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A-Z Wellness Guide To Living Your Best Life In 2019

A-Z Wellness Guide To Living Your Best Life In 2019

by Rakhee Bhatt

Wellness has become a global health movement with the aim of inspiring people to create a lifestyle that supports their mind, body, spirit, soul, and community. Each day presents the amazing opportunity to incorporate these practices into your daily life. From using Ayurveda to balance your doshas, to incorporating CBD to help balance the body’s endocannabinoid system, to learning the art of alternate nostril breathing, to relaxing in an infrared sauna to detox harmful toxins, we break down the world of wellness letter by letter so you can live your best life this year and all the years to come.

AYURVEDA

The word Ayurveda translates to the “science of life” in Sanskrit, and this 5,000-year-old holistic health care system takes root in the belief that the mind and the body are wholly connected. Ayurveda is comprised of three mind-body doshas called Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, which are derived from the five elements of nature and can help people stay balanced within themselves.

BEAUTYCOUNTER

Clean beauty brands that carefully source ingredients for their products—which are free of things like sulfates, formaldehydes, and parabens—are growing as more companies and consumers realize that what goes on to their bodies is just as important as what goes into their bodies. The Santa Monica-based brand Beautycounter is one such company creating safer skin care and cosmetics for the whole family that goes beyond the standards set in the United States by prohibiting the use of over 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals.

CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY

Bone compression is typically caused by the body’s absorption of emotional trauma, injury, and the stresses of daily life, which can significantly impact the function of the central nervous system. CranioSacral Therapy uses gentle hand pressure to release any tensions found in spinal fluids that move from the cranium to the sacrum in order to allow the body to eliminate chronic pain and strengthen its resistance to disease.

DETOX

Detoxing can be a veritable reset for the entire system. This method is intended to support the body’s natural ability to eliminate toxins by taking away ingredients like sugar, grains, and dairy for a set period of time and monitoring how the body feels. Afterwards, these items can be slowly introduced back into the system to see how it affects the person. Infrared saunas can also be a routine way to detox the system since it makes the body sweat at lower temperatures, thereby penetrating deeper to rid the toxins that are surrounded and enclosed by fat.

ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM

A part of your body’s nervous system, the endocannabinoid system is comprised of neurotransmitters that bind to certain receptors and is involved in regulating such cognitive and physiological processes like fertility, pregnancy, appetite, mood, and memory. The body naturally produces endocannabinoids, which can bond with the hemp found in CBD to improve the capabilities of the receptors and create a balance within the body.

FOREST BATHING

The Japanese practice of being present and relaxed among the trees in nature in order to lower heart rate, blood pressure, depression, and stress is known as “Shinrin-yoku” or forest bathing. The activity became part of Japan’s public health program in 1982, and since them the effects of nature therapy such as this and grounding have become a go-to way around the world to connect to the Earth’s energy to improve mental and physical wellness.

GUT HEALTH

The digestive system contains trillions of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microscopic things that are collectively known as the microbiome, which affects gut health. Commonly called the second brain, the gut has its own nervous system that operates independently from the brain and spinal cord, more often informing the brain than the other way around. The gut is home to more than 90% of the serotonin produced in the body and nearly 50% of its dopamine, which is the reason why many people experiencing anxiety and depression tend to find relief once they improve their diets. One ayurvedic meal that can improve gut health is Kitchari, a full protein meal made with basmati rice and yellow split peas known as mung daal.

HOLISTIC HEALING

Aligning the mind, body, and soul to its ideal state, holistic health is a natural approach to addressing imbalances. Holistic therapy and medicine treatments include the Eastern practice of acupuncture, where the skin and tissues are pricked with needles to alleviate such conditions as migraines, and aromatherapy, which uses essential oils like patchouli and lavender topically or through inhalation to help balance the chakras and promote sleep.

INTENTION

As any new chapter in life begins—be it a New Year, job, relationship, or health regime—setting an intention can be paramount to staying focused on your path. Reverse engineer your intentions by making each one SMART—specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Above all, being mindful, slowing down, and truly showing up for yourself is the foundation to setting any intention no matter how big or small.

JOY

Joy is an emotion created internally by something that provides happiness and pleasure, which in turn can give feelings of confidence and fulfillment. Simple actions like smiling, laughing, writing out a gratitude list, and helping someone else are all ways to spark joy in a person’s life. Making a commitment to do at least one thing a day that brings you personal joy can build over time to help create lasting joy in life.

KUNDALINI

There is a vital yogic life force known as kundalini that sits at the base of the spine where the root chakra is situated. When it is activated, this energy gets sent to the head to help eradicate the ego identity in order to open the self up to experience real love, wisdom, and direction. Kundalini yoga is specifically designed to help activate and balance this spiritual energy through meditation, chanting, and breathwork.

LOVE (SELF-LOVE)

As Oscar Wilde wrote in An Ideal Husband, “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” Having an unshakable inner love ultimately sets the tone for all of the relationships surrounding an individual, be it a spouse, friend, family, or colleague. Monitoring body talk, the way a person speaks to themselves and how their body responds, is a crucial component to cultivating self-love.

MEDITATION

There is an array of options available to people around the world to incorporate meditation into their daily lives. Known as a technique used to relax the mind and achieve a state of awareness separate from the normal waking state, meditation can be practiced through an app like Headspace, in a studio such as Inscape, or through a learned technique like Transcendental Meditation. Practiced consistently, meditation has been found to help ease depression, insomnia, addiction, pain, and weight loss.

