How to improve your life with eight simple steps. These are my lifestyle tips and approaches to overall wellness and longevity.
Today I'm sharing what I have learned of tea's philosophy, how to better yourself and live a long and happy life.
At 63, I have many good years ahead and intend to live them as well as possible. I've picked up a few things in my six decades on this planet that I would like to pass on to you so that you may know how to improve your life.
If you follow these eight tips, I guarantee that not just this year but the rest of your life will be happier and more prosperous for you. A better lifestyle leads to an improved life.
These are small lifestyle changes that I promise will produce profound results. Let's get started:
1. Never Watch The News
Even if you want to watch the weather on the news, it doesn't matter. Go to a weather app. Never watch the news under any circumstances. If you must, read the news from reliable and verifiable sources. But never watch the news. It's a creativity killer, depressing, and fraught with negativity.
2. Improve Life With Balance
It's best to keep balance in your life. There are 24 hours in a day. Try to keep a balance of eight hours of work, eight hours of sleep, and eight hours of play. And if you keep that balance in your life, things will go much better. Many of us tend to shortcut sleep. Don't let work cut into sleep or leisure time. Keep that balance of 8-8-8, and you will have an improved life.
3. Diet and Vitamins
We can control what we eat and our lifestyle but not our genetics. So it's essential to know the difference and adjust accordingly.
Your body will tell you what it likes and doesn't like. Some foods our bodies will agree with and others not so much. No matter how healthy someone says a particular food is, don't eat it if you don't feel right after eating it. Don't force yourself to eat foods your body doesn't like; you know what works for you and what doesn't.
Wellness is essential to happiness and is about nourishing your spirit and your body. Much of improving your life comes down to lifestyle and attitude. I firmly believe that nurturing your soul is as important as nurturing your body.
Eat clean. By this, I mean trying to get food with the least ingredients. Read your labels. Preservatives and artificial additives are things to avoid.
When I was working in the emergency room, one of the doctors always advised us never to eat foods that were altered in any way. She always cautioned against foods that have been changed, such as low-fat or genetically modified foods. Choose foods that are in their natural state and not chemically altered. I'll never forget that advice and always abide by it when I can.
Vitamins. Try and take a good multivitamin every day. Keep your Vitamin D levels up. A simple blood test to measure your Vitamin D levels will guide you on how much you need. Take Vitamin C to boost your immune system, along with quercetin and zinc. Tea is a natural source of the antioxidant quercetin.
Sunshine has a lot to do with depression and health. It's also great for getting Vitamin D. Try getting at least 15 minutes of the sun or outside time every day. It isn't easy in the wintertime, especially in the northeast. We tend to hibernate in the cold weather running from door to door without spending any real-time outdoors. If you can get 15 minutes of sun a day, it does help.
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If you can't get enough sunshine, supplement with Vitamin D. Spend some time outside and breathe in the fresh air. There is evidence that Vitamin D and sunlight support the immune system.
Years ago, hospitals used to build solariums for patients. The solarium provided the patients' plenty of sunshine instead of sitting in a dark hospital room with artificial lighting all day long.
Your body produces vitamin D when your skin is exposed to the sun's ultraviolet rays. Today, most commercial glass blocks UVB rays, so you have to go outside.
I will sometimes grab a thermos of hot tea while I walk outside. I see things differently when I'm walking. There's a whole giant beautiful planet to roam, relish and absorb. Being in nature is spiritual, reduces stress, and is naturally healing.
5. Exercise and Stretching
I've made it a point to study the lives of people living in Blue Zones, where people live the longest and are the healthiest. I try to incorporate some of their simple habits into my life. They go a long way towards living a well and happy life.
- Take time to take your meals and beverages from natural ingredients. Avoid soda and drink plenty of tea and water.
- Drink the occasional glass of red wine.
- Get outside, walk in nature every day and keep moving!
- All things in moderation.
- On a practical note, use small plates and cups, and stop eating before you feel full.
- Drink and eat more plants and eat less meat.
- Nature heals. We have everything we need right here on this planet.
- Stay cheerful. Don't worry so much about things that don't matter.
- Be generous with those you love.
Exercise and stretching are essential for the body. It's also good for the mind because physical activity increases blood flow to the brain and releases endorphins.
Take time to do some exercise outside of work. When working as a clinical nurse, I walked miles every day, but I still took time to exercise. If you can, get out to do a little bit of a walk every day or do some stretching exercises.
Do something to get your heart rate up and do some stretching. Stretching is vital for the range of motion, especially as we get older. The longer you don't stretch, the tighter you will get over the years, the harder it will be to get back into shape.
Even if you do 15 minutes a day of yoga stretches or tai chi, it makes a huge difference.
"Only staying active will make you want to live a hundred years."
Studies from the blue zones suggest that people who live the longest do not exercise the most but move the most.
In Ogimi Village, Japan, even people over eighty and ninety years old are still highly active. They don't stay at home looking out the window. Ogimi's residents walk a lot, interact with neighbors, get up early in the morning, have breakfast, and head outside to weed their garden. They don't go to the gym or exercise intensely, but they rarely stop moving in the course of their daily routines.
From the Book: Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia
You have to have a hobby of some sort. Any hobby—you need something to drive you in life. If you're getting up, going to work, and coming home, it's going to kill you after a while. That's not a driving force in life.
"Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love."Mother Teresa
Look at all the older people in your life that you know are happy, stable, and successful. They all have a driving force—a hobby or passion of some sort. It doesn't matter what it is; whether it's stamp collecting, knitting, fishing, volunteering, or whatever you do, have something that drives you. Find something you are passionate about that you look forward to and gives you pleasure. Hobbies are a great thing.
7. Surround Yourself With Positive People
And happy people. This is an important step. A lot of time, we take this for granted. The last thing you want to do is surround yourself with complainers, nonachievers, and overall malcontent. They bring you down. Again that's why you don't watch the news.
“The less you respond to negative people, the more powerful your life will become.”
Robert E. Baine, Jr.
Always surround yourself with positive people and people that make you better and that will keep you going. That's an important step.
If you're in a relationship with a very negative person, it will bring you down. You can't do that. You need to talk with that person. Tell them you want to be positive and happy and not exposed to negativity all the time. It's unhealthy.
The people around you indeed influence you. But it's a myth that the five people you spend the most time with have the most significant influence on you. The truth is influence is far more dispersed, and research suggests it includes people you haven't even met yet.
It will help if you examine your entire network and its influence on your life. Happy friends make you happier.
8. Drink Tea and Be Happy
The amino acid l-theanine, found only in a cup of tea from the Camellia sinensis plant, reduces stress by increasing the calming alpha brain waves. Walking in nature also increases the calming alpha brain waves.
To live a good life, you don't need much. Be grateful for what you have and share it with those you love. Whatever else you need will come to you.
As I get older, I've learned to spend less time looking outside my life; instead, I spend time inside it. It is the interior life that matters. Of course, we can always have dreams of betterment, and I do, but happiness begins with gratitude for what is already here.
Don't waste energy worrying about what you don't have. That is the route to misery. Instead, focus on what you can control. Pay attention to the good in your life, and do your best at whatever you do. There is joy and satisfaction in that.
It sounds trite, be happy. But happiness is like exercise. You don't get in shape by just wanting to be in condition; you have to do the exercises. It's the same thing with happiness. If you're going to be happy, you can't just wish to be happy. You have to make yourself happy, and following the previous seven steps will put you on a path to happiness. That's an important thing.
If you are always cheerful and happy, life is so much better.
"The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things."
Henry Ward Beecher
Celebrations of life and gatherings are essential to our need to socialize and share, contributing to our overall wellbeing. But it is the daily rituals and routines in life that keep you happy and well.
Those are my eight steps. If you follow those, you will be a whole different person this time next year. And a better person—guaranteed.
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