#36alive 353: Practice Smiling For Extra Happiness

Whether you can’t wait for Christmas, you’re feeling stressed out with all the preparation, you aren’t a fan of Winter, or you feel you’re having a pretty good time all round, it’s always good to know how to hack happiness and find it when we need it most.

Body language and facial expression can go a long way towards changing our emotions, and when emotions change, they start a feedback loop if positivity in the body. Smiling is just one way to elicit this instant happiness, even if it’s not a totally genuine one!

When we smile, the body releases ‘happy hormones’ called endorphins – these are natural pain-relievers, they lower levels of inflammation, and are incredibly powerful for de-stressing. This could also come in handy when you’re faced with not-so welcome guests or difficult-to-deal-with relatives….

  • To practice, start by placing a pencil between your teeth. Doing this literally forces the mouth to smile a big cheesy grin and you’re likely to notice a difference straight away.
  • Next, use your eyes to smile too – crease up the edges just like you would in a real smile.
  • To boost your happiness even more, think of something that makes you feel positive, and you’ll literally release a rush of happiness-boosting hormones into your body.

Give it a try! And perhaps buy a few extra pencils for when the family arrives on Christmas day….

#36alive 290: Pack A Tennis Ball On Long Journeys

Good news: You don’t have to suffer tight muscles and sore spots every time you face a long car journey or light. Just pack a tennis ball, and you’ll be able to boost your circulation and release muscle tension in no time.

London-based MD and surgeon Ali Ghoz recommends bringing the ball with you to roll out painful knots and adhesions; “If you have a tennis ball, you can increase circulation in your body by rolling it everywhere from your shoulders and lower back to legs and the bottoms of your feet, as well as any other trigger points”.

Use the ball a few times throughout your journey, and you’ll be able to prevent tightness from forming in your muscles, whilst giving yourself an all-over circulation boost too!


#36alive 137: Banana Hacks | How To Ripen Green Bananas & What To Do With Brown Ones


Apparently, 1 in 3 people in the UK throw away bananas if they’re slightly bruised or browning, and more than 10% of us discard green bananas!

With food waste at an all time high at the moment, it’s incredibly important to do what we can to reduce waste, and use this perfectly good food we have around us!

Ripen Your Green Bananas

  1. banana1Place your green bananas in a bag – usually we’re told to use a brown paper bag, but really, any bag or even box or cupboard that can be closed and dark for a period of time will work! Ethylene will build up and circulate in the bag / box / cupboard, speeding up the ripening process. Placing another ripe fruit or vegetable next to the banana can help speed things up even more.
  2. Pierce the banana on all sides with a fork, and place in the microwave. Heat for 30 seconds at a time (up to 2 minutes) and watch it ripen before your eyes! (maybe don’t actually watch it through the microwave window).


  1. For a healthier way to ‘cook’ your bananas to perfection, preheat the oven to 275C and place them on a baking tray for 15-30 minutes. Check on them every 10 minutes to make sure they haven’t completely turned to mush!


  1. For a slower, steadier ripening process, store bananas on top of the fridge. As you ma have guessed by now, heat is a big player in ripening bananas. Store your green bananas on top of the fridge where it’s usually pretty warm, and they’ll be ready to eat within a couple of days!


What To Do With Brown Bananas

  1. Banana Ice Cream
  2. Banana Bread
  3. Use in place of eggs in vegan baking
  4. Banana and honey moisturising facemask
  5. Eat them! The healthy natural sugars in bananas are more quickly available to be used the body when they’re brown
  6. Make these healthy brownies 


Let us know your banana ripening hacks, and how do you use bruised and brown ones?

#36alive 127: Sunday Night Insight | Tim Ferriss Show

On Sunday’s we like to share work from other people that inspire us and that we learn from so this week we bring to your attention Mr Tim Ferriss.

I first became aware of Tim about 6 years ago when he released his book “The Four Hour Work Week” (I still haven’t managed this) and kept on coming across him when searching for random things online.

Tim puts his money where his mouth is often using himself to experiment on to see what can and can’t be done for us humans to realise out potential. One particular experiment led to another book called “The Four Hour Body” where he details how to transform your self in to an adonis working out for only 4 hours a month. I don’t think that some of the things in that book are particularly healthy but that’s just my opinion but nevertheless, I am still a big fan of the content Tim puts out there.

Tim’s blog is a treasure trove of information with a whole host of different topics covered so be sure to check that out but what we are putting out there today is his podcast. His latest episode featured Dr Rhonda Patrick who we have already mentioned on the blog and today I listened to an episode with Dorian Yates which gave a great insight in to health, fitness and mentality.

So if you’re looking for a new podcast to get your teeth in to, check out The Tim Ferriss Show.

Click Here For The Podcast!

#36alive 32: The Sleep-Inducing 4-7-8 Breath

mssilk-breathable-pure-silk-sleep-eye-mask-with-brocade-pouch-gift-white-eyelashes-0There are plenty of sleep accessories out there to help those who struggle with getting some good quality rest; eye masks, earplugs, white noise, binaural beats, supplements, and specially crafted beds.

Whilst all of those things can be useful, they can also be costly, and get us into the habit of relying on specific things to help us naturally fall asleep. So today, we share something that you already have all of the time that can help you sleep: Your breathing….

This ‘hack’ is based upon the Yogic practice of pranayama (meaning control or regulation of the breath, whilst simultaneously meaning breath ‘expansion’), and it is said to be effective because of its ability to quickly remove excess carbon dioxide.

woman-sleeping-in-bedBreathing in this way can slow the heart rate, calm the nervous system, and create an environment which is perfectly suited to falling soundly asleep.

Dr. Andrew Weil popularised this theory of – as he calls it – The Relaxing Breath, and says; ‘Breathing strongly influences physiology and thought processes, including moods. By simply focusing your attention on your breathing, and without doing anything to change it, you can move in the direction of relaxation. Too much attention on upsetting thoughts may cause anxiety, guilt and unhappiness. Get in the habit of shifting your awareness to your breath whenever you find yourself dwelling on stressful situations’

To begin the technique, Weil explains:

“Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward”.

Then follow these five steps:

  1. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
  2. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
  3. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  4. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
  5. This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

icon-sleep-1z83y6pFrom experience, we’ve found that part way though the exercise, you’re likely to begin to think “This isn’t working!”, and the next moment, you’ve woken up after hours of restful sleep….

Try this technique tonight and let us know how you feel the next morning!