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7 Steps To Renew Your Mind, Body and Spirit

Mind body and spiritIn Friday’s post, you’ll have seen that I quoted that depression is expected to be the second largest illness in the next 10 years. Why is this the case? A survey published in Forbes Magazine a year or so ago revealed that two thirds of a selected group of workers from the US and Canada were dissatisfied with their working lives. Fear not, there is good news! You don’t have to be one of these statistics. It all comes back to looking after ourselves – our minds, our bodies and our spirits. Very few people take time out to truly look after themselves anymore. Without getting too scientific, here are my top 7 steps to renew your mind, body and spirit:

1)      Move your body daily. De-stress, energise and be mentally fit with exercise. According to Tony Schwartz who wrote The Power Of Full Engagement, aerobic exercise is the number one method for emotional renewal – which of course covers stress. The benefits of exercise are staggering. Without daily activity you’re depriving your body of its key ingredient as our bodies were designed to move. If you’re in doubt, and without getting too scientific just yet, here are 22 reasons to exercise.

2)      Drink plenty of water. Our brains are made of around 85% water. If you’re ever feeling de-energised or tired, try drinking a pint of water instead of reaching for the caffeine – see how you feel!  Between 60-80% of our bodyweight is made up of water. Our cells use water to clean themselves and carry nutrients around our bodies. Our tissues and vital organs need water. Water regulates our body temperature, it lubricates and cushions our joints, protects our spinal cord and other sensitive tissues and gets rid of waste through urination, perspiration and bowel movements. If you get constipated regularly, the chances are that you’re not getting enough water! If you suffer from water retention, one of the best ways to get past it, is by drinking more water! Your body retains water when it is deprived of water, so by drinking more of it, it gets rid of unwanted water. If you don’t have enough water, you’re depriving your body and your vital organs a key requirement.

3)      Breathe more! Sorry, what?! According to Andrew Weil who wrote 8 Weeks to Optimal Health said that his one key tip to optimise health would be to make people breathe more deeply. Most of us do not breathe properly and are therefore depriving our bodies of oxygen. Our lungs are incredible – they take our blood through the capillaries and expose them to the fresh air intake so the red blood cells can absorb the oxygen so it can travel through our bodies. The majority of our blood vessels are in the lower part of our lungs and most people do not realise this. Most of us breathe using the surface of our lungs. When we breathe deeply we get far more oxygen pumping around our bodies. Try taking regular breaks and during these breaks take in 5-10 deep breaths to get oxygen pumping around your body. Notice the almost immediate effect is has on your mind. Start breathing properly and give your body the oxygen it needs. Learn how to breathe deeply and consciously – you’ll notice just how much more alert you are.

4)      Give your digestive system a break. Most of us take our digestive system for granted. Our digestive system allows us to take food and water in, to convert it into fuel – the nutrients our body needs to create brain new cells, neural connections, strengthen muscle tissue and bone, our vital organs, feed emotions and create new skin cells, among many more features. Here are a few tips:

  1. Chew everything, particularly meat, 25-30 times. Digestion starts in your mouth as saliva breaks down the food. When you’re chewing your body is figuring out what’s about to be consumed, and figures out the right chemical stew based on the exact ingredients of what you ate in that meal. It breaks down the food according to the intake and releases the appropriate chemicals.
  2. Eat regularly. Every 2-2.5 hours. If you eat more frequently by snacking, you won’t be allowing your body to fully digest the previous meal. The next chemicals it makes will not be supporting the first meal. Most people mix their foods that require different chemicals. Heart burn is a sign that the food mix is not conducive to your last meal
  3. Limit what you drink whilst you’re eating. It dilutes the stomach acid when you’re actually eating. Try to only after you’ve finished – preferably with pure, clean water.

5)      Protect your Immune System – it’s an incredibly complex and intricate system and it would take hours to explain the entire system. Simply put, there are millions of cells running through our bodies that have some kind of virus or bacteria. We all have them, whether we’re healthy or unhealthy. The difference is that the person that doesn’t get sick is someone who keeps their immune system strong. Part of the immune system is the Lymphatic system. Its role is to remove and destroy waste, debris, dead blood cells, pathogens, toxins, and cancer cells. The interesting point about the lymphatic system is that it does not have a heart to pump it, its upward movement depends on the motions of the muscle and joint pumps. It requires movement for it to function!! If you’re not moving, then your body will not be able to transport these poisonous cells out of the body. If your body isn’t transporting these cells, then your lymph can’t transport these harmful cells out of your body. You can probably guess what happens then. They build up until your body can’t handle the harmful cells anymore, reach a tipping point and your body is put out whilst your body fights the illness. A key reason to move your body!

6)      Respect your musculoskeletal System. As the name may suggest, this is your muscle and skeletal system. You only have to look at the makeup of the human body to realise that our bodies were designed to move. I recently heard that the chair was the worst invention for our backs. Cases of back pain are spirally out of control. My chiropractor confirmed this. He actually told me a few years ago that the healthiest backs he’s seen are those of manual workers – namely builders. Having said that, I did wonder why he saw them in the first place but let’s not dwell on that.  Our bodies were built to give us all sorts of flexibility; to walk, run, bend down, stretch, to pick things up, touch and hug people that we love! If you’re not doing this regularly (not so much the hugging part, although that’s great too), but if you’re not moving regularly, then you’re not giving your body the basic building blocks it needs to strengthen your bones, muscles, ligaments and joints. The most effective way to look after our musculoskeletal systems is by doing aerobic exercise and combine it with some sort of resistance training or weight lifting. Did you know that you can prevent osteoporosis with exercise, namely weight-bearing and resistance training?

Mind Body Spirit

7)      Take regular breaks. This means during your working day, for at least a whole day over the weekend, and have complete time out – for at least a week every quarter year. Preferably more frequently than that! This is probably my favourite advice from the research I have done – as I love holidays. Who doesn’t? Our minds need time to distress, rejuvenate and recharge and complete breaks for a week are said to work wonders.



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