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    The Results Are In: Running Proven To Significantly Improve Mood

    Johannesburg, 28 November 2022. A total of 99% of people feel good or great after going for a run. This was the key finding from a series of running support groups set up by Nedbank in partnership with the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) leading up to and throughout Mental Health Awareness Month. The runs took place every day in August and September and were led by Nedbank Runified, Africa’s biggest virtual mass participation race. They aimed to show the nation that exercise, particularly running, can be a starting point to address what has become our nation’s next great health crisis: mental health.
    Nedbank Runified for mental health saw athletes, mental health advocates and running enthusiasts lead group runs across the country that were open to anyone who wished to take part. All those who participated were challenged to be cognisant of their mood before and after their run and to report back on how they felt.
    READ MORE: 4 Ways To Boost Your Mental Well-Being
    ‘The results were staggering, but also not totally unexpected’, commented Tobie Badenhorst, Head of Group Sponsorships and Cause Marketing at Nedbank. ‘It has been scientifically proven that exercise, particularly running, improves mental health and reduces depression, stress, and anxiety – this is widely known. But we wanted to illustrate this to South Africans in the most practical way – by facilitating support groups for anyone who felt they needed them. These groups were designed to allow participants to experience the mental effect of even light exercise first-hand.’
    Of those who participated, 59% described their mood as ‘flat’ before their run, with only 7% saying they were feeling great. Post-run, just 1% felt their mood hadn’t improved, with 17% describing their mood as ‘good’ and 82% as ‘great’.
    ‘With South Africa’s mental health stats being one of the worst in the world (one in three South Africans battle with their mental health), our hope is that Nedbank Runified not only gave those who participated an outlet to boost their mood but that it will broadly raise awareness and drive education on mental health. Ultimately, we hope it can create a shift in how we think about and approach mental health. We’d like to thank Nedbank for providing its Runified platform as the vehicle to help us do this and look forward to building on the achievements of the past months,’ added Badenhorst.
    ‘Nedbank has been involved in running for decades, and we are proud to use the Nedbank Running Club as a partner to create a lasting impact in the communities we serve. Through Runified, we were not only able to raise awareness while driving education on this issue, but through clear insights, we have also demonstrated that running, particularly in groups, can reduce stress, depression, and anxiety,’ concludes Badenhorst.
    Nedbank Runified for mental health is not yet over – those who want to join the movement can participate in November from anywhere in the world by joining the Nedbank Running Club on Strava or by searching #NedbankRunified on social media for more details.
    If you or your loved ones are battling mental health challenges, there is hope. Visit or call 0800 567 567 in the event of an emergency. More

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    7 Ways To Meditate For Anxiety Relief That Are *Actually* Easy To Do

    A way to meditate for anxiety relief that’s actually easy to do? Please, say some more…
    Anxious thoughts are (arguably) the least pleasant kinds of thoughts—and as soon as they pop up, your main goal is to get them gone (which, honestly, only seems to make them multiply). Real talk: You can’t necessarily stop yourself from ever having them…but you can learn how to manage them (and prevent them from going rogue)—that’s where meditation comes into play.
    Meditation can actually teach you how to recognize anxiety-inducing thoughts, observe them, and then let them go. Basically, you’re learning to recognize and respond to your feelings rather than instantly reacting to them, says Andy Puddicombe, meditation and mindfulness expert and co-founder of the meditation app Headspace.
    Still, it can be hard to know where to start—and, uh, what to do when you’re actually feeling anxious. Try one of these seven quick meditation tips for anxiety to help bring yourself back to reality ASAP.
    7 Ways To Meditate For Anxiety Relief

    1. Focus on the rising and falling of your breath.
    With your hand on your stomach, focus on your breath as you inhale and exhale. Count your breaths—”one” on the rise, “two” on the fall—as you pay attention to the movement of your body, to bring you back to the present moment, suggests Puddicombe. Do this for 10 seconds, he says, repeating if necessary.
    READ MORE: 8 Things That Are Sucking The Happiness Right Out Of Your Life
    2. Pay attention to how your feet feel on the floor.
    Or how your hands feel on your keyboard; or how your back feels against the chair—anything that grounds you to where you are and what you’re doing at that very moment.
    Allow thoughts to come and go as you normally would (because they will—meditation isn’t void of thought), but as soon as you realize you’re lost in the thought, pivot your thinking back to the sensation you were focusing on, says Puddicombe.
    3. Do a full-body scan, starting at the top of your head.
    Close your eyes and focus on your forehead—then begin to scan down your entire body, stopping at specific parts (like your eyes, your mouth, your neck, etc.) to take note of each sensation—good or bad—that you feel, says Puddicombe.
    Don’t pass judgement or fixate on any specific feelings—just make a note of it and move on; scanning your entire body two to three times, paying attention to how you feel before versus after the scan is complete.

    4. Imagine bright, warm sunlight shining down above your head.
    You know how it feels when you’re sitting next to a window (or lying on the beach) and a beam of sunshine hits your face just right? Imagine that feeling the next time you’re overwhelmed—but instead of just your face, imagine the light beam filling up each part of your body, from your toes to your head, suggests Puddicombe. “Allow the warmth, light, and spaciousness to melt away any tension in the body,” he adds
    READ MORE: 11 Ways To Beat Year-End Fatigue
    5. Let your mind think about whatever it wants to think about.
    Yep, that even means feeling anxious, says Puddicombe. It sounds counterintuitive, but when you sit with your thoughts—without any expectations, sense of purpose, or focus for several minutes—you give your mind the extra space needed to help it unwind, he says.

    6. Picture someone you love—and breathe in their anxieties.
    All right, this one sounds weird but just go with it: Hold an image of someone you love in your mind, and imagine yourself taking on their anxieties and insecurities with every inhale. On the exhale, think about all of their good qualities and the great times you’ve had together—kind of like breathing in the bad and breathing out the good.
    This exercise of putting the happiness of others before your own is called “skillful compassion” according to Puddicombe, and it’s “one of the most effective ways to let go of a strong emotion such as anxiety is to focus on another person,” he says.
    READ MORE: “I Travel Solo Even Though I Have Anxiety — This Is How I Cope”
    7. Talk to yourself like you’d talk to a friend.
    Ask yourself, “what do you appreciate most in your life?” Once you’ve got something (or things) in mind, dwell in that gratitude for 30 seconds.
    Inquiring in the second person separates you from your mind and encourages a space of appreciation, free from any overwhelming emotions, Puddicombe explains.
    This article was originally published on  More

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    8 Things That Are Sucking The Happiness Right Out Of Your Life

    You may not recognise it, but there are several biological imbalances and environmental factors that could create bad mood triggers, affecting your mood as an offshoot of something else that’s not quite right. Read on and check if any of these ring alarm bells.
    Bad mood trigger 1: Food Intolerance
    Food intolerances are responsible for a wide range of physical conditions including nausea and abdominal pain, but they can also affect your mood, causing irritability, mood swings, lack of focus, aggression, nervousness or hyperactivity. If you suffer from regular mood swings, try keeping a food diary – noting what you eat as well as any changes in mood – to see if you can identify a link.
    Bad mood trigger 2: Your Home Decor
    If you want to give your mood a boost, try changing your home decor as your surroundings can heavily influence your mood. While red can make some people feel irritable or hostile, yellow communicates happiness and blue aids relaxation, so try accessorising your home with colours that enhance your mood. Research has also suggested that hanging up soothing pictures – such as beautiful landscape paintings – can positively affect a person’s mood and reduce stress and anxiety.
    READ MORE: Mindful Drinking: How More And More People Are Becoming ‘Sober Curious’
    Bad mood trigger 3: Getting Promoted
    While many of us dream of getting a promotion in work, the reality may not be as rosy as you think. A study by researchers at the University of Warwick has found that rather than improving quality of life for workers, following job promotion employees suffered from increased mental strain and there was on average a 10 percent decrease in people’s mental health.
    Trigger 4: Your Bedside Lamp
    If you regularly fall asleep reading or watching TV, this can have repercussions on your mood the next day. Research has shown that night time light can suppress the production of melatonin; a mood-regulating hormone which is only produced during darkness. So, try investing in some heavy curtains and make sure you turn off all lights at night to give yourself a happiness boost.
    Trigger 5: Nutrient Deficiencies
    While depression can be caused by a number of things, symptoms can be worsened or improved by your diet. Deficiencies in vitamin D, the B vitamins (particularly B6, B12 and folate) and omega-3 fatty acids can all lead to feelings of depression and anxiety. Try introducing more foods rich in these nutrients into your diet to see if symptoms improve.
    READ MORE: How To Support A Loved One If You Think They Are Suicidal
    Trigger 6: Your Friends
    You might think that spending time with your friends is a great mood booster; however, that could all depend on their mood. Research has found that emotions – both positive and negative – are contagious and easily passed from person to person, often without you being aware of it. Furthermore, you don’t even need to see your friends to catch their mood, as a study suggests that the emotions of Facebook users directly affect the emotions of their friends for up to three days.
    Trigger 7: Late Nights
    Many of us are aware that lack of sleep can contribute to a low mood; however, research suggests that when you go to sleep could be almost as important as how much sleep you get. According to a study published in Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, night owls are almost three times as likely as early birds to experience severe symptoms of depression, so try getting some early nights to boost your mood.
    READ MORE: 10 Ways To Motivate Yourself To Hit the Gym After Work
    Trigger 8: The Pill
    A study by researchers from Monash University has found that women who take birth control pills are twice as likely to be depressed as those who don’t. For some, certain birth control pills can also lead to mood swings, increased anger and loss of libido. If you think that your mood has changed for the worse since you began taking the pill, visit your GP to discuss the alternatives. More

