What are the 6 Essentials? They are 6 things we do every day, whether we realize it or not. These 6 Essentials are so named because they are essential to life. If we make wise choices in our 6 Essentials, we will do more than live, we will thrive! So let's take a look at these 6 Essentials.
- What you eat. Yep, most of us eat every day. Even if you are fasting, you are making a conscious choice about eating. To optimize your health, focus on the "what". To alkalize the body and help the body's natural detoxification process, eat 75%-80% fruits and vegetables and 20-25% everything else. The cleaner you eat (eliminate sugar and process foods, while eating whole, organic foods) the cleaner your body.
- What you drink. Choose water. Good, clean, filtered water is what our bodies crave. I like warm lemon water with some Morter Trace Minerals to start my day off right. Coffee, alcohol and other stimulants are acidic and dehydrating. Keep those to a minimum and, if you want to really boost your healing, eliminate them all together.
- How you move. Are you a couch potato? Chained to a desk? Get up and move. Shoot for 30 minutes of exercise at least 3 days a week. You can break that up into a 15 minute walk in the morning, or at lunchtime, and a 15 minute walk after dinner. Raining? Cold? Stream a 15 minute work out video instead. You don't have to live at the gym to see benefits to your health, (though that's an option, too!).
- How you rest. Shoot for 7-9 hours of restorative sleep every night. Night is the Yin time of our 24 hour day. During this time, our organs are busy cleaning and repairing. Help your body out by getting to bed by 11:00. If you have difficulty sleeping, see your acupuncturist-herbalist for help to get your body reset.
- What and how you breath. Fresh air is good for a body. Avoid smoke filled environments, use natural cleaners in your home, get rid of down and feather bedding. Change your air filters and keep your home and work environments free of dirt, dust and mold. Breathe through your nose, deeply, down into your abdomen. Oxygen is life...fill up!
- What do you think? Are you stuck in a loop of negative thought? Are you living in the past, filled with regret? Or is your brain spinning out with fear of the future? Try being present. Become aware of the moment...now. Take a deep breath, and affirm that you are safe and all is well. Shift your focus to positive thoughts of gratitude for every success, no matter how small. Try keeping a gratitude/success journal. Ten minutes a day can shift your perspective and help you live a happier healthier life.
If you are open to change, you can change. It takes some conscious awareness of your habits to start, but soon you will be rocking it without any conscious effort at all. Go ahead..you've got this!
Sharon Shuppert, L.Ac.
Owner of The Phoenix & Dragon Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine