Optimize your health.

by Herbs, Etc.

Some can be used right off your shelf; others can be mixed with herbs so they work even better. For instance, adding one or two drops of Lavender essential oil to any of these remedies will provide extra relief.

1. EXERCISE: Are you exercising regularly? Exercise at least five times a week for one-half to three-quarters of an hour a day. One of the best forms of exercise is walking because it is low impact, aerobic, and inexpensive! The impor­tance of exercise cannot be underestimated.

2. REST: Are you getting enough rest? Set aside some time every day to relax, breathe and reconnect with yourself. Make it a priority to get enough restful sleep; sleep time before midnight is the most beneficial. Taking a short nap during the day is recommended.

3. NUTRITION: Is your diet fully supporting your body? Eat whole foods and organic foods. Eat a variety of whole grains, vegetables and fruits. The more colorful the fruits and vegetables you eat, the better they are for you. Focus on the color purple, blue, red, yellow and green. Include at least one portion a day of the following green leafy vegetables: Swiss and red chard, kale, collards, Brussels sprouts, parsley, mustard greens, turnip greens, chicory greens, dandelion greens, beet greens, spinach, cabbage, watercress, purslane, okra, and broccoli. Take a full-spectrum vitamin/mineral supplement every day to supplement your diet. Drink up to 1/2 ounce of water per pound of body weight a day to stay fully hydrated (the recom­mended ideal amount is about eight eight–ounce glasses a day). Don’t forget to take your herbs!

4. NATURE: Do you spend enough time outdoors? Nothing can replace being in nature when it comes to balancing your ecosystem. Devote time daily to get fresh air and sun. The good effects of adequate amounts of sunlight go beyond the production of vitamin D and emotional balance. It is easy to get your daily sun allowance when you take your regular walk during the day.

5. CREATIVITY: Do you have some sort of creative outlet that keeps you physically and mentally active? Creative outlets can range from hobbies, gardening, writing, painting or other ways to express your inner self. Working in moderation in a field that you enjoy is also nurturing, self-affirming, and rewarding. Staying active and in contact with other individuals engaged in creative projects is integral to good health.

6. EMOTIONAL BALANCE: Are you emotionally healthy? Choose to cultivate joy, love, gratitude and a sense of humor to nourish your ecosystem. Do you have repetitive episodes of anger, fear or grief that keep you out of balance? There is nothing wrong with having feelings. However, emotional imbalance becomes an issue when feelings are either repressed or allowed to irrationally rule us. If either of these extremes is true for you, take measures to identify and change these negative emotional patterns.

7. GOALS: Do you have a sense of purpose? To thrive, everyone should have something— whether it’s doing volunteer work, spearheading a project, or working toward a goal—that demands mental activity. We all need direction and a sense of purpose in life. Goals give meaning to our lives. Giving back to our community through volunteering is life affirming.

8. MUTUAL SUPPORT: Are you giving and receiving love in your life? Having a loving and accepting support system is critical to healing and staying healthy. Ecosys­tems, by their very nature, are dependent upon relationships. Giving and getting support and love from your family, friends or support group is essential to good health.

9. FAITH: Do you regularly communicate with your Higher Self or your Higher Power? When we are connected to a higher power, it is much easier to feel balanced and fulfilled in life. Make time daily for this aspect of yourself. Ask for spiritual guidance from your higher power to help you in your daily life.

10. CHOICE: Do you take personal responsibility for your life? Taking responsibility for your actions is a critical step in creating a healthy body, mind, soul and spirit. Of all the points presented, I believe that choice accounts for nearly half of our driving force for healing or staying healthy. At any given moment, you have many choices. Taking per­sonal responsibility is the key that unlocks the door to integrating and balancing all of the other elements of healthy living discussed above. Remember that each and every positive choice you make daily gives you the power to shape your life!