10 WAYS TO FEEL
GOOD AND HEALTHIER FOR FREE!
eat the financial downturn, put off all your worries and meet the final quarter of 2009 with a balanced mind-body-soul. There are several things people do to feel good about themselves, or simply to cheer themselves up. Some get a new haircut, some go for an evening out with friends; for some, the first instinct is to reach for the credit card for some retail therapy. But really, there are plenty of ways you can feel better without testing your overdraft. In our world today, it is getting increasingly expensive to indulge in basic health sciences such as relaxing, eating right, breathing fresh air and exercising. The good news is that there are ways to enrich our lives, more than we imagine, without having to spend a bomb. 64
Here are 10 ways to feel good and feel healthier for free. Each one provides you a chance to step outside of your normal routine and renew your energy, recharging your enthusiasm for life. EAT WELL, BE WELL
You are what you eat! Eating healthy helps to set the body’s systems and processes in order, which in turn decreases the level of toxins that could potentially lead to health problems. We’ve often heard the phrase “eat in moderation.” Another good advice would be to eat in variation. Eating in variation ensures a balance intake of nutrients from different kinds of food groups. Having said that, we also need
to choose and eat wisely! This may sound like a contradiction to the advice on eating in variation. But there is a difference between eating everything and eating anything. For example, each time you have the craving for a plate of roasted chicken rice, remember that the “skin,” the rice cooked in sesame oil and the condiments all account for approximately 607 calories! To burn off those calories, that are easily converted into fats, is going to take you more than an hour of workout at the gym. Salt and sauces are the main sources of sodium in the Singaporean diet. Sodium acts like a sponge that holds water in our bodies. It expands our blood volume, which raises the pressure in our veins and arteries, leading to the health issues such as high blood pressure,
and potential stroke, heart attack and kidney failure. or healthier living, ask for plain rice and go without the chicken skin. Another aspect to eating healthily is to eat plenty of vegetables and fruit with at least two servings of each per day as recommended by the Singapore Health Promotion Board. Also, do take note that a crash diet, like the name suggests, burns fats quickly. The trouble is you are also burning muscle and lean tissue at the same time. In short, you will burn out physically, mentally and emotionally. A good diet plan involves eating the right amount of nutritious food at the right time of the day and exercising on a regular basis. You can refer to the standard tables for an indication of the ideal weight for men and women of various heights. Remember to take body types and age into consideration.
lems and situations for a while. This not only will take away the mundane routine of life, but it also gives you opportunities to enhance your wellbeing. Try this simple experiment; for the next 7 days, carry out three random acts of kindness every day. You will find that your problems seem smaller, or even vanish away. Doing charitable works not only
MAKE A DATE WITH YOUR ARTISTIC SIDE
TOWEL & CHAIR WORKOUTS – OFFICE OR AT HOME
For people who respond to music, listening to the right music can have a profound and immediate effect on one’s mood. Research has found that endorphin levels are raised just by anticipating a good laugh through activities. There are several ways we can engage our artistic side. Going to the art gallery, listening to soothing music or switching on the MTV channel and getting your body into motion. Dancing is great exercise—and it doesn’t cost a cent! Get your children or spouse to be involved and make it a family affair. Family bonding plus workout is double the effect! Just 15 minutes of vigorous dancing can burn about 100 calories.
The chair workout and towel workout are designed by Carol Lim, People’s Association (Singapore) Aerobics, Fitness and Rope Skipping Instructor, who has over 26 years of fitness experience. She has launched these workouts in various communities and implemented it as fitness programs for ladies in community centers. The rhythmic movement done with a towel and/or a chair also relaxes the body and mind, which results in a more efficient exercise routine. Do you know that a simple exercise like “arm stretching and breathing while holding a towel” helps to improve upper back posture and releases tension from the shoulder and chest? Here are the steps: q Stand up with good aligned posture. q Raise both arms upwards while
holding a rolled towel shoulder width apart, hold at both ends comfortably. q Bring the towel forward-down towards chest level, and bring it back up again to the original position, keeping arms straight. q Then bring the towel behind your head, and move downwards, keeping your elbows as straight as possible. q Exhale, bringing your arms forward/backwards. Inhale as you return to starting position. q Repeat 10 times! These exercises keep us in good shape and help us maintain a peaceful state of mind. It is simple and effective. The benefits of exercising are abundant and here are some of them: q Increase overall confidence and self-esteem. q Increase metabolic rate, stamina, strength and muscle tone. q Increase heart and lung efficiency. q Increase flexibility, mobility and coordination. q An outlet for stress, tension and other work-or relationship-related issues. Remember, for your safety, always consult your doctor before undertaking any exercise, especially if you have a medical history or are currently on medication or undergoing any medical treatments.
