By: J. Marlando
Perhaps you are like me? I am always going to start jogging...tomorrow...going to the gym....tomorrow...start eating right...tomorrow but, as you all know, tomorrow never comes. I have friends who jog every day, ride bicycles for a hundred miles at a stretch (my son-in-law is an Iron man participant). Sometimes I feel as if I'm surrounded by health nuts. As for me I won't drink a diet drink or low fat milk. I can't stand either! I also gobble down a couple of McDonald's a week and call pizza my health food.
My wife is always after me to be more active--during the week I wake up, make coffee and go to my desk...I sit for hours at the computer, eat breakfast around noon, usually bacon and eggs with a little chili on the side. Afterwards, I go back to the desk until I quit working and then I flop down in my armchair to watch television. And speaking of television, during football season I spend most of my entire Sundays eating snacks and pouring down the suds. (I'm a Seattle fan and my wife loves the Ravens).
Don't take me wrong, I don't recommend my lifestyle to anyone so I am not saying that anyone ought to be as lackadaisical as I am when it comes to watching their diets and keeping fit, just the opposite. However, if you are as lackadaisical as I am or if you're not you'll still improve your health by sincerely applying the easy tasks that I'll be suggesting in the following sections of this article. After all, I'm going to give you the secrets of gaining and maintaining good health the lazy person's way! I say "the lazy persons way" because my system takes such little time and effort. Wait and see.
Theory and other Contemplations
Before we begin talking about what I've deemed the "seven secrets" to be. I want to do all I can to get the reader and me on the same page. That is, agreeing with certain fundamental concepts at least to some extent. For example, how much of a role that mind plays in our good health.
Some years ago I interviewed Dr. Bernie Siegel
At first his colleagues and associates scoffed at his theories--after all, he was a doctor holding people's hands and telling patients they are loving and lovable; he played music for them while he did the most challenging operations. The medical profession called him "weird" and, by and large, made fun of him to say the least but soon enough his results turned this around--today a great many doctors around the world are putting his practices into their own practices because it is well known today that they help save lives.
Indeed, Dr. Siegel states:
"Today many scientists think we should not talk about a central
nervous system and an endocrine system and an immune system,
but rather one healing system that constitutes a sort of super
intelligence within us. Just as a healing system can be set in
motion by self-affirming beliefs, self-negating or repressive
emotional patterns can do the reverse. As Woody Allen said
in one of his movies, 'I can't express anger, I internalize it and
grow a tumor instead.'"
Adding to thoughts like these, the famous neuroscientist, Candice Perk
In regard to this, Doctor Paul Pearsall aadds:
"The highs and lows that the endorphins produce are actually related to alterations in the way the brain pays attention to its word and what we tell our brains to pay attention to."
It is important to contemplate these particular quotes because they are so profoundly related to how each of us are subject to our own thoughts and attitudes when it comes to our good or poor health.
Quite often most of us tell our brains "what to think" without realizing what we are doing. When we say things such as:
I wish I were dead.
I can't stomach this.
I just hate life.
It makes me sick.
It's enough to cause a heart attack and so forth, we are transmitting beliefs to our brains. Once those beliefs are said enough they become affirmations for the brain and the brain relates them throughout our system. In this regard (and I have written about this before) it is well known today that children, for example, who are told over and over again how lazy they are will often develop a "slow" heart beat" or "slow liver function." And so, what we tell our brains can be vital to our good health.
With all this in mind, we are ready to talk about gaining and maintaining our own good health...the easy way.
1. Breathing Mindfully
What you want to do is relieve your aches and pains if you have them; you want to have a strong immune system so that you can avoid illness; you want healthy blood, strong lungs and heart; you want to have lots of energy and yet feel calmer, more at peace with yourself and your world. Well, if you simply practice Mindful Breathing a couple of times a day, these are the benefits that you'll start enjoying.
Here's a photo from www.shape.com that best demonstrates what I mean by mindful breathing
How easy is that!
By the way, if you do this you'll soon be finding yourself in much better, happier and more positive moods. Wait and see.
I know, there will be lots of readers saying, there's nothings to laugh about in my world. Well okay, the world can be pretty grim, I admit that. But guess what...it's okay to fake it. Real laughter is best of course but if you don't have (or can't find) reason for the real thing, practice laughing at will. The more you do it, the more real it will become! Just do your best to mock a belly laugh because belly laughing is the healthiest.
If you don't believe what I am saying, I'm going to suggest a couple of books to convince you at the end of this piece. In the meantime, believe me, Laughter is simply one of the best remedies that not only works to give you wellness but tells your brain to release its pain suppressing opiates to make your feel really good.
It doesn't matter if your young or older laughter will help strengthen your immune system and is known to defend against cancer cells. Some reports say that people who laugh a lot get far less colds and flu. The famous Norman Cousins tell us that we can laugh ourselves well.
A great practice is to learn how to laugh at yourself. I will sometimes stand before the mirror and howl with laughter. After all, I've done some pretty dumb things in my life.
Why would I do something seemingly so silly? Well, laughter actually exercises the heart and gives us better cardiac heath. And, if you by chance endure chronic pain try laughing it away...Really, it can work. For only one thing, when your brain hears you laughing it believes you are happy and so it releases endorphins to make you feel all the better.
Incidentally, once your body gets the idea that you laugh a lot, it will begin to turn you into a person who actually does laugh a lot. I can't tell you how this works, but I can tell you that it does.
Now how difficult is it to muster up some laughter? It easy right? Well, it's a major but easy way to better health!
Perhaps you've heard the old song that says:
When you're smilin' keep on smilin'
The whole world smiles with you
And when you're laughin' oh when you're laughin'
The sun comes shinin? through
Well, that's virtually true and you can test it...walk with a smile on your face today and see how your world changes and how many smiles you get in return.
Smiling can actually make you smarter and what I mean by this is that when you smile you permit more oxygen to reach your brain. As a result your brain is wider awake and far more alert. Smiling also reduces stress. That's right next time your feeling pressure in some situation...*force yourself to smile.
The more you smile the less stress you will endure. And there's other benefits. Indeed, by simply smiling you can reduce your blood pressure. So next time you're in a "tight" situation remember to smile and that'll help you calm down.
You see how really easy it is to work on your wellness and good health?
*Be careful when you fake a smile--don't make it sardonic but make it as sincere as you can. Once you're in the habit of smiling the real smiles will naturally unfold.
Just plain old stretching will do wonders for you but I prefer the more disciplined yoga which will truly serve your better health. And so, at least go to a yoga teacher even on the net to consider becoming a student. If not, simply tap into your cat nature and remember to stretch during the day. Not only your back but stretch out your fingers, your arms and your legs and feet. (If you have any specific health issues you should probably see your health professional so you don't overdo or stretch in the wrong place but if you're in at least average, good health you should have no problems).
Stretching can actually improve your circulation and if you're like me, sitting most of the day, than stretching can be vital to your overall, better health. Most certainly if you do stretching exercises you will begin to feel better and more energetic; you will find that you are simply in happier, more positive moods and that life becomes less stressful for you. And, interestingly enough, your awareness will be increased and you'll just begin to feel better all over and increase your stamina for work and play while lowering your heart rate and blood pressure. Also, stretching in many instances will help you avoid pains and aches so stretching simply feels good and is good for you!
You do not have to become spiritually motivated to reap the many benefits of meditating. Indeed, if you practice meditation at least once a day....every day, I will promise you that you will start feeling better about yourself and your world. In fact, meditation eventually gives you a sense of oneness with everything else. This diminishes the stress and anxieties that result from the noise and chaos of every day life.
There is the traditional meditation posture as seen here but most people simply sit cross legged or even meditate in a chair. I personally like focusing on a blank wall but some people will close their eyes or focus on a candle or on Nature itself. Try different postures for meditating and see what feels best and most comfortable to you.
For purposes here, your goal is to learn to empty your mind of thought; to acquire blank-mindedness. For some, it takes a lot of practice to learn how to sit without thoughts pouring in and out of their brains. So when you first start, attempt to do this for one minute. If you can, this is good. If you can't, just keep working at it. You can slowly develop your meditation skill lasting blank-mindedness for five minutes or longer. Some gurus can sustain blank-mindedness for hours but they have devoted lifetimes to the practice.
I am going to recommend another article to read that gives a more detailed explanation of how-to meditate at the end of this piece. For we westerners, however, the major thing to comprehend is that the goal is to be able to push thoughts, ideas and concepts out of our brains while learning to experience a blank state of mind in the infinite now.
As said earlier the benefits are manifold. First of all, you will find that your stress and anxiety levels are greatly reduced and when you get proficient at the art of meditating you can calm yourself in the midst of troubled or nerve-racking times. For example, even in a boring or high-anxiety meeting you can relax by going into a meditative state for just a minute or two. And, as a result when everyone else is falling apart, you can sustain in peace, mindfulness and mental alertness.
As for your physical health, you will greatly reduce your anxieties, become happier and more at peace in your world. This will benefit your heart, your blood flow and your immune system. And yes, no matter who you are or what you do for a living, you can easily afford to take five or ten minutes a day to practice this ancient wisdom.
Go to the mirror and look at yourself. If you're not looking at a happy, loving and lovable human being, the odds are that you are harboring regret and grudges. These are the anchors that, in a term, drag most people down. And when people are "down" so are their immune systems.
Hopefully you'll recall from an earlier section of this article how much our brains and how they think have to do with our health. These days there are a mighty few doctors who deny that attitude alone can affect our physical well-being; that stress and anxiety can reduce our body's powers to resist diseases from common colds to cancer. Well, so can hatefulness and deep seated angers!
It is essential then to walk your path in forgiveness. Forgiving those who have hurt you or harmed you in some way is vital to YOUR good health. Thus, it is important to start with you. When you go to the mirror, you must forgive that person reflected there. For one thing, you can only forgive others and the world to the extent that you forgive yourself. This means you have to let loose of the negative past. After all you are NOT your mistakes or your failures or even your wrong doings. In fact, every single second is a new beginning...You are at the starting gate of a whole new life, right now!
As for others, conjure up their images in your mindscape and say to yourself, I forgive you. At first you probably won't mean it and saying it simply isn't enough. But if you work at it and repeat this practice often enough, you will eventually forgive all those who have somehow betrayed or harmed you in other ways.
Once you have truly forgiven yourself and others you will physically feel a great weight leave your body and you will experience an inner-freedom that perhaps you never thought possible to have; your physical health will improve while you will suddenly be able to avoid illnesses that you probably would not have before.
In this regard please go back and reread the section with title: Theories and Other Contemplations. You will be glad that you did!
Love is not only the key to healing but to preventing illness in the first place. Indeed, most authorities will agree that our overflowing prisons are mostly populated by people who have grown up feeling unloved and therefore unwanted or, in the least uncared for and/or neglected. In this regard, while we all would like to succeed, have lots of money, beautiful homes and all the rest there is something we want more than all these things put together, to simply know that we are loving and lovable.
A major problem that so many people have in the "love department" is that we are all indoctrinated to be reserved in our loving; to make sure that it is reciprocal or that it gains us something in return. We are told not to be open but to be closed until we are sure we can trust; that we can protect ourselves from being hurt, lied to or made a fool of. As a result we become closed and calculating, we are even apt to use our love as leverage to get something or someone we want. None of this is love of course, it's mere egocentricity in the guises of love and loving.
When we live like this we are actually creating ourselves into a closed system which affects our immune systems and creates unhappy endorphins.
Unhappiness like anger, anxiety and hate makes us more vulnerable to illness. After all, unhappiness, hate, anger and stress are all physiologic as well.. Paul Pearsall gives us a list of diseases that are caused or in the least related to our states of mind. They are called Ahab's Diseases and the list includes
Bronchial asthma...These days, however, more and more doctors and scientists are agreeing that all illness is brain/body related. Recall what the neuroscientist Candice Perk told us: "Disease is a hundred percent mental. It's just your brain state being reflected in your body."
One time during an interview I asked Bernie Siegel what the first step to finding happiness was. He didn't hesitate but immediately answered, "You have to decide how your going to love your world."
As simple as that answer was it took me years to comprehend it completely. The answer is the same for all of us, we must love the world and all that is in it...unconditionally.
You can easily practice this, get in the habit of saying (silently to yourself) I love you to all things...that's right, to the plants, flowers, trees, birds and animals as well as to every passerby, friend and relative. By saying it, you will soon enough be meaning it and once you mean it you will start seeing the positive manifest in your life including better health.
You do not have to be religious at all to reap the rewards of loving your enemies and loving your neighbors as yourself. After all, these are more than only religious ideals they are Nature's way of connecting us with the dance of the universe. It teaches us that everyone else is us and it's only our differences that are apparent.
The idea of course is to walk in love. This can only happen, however, when you truly permit yourself to love you. After all, you can ONLYlove others and your world to the extent that you love you. So go to the mirror now and say to that image, you are loving and lovable and I love you unconditionally. Do this every morning when you start your day and see what begins to happen in your life. After all, when we walk in love we walk in forgiveness and acceptance. As a result we are happier and so healthier. That's how it works!
All the better if you jog ,bicycle swim or climb mountains but if you're like me you never quite get around to exercising. Yet, you can still upgrade your health the EASY way. All you have to do is (1) Breath (2) Laugh (3) Smile (4) stretch (5) meditate (6) forgive and (7) love. Now how hard is that?
To learn more about meditation go to: