Ah Ha Ha Ha.. Staying Alive Staying Alive.
It’s very simple. To stay alive ‘better’ there are some fundamentals required. Following are 5 ways to give your-self the best chance to live long and prosper – just like the BeeGees did.
By managing some the basics well, the rest falls into place. Into the basics that the body requires to remain functional and efficient both in body and in mind.
If one or more of these 5 factors are neglected then the whole structure of the body and mind starts to waiver and the power house that is the human body can come crashing down.
In no particular order, here they are:
1) Breathing (deeper)
Considered to be one of the most important ways to stay alive, breathing is of course very important! however, it goes deeper than that (Excuse the pun!!).
To ensure more oxygen to the brain, more of that glorious O2 to the blood, muscles and of course to the lungs, we need to breeeeeathe deeper. The Yogi’s do it; the meditators and fire service do it. So why can’t the rest of us?
It takes practice people. It takes practice to become practiced and whilst most of us spend most of our day shallow breathing due to our ridiculously long to do lists and stressing over whether to have a coconut turmeric latte, or a green juice kale and pineapple special. The fact is – we all have the ability to use one of the most under utilized muscles of the human body – the diaphragm.
Learn how to use this glorious muscle to its full capacity and I can guarantee you’ll feel clarity in the mind, a general feeling of a relaxation and certainly more breath control. It even helps your singing voice.
2) Healthy Eating
When we hear the term ‘healthy eating’ some of us shudder and think leafy greens and carrot sticks. Let me tell you it doesn’t have to be that way. There are some basics to maintaining a healthy and balanced diet.
Cut the crap!
First and foremost it’s about cutting the crap. If you’re a take out or fast food more than once or twice a week, its time to review this and replace your deep fried chicken, double bacon burgers and beer. We all know its bad for us. If you’re going to get take out – choose Japanese!!!or maybe Thai, Indonesian or similar. Enough with the pizza, pasta and burgers. I love my French fries, but only on occasion. There’s room for a little indulgence only when you’re balancing your diet, meal size, vegetables and exercise. Everything in moderation people.
When you’re eating, and you start to feel about 75% full, that’s when you should stop eating. Give your body the time (15mins or so) to allow the food to settle in your system. At first this will feel like you’ve short changed your body. However, your body is clever enough to adapt and you won’t need to eat as much as you think.
Most people will eat until full and then feel absolutely stuffed. This is a generational habit stemming from the post war era of “clear your whole plate” or “you don’t know where your next meal is coming from”
If you’re reading this blog, you likely know where the next meal is coming from. How about putting a little less on your plate?
If you can’t move after a meal, you’ve gone to far.
Be mindful when you eat – This means rather than stuffing the food down your neck as quickly as possible whilst mesmerized by TV shows like Shameless, GOT, Outlander or Stranger Things, take your time and enjoy the flavours, smells and satisfaction that comes with the joy of food. Take a breath between bites and actually be grateful for the food you have.
See ‘Time Out’ below.
More vegetables please
A few more veges on your plate is a great start. If you don’t like vegetables (yes I’ve heard that said) please start to explore them, because there’s so many wonderful veges and salads and flavouring out there that you will learn to enjoy them just by trying them. You’re truly missing out on a culinary delight and a healthier life by not eating veges and salad.
3) Quality Sleep
One of the most important factors to maintaining good mental health. How many of us can say (now be honest) that we get 8+hrs sleep per night? Comment below or let me know. not many eh?
OK so lets accept that getting a full 8 hours a night is a challenge. Well, it may not surprise you but one of the biggest factors to poor mental health is lack of sleep and fatigue.
As challenging as it may be there are some great ways to ensure better, more quality sleep before you even hit the hay.
Here’s more than a few methods you can try out:
- Write your to do list for the next day
- Wind down an hour or so prior to bed
- Turn off of your phone, tv or laptop
- If you’re reading, read fiction
- Use earplugs
- Gentle slow stretching or Yin yoga
- Meditation, long breathing
That’s a few to get you started.
4) Consistent exercise
Notice how it’s ‘consistent exercise’ The lazy ones among us know how beneficial exercise is, but we also love Netflix and let’s be honest – something has to give.
Being consistent with exercise doesn’t always mean 60 mins everyday before sunrise. For some people that’s impossible. However, a small amount of physical activity everyday or two can do wonders for your wellbeing. There are 4 hormones termed as the ‘happy hormones’ released during physical activity as they can bring about a general sense of achievement, happiness, productivity, clarity of mind to name a few.
They are endorphin, dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin
Is physical activity easier said than done? Of course, but saying you’re physically active and actually ‘being physically active are two completely different things.
Even if (like me) you have a pain condition that restricts the type of exercise you do, there’s always something you can do.
Here’s some examples:
- Running, Walking, Crawling
- Dancing (my favourite)
- Very basic yoga (my other favourite)
- Swimming or even floating
- Get a PT who will make you accountable
5) Time Out!
Like Isaac Newton said every object when in motion will stay in motion unless an external force is placed upon it. Use this as a metaphor to your own rest and relaxation.
For most people the day is spent striving towards the next goal, moving forward looking forward, planning ahead. Also, a lot of time is spent dwelling on the past or thinking about things that have already happened (that’s another blog altogether).
Both rest and motion are necessary for growth and reflection. However, not enough time is spent being present. Consciously slow down, stop, rest, take time out. Perhaps consider using your next 5mins of sitting on the toilet to take some deep breaths and be present with your poo-time.
Many people hear “you need to be more present” and they yawn and roll their eyes.
Let me tell you this – getting present is as important, if not more important than focusing on our future and past.
Taking a moment (20 seconds to 20 minutes a day) simply focusing on the next 3-5 seconds will allow you to appreciate the NOW.
Some very quick and easy tips on being more connected with the present moment:
- Look around – what can you see?
- Smell the air – what can you smell?
- Listen to the sounds – What can you hear?
- Have a sense of the physical – What can you feel in your external environment
- Have a sense of the physical – What can you feel in your body?
There you have it – 5 ways to stay alive.
These fundamentals take practice. If you try to go out and smash 60 minute HIIT sessions everyday you’ll fail, so take it one step at a time.
Following are some bonus steps to get started with the practice of staying alive better.
1) Breathing – Start by taking time to recognise and adjust your breathing
2) Healthy Eating – Start by cutting down on take outs and fast food
3) Quality Sleep – Start by turning off your electronic devices one hour before bed.
4) Consistent Exercise – Start with a 5minute walk a day
5) Time Out – Allow yourself 5 minutes everyday just to stop everything!!!