Tag Archives: health benefits

Reasons for Teaching Kindness in Schools

acts of kindness

Acts of kindness always have emotional and physical benefits. In order for children to live a healthy life they need to be exposed to acts of kindness often. Here are 8 important reasons for teaching kindness in schools.

Happy Children – Science explains that the good feelings we experience when being kind are produced by endorphins that activate areas of the brain that are associated with pleasure, social connection and trust, and it has been proven that these feelings of joyousness are contagious, encouraging more kind behavior by the giver and recipient.

Increased Peer Acceptance – Research on the subject has determined that kindness increases our ability to form meaningful connections with others. Studies have shown that kind and happy children enjoy greater peer acceptance because they are well liked. It has also been reported that children have better than average mental health in classrooms where the class participation is more inclusive due to an even distribution of popularity.

Improved Health and Less Stress – Being kind releases endorphins that can decrease stress levels as well as produce mental and physical health benefits.

Greater Sense of Belonging and Improved Self Esteem – Even small acts of kindness are reported to heighten our sense of well-being, increase energy, and give a wonderful feeling of optimism and self-worth.

Increased Feelings of Gratitude – When children are part of projects that help others that are less fortunate than them, it provides them with a real sense of perspective and helps them appreciate the good things in their personal lives.

Better Concentration and Improved Results – Acts of kindness increases your levels of serotonin, which plays an important part in learning, memory, mood, sleep, health and digestion. Kindness is a key ingredient that helps children feel good. Having a positive outlook allows them greater attentions spans and enables more creative thinking, resulting in better performance at school.

Less Bullying – By always performing acts of kindness, it teaches people to treat all human beings with respect; this will result in a decreased number of incidents of bullying.

Reduced Depression – Serotonin is released when performing an act of kindness, which is known to work as a natural antidepressant.

We need to be ready and prepared to teach kindness, because it can be delayed due to maltreatment early in life. It can be smothered under the weight of poverty, and it can be derailed by victimization later in life. Yet despite these and other travails, the receipt of kindness and the ability to show kindness through service are both growth enhancing and soul cleansing. Kindness can be taught, and it is a defining aspect of civilized human life. It belongs in every home, school, neighborhood, and society.


Ways that yoga can make work life improve


An hour a day of yoga is what many fortune 500 companies insist on their employees do. Not only this, but they offer it at work. So know that it is proved that staying quiet for an hour while practicing yoga is definitely beneficial to your career. It turns out there are some major career benefits that happen as a result of practicing yoga.

Here are some of the major benefits of yoga at work:

1. It helps improve your relationships with co-workers.
Yoga helps clear your mind, which allows you to be more understanding of your co-workers’ intentions. And then you are better able to choose your actions to align with
those intentions.

2. You can accept change better.
A big part of yoga is changing the position of your body. These transitions can be very challenging at first and require a lot of deep breathing, but eventually you
will stick it. This will help when there is shifting at work or new procedures being rolled out. You will be able to find that inner stability faster because of yoga.

3. It makes you more ambitious.
When you first started yoga and your teacher suggested doing an inversion, you went running for the door. But after a couple of months, you could do them or at least
you wanted to try to do them. You quickly realized you were capable of more than you ever thought you were. This will overflow into your career as well. The possibilities are endless!

4. You will learn to block out distractions.
Yoga is great because it is all about learning to center yourself and block out all those distractions during your practice. Then you take that power of meditation
into everyday life. Meditation increases your ability to work through interruptions.

5. It reduces stress.
Yoga helps you become less of a stress mess in a few ways. It really helps you focus on the value of your work, rather than obsessing about the outcome. This will carry over into work and help you realize you can’t always control the outcome, so why stress? The other benefit is more physiological. Because yoga ends with a meditation period, you enter a state of relaxation that can literally keep you that way through the rest of the day, meaning nothing will stress you!

6. It improves memory.
Doing yoga will give you a sharper memory which is super helpful for work and life in general. The practice of meditation correlates with memory improvement. Better
memory leads to decreased distraction which will therefore help with productivity.

So if your employer does not offer yoga, ensure you find a studio near you and make it a life habit.



Healthy Choices and Resolutions for 2013

Every year roughly 1 in 3 people make resolutions to try improve their lives and health. Sadly, a smaller percentage of those people actually follow through on their resolutions. According to research, the majority of individuals stick to their resolutions for about a week and after 6 months less than half are still sticking to their goals.

Some suggestions for the year ahead….

Lose Weight: This is one of the most popular resolutions suggesting the fact that it is one the most to keep and commit to. If you don’t expect to shed all those extra pounds overnight then you can succeed. Make use of a journal and a support network. And expect a few bumps along the road.

Quit Smoking: This is one of the hardest habits quit. Don’t be disheartened if you have tried a few times and failed. Try different methods and find the one that works for you. As an incentive, think of all the money you will save.


Stop Smoking


Reconnect with Friends: Studies have shown that you will live longer if you have strong social ties. Open the old year book and use Facebook to reconnect with old friends, it good for your long term health.

Continuing Education: It is never too late to go back to school. Study something new or do a course that will boost your career, brain power, meet new people, and even increase your salary. Going back to school will help to stimulate your brain and increase to memory and verbal skills. Not to mention reduce the risk of Alzheimers disease.

Reduce your Stress Levels: There is nothing wrong with a little stress. However, excessive and chronic stress can lead to heart disease, insomnia, depression to mention a few. Long work days, bad sleeping habits, and not spending quality time with family and friends can add to your stress levels. Eat healthier and do more physical exercise.

