5 Habits That Will Keep You Healthy And Happy
FIVE HABITS WILL KEEP YOU HEALTHY AND HAPPY
Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.
—— Martin Luther King, Jr.
Everyone has some scope to improve. We have to shun negative habits and to adopt positive habits. Try to change yourself, though it will take sometime but definitely you can. Develop following five habits to lead a happy and healthy life.
1. Experience silence
2. Pray daily for few minutes
3. Laugh daily for few times
4. Sleep six to eight hours daily
5. Exercise thirty minutes daily
1. Experience Silence
We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. …..We need silence to be able to touch souls.
—— Mother Teresa
In today’s world noise pollution is equally harmful as air pollution, world is full of noise from music, automobiles, horns and machines and few minutes silence is a strange experience. Silence gives you peace and space to think and enjoy surroundings. Regular observation of silence can be beneficial in following ways:
i) Silence reduces stress:
Noise stimulates secretion of stress hormones and silence depresses such stimulation and relieves stress and anxiety. By reducing stress silence reduces heart rate and blood pressure leading to lowering of risk factors for heart disease thus silence is cardioprotective. World Health Organisation calls noise a “modern plague” adversely affecting the health of people. Most of the great men have observed silence for sometime in their lives. Hindu scriptures advice to practice silence and then only you can feel it’s importance.
Make a daily practice to observe silence for half an hour to have calm mind and anxiety free life. Rig Veda has mentioned about mauna or silence. Ramana, the famous Indian sage, was a practitioner of silence he said “silence is the true updesa. It is the perfect updesa. It is suited only for the most advanced seeker. The others are unable to draw full inspiration from it. Therefore, they require words to explain the truth. But truth is beyond words; it doesn’t warrant explanation”. 1
ii) Silence sharpens memory:
Silence improves memory specially spatial memory. An area of brain called hippocampus, is associated with memory and silence stimulates this area leading to better memory. It has been observed by some researchers that prolong silence stimulates development of new brain cells which helps in improving memory. Regular practice of daily silence for half an hour will boost your memory power. It is suitable for students.
iii) Regular practice of silence helps in insomnia:
Few minutes of daily silence improves the quality of sleep. Noise keeps you awake and silence puts you to sleep. Dark and silent place helps you to sleep quickly and better. Studies have shown that people who live in noisy places have sleep disturbances and resultant health problems. Famous actor George Clooney revealed that he is suffering from sleep problems. He told “Hollywood Reporter” in 2012 that he routinely has a “tough time getting to sleep” and that he woke up as many as five times per night.2 Practice daily silence for half an hour and sleep well.
2. Pray daily for few minutes:
Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.
—— Soren Kierkegaard
Pray to God to give you health, peace of mind and wellbeing. A simple prayer doesn’t require anything except your concentration. It doesn’t also matter about your posture or dress. You can pray while even sitting or lying on bed. It is a way to communicate with God. You have not to wait for an answer it will come, have patience. Intense prayer with full concentration and devotion becomes a form of meditation. Usually the prayer is done to prevent or cure illness but we are praying for health and general wellbeing.
Andrew Newberg, Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, USA says that with practice one can communicate with supernatural, he further says that there is connection between prayer, meditation and health, people who frequently practice prayer or meditation experience lower blood pressure, lower heart rate, decreased anxiety and decreased depression.3 National Institute of Health in the United States, found that in 2002, 43% of Americans pray for their own health, 24% pray for other’s health, and 10% participate in a prayer group for their own health.
3. Daily laugh few times:
He who laughs, lasts.
—— Mary Pettibone Poole
Laughter is considered a visual expression of positive emotions. Laughter is found scientifically beneficial to human health. Laughter helps to strengthen cardiovascular system. Laughter causes dilatation of the inner lining of the blood vessels, the endothelium and increases blood flow.4 It also reduces stress and pain by reducing production of stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine and secretion of endorphins. Nowadays laughter is used as a therapeutic modality. It provides health and physical and emotional well being. Laughter also helps to develop friendship and strengthens social life. So develop a habit of laughing few times a day and it is better if you laugh with family members.
4. Sleep six to eight hours daily
Sleeping is like meditation. It is good to rest the body but also to shut the mind down for a bit.
—— Anthony Joshua
Sleep is essential for human beings. This state of body and mind is as necessary for survival as food and water. Sleep rejuvenates body and mind. It gives required rest to nervous, muscular and skeletal systems. It plays a large role in function of endocrine and immune systems.5 Sleep restores an organism’s physical abilities and thus stimulates healing of body and mind. During sleep the wastes of brain are also execrated thus gives energy and freshness to brain. Reduced metabolic rate of body during sleep helps in restoring body’s functions. Sleeplessness impairs immune function and makes body vulnerable to infections. Regular optimum hours sleep sharpens memory.
Humans should sleep 6 to 8 hours in a day. This optimal sleep of 6-8 hours improves longevity and cardiac health. Sleeping less than 6 hours and more than 8 hours is harmful to the body in long run. So to be happy sleep atleast 6 hours a day.
5. Exercise thirty minutes daily:
If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.
Any physical activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness is called exercise.6 Exercise helps to maintain good health and avoids falling sick. It affects overall body, almost all systems of body. Regular exercise improves health of skeletal, muscular, digestive, cardio-vascular and endocrine systems. Lack of exercise increases chances of developing heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer. Some studies indicate that exercise may increase life expectancy and the overall quality of life.7
Develop a practice of doing daily exercise atleast 30 minutes, 5 days a week, use stairs, go to kitchen and get your water and tea instead ordering, park the car at a distance to walk a bit and play games, with children.
1. VenKantramaiah 2000, p433.
2. George Clooney’s Big Surprises: Small Paychecks Insomnia, Bouts of Loneliness. The Hollywood Report, February 15, 2002.
3. Newberg, Andrew Interviewed by Barbra Bradley Hagerty. “Prayer May Re-Shape Your Brain”. www.npr.org “All Things Considered” 20 May 2009. National Public Radio. Web 30 June 2010.
4. Miller, M; Mangano, C; God, R; Plotnic, Go; Vogal, RA; Impact of Cinematic Viewing on endothelial function, Heart 2005, 92(2): 261-2.
5. Sleep-wake cycle: it’s physiology and impact on health. National Sleep Foundation. 2006.
6. Kylasov A, Gavrov S: Diversity of Sport: non-destructive evaluation. Paris: UNESCO: Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems, 2011, pp 462-91.
7. Gremaux V; etal: Exercise and longevity. Maturitas, 2012, 73(4): 312-17.
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