In this month’s Wellness (Integrative) Medicine column I’ll summarise my top tips for optimal wellness. There is definitely more to it than the usual advice of, eating a healthy diet; moving your body; and avoiding unhealthy habits such as smoking. These are still important, but there are many other ways to improve and maintain your wellness. I’ll explore each of these in more detail in subsequent columns but let’s look at these briefly now.
My first top tip is to be gentle with yourself. As humans, we are very prone to beating ourselves up. There are enough people around us critiquing our lives (overtly or without us realising) without adding to the negativity.
Meditation is a powerful technique and it does not need to involve sitting cross-legged chanting ‘ohm’. There are a multitude of great apps, books, websites, CDs/DVDs that describe a multitude of techniques that are easy to learn.
Mindfulness (aka meditation on the go) is another very popular technique for generating calmness in your life. Mindfulness also helps you appreciate the positive aspects of your life.
Rest is a crucial factor that more and more of us are getting less and less of. A striking feature of modern day life is that there is almost a stigma about not being busy enough. The human body needs rest and I’m not just talking about sleep.
Breathing. Yes, it is possible to be a ‘bad breather’. What this means is that not enough of us take enough good ‘belly’ breaths leading to headaches, and tiredness etc.
Avoiding toxins (as much as possible). This means toxins in our food (e.g. pesticides); our food wrapping; our hygiene products (e.g. fluoride in our toothpaste); our air (e.g. perfumes); people (yes you know the people that make you feel bad) and in our water (e.g. chlorine).
Social contact is important for our wellness and can be as simple as helping out at your child’s school or having meals with your family instead of the TV.
Alone time, (this is as crucial as social contact). Reading a book at home or walking on the beach are two examples.
Gentle exercise. As well as the epidemic of people not moving enough, there is also a group of people who exercise too much. For some people, the amount of exercise they do is too much for their body. It can cause numerous problems, such as adrenal fatigue.
Sunshine! Whilst there is a slight warning here, about avoiding excessive sun, some sun can be helpful. Moderation is key but around 10 mins of sun (before 10am and after 4pm) increases your level of vitamin D, which is good for mood among other things.
I’ll discuss these powerful techniques for improving your life and wellness in more detail in subsequent wellness columns. Be well!