Small Steps, Big Benefits
You need not invest a good deal of your time, and energy, to bring fresh tidings in your life.
It is a plan I follow.
Simple, but important, and good, healthy lifestyle solutions don’t cost you anything.
It is, for me, all a question of adding a fruit to your morning bowl of cereal/oat breakfast, keeping your car farther away from the parking lot, walking 250 feet to office, or climbing the staircase to reach your desk.
This done, you are already making changes, and getting better and healthier!
However, if you think it sounds difficult, there’s no need to fret, or frown.
Here’s my simple plan you can practice – for better health and a healthier you. In plain terms, what you need to do is follow my easy-to-achieve practical programme to heighten your body and mind quotient.
Join me, and let’s start, right away!
You should, to begin with, not just think of merely a physical-health plan; think of it as a workable mental-health and nutritional-health programme too. This is not as complex as it sounds.
It’s an achievable prospect. All you need to do, again, is provide – not merely invest – just a little bit of your time and attention to what you do, or want to do.
8 effective strides to good living
- I challenge my mind often. You should do likewise – always challenge your mind with simple things in life. If you are a right-hander, try doing a few things like writing with your left-hand, as and when you can [it's difficult, but not impossible!]. This will indirectly help you get a big confidence boost like it does for me! Try to also eat sometimes with your less dominant hand. You will think it is funny – but, it helps.
- Most people don’t have time for themselves, even when they eat the food they relish. One easy and best way of giving time to oneself, as I do, is by making lunchtime your very own personal time. To think of yourself as a person as you chew your food. This helps you to connect yourself with yourself. It also gives you the room to unwind and gives you the time to make personal phone calls, may be go for a quick walk, or window shopping. In other words, it endows you with a few simple tricks – easy tricks that help you “pump-in” more energy into your post-lunch session work and, thereafter, at home.
- Savour the warmth of the sun [provided it is not summer time in Mumbai!] – go out and face the sun for a few minutes each day – but, not for too long. Do not look at the sun directly. The warm rays of the sun are a natural mood-booster. They lead to the channelling of vitamin D. The nutrient, as you know, not only prevents but also eases major health affections, including bone disorders.
- Try to maintain healthy relationships, especially with people you get along well with. A warm smile, and a good hug, from friends are essential for happiness. Not sharp words – overt or covert – of those who have an open or closed agenda to bring you “down” in front of others. Remember – unwanted verbal skirmishes have a deleterious effect on your emotional wellbeing. Though it may sound tough, it is often worthwhile for you to “keep off” from relationships with people who deplete your energy levels. This is actually a big step to harmonious mental health and wellbeing.
- When you reach home, don’t you allow yourself to be an instant slave of technological glitz. You need to unplug yourself – unless you’re aware of something urgent in the offing. When you keep yourself away from your laptop, TV, or PC, andalso the ever-present cell phone, or telephone, you are better able to relax in your psyche, and enjoy the calm of your home. Most of us have an addiction for E-mail – to quickly check messages late at night. This is an “unknown” invite to stress. You don’t think so, but it is. When you avoid the urge, and get on with something more comforting, you will sure feel calm and more family-centred.
- You should eat to live, not live to eat. Eating is a tradition – if you are the clean-plate type, it won’t do you good. It was okay when you were a kid; not when you are an adult. Eat well, but just enough to satisfy you. When you go to a restaurant, eat half of what you normally eat at home. You need to be choosy and fussy, too – limit your portion size, and avoid over-indulgence as if your entire life depended on it.
- Avoid smoking, and alcohol, for your health’s sake and your family. This includes passive, or second-hand, smoke. For non-smokers, sharing a home or living with a smoker is evidenced to be harmful. It is also damaging for your eating habits. Research testifies that non-smoking women who live with smokers consume more total and saturated fat. They also consume less fibre, vitamin A, and folates, than do co-habiting non-smokers. In addition to this – avoid your plentiful cups of coffee. Use green tea, instead, without sugar and milk. Studies suggest that drinking green tea improves the functioning of cells that line our blood vessels; it also helps reduce your levels of stress, blood sugar [especially, in diabetics], high blood pressure/cholesterol and, therefore, the risk of heart disease. Green tea is also said to be a great phytonutrient [nutraceutical], or functional food; it has several anti-cancer properties.
- Meditate. Meditate. Meditate. Listen to music, mantras, and Vedic chants or hymns. Do yoga. Or, any other exercise you like. Go for a walk.
Other useful tricks
Try to experiment, gently – but, do not embark on “whimsical” experiments. Simple experiments are good for you. They also make things easy and uncomplicated.
Try a substitution diet, for one – without doing away with flavour, while improving your diet. Use lemon juice, instead of salt, on brown rice [avoid white rice], and pasta. Substitute low-fat yogurt for mayonnaise, and applesauce, or mashed bananas, for butter or oil, especially in baked foods. Also, add a lot of greens in your salad.
Introduce a new healthy supplement into your diet. Take a natural multivitamin pill. Take two teaspoonfuls of Chyavanaprasha, the ancient ayurvedic anti-aging tonic, every morning – preferably before sunrise.
But, remember – it is imperative that you consult your physician/therapist before taking any food/herbal supplement.
Well Begun, Well Done
The first and primary objective of any healthy plan is hygiene. The starting point is taking care. How you do this – simply stop sharing basic items.
Don’t share your towels, napkins etc., with others. Towels and napkins remove mucous and germs from the body. They make perfect carriers for colds, eye infections, and other transmissible ailments.
Allocate a different coloured towel and napkin set to each member of your family. This will not only lead to better hygiene and health, but will also help avoid the use of towels not meant for the other person.
Ah, the common cold! Cold is one of the most annoying and stressful of ailments. One great way of preventing cold is by washing your hands, thoroughly – especially before you eat food. Use a mild, antiseptic soap. Rinse thoroughly with a dry cloth, or paper napkin.
Don’t use the dryer – because, dryers carry germs when you switch them on.
Alternately, you can use a lotion. Lotions, unlike soap, are better. They don’t dry out and/or crack your hands. Your hands will also stay soft and be less susceptible to infection. Remember: fewer cracks in your skin means fewer hiding places for bacteria.
You should keep your hands away from your face and nose. Don’t rub your face with your hands – a very common practice. Use your hands only when you are washing your face with soap and water.
Remember: when you touch your face often, or even on occasions, the more dirt and germs you attract onto your skin and pores. This results in the breakout of infection-induced problems.
Improved physical health gives you a nice feeling; and, improved mental and emotional health provides you with a feeling of optimal wellbeing.
Joanna Dove is a Reiki master, meditation instructor, and Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga instructor, at the Deepak Chopra's Center for Well-Being, New York,USA.