Manipal Nurse Sunday Column: 12 Things You Can Do in Under Five Minutes to Improve your Health

I suppose the trick here is the “not feeling guilty” part, people in those other societies having had it drummed into them from birth that they ALWAYS have to be doing something, while here of course, the somethings that we do are fitted, somewhat grumpily, around the doing nothing that is such an active part of our lives.

1. Inhale an energising scent. Research suggests that lemon and peppermint scent are energising. To exploit this finding, have an occasional cup of lemon or peppermint tea…or chew peppermint gum.

2. Sip ice water. It keeps your cells hydrated and helps you burn calories.

3. Practice “one-breath” meditation. You don’t have to spend years mastering meditation. Sit in a comfortable chair. Straighten your back, relax your shoulders and take a deep breath. Let the air “open” your chest. Imagine it filling every cell in your body. Hold the breath for a moment, then exhale.

4. Minimise noise at home and at work.

5. Bask in bright light. Most people get a powerful surge of energy from sunlight or bright indoor light. Make use of this effect by moving your desk or chair closer to a window…or take a five-minute out-door walk every few hours.

6. Do abdominal exercise. Use this technique while sitting at your desk or while stuck in traffic…Sit up straight. Place hands on hips with thumbs pointing towards your back. Exhale slowly and completely, pushing the last air out forcefully with your lower abdominals.

7. Perform mental “cross-training”. Cross-training is the process by which you “stretch” your mind in as many different directions as possible by engaging in a variety of mental and physical activities. Word puzzles and other games are an easy way to perform this cross-training. Play Scrabble or do crossword puzzles…challenge a friend to chess, checkers or bridge.

8. Cook with “nutriceuticals”. These are vegetables, herbs and spices that have specific healing properties. e.g. garlic and onions boost the immune system, helping prevent colds, black pepper, jalapenos, mustard and hot red peppers all boost your metabolism for several hours. (And some people want to know why I have been going on at a rate about pepper).

9. Check your reading posture. Poor posture-leaning over a desk for instance-can cause tension headaches, vision problems and pain in the jaw and/or neck.

10. Do trigger-point therapy. Whenever you feel tense, feel for a tight band of muscle tissue-a trigger point. Press or squeeze it with light to moderate pressure. Continue pressing for five to ten seconds, then release.

11. Curb indoor pollution. Whenever possible, keep your windows open. Use exhaust fans in the bathroom, kitchen and garage whenever you use these rooms…Make your home and office smoke-free.

12. Also helpful: Take a five-minute “mental vacation” every few hours. Picture your favourite beach or other getaway place.

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About Nurse 114 Articles
When I think about all the patients and their loved ones that I have worked with over the years, I know most of them don't remember me nor I them. But I do know that I gave a little piece of myself to each of them and they to me and those threads make up the beautiful tapestry in my mind that is my career in nursing.

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