Try These 12 Tips for a Healthier Life…

13 May 2013

Even if you do not practice yoga regularly (or at all), a health promoting lifestyle can still be very simple, inexpensive, and accessible. While you may (or may not) have heard these 12 tips before, you may (or may not) be actually practicing them.

Try the following list of tips – consider them as basic starting points which will serve as a call to action, enabling you to create sufficient time every day for increased health and wellness…

1. Breathe deeply. No need to wait until later, try it right now and see how you feel. Simply inhale completely until your lungs are full of breath. Now pause for a few seconds. Next, exhale all the way until your lungs are completely empty. Repeat two more times. This is really uncomplicated, but it is challenging nonetheless, and if done with awareness you’ll notice your thoughts often interrupt the process of conscious breathing. These three breaths will calm your nervous system, reduce stress, and move you into a state of relaxation. Take at least three deep conscious breaths every day, and eventually increase to once every hour.

2. Be “mindful” of what you eat and drink. Also remain conscious of why you’re choosing it. A little awareness can go a long way, so just be aware of what you’re putting in your body every time you eat something and then ask yourself; “Is this going to feed my body with the nutrients it really needs?” If your answer is “no,” and you eat it anyway; then ask yourself why you chose to feed your body with anything less than the best.

3. Drink Plenty of Water. You will notice that you feel better on the days that you drink more water (at least eight – 10 ounce glasses) than on the days that you don’t. When you’re properly hydrated you’ll be more awake, more aware, less hungry, and even more energized. Give it a try!

4. Move Your Body. Whether it’s a brisk walk, time spent at the gym, practicing yoga, or any other form of light to heavy exercise; make time to move your body in a conscious way (to the point of increasing your heartbeat and breaking a sweat), at least three times per week. Move your body with the intention of improving your health, not just your looks.

5. Meditate. Take at least five minutes every day to STOP what you are doing, and sit down on a chair, on the floor with your back against a wall, or on a cushion to clear your mind. You do not need to be by the ocean or somewhere pretty to find calm. You can meditate anywhere by visualizing the peaceful spot of your choice. In the beginning, set a timer if you need to and just allow your mind be clear, if intrusive thoughts arise (and they probably will) don’t fight, simply watch them like clouds passing in the sky. Five minutes is really not much time at all, and we have all wasted a lot more time than that doing something less meaningful and productive. As you use meditation to clear your mind, it will help put things in perspective, decrease perceived or anticipated stresses, and greatly improve your focus.

6. Get outside. Take time to commune with nature at least once per week whether it’s in your own backyard, a neighborhood park, by the seashore or in the mountains. Observe the trees, rocks, plants, grass, etc. surrounding you as you take nature in. Immersing yourself in the natural world will invigorate your spirits and remind you of the infinite beauty both on the outside and the inside.

7. Practice yoga and/or stretch. As we grow older we lose elasticity in our muscles and our joints often become stiff. One of the most beneficial things we can do for our physical body is to stretch. Increasing flexibility through stretching is one of the basic tenets of physical fitness. Watch your pets or wild animals and how often they stretch. At least once a day take the time to thoroughly stretch your entire body, especially if you tend to lead a sedentary lifestyle. Those who regularly practice yoga will testify to the health and wellness benefits of stretching.

8. Read inspirational literature. Stimulate your mind as much (and as often) as you can by taking time away from the computer, television or work station to read a book or magazine article. Reading helps you escape your regular conditioned thought patterns and inspire you to make improvements or be more creative with your life. Challenge yourself, and read a book or magazine article at least twice a week.

9. Pray, or exercise some form of devotion. Spend just a minute or two each day connecting with something bigger than yourself, and do this with a sense of gratitude, service and intention. This will create a sacred space in your life and help you to acknowledge the power and goodness inherent in all things.

10. Engage physical touch and closeness. It can be as simple as a hug or a pat on the back, or it can be a massage, but be sure to allow yourself time to give and receive some sort of physical touch every day. A therapeutic massage once a month can work wonders.

11. Think positive thoughts. Perhaps you won’t actually soar from thinking happy thoughts, but you will certainly eliminate (or at least offset) the stress that negative thought patterns can cause. By becoming aware of negative thoughts and words you may well be able to supplant them with positive ones instead. This prompts a new way of looking at things perspective, reduces unnecessary stress, and connects you to the joy inherent in your own life.

12. Last but not least, actually practice everything on this list. While you have probably read or heard all of the above ways to become healthier before, and you might even know them to be true, but, are you actually practicing them? Mentally acknowledging and doing are two different things. Let go of your excuses (or limiting beliefs) like a lack of time or money and see them for what they are – lame excuses, not real reasons. Just try putting forth the initial effort that it takes to include all of the above tools in your daily life and watch your health and vitality increase.

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