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    10 Ways To Motivate Yourself To Hit the Gym After Work

    By Ashley Oerman
    Everyone has that moment after a long workday when all you want to do is go home, get into bed even though you totally planned to hit the gym after you left the office. We hear you. So we spoke with experts to round up ridiculously easy tips that double up as gym motivation after a gruelling workday. You can now officially cross your excuses off your list.
    1/ Turn Your Gym Motivation into Office Décor
    Do you decorate your desk with positive affirmations like “Keep calm and carry on” to get you through the workday? It might be a good idea to post some inspirational gym motivation messages around your workspace as well, says Leanne Shear, co-founder and head trainer of Uplift Studios in New York City. You can also tape up images associated with your goals, says Shear. She suggests photos of your favourite fit Instagramer or one of that bikini you’re dying to buy.
    2/ Eat Breakfast
    Setting yourself up for workout success starts within an hour of waking up, says dietitian Wendy Bazilian, co-author of The Super Foods Rx Diet: Lose Weight with the Power of Super Nutrients and an American College of Sports Medicine-certified health and fitness specialist. Even though it’s hours before your trip to the gym, having a smart breakfast will keep your body from depleting its stored glycogen, which you need to stay energised throughout the rest of the day. Eat a solid breakfast with protein, a fruit or veggie and a complex carbohydrate (like whole-grain toast).
    READ MORE: 19 Slider Exercises That Will Make Your Abs And Glutes WORK
    3/ Keep Lunch Light
    Don’t let a food coma get in the way of your workouts. No matter what you’re eating, if you have too much of it, your blood sugar is going to go through the roof and then plummet back down leaving you drowsy and maybe even unproductive, says Bazilian. To fight midday fatigue, eat a light meal like a wrap or salad that features a complex carbohydrate, fruit or vegetable and protein. Also, try to avoid foods with refined carbs or lots of sugar, which can cause you to crash later in the day. Keeping your blood sugar steady will stabilise your energy, help you get more done, and feel awake enough to make it to the gym.
    And get this: When you eat lunch can be as important as what you eat, says Bazilian. Try to eat about four hours before you plan to work out because your stomach takes about three hours to clear out its contents. And if your digestive system is still working to digest your food, it’s using energy that you could be putting towards your workout.
    4/ Pack A Snack
    If making it to the gym four hours after eating lunch is tough for you, make sure you bring a pre-exercise snack to eat about 45 minutes before you hit the road. Since snacks are smaller than meals, this is just the right amount of time for your body to digest most of this snack and use it as energy during your workout, says Bazilian. When you chow down on a small, easily digestible snack consisting of mostly carbs and a little protein, you’re going to have more energy to work harder at the gym, says Bazilian. “It seems a little weird to consume kilojoules before your burn kilojoules, but it’s about the bigger picture,” she says. “You want to feel good while you’re working out and have energy to push yourself.” She recommends an apple with peanut butter or even a latté. Another thing: After your snack, try to get up and move around a bit, says Shear. Getting your heart rate up (even a tiny bit) helps get your blood flowing and keeps you from feeling lethargic, she says. She suggests walking up and down some stairs in your office building or, if you have an office, closing your door and doing a few jumping jacks.
    READ MORE: Here’s Exactly How To Start Working Out Again, After A Winter Hibernating
    5/ Take Advantage of Your Tech
    Another way to make sure hitting the gym is on your to-do list for the day is to create a calendar reminder on your computer or set an alarm on your phone, says Shear. That little signal serves as a very obvious reminder of your workout goals and can keep you from backing out because you were so busy that you forgot (or “forgot”).
    6/ Change into Your Exercise Gear Before You Leave the Office
    When you switch clothes before you leave work, number one, you’re giving yourself a visual reminder that you’re committed to working out. Number two: You’re making yourself more accountable to yourself and to your coworkers. You’re not going to want to admit that you didn’t work out like you said you were going to, says Shear.
    READ MORE: Is It Better To Do Cardio Before Or After Weight Training?
    7/ And Leave Things at the Office
    If your gym has a location near your office, after you change, leave your work stuff and go exercise with just your gym bag. Shear says this eliminates the temptation to pass up the gym on your journey home because you won’t have your things with you that you need for the night – you couldn’t go straight home even if you wanted to. If your gym isn’t close to work, since it’s summertime, go for a jog or do some interval training near your office building.
    8/ Use the Buddy System
    Instead of making plans to meet up with an old friend over cocktails, schedule a sweat session to catch up. Although you’re probably not going to be chatting it up during a tough bootcamp class or treadmill interval workout, the fact that you’re meeting a friend there will make you less likely to back out, says Shear. Then you can grab dinner after the workout.
    9/ Treat Treats as Gym Motivation
    Go ahead and bargain with yourself. If you look forward to a glass of wine at the end of your day, turn that little treat into a reward for your workout, says Bazilian. No workout? No wine.
    10/ Set the Bar REALLY Low
    If you tell yourself that you have to go to the gym for at least 15 minutes, you’re more likely to go than if you have an all-or-nothing mentality, says Bazilian. “If you make your goal ridiculously easy, it gets you to go. And once you’re at the gym, you might think ‘well, I could probably stay just a little longer,’” she says. Not to mention, it’s totally possible to fit in an effective workout in just 15 minutes – or even five!)
    This article was originally published on More

