As you know there is no quick fix to good health. It takes an investment of time and effort over a lifetime. As I like to say we’re all a work in progress. One of the best lessons I’ve had on my journey back to health from lung disease is that many of the resources available to help boost health are in fact free. I believe health starts within and with the right mind set the possibilities are endless. It’s just a matter of searching for answers until you work out what works best for you.
I’m currently on a healing journey with three lung conditions – Bronchiectasis, Cystic Fibrosis (clinical diagnosis), and Asthma and have come up with a list of ten of my favourite health practices that will cost you nothing, except perhaps an investment of time. Keep in mind while I share what works for me I genuinely believe that there is no single recipe for health and would highly recommend you chat to a trusted health professional to work out what health practices and prescription guidelines would work best for you. Also remember that nobody knows your body like you do so trust your instinct in deciding what’s right for you.
Here’s my top 10 all time favorites in no particular order.
- Earthing. The theory of earthing is that when your bare feet come into contact the ground, electrons are taken up by the body. These electrons are sometimes referred to as natures most powerful antioxidants that help neutralise toxic free radicals that can negatively impact health.. One of the biggest claims is that earthing can reduce disease causing inflammation, a factor that is often implicated in a lot of lifestyle diseases. Although I’m not consciously aware of any gains I’m making by doing earthing, I find it very relaxing to do and definitely feel better for it. I aim to do this daily for 20 minutes, although I must admit I find I’m not as disciplined in the cooler weather.
2. Sunlight. There’s no question the best source of vitamin D production is via the suns rays. Given that this is quite a contentious issue due to concern about skin cancer risk, it’s a good idea to educate yourself on safe sun exposure and vitamin D supplementation. It’s well known that vitamin D has a crucial role in mood regulation and immune system health. I aim to get 10-20 minutes of sun exposure most days of the week, preferably before 11 am. In winter I roll up my sleeves and pants to allow exposure to a decent surface area of the skin.
3. & 4. Laughter and smiling. It’s no secret that a good dose of laughter makes you feel better instantly due to an injection of feel good chemicals called endorphins into the system. Even fake laughter has the same effect. If you can’t manage a laugh then a smile will do. It’ll lower your heart rate and blood pressure, release endorphins and boost your immune system. How easy is that?
5. Patting an animal. It’s well documented that simply patting an animal can stimulate the release of endorphins, lower blood pressure and stress levels. Lots of benefits for such a simple action. So if you have one go pat your pet!
6. Deep Breathing. It’s easy to slip into bad habits when breathing particularly when feeling stressed. By simply taking deep breaths you can relax, detoxify, strengthen your immune system and it’s even been found to help relieve pain.
7. Forest Bathing. This health practice is particularly popular in Japan and involves heading outside and surrounding yourself by trees. The oils emitted by trees are awesome for helping to boost the immune system when breathed in. A half hour outside first thing in the morning can apparently help balance your body clock and help reduce cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
8. Gratitude. Writing down what you’re thankful for each day helps train the brain to focus more on the positive aspects of life. It may also help you see some of the more negative things in life in a more positive light. It promotes optimism, reduces blood pressure and heart rate and is great for your heart health and overall health.
9. Affirmations. Statements that you say repeatedly to yourself out loud or in your thoughts can positively impact your state of mind. I write them as though I have actually achieved them. e.g. I am healthy, Repetition is the key with affirmations to make them become part of your reality. A daily practice is definitely the way to go. I write mine out and place them in different places around the house e.g. on the fridge, by my bed etc so when I think of it I can read them out loud to myself.
10. Move it. It’s no secret that you aren’t designed to sit for long periods. As you are probably already aware there are so many benefits to movement and exercise. There’s a saying that if you want to gain energy then you have to use it first. So if you’re lacking a bit of energy keep in mind that a simple way to help create energy is to get up and move.
So take your pick of any of the above easy health practices. If you’re prepared to invest some time and effort prepare to be amazed by all the health benefits on offer.