by Lyn Bailey & Hester B. Golden
Attitude, diet and exercise all contribute to a healthier, longer life. The following suggestions will help you do just that:
1. Find ways to put yourself in a timeless state – meditation works well for this. When you set aside a daily time to quiet your mind, the rest of your day is more stress-free. Reduced stress lengthens lives.
2. Express emotions spontaneously, yet appropriately. Experts say pent-up emotions trigger many illnesses.
3. Live in the present moment as much as possible. Take stock of what’s around you. See the joy and beauty in your present situation.
4. Do the work you love. If you can’t start right away, do a little something that you love everyday. Even if your professional dreams are going to be challenging to achieve, go for it, although cautiously. Don’t quit your day job! Research has shown that positively eccentric people live longer and are much healthier than those who do not.
5. Listen to your body and give it what it needs. If you are sleepy – go to bed. If you are full, quit eating. If…
6. Get healthy and keep your immune system strong. Stay within your design parameters, avoid over-exercising, overworking – get sufficient sleep and eat well.
7. Communicate clearly, lovingly with yourself and others. Holding something important inside to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, may hurt you more than you realize. Ultimately, withholding the truth from friends and loved ones will hurt them, too.
8. Be less concerned about how you look, and focus more on how you feel.
9. Stop concerning yourself about what people think of you. You can’t change who you are and it is not wise to lower yourself to others’ standards.
10. Become a keen yet objective, non-judgmental observer of yourself.
11. Develop an attitude of calm acceptance. This can make your personal and family life wonderful.
12. Learn to live with change. Seasons change, situations change, people change – everything changes!
13. Cultivate a healthy sense of family and community involvement.
14. Care enough about yourself to live in a clean, healthy and relatively pollution-free environment.
15. Eat lightly and sensibly. Forget what your mom told you about finishing everything on your plate. You’re not going to mail that uneaten food to the starving children in China, and it’s not going to help them if you eat it, so forget about it! You can learn to eat your last food of the day before 7:00. Although at first uncomfortable, after only a few weeks, it will be natural to spend your evenings with the extra energy that comes when you aren’t busy eating and digesting. Most Americans think it is natural to collapse in front of the TV every evening, half-asleep.
16. Include fresh vegetables, preferably organically grown, in your diet. If at all possible, grow them yourself. If you live in an apartment or have little or no ground to work with, grow a few salad veggies in a window box planter. You also could build some wooden boxes, fill them with dirt and fill them up with plants or seeds. Even if you live in a high-rise, you can have a garden – plant it on the roof! You can fertilize it with compost made from your vegetable scraps. If you don’t know how to compost, get a book on it, ask someone at your local natural foods store or recycling center.
17. Our soils are heavily depleted. Farmers have been farming the same land for over sixty years. Supplement your diet with additional trace minerals such as can be found in super foods such as blue green algae. Sure, the farmers use fertilizer, but most fertilizers put back only a few of the many nutrients needed for optimum health.
18. Make time for a nutritious (scrambled eggs, protein smoothie, etc.) breakfast. Coffee and donuts won’t get it! In many cultures, breakfast is the biggest meal of the day. It makes sense – breakfast gives you the energy you need to start the day successfully.
19. Reduce and/or eliminate fat, processed sugar, salt, preservatives, hormone fed meat, and additives from your diet.
20. Drink a lot of pure water. Your body uses water to wash impurities out of your body. Most of us drink less than the optimal amount for best electro-chemical function.
21. Avoid, or at least minimize alcohol intake, smoking cigarettes and breathing second-hand smoke.
22. Breathe deeply. Take several breathing breaks during the day. People who have sedentary jobs may spend hours breathing shallowly. This lack of oxygen can lead to tiredness and dull-mindedness. It may even harm your brain.
23. Get plenty of natural light – it’s best to be in the sun before 11:00 A.M. and after 3:00 P.M. to avoid the intense mid-day ultraviolet rays.
24. Exercise and get outside often. Exercise periods of 15 minutes to a half-hour twice a day are better than periods of an hour or more once a week.
25. Rely more on your intuition.
26. Rather than saying something you might regret later, take three or more deep, slow breaths. By then, you may be able to respond rather than react in a hurtful way. This will also eliminate the pumping of adrenaline and other stress-producing chemicals through your body.
27. Learn to live without pressure and deadlines. If you look for ways to restructure your job situation for lower stress, they will become apparent in time. The people in the remote mountains of Russia who live well beyond 100 years old do not have deadlines and pressures.
28. Enjoy and absorb nature’s beauty.
29. Look within yourself for your happiness.
30. Get back to basics. Live a more natural, slower-paced life. This can be done gradually, one change at a time. We are evolved for certain conditions and speeds. Exceeding our design can decrease the quality of our our lives in many ways.
A good place to start is to learn to speak more slowly, and listen more. Seek friendships with people who have the attributes you’d like to emulate. Also, avoid loud and aggressive. They can add stress to your life.
31. Change your diet periodically. Avoid eating the same things for several years non-stop.
32. Cooking oil, if organic, is not necessarily bad, in reasonable quantities. Just don’t heat it. Heating oil hydrogenates it, which results in bad cholesterol that can greatly increase your susceptibility to heart and circulation problems. You can add oil after the meal is cooked. For instance, drizzle cold oil (olive oil is the healthiest choice) mixed with spices over plain popcorn after it is air-popped.
33. If you do become ill, (which will be rare if you follow some of these suggestions) seek professional attention.
34. Maintain a high level of personal cleanliness and care. Especially keep your cooking utensils clean. Cutting boards, sponges, scouring pads and dish cloths (disinfect with hydrogen peroxide) are the main breeding grounds of harmful bacteria. Many people think they have had the stomach flu, when actually what they were suffering was food poisoning.
35. Stay interested in your life. Be open to new information that may change your life for the better. Listen to others, no matter how goofy their ideas may seem at first. Have you been to the library, church or spiritual group, or read a book that taught you something new lately?
36. Do new things, stretch yourself a little!
37. Do what brings you joy.
38. Become part of something larger than yourself.
39. Be honest with yourself and others.
40. Become more acquainted with your “spiritual self.”
41. Be optimistic.
42. Get a pet. Studies have proven that people who own pets have less stress and live longer. Petting your pet can lower your blood pressure and relax you. It does this by reducing your body’s output of adrenaline, it causes the heart to pump with less force. Your pet can have much the same beneficial effect on your system as meditation. Stroking an animal’s fur or coat has a natural tranquilizing effect. Pets can also alleviate loneliness and depression. They can help people become more confident and communicative by being non-judgmental listeners. For those living alone, pets provide companionship and a sense of safety.
Recently pets have been widely accepted by institutions as part of their treatment by being “companion animals.” Alzheimer patients and autistic people tend to talk when animals are around. The mentally and physically ill, handicapped outpatients, the elderly, stressed executives, lonely children – all live happier and longer with the regular attention of a pet.
When around pets, the criminally insane are less aggressive and suicidal, alcoholics rehabilitate more quickly, the grieving are calmed easier, the elderlys’ self-esteem rises, cardiac and cancer patients live longer, the deaf and blind feel better about themselves, the retarded learn faster, the terminally ill find solace and pets can even pave the way for smoother social interactions.
Hearing dogs give ears to the deaf, guide dogs – eyes to the blind, monkeys give the handicapped hands, pet therapy animals uplift, soothe and comfort. Animals also help retarded children and countless others. Pets easily and freely give us unconditional love and acceptance.
By giving us something to nurture and care for, pets teach us how to be more loving, kind and gentle. They also inspire feelings of joy and amusement, bringing out the playful child in us.
Pets are especially powerful for seniors. According to psychologist Judith Siegel, a public health professor at UCLA, seniors with pets see the doctor less than those that do not have pets. And those who pet their pets a lot, recover from illness and surgery quicker. Animals are great givers of happiness. As one grows older, it is even more essential to have animals. It gives many seniors a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
43. Medical research proves that stress and worry are the two biggest ‘wrinklers’ and ‘agers.’ So stop worrying!!
A Native American in the movie “Pontiac Moon” shared one of the most important things he’d learned from his grandfather: “There are two rules in life. 1. Don’t sweat the small stuff and 2. Everything is small stuff.”
44. Increase your capacity for enjoyment.
45. Studies have shown that being happily married helps us to live longer and healthier. Cheating on a spouse, or even just thinking about it, can lead to a shorter life.
46. Maintain a healthy weight for your height and frame. Twenty-five pounds of extra weight causes an extra 1,000 miles of blood vessels and capillaries that your heart has to push blood through.
47. Find ways to express your feelings in healthy and loving ways.
48. Be more aware of what you say to yourself and others. For instance, avoid saying “I’m sick and tired…” “What a pain in the…,” I’m going crazy,” etc. Words create feelings. To some degree, our bodies take everything we say literally. The subconscious mind does not know the difference between fact or fantasy, whether we are just kidding or really mean it. As Dr. Norman Cousins said, “Belief becomes biology.”
