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Create your own happiness for better mental and physical health

We can take significant strides towards achieving better mental health and experiencing a more fulfilling life.

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A growing number of Filipino adults are increasingly recognizing the importance of mental health in our country today. Recognizing the profound influence of happiness on mental health and overall well-being, it becomes clear that each individual has the power to cultivate their own happiness. In fact, this relationship works both ways – a healthier person tends to be happier, and a happier person tends to be healthier! By understanding this connection, we can take significant strides towards achieving better mental health and experiencing a more fulfilling life.

In a byline written by Dr. David Heber, MD, Author, Chairman of the Herbalife Institute, and Herbalife Advisory Board Member, happiness is the physical, mental, and emotional state of well-being.  It can be achieved by boosting your physical health as well as optimizing your emotional and mental health. Following a healthy lifestyle of balanced nutrition and physical activity can result in a lower heart rate, blood pressure, and anxiety, all of which can be linked to happiness. Additionally, happiness is associated with the release of endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters associated with brain health.

August is Wellness month and the perfect opportunity to assess our own mental health, evaluate what makes us happy, share what happiness means to each of us with those we surround ourselves with, and how we can find it. In openly discussing your perception of happiness with others, you may discover that much of what can make you happy is not only linked to greater health and wellness but completely within your control.

What Makes People Happy?

According to an Ipsos survey, people most look to their health and well-being (both physical and mental), their family (partner/spouse and children), and having a sense of purpose as what gives them “the greatest happiness.” Next comes their living conditions, feeling safe and in control, being in nature, having a meaningful job, and having more financial security.

While the path towards better health and its connection to happiness may be relatively straightforward, finding your purpose is also a personal journey requiring you to dig deep and get to know your true self. Positive psychology, the field which studies the optimization of emotional and mental health as well as happiness, has found that people who have a purpose are more likely to be happy.

Here are several proactive tips that can help guide you in your journey to creating your own happiness and achieving better overall health long term.

Fuel Yourself

Science shows that healthy eating also contributes to happiness. The physical state of well-being is largely determined by how you fuel your body. Your body is a vessel that can only run optimally the better you take care of it. We do this by adopting daily habits of practicing balanced nutrition and a healthy active lifestyle.

Exercise Regularly

Exercising regularly and maintaining an active lifestyle can benefit both our bodies and our minds. When we exercise, our muscles and brain benefit from an increase in blood flow bringing oxygen and nutrients to our brain cells. Our dopamine pathways in the brain are also stimulated which activate our pleasure center. For this reason, exercise is used for treating mood disorders, depression, and addictive behaviors including overeating.

Make Time to Relax

There’s a reason why the worldwide interest in self-care is growing— making the time to relax and recharge is one of the best ways to find true happiness. The most effective way to do this is by igniting the relaxation response. This theory shows that relaxing has many effects on the body including lowering blood pressure, and pulse and calming the mind. The step-by-step process to triggering the relaxation response includes 1) Sitting quietly in a private spot 2) Relaxing your muscles from head to toe by contracting and relaxing each muscle 3) Focusing on your breathing 4) Breathing deeply; and 5) Thinking of a relaxing image like ocean waves. Practicing this for just 20 minutes a day can recharge your mind and help you get to sleep at night.

Finding Your purpose

A key principle of Positive Psychology is finding your “why,” or your purpose. True happiness comes from living a life that you choose because it fulfills your personal purpose. To find your purpose, elaborate on these four steps: 1) Find your passion or what you love 2) Establish your mission or what you feel the world needs more of 3) Work for which you can be paid 4) Have confidence in what you’re good at doing.

Once you have worked through these four steps, your purpose will be revealed. For myself and my colleagues at the Herbalife Nutrition Institute, that purpose is to foster the world’s premier health and wellness company and community, giving people the tools to live their best lives.

Remain Grateful

Reframing your mindset can go a long way—rather than complaining about things that are wrong in your life, focus on the good things, large or small. While this may be easier said than done, psychological research shows that concentrating on what is good in your life and expressing gratitude will make you happier. Keeping a gratitude journal or making a brief gratitude list every day giving thanks for all you have can help you improve your mood.

Focus on Things You Can Control

All of us have a circle of influence and a circle of concern. The circle of concern is made up of all the external factors that are out of your control, while the circle of influence includes things you can control—like your personal habits. Choose a proactive approach, and work on the things you can change rather than worrying about the things you cannot change. Taking responsibility for your personal habits and accomplishments will increase your confidence and your sense of happiness. Having a proactive mindset allows you to focus on change, rather than being inactive, which paralyzes your growth through worry and anxiety. One of the best ways to improve your happiness is to develop healthy habits in all aspects of your life—including eating a balanced diet and implementing a healthy active lifestyle.

