Article in Body and Soul

Great health, boundless energy and youthful vitality – if I “ruled the world”, these would be my aspirations for everyone. However, I think all three are achievable now if we live by these simple “commandments” or steps:

1. Eat and live like your grandma

There was a time not so long ago when food was less processed, there was less of it, and if you wanted more you grew it yourself. There’s a lot to be said about this way of living, especially as it kept the focus on the foods that are best for good health: fresh fruit and veg, wholegrains, lean meat and unprocessed dairy.

This generation also did more incidental exercise and were more likely to have daily sun exposure. Reducing our screen time and heading outdoors more often helps to boost our levels of vitamin D – which is epidemically low in Australia – and the happy hormone serotonin.

2. Breathe deeply

Many of us don’t realise that we’re shallow breathing, but this only oxygenates the top of our lungs and can lead to symptoms of anxiety. Pause often to take 10 slow, deep breaths. This works wonders for slowing our stress or sympathetic nervous system.

3. Learn to de-stress

There’s no doubt that stress is a modern-day killer. It causes more mental health issues and physical ailments than any other diseases combined, with up to 80 per cent of GP visits thought to be linked to stress-related illnesses. We can’t escape stress in today’s society, so we have to learn to be comfortable with this uncomfortable foe and develop some effective coping strategies, such as exercise or meditation.

4. Stay connected

One in five Australians is likely to suffer depression at some point in their lifetime, so staying connected has never been so important. It can be as simple as introducing yourself to a neighbour, arranging a get-together with friends or family, joining a sporting group or volunteering. Technology may have made us all part of a global community, but there’s nothing like a hug or the handshake of a new friend.

#healthyhabits

Dr Cris

Holistic Medical Doctor, Author ‘Healthy Habits, 52 Ways to Better Health

Healthy Habits book Dr Cris