When you seek a longer and healthier life, you develop spiritual attitudes and habits which resonate with you. A longevity focused life is a lifestyle.
Before it’s all over, the lists in this blog may seem endlessly overloaded with things to do. But, that’s not the object of this series. My goal is to offer you information you can use to enjoy a longer, healthier life. Pick and choose from the choices, as you select the habits that resonate with your body, mind, emotions and your spirit.
EXCESS WEIGHT CAN RUIN YOUR LONGEVITY PLANS – So, what can you do about it?
For starters, realize that obesity triggers arthritis, asthma, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. These health conditions conspire to rob you of your longer and healthier life.
Getting the weight off and keeping it off is important. And, getting it off the sooner the better is what its all about. When I give my library talks about my wellness book “A Healer’s Handbook”, I spend a lot of time talking about all the things you can do.
Begin by eating fruits, soups, and vegetables, Eat as much of these foods as you want and eat smaller amounts of meats and breads as you work toward a longer and healthier life.
Skip chemical laden products that have been manufactured for you to eat. This means reading the labels. If you can’t pronounce the words on the ingredient list, then you don’t need to eat even one bite of that product.
USE A SMALLER PLATE – Pile it high with fresh salad greens or vegetables.
For a longer and healthier life, always begin your meal with a soup.
Plate up your food in the kitchen and don’t put serving dishes on the table with your food.
DON’T TRY TO LIVE WITH A SLEEP DEFICIT. – A longer and healthier life depends on a rested body. This is really the heart of the matter. I’ve written post after post after post about the importance of sleep for you and your life. And, after this longevity series, I plan to return to a few more blog posts about getting enough sleep.
It all comes down to this: If you get enough sleep, you are going to have fewer health problems. With fewer health problems, you are on a path to a longer, healthier life.
JOIN A CONGREGATION. – Statistics show us that attending regular religious services has a strong, positive health effect resulting in a longer and healthier life.
Congregations offer a community of acceptance to members, an atmosphere which encourages good mental health, a stable social circle, and good immune function.
What this says to me is that our spiritual health is positively affected by a community atmosphere supporting our mental, and emotional beings.
LIVE WITH PURPOSE – Living with purpose influences mental, spiritual, and physical health positively. The way you live with purpose depends on you and your interests. The way you choose to give meaning to your life is completely up to you. Your choices are endless.
Before you get overwhelmed by this, begin by asking yourself some questions.
Does my plant need watering?
Does my dog need walking?
Am I concerned about my environment?
Have I always wanted to……………….?
This amounts to developing a sense of purpose in life by giving of yourself in some way for the benefit of others as you seek a longer and healthier life.
GET REGULAR REFLEXOLOGY SESSIONS – Well, of course I would believe this. I’m a reflexologist. However, if you are reading this article and you’ve never received a reflexology session, you can still achieve your longevity and wellness goals without receiving even one session.
The important thing here is to receive body work sessions regularly. And, in all honesty, there are hundreds of kinds of body work being practiced on our planet today. What’s important is that you receive some form of beneficial body work regularly.
If you don’t feel like you have the money for this bodywork, barter the sessions. I receive a Reiki therapy session every Monday afternoon. I exchange this session with a student. I feel like this is one of the most important things I do every week.
And, one of the most wonderful barters I did in my whole life was when I exchanged a reflexology session with an esthetician every week. What a fabulous time that was! Alas, she moved out of the state.
The bottom line is that we all need doses of the right touch for a longer and healthier life. Touch is important to our spiritual development.
MEDITATION IS IMPORTANT FOR YOU AND YOUR LONGEVITY PLANS. Do you meditate? Do you meditate regularly? If the answer to these two questions was “no” then begin by taking yoga classes. Yoga and meditation work together very well.
Have trouble scheduling meditation time? Join a meditation circle or form one where you meditate together weekly.
Meditation is grounding and offers major stress reduction. The positive health benefits of meditation ripple out to everyone and everything around you.
Make meditation a part of your life.
BRING NATURE CLOSER TO YOUR LIFE – How?
Walks in the park tend to lower your blood pressure.
Plants in your office or home bring their own calm.
Wilderness walks can be restorative.
Add wilderness pictures to office and home decor.
Nature sounds can be soothing as you listen to waterfalls, bird songs or ocean waves. My absolute favorite music is a CD entitled “Dolphin Music” by Ken Davis. It’s ancient as CD’s go, but I don’t want to be caught without it.
