A Daily Program for Enhancing Your Healing System
It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Even though the first step and each subsequent step along the way may seem small and insignificant, when they are added together, they eventually take you to your final destination. In the same way, the following daily program to strengthen and fortify your healing system provides a starting point on your journey toward improved health. At first, the activities that make up this program may seem quite ordinary and not very significant or life-changing. When combined and continued over time, however, they can make a huge difference in your health. In short, they can create extraordinary heal-ing. After just 10 days of following this program, you will notice a marked improvement in your health, and you should experience a much greater sense of well-being.
A word before you start: Because your healing system is vast and complex, you should not consider this program all-inclusive. As you apply the activities in this program to the rhythms of your own life, you will want to use the methods, techniques, and information described in earlier posts to suit your own particular health needs. Be flexible and practical when you use this program. You need to arrange the order of daily activities, and the types of activities, to fit into your daily schedule. For example, with breathing, relaxation, guided imagery, meditation, or prayer, you might be starting out with 5 to15 minutes a day that you can do in the morning before work. But you can gradually build up to at least 30 minutes, once or twice a day; when you do that, you might then have to do these activities in the evening. If you are suffering from a serious illness, it will be most beneficial for you to do these activities when-ever you have the time to do them for at least 30 minutes.
In terms of the dietary suggestions, experience has shown me that each person has his or her own specific nutritional needs. For this reason, I don’t advocate only one type of diet for all people. I honor the ancient axiom, “One man’s meat is another man’s poi-son.” Although I do make some general dietary suggestions, do not adhere to them so strictly that you ignore common sense. For instance, if you have a fever, you need to drink lots of fluids and abstain from eating solid foods until the fever passes. If you suffer from a specific digestive disorder, follow the dietary guidelines in the sections in the earlier posts that describe in more detail what and how you should be eating. When it comes to diet and nutrition, lis-ten to the voice of your body’s inner intelligence; that voice is close-ly connected to your healing system.
If you have a question about any activity in the daily program, refer to the earlier posts. They describe in more detail how each activity benefits your healing system.
Strengthening and Fortifying Your Healing System in 10 Days
In the Morning
Personal Hygiene for Your Healing System
Personal hygiene consists of the daily cleansing that strengthens and fortifies your healing system. Over a lifetime, your personal hygiene accumulates to wield a powerful influence on your health. In addition to brushing your teeth and other related activities, take a bath or shower each morning. Bathing supports your healing system by cleansing and protecting your body; keeping your skin healthy and free from dirt, germs, and other potentially harmful microorganisms; and aiding in the elimination of toxins.
Elimination (Moving Your Bowels) for Your Healing System
In addition to urinating, it is important to move your bowels each morning. Doing this prevents unwanted waste and toxins from building up and helps keep your internal environment clean and healthy. Regular daily bowel movements reduce the burden on your healing system and make it easier for it to perform its duties of repair, reconstruction, and regeneration more efficiently for you. Here are a few tips to aid the process of elimination:
- Drink a cup of warm liquid (water, tea, decaffeinated coffee) to help move your bowels. You may need to drink several cups until you get a result. Warm beverages are better than cold because heat relaxes the smooth muscles in your intestines, enabling them to expand and dilate. As the warm fluids help flush the fecal material through the more relaxed and expanded bowels, unwanted waste products can be eliminated faster and more easily. Cold liquids, in contrast, constrict the muscles in the intestines, which narrows the opening of the bowels, and so they are usually not as effective in aiding the processes of elimination.
- If you are frequently constipated or suffer from irregularity, and you need more than several cups of warm liquids each morning to move your bowels, stir one or two heaping teaspoons of psyllium seed husks, or any other gentle natural fiber supplement, into a glass of warm water and drink it each night before you retire.
- If you want to prevent constipation, eat a healthy diet with Iots of fluids and fiber, which you can find in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and legumes. Soups at lunch or in the evening, along with herbal teas, are also ideal for this purpose.
