Why The Tree Of Charity Is One Of The 8 Areas Of Life

Jar with charity labelled on the front

Jar with charity labelled on the front

By Sam Makhoul

Being charitable fills a fundamental human need for contribution. How do you explain why millionaire celebrities or retired politicians give up the luxury of their western world living to travel to undeveloped countries to help people in need?

They often spend months and sometimes years climbing the Tree of Charity. Why?

Charity Is Good For Your Health:

A line of individuals volunteering at a charity centre

Making a contribution and being a giving person activates pleasure centres in the brain. It reduces anxiety and depression considerably.

It reduces blood pressure and therefore reduces the stress response significantly. And it is also good for business.

A study by Wharton Business School, called Firms of Endearment, found that businesses whose employees were focused on the mission and making a difference outperformed the S & P 500 by a ratio of 9 to 1. Resulting in businesses who were focused on contribution, making more profit than those who were focused on profit.

This occurs because we value ourselves in direct proportion to the value we add to others, which means we are happiest when we are helping others. And being happy makes us smarter and more productive.

If you are lucky enough to do a job that brings joy and happiness to others, and you do your job not just for money but for love, then you are climbing the Tree of Work and the Tree of Charity at the same time.  A concept we call life blending at A Higher Branch.

And when you focus on making a difference, you also create opportunities to meet new people who believe in the same causes that inspire you. This, plus making a real impact on those causes, can infuse your everyday life with more meaning.

But do you feel you may be stuck in a rut? Whether you feel stagnate, personally or professionally, the simple act of focusing on making a difference can reinvigorate your energy and your life; so take a moment to reshift your focus.

Charity Is Good For Society:

Two people holding hands as they contribute to a charity

If you think that your one little show of charity does not make a difference, then think of all the great women and men who from their one single show of charity changed the face of humanity. Giving is contagious.

And paying it forward lifts the level of love and compassion to a new average and a new standard. Consequently, humanity grows in the right direction.

Showing Charity Is Good For Your Children:

A family huddled together discussing a charity

Contributing to charity teaches your children to be grateful and therefore, influences them to become happier. This is because it keeps them in touch with the real world and the plight of others in need.

The act of giving gives them a sense of self-worth, which is why I encourage all parents to volunteer at homeless shelters and other food services to the poor. It. It is the most humbling and rewarding experience you will feel.

Read the story of Jessica in Chapter 15 of A Higher Branch, which demonstrates the incredible power of charity.

How To Develop A Skin Care Regime For Your Skin Type

Lady washing her face in the mirror

Lady washing her face in the mirror
For many of us, a skin care regime is pivotal to our morning and nightly routines. But for others, it’s a task that we don’t put too much time, effort or research into.

Many of us tend to buy one product and use that on an ongoing basis, failing to review what our skin needs at different stages in our life. And in the absence of professional care, an enhanced skin care regime will serve the skin well and your mood too, because healthy skin means a happy individual.

So, to help you achieve glowing skin, we have collaborated with the founder of O Cosmedics, Maria Enna-Cocciolone to develop an easy-to-follow guide on acing your skin care regime.

Your Simple Go-To Skin Care Guide:

Step 1 – Cleanse:

Lady cleansing her face

Cleansing is the first and foremost most important step when it comes to keeping your face healthy. This is because “cleansing ensures you have the perfect canvas for healthy skin and that active ingredients in serums and creams can penetrate the skin and get to work,” Maria explains.

But when it comes to cleansing, choosing the right product for your skin type is important. If you suffer from dry skin a balm or oil cleanser is recommended, whereas if you experience oily skin you may require light acids and or enzymes to deep clean the pores.

If your skin type is normal, a gel or light lotion cleanser will do the job. Once you have the right cleanser for your skin “simply apply the cleanser to your fingertips, apply to the face and neck and work in tiny circles to ensure you are cleansing effectively accumulating makeup, pollutants, dirt, and grime,” Maria details.

Remove the cleanser with a damp skin shammy or face wash. If you’ve worn makeup during the day, make sure you double cleanse and for a super-effective cleanse, use a micellar treatment gel to ensure you leave no residue behind.

If you have thoroughly cleaned it the night before, you can opt for a simply micellar cleanse as part of your morning routine. Maria recommends the O Cosmedics Micellar Treatment Gel for a quick cleanse and anti-pollutant support.

Step 2 – Correct:

Liquid being dropping into a hand

When it comes to correcting your skin, using serums allows you to target specific skin concerns. A serum is a liquid or gel that contains high concentrations of skin actives, which can penetrate deeper than other topical products such as moisturisers.

Serums allow you to target specific concerns due to their high concentration and potency. While most basic serums contain a combination of antioxidants that will brighten the skin, Maria advises as part of an effective skin regime to use vitamin C in the morning and retinol (vitamin A) in the evening.

Step 3 – Hydrate & Protect:

Lady adding cream to her face

Keeping your skin looking radiant and healthy at all times can be a difficult task, but it can all come down to ensuring it is hydrated and protected from chemical products and harsh sunlight. To ensure your skin is being looked after, ensure you hydrate it every morning and evening.

“Choose [a product] that not only hydrates and nourishes your skin but also treats specific skin concerns,” Maria advises. “A great starting point is O Cosmedics Immortal Cream,” which contains super-antioxidants and potent concentrations of V8 Peptide Complex.

This product is also a mega-dose of vitamin C and is commonly used to awaken and hydrate the skin, assist relaxation of muscles and help to reverse and diminish the signs of aging whilst providing a feeling of instant lift. Perfect for assisting line and wrinkle relaxation age prevention super hydration youth and radiance.

Skin Care Regime By Skin Type:

Dry, Dehydrated And Flaky:

Lady with dry skin

When it comes to dry and dehydrated skin, they are too different conditions. Dry skin means you are lacking oil, whereas dehydrated skin lacks water.

To treat dry skin, opt for an oil-based cleanser and treatment, as well as essential fatty acids (topically and orally). Dry skin can also benefit from a hydrating booster; whether it is a hydrating face oil, a twice-weekly replenishing mask, or a serum with hyaluronic acid.

It is also important to keep up your water intake and hydrate your skin from the inside out. When it comes to treating your dehydrated skin, different molecular weights (molecule sizes) of Hyaluronic Acid is recommended for use.

Oily Skin:

Oily skin is caused by an overproduction of excess sebum (oil) and requires active ingredients to rebalance the productivity. When it comes to cleansing your skin, choose products that contain retinol (vitamin A) and Niacinamide (vitamin B3).

Sore And Red:

Young lady with red skin

If you are experiencing sore and red skin, it is commonly an inflammatory response and should be treated with TLC. To help soothe your skin, there are two recommended treatment phases:

  1. Calming and soothing
  2. Healing and strengthening

“It is not recommended to use actives, or exfoliating products should be used whilst the skin is crying for help,” Maria explains.

How Often Should I Be Doing An At-Home Facial?

Man having an at home face mask

Facials can now be done in the comfort of your own home (and for a fraction of the price). To keep your skin looking flawless, at-home facials are recommended once or twice a week.

Too often, and you risk overdoing it, which can leave your skin irritated. “Simply dedicating 30 to 60 minutes a week to a home-facial can make all the difference and ensure the skin is clear, even and radiant,” Maria says.

But according to Maria, “the most important thing to remember is to stay true to a cosmedical skin care and giving yourself some self-love is imperative to healthy skin.” 

Read our blog on Iso Skin: What Is It And How Can It Be Prevented?


Iso Skin: What Is It And How Can It Be Prevented?

Lady suffering from iso skin

Lady suffering from iso skin

This year has been the year many of us are ready to say goodbye to. It has challenged us in new ways we never thought were possible.

For the first time in our lifetime, we found ourselves locked up in our homes with nowhere to go. Shops closed, outdoor time and travel restrictions in place and interactions with the human race was a distant memory.

We were forced to isolate due to the world health pandemic of coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19. Since March 2020, our lives changed forever.

Isolation itself changed many different aspects of our lives. While it has changed the way we work and communicate, it also had a dramatic impact on our mental and physical health.

But other than the fear of catching COVID-19, many of us experienced another health concern. One that left us thinking “what am I doing wrong?”

Take a moment to think about this…have discovered you’ve suffered from skin breakouts but you don’t know why? Well, it’s safe to say, you are NOT alone.

That is why we have gone straight to the experts and uncovered the reasons why you’re suffering from the new diagnosis of ‘iso skin’ and how you can stop it in its tracks. But firstly, what is iso skin?

“Iso skin is a result of COVID-19 and the pressure of living through a pandemic, being forced to stay home, living a more sedentary life and not being able to seek professional skin treatments due to clinic closures,” founder of O Cosmedics, Maria Enna-Cocciolone explained. “It can be an existing condition that flares up or a new one that is triggered by the stress that comes with living in uncertain times.”

3 Reasons Why Your Skin Is Breaking Out:

1. Stress:

Lady looking stressed

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that stress is the number one cause to our skin breakouts. Especially after the year we’ve had, where we have continuously been living in a world of uncertainty.

This is because when we stress, it releases hormones that increase testosterone that leads to oily skin. And when we have oily skin, our pores become blocked, causing us to experience breakouts.

“In one sentence, stress and skin are not friends,” Maria explained. “Stress triggers inflammatory markers, which can result in acne, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, dryness, oil imbalance, rashes, and hives.”

Stress can also affect our ability to digest and release toxins from within our bodies. “Stress can slow down digestion, which affects gut bacteria causing a cascade of bacteria in the body and can even be responsible for hormone stimulation that causes oil imbalance and triggers acne,” Maria added.

2. Diet:

Woman holding a glass of red wine

Spending more time at home has its ups and downs. But one thing that many of us can relate to is our growing relationship with the pantry and fridge – especially when we find ourselves procrastinating over a work task.

And as we continue to spend more time at home, many of us find ourselves snacking more and eating foods that are higher in sugar and carbs. This then impacts our hormone levels and causes breakouts around our mouth region.

But is it not just our diet that has changed, so too has our alcohol consumption. A new study from The Australian National University discovered that 20.2% of people reported that their alcohol consumption increased this year.

The study also found that one-in-four women who drank (22.8 per cent) reported an increase in drinking during May 2020 and one-in-five men (17.9 per cent) reported an increase in the same period. So next time you go to grab that block of chocolate or bottle of wine, maybe think twice about the consequences that may follow – your skin will thank you for it.

3. Masks:

Lady walking while wearing a mask

Many of us are now required to wear a face mask when leaving the house, whether it is at the shopping centres, at the doctors or on public transport. But what you didn’t know is that your mask could also be contributing to your irritated skin.

Introducing mascne. Yes, it is a ‘thing’.

“Mascne [acne mechanicha] is a new word and skin condition, which originates from acne caused by wearing a mask,” Maria explained. “Worn correctly and over extended periods the skin sweats, oil and redundant cells build-up, skin dries out and the imbalances clog pores causing mascne.”

We can minimise breakouts by thoroughly cleansing our face morning and night. “[And] if you choose to wear makeup [under your mask] make sure you choose a product that is clean and does not infuse toxic ingredients into the skin,” Maria said. “O Cosmedics 1Skin (pronounced one skin) Treatment Fusion Foundation is 97% Natural, is skin-friendly, preventing breakout and congestion.”

5 Quick Ways To Beat Iso Skin:

When it comes to beating breakouts, there are several approaches you can take. By making some lifestyle changes and switching up your skin care regime, you can help your skin flourish.

Here are five quick and easy ways you can begin to improve the healthiness of your skin:

1. Drink More Water:

Man drinking a bottle of water

We know; you have probably heard this many times, but it is true what the experts say… By drinking at least eight glasses of water a day it helps keep your body refreshed and provides it with the ability to flush any toxins, ultimately clearing your pores.

2. Eat A Healthy, Balanced Diet:

A salad in a blue bowl

Diet is a big contributor when it comes to achieving glowing skin. For healthy-looking skin, it’s recommended you consume meals that are high in fibre, whole grains and fresh fruit and vegetables, providing your body with nutrients to feed the skin.

It is important to also keep an eye out on foods that are high in salt. While you may be drinking enough water every day, if you are consuming foods that are high in salt, you are interfering with the positive results because these foods are stopping the water from reaching your skin and ultimately removing all the toxins.

3. Take Time Out And Meditate:

Person at the beach meditating

Yes, meditate. We all know breakouts can be caused by stress, so by taking the time out to meditate helps you manage your emotions and ultimately de-stress.

It also assists in adjusting your sleeping matters and reduces cortisol levels. So, use this time to remove yourself from the noise on social media, and the negativity in the world and meditate to relaxing music – do this daily and you will begin to notice a shift mentally and physically.

4. Move Your Body:

Man tying his shoes to go exercise

We know you probably don’t want to believe it, but exercise can improve the appearance of your skin as it helps balance out your hormones. When you exercise, you are delivering oxygen-rich blood to the skin to allow it to restore.

According to Maria, “lack of movement, fresh air and vitamin D can make an individual lazy, compromise circulation, slow down toxin removal and blood oxygenation.” So, make sure you dedicate at least 20 minutes a day to move your body and preferably outside, so you are exposed to natural vitamin D.

5. Feed Your Skin With The Right Products:

Lady fixing her iso skin with a face mask

While diet, movement and meditation contribute to healthy-looking skin, so does establishing a good skin care routine. When it comes to your skin, it is important to use products that keep it balanced, hydrated and nourished.

From picking out the right cleanser for your skin type and the perfect serums and moisturisers; each step of your regime is important to achieving gorgeous looking skin. Read our blog on How To Develop An In-Depth Skin Care Regime here.

But feeding your skin with the right products doesn’t stop at your cleansing products, it also includes the makeup you. According to Maria, choosing clean beauty needs to become your go-to beauty product.

“Look for Natural, Mineral or Organic,” she explained. “If the product isn’t one of those three then chances are everything else is a ‘chemical shit storm’ under the guise of a pretty camouflage,” the skin expert added.


Charity Starts With The Self

Header image of blocks reading "give"

Blocks that read "give"

By Sam Makhoul

Charity does indeed start at home with your family. But there is another deeper type of charity to yourself that matters more.

Before you help others, you need to help yourself. So, have you ever wondered what would be the best gift you can give yourself?

To understand this question, you need to understand what is ‘self’? What is your inner essence? Your life force, your spirit.

We often get confused between our thoughts and our ‘selves’. You are not your thoughts; you are the inner essence that notices your thoughts.

So, next time you are feeling emotions such as fear, anger, or sadness, know that it is your ‘inner self’, that is noticing that sense of feeling. This inner self or inner intelligence loves you and wants you to know that it has your back.

So, if only you stopped, listened, and meditated on the fact that you are the writer, producer, and director of your life. You are not the script nor the actor.

You are not the storyline. You write the plot.

People volunteering at a clothing shelter

When it comes to truly understanding your own self, the first step is to be kind and not so hard on yourself. You need to develop an understanding that simply living, breathing, and enjoying all eight areas of your life is enough.

Why? Because these days, it is common to become obsessed with doing and defining your identity by your job.

But know that your inner self is child-like and does not care about your title nor your bank account. You are not the work you do, but the person you are.

So, how do you become charitable to yourself? Water and nourish all eight areas of your life, that’s how.

In the Tree of Health – your energy source – eat well, sleep well, and move well. Calm your mind chatter with daily meditation. Journal your feelings, so you can heal them. Pray and give thanks to feeling a connection with the creation and give meaning to your life.

In the Tree of Love (intimacy), make time for emotional and physical intimacy with your lover and life partner. The time you invest in your relationship will yield immense emotional returns.

In the Tree of Family (support), dedicate time and energy to each of your close family members; especially your children. Spend one-on-one time with them; love and support them unconditionally. Make them feel fearless and support their endeavours. Why? Because they will reciprocate and pay it forward to their own children.

Hands joining around an animation of a family of four

In the Tree of Work (fulfilment), choose to love your work. How? By mastering your skills. Competence builds confidence in yourself and that is essential for your self-esteem. Focus on making a difference and not just on earning an income. Have fun with the people you work with and the customers you serve. Not frivolous or inappropriate fun, but rather a celebration of your achievements and the results you achieve. Share your achievements with your family, your friends, and all your connections on social media. Like I said earlier, you make the job; the job does not make you.

In the Tree of Friendship (belonging), make time to hang out with friends that make you laugh, who listen as much as you talk, and one’s that don’t bring you down with their negative focus. Socialising with friends builds a sense of belonging and that has proven to be extremely beneficial to your health.

In the Tree of Learning (growth) keep reading, watching, and listening to great thought-leaders. Do so with child-like curiosity and a beginner’s mind. And always ask yourself, “how can I apply this knowledge to help myself in the eight areas of my life?”

In the Tree of Wealth (freedom), invest in your happiness by saving money in your early years to have freedom in your later years. Do not buy ‘things’, instead buy experiences that bring you joy in the other eight areas of your life.

Then, and only then, can you climb the Tree of Charity and have something to give. Because ultimately the best thing you can give others, is your time and your energy; not your money. And by being charitable to yourself first, you will have positive uplifting energy to give others.

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