A few years ago, the UK Government ran a health campaign called Small Change, Big Difference based on Cambridge University research showing that small improvements in behaviour – such as eating an extra piece of fruit a day, or taking the stairs rather than the lift – can result in years of extra life expectancy.
This fits well with the ‘think positive’ approach in that small changes, made consistently and maintained over a period of time can lead to a fantastically improved quality of life.
1 Drink Something Different – Are you a caffeine addict? Whether it’s strong coffee or endless cups of tea, why not try replacing just one drink a day with a cup of green tea instead? Green tea is rich in polyphenols, especially epigallocatechin gallate which is a strong antioxidant. Proven benefits include inhibiting cancerous cells, lowering cholesterol and reducing blood clots. Other teas just don’t have the same effect because the way they are processed means that the antioxidants just aren’t there any more by the time it reaches your cup.
2 Wear ‘Sensible’ Shoes – Lots of shoes have no support under the arch of the foot and that can throw your whole posture out, leading to joint pain and potential long-term problems such as arthritis. This doesn’t mean you have to wear boring shoes! You can still be stylish and wear a pair that is good for you. Look for a shoe with some sort of raised support as part of the insole or buy some separate support insoles and put them inside your favourite footwear.
3 Enjoy Your Exercise – People who don’t exercise may say it’s because they don’t have the time, but often it’s because they haven’t found something that they enjoy. Choose something that you actually want to do and you will find the time to do it. If running bores you then take up, say, karate instead. If you’re spiritually-inclined by nature then go for yoga. If you’re competitive and like to win then try squash. If all exercise is good why not pick something you’ll find fun?
4 Sleep Well – Not everyone needs the proverbial eight hours but we all need enough sleep. Lack of sleep can impair memory, cognitive function, learning, metabolism, and the functioning of the immune system. However busy your life is, going to bed an hour earlier could really boost your health.
5 Have A Laugh – The old adage, “Laughter is the best medicine” may well be true. Laughter releases endorphins which are natural painkillers, increases your sense of well-being and can boost your immune system by increasing antibody production. It also reduces stress, relaxes the muscles and lowers your blood pressure. Whatever you find funny, seek it out.
6 Have An MOTYou don’t wait until your car breaks down before you take it to the garage so why wait until you’re ill before you take some medical advice? One way of giving yourself a basic health audit is to spend 10 minutes answering the questions at http://www.midlifecheck.co.uk, an online questionnaire that will offer basic health advice and help you form an action plan for improvement (and you don’t have to be at ‘midlife’ to use it).
7 Think Positive – Research has shown that your attitude to life impacts on your health. A think positive approach can result in lower stress levels, a better immune response, less incidence of depression, a healthier cardiovascular system and a longer life span. With all of this on offer, why wouldn’t you want to ‘think positive’?