49. Live in harmony with your body’s rhythms. Get in touch with your own “speed” and do not exceed it.
50. Explore and open up to your creativity. Look into painting, dancing, woodworking, whatever might interest you.
51. Involve yourself with friends and community. Find a way to make a difference.
52. Balance work, play and rest.
53. If at all possible, live in a quiet place with beautiful surroundings.
54. Get regular massages.
55. Nurture yourself on a regular basis. Wrap yourself up in a cozy comforter, put your feet up and read or drink a cup of tea, take a long bubble or scented oil bath by candlelight, massage your neck, shoulders and feet with warm scented oil or lotion, take a cat nap in a quiet corner, stretch out on the floor while listening to some soothing music, listen to a guided visualization or relaxation tape or whatever makes you feel good.
56. Take time for solitude and silence.
57. Give yourself quality attention. It will increase the quality of your life.
58. Draw satisfaction from daily activities. Find joy in the ‘mundane.’
59. Have a favorable image of yourself. According to various medical studies, this is the single most important factor in healing and in staying well.
60. Reduce meat, milk, sugar, caffeine, alcohol artificial additive, preservative and chemical consumption. Gradually increase your intake of healthy whole foods such as grains, fish, eggs and especially, raw fruits and vegetables. Not only will you live longer, you will have more energy, feel and look better too! You will also be less susceptible to colds and flu.
61. Contribute in some way. Find your own unique way to make a difference.
62. Continue to grow and learn.
63. Cultivate, bring out, express your gifts and talents.
64. Stay interested in life – take up something new and challenging.
65. Think of yourself as worthy and worthwhile.
66. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself and others.
67. Be adaptable, flexible and accepting.
68. Allow yourself and others to do what they need to do!
69. See change as something effortless and natural. There is no need to force it.
70. Develop a sense of being in charge of your life.
71. Be honest with yourself and others.
72. Be cooperative rather than competitive.
73. Be willing to take responsibility for yourself.
74. Make peace with yourself and your past. Peace begins with you.
75. Take vacations, short, more frequent ones are probably more beneficial than long ones involving lengthy planning and long, stressful flights, etc.
76. Don’t oversleep. Or overdo anything, for that matter. It becomes a pattern for avoiding life. If you have difficulty getting out of bed, there are two main causes. You may need to make changes in your diet, or you may not be currently enjoying your waking hours enough. See if you can make changes.
77. Minimize medications, go with a natural treatment program whenever feasible (consult with your health professional before doing so, and get a second and third opinion).
78. Be thankful for what you’ve got. Want what you have.
79. Honor and respect yourself.
80. Appreciate your body and all the wonderful things it does for you.
81. Be your own authority. Rely on your own inner knowing – don’t listen to others blindly. More than once, people have been misled by ministers, doctors or well-meaning friends. Remember, they are all just people too, sometimes with flawed advice and logic. Although many are more expert than you in their own fields, no one is better than you.
We’re not saying never take advice. Sometimes people can see things about you, that you ought to know, that you don’t see. Good advice can come from the most unlikely people. But, listen to everyone with discerning ears.
82. Enjoy your uniqueness.
83. Don’t cramp your feet in shoes that are too small. This probably won’t lengthen your life, but you’ll be more comfortable! Most well-meaning shoe salespeople advise us to buy tight little shoes.
84. Be autonomous yet willing to rely on others. Be self-sufficient when you can, but balance your autonomy with asking for help when you need it. This includes professional help. Counseling has positively changed millions of lives.
85. Develop a sense of genuine self-pride.
86. Acknowledge yourself for accomplishments, however small.
87. Create an atmosphere of order and beauty in your home.
88. Learn to speak in positive terms, even within your own internal dialog. Double-negatives are common, and not good for your overall attitudes as positive statements and thoughts. Is your cup half-empty or half-full? What kind of day did you have today? “Not bad?” or “pretty good?” Which thought makes you feel better?
89. Create financial security for yourself.
90. Allow yourself joy and happiness!
91. Let yourself laugh easily. Scientists are now telling us that laughter can sometimes prevent and help heal disease.
92. Spend time with friends that treat themselves and you well.
93. Have a regular daily routine.
94. Find a fully-consuming hobby or interest.
95. Love yourself enough to do what nurtures your body, mind and spirit.
96. Reduce the stress in your life. Look again at situations that you have judged to be stressful, perhaps they’re not as stressful as you thought they were.
97. Focus on solutions, not problems.
98. Spend more time with family and close friends.
99. Get in touch with your passion which will lead you to your purpose. Find out what really interests you, and get in touch with it. Live ‘on purpose’ and you will be much healthier and happier. This may take some patience and experimenting, but it is well worth the effort.
100. Have fun and relax!