Since I love music, I find myself continually drawn to associating harmony in any area of life to music. In a typical choir, there are four (4) principal voice types - Soprano, Alto, Tenor & Bass - and all are necessary to bring full tonal quality and harmony to the choir.
We all have a mind, a body and a spirit. It should therefore serve as no surprise that, in order to achieve total health and wellness, we need to take care of all three (3) parts of ourselves - mind, body and spirit. Don't focus on any one part to the disadvantage of the others, since all are required to bring balance to the human person.
In this article, I will provide you with seven (7) simple, practical and effective tips that you can start using immediately to improve and maintain your overall health and wellness. Tip 1 focuses on your spiritual health. Tips 2, 3 and 4 focus on your physical health. Tips 5 and 6 focus on your emotional health. The final tip, Tip 7, focuses on a frequently overlooked area, your mental health.
1. Dedicate 30 minutes to God each day in prayer, reflection and thanksgiving.
Every day you are blessed with 1440 minutes to live your life. Thirty (30) minutes only amount to a mere 2% of your entire day. God, the giver of life, deserves some of your day. Read and reflect with daily devotionals, spiritual and/ or religious books (Holy Bible, Qur'an, Torah, Tripitaka, Bhagavad-Gita, Tao-te-Ching, Books of L. Ron Hubbard or other sacred texts). This will increase your knowledge of your religion, strengthen your spirit, improve your personal relationship with God, improve your relationship with your fellow human beings, help you with your daily living and bring you inner peace.
2. Keep Physically Fit.
The key to achieving physical fitness is paying attention to exercises that strengthen your core muscles. Your core muscles are all those varied muscles in your chest, abdomen, upper back, lower back and sides. There are several benefits to be derived from a strong core - a flat stomach, a strong back, good posture, reduced strain on the spine, effective transfer of power to your arms and legs to lift, move or carry stuff around, greater mental alertness, greater flexibility and a good heart.
3. Eat Nutritious and Healthy Food.
There is a widely circulated myth that foods that are nutritious and healthy are not tasty. Like I indicated, it is a myth and the best way to ensure that your food intake is healthy, nutritious and that you are getting all of the required vitamins and nutrients that your body needs is by:
(a) Eating from the 5 major food groups each day - Grains, Vegetables, Fruits, Milk, Meat & Beans.
(b) Eating a "rainbow diet", that is, one that contains as many, if not all, of the colours of the rainbow - Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Purple. Each food colour provides a different set of vitamins and micro-nutrients. For example, green foods such as spinach, are a good source of Vitamin A, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Magnesium and Iron. Regular consumption of Spinach fights Anaemia and improves eyesight.
(c) Using a good multi-vitamin supplement, to satisfy any nutritional deficiencies you may have.
(d) Drinking your recommended eight (8) glasses of water each day. Drink one (1) glass at various intervals throughout the day to assist your body in the efficient elimination of waste and toxins.
4. Take Good Care of Your Skin.
Your skin serves four (4) principal functions as follows:
i. Protection from external elements.
ii. A sort of sensor with nerve endings that cause you to react appropriately to pain, heat, cold, touch, pressure, vibration and tissue injury.
iii. A heat regulator that accordingly pumps blood to your skin's surface or reduces blood flow.
iv. Your largest waste eliminator (surface wise) through sweating or perspiring.
Additionally, as you age, your skin naturally becomes drier, less elastic and produces more wrinkles. However, you can significantly slow down this aging of your skin and help your skin in its elimination process by keeping your skin continuously moist and hydrated through the following simple skin care routine.
Skin Care Routine
Drink plenty of water; 8 glasses each day. Eat looks of yellow and orange fruits which provide Vitamin A. Take a good Vitamin E supplement. Eat cucumbers, which supply sulphur - a trace element that is necessary for healthy skin!! Also use water-based moisturizing creams or olive oil on the skin, immediately after bathing to keep moisture locked into your skin.
