Five sure-fire ways to make yourself healthy (without diet, exercise or pills):
- Start the day with a positive command to your body
Before you get out of bed each morning, set an intention for the day. It's important to remember that even though we can't control our circumstances, we can always control our attitude and intentions. Some examples: "Today I intend to focus on the great relationships I have," or "Today I intend to appreciate how much I have." These internal statements prime the pump for an upbeat day rather than a negative one. When we continually give ourselves positive messages, we actually build new, beneficial neural pathways in our brain.
- Redirect your "victim" brain
Catch yourself each time you say something like, "I can't believe what she did to me, " or "Why does this always happen to me?" When we continually frame ourselves up as a victim, we're creating an angry, hostile state. Our blood pressure and heart rate jump up, our digestion shuts down, and our immune system prepares for battle. Instead, replace your victim thought with a positive one such as, "I didn't want this to happen, so what can I do to make things better for me?"
- Tell stories about your favorite experiences
When we share an exciting or funny story we not only savor the positive aspects of the event, we're also creating stronger connections with others by allowing them to experience it with us. Studies show that just thinking about a positive event is shockingly similar to actually experiencing it. When we do, we send positive messages to our nervous system which controls functions like heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration.
- Build a "Marketplace of Giving"
Find a group of friends and family who you commit to helping and who want to help you in return. This might come in the form of an offer to help with a chore, or to provide emotional support, or even to give a compliment. Studies show that people who continually help others in non-monetary ways actually live longer than those who don't, and even experience less physical pain.
- Do the things you love
Make a list of everything you love and then actively do those things. If you love having fresh flowers in the house, buy a bouquet and put a few flowers in every room. For bigger items like weekend camping trips, take the first step toward planning an overnight getaway under the stars. Doing things that emotionally uplift and stimulate us may even give us a longer life.
Hicks and Foster have taught their Brilliant Health system to more than 10,000 doctors and nurses in leading medical centers, including Mayo Clinic and New York University Medical Center; to people with chronic illnesses; and to thousands of leaders at corporations and organizations, including General Electric, Mercedes-Benz, Dell Computer, AXA, and Wells Fargo. Foster and Hicks are on the faculty of the American Hospital Association's HRET Fellowship Programs.
"Choosing Brilliant Health: 9 Choices That Redefine What it Takes to Create Lifelong Vitality and Well-Being" is available at all major bookstores and at their website.