“Top 10” tips for promoting health of mind, body and spirit
Investing in the Good Life: 10 Tips
By Jesse Dylan
With the current doom and gloom surrounding the economy, it would be easy to internalize the stress around us and let it grind us down. We’ve heard about bankrupt banks, misspent millions, even bonus billions to some of the ridiculous characters who got us into this mess. But whatever your financial situation, and no matter how the financial meltdown has touched your life, you don’t have to let it affect your spiritual, mental, and physical well being.
On my radio program, The Good Life with Jesse Dylan, I regularly talk with the world’s leading experts in health of mind, body and spirit to provide the latest information and advice on healthy lifestyle and transformational living. With the release of my new book, The Good Life, the theme that constantly emerges is how much mind, body and spirit affect each other as an intra-related whole. Here’s a distillation of the book’s “Top 10” tips for promoting health of mind, body and spirit to fit any budget and help you navigate the recession. Fitness, nutrition, laughter, meditation – they’re all related, and they all complement a holistic approach to staying healthy.
1. The 35/40 Rule
When we live under stress, we have a tendency to eat poorly and gain weight. As national leading health educator and medical researcher Dr. Pamela Peeke points out, you don’t have to be obese to face serious health risk stemming from excess fat. Your height and weight might fit your recommended body mass index (BMI) but you still might be at risk due to having excess fat in the wrong place, namely the lower abdominal area. Get a tape measure and wrap it around your waist at belly-button level. For women, health risks for diabetes, cancer, heart disease and other serious illnesses increase when your circumference exceeds 35 inches. For men, the upper limit is 40 inches. Check yourself with the 35/40 rule, and be prepared to take action if you’re over the limit.
2. Nutritional eating
One of the keys to staying within the 35/40 limit is to eat right. How much of our daily diet includes processed food devoid of vital nutrition? These days we are surrounded by quick, simple prepared foods and groceries that satisfy our “need for speed” in living accelerated lifestyles, but the nutrition has been cooked out of them through factory processes or they are high in saturated fats linked to increased risk of heart disease, stroke and some forms of cancer. Take a stand with diet. Avoid food rich in saturated fats, make the move from processed to whole grains, make sure you’re eating a suitable amount of fruits and vegetables every day, and get back to cooking real food with real ingredients.
3. Fitness in 10 minutes
The other major step to keep your weight in check is regular exercise. Whatever you do as a career, as a parent, or as a citizen of the universe, you need a healthy vehicle to pursue your mission. Keep your body fit for the task with regular exercise. There are a few general guidelines on how much exercise we need to be doing each week. One of the most common numbers we hear is 30 minutes each day. Now exercise guru Sean Foy has developed a way to meet your exercise requirements in just 10 minutes a day through high-intensity interval training. By taking his 4-3-2-1 approach, you get 4 minutes of high-energy aerobics, 3 minutes of resistance exercises for muscles, 2 minutes of core strengthening, and one minute of stretching and breathing to oxygenate your cells, stay flexible, and reduce stress. Consider your weekly schedule, then make a commitment to make fitness a part of it.
4. Take your D3 and omega-3
As celebrated physician and bestselling author Dr. Michael Roizen points out in my book, you can dramatically reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer and other serious ailments with just a few key vitamins and supplements. Vitamin D3 at 1000 IU per day reduces your cancer risk, and by supplementing your diet with 600 mg daily of docosahexaenoic aid – otherwise known as DHA (an omega-3 essential fatty acid) – you can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s. To get your sufficient daily dosage of DHA, you probably need to get it in pill form, in a capsule, or as a fish oil. Visit your local health store or the vitamin department of your supermarket or pharmacy for advice on good DHA and omega-3 supplements.
5. Discover adaptogenic herbs
The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (460-377 BC) advised that we should make our food our medicine. Modern-day plant medicine researcher Chris Kilham offers a list of super plant foods and herbs in my book that can eliminate your need to ever take any other drug. He recommends four supplements from the adaptogenic class of herbs: schizandra berry, Rodiola rosea, ashwaghanda, and eleuthero root (known previously as Siberian ginseng). These super plants enhance endurance, stamina, strength, alertness, mental function, and immunity.
6. Remember ginger and garlic
Ginger and garlic are must-haves and never go out of style. For inflammation, colds, and general digestive purposes, simply shred a little fresh ginger root and make a tea with it, and you have a powerful healing elixir for indigestion, sinus congestion, and cold prevention. Get your garlic however and wherever you can: it lowers bad LDL cholesterol, improves HDL cholesterol, reduces high blood pressure, and performs well in cold prevention.
7. Stick with green tea
As common and widely discussed as green tea is, it is still one of the most effective and least expensive of the natural remedies available. Drink a cup or two every night to lower your cholesterol, reduce your cancer risk, and benefit from its protective qualities against UVA and UVB rays.
8. Heal yourself with laughter.
You’ve heard how laughter improves immune function and accelerates healing. There are even “laughter yoga” classes to get you giggling. Dr. Bernie Siegel has been teaching patients how to heal with joy and laughter for nearly 30 years. One of Bernie’s favorite games is WWLD: What would Lucy Do? Like Lucille Ball in the old TV show I Love Lucy, stop being serious all the time, let yourself be a kid again, and kindle some laughter with harmless gags and fun. Studies are consistently showing that joyful and expressive living actually affects your body chemistry for the better. Learn to love laughter – it’s powerful medicine!
9. Live with purpose
Rediscover your purpose for living each and every day. As champion triathlete Jim MacClaren and inspirational philanthropist Azim Jamal will tell you, we need to awaken each morning determined to “choose life” and live with purpose behind our thoughts and actions. Purpose can encompass many things. If we are parents, we might feel a sense of purpose in being a healthy example for our children. If we are career professionals, we might recognize the importance of eating and exercising right so that we’re in the best physical and mental state to perform in our work. Or our purpose might be our dedication to spiritual growth, in which case we want to nurture our body as a vehicle for our inner work. Think about yours.
It’s become almost common knowledge that meditation can help improve everything from mood and mental clarity to immune system response, and regular practitioners will tell you it often leads to deep personal revelations (like your life purpose!). How complicated does it have to be? It doesn’t. Many meditators will tell you the fewer rules the better. The most important thing is to find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. It could be indoors or outdoors, but it’s definitely beneficial to be close to nature if you can arrange it – sitting by a river, among some trees, or by the ocean. You don’t have to sit cross-legged in lotus posture. In fact, unless you’re made of rubber, you’re often better to avoid it. Close your eyes, start with a few long, deep breaths and slow exhalations, then simply allow your body to dictate the pace of your breath. Allow thoughts to come and go, watching them without judgment as though you’re a “witness” to their content. Ten minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes – it’s all good. All you’re looking for is a few seconds of connection with true Silence.
Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by negativity around the economy. Every financial crash in history has been followed by recovery, so you owe it to yourself to stay healthy in body, mind and soul regardless of the financial markets and the size of your bank balance. Use these 10 tips to invest in something that’s sure to outlast any recession: your self.