05/05/2015 05:31 EDT | Updated 05/04/2016 05:12 EDT

10 Steps to Living a Life of Greater Ease and Health

Shutterstock / MJTH

With spring in the air and summer right around the corner, comes a renewed zest for life! In my work as a family doctor and mind body medicine coach, I have always been amazed how some people live long, healthy, seemingly happy lives and others seem to have greater struggles.

There have been countless studies on the direct link between our emotional make-up and our physical well-being. These types of studies are impossible to do double blind, but we can tell a lot about health by taking advice from older, healthy people. After interviewing a number of my clients and doing some soul searching myself, I have compiled a list of 10 steps that you can start today to create greater ease in your life -- and by extension, greater health.

10. Laughter. Laughter has been studied to be similar in some ways to exercise. It can boost our immune system, keep us in the moment and helps us to feel more optimistic and hopeful. Laughter helps us to de-stress in different ways than planned activities. Laughter makes us feel good and helps us sustain a positive mental state even after we are done laughing. One of the best people to laugh at is ourselves -- our judgement, our minds and our crazy selves!

9. Exercise. Regular physical activity is well known to decrease risks for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, bone loss and much more. Moving our body also feels good! We get more energy, we feel more alive and we mentally stay alert. Exercise is excellent for our sleep cycles and helps us to stay more mentally focused.

8. Eat More Vegetables and Fruit. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may decrease the risks for certain illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, obesity and certain cancers. Fruits and vegetables are also important sources of nutrients to keep the blood pressure down and keep our bones strong.

7. Turn the Other Cheek. Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves. Studies have shown that forgiveness decreases stress levels and has a profound positive impact on our physical and mental body. Un-forgiveness is a trap that we can get into easily. Studies show that forgiveness can lower blood pressure, increase immune system and potentially decrease back pain, stomach issues and headaches.

6. Hold No Regrets -- Your Life Is Now. People are often afraid to take a risk. Many people say that the only regret you have is the risk you never took. Fear and inner resentment can create tightness in our bodies by increasing the stress hormones. As a result, our blood pressure can go up and we can be more prone to diabetes and lower immune system. Live for now. Now is the only moment you have!

5. Be in the Moment Now. The power of now is incredible. When we are completely present, we allow ourselves to truly be here. The more we are in the now, the more we are focused on our breathing. This focus on our breath slows down our respiratory rate, our blood pressure and our stress hormones. We feel a greater sense of ease and peace. This then helps our entire body to relax, which helps us to feel better!

4. Meditate. The clinical studies on meditation are fascinating! Regular meditation practices have been studied to help for many illnesses especially those that are chronic in nature, for which pharmaceuticals can offer only limited benefit. Meditation has been shown to decrease psoriasis, pain from fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, asthma, anxiety, sleep disorders and more. Regular meditation of simply 20 minutes a day can completely change your health!

3. Drink more water. Our bodies are 60 to 70 per cent water and need replenishing and TLC. Regular water consumption can help us to feel better. We need water to keep our brains focus, to keep our skin looking good and to feed our muscles and cells when we exercise. When we drink water regularly, we often find we need to eat less food. Our kidneys stay happy and our colon works better!

2. Get outside Many of us can relate to being inside a lot, especially in the winter. Science has shown that getting outside promotes relaxation and increases energy. This regular dose of fresh air can help to increase our immune system and elevate our mental focus and clarity.

1. Feel Love today Love is an emotion that we all have the capability of feeling. Love and appreciation are studied to decrease cortisol and allow us to feel better. Can you think of someone in your life and send them some love in your mind and heart, even if they are thousands of miles away? Allowing ourselves to feel love now for anyone can help us to increase our love for ourselves.

With summer rapidly approaching, now is the time for us to focus on ourselves. It is not surprising that the 10 tips mentioned above all revolve around ourselves. As we de-stress and increase our space of love, we can actually feel good! De-stressing can increase our ease and increase our health. Pick one or two of the suggestions and start to implement them for 30 days. See how you feel after a month. You may be surprised how a little bit of self-care goes a long way!


How The Office Makes You Unhealthy