Great news — being vibrantly healthy can be simple. Not easy — effort is required — but simple.
The following tips can help transform your life when practiced consistently, even in small doses.
Practice “brain hygiene”
Mindfulness practices — such as meditation, time in nature, quiet reflection, yoga, spa rituals, keeping a journal — promote brain hygiene. You can weave mindfulness throughout your day by slowing down to consider how your thoughts, words and actions make you feel. Simple!
Journal with parameters
By keeping a mood, food and fitness journal, you’re able to determine exactly what serves you and what doesn’t. How do you feel today based on your choices? How do you feel right after you exercise, or an hour after you eat? It’s like a science experiment for which you’re gathering data on how to live your best life.
Ask constructive questions
Your brain is a problem-solving machine so it’s important to ask empowering questions versus destructive questions — because you get an answer to match. For example, “How can I solve this problem?” versus “Why did this happen to me?”
Reduce and transform stress
Our body’s stress response is an amazing system that allows us to mobilize energy in an instant to fight or flee, yet much of our modern stress is mental, nutritional and electromagnetic, not about physical danger. Now it’s been shown chronic stress is bad news for our health — but it’s a simple fix. Shift your mindset to transform mental stress, eat more unprocessed whole foods to reduce nutritional stress, and cut down on screen-time (especially in the hours before bedtime) to reduce electromagnetic stress.
Don’t have time to rejuvenate mind, body and spirit — then schedule it. Every minute — whether it’s three minutes to breathe deeply or 30 for a hot bath — counts, by promoting the rest and digest response which benefits the mind and all body systems.
Create rituals, sleep better
Try adopting evening rituals that focus on winding down (dim lights, turn off tech or write in a gratitude journal). A good night’s sleep is not only when the brain and body regenerate and repair — research shows that quality sleep impacts self-regulation (our ability to make healthy choices) and cognitive function (our ability to reason, learn and remember).
Start an anti-sedentary revolution
Movement is key to optimal health and has two main components, exercise and physical activity. Even if you lift weights, run or practice yoga for an hour every day, 23 hours remain where you’re likely sedentary. Weaving physical activity (taking the stairs, housework, impromptu dance parties) throughout the day can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes and increase your energy, physical health and cognitive function.
Consume mind-body-spirit nutrition
It can feel wonderfully indulgent to focus on foods that nourish you — mind, body and spirit. In a ratio that leans heavily toward the former, indulge your mind and body with energizing, nutrient-dense foods and indulge your spirit with whatever you’re craving.
Grow your positivity antennae
Our brain’s innate negativity bias is an important safety mechanism that has us on constant alert for danger, whether it’s physical or mental — much like a super-sensitive antennae. You can balance this bias by growing your “positivity antennae” through the practice of daily gratitude (i.e. scanning your world for good).
Practice radical self-love
Self-love is self-mastery. When you know, nurture, forgive and trust yourself — and strengthen these skills through practice — you can accomplish great things and feel a deep sense of fulfilment.
Catherine Roscoe Barr, BSc Neuroscience, is founder of The Life Delicious, a global wellness coaching practice with luxury retreats from Vancouver Island to London, England and private clients worldwide via Skype. Catherine is a certified personal trainer, fitness instructor, older adult specialist and coach practitioner, and writes about fitness, food and travel for numerous online and print publications. Before settling on the West Coast she lived in Sydney, Toronto, Oregon, Montana, and practically everywhere in Alberta. She can be found jogging with her adorable dog, dining with her fabulous husband, or voraciously reading anywhere comfy.