The world is awash in information about health, so I will keep this short and to the point.
One thing we can say for sure is that we, as a species, have not mastered health. Despite the claims of some, we don’t have all the answers. Often we see conflicting opinions from equally qualified authorities. There is so much information out there about health, yet none of it is successful for everyone. We are each unique and react differently. This leaves many of us feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.
It is also clear that many people are too narrowly focused on diet as the source of health. There is so much more to being healthy than what you eat. Yes, it is important and plays a large role in our health but it is far from everything. You can have the best diet in the world and not be healthy.
Fortunately, there are some things which are universally beneficial and healthy and don’t require you to purchase or acquire anything. So, to help you to tap into the other sources of health besides food, here are 5 easy (and free) ways to get healthier instantly. And these sources of vibrant health are yours for the using, at any time, and in any place.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to positively change the chemistry of your body is to smile. Numerous studies show the enormous benefits of smiling and laughter. It is one of the easiest control switches we have at our disposal. And it really is that simple: just smile. Do it again and again and it will become a habit, like anything else repeated. Create the habit of smiling and you program your brain to feel happy and healthy.
2. Take Slow, Deep Breaths
Common sense shows us that oxygen is clearly more crucial to our health than food or even water. You can live for weeks without food and days without water. But you can only survive minutes without oxygen.
Your lungs fill up your ribcage, but many people never breathe deeply and the extremities of their lungs go unused. Research shows that shallow breathing can have numerous detrimental health affects, such as causing air sacs to close down, stiffening of the lungs and decreased oxygen intake. This reduces the amount of oxygen which you can get into your blood.
Getting oxygen to your blood is about as important as it gets for health. One slow, deep breath can significantly increase the oxygen levels and vitality of your bloodstream. Imagine what 5 or 10 deep breaths could do. It is of the utmost importance to your health that you understand the power of breath.
3. Stand Up Straight
Common sense, as well as research, tells us the importance of maintaining a good, straight posture. Standing or sitting up straight, not only has physical health benefits, but it can also improve your mood and energy.
In addition, research has shown that having a good posture will actually change your body chemistry within minutes. When standing up straight, you decrease cortisol (which makes you stressed and nervous) and increase testosterone (which makes you feel strong and confident). By changing your posture, you can significantly change your health and change your moods.
4. Scan for Stress
If modern medicine can agree on anything, it is that stress is one of the great (if not the great) cause of disease, pain and discomfort. The negative effects of stress are well known. Stress is a natural and instinctual reaction and is sometimes useful. However, consistent and prolonged stress wears down your body and mind, just as stress on a car causes wear and tear.
An easy way to keep stress at bay (besides taking deep breaths) is to scan your body, from head to toe and check to see where you are unnecessarily tightening the muscles. One by one, consciously relax these areas.
At first this may be difficult, because you may have been subconsciously flexing a muscle for months or even years. But persistence will create the new habit of relaxation and greater health.
5. Think and Feel Good
Thoughts and emotions are the source and foundation of your attitude and experience of life. Habitual thoughts not only show up on your face but they also influence your body. Positive thoughts have numerous health benefits and negative thoughts can significantly harm your health. Thought is the true foundation of your health.
The more we study our mind the more we come to realize that we have the ability to be in charge of what goes on within us. With a bit of practice, we can learn to direct and control our minds. And when we begin to do so, we will have taken a huge leap in improving not only our health, but our enjoyment of life itself.
This article was originally published by Richard Kronick on CompletedThoughts.com.