There are many theories about the significance of 2012 which range from predictions around possible pole shifts dating back thousands of years that could result in dire consequences including the end of the world, to major shifts in global consciousness and a new enlightened world where people actually care for themselves, each other and all living beings.   The former sounds a bit ominious and the latter sounds promising.  The way I see it the new year and 2012 is a time of renewal and an opportunity to learn, grow and contribute to positive changes in the world, starting with ourselves.

As we look at what we can do, one area where we can make an immediate impact is our health.  Here are my top 5 tips for jump starting your health this year:

1.  Drink lots of filtered water:  The body is made up of 2/3+ water, we must have water to survive.  When the body becomes dehydrated, we may get confused, have trouble thinking, feel lethargic, and our entire body is struggling to operate.  If you do nothing else this new year, treat yourself to good, filtered water and lots of it.  Drink half your body weight in ounces per day, e.g., if you weigh 120 lbs, drink approximately 60 ounces a day.  It’s best to start with water first thing in the morning and drink consistently throughout the day versus drowning in big doses.  Besides helping your brain, your skin and vital organs will be much happier and you will likely have less cravings and will be flushing toxins out of the body

2.  Consume living, whole food:  Focus on consuming fresh fruit, veggies, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains – lean into plant-based protein versus animal protein – plants provide good quality, low-fat, high nutrient fuel for the body and the mind.  Eat 7-12 servings of fruit and veggies each day – the RDA says 5, but most wellness professionals will agree we need more than that as a result of our decline of soil quality and ultimately the nutrients.  Focus on organic fruit, and dark leafy greens and vegetables of bright colors to bring in more antioxidants to help fight the free radicals in the body.

3.  Eat mindfully:  Slow it down and enjoy your food and the experience of eating.  Keep in mind that digestion actually begins in the mouth, so take a breath before you eat, smell your food, chew your food slowly and enjoy every bite.  Your body will better digest the food, be better equipped to notify you when you are full (helping you to eat less) and you may find a whole new awareness around eating, including your overall connection and relationship with food.

4. Move that body:  As the Reel to Real’s song goes, “I like to move it, move it” – if you want to feel good, get that chi (energy) moving!  There are many benefits to physical exercise.  According to the Center for Disease Control and the 2008 Physical Guidelines for Americans, adults ages 18-64 need 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity such as brisk walking and 2+ days of muscle strenthening activities such as lifting weights or resistence strengthening, i.e., push ups, sit ups, or yoga to improve your health-aerobics and muscle-strengthening. Physical activity will help support cardivascular health, release endorphins, your “feel good hormones”, help to burn calories and improve your overall outlook.  So, get out there and find something fun to engage in, perhaps dancing, pilates, Zumba Fitness, or yoga.

5.  Live through the heart:  Nothing changes your perspective faster than bringing your awareness back to your heart and there are health benefits as well.  According to Emmons, a psychologist from California, and his research on gratitude, people who live in gratitude take better care of themselves and engage in healthy behaviors such as regular exercise, and a healthy diet. So, consider making it a daily habit to live from the heart -each morning thing about what you are grateful for, pause for moment before responding to friends and family and filter through the heart and listen with compassionate ears. Notice how starting your day in gratitude and heart-focused living impacts your response and relationships and life overall.

If you would like additional support to jump start your new year, feel free to reach out to me directly at amya@vitalself.com for one-on-one support or consider joining my Jump Start Cleanse beginning January 7th.

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