Listening to the right music can have a profound and immediate effect on one’s mood ... Research has found that endorphin levels are raised just by anticipating a good laugh through activities.
BE A JOY TO OTHERS BY SERVING THEM
When we care, love and give to others, we take the attention off our prob-
helps others, it makes us happy and helps us to not take life for granted. When we are thankful for what we have in life, we will be more contented and less grudging. This will boost our self confidence and self worth.
WALK THE WALK
Walking is one of the easiest and best ways to get a cardiovascular workout – and you don’t have to fork out a cent. Walking is a low-impact exercise that places less stress on the joints. This is especially good for women and those who are overweight. Studies have shown that walking also helps to reduce belly fat. In fact, one should walk at least 10,000 steps a day. Lim suggests parking three blocks away from the office, or your home, and walking the rest of your way. “You will burn more calories simply by walking home. As you get fitter, park further,” suggests Lim. If you walk with your loved one, you can use this opportunity to spend some quality time talking to each other. 65
Appreciation will give you a positive mindset, and those around you will benefit from this attitude as well. WRITE IT DOWN
Scribbling down notes of how you can make your workout more fun actually helps you exercise longer. A study in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Research reports that exercisers who jotted down ideas to make their efforts more enjoyable (such as jogging with friends, walking with spouse, or trying out a new fitness class) worked out twice as long as those who simply listed “to lose weight” as a reason. Researchers say that drawing on positive past experiences (such as, having laughter and a good time on your long walks with loved one) rather than abstract ideas, may be more motivating. Keep a handy notebook in your bag. This is where you can jot your plans and goals, your desires and feelings, or anything that you feel like journaling down. When you keep a journal/scrapbook, you always have something to look at when you’re feeling down. Memories contained inside will help to keep you going. Do remember to keep the content positive and inspiring. Goals that have been achieved since you had written them down also serve to spur you forward in life. GET YOUR NEEDED SLEEP/REST
Your body needs seven to eight hours of sleep each day to regenerate and revitalize itself. Studies have shown that people who sleep less than they should experience an increase in appetite are more likely to suffer from skin problems, obesity and a weak immune system. At the same time, when one sleeps, the brain goes through repair. Lack of sleep can cause greater incidents of anxiety, depression and emotional stress, making one cranky, irritable and less productive. ENGAGING POSITIVITY
Speaking positively to ourselves can
create the right attitudes and beliefs about ourselves. Change your inner voice to one of encouragement and see how much better you feel. You can try this memory boosting exercise: think of a time when you felt really good and happy being you. With your eyes closed, see what you saw, hear what you heard and feel those good feelings once again. Spend five to ten minutes doing this and enjoy the instant mood uplift. Think to yourself, “I can do this!” rather than “I can’t do it.” Make it
a habit to engage in positive speech and thoughts every single day. Also, create a compliment contagion. Make it your mission today to give out at least five compliments, and enjoy how good it feels to make someone else’s day. APPRECIATING YOU!
Go on an adventure before the rest of the world wakes up. Notice the calmness of the sleeping city or the lapping of the quiet waves on the shore. Appreciate how different a familiar place can seem at a different time of day. In addition, for
a few moments each day, do this exercise of “appreciating” who you are, what you did the day before and the results you achieved in the past few months. Appreciation will give you a positive mindset, and those around you will benefit from this attitude as well. Psychologists believe that experiencing gratitude is a core component of wellbeing. Remind yourself of who or what you are most grateful for, and why. SPRING CLEANING
Not only is messiness a source of stress and tension, research suggests that we subconsciously connect cleaning with purging ourselves of guilt. There’s nothing more pleasing to the eye than a room that’s neat and swept clean, so take some
time to give your home, room or wardrobe a good cleaning and packing. After a hard day’s work, it will feel good to come home to a clean house. If there is just too much clutter, consider giving some things away to charity (good stuff please, not broken and torn). Someone else can stand to benefit from your clutter, so in the end, you win both ways. HT Genecia Luo is an international personality development coach and the founder of InQueenz—A Personality Development & Training Academy. For more details, log on to inqueenz.com.