When you do these things, you protect yourself from stress.
BE OPTIMISTIC – You’ll live longer and feel better about your life when you look on the bright side of situations.
Build good relationships.
Refuse to see a crisis as insurmountable.
Accept change as a part of life.
Maintain a positive view of yourself.
Finally, try to see things in perspective.
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Woodstock, New York
Living a longer life is a commitment to a specific lifestyle which promotes good health. Your first step to living a longer life is making this commitment to long-term good health and longevity.
You begin this path to live a longer life and have long term good health when you realize and understand you can’t just blame your genes for your health. Your continued good health depends on developing habits and practicing useful things regularly that support your commitment.
Develop your plan for a longer life now. Plan how your life will be when you are in your 80’s, 90’s, or even 100. Will you be alert and active with friends? Will you be living alone? Will you be mentally alert?
Imagine yourself as a healthy person living a longer life. Focus on this goal. Be ready to make changes in your lifestyle to achieve the results you want.
Make regular reflexology sessions a part of your life.
For starters, review your diet. Are you consuming generous servings of vegetables and fruits? Do you eat lean protein every day? Do you eat whole grain foods, brown rice, nuts, and legumes? (I’ll cover the diet portion of a longevity lifestyle in future posts.)
Take care to prevent overeating. If you eat a proper diet in the proper amounts, you should have energy, you will slow the aging process, and you will postpone or prevent chronic diseases.
If you can prevent overeating, your body will be able to handle more types of stress, something that’s important if you are concerned about living a long life.
Develop a daily walking routine. Walking 10,000 steps each day will increase blood flow to the brain resulting in an improved memory. How can you do this? Walk more. Walk during your lunch hour. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Make it a goal to get off your seat and on your feet. Choose volunteer activities which require walking.
Take your vitamins! But, not just any vitamins. You don’t want to waste your money on nutrients you don’t need. Do some research. Make your knowledge current before you decide which vitamins to take. I’ll share more information about minerals and vitamins in future blog posts. For now, I suggest you look into vitamin D3. Find out for yourself if that’s a vitamin you need. When you take your vitamins, take them with food to promote absorption.
Take an aspirin a day…if your healthcare provider says it’s okay. I believe aspirin in moderation on a daily basis can help prevent diseases such as heart attack and some form of cancer. But, again, don’t take my word on this.
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Self care is all about realizing that we need to take care of ourselves to function optimally in our lives. For many, self care is being selfish. This is simply not so. Eating properly, resting, getting proper exercise, smelling the flowers…these things are not selfish.
Lower back pain? Try not to overdo the bed rest. One or two days seem to be the best amount of time. to be off your feet. Lower back pain is a spiritual situation. Try to get up and about asap. Self care is needed when your lower back hurts.
Are your cholesterol numbers less than ideal? Try to exercise regularly. Can you lose weight? That will help, too. Eating fish helps. And, finally, omega-3 fatty acids really help.
Get your annual flu shot. Every year, I encounter people who come down with the flu. Most of the time, these people neglected to get their shot. And, getting a flu shot does not immunize a person for life. A flu shot must be repeated annually. This can be a bore. However, I’ve gotten a flu shot annually for the last 20 years or so and, somehow, don’t seem to get the flu.
Worried about toenail fungus? Keep your feet clean and dry. Wear well fitting shoes and socks. Snug, poorly ventilated shoes and damp, sweaty socks are a breeding ground for athlete’s foot. Go barefoot if you can. If you do have toenail or foot fungus, and if it is painful, it’s time to see a dermatologist.
To keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy, brush your teeth often. Brush your teeth after you eat with a soft bristled brush. Tooth brushing is essential for good self care.
Do you have hay fever? Cut back on alcoholic beverages during pollen season.
Do you chew gum? Chew sugarless gum to fight tooth decay.
Concerned about carpel tunnel syndrome? Keep your wrists straight when working with your hands. When you work on a keyboard, make sure your fingers are lower than your wrists. Carpel tunnel doesn’t always require surgery. A good body worker or physical therapist can often help you.
Buy your shoes in the afternoon when you’ve been on your feet for a few hours, and always have your feet measured. Know which foot is larger and fit your shoes to that foot. That way, you’ll have a more accurate shoe size and fit.
Pinkeye and other eye infections can be extremely infectious. Use care.
Always first on your list for self care is regular reflexology.
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A good way to lower your risk for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes is to eat a steady diet of vegetables, grains, legumes, fruit, and dairy products with occasional servings of beef, poultry, and fish. This is good nutrition.