5. Take a 30-minute "time-out" at least once a week.
I know this sounds easier said than done, especially if you have children or take care of elderly parents or relatives. So let's look at it from a different angle. If you suddenly became very ill or died, God forbid, the children and relatives would be somehow taken care of. Maybe not as well as you, yes, but they would manage. Well in order to ensure that you are around long enough to provide the best continuous care, the way you alone can do it, is to TAKE A BREAK!!! Find your relaxing space: take a walk on the beach or in the park while listening to nature or music on your iPod; relax on your bed listening to music; curl up in your favourite chair with a cup of tea or chocolate and read a good book; sit on a park bench and watch people pass by...or whatever else relaxes you. This will clear your head and give you renewed energy to go again.
6. Practice Contentment
In the natural ebb and flow of life and living, there are high points and low points, seasons of plenty and seasons of scarcity. Happiness is not derived from the abundance, number or type of material things we have. That's why we sometimes see examples of millionaires who are drug addicts or alcoholics. Added to that, there is the "Law of Diminishing Returns". What this basically says is that the more we get of something up to a certain point, the less likely the added quantities of that thing is going to increase our happiness quota. It's like, if I got one (1) Lamborghini - I am on a high, summersaults can't express my happiness, I could hug everybody I meet. If I got two (2) more Lamborghinis - well that's ok. I mean I really won't feel as euphoric as that first time and in any case, how many can I drive at any one time?
Contentment is the ability to be happy in both the sparse and abundant seasons of our lives and it is not dependent on our circumstances. We need to develop this spirit of contentment in order to positively contribute to our overall health, happiness and well-being. This does not mean that we should not strive for better but it means that like the old West Indian say goes, "We shouldn't hang our hats where our hands can't reach", in order to keep up with the Jones'.
7. Take the Care of Your Mind Seriously.
Stress and Depression are two (2) of the biggest thieves of mental and emotional health, globally. Not only are they globally prevalent but they also lead to more serious mental problems such as Dementia, Alzheimer's, Suicide and Insanity.
In fact, "The World Health Organization estimates that more than 450 million people [worldwide] suffer from mental disorders, and a new report by the World Economic Forum figures the annual global costs of mental and neurological illnesses at $2.5 trillion. That is three times the economic cost of heart disease 'Global mental health issues woefully overlooked', Public Radio International."
So stress and depression must be dealt with and arrested almost immediately in order to avoid more serious health problems. Depression is a natural phase that we all experience in our lives primarily due to loss of loved ones, work issues, job loss or money/financial issues. However, the key to ensuring that stress and depression do not get out of hand, is engaging in activities that move your mind away from the problem causing the stress or depression and move you to a better mental space, despite the problem at hand. You can improve and maintain the health of your brain by incorporating some of these simple techniques into your daily living.
Simple Mental Health Care Solutions
Board Games, Puzzles & Quizzes
Playing Board Games and Solving Puzzles & Quizzes all provide your brain with a mental workout by improving your memory, concentration, problem solving skills and preventing cognitive decline.
Listening to music
Although seemingly simple, music soothes the mind and spirit, helps the body relax, relieves mental and emotional stress and tension, stimulates the senses and energizes the body.
There are many great online writing communities, such as EzineArticles and Squidoo, which accept articles on just about any topic that you would be interested in. Again, you will be exercising your brain, since to write an excellent article you will need to do some research to supplement your knowledge of the area.
Hobbies and Sports
Engage in group activities, social clubs or sports that interest you (tennis, horse riding, soccer, football, cricket, karate, sewing, yoga, tai chi, basketball, volleyball, swimming, singing, dancing etc.). Anything that you are naturally inclined to and that makes you feel happy while doing it. If you can't seem to find a sport or hobby that interests you, check out the World's Largest List of Hobbies (see the link below). You're bound to find something that's right for you and that you'll enjoy.