Happiness is not an accident, or something that just happens, but something that you make happen. Happiness is a physical, emotional, and spiritual sense of well-being, that when found, should give you a lasting feeling of contentment. Use this month to consciously create your own happiness by implementing habits that will positively impact your physical and mental health enabling you to maintain a sense of inner peace.

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Pru Life UK agents, customers, executives celebrate Year of the Wood Dragon

The insurer maintains its top position in New Business Annual Premium Equivalent & total Premium Income from Variable Life Insurance products according to the Insurance Commission’s Life Insurance Sector Quarterly Statistics for Q3 2023.

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With a strengthened commitment to providing better financial protection for every Filipino, Pru Life UK celebrates the start of the Year of the Wood Dragon. Over 200 Pru Life UK leaders, agents, clients, and employees joined and wished everyone PRU Love during the festivities held at the heart of its Escolta branch in Binondo Manila.

The insurer maintains its top position in New Business Annual Premium Equivalent & total Premium Income from Variable Life Insurance products according to the Insurance Commission’s Life Insurance Sector Quarterly Statistics for Q3 2023.

Pru Life UK’s products are made accessible through its over 42,000 digitally-empowered agency workforce and like-minded partners.

The Company recently launched PRULove for Life – an affordable, limited-pay, whole-life participating plan for as low as Php 87 per day* with lifetime coverage up to age 100 and flexible payment terms of 5, 10, 15, or 20 years to pay. To know more about PRULove for Life, talk to your Pru Life UK agent today or visit Pru Life UK’s website.

Pru Life UK is also committed to driving up financial awareness, literacy, and inclusion in the country by leading industry discussions and programs for the community. Its PRUBabies campaign seeks to protect 175,000 newborns with free insurance coverage against select infectious diseases such as Dengue, Typhoid, Measles, and Malaria.

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Eating too much protein is bad for your arteries, and this amino acid is to blame

Consuming over 22% of dietary calories from protein can lead to increased activation of immune cells that play a role in atherosclerotic plaque formation, driving the disease risk.

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University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers discovered a molecular mechanism by which excessive dietary protein could increase atherosclerosis risk. The findings were published in Nature Metabolism.

The study, which combined small human trials with experiments in mice and cells in a Petri dish, showed that consuming over 22% of dietary calories from protein can lead to increased activation of immune cells that play a role in atherosclerotic plaque formation, driving the disease risk. Furthermore, the scientists showed that one amino acid – leucine – seems to have a disproportionate role in driving the pathological pathways linked to atherosclerosis, or stiff, hardened arteries.

“Our study shows that dialing up your protein intake in pursuit of better metabolic health is not a panacea. You could be doing real damage to your arteries,” said senior and co-corresponding author Babak Razani, M.D., Ph.D., professor of cardiology at Pitt. “Our hope is that this research starts a conversation about ways of modifying diets in a precise manner that can influence body function at a molecular level and dampen disease risks.”

According to a survey of an average American diet over the last decade, Americans generally consume a lot of protein, mostly from animal sources. Further, nearly a quarter of the population receives over 22% of all daily calories from protein alone.

That trend is likely driven by the popular idea that dietary protein is essential to healthy living, says Razani. But his and other groups have shown that overreliance on protein may not be such a good thing for long-term health.

Following their 2020 research, in which Razani’s laboratory first showed that excess dietary protein increases atherosclerosis risk in mice, his next study in collaboration with Bettina Mittendorfer, Ph.D., a metabolism expert at the University of Missouri, Columbia, delved deeper into the potential mechanism and its relevance to the human body.

To arrive at the answer, Razani’s laboratory, led by first-authors Xiangyu Zhang, Ph.D., and Divya Kapoor, M.D., teamed up with Mittendorfer’s group to combine their expertise in cellular biology and metabolism and perform a series of experiments across various models – from cells to mice to humans.

“We have shown in our mechanistic studies that amino acids, which are really the building blocks of the protein, can trigger disease through specific signaling mechanisms and then also alter the metabolism of these cells,” Mittendorfer said. “For instance, small immune cells in the vasculature called macrophages can trigger the development of atherosclerosis.”

Based on initial experiments in healthy human subjects to determine the timeline of immune cell activation following ingestion of protein-enriched meals, the researchers simulated similar conditions in mice and in human macrophages, immune cells that are shown to be particularly sensitive to amino acids derived from protein.

