10 Keys to a Healthier & Calmer Life

Mind- Body Health: 10 Keys to a Healthier & Calmer Life.

For centuries the mind & the body were thought to be separate entities. This gradually changed during the twentieth century, especially with the development of psycho-neuro-immunology (PNI) about 30 years ago. This saw the realization that the mind (psyche), the nervous system (neuro) & the immune systems were intimately interconnected, a belief which has been borne out repeatedly in thousands of studies, experiments & observations. Recently it has been discovered that the gut (digestive system) should also be included, as 95% of our serotonin, a neurotransmitter, has been found in our gut & only 5% in our brain. This “second brain” is called the enteric nervous system. What we eat has now been shown to affect how we think! Similarly, how we think affects our digestion. The heart has joined in the love-in, too. Heart transplant recipients have astounded researchers by recalling events only the heart donor would know! We had incorrectly thought that memories were only stored in one organ: the brain. In fact, all bodily systems influence, & are influenced by, what we think & how we feel. So not only do we have to take our physical health seriously, it behoves all of us to stand guard over our minds, lest we end up sabotaging our own health, & indeed our own lives!

10 Keys to HEALTH & CALM:

1) Avoid the habitual, physical nerve leaks- CATS– caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, sugar. It is common knowledge that drug users have far higher rates of mental illness, but uncommon knowledge that social drugs (CATS) can also disrupt our balance;

2) Eat mostly high life-force food. Real living food comes from the ground where the sun & natural light are miraculously transformed with other elements into thousands of phyto-chemicals. This is alkalinizing. A salad a day keeps acidosis away!

3) Keep physically active! Exercise releases endorphins, which increase our self-confidence, self esteem & are anti inflammatory. On the other hand, if exercise is too intense, other chemicals called myokines are released which can have the opposite, pro-inflammatory effect. If sick, enervated (exhausted), very anxious or depressed, avoid VERY intense exercise at this time.

4) Sleep as much as needed. If possible take an afternoon nap (no ageing prematurely) & don’t feel guilty!

5) Be mindful of your commitments & amp; multi-tasking. Too many people have so many commitments doing things they love but end up so exhausted they start falling out of love with them, often becoming forced to curtail their commitments due to ill health. Don’t let this happen to you (or your children);

6) Be aware (mindful) of these EMOTIONAL NERVE LEAKS: # perfectionism; # trying to change other people. Remember: “a man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still”.

It’s OK to try & influence people for the better but just do not attach to the outcome, as you can’t control that; # comparing ourselves to others; # trying to impress others; # Playing the blame game. Remember how you pronounce blame…… b—lame! # disorganization. Remember: organize or agonize! # Negative self-talk: I’m hopeless/worthless/stupid/ad infinitum…… # Tech & media overload; # Unconscious muscle tension- holding the steering wheel, door handle, toothbrush, keys…. too tight as the psychodramas play in our heads. Are your shoulders up around your ears? Consciously check yourself & RELAX! # Catastrophising – making mountains out of molehills in our minds. Ask yourself “ is there any evidence of this happening or going to happen?” If no evidence, put it aside, smile & stop the nerve leak!

7) Respond to most events, don’t react. Animals react, humans respond! A response represents a choice, a reaction is more a habit. Considered responses use less mental & physical energy than reflex reactions, in part because there is less regret in responses compared to reactions. How often do we hear: “I’m sorry for the way I reacted, I haven’t slept well for 2 nights over it”. Putting a small (or large) time gap between the stimulus & response avoids wasted energy, many potential problems & much mental anguish;

8) Be an ENCOURAGER! People need encouragement as surely as they need good nutrition. Complement people on what you like, respect or admire about them. Lifting people up is an investment into life. It adds to a better world. Words are extremely powerful. They can literally change someone’s life. The great tennis player Andre Agassi once said that his life as a tennis player (& a person) was instantly changed after uplifting words from a senior player when he was starting his career. He also said that that incident was the only time he was ever sincerely encouraged up until then. His charities for disadvantaged children are an indirect consequence.  An added benefit is you will feel better as well. Remember: “the fragrance of the rose lingers on the hand that gives it”.

9) Your Attitude is entirely Your Choice! It is the ONLY thing we have full & total control over. “Two prisoners looked out from their bars, One saw the mud, the other the stars!”

10) Meditate. Spend time alone daily, in solitude, stillness & silence (SSS). This may be not urgent, but it is important. It promotes inner calm, peace of mind & better sleep. It helps prevent brain fog, memory loss & even alzheimers disease. Harvard University researchers have scientifically proven meditation  to increase our brain size! Plus, meditation leads to less medication!

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