Butter is better. Margarine often has hydrogenated fats which you don’t need. Margarine also has artificial flavors, colors, etc. It’s better to eat moderate to small amounts of butter than margarine.
Want to add iron to your diet? Prune juice is high in iron. As a bonus, it’s also high in potassium. Think of prune juice as good nutrition!
Want to eat nutritious foods? Check out broccoli! Broccoli is low in calories and high in nutrition.
Beans, lentils, and dried peas are good sources of edible fiber. This translates to foods that are good for you if you want to lower your cholesterol level. This translates to better nutrition.
Having a burger? Skip the cheese and the bacon. These two foods add about 250 calories to your burger and add a good deal more saturated fat and cholesterol.
Thinking about your heart health? Eat fish once or twice a week. as good nutrition.
On a diet? You can cut your calories by about half if you’ll eat your chicken without the skin. This will also cut your fat content by about two thirds.
Skip the fruit containing dry cereals. Most of them don’t have much fruit in the cereal. If you want to eat cereal with fruit, add fresh fruit yourself. Your cereal will taste better, look better, and be more nutritious.
Go for the popcorn. Popcorn has fewer calories and fat than potato chips which makes it more nutritious!
Thanks for reading this article! Hopefully you’ll find tips you can use for more nutritious eating.
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Fitness is a journey. It is a way of thinking, moving, believing, acting. Fitness is forever.
The most important, bottom line, rule about fitness is to Be Active!. There are many, many different kinds of exercise and diet. But, whatever lifestyle you choose, the most important thing is to Move!.
Regular exercise fights physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual decline. Whatever you do, include several brisk walks each week. Over time, this regular brisk walk can improve your fitness and “add years to your life and life to your years”.
Concerned about your risk of stroke? Add a daily walk to your life.
Are you getting too many colds? Exercise regularly and moderately to boost your immunity and improve your fitness.
Whenever possible, take the stairs. You’ll use more calories and build muscles at the same time.
Drink water even if you don’t feel thirsty. When exercising, drink 4 to 6 ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes.
Do you have osteoarthritis? The best thing you can do is exercise. Check with your physician or physical therapist. Contact the Arthritis Foundation. Then, exercise, exercise, exercise.
Worried about falling? Protect yourself by developing the strongest thigh muscles you can. Strong thigh muscles will reduce the injury you might experience from a fall.
Don’t have time for exercise? Turn your coffee break into 10-minute workouts. These short breaks can offer a lot of fitness for not a lot of work. You can climb stairs for 10 minutes. Or, you can jump rope or have a quick run. Park your car 10 minutes from the office and walk those 10 minutes.
Drink as much water in the cold as in the heat.
Replace worn exercise shoes. Your fitness shoes are worn out long before you see wear on the outer sole or upper shoe.
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There are many, many things you can do to keep yourself healthy. Staying healthy will help you maintain your youth. Many of these wellness tips are so easy you won’t even realize you’re promoting your good health.
Have a cold? Skip the antibiotics. A cold is a viral infection. Antibiotics are only good for bacterial infections. So…save your money.
Looking for a cold medication? This wellness tip can also save you money. Avoid the medications that multi-task. Simple medications cost less and focus on the symptom bothering you most.
Hot tea is good for making your throat feel good when you have a cold. Saline nasal drops help your nose feel better, too.
Don’t spread your cold germs around. Wash your hands frequently and don’t share your eating and drinking utensils.
When you come down with colds and/or hay fever, take the evening off. Climb into bed early and sleep an extra hour.
Don’t store your meds in the bathroom. Bathrooms tend to be too humid and too hot. These two conditions encourage deterioration.
Now might be a good time to quit smoking. Have you tried to stop smoking several times, this time switch to a pipe for a while. But, think of this as only a step toward freedom because pipe smokers and cigar smokers not only suffer from lung cancer but also get throat and mouth cancer.
Don’t take acetaminophen for an extended period of time without consulting with your primary healthcare provider. Long term regular use of these pain relievers can damage kidneys and liver. Occasional use of these drugs are safe for most people.
Make sure your smoke detectors are in working order. Replace any smoke detector that’s more than ten years old. If your smoke detectors are younger than ten years old, get an aerosol spray tester at a hardware store that simulates smoke.
Avoid raking leaves if you have allergies.
Hopefully these wellness tips are interesting and useful to you and your household.