Their work showed that consuming more than 22% of daily dietary calories through protein can negatively affect macrophages that are responsible for clearing out cellular debris, leading to the accumulation of a “graveyard” of those cells inside the vessel walls and worsening of atherosclerotic plaques overtime. Interestingly, the analysis of circulating amino acids showed that leucine – an amino acid enriched in animal-derived foods like beef, eggs and milk – is primarily responsible for abnormal macrophage activation and atherosclerosis risk, suggesting a potential avenue for further research on personalized diet modification, or “precision nutrition.”

Razani is careful to note that many questions remain to be answered, mainly: What happens when a person consumes between 15% of daily calories from protein as recommended by the USDA and 22% of daily calories from protein, and if there is a ‘sweet spot’ for maximizing the benefits of protein – such as muscle gain – while avoiding kick-starting a molecular cascade of damaging events leading to cardiovascular disease.

The findings are particularly relevant in hospital settings, where nutritionists often recommend protein-rich foods for the sickest patients to preserve muscle mass and strength.

“Perhaps blindly increasing protein load is wrong,” Razani said. “Instead, it’s important to look at the diet as a whole and suggest balanced meals that won’t inadvertently exacerbate cardiovascular conditions, especially in people at risk of heart disease and vessel disorders.”

Razani also notes that these findings suggest differences in leucine levels between diets enriched in plant and animal protein might explain the differences in their effect on cardiovascular and metabolic health. “The potential for this type of mechanistic research to inform future dietary guidelines is quite exciting,” he said.

Additional authors of the study are Yu-Sheng Yeh, Ph.D., also from Pitt; Alan Fappi, Ph.D. and Vasavi Shabrish, Ph.D., both of the University of Missouri, Columbia; Se-Jin Jeong, Ph.D., Jeremiah Stitham, M.D., Ph.D., Ismail Sergin, Ph.D., Eman Yousif, M.D., Astrid Rodriguez-Velez, Ph.D., Arick Park, M.D., Ph.D., Joel Schilling, M.D., Ph.D., Marco Sardiello, Ph.D., Abhinav Diwan, M.D., Nathan Stitziel, M.D., Ph.D., Ali Javaheri, M.D., Ph.D., Irfan Lodhi, Ph.D., and Jaehyung Cho, Ph.D., all of Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis; Arif Yurdagul Jr, Ph.D., and Oren Rom, Ph.D., both of the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center; and Slava Epelman, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Toronto.

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IRONKIDS Cebu in Lapu-Lapu partners with RLC Residences

This April will be the first event of the partnership as the brand extends their support for the budding young athletes. The aquathlon will see participants from ages 6 to 15 years old complete the race happening at The Reef Island Resort in Mactan.

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The IRONMAN Group Philippines and RLC Residences have announced in 2023 a new partnership—as the residential brand of Robinsons Land Corporation, RLC Residences becomes the title sponsor for IRONKIDS Lapu-Lapu and IRONKIDS Davao for 2024.

This April will be the first event of the partnership as the brand extends their support for the budding young athletes.  The aquathlon will see participants from ages 6 to 15 years old complete the race happening at The Reef Island Resort in Mactan.

RLC Residences Head of Brand Management Mr. Dan Carlo Torres shares his enthusiasm towards the event. “We are very excited to see this partnership unfold. We’ve been very supportive of IRONMAN, especially IRONKIDS because we also believe in the importance of promoting an active and purposeful lifestyle at such a young age and we hope to continuously be part of IRONMAN as we create more vibrant opportunities for our future triathletes,” he added.

“As we aspire to live our best lives, we work to inspire the wider community,” said Ms Princess Galura, Regional Director of the IRONMAN Group Philippines.  “For 10 years, the IRONKIDS has been a part of the Cebuano youth’s stepping stone to either a future in sports, representing the Philippines in international events, as well as planting the seeds of a healthy, sporty lifestyle.  Our partnership with RLC Residences allows us to do so and we are excited to hold the festivities for our youth once again in Lapu-Lapu this April,” she added.

The IRONKIDS event in Lapu-Lapu will feature age group categories for the 6 to 8 years old, 9 to 10 years old, 11 to 12 years old and 13 to 15 years old.  Relay categories are also available for mixed team relay for 6-10 year-olds and 11-15 year-olds. 

Swim and run courses, the transition area and finish line will be at The Reef Island Resort, which is conveniently located in a gated community.  Families who are checked in during race weekend can enjoy amenities of the resort –  including the beach, lap pool and game room.  The resort’s restaurant is operated by Cebu-based top tier chain, Abaca.

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