Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Top 10 tips for leading a healthy, balanced life

It may not always be easy to strike that delicate life/work balance but the fundamentals are simple:

1. Laughter!
It's true that laughter is the best medicine. It's free, readily available and the benefits are instantaneous. Laughter is so beneficial that you can actually join laughter workshops to trigger those 'happy hormones' (endorphins) and induce that warm glow of well-being.

2. Exercise
There are no shortcuts to a healthy lifestyle without exercise. It strengthens the body and can help to clear the mind. Above all, it's enjoyable and entirely portable, so there's no reason not to get involved!

3. Eat fresh
Try replacing your daily caffeine fix with a freshly-squeezed juice occasionally; why not also try different combinations of fruit and/ or vegetable in your juices

4. Indulge yourself occasionally
Life should be joyful, not a guilt trip and the occasional indulgence is ok. Take the phone off the hook and soak in a deep bath, treat yourself to a massage or your favourite chocolate bikkies without getting the ‘guilts'. Organise a babysitter for the kids and enjoy a date with your spouse or partner without needing an occasion to celebrate.

5. Exercise calm
Life can't always slow its pace but you can. If your mind is constantly skipping ahead to anticipate or fret about that next phone call/deadline/relationship issue then try simple mental exercises to bring your awareness back into the present. Feel the weight of your body on the ground and turn your hearing out to listen to the sounds that are actually there (not the busy narrative in your head). This entire process can take three seconds or three minutes but it just may help you to feel refreshed and calmer afterwards.

6. Take time out
Stepping off the treadmill is essential to maintaining a healthy mind. It doesn't have to cost anything; it may simply be allowing yourself time to do whatever it is that recharges your batteries. Potter in the garden, read a book, listen to music or simply sit and think. Take a drive and immerse yourself in nature to pare back some of the slickness of city life and fall back into the slower rhythms of the natural world.

7. Check your priorities
Have you ever lifted your head up from the daily grind and wondered when living became surviving? Keep issues in context by examining them in relation to what you truly value, whether it's family, your social network or your own sense of integrity. Ask yourself where your priorities lie and whether your actions are in line with them.

8. Keep learning
Keep your mind sharp by engaging your interest; try learning a new language or take up a new hobby.

9. Give something back
Giving back could be a simple as listening to a friend who needs a sounding board or as involved as volunteering for a cause. Either way it's a valuable contribution and it also helps to shed some perspective on your own life.

10. Positive attitude
Attitude is everything. Thoughts are energy and your motivation propels them. If you maintain a positive attitude, chances are you'll attract positive, upbeat people, face challenges in good humour and keep your goals in sight.
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