- Although it is sometimes unpopular, okra, eaten either at lunch or dinner, is one of the best vegetables to help ensure healthy elimination in the morning. Lightly steamed or cooked, okra is one of the gentlest and most effective of all natural food fibers in the world.
Gentle Stretching for Your Healing System
Stretching helps to loosen up and tone your muscles and joints, and to improve circulation. By increasing flexibility in your joints and limbs, stretching can also improve lymphatic drainage in your body and stimulate your glands. When your muscles are lengthened and their flexibility is increased, space for the passage of nerves increases. Gentle, regular, systematic stretching often relieves pinched nerves. Stretching can keep your body lithe, young, and free from disease, and it is one of the best methods I know for strengthening and fortifying your healing system.
- Stretch for 5 to 15 minutes each morning, following the guidelines provided in the section on stretching on this website. You may also find it beneficial to stretch in the evenings. Stretch on an empty or light stomach, not right after eating.
- You can start stretching with the help of a yoga book or video for beginners, or you may want to sign up for a beginner’s yoga class. If you’ve never done yoga before, or you have specific health issues, make sure you tell the instructor so he or she can accommodate your needs.
Breathing, Relaxation, Guided Imagery, Meditation, Quiet Reflection, or Prayer
All of these activities help to relax your body, calm your mind and nervous system, relieve stress, and strengthen and fortify your heal-ing system. They can also help you discover a higher power that organizes and directs the flow of energy in the universe and in your body. Attuning your awareness to this force can be extremely empowering for your healing system. A great time to do these activities is right after stretching, when your body and mind are already in a naturally relaxed condition.
- Take 5 to15 minutes each day to sit in a quiet place, relax your shoulders and entire body, and close your eyes. Begin by watching your breath flow in and out of your nose. You can practice one or more of the breathing techniques described in the section on breathing. These techniques will help to calm and focus your mind and nervous system, bringing them into harmony with your healing system.
Once you feel calm and relaxed, try one of the guided imagery/ visualization techniques described on this website. Allow your awareness to go into the interior of your body. As you focus your mental energies on your body’s internal structures, imagine your healing system springing into action to help repair any damaged tissues as it restores your health and vitality.
Exercise for Your Healing System
Exercise helps your healing system by toning the heart, strengthen-ing circulation, and improving mental health. Morning exercise is a great way to start the day. If you are not already doing so, try to find a way to fit morning exercise into your schedule.
- Each day, do 15 minutes of simple walking, swimming, bicycling, jogging, aerobics, calisthenics, or any other exercise. If you feel like doing more, or are used to doing more, do so. However, if you are new to exercise, or you haven’t exercised lately, it is better to start out gradually. Do not to force or strain when you exercise. Observe your breathing to see whether you are overdoing it. When you exercise, you should be comfortable with your breathing. Remember, slow and steady wins the race. For maximum benefit to your healing system, gradually build up to 30 to 60 minutes a day, three to six days a week.
Breakfast for Your Healing System
Eat a light, healthy breakfast each day. If your job requires a lot of physical activity and greater caloric intake, use your common sense and eat more. If you have a sedentary job, such as a computer operator or office worker, eat a lighter breakfast. If you are overweight or normally eat a larger lunch, you may want to skip breakfast and just drink water or juices. Here are other suggestions for breakfast:
- If you are on a carbohydrate or starch-restricted diet, eat lean protein and vegetables, and drink warm fluids such as herbal teas, decaffeinated beverages, and soups.
- If you are not a diabetic or not on a carbohydrate-restricted diet, eat fresh fruits, whole grains, and organic cereals, which can help reduce sugar cravings later in the day. These foods also provide key caloric energy and contain a host of vitamins, minerals, and trace elements, as well as essential fiber and fluids to aid your healing system. If you’re allowed to have natural sugars in your diet, try dried fruits, including raisins, figs, dates, and apricots, and organic, naturally sweetened jams and jellies in limited quantities. These foods can be nourishing and healthful.
