Forever young naturally lifestyle
. Older people form the part of the population most likely to suffer from tobacco-induced disease and premature death: smoking shortens life by an average 12–15 years. Moreover, smoking is the second best way to age the skin (after UV exposure). According to the World Health Organization, tobacco is more addictive than heroin, