Self improvement begins with improving your self care.
I created a simple acronym that is easy to remember, S.E.L.F. CARE. These are science-backed tips that will improve your mind and body.
S.E.L.F. Care practices cause an immediate change in your mind and body. Every single thought, emotion, and action have an almost immediate effect.
Serenity is the Opposite of Stress
When you practice serenity, your body experiences the relaxation response, your blood pressure and heart rate drop, and you get an immune boost.
Serenity is Relaxing Your Mind and Body
Learning relaxation and how to reduce the stress in your life reduces your risk of all diseases and conditions including cancer, heart disease, stroke, obesity, insomnia, diabetes, depression, anxiety disorders and others. Take a deep breath and say three simple words for a couple minutes. Guess what? You just lowered your heart rate and blood pressure and got a boost to your immune system.
- A Mini. Memorize a 3-5 word short phrase. Repeat this simple phrase over and over as you slowly breathe in and out. Repeat phrases such as “I am strong, I am in control or everything is as it should be.” Focus on your breath as you inhale and exhale. This evokes the relaxation response and changes your brain and body immediately.
- Music. Listening to music helps you produce serotonin into the body. Serotonin is a calming chemical in the body. If you start singing, research shows you can get an immune boost of 240 percent.
- Guided Imagery. Guided imagery has health benefits. Imagine you are with someone you love or download guided imagery from someone you like to guide your thoughts.
- Laugh. Laughter increases your artery diameter by 22 percent and chronic stress reduces your artery diameter by 35 percent.
- Play. Play resets your brain’s stress levels and makes your brain and body happy and healthy. You were meant to play. Play a quick online game or do something playful you enjoy.
Exercise is the Rhythm of Your Life
Learning to construct your life by moving your body to your natural rhythm can save your life. Research shows in some people exercise can be equal to medication in resolving depression. If you continue to exercise your chance of relapsing into depression is significantly reduced. Exercising 3 times a week reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia by one third. Regular walking 20 minutes a day reduces your risk of death from all diseases by one third.
Exercise Can Save Your Life
Skip the elevator and walk us the stairs for a boost to your immune system. Put a treadmill or tread climber in the corner of your television room. It can literally save your life and the life of those you love. Burn 200-300 calories as you watch the news or a show you love.
- Yoga in your chair. Find chair yoga practices online and learn some yoga you can do at work or home in your chair. This relaxes and strengthens you.
- Hand weight. Keep a hand weight in your bottom drawer at work or under your desk. Sometime during the day lift your weight. You increase your bone density.
- Oxygen exercise. Take two minutes and do deep breathes it refreshes and clears the mind. Inhale slowly, 1-2-3-4, exhale slowly, 1-2-3-4.
- Tai Chi-Chi Gong. Try a new type of exercise and notice the difference in your life. Find these classes online or find a teacher.
- Buddy system. Get a partner at work or home to walk with on a regular basis.
Love and Intimacy with Your Self and Others Creates Health and Happiness
Isolation kills and community heals. Learn simple solutions to create love and health in your life. Open a door for someone and smile. You just experienced “helpers high” and produced healing endorphins in your body by helping someone else.
Isolation kills and Community Heals
Research tells us there is a strong relationship between health and living with relationships and community.
- Schedule time with others. Make an appointment to email a friend on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You can write just a few lines but plan to make that connection.
- Share a meal.Make an appointment to have a meal with someone at least once or twice a week. Make that physical connection.
- Get in a group. Start a study group at work, meet for lunch or play cards.
- Get a Pet. Having a pet reduces stress and depression, cardiovascular disease and boosts your immune system.
Food is medicine and food changes your mood.
We are getting new research of the effect of food on your mood. Emerging research is teaching us how you can eat to alleviate a variety of diseases and conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, obesity, insomnia and other conditions.
- Eat breakfast.Can increase your metabolism by 25 percent and help with your mood swings.
- Omega 3’s. Omega 3’s help with depression and cardiovascular disease. Plan to eat fish 3 times a week. Many individuals take a one gram fish oil every day.
- Vitamin B6. B6 increases the serotonin production in your body. Serotonin calms and heals the body. Make sure you take a banana to work, put tuna, turkey or salmon in your daily meals.
- Blueberries. This is brain food. Blueberries help neuron reproduction and neural communication. Blues are great for mental health and healthy aging.
- Bright colors. Your brain identifies and responds to color immediately. We love color. Eat bright colored foods, use bright colored placemats, napkins at home and bright colored china.