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Integrating Spirituality, Psychology, and Chinese Medicine, the following Nine Habits will return your spirit, mind, and body to balance, lengthen your days, and increase your inner joy.
Habit 1 - Meditation, prayer, focused breathing twice daiiy to redirect, refocus, and center your energy into the integrated NOW.
In Chinese Medicine/Taoist theory, Qi (energy) follows Shen (spirit) and Blood (phyisical, body) follows Qi. To guide spirit (shen) and therefore energy, mind, and body use Breath. In Western Medicine, Hebbe's hypothesis says: "Neurons that Fire together, Wire together." To return to balance the use of breath and meditation refocuses that firing and changes brain patterns and neurological functioning to return to balanced, coordinated response in the now rather than reactive wiring. Long time meditators show increased capacity for altruism and compassion.
Habit 2 - Nutrition, eat foods that are organic, whole foods, grown or cared for in a humane, loving way, are primarily prepared by you or someone you love, and look like a rainbow. This will support your Shen, Qi, Blood, Yin, and Yang and promote your overall health.
Incorporate brain health foods into your diet regime. In Chinese Medicine nutritional theory, the look and shape and function of the plant, root, leaf, flower, and seed/nut gives you information about its medicinal properties. Indeed this has borne true in research. For brain health look food that looks like a brain; walnuts, pecans, cacao bean, coffee beans, kidney beans, white beans, cauliflower and eggs.
Berries, including Goji or wolf berries have fantastic blood building components and avocados, Eat the rainbow to support all the organs in your body and to avoid overly processed foods. Avoid sugar and soda pop.
Habit 3 - Drink 3-4 liters of water a day.
Choose clean, filtered water. Remember this is 3-4 liters of water not fluid; if you are drinking tea and coffee, live in a high altitude or exercise a lot, you may need to drink on the 4-5 liter end of the equation. Water is a necessary component in cellular health. Dehydration is a major factor in headache and migraine.
Habit 4 - Exercise at least 5 -7 hours week for optimal health.
Choose an exercise routine that suits you, holds your interest, and brings in fun. Exercise controls weight; combats health conditions/ diseases of the heart; lowers cholesterol; increases your breath capacity, strength, and cognition skills; boosts energy; promotes sleep; increases interest and capacity for sex; and widens your social, community connections.
Yoga is one of the best exercises to incorporate your spirit, mind, body connection through meditation and breath. Recent studies show that 20 minutes of yoga positively affects learning and memory consolidation and that the effect of Yoga on the brain is significantly higher than the same amount of time participating in moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise.
Habit 5 - Sleep 7-9 hours each night and get to sleep by 11 pm.
Sleep is the great reformer, it balances your spirit, mood, mind, and body. Sleep deprivation is a major component in many physical diseases and can negatively affect your ability to learn new information, remember learned information, make sound decisions, and respond quickly in crisis situations. Sleep deprivation can increase your experience of pain.
Habit 6 - Address Anger and frustration early to extinguish them from your daily routine.
Use Yoga, meditation, communication skills training, paradigm shifting, and mindfulness to reframe anger-provoking situations and relationships. Remember to look within and heal limiting personal beliefs. Unresolved anger leads to stress and stress leads to inflammation and imbalance in your spirit, mind, body alignment.
Habit 7 - Focus on flowing positively in your life to reduce stress and create success.
Breath, yoga, meditation, health promotion, paradigm shifting, and time management will be great assistants in this process. Stress has deliterious effects on your endocrine, hormonal, sympathetic systems and has a negative effect on your brain fuctioning.
Habit 8 - Apply mindful, present moment energy to your relationships and negotiations.
When you cannot shift these into balance choose to create boundaries to the amount of time and style of interaction in these relationships and situations. Practice forgiveness, compassion, and letting go. Lack of smooth flow leads to stagnation and disharmony in your spirit, mind, body systems.
Habit 9 - Develop group and community connections and set activities for rejuvenation.
Your social connections and personal rejuvenation offer opportunities for recovery. This strengthens you capacity for focused work, and recharges your family relationships.
Nine Habits to Return to Balance, Training Workshop through The Center for Instinctive Health Medicine, Dr. Beth Gineris Turning Me to We: The Art of Partnering with Mindfulness, Charleston: CreateSpace, 2013, Beth Gineris, MA, MBA, MSOM, DOM