- You can also add small quantities of nut butters, such as peanut, cashew, almond, or sesame tahini, or other protein sources for breakfast.
- You can also eat dairy products, such as yogurt and low-fat cottage cheese, in limited quantities if you are not lactose intolerant or do not have other dietary restrictions.
- If you are diabetic, eat more protein and whole grains for break-fast, and avoid sweets of all kinds. Breakfast proteins and grains could include a whole-wheat bagel, or rice crackers with cottage cheese. You can also eat other proteins, such as nut butters. These foods will provide long-lasting fuel throughout the day without drastic increases in blood sugar. Natural sweeteners, such as stevia, also are available that can satisfy your sweet cravings while not increasing your blood-sugar levels.
- Avoid sweet, starchy, oily breakfast items such as donuts or pas-tries.
- Taking a natural supplement or daily vitamins may be appropriate, especially if you’re not getting all the nutrients you need from your regular diet.
Remainder of Morning and Afternoon
If your work takes you away from home, you can still find simple, easy ways to strengthen and fortify your healing system, even though your schedule may be hectic. Even if you stay at home, try to incorporate the following activities into your morning routine.
Breathing, Relaxation, Guided Imagery, Meditation, Quiet Reflection, or Prayer
Throughout the day, because of your mind’s influence on your healing system, which operates best in a calm, quiet, and relaxed internal environment, it is important to keep your mind calm, cool, and collected. Breathing, relaxation, guided imagery, meditation, quiet reflection, and prayer are ideal methods for helping to keep your mind tranquil. The more you practice these methods, the easier it will be for you to retain your composure and keep your healing system strong and vibrant.
- Take short, 30-second to one-minute breaks at least once an hour to calm your mind by practicing one or more of the methods for breathing, relaxation, guided imagery, meditation, quiet reflection, or prayer that are described on this website. In the beginning, you may need to experiment with several of these options to find out what works best for you. After you have found one that works for you, learn one or more of the other techniques, as well. I usually recommend giving each technique at least a one-week trial, until you are comfortable with it and have noted its positive benefits.
- During stressful times, or when you feel yourself becoming upset or losing your composure (especially in the presence of another person), momentarily excuse yourself and retreat to a safe, peaceful place. Once you are out of harm’s way, practice one or more of these peaceful, calming techniques. After you have calmed down, you will be in a much better position to deal with your situation.
One of the tricks to this strategy is learning how to recognize when you are first beginning to lose your composure. When you lose your composure, in addition to your mental agitation, you will most likely experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Rapid, fearful, or angry thoughts
- Shallow, rapid breathing
- Rapid heartbeat
- Increased perspiration
- Queasy stomach (“butterflies in your stomach”)
- Weak knees
From your earlier reading, you might recognize these symptoms as part of the fight-or-flight response, which, if allowed to continue or escalate, can interfere with your healing system and cause harm to your body, especially if they are sustained over a long period of time.
In my work as a doctor, these strategies are particularly helpful. For example, I sometimes meet new patients who have a lot of anger and are quite upset at “the medical system in general and doctors in particular. They may be upset for other reasons, too, of which I may not be aware. In these situations, I am a prime target for their anger. Sometimes, the slightest thing I say can trigger a huge explosion of angry emotions. Naturally, this reaction from a patient will cause a wave of fear and anger to well up inside of me, too. In this state, I could easily retaliate with fear and anger of my own, but I try to stay composed. When I notice my heart rate speeding up, my breathing getting shallower and rapid, and my mind becoming agitated, I excuse myself and quickly retreat to the safety of another room. There, I close my eyes and do one or more of the following: breathing, meditation, relaxation, imagery, or prayer. I do this until I feel my breathing and heart rate slow down, and I am able to regain my composure. Usually, a maximum of five minutes is all that I need. Afterward, when I go back to see the patient who has provoked me, I am more relaxed and comfortable, and better able to help the patient.
