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The Busy Woman’s Home Spa BookBooks by Liz Wilde -


The Busy Woman’s Home Spa Book

Published by Ryland, Peters & Small (out Autumn 2005)
ISBN 1841729736 Buy


Our bodies are set up for happiness. Every cell contains receptors that are in tune with feelgood chemical messengers known as endorphins. These neurotransmitters are your body’s natural painkillers and pleasure seekers, and the good news is, you don’t have to wait for a spontaneous release to get the benefits.

We get a natural endorphin rush when doing physical exercise (the bit after it stops hurting), laughing, being with people we love or feeling completely relaxed. But we can manufacture the same response by vividly remembering a past emotional experience that recreates positive emotions in our system.

* It’s easy. Start off relaxed and just think of a happy thought. The last time your partner did something special for you. Seeing your children playing. Your friend showing you how much she cared. Then make this thought more and more vivid in your mind until you begin feeling the good vibes you experienced at the time it took place. Allow yourself to really indulge in the sensation until you become aware of what parts of your body feel good. Do you have a tingle in your stomach or a warm glow in your heart? Hold that feeling and really pay attention to it. You want to be able to conjure up the same sensation again and again, particularly when what’s going on around you may not be so positive.

* Go all Julie Andrews and make a list of your favourite things. These can be things people have said to you or done for you, or simple pleasures such as stroking your cat or cuddling your partner or child. Now you have a list of the happy thoughts and memories that you can call on when you want to experience an endorphin rush anytime, anywhere.


Smiling is a very serious business. Taoists believe that when we smile our organs release a honey-like secretion which nourishes our whole body. Whether or not a smile can really lubricate us from the inside, what’s certain is that smiling releases tension and promotes a feeling a total wellbeing.

* For the next few days, observe what makes you smile spontaneously. We’re talking a genuine smile, not the socially acceptable one you put on when meeting someone new. A genuine smile will lift your spirits and give you the sort of feeling that has you humming your favourite tune. What events, situations and people produce your inner (and perhaps outer) smile? Make a note of every smile sighting until you have a list of spontaneous smile inducers. Then treat yourself to at least two a day. Remember, these are things that make you feel good, not things you think should make you feel good. So if the very thought of going to the gym makes you smile, then put it on your list. If not, it’s never going to be one of your spontaneous smilers - however much you want it to be.

As with endorphin-fuelled mood improvers, you can also recreate a smiley feeling by practising your own inner smile.

* Start by sitting comfortably. You can do this anywhere - on the bus (although you might want to be looking out of a window), at work or while stuck in traffic.
* Allow a smile to come into your eyes. Then let it spread to the rest of your face so the corners of your mouth turn up slightly.
* Now smile into any part of your body that’s tense and feel it begin to relax.
* Next, smile into any part of your body that feels good and thank it for working well and keeping you healthy.
* Lastly, smile into the parts of your life that are working and allow yourself to feel grateful - for a work project that’s going well, a nurturing friendship or a home that makes you feel relaxed and secure.

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