In this article, I’m going to cover 12 great ways to massively improve your health and dramatically reduce your chances of getting chronic life changing diseases.
This is a huge topic! So many people feel that they have no direct control over their health. Your health is not guaranteed, just like your safety is not guaranteed each time you jump into a car.
However, there are so many things that you can do to proactively improve your health, so that you minimize the chances of getting a chronic life changing disease. This article is all about ways to improve your health today, so that you can feel confident with your health in years to come.
In many areas of life, it is the little things that you do consistently that give you the big result. This is especially true with health. If you eat junk food regularly for 10 or 20 years, the negative health consequences of that are very predictable. Eat well, exercise regularly and manage stress consistently and the positive health benefits of that are also very predictable.
So, let’s get into the 12 ways to massively improve your health today, so that your chances of getting a chronic debilitating disease are as low as possible.
Watch the video below:
Listen to the Podcast
The more I learn and study health, the more I realize that there
Listening to both these people made me realize that you can greatly reduce the chances of getting chronic life-changing diseases. And, if you have them already, there are things that you can do to improve your situation.
One of the things I learned from Tony Robbins is that you are either moving forward or backwards in each area of your life. You never stay still or in a plateau. Health is no exception to this. Ask yourself right now if you are doing things to improve your health or to negatively affect it?
In this Ted Talk video, Dr. Rangee Chatterjee talks about how most doctors treat symptoms without considering the thing that caused the chronic disease in the first place. For example, let’s take 2 people with similar levels of heart disease. The cause for the first person was a very poor diet and sedentary lifestyle. For the other person, the cause was chronic stress, anxiety and perhaps even depression. So if the cause of the disease is different for each person, then the solution needs to be tailored to each individual, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
Dr Rangee Chatterjee then went on to list the 6 main chronic diseases which are:
- Chronic Inflammation
- Insulin Resistance
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Disease
Although these diseases seem very different, Dr. Rangee Chatterjee believes that the things that cause them are very similar and are largely under our control.
Genetics may play a part, but something else has to fire your genetic response. That “something” else is very often within your control. This is known as Epigenetics and is extremely fascinating!
People often look for the one thing or the one cure for a chronic disease. However, in reality, you need to have a foundation of health in place that comprises of the 12 things that I’m about to cover. Once you have this in place, then any special medicine, supplement or superfood is more likely to be effective, because you have all the fundamentals in place.
Of course, nothing is guaranteed especially in the area of health. Also, BIG DISCLAIMER! I’m not a medical doctor or expert in health by any means. The 12 ways to improve your health that I’m about to cover is what I am applying to my life and is based on my own research. Please do take advice from your medical professional as appropriate before applying these steps.
I’m sure it comes as no surprise to see diet on this list! The key here is to eat whole foods as much as possible and avoid processed foods. This includes eating fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains as much as possible. Personally, I try to keep dairy and wheat to a minimum and often follow a vegan diet during the day and have some meat as a treat in the evening.
Recent research seems to indicate that chronic inflammation is behind many diseases, including heart disease and arthritis. Whole foods, especially plant-based foods help reduce inflammation in your body. Also, watch your alcohol consumption to try and keep that to a sensible level as well.
2. Physical Activity and Exercise
Physical activity is great for digestion and releasing stress. It makes you feel great as well, improves your mental health (as well as your physical health) and reduces your risk of getting diseases such as Cancer, especially when combined with the diet suggestions listed above.
Exercise makes you sweat and this is an important way for your body to get rid of toxins. It also improves digestion, especially if you are a little constipated.
The absolute minimum is a 30-minute walk, 6 times a week. This is very easy to fit into your schedule and can easily be combined with other activities, such as listening to podcasts. Of course, more intensive cardio and resistance training are much better. As you get older, you begin to lose muscle mass and that can contribute towards insulin resistance.
3. Reduce Stress
A little short term stress is fine. Your body, especially your heart is well equipped to deal with this. It is long term, chronic and ongoing stress that is bad for you. Your body is simply not designed for this. Ongoing stress, anxiety, and depression can be as bad for you as smoking.
Stress is a big risk factor for heart disease and is also linked to depression. It can affect your concentration and your level of social interaction as well. Stress also raises the level of cortisol in your body. This then raises insulin levels, causing insulin resistance.
Ongoing chronic stress also creates chronic inflammation, because the body thinks that it is under constant attack. Besides being a link to many diseases in the body, chronic inflammation is now linked to mental illnesses such as depression.
Stress can also affect your health indirectly too, by increasing your chances of making poor food choices, drinking an excessive amount of alcohol, smoking or other harmful behaviours.
4. Unresolved Emotional Pain
Long term and unresolved negative emotions such as resentment, guilt or anger can play havoc with your body. These negative emotions become trapped in the body and this creates additional stress and tension. Many of these unresolved emotions come from past events with other people. If you read You Can Hear Your Life by Louise Hay, you will see the link between resentment and cancer.
It’s important that you find a way to deal with any unresolved emotional pain. This might involve expressing your feelings to the people concerned or having a few sessions with a therapist. You can also express and release these emotions using the Sedona method, EFT or hypnotherapy. Even practicing Yoga on a regular basis can help release unresolved emotional tension.
The quality of your relationships, especially your intimate relationship can have a huge effect on your overall health. Is your relationship moving in a positive direction and bringing love, joy, and happiness to both you and your partner. If you are not in an intimate relationship, what can you do to develop deeper connections with other people in your life?
At a recent seminar, I heard that loneliness is very bad for your health and could potentially take 5 to 7 years from your life. I was staggered when I heard this! As humans, we crave for connection with other people and it is important to take the time to do this.
Also, what is your relationship like with yourself? Are you taking some time out for yourself or to do the things that you really want to do.
Are you getting 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep every night? Just 2 or 3 nights of poor sleep can massively increase your levels of stress and anxiety. Personally, I find it much harder to keep calm and stay positive when I am feeling sleep deprived.
I was amazed to discover that poor sleep dramatically affects your blood sugar levels. So, make sure you’re prioritizing sleep by getting seven to eight hours of quality sleep every night. Your body and your mind will thank you for it!
7. Rest and Recovery
Professional athletes know the importance of rest and recovery. They take time out from intense periods of training to allow the body to recover and become stronger. However, your brain needs a rest too, so it is important to take some time out to rest, relax and recuperate. You can do this through meditation, watching some meaningless TV or spending time out with friends.
8. Reduce Toxins
Toxins include things you ingest (e.g. nicotine, alcohol or additives in processed foods), skin products and toxins from the environment. What I have been doing recently is looking at the products that I use every day and finding natural alternatives. So far, I have changed to a natural toothpaste, shower gel, shampoo and have experimented with natural sunscreen and mosquito repellent.
It’s much harder to control pollution, radiation and other environmental toxins, especially if you live in a large city. However, large cities often have better access to healthy food choices and superfoods, so you can do things to boost your immune
9. Passion and Purpose
This is about doing more of the things that you love to do. This could be hobbies, sports or travel. It’s also about making time for yourself.
If you hate your job (or your job is taking far too much of your time), then set an intention to change this. This won’t happen immediately and will take some effort and courage to do. However, it is very doable. Having a job and career that is satisfying, meaningful and fulfilling and that is meeting your needs is so important for both physical and mental health.
Also, when you are happy in your work, you tend to be happier in life generally. When you are happier, your partner is happier, your kids are happier, your friends are happier and everything becomes easier.
It amazes me how elderly people that are terminally ill, somehow manage to stay alive for a wedding or a significant family event and then they die shortly afterwards. I also hear stories of people retiring and then dying shortly after. In both these cases, it seemed to be a sense of purpose and having something to look forward to that keeps them going. Once they lost that, the body seemed to give up.
Although it is very difficult to prove this, it seems to me that having a purpose and vision seems to change things chemically in the body, so that your body is working with your mind to make that vision a reality.
As babies, we knew how to breathe correctly, which is into the stomach or diaphragm. However, as adults, we seem to forget this and start breathing more shallow and in the chest rather than the stomach. As a result, your body gets less oxygen and you have less energy. If you are yawning a lot, then this is your body’s way of unconsciously wanting you to take in more air. Notice your breathing when you are stressed or anxious. It will often be very shallow and you might even notice moments when you don’t breathe at all!
When you exercise, it forces you to breathe deeply and correctly. It has to do this to get sufficient oxygen to the muscles. So, exercise is a great way to help your body get enough oxygen.
You can also practice breathing deeply through your stomach several times a day. If you tend to forget, then set a timer on your smartphone to remind you to do this several times in the day. Breathing correctly is also very relaxing and is a great stress reliever.
Drinking lots of water is great for flushing out toxins in your body. It also helps you stay physically and mentally alert. When I drink a liter (about 33 ounces) of water pretty quickly, I really notice myself feeling more mentally alert.
There is a lot of debate on how much water to drink daily. My suggestion is about 1 liter for every 20 kilos of body weight, so this will be between 3 to 5 liters
Just 20 to 30 minutes of sunlight helps increase vitamin D in your body. This is important for preventing certain cancers. Sunlight also activates the pituitary and pineal glands. These are the glands that set our body clock, so being out in the sun helps your body know when it is daytime and nighttime. For this reason, there seems to be a link between a lack of sun exposure and insomnia.
So spend 20-30 minutes in the sun as often as you can. Taking a walk at lunchtime is an easy way to do this. If its winter or you are in an area that doesn’t get much sun, then consider taking a vitamin D supplement or get a blood test to check your vitamin D levels.
So these are the 12 great ways to improve your health and reduce the risks of getting chronic life-changing diseases. It’s very likely that you are doing some of these already, so give yourself a pat on the back for that.
For the others, I recommend that you focus on one of these 12 ways per month. It’s so easy to become overwhelmed with all the things that you could do to improve your health. The most important thing is to feel that your health is moving in a positive direction and that you are doing something (however small) to proactively work on improving your health.
Besides protecting yourself from the chance of nasty diseases in the future, applying the 12 ways outlined above will also help you have greater energy, feel more alive, be happier and more relaxed. If you currently feel stressed, anxious or depressed, it will help reduce this as well. Once you put these into practice, you will really appreciate the benefits for yourself.
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