Water for Your Healing System
Your body is 70 percent water, and because water constantly circulates throughout every cell, tissue, and organ in your body, the more water you introduce into your system, the faster it can distribute nutrients and eliminate toxins. Drinking water and fluids is one of the best ways to strengthen and fortify your healing system.
- Throughout the day, sip water or other fluids, such as juices or herbal teas.
- Drink six to eight glasses of water, or the equivalent, over the course of each day.
A Mid-Morning Snack for Your Healing System
You might need a light, mid-morning snack if your work requires you to take a late lunch, or if you have a fast metabolism and are prone to blood-sugar swings. It is important to listen to your body when it comes to getting the nutrition you need to function at your best. Here’s some advice about mid morning snacks:
- Don’t eat if you’re not hungry.
- You can eat fresh fruits, carrots, wholesome crackers, or an herbal tea or other beverage if you feel you need to eat some-thing before lunch.
Lunch for Your Healing System
For most people, eating a healthful, wholesome lunch is important. In many cultures around the world, lunch is the main meal of the day. To ensure a steady flow of nutrients and optimum fuel for your healing system, take the time out of your busy schedule each day to eat lunch. Skipping lunch is generally not recommended. And just as proper food is essential fuel for your healing system, eating that food in a way that optimizes its digestion is equally important. The following suggestions should be helpful:
- Avoid fats and oils, as well as processed snack foods, which are heavy and often difficult to digest.
- Try a cup or bowl of soup.
- It Try a hearty salad, but avoid rich, oily dressings or toppings.
- If you eat carbohydrates, a healthful sandwich with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts, cheese, tofu, tempeh, or any other lean protein can often be a complete meal in itself. Eat breads made from whole grains, such as wheat, barley, rye, and oats.
- If you are not diabetic or on a sugar-restricted diet, a fruit dessert will provide an adequate balance of essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, trace elements, fluids, and fiber.
- You can take water or another liquid with or immediately following your meal.
Here are a few more tips for eating lunch:
- If you are at the workplace or at home, take a break and focus solely on eating and digesting your food. Turn off your computer, TV, or radio, and make sure you aren’t talking on the phone or reading a magazine or newspaper when you eat.
- When you are eating, your body needs to concentrate on the process of digestion. It should be a time of rest and relaxation, and you should devote all your attention to the process of eating. If you continue to talk on the phone, drive, or work on the computer while you are eating, you won’t be able to feel your body’s response to the food you are consuming. When your mind is in more than one place at a time, it is hard to fully taste your food. It also is easy to overeat and experience indigestion under these circumstances.
- If you eat with coworkers, family, or friends, lunch can be a pleasant social occasion. Avoid arguments, conflicts, or talk of business or finances. The mood and atmosphere should be pleasant and uplifting. Your emotional state at the time of your eating affects your digestion.
Consider an Afternoon Nap for Your Healing System
Studies show that most Americans are sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation has been linked to numerous chronic diseases, including heart disease. It has also been linked to accident-prone behaviors. Your healing system performs most efficiently when you are sleeping or resting, and an afternoon nap can be an effective way to help strengthen and fortify it. Most cultures around the world eat their largest meal at lunch time, followed by a nap, or siesta. This is a time-tested method to help optimize digestion. If you can, take a light nap after lunch.
In the Afternoon
Play, Fun, and Hobbies for Your Healing System
Not enough can be said about the health-promoting effects of a playful attitude, a sense of humor, and the ability to have fun. Bob Hope and George Burns, both famous comedians, each lived for 100 years by cultivating light-hearted attitudes. They pursued lives of fun and laughter while they tried to make others laugh. And as we discussed earlier, well-known doctor and author Norman Cousins cured him-self of a painful, life-threatening disease with laughter and a little vitamin C. Humor and a light-hearted attitude can add years to your life, and they are powerful stimulants for your healing system.
Keeping your spirits light throughout the day is important. If you are working long, hard hours or are having an extremely difficult time in your life, you don’t have to be serious all the time. Seriousness creates tension, which can drain vital energies away from your healing system and lead not only to disease, but also to pain. Keeping your spirits light will have a powerful strengthening and fortifying effect on your healing system. Here are a few tips for keeping your spirits high:
- Do at least one fun activity each day, for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer. Here are some suggestions:
- Find something funny to laugh at. Share a joke with your family or coworkers.
- Watch a comedy movie, or engross yourself in a favorite personal hobby, such as painting, sewing, quilting, jewelry, or model-airplane building.
- Play or listen to uplifting music.
- Dance to your favorite music.
- Play with children.
- Go to a musical production, a movie, a play, or a sporting event.
- Participate in your favorite sport.
- Read a favorite book.
- Write in a journal.
Social Activities for Your Healing System
Man is a social creature, and for this reason, it is important to stay connected to other people. Conversely, social isolation creates stress, which can lead to disease, both mental and physical. For example, heart disease, the number-one killer in the Western world, has been linked to feelings of social isolation. Studies have shown that heart patients who live alone fare much worse than heart patients who have connections with family, friends, or pets. To further illustrate this point, consider that, even among hardened criminals, solitary confinement, which is nothing more than social isolation, is one of the most dreaded of all forms of punishment.
Social support is important to help strengthen and fortify your healing system. Plan to spend time each day in an activity that sup-ports your feelings of being connected to others. Try one or more of the following:
- Make a special effort to call or write a close, trusted friend or family member.
- Tell a loved one or a family member that you love them, even if doing so at first feels awkward or phony. The more you do it, the more real it will feel, and you will soon become comfortable saying it. What you give comes back to you, so you are really only telling yourself that you love yourself. The same principle applies to any other loving act of kindness.
- Give hugs to your family members, friends, and coworkers. Don’t do it for their benefit, even though they will like it, but for yours. Nothing heals like love, and nothing stimulates your healing system more powerfully than love. Love starts with you.
- If you have the time, you can volunteer at least once a week at a senior citizens’ center, hospital, library, school, local day-care center, or one of hundreds of other charitable and community organizations. You could also lend your special talents and energies to any of a number of state, national, and international organizations. Make a commitment to take the time to get involved in one or more of these types of activities. Your healing system will benefit from these activities, so do them first for yourself, knowing also that others will later benefit from your generosity.
Rest and Alone Time for Your Healing System
In sharp contrast to what I recommend for social connectedness, I also feel it is important to learn how to socially withdraw, to rest and be alone. Many people spend practically every waking moment tak-ing care of others, or they are involved in too many activities that leave them emotionally, mentally, and physically drained. This pat-tern can result in chronic fatigue, “burnout,” and even serious ill-ness. If you are one of these people, it is imperative to learn how to say “No” to others and carve out a chunk of daily time for yourself. To rejuvenate your health, recharge your batteries, and strengthen and fortify your healing system, doing this is a basic necessity of life. Here are a few tips:
- Each day, take 10 to 15 minutes to be alone, shutting yourself off from the world and the constant onslaught of others. Make arrangements to have trusted family or friends perform your duties and take on your responsibilities during this period. Find a safe, quiet, uplifting place, either outdoors in nature, or in a room in your house or apartment.
- You may wish to use this time to meditate, breathe, pray, paint, listen to music, or do absolutely nothing.
- Honoring your special time alone, which your healing system requires to maintain its strength and vigor, is important. If you don’t insist on the right to be alone to rest and rejuvenate, your healing system will have difficulty functioning optimally.
In the Evening
Dinner for Your Healing System
Try not to eat too heavy, or too late. Eating heavy or late will cause indigestion and disturb sleep, causing you to wake up tired and low on energy in the morning. In addition, eat peacefully, without the TV or stereo blaring, and without discussing business or other potentially stressful topics. Keep the family dinnertirne conversations light and harmonious, which will improve digestion while it strengthens and fortifies your healing systern.
