think about ourselves! I am trying to be nice to myself instead of saying mean things in my head when I mess up I just accept it and carry on. The philosophy: ‘if you wouldn’t say it to a loved one, don’t say it to yourself.’

Self love starts from within!

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Herbal Steam Facial

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Relaxing and unwinding with a herbal steam facial. Chamomile flowers, rose petals and fresh peppermint leaves infused with lavender oil. Brew in the sink with boiling water before inhaling the steam and allowing it to open the pores. Breathe in the relaxing aroma.

Emerse yourself in a hot bath with jojoba oil, myrrh, clary sage, geranium and lavender whilst sipping a cup of ‘zen again’ tea and reading a book that transports you to another world.