The road to good health is actually not that hard or far fetched. As guest contributor, Dr. Scott Saunders points out, all you need are a few changes. What are these changes? Read on to find out!
There are hundreds of pills, serums, programs, and procedures that promise to keep you looking and feeling young well into your golden years. Despite these «advancements» in technology and medicine, our society is still plagued by obesity, disease, and an overall dissatisfaction with life.
What if you could make a few simple, natural changes to your life that would impact your health and happiness, and, therefore, your longevity? The following are seven principles that can improve the health and outlook of your body and mind for the rest of your life:
When your computer begins acting irrationally, you usually reset the system by shutting it down and restarting it, right? Your body is similar in its need to restart periodically, and fasting is a natural way to reset your system. Fasting cleanses the body of toxins, makes the metabolism more efficient, decreases inflammation, resets the adrenal glands (where stress hormones originate), and makes you more sensitive to insulin, which prevents you from gaining fat around the abdomen.
How to start: If fasting and doing a cleanse seems like a difficult undertaking, try starting with one day per week or month. Eventually, you’ll be able to maintain the fast for a longer period of time to maximize the results.
It’s pretty safe to say that exercise can change lives. Exercise increases endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine, keeping your good-mood hormones high and your stress hormones low. It combats disease, boosts energy, and controls weight. And since you can choose the form of exercise that’s comfortable and enjoyable for you, it’s a great way to have fun while keeping yourself healthy.
How to start: If you’re not already used to regular exercise, it’s best to start slow and gradually increase over time. Don’t think you have to jump right in with marathon workout routines; do 10 minutes of vigorous exercise a day to feel the positive effects. Set goals for yourself and try exercising with a friend to stay motivated and on track.
3. Keep a Journal
Writing in a journal is an excellent way to express thoughts, feelings, and ideas you might not otherwise share. Writing how you feel helps keep things in perspective and requires you to organize your thoughts in ways that are much different than speaking. Keeping a journal is also a great brain exercise, keeping your mind and memory sharp as you age.
How to start: Whether it’s with pen and paper or on your computer, start writing short descriptions of the day’s events, the people you encountered, and the emotions you experienced. If you can’t do it every day, strive to write at least a couple of times per week. Releasing the feelings you keep inside is incredibly cathartic.
4. Connect with Others
Relationships are essential for your emotional health. Building and maintaining close relationships helps you feel a sense of purpose and belonging, and spending time with people you love and enjoy is a great mood booster.
How to start: Through whatever method is comfortable, connect or reconnect with family and friends in your life. Make an effort to converse, visit, and share with your loved ones. Don’t close yourself off to discovering new friendships as well; consider joining a church or a community group, or volunteer for a local organization to seek out new friendships.
5. Meditate or Pray
Meditation and prayer let you take a break from the hectic elements of life and calm your body and mind. Through meditation or prayer, you’re able see the «big picture,» which allows you to gain perspective on life and problems. During this peaceful time, you also decrease stress and improve mental abilities.
How to start: Take a small break each day to pray or meditate. Separate yourself from distractions so you have peace and quiet. Over time, try to increase the frequency or length of your meditations or prayer sessions to allow yourself more time to pause and reflect on your day.
6. Enjoy Your Work
It’s long been proven that there is a direct correlation between heart attacks and stress, and since most of our waking hours are spent at work, having a job you hate can create high stress levels and an overwhelming feeling of defeat. Search for work you love or try to make changes to your situation; you’ll be happier and more satisfied with the time and energy you put in.
How to start: If you have the ability to search out a job you love, do it. The risk could very easily pay off. If you’re in a position where you can’t leave your job, try restructuring your schedule so you do the most enjoyable parts at the end of your workday; you’ll have something to look forward to and end your day on a high note.
7. Develop a Hobby
Hobbies often get tossed aside as the busyness of life and responsibility take over, but having a hobby can actually keep you healthy. Allowing yourself to get lost in something you love doing can decrease your stress, lower your blood pressure, and decrease your risk of heart disease. The focus you put on something you enjoy is as good as meditation for clearing the mind.
How to start: Make sure you set time aside for an activity you enjoy, whether it’s music, gardening, sports, or crafts. Pick an old hobby back up, try your hand at something new, or even join a class or group that shares your interests.
Enjoying a full and satisfying life doesn’t have to be as complicated and expensive as it often seems. Making a few simple changes can have an enormous impact on your life. If some tasks seem daunting, set small goals for yourself, find someone you trust who will hold you accountable, encourage your success, and maintain a positive attitude. Down the road, you’ll be thankful you made the effort to implement these important and lasting changes in your life.