Here are a few suggestions for dinnertime meals:
- Try a vegetable soup, such as squash, split pea, or carrot, which can be hearty, nourishing, and soothing.
- Try a dinner salad, with leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, and one or more vegetables, including tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, or garbanzo beans (chick-peas).
- You can eat cooked whole grains, such as fluffy brown rice or barley, or organic pasta, separately or mixed together with a vegetable or protein side dish.
- A vegetable casserole or mixed-vegetable stir fry can be tasty and nourishing. You can add tofu, a touch of light cheese, or another lean protein. Minimize the use of heavy oils and butter when you cook these dishes.
- You may also have a light dessert such as yogurt, sherbet, or fresh fruit. (If you are diabetic, you can have a light dessert with a sugar substitute.)
- Drink water either before or after dessert. Emotional Well-Being for Your Healing System
As we discussed earlier, emotions are powerful sensations of energy felt in the body. For healthy living, most emotions need to be released and expressed in your life. If they are suppressed and allowed to remain in your body longer than is necessary, or dragged around as energy-draining emotional baggage, emotions can severely hinder the work of your healing system and can contribute to illness. To know how you are feeling at any given moment, and then have the courage to share these feelings with others, is one of the most powerful ways to strengthen and fortify your healing system. Here are some suggestions for expressing your emotions in a beneficial way:
- To learn to express your emotions in a healthy way, it is often helpful to join a group and learn to participate in group activities. Join a group that meets at least once a week, or, if you have the time, more often. The group could be a support group or a therapeutic group. It should be a group that you feel comfort-able and safe with, a group that you feel will not sit in judgment of you should you choose to air your “dirty laundry” in public. Many non-alcoholics join AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), which has groups in nearly every major U.S. city, just for the sake of being in a group and learning to share their feelings. Take the time to find out about groups in your area, and make a commitment to participate in one.
- If you are not comfortable in a group, or you cannot find one in your area, professional counseling is available and might be offered through your house of worship, local YMCA or YWCA, or other community organizations. One-on-one counseling, especially with an effective counselor, is also a valuable way to express your feelings. Find out about counselors in your area, and make a determined effort to participate in this activity.
- Get a small notebook and pen, and start writing about your feelings. Writing in a journal, expressing all that is inside of you and all that you are feeling, can often be an effective way to release your emotions, your thoughts, and deepest feelings, even if you write for only 5 to 10 minutes each day.
- Each day, in a conversation with your family, friends, or loved ones, speak from your heart and share your deepest feelings. If you are not comfortable doing this, write a letter to someone with whom you wish to share your deepest feelings.
Spiritual Well-Being for Your Healing System
Your healing system functions best when you are spiritually healthy. Many physical diseases have their origins in the spiritual realm. For example, when your spirits are continually down, you can become depressed, which is a form of mental disease. As noted earlier, depression has been shown to contribute to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and many other serious ailments.
If you are an atheist, you can still enjoy spiritual health and well-being. Try to connect to a higher cause, purpose, or force other than yourself. Ponder the fact that some intelligent, powerful, creative energy has put you on this planet. Doing this will take a huge bur-den of stress off your shoulders and allow your healing system to work more effectively. Thinking that everything in the world and your life depends solely on your constant mental vigilance and surveillance creates tension and stress, drains vital energies, and can be emotionally and physically exhausting. These factors conspire against your healing system and can eventually lead to physical illness.
If you believe in God or a higher power, your plight is not much different from that of the atheist. Doubts about God and the Divine still might bombard you when you encounter rough waters or come up against a brick wall, and so it is necessary to continually renew your faith many times throughout each day, and ponder the meaning and purpose of your existence.
- This week, take a brief respite from your work and hectic schedule, and think about your life and its significance. Think about a higher power, a divine, creative, intelligent energy at work in the universe and your life. Do this for at least 5 to 10 minutes each day.
- If you are comfortable doing so, pray for 5 to 10 minutes each day.
- Before going to bed, take 5 to 10 minutes each night to read scriptures or other related books that can uplift your spirits.
Sleep for Your Healing System
Sleep is fundamental to all living things and is an intrinsic part of the natural rhythms and cycles of life. Sleep is a required physiological activity in all living species, a basic biological principle of life. Some animals hibernate and go into a cave to sleep for months at a time to restore their bodies’ health and energies; humans generally require between 8 and10 hours of sleep each day.
Your body requires regular sleep to restore vital energies and to heal. As you may recall, your healing system does its best work when your body is resting. Regular, restful sleep is one the most potent things you can do to strengthen and fortify your healing system. When sleep is disrupted, healing system function is compromised, and ill health can develop. It is not surprising that as sleep deprivation and insomnia increase in epidemic proportions in America, the number of chronic, stress-related diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and autoimmune disorders, is also increasing.
To ensure proper sleep, try the following:
- Get up early each morning.
- Sleeping late disturbs the natural rhythms of your body and will cause you to go to bed late. This pattern will perpetuate an unnatural cycle that can be harmful to your healing system.
- Getting up early improves your chances of having an active, full day. Having a long, full day will improve your chances of going to sleep at night at a decent hour. A restful, good night’s sleep will allow you to awaken early each day feeling refreshed and renewed, with abundant energy.
- Don’t engage in agitating or disturbing activities before you go to sleep. (Such activities include watching the news or violent movies.)
- Avoid late-night arguments or conflicts with your partner or family members.
- Make sure your bed is comfortable.
- Make sure your bedroom or the place where you sleep is clean, neat, and peaceful. A clean, orderly environment reduces con-fused, chaotic mental stimuli and allows the brain, mind, and nervous system to relax more effectively. All this brings about a much deeper, more restful quality of sleep.
- If you live in a noisy place, where traffic or other noise is likely, consider using comfortable ear plugs to ensure a good night’s sleep.
Whenever I travel to large, congested, bustling cities, and I’m disturbed by the constant noise of the city at night, I use a simple pair of earplugs while I sleep. Instead of waking up fatigued, foggy-headed, grumpy, irritable, and low on energy, thanks to the earplugs, I can wake up feeling refreshed, renewed, and ready to greet the new day with enthusiasm.
- Make sure the air you breathe when you sleep is fresh and clean. Avoid dusty, foul-smelling, stale air. A good, fresh breeze can do wonders to improve the quality of your sleep.
- Don’t eat a late dinner just before you go to sleep. A full stomach and heavily laden digestive system will put pressure on the diaphragm and lungs and interfere with normal, natural breathing. Many people with sleep disturbances and other illnesses are overweight and have poor, late-night eating habits that cause indigestion and interfere with the quality of their sleep.
- Try a warm beverage before you go to sleep. A warm beverage can be soothing and relaxing, improving digestion, and helping to settle down the nerves. Herbal teas, such as chamomile or peppermint, can be particularly comforting.
- Relaxation, gentle breathing, meditation, imagery, or prayer can help calm and relax the mind and nervous system. When they are performed before bedtime, these methods can be a gentle and soothing way to induce deep, restful sleep.
- Listen to soft, soothing music. Doing this can be relaxing and restful, and can help induce gentle, effective sleep.
- Before bed, read an inspirational novel, book, or scripture, or some other uplifting material. This activity can be comforting and reassuring, and a pleasant way to wind down and relax before sleep. Some people I know read the Yellow Pages or Webster’s Dictionary to help them get to sleep. This method works, I am told, because these books are so boring!
Just five minutes a day of meditation, an uplifting phone conversation with a friend, a cup of delicious soup for lunch, and a good night’s sleep can have a great impact on your healing system and your physical, mental, and emotional health.