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One of the most important wellness tips a person can use is the suggestion to take a few minutes out of every day to relax. A break every day for a few minutes will lower blood pressure, encourage good health and healing, and promote balance. Go Breaks!
Parsley is a popular garnish. Well, I eat the garnish! Parsley is both delicious and nutritious. So, I just can’t bear to throw it out. Join me in this habit.
Cut down on the salt. Add a few drops of lemon juice or substitute other herbs and spices. This can be one of your most important wellness tips!
Add avocado to your sandwiches and salads. Avocado is both delicious and nutritious. It’s high in nutrition and low in calories so that makes it a real bonus in your meal, and a practical wellness tip.
Read the Yogurt label because not all yogurts are created equal. If you want flavored yogurt, add your own. You’ll be eating fewer additives when you include fruits instead of purchasing the yogurt already filled with high sugary jams. Choose a yogurt with no artificial colors, artificial flavors, or no artificial anything.
Steam your veggies instead of boiling them. You’ll end up serving food which tastes better and has more vitamins and minerals.
Want to serve fruit with your cereal? Add your own! Many fruit containing cereals have little or no fruit in them. (This wellness tip is almost too easy!)
Avoid commercial dips. Your homemade dips will taste better and will have fewer additives. They will have fewer calories and fat, too.
Plain popcorn has fewer calories and fat than potato chips.
Drink water before, during, and after exercise.
Thank you for reading these wellness tips! Hopefully you’ll be able to use some or all of them. Please refer this article to your preferred social media network.
Thanks again for reading this article!
Woodstock, New York
For all that’s written and spoken about sleep, we all know on some level that sleep is a complex, spiritual event necessary to maintain our health and keep the body and soul together.
I was recently quite ill with a “sinus infection of global proportions” as described to me by a healing friend. My first tip off was when I decided on a Wednesday afternoon that I suddenly needed to rest. Fortunately, I followed my body’s demands and crawled in bed. I promptly went to sleep and woke up on Sunday morning.
On Sunday morning, I was quite tired but felt better. I drank a lot of water, ate fresh fruit, and made it to the doctor’s office on Monday to find out what my problem was. Within a couple of hours, I had had enough blood tests, x-rays, and other scans to learn that I not only had the enormous sinus infection but I also had pneumonia.
I also had a physician who was angry at me, a daughter nurse who was angry at me, and several other medical professionals who were angry.
I doubt if I’ll have this experience repeat itself again. And, I’m certain that this sleep, while highly therapeutic, may have needed some breaks for hydration, etc.
Nevertheless, I’m also convinced that, on some level, the sleep helped my situation.
I was fortunate because I fell asleep without trouble. Sleep is not always available to people who are ill or suffering with troubled health for whatever reason.
And, sometimes people are ill and need nothing more than a good night’s sleep to make things better. So, encouraging a good night’s sleep on a regular basis is a good thing. Sleep, experienced regularly, is important for wellness and good health in general.
What provision do you make for a regular sleep schedule which includes enough sleep every night? Are you able to include enough hours to offer therapy to your self and lifestyle?
Is your pillow adequate for the job?
Truthfully, I’ve blogged many times and will blog many times more about all the things a person can do to get enough sleep. Keep after your sleep until you are able to support your physical, mental, and spiritual health.
The first step involves honoring your self and your need to sleep well in order to live well.
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Artwork provided by Jennette Nearhood
Better sleep includes getting enough sleep at night and waking gently in the morning. That’s what alarm clocks and cell phone alarms are for. Use them to remind you to begin to calm down in the evening and to gently wake you in the morning.
Sleep Encouraging Techniques for you
As you journey down the path toward a better night’s sleep, don’t think of your bedroom as just a bedroom. Think of it as your sleep sanctuary.
Some people report they get to sleep easier if they use a diffuser with a lavender essential oil. You may want to try this. Lavender is one of the most popular and calming essential oils out there but not everyone likes it.
If you like lavender, you can use it knowing that studies find lavender essential oil improves your mood, decreases the heart rate, lowers the skin temperature and blood pressure a bit.
A bonus here is that lavender is not one of the most expensive essential oils. So, this may be an economical solution for you.
Do you have any plants in your bedroom? If not, you may want to add one or two. They purify the air as they reduce mold, filter toxins, release oxygen at night. And, plants are fun to look at.
Lower Lighting is Important for a Good Night’s Rest.
As you prepare for sleep each night, lower the lights in your sleep sanctuary. Bright lights just before getting into bed can trick you into wakefulness. You need light as you get ready for bed, but you just don’t need so much.