NEPAL

Siddhartha Gautama, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded, was born in 623 BC in the Lumbini location of Southern Nepal, now deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Buddha grew up in a palace in Kapilavastu—a location whose exact site is unknown—with all of the lavish material comforts of life, completely shielded from religious teachings and human suffering. At the age of 29, Gautama went against his father’s wishes and left the palace to pursue a path towards awakening. Six years later, he attained enlightenment while meditating under a Bodhi tree and became Buddha, or the awakened one. He traveled around southern Nepal and other areas to spread his teachings such as the four noble truths.

ORAL HYGIENE

There is a correlation between oral health and overall wellness, as conditions like gum disease can be linked to illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory problems. Aside from brushing twice a day and flossing, oral hygiene is aided by using a tongue cleaner to reduce undesirable bacteria and bad breath while also stimulating taste perception.

PRANAYAMA

Pranayama is the conscious awareness of breath as well as the understanding of how this breathwork can both energize and relax the body. Nadi Shodhana is a popular pranayama practice where a person alternates breathing through each nostril in order to help quiet the mind and center their energy. Kapalbhati, or breath of fire, is good for those experiencing depression or brain fogginess.

QUALITY TIME

The simple and essential pleasure of spending quality time with oneself, spouse, children, relatives, and friends is priceless. Time once lost is lost forever, so it’s important to carve out space in your schedule for key relationships. Planning a device-free date night with your spouse, going to a yoga class with your best friend, and syncing up a time in your calendars to chat with your cousin across the country are all different ways to foster your relationships.

REIKI

Reiki is a holistic Japanese treatment used to heal mental and physical trauma, where the practitioner channels life force energy through his or hands and transfers it to the subject. This force can flow through to the subject and charge them with energy that is positive, loosening the grip of that which is negative. The reiki healer can then use a light therapeutic touch to clear away negative thoughts and feelings to open up the person’s energy pathways.

SOUND BATHS

Sound baths clear stuck energy and sooth the body, mind, and soul through the use of frequencies made on various instruments such as singing bowls, gongs, tuning forks, and chanting. This works as a form of therapy, as the vibration and sounds can help evoke feelings of peace, happiness, and clarity. A Tibetan singing bowl is easy to use on a daily basis and provides a healing sound to contribute to a deep sense of relaxation.

TRANSCEND

Transcending means to pass beyond the limits of the mind and the current state of reality, however getting to that point requires conscious and consistent practice. Observing thoughts without identifying with them, especially those based in ego and negativity, is vital to freeing oneself and transcending those limiting patterns. Meditation, gratitude, self-love rituals, and acts of kindness are all ways to grow and improve one’s life energies.

UNPLUG

In today’s hyper-connected world, taking the time to unplug can have incredible wellness benefits like showing up more fully in life and with loved ones. For those used to logging on to email outside of normal office hours, detaching from devices after work has been found to make people feel more refreshed when starting their tasks the following day. Additionally, unplugging can also benefit sleep, as the blue light from screens can throw off the body’s natural circadian rhythm.

VISUALIZATION

Your thoughts become your reality, so focusing on the right ones is vital to creating your dream life. Visualization is a technique that can help a person manifest their ultimate goals. A great way to start the practice is to visualize something you wish to happen in your life for a couple of minutes every day before bed for at least one to two months, incorporating as many vivid details as possible and observing how they make you feel. Oprah is a fan of vision boards as a powerful way to manifest dreams, saying that the key to visualization is that, “You have to do it and meet that vibration. You have to prepare yourself to be there and ready when it shows up.”

WELLNESS

Wellness is a health movement that inspires people to take control of their lives and create a lifestyle that sustains their body, mind, soul, community, and environment. Whether it’s creating a self-love Sunday ritual, allowing yourself to listen to your intuition instead of other people, or planning out your year via a bullet journal, wellness is meant to lay the foundation for feeling joyous in your own life. Dr. Dean Ornish sums up wellness by stating, “Eat well. Move more. Stress less. Love more.”

XYLITOL

The negative effects of excess sugar are abundant, and can cause hormonal imbalances and weight gain, not to mention addiction to the substance itself. Natural sweeteners such as Xylitol are a suitable substitute and are found in the fibers of such foods as strawberries, raspberries, cauliflower, lettuce, and corn. It is absorbed more slowly than regular table sugar and is metabolized independently of insulin, meaning that Xylitol does not increase blood sugar levels.

YOGA

Yoga is an ancient spiritual practice that has grown in popularity all over the world for its ability to strengthen and increase the flexibility of the body, mind, and soul. There are different styles of yoga to choose from, and beginners should start with a Yin Yoga or Restorative Yoga class. One crucial component to yoga is savasana, or corpse pose, which is traditionally the final pose in most classes. It can create overall stillness and foster the ability to let go of anything not serving you before you exit your practice.

ZEN

The essence of Zen is to understand the meaning of life from a calm and collected state of awareness. Derived from Mahayana Buddhism, this inward-focused experience allows actions to be guided by intuition and not shaken by the world or our egocentric mind. Practicing presence is fundamental to cultivating a state of Zen, as Vietnamese monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh says, “It is only in the here and now that we can get in touch with the wonders of life that are available in the present moment.”

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