10 Steps to a Healthy & Balanced Life
Feeling physically, emotionally, and spiritually off-kilter? Lost some joy of living? Overwhelmed by life? Wish you could look and feel years younger than your age and create your very best life? Welcome! You've come to the right place. Here are 10 essential healthy living steps that will make a positive difference in your life.
by Susan Smith Jones, PhD ©
1. Keep fit and live a wellness lifestyle.
There is nothing that will do more good for you in terms of being vibrantly healthy, energetic, and youthful than a regular fitness program. Develop a well-rounded program that includes strength training, aerobics, and stretching. Make this program a top priority in your life and stay committed to it. Rest and sleep, pure water, clean fresh air, healthy amounts of sunshine, and fresh wholesome foods are all essential ingredients to vibrant health. Try to select foods as close to the way nature produced them as possible. A whole-food, plant-based diet has been shown to be the best for radiant health and youthful vitality. Only when you approach health and fitness from a holistic perspective can you expect to achieve optimal well-being.
2. Learn to elicit a relaxation response.
Stress comes from many sources and taxes our nervous systems. Excessive environmental stimulation -- noise, traffic, and especially commercial advertising -- causes stress. Unexpressed negative feelings are stressors, too. They feed on themselves -- anger can turn against the self and emerge as depression or severe anxiety. People who do not express feelings get sick more often, stay sick longer, and die sooner than expressive people. Becoming deeply relaxed in mind and body is something for which we must work. Learn deep relaxation techniques, such as meditation, visualization, yoga, stretching, and breathing exercises, so that your stress levels will be under control.
3. Find time each day to be alone, visualize, and meditate.
Enjoy the peace of your own company. By spending time alone, breathing deeply, and quieting your everyday thoughts, you can tremendously enhance your health, happiness, and peace of mind. Silence nourishes your soul and heals your heart. Spend a few minutes every day visualizing, not only your goals, but also how you would like your life to be. In addition to visualizing, assume the feeling of the wish fulfilled. Also, spend time in meditation daily. Listen to your intuition. Notice that your mind is constantly chattering. Allow your mind to become still and open. Meditation establishes a quiet, dynamic mind.
4. Simplify life and slow down.
Find joy in simple pleasures. Breathe deeply, smell the flowers, talk to the animals, spend time with a horse, sing with the birds, be with friends, greet the sun, scratch behind your dog's or kitty's ear, and make someone smile. Marvel at the miracle you are, tell someone you love them, and laugh out loud—often! A healthy degree of emotional detachment and hearty laughter can stimulate the immune system. Don't take yourself and life so seriously. Laugh and smile more and play at this game of life. Laughter is one of the best ways to quell stress; it's an elixir for the soul. A sense of humor allows you to see through a mist of confusion to the celebration of life.
5. Nurture and develop your intuition.
Intuition is sometimes called a hunch, going on instinct, an inner-knowing, or a sixth sense. Whatever you call it, intuition can be nurtured in a variety of ways -- through contemplation, relaxing your mind, or by taking walks in nature. Be still and listen. The more we act on our intuitive hunches, the stronger and more readily available they become. At any moment of the day, with all the countless decisions you need to make, try this experiment. Hold a question or concern in your mind, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. Turn within and ask your heart and inner guidance (I talk to my guardian angels) for help on making the best choice. Sometimes it just takes slowing down and turning within to see more clearly. Remember, within you is a power so magnificent, so eager to support you; it just requires your attention and request for help. If the answer does not come immediately, be patient. Affirm the following: Show me the way. I trust and give thanks.
6. Embrace an attitude of gratitude.
The single most important inner trait for happiness is gratitude. So be grateful for everything that's going on in your life, no matter the circumstances. This kind of attitude will help foster happiness and peace of mind, and assist you in living more fully. Gratitude is a dynamic spiritual energy that allows you to exert a powerful influence on your world. It's like a bridge -- a connecting link -- between you and every possible avenue of good in your life. Keep a gratitude journal. Each day write at least three things for which you are grateful, and you will find that your blessings increase.
7. Become more childlike.
Young children instinctively know how to celebrate life. Be more flexible, practice forgiveness, and leave time for spontaneity in daily activities. Choose to be less critical and judgmental. Let faith and trust light your path and invite joy to be your constant companion. And don't forget to let your inner child come out to play. Do something this week that will encourage your inner child. Perhaps you can walk barefoot in the park, throw a frisbee, fly a kite, look for ladybugs and butterflies, talk to the animals, enjoy a movie for children, or bring your favorite stuffed animal with you in your car and keep her there for company. It doesn't matter what you do. It only matters that you get back in touch with your inner joy.
8. Learn to live in the present.
Today is a new day. There is no other day like today. It is unique and special. It is also an opportunity to begin anew, to experience a clean slate, a new beginning — in this very moment. Living in the moment is different from living for the moment. Don't compare the present with the past. Be fully present each moment -- be mindful -- and free yourself from the past. Take the wisdom and love you learned from all past experiences and let the rest go. What you give your attention to always expands and grows in your life. So choose to be positive, happy, and appreciative every hour of the day. Just by doing this, you become empowered. The point of power is in the present moment, so learn to live in it fully. It's essential if you want to live joyfully. The more you breathe slowly and deeply, and focus on your breath as you inhale and exhale, the easier it becomes to "be" in the present moment.
9. Share your love and kindness.
Being loving and kind improves health. We all need love -- and I'm not just talking about romantic attraction. The warm, loving feeling you get from hugging a child, counseling a friend, being a good listener, or even treating yourself to a luxurious bubble bath or a day at the spa, will boost your self-esteem and your immune system. To be loving and kind to others, you must first be loving and kind to yourself. It always begins with you and how you feel about yourself. This is how you build your self-esteem and confidence. Being vibrantly healthy, living fully, and celebrating life starts with celebrating ourselves. Whether we succeed or fail, enjoy our lives or struggle, depends largely on our self-image. Be your own best friend. Out of that friendship all your other relationships form. A happy, successful life flows from the inside out.
10. Live peacefully and nourish your spirit.
What would be a greater goal in life than peace of mind? What asset could be of more value than unshakable calmness and tranquility? There is no better evidence of spiritual strength than a peaceful mind and a joyful heart. To create more peace in your life, turn within. We must sometimes disconnect from the outer world, so that we can reconnect with the love—the Divinity—that's always within us. Love is who we are. And when we are loving ourselves, by taking care of ourselves, and by living a balanced life, we are loving God. Like an eagle, we are meant to soar. Reach out beyond the parameters you have set for yourself, aspiring to realize your divine potential. You exercise your spiritual strength each time you do something new, whether starting a fitness program, entering into a business venture, or awakening to a new day. I always say a prayer before I begin, or my prayer may be the very act of beginning. Affirm: I place my faith in God and my spirit soars to new heights.
Kindness is the language we all understand. Even the blind can see it and the deaf can hear it.
~ Mother Teresa
How prompt we are to satisfy the hunger and thirst of our bodies; how slow to satisfy the hunger and thirst of our souls.