When You are Ready to go to Sleep, Turn out the Lights.
Then, when you get into your bed, set your intention. My intention is always for a deep, healing, relaxing sleep so that I will wake up refreshed in the morning when it is time to get up.
Follow your intention with a short breathing exercise .
Begin this sleep breathing by getting comfortable in your bed. Take a deep breath and hold it for an extra moment. When you release this breath, focus on releasing all tension and worries. Blow them far away. With the next breath, let go of any discomfort your body is holding. With every exhale, focus on the word “relax”.
Breathe in peace…breathe out relax.
Hold your breath for a moment and then repeat: Breathe in peace…breathe out relax.
Now, breathe in peace…breathe out relax.
Finally, enjoy your final peace breath and then breathe out relax.
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Some of us sleep well. Some of us wish we could sleep well. And, some of us battle sleep and try to improve it. And, for some, this is a lifelong endeavor. Sleep simply eludes us .
Even though I sleep well, I fall in the category of those who try to improve my sleep. Through the years, I’ve developed some techniques that give me a successful night’s sleep not just once in awhile…but most nights.
Sleep is a priority with me. And not just a decent sleep, either. I want and need a good night’s sleep every night.
An important step I take each evening before I get into bed is establish a sleep intention. I do this every evening because I want my sleep to be restful and serene. I want to sleep throughout the night because my goal is to wake up rested and ready for the coming day. This is the intention I set each evening before I get in my bed.
I begin preparing for sleep each evening in the morning before I leave home. My caffeinated drinks are exclusively early day beverages and I taper off the caffeine as the day goes on.
One way I do this is limit my coffee to no more than five cups a day. Even though five cups is my limit, often I never even get to five cups. I enjoy unsweetened iced tea so I may drink more tea than coffee.
As midday rolls around, I switch to a latte. I may occasionally have a decaffeinated coffee in the afternoon. But, not often.
Most of the time, my afternoon drink is a large unsweetened iced tea.
When I’m home relaxing, I resist the temptation to watch “just one more program”. And, I limit my email time after dinner. And, neither my TV nor my computer can be found in my bedroom because they can interfere with my sleep.
A SLEEP SCHEDULE
I try to maintain a sleep schedule so that I go to bed pretty much the same time every evening and I get up about the same time on weekdays.
A PERFECT BEDROOM
My bedroom is the most serene room in the house. The walls are a pale cream color. The carpet is a quiet brown. I have several pieces of art on the walls which make me feel calm and positive. Sleep comes easy in this room.
And, my bed is perfect! I love it. The mattress is sooo comforting.
Are your sheets comfortable? Some people love cotton sheets. Others prefer flannel sheets. I’m on the flannel sheet side of the argument. I love the feel of the flannel sheets every night of the year.
When you buy sheets, carefully check the labels to be sure that you get what you pay for. Be sure your sheets are good enough quality that you can wash them in hot water and put them in the dryer.
Is the sheet fabric tightly woven enough to keep away dust mites, pet dander, and other allergens.
Whatever you choose, make sure you have sheets and blankets that you like. You need to like the color. You need to like how the fabric feels when you touch it.
And finally, you need to feel your bedding is inviting.
Is your bedroom too hot or is it too cool? The last thing you want is to sweat or shiver throughout the night because when you’re shivering or sweating, you are not sleeping.
Your sleep doesn’t need to be disturbed with computer, smartphone, TV, and other appliances beep. So, they don’t belong in your bedroom.
CLEAR OUT THE CLUTTER
Clearing out the clutter in your bedroom really helps. An uncluttered space is calming, inviting, serene. Go for it! Try clearing out the clutter about fifteen minutes a day until the room is all cleaned out. You’ll feel better and sleep better for it.
When I started clearing out the clutter, I felt things would look better in my bedroom but I was unprepared for the wonderful difference an uncluttered space made in my sleep.
MOVE YOUR HOME OFFICE TO SOMEWHERE ELSE
Ban your office from your bedroom. When you bring your work to your bedroom, you make it harder to unwind as you think about tomorrow’s problems before you try to go to sleep.
There are a kazillion other things you can do to improve your sleep. I’ll be discussing them over time. Some of the suggestions I’ll bring up may not interest you. Try what seems good to you. As you discover what improves your better sleep, you’ll benefit from the changes.
You may find you look better, feel better, and think better. It’s worth the effort to change your habits and environment.
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