Take a Vacation: Reduce your stress levels and get out of a rut and take a vacation. Try get away and break that routine. Make life an adventure without having to be too bold or dramatic.

Reduce Your Alcohol Intake: Even though research has shown that there are many health benefits with small amounts of alcohol; excessive drinking has a direct effect on your brain’s neurotransmitters and can lead to depression, heart disease, and memory loss. Not to mention liver disease and increase the risk of a stroke and other cancers.


Stop Drinking


Volunteer: Most people think that individual bliss depends on bettering oneself. But happiness can also be acquired by helping others and it good for your health and state of mind. Studies have shown that positive emotions can reduce the chance of a heart attack or develop heart disease.

Save Money with Healthy Choices: By making healthy lifestyle choices you can save loads of cash. For example, walk or cycle to work and reduce your carbon footprint and air pollution. Reduce gym memberships and exercise at home. There are numerous video games to build up a sweat and get the heartbeat up right in your living room.  Make a grocery list before you go to the sore rather than walking around the supermarket aimlessly which can lead to bad choices and higher costs.


Research to give a boost to Rooibos exports


The South African Rooibos Council is taking part in an global project in order to make improvements to the export competitiveness of rooibos, one of the country’s favorite products.

The project is a joint effort between the SA Rooibos Council and the International Trade Centre – a joint agency of the World Trade Organisation and the UN. Financing for the project is made available from the government of The Netherlands.

“We are thrilled that international funders understand the possible ways to take the rooibos product further,” says Soekie Snyman from the Rooibos Council.

South Africa is the world’s sole producer of rooibos, which is actually a unique selling point of the product. Classed as as a herb, rooibos is an element of the fynbos family of plants found in the Cape Floral Kingdom, considered one of only six recognised floral kingdoms on the planet.

Utilized primarily as tea however easily obtainable in numerous types of other products, rooibos is native to the Cederberg region north-west of Cape Town and will only grow in this region. The area’s hot and dry summers, winter rainfall and rough sandy soil provide perfect growing conditions for the sturdy rooibos plant.



As reported by the SA Rooibos Council, 72% of South African households buy rooibos tea and sales are growing at approximately 5% a year. Even though the value of exported tea has grown by an average 26% year-on-year between 2005 and 2009, in excess of 90% of rooibos is exported in large quantities, with little value added.

In 2007 the world’s largest flavour company Givaudan named rooibos as one of the flavours to look out for in its annual FlavourVision forecast.Ever since then, rooibos proceeded to go from being a flavour to watch to a local and international beverage of preference.


Thinking creatively about rooibos

The research project will assist the industry to think a lot more creatively with regards to marketing the sought-after herb.
“To sustain the growth we’ve attained in the last 12 years we need to continue developing the domestic market in addition to examine new possibilities to expand exports,” says Martin Bergh, chairman of the SA Rooibos Council.

The research project will assist the industry to fully grasp rooibos’s export potential, investigate strategies to increase current production, sustain jobs and improve the value of exported tea.

At present about 50 % of the 12 000 tons of rooibos produced annually is exported, mainly to Germany. As per Snyman, Germany buys and sells the most significant quantities of herbs such as rooibos. “It is the international herb trading capital of the world,” she says.
Rooibos is exported to in excess of 30 countries. Germany, The Netherlands, Japan, the UK and US are the largest importers.

Aside from the opportunities for value adding, the rooibos industry is a significant employer in the Cederberg and surrounding areas. The industry is labour-intensive and provides about 4 500 jobs.


The South African government has acknowledged this as one of the focus areas in its Industrial Policy Action Plan – by promoting the exports of added-value rooibos products, jobs in the sector will be better protected.

Taking these aspects into consideration, the objective of the initial six-month project is to perform an in-depth analysis of the structure and pricing of the German rooibos market. The collected information will assist the industry to determine new opportunities and market segments.

In a statement Lilia Naas, programme manager at the International Trade Centre, outlined that the research forms part of the inception phase of the project. If the results prove encouraging, a second phase of the project would put into practice activities to boost the positioning of rooibos in international markets.


Value adding potential

Snyman says that rooibos is actually a versatile product that can be used extensively in the manufacture of products such as pet skincare ranges, alcoholic liqueurs, rooibos-smoked butter, salad dressings, yoghurt, jams, jellies and biscuits.

Rooibos is additionally a favourite ingredient in experimental cuisine. At the Twelve Apostles Hotel in Cape Town, which not too long ago made it onto the Condé Nast Traveler Magazine listing of the 80 best new hotels globally, you can savor rooibos ice-cream as part of their fynbos-inspired menu.


Whilst value adding is extremely important, Snyman says that the primary focus of the industry continues to be tea. “There is a growing market trend for speciality teas. In South Africa, the speciality tea market is still small, but it’s growing fast,” she says.


South Africa’s unofficial national drink

Apart from its sweet flavour, one more reason for the ever increasing popularity of rooibos is the verified natural health benefits.

The SA Rooibos Council has invested in excess of R2-million (US$252 000) in independent scientific research to ascertain the benefits associated with rooibos. It is financing six projects at a number of local universities and science councils, concentrating on how rooibos can counter cancer and stress in addition to the link between rooibos and exercise. A project on rooibos and obesity is also underway.


A newly released collaborative study by scientists at four international research facilities discovered the first clinical evidence that drinking rooibos tea significantly improves the antioxidant capacity in human blood, boosting the body’s natural defences.

Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com