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    It’s Time For The Virtual Nedbank Runified Challenge

    It’s time for the Nedbank Runified challenge where runner’s join forces all over the country in aid of Mental Health Awareness month and Runify around mental health. This is the perfect first step towards a happier and healthier South Africa.
    Virtual Goal  
    The Runify challenge, in partnership with the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), aims to demonstrate that running (particularly in groups) can reduce stress, depression and anxiety. The goal for the challenge is to collectively run 500 000 km by the end of the month. All you need to do is run as many times and as many kilometres as you can each week to help reach the target. Run for a greater cause, Runify for those around you and let’s get this movement going together, one step at a time.

    Join A Group Run
    The Nedbank Running Club is more than a club and welcomes runners of all fitness levels to unify through running.  Join one of the Runified partners in their respective cities for a 5 km group run.
    Nedbank Runified Durban group run hosted by Cuan Walker, Masibulele Mkhundlu & Nicola Schreuder
    Date: 22 October 2022  Time: 08h00 Venue: The Bike & Bean, Snell Parade, Stamford Hill, Durban, 4025
    Nedbank Runified Johannesburg group run hosted by Tumi Sole & Zinhle Masango
    Date: 25 October 2022 Time: 17h30 Venue: Nedbank Running Club, Modderfontein, Flamingo Shopping Centre (Upper parking Area)
    Cape Town 
    Nedbank Runified Cape Town group run hosted by Amy Hopkins, Caley Jack, Nombulelo Mgabadeli & Graeme Richards
    Date: 29 October 2022 Time: 08h00 Venue: vida e caffè Table Mountain
    Join the Nedbank Running Club on Strava
    From 14 – 30 October 2022, run as many kilometres as possible to help Nedbank reach the 500 000 km goal in the two week period.
    Share your runs on Strava and all social platforms with #NedbankRunified and you stand a chance to win prizes, including Nike vouchers, Nedbank AVO vouchers, and Nedbank Running Merch.
     Visit to join the Nedbank Running club in your area, no matter what type of runner you are. 
    If you or your loved ones are battling with mental health challenges, there is hope. Visit for free resources to manage your mental health. SMS 31393 and a counsellor will call you back or call 0800 567 567 – available seven days a week, 24 hours a day. SADAG has a dedicated WhatsApp counselling chat line on 087 163 2030 available seven days a week, from 08:00 to 17:00.
    *In Partnership with Nedbank More

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    9 questions you should ask yourself to check your own mental health


    by Team Emirates Woman
    2 hours ago

    This World Mental Health Day we are encouraging people to check in on themselves as well as others.
    In the fast-paced world of technology and a hectic year of uncertainty with the COVID-19 pandemic, the conversation surrounding mental health has never been more prevalent than ever.
    While, of course, we want to ensure others are okay, you also need to check in on yourself from time to time to ensure your own mental health is okay.
    With that, here’s nine questions to ask to “check-in” on yourself and your mental health.

    How am I feeling today?
    What is my mood like every morning? Am I energetic, lazy, motivated or uninspired?
    How am I performing with my daily life activities?
    How is my appetite? Has it increased or decreased?
    How are my sleeping habits? Am I feeling rested? Do I wake up tired?
    What are my areas of interest?
    What are the things that keep me happy?
    How do I perceive life?
    What are the thoughts floating around in my mind?

    By asking these simple questions, it could help identify some mental health issues you may be going through and pinpoint whether you should seek further help or not.
    – For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram
    Feature Image: Pexels More

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    How The Women’s Proteas Are Prepping For The T20 World Cup

    Finally! The Women’s T20 World Cup is almost upon us. After a much-anticipated wait, the women’s Proteas will be competing on home turf against the best in the world. The opening match will take place on February 10th 2023 (SA takes on Sri Lanka for the first game) and tickets will be going for as low as R60.
    “Since I made my debut to now, I think the game has become a lot more competitive within the women’s space,” says Protea right-hander Faye Tunnicliffe. “It’s a great place to be to wear the green and gold, especially now we’re gonna have women wearing it in front of the home crowds.”
    READ MORE: It’s Time To Stop Watching The Kids Play Cricket And Get In The Game
    Women’s Proteas: prepping for the game
    The team have a rigorous training programme leading up to the event, with tons of running (sprints and distance runs) involved. There’s running four times a week, with strength training four times a week. There’s stability work involved, too, especially for batters and bowlers, says Faye. “You have to have that core strength and stability in order to perform at your best and avoid injury,” she says. “Also, I think fielding is becoming a lot more demanding within the women’s game. That is becoming a skill within itself. So that you have to be conditioned in order to like take a knock and to dive around and stuff and to recover quickly.”
    For Suné Luus, fitness is a continual journey. “I’ve been on a health journey for a very long time, just trying to be the healthiest I can be,” she says. “So I’m trying to eat very well. I’m trying to condition my body to, you know, sustain me for four weeks of training.” When she’s not on the field, Suné likes to let loose on the bicycle. “I just like take my cycle and I just go wherever… and I live in a beautiful place,” she says.
    READ MORE: Sport Really Can Empower Women — Just Look At Banyana Banyana’s Thembi Kgatlana
    Taking care of their mental health
    The players are also congiscent of how good mental health is and how it impacts every aspect of the game. For Suné, reading and hanging out with her friends is a clutch way to unwind.
    “A lot of the time within professional sport, you need something that takes you away from the game,” says Faye. “Otherwise, if you’re constantly on high alert like you are within a game or within a competition, then you’re just gonna get burnt out.” For Faye, it’s all about taking care of herself – to make herself better for the game. “If you look after the human, you can look after the cricketer,” says Faye. Her method of unwinding? Music. ” I love music. I play guitar. So a lot of the time I’ll sort of just pick up my guitar and play or I’ll read or I’ll call up a loved one.”
    Players will be competing at Newlands, Paarl and Gqeberha. Support your Proteas and grab your tickets here.
    READ MORE: Creating Endless Possibilities For Women In Sport More

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    It Turns Out There Are Actually 9 Different Types Of Depression

    One in five South Africans will experience some form of depression in their lifetime – whether it be due to genetics, stress, trauma, chronic illness or other factors, few know how to recognise the symptoms and get the help they need.
    Abdurahmaan Kenny, Mental Health Portfolio Manager for Pharma Dynamics, says untreated depression is a serious issue, which often leads to risky behaviour such as substance abuse and self-harm. 
    “More than 75% of sufferers in low to middle-income countries go untreated. Major barriers include the stigma associated with depression, lack of resources and properly trained healthcare workers.
    “People expect those with depression to just pull themselves together and get over it, but without the right treatment, which involves a combination of medication and psychotherapy, untreated depression can become debilitating,” says Kenny.   
    Kenny points out that there are many different types of depression. In some cases, symptoms overlap, but key differences set them apart. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, seek professional help from a therapist. Through the government’s Prescribed Minimum Benefits, medical aids can cover your session. 
    Major depression
    If you experience five or more of the following symptoms on most days, you may be suffering from major depression:
    • Loss of interest in activities that use to bring you joy
    • Unexplained weight loss or gain
    • Trouble sleeping
    • Feeling intensely sad, worthless and/or guilty
    • Having trouble concentrating
    • Feeling restless, anxious or agitated
    • Low energy levels – physically and mentally
    • Contemplating suicide
    READ MORE: What Is Holotropic Breathwork—And What Can It Do For Your Mental Health?
    Persistent depressive disorder
    This type of depression typically lasts for two years or longer and is termed a low-grade persistent depression, also called, “dysthymia” or “chronic major depression”.
    Common symptoms include:
    • Not eating enough or overeating
    • Sleeping too little or too much
    • Lack of energy or feeling fatigued throughout the day
    • Low self-esteem
    • Not able to concentrate and make decisions
    • Feeling of hopelessness
    Bipolar disorder (manic depression)
    People with bipolar disorder experience extremes in mood, which are termed as “highs” and “lows”. No two people have the same symptoms, but there are three main types of bipolar disorder:
    ·       Bipolar 1 often includes one or more manic episodes that last a week and, in many cases, require hospitalisation and may last for at least two weeks.
    ·       Bipolar 2 is characterised defined by a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes condition (in which you display a revved-up energy or activity level, mood or behaviour).
    ·       Cyclothymic Disorder (also called Cyclothymia) – is defined by periods of hypomanic symptoms, as well as periods of depressive symptoms lasting for at least two years (one year in children and adolescents).
    READ MORE: Caley Jäck’s Simple Formula For Sticking To A Healthy Lifestyle
    Psychotic depression
    Psychotic depression is termed major depression with psychotic symptoms. These include hallucinations, delusions and/or paranoia.
    Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
    PMDD typically manifests itself at the start of a woman’s period. Symptoms range from feeling moody and irritable to changes in appetite or sleep.
    Postpartum depression
    After childbirth, many women struggle with depression, commonly known as “baby blues”, which could last a few weeks or months. Symptoms include excessive crying, anxiety, insomnia and mood swings.
    Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
    SAD is common in winter when there’s less sunshine and tends to improve during the warmer months of the year. Antidepressants and light therapy are effective treatments.
    Situational depression
    You can experience situational depression when you’re troubled by a stressful period in your life, including trauma, personal suffering, divorce or financial loss. 
    READ MORE: 6 Reasons That Explain Why You’re Constantly Tired
    Treatment-resistant depression
    One-third of sufferers have treatment-resistant depression. This often occurs when you have other conditions that make depression difficult to treat. However, there are alternative therapies that can be explored.
    Kenny says depression – no matter the type – can render people unable to function in their family, work and social life. 
    “The good news is that depression can be successfully treated in most cases with early recognition, appropriate intervention and support. If you recognise any depressive symptoms in yourself, a loved one or a friend, however difficult it may be, seek professional help to get a proper diagnosis. A GP will be your first port of call and will be able to direct you to a specialist if needed.”
    For more insights on how to manage depression, visit or contact Pharma Dynamics’ toll-free helpline on 0800 205 026, which is manned by trained counsellors who are on call from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. More