It is tempting to look for that one vitamin or supplement, that new magic diet, or that prescription medicine as a solution but if you continue to focus on these 8 essentials, you will change your health permanently.
Oxygen/breathing –Every cell in our body needs oxygen to create energy. Simply put, breath gives us life. Breathing is also the only automatic bodily function that we can control and a tool that we can use to affect other autonomic functions such as heart rate and blood pressure. Controlled breathing exercises can help to control blood pressure and also stimulates release of good hormones such as Human Growth Hormone and decrease release of stress hormones. This is especially important for those who have a significant amount of life stressors, high blood pressure, or chronic back/neck pain.
The 4-7-8 (or Relaxing Breath) Exercise
This exercise is simple, takes very little time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
- This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
Water – Our bodies are made of 60% water, all our cells are bathed in water, and water helps us to cleanse and filter the toxins out. Yet, many of us walk around chronically dehydrated and some people fill themselves with sodas, coffee, tea, and energy drinks. Our bodies need plenty of clean water to function optimally. There is much controversy about how much water is enough. The best indicator of adequate intake is to drink enough water so that the urine is light yellow. Other “rules of thumb” are 1 ounce of water per kilogram of body weight..
Nutrient-rich foods – the majority of our diet should come from food in its natural state from God’s beautiful earth. This takes more effort but the health rewards are so incredibly powerful. Processed foods are convenient and fast but also devoid of the essential nutrients our bodies need to function well.
Go to my website for more links on nutrition
Sleep – Sleep is important because it helps in maintaining important bodily functions including blood pressure, kidney functions and cell repair. Sleep also plays a large part in keeping our immune systems strong, making good judgments and adapting quickly to sudden changes. Basically, sleep is necessary for survival. Lack of sleep is associated with cancer, heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis and diabetes. Adults should strive for 7-8 hours of sleep in order to promote optimal health.
Relaxation – there are many ways to promote relaxation – prayer, meditation, exercise, Tai Chi or yoga, laughter, and massage to name a few. Like sleep, relaxation techniques also decrease stress hormones which cause high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, obesity, and osteoporosis.
Sunshine – sunshine stimulates the skin to produce vitamin D. Although called a vitamin, Vitamin D is actually a powerful steroid hormone that is a major player in overall health and well-being. The majority of our vitamin D comes from sunshine and a small amount from foods. Ten minutes of sunshine per day with arms and legs exposed is the best way to boost your vitamin D levels. If this is not realistic, the best way to find out how much vitamin D you need is to get your vitamin D levels checked with a simple blood test. A good starting amount to take as a supplement is Vitamin D3 2,000 IU daily.
Movement: We all need to move more. Our sedentary lifestyles are a significant contributor to the obesity epidemic. Aerobic exercise (exercise for the heart and lungs), flexibility, and strength training are all important components of fitness.
Attitude –attitude can be defined as a readiness to act or react in a certain way. I like this definition because it indicates that we have control over our reaction to the things we can’t control. You can’t control your circumstances but you can control your response to your circumstances. If you live with these 4 principles in your heart, it will change your response.
- Gratitude: If you start each day thinking about the reasons you are grateful, your attitude will change.
- Forgiveness: Holding anger or resentment towards others only hurts you. Forgiveness is something you do for yourself not for others. Gandhi said it best… “The weak can never forgive, forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.”
- Surrender: We can’t control others and we often can’t control our circumstances so let go of those things.
- Purpose: Find your purpose in this life. What are you passionate about? What gives you joy? What do you feel you were created to do? Make it a priority to do those things and become that person.