The start of a new year is a good time to integrate some new practices for healthy living.
Here are ten tips for mental, emotional, and physical health that combine the best of modern medicine and traditional healing practices for your mind and body.
Mental And Emotional Health Tips
1. Adjust your attitude
People who see the world with a “cup half full” attitude have 50% lower risk for heart disease, recover from surgery faster, and have been shown to live longer.
Plan a device-free weekend, replacing gadget time with extra sleep, a big breakfast, dancing in your living room, or going for a walk with a friend.
For those of you who feel anxious at the thought of unplugging for the weekend, set aside just one hour on Sunday, preferably in the early evening, to scan your email. Do your best to limit your responses to only the most critical messages.
By setting aside time to check in but not fully engage, you’ll feel less anxious about Monday. You can then fall asleep Sunday evening feeling refreshed and prepared for the week ahead.
3. Practice mindful yoga on the go
Overwhelmed by your “to-do” list? Check out this yoga trick—on the go!
Root your feet firmly into the floor. Rock from your heels to your toes and find a stable place of balance in between. Align your knees and hips with your feet. Lift up and out of your pelvis. Draw in a deep breath. Notice the breath expand your rib cage. Straighten your back and roll your shoulders back. As the breath continues to travel up your body, lift your chin 90 degrees to the floor.
Hold the breath momentarily. Now exhale and allow the “to-do” list to dissolve with the breath. Repeat this process again with a new breath.
Related: 9 (Of Many) Amazing Benefits Of Yoga
4. Make peace with the past
2015 is here – an opportunity to release the past and begin anew. If you are still challenged with any hang-ups or thoughts that are not serving your highest good, try Ho’oponopono.
It’s a Hawaiian problem-solving process to help release memories that are experienced as problems. The mantras are simple to learn and powerful to practice.
5. Try bitters to enjoy your next decadent dining experience
“Bitters” are what your grandparents likely ate or drank before a meal to help digest delicious, rich foods. Bitters such as dandelion, gentian, yarrow, artichoke, and orange peel prime the gastrointestinal tract for the upcoming meal by stimulating gastric acids and pancreatic enzymes that digest food and aid digestion.
6. Get clear on calcium
New research challenges old recommendations! The latest research suggests 700mg of calcium daily from food sources is your best bet.
Try low-fat and fat-free dairy products, green vegetables such as collard greens and broccoli, and calcium-fortified foods.
7. Go for a healthy candy fix
That’s right—healthy candy!
The health of your oral cavity – mouth, teeth and gums – plays an important role in your overall health. One proposed explanation is that poor dental hygiene causes chronic inflammation, which in turn has harmful effects on the entire body.
So in addition to brushing your teeth twice a day and regular flossing, try Kavidy Kops, an orange-flavored lollipop containing an all-natural extract from the root of the licorice plant (Glycyrrhiza uralensis) that has been shown to kill cavity-causing bacteria.
8. Get to know the skinny on sugar
Whether it’s listed as “high fructose corn syrup,” “concentrated sugar,” or any ingredient that ends in “-ose,” there’s sugar in what you’re eating.
Try to find products with less sugar or lower it yourself. For example, did you know there is almost as much sugar in orange juice as soda? However, unlike soda, you can add one part water to two parts juice, reducing the sugar by one third, and still have a delicious and nutritional drink.
9. Know a serving size
Often, your idea of a serving size isn’t the same as the manufacturer’s. For example, if you drink 12 ounces of juice every morning, but the serving size is eight ounces, then every number on the label needs to be adjusted and multiplied by one and a half. This simple check can help you more accurately track precisely how much you’re putting into your body.
10. Go for the goods (fat, that is)
Not all fat is bad! Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated are healthy forms of fat. Cooking with olive oil instead of butter or eating a handful of nuts or an avocado are great ways to get these ‘good fats.’
Omega-3 fatty acids are a particularly healthy type of these ‘good fats’ that you can get from walnuts, soy, flax, fatty fish like salmon, and health bars and drinks. Try to get half a gram of omega-3 fatty acids each day – and if you have heart problems, double up to one gram.
Dr. Brad is the medical director for Integrative Medicine at Cavallo Point Lodge. He offers complete solutions for healthy, vibrant living. His integrative health approach responsibly combines the best of modern medicine with established wisdom and traditional East-West practices. Recognized as a national leader in integrative medicine and health & wellness, he has held workshops for Oprah’s “O You!” event, the Gap and Harvard Business School. He is also senior author of “The American College of Physicians (ACP) Evidence-Based Guide to Complementary and Alternative Medicine.”
Photo by Grace E. Jones