On a rational level most of us are aware that we have our health under control by exercising regularly, eating the right foods and avoiding negative stress.
So why do we have such great difficulty in just doing what makes us feel better mentally and physically in extending our lifespan and overall quality of life.
Let us look at 54-year-old Harry. His wife has chased him to a doctor after many hours of persuasive argument. The doctor does some check-ups and tells Harry. “Look your cholesterol levels, blood sugar level and blood pressure are way above average. You need to change something…”
Harry of course ignores the doctors warning. “You only live once. We all have to die some day. You won’t stop me from having my smoke, enjoying my Big Mac and a good beer after work.” Some years go by. At the age of 60 Harry has double by-pass surgery to his heart and is diagnosed with diabetes. Two years later he has a stroke, is confined to a wheel chair and is forced to go into early retirement with his poor wife also having to give-up her job to take care of him.
All of us know at least one such scenario in our own family or among close friends. The food we eat, the amount of exercise we give our bodies and the balance we find between activity and rest will especially determine the quality of life you lead as you get older. So how do we motivate ourselves to do that which makes us simply enjoy life a lot more. In my previous blog I referred to the phenomenon of self-mutilation that seems prevalent among so many young folk these days. Well older folk don’t seem much better in the way they treat their bodies like machines that just need to function. If the body starts faltering, you just take some pills to keep going.
So lets get to the point. Some religions have the tradition of fasting over 40 days to detox the body both physically and spiritually. They found that such a timespan is necessary to feel a significant change taking place. In some Buddhist traditions Mantras are recited every day at a certain time over a 40-day period.
Most people have great difficulty and find they need enormous self-discipline to integrate an exercise programme in their daily routine, especially if you come home in the evening with everyone from the dog to the children demanding attention. Here are some ways of getting around those barriers:
Find a fixed time during the day where you are really alone and undisturbed to do your exercise routine. My wife Alyce and I have found the ideal time at 6 am in the morning. That hour of exercise in yoga, taiji and meditation gives us much more energy for the day’s challenges than that extra hour of sleep.
Choose an exercise routine that fits your personality and that you really enjoy.
Choose your food wisely. We are really what we eat. Without going into any dogma a good mixture of vegetables, fruit and a little meat or fish will do it. Ban white sugars and industrial salts from your diet.
Find a friend, a family member, colleagues or an exercise group so that you are not alone. We are social animals and can give each other enormous motivational support.
Try and keep up the routine for at least 40 days. It is the time your body needs to adapt to the change. After this time you will feel a change taking place.
You will start feeling a positive mental and physical change taking place. You will become a lot happier because you simply will start feeling much better in your body.
More information on the Five Elements in my book “Yield and Overcome”: http://goo.gl/TXSgw0
What is the Dan Tien: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dantian