Drink plenty of clean, filtered water. Make sure that it’s filtered, as science is showing that we are ingesting micro plastics (that is, microscopic plastic molecules) in our drinking water, in addition to whatever else is in the water. Scientists recommend at least 64 oz. of water per day, more if you exercise heavily and/or live in a dry climate. Hydration helps all of your body’s organs and systems (digestion, kidney and liver detoxification, heart) function more smoothly. It also conducts the electrical currents that are necessary for the smooth communication between our central nervous system and the rest of our body.
Eat good (read: real) food. Your body needs vitamins and minerals, not just calories, to function optimally. Make sure you’re eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, and low in processed foods.
And it’s not just about what you eat, but how you eat. Without depriving yourself of anything that you love, you can incorporate some healthy dietary habits.
Stop eating at least two hours before you go to bed. This allows your body to fully digest what you last ate, rather than going to sleep with undigested food still being processed.
Stop eating before you’re actually full! Science has shown that it takes the brain 20 minutes to register being “full.” Most of us don’t even take 20 minutes to eat a meal. So slooooow down. Take 3 breaths between each bite. Chew your food thoroughly and thoughtfully, considering the flavors, the textures, and all of the people and processes that got that food onto your plate in the first place.
Like a moving stream that filters water, getting exercise daily is a great way to filter your blood, keep all of your organs functioning properly, and your muscles supple. We’re not talking hard-core exercise here. Just taking a simple walk every day can boost your vitality.
If you just starting out, start slow! Just do a little bit more than you did yesterday and you’ll be on your way to a healthier body and mind! Do you get 0 minutes of exercise now? Just start with a ten-minute walk.
You don’t have to breathe super heavily and sweat buckets to get the benefits of movement!
Considered the 5th vital sign, the quantity and quality of your sleep can tell you a lot about your internal health. Sleep is the time when your body repairs and heals itself, and allows your mind to integrate all of the information and experiences life throws at you. 7.5-9 hrs/day is what sleep scientists recommend.
If you have trouble sleeping, try these helpful tips to increase the quality and quantity of your sleep:
- No screens for an hour before bed. The blue light from screens triggers the brain to produce serotonin, a hormone that keeps you awake.
- Chamomile – either in tea or essential oil form. It has a calming effect on the nervous system.
- Listen to our Oneness Meditation to help you release unconsciously held tension from your muscles, quiet your mind, and drift into a deep sleep.
A lesser-known component of wellness. Caring, nurturing touch can release serotonin and dopamine, the happiness hormones into your bloodstream, thereby reducing feelings of depression. It also triggers the production of oxytocin, the bonding hormone, in your brain and has been scientifically measured to boost the functioning of your immune and pulmonary (lung) systems.
It has been shown to decrease stress hormones (cortisol), blood sugar, heart rate, respiratory rate, anxiety, and pain.
We include massage in every Integral Travel trip, for all of its healing power!
But massage isn’t just for vacations. It’s an integral part of healthcare, for all of the reasons mentioned above. Plus, it feels way better than most other forms of healthcare!
Fresh air. Green spaces. Spending just 7 minutes/day in nature can boost the functioning of your immune system too.
Research shows that the oils, volatile compounds exuded by conifers and some other plants, reduce blood pressure.
Stress levels (cortisol levels), muscle tension, and asthma rates all decrease in the presence of trees.
One study found that a 3-day weekend in a forest preserve boosts natural killer cells by 50%. A 3-day weekend in an urban area does nothing for your natural killer cells. And even an entire month after the 3-day weekend in the forest preserve, you’ll still have about 25% more natural killer cells than your baseline.
So combine your time in Nature with your movement and you’ve doubled the positive effect on your health!
You’d be surprised how much tension you hold in your body without even being aware of it. And keeping those muscles contracted requires energy. So it’s important to mindfully unwind those unconscious tension patterns to free your inner resources for repairing tissues, fighting off invading pathogens, and otherwise healing your body. (And no, sitting on the couch watching TV doesn’t count as relaxation.)
Creating spaciousness in your body allows for more flow – more qi flow, more blood flow, more water flow – and therefore, more health!
Check out our suite of Guided Meditations to help you unwind.
Or get into a sauna, steamroom, or hot tub. Have you ever tried to stay tense in one of those things? It’s impossible! The heat just melts your tensions away. And you might also notice that when your body is relaxed, your mind follows suit.
Oh, and you know what else releases tension? Massage (see Touch, above).
In a modern society that’s so often intolerably loud and busy, “Silence is a resource.”
Recent studies show that taking time for silence restores the nervous system, helps sustain energy, and conditions our minds to be more adaptive and responsive to the complex environments in which so many of us now live, work, and lead.
But silence isn’t just the absence of sound. It’s the stillness of the mind.
The rub is that quieting your mind is easier said than done. No one can do it for you. And it doesn’t happen all by itself. It’s a skill you have to practice and cultivate.
Check out our Relaxation Meditation to quiet the ripples of thoughts in your mind and find that vast, inner silence.