Meditation is a simple practice that takes us to a state of profound relaxation, dissolving fatigue and the accumulated stress that accelerates aging and the development of disease.
Research shows that people who meditate regularly develop less hypertension, heart disease, anxiety, and other stress-related illnesses. Meditating just a few minutes daily provides many immediate and long-term benefits for body, mind and spirit.
According to a recent study conducted at the Chopra Center, after just a few days of meditation, participants experienced a number of beneficial gene changes associated with greater longevity and health.
Critical to the self-organizing and self-regulating processes in our bodies, sleep brings about homeostasis - the natural return to balance - at every level of the "bodymind." The endocrine and immune systems reset during sleep, as does every single metabolite from blood sugar to cholesterol.
Studies show that sleep is essential to optimal health, and in fact, lack of sleep has been associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease and premature death.
Moreover, sleep provides the "window to the cosmic mind" and is a "spiritual experience," according to Deepak Chopra.
Also known as earthing, the practice of grounding includes walking barefoot on the grass, beach or other natural surfaces of the earth.
We are essentially bioelectrical beings living on an electrically-charged planet. As explained by Deepak Chopra, "The earth is a biosphere with negative and positive forces, like a battery - and your body is part of the battery." Through the simple act of reconnecting with the earth, we can "recharge our battery" by absorbing free electrons.
Studies show that grounding can provide health benefits including reduced levels of stress, pain and inflammation, as well as improved sleep and circulation.
Regular exercise is a key to health and longevity. The risk of disease rises sharply as you age if you lead a sedentary lifestyle. Not only does exercise keep the body young but it also releases stress, improves your mood and increases the brain's ability to learn, adapt, and perform other cognitive tasks.
The important thing is to find physical activities you enjoy and do them regularly and mindfully. Mindful movement isn't limited to yoga! It includes any exercise where we are present and aware of the sensations and movements of the body.
But be sure to include all three essential components of a complete fitness program: stretching, weight bearing exercise and aerobic exercise.
Our body is deeply affected by our moods. Chemical messages tell every cell how you feel - and in its own way, a cell can be happy or sad, agitated or content, joyous or despairing.
When you feel fear or anxiety, your body responds with the "fight or flight response," which raises your heart rate and increases cortisol, adrenaline, and other so-called stress hormones. Over time, living in a state of chronic stress can lead to increased inflammation and chronic illness.
When you cultivate healthy emotions, you promote self-healing and self-regulation in your body. Healthy emotions include love, kindness, joy, compassion, equanimity, gratitude, and peace.
All food consists of energy and information. Energy is both the calories the food contains, as well as the vitality and joy that comes from eating that food. The information aspect is the nutrition it contains, including the proportions of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
Fresh, real food provides the greatest levels of energy and information to nourish your body and mind. It's important to choose the freshest foods and ingredients you can find, while minimizing or eliminating foods that are highly processed, artificial and full of chemicals and other toxins.
"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." - Hippocrates
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