I call these General Health tips - the NUTS and BOLTS of life.
Obvious? yes maybe.. but I know thousands who - in the hurly burly of modern life - forgot their general health, these basic tenets of a healthy happy life ...and became unwell, sick and developed chronic ailments that then restricted their freedom in life. So, although we all know this stuff..I think its worth repeating.
mental calmness and good concentration
happiness and laughter
sunshine - not sunburn!
quality sleep and naps
When all of these key elements for your general health are in place.. the human body and spirit can cope with most onslaughts. But the truth often is that each one of these factors are often neglected, forgotten or taken for granted.
This may all sound a bit ho-hum to you ("been there.. know all that") but I'll just whizz through a few pointers gleaned from my 20 years of case files.
1. In terms of your 'mental health' I have an excellent TWO MINUTE exercise which brings startling results if you practice it just three times a day. That's just six minutes a day..and you can do it at work and no one will know. You can improve 'depression', 'anxiety' and 'stress' with this simple exercise.I have put this quick exercise below for you. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for this exercise.
OXYGEN - BREATHE BREATHE BREATHE
2.Oxygen.. essential for your general health, oxygen basically powers your cells and I want you to get really interested in cell wellness! We all need to breathe more! Have a look at www.oxycise.com - a great 15 minute work out that combines breathing with holding postures and strengthening muscles, for all ages and abilities.
WATER CLEAN WATER
3. Water.. ah my dear kidneys! Once I studied how a kidney works I realized..how incredibly important is WATER for general health..but it can be SO boring! Often we think that just the cups of tea and coffee we have as part of our routine will suffice for hydration. However, if you don't drink water it does put a strain on your kidneys so please have a glass before you clean your teeth, when checking your email, when washing up and before bed.. and there's four! Pop a post-it note there..use favorite glasses, put a couple of jugs around the house and some lemon strips. Part of your daily routine and your kidneys will love you!
NUTRITIOUS FOOD - have some every day!
4. Nutritious food. I love the ayurvedic approach to the general health diet, both healing and healthy for individual types. Failing that, most people know about organic foods and a balanced diet, but show me the antioxidants! Triple your intake easily.
Juicing and/or using a nutribullet blender is one of my absolute favourite ways of getting plenty of vitamins and minerals naturally into my system without having to eat plates and plates of veggies. If you have a simple juicer.. are you using it every day? If you don't have one.... what are you waiting for!! Just try carrot, apple and ginger juice and you will be hooked for life.
EXERCISE for strength and vitality
5. Exercise.. for general health for seniors especially, my favorite is aquarobics. If you haven't tried it.. its dreamy.. become a dolphin again, cycle around and do the twist! none of this swimming up and down, mile after mile. This is really fun! Check out your local pool. And don't worry about people looking at you strangely as most of you is 'under water'!
A ten minute walk twice a day, some simple stretches and yoga postures, run up and down your stairs at least four times during the day.. these are absolute basics for maintaining a healthy heart and strong limbs and joints.
CREATIVITY isn't only 'doing'.
6. Creativity - what does it mean to you? Making art, drawing, painting, sculpture, potting, sewing, gardening, scrapbooking, decorating? Yes, but also thinking creatively. Jot down those 'ideas' that pop into your mind in the shower. They are worth their weight in gold. Join a group that is focused on creating - a quilting group or a 'group in wood working or house repairs for the less well off folks in your neighbourhood. Things that nourish the soul also nourish the heart and body.
SOW A FEW SEEDS EACH DAY
And I don't mean in the garden. It's a universal law that whatever you sow, so shall you reap. If you need more money in life, go out and give some money away. If you need better health, give some time away to helping other folks with improving their health.
GRATITUDE is KEY to a healthy happy soul
Every morning, as you step out of bed, say thank you for all the good things in your life. IF you watched The Secret then you'll know about the gratitude rock.. a lovely idea. Find a pebble and keep it in your pocket. Whenever you feel it in your pocket, say thank you for some aspect of your life.
And here's a plus! just a couple of extra minutes attention to your general health each day will make whatever natural remedy you are taking - work better. It makes sense!
THE TWO MINUTE EXERCISE
As promised - the two minute exercise that literally changed my life, back in the mid seventies.
Find a quiet and comfortable place, and an upright chair that allows you to sit with your feet firmly placed on the floor. This is important as the body needs to be erect and supported, but not with any aches and pains distracting you.
Take a deep breathe, fill the lungs. Feel the lower lung lobes filling and pushing out your diaphragm. Then take three further short inspirations. Suck suck suck.
Hold it for just a moment and then completely emptying your lungs and end with three short exhales, blow blow blow.
Take two or three normal resting breaths and then repeat the deep breaths a further two times.
Why do this? Because the body lives by oxygen, our cells each contain a little powerhouse, the mitochondria, and it needs to be made to work! We don’t breath deeply enough, we don’t oxygenate our blood sufficiently to take gallons of wonderful life giving oxygen to all of our body cells. The brain needs oxygenated blood to function minute by minute. Shallow breathing and a lack of exercise puts us in a state of anaerobic glycolysis, where the least amount of energy or ATP molecules are made from each molecule of glucose we use for fuel. Something as simple as breathing deeply like this several times a day will begin to change that..
Most people breathe to half of their lung capacity and wonder why they feel tired*. Oxygen is also a medicine that we will discuss in a later chapter.
Let's begin. Settle yourself. Shuffle a bit. Are you comfortable? Now close your eyes and feel the firmness of the floor under your feet. Feel the weight of the chair under your bottom. Is your spine straight. Imagine a straight line going up from your coccyx to the top of your head.
Maintaining that awareness of your body sitting on the chair, now put your attention to listening to the sounds that are in your own body. Hear your breathing. Let it rise and fall, in and out. Cleansing. Gentle.
Close your eyes and feel the clothes on your body. Then the movement of air on your skin, on your face, arms , hands or feet. This is subtle if there is no draft, but it is important to try.
Hold that awareness and start to listen for any sounds you can hear in the room. It might be the buzzing of an electrical device or the fridge motor. Hold that listening.
Then put your attention to the sounds you can hear from outside the room, either in the rest of the house or outside the house. This could be cars or planes, people talking, the wind in the trees, a dog barking, children playing.
Hold your awareness of your body in the chair.
The idea is NOT TO GET CAUGHT by identifying the sounds. Of course, the mind will immediately categorize the sounds, label them, and then toddle off on its own journey of association and business. We have to accept that this will happen at first. Let it happen but WATCH IT, then having seen what is happening, bring the attention back to the listening.
Then, take the listening out for the furthest sound that you can hear.
Finally, listen to the silence that is beyond the furthest sound. You might experience it as a slight hum.
This may sound like a long list of instructions for a two minute exercise. How do I remember this list of instructions?
Let’s go through all the sensory prompts.
Visually you place yourself in a room, perhaps beside a window or a favourite picture.
Kinesthetically you begin by centreing yourself on the chair, holding that physical awareness of weight and stability, and then feel for the movement of air on the skin.
The auditory prompts are there as you move your attention to the exercise of listening. To firstly the close sounds, then further and furthest sounds.
The mind will be restless and playful at first but as you bring your attention back to the listening it will begin to obey you more.
So here is the list again:
Whatever you do then, at that time will have your full attention. For a few moments you will achieve ‘being here now’.
Have you heard this phrase before? If you have, it may have been in connection with yoga or some form of meditation. It’s actually incredibly difficult to ‘be here now’ for more than a few moments at a time. This is made even more difficult with the constant demands of our smartphones. Many people don’t achieve it very often in their lives, preferring to be distracted by noise and activity all the time they are awake. The mind skips around, distracted by neurons firing off on any number of topics in the circle of dots, associations, bubbles coming up from the subconscious levels, random system testing and rebooting. (Don’t you love these modern words that so wonderfully describe our minds electrical computing systems. I digress).
This two minute exercise should be done several times a day. What you will observe within a couple of days is a new sense of clarity when you just remember the exercise, and then as you do it more and more, that will increase further. For me, I found that my surroundings came into sharper focus and a crystal stillness as I entered the zone of being here now. Once you have memorized the prompts, you can adapt them and do the exercise when you are standing in a train, walking in the park, doing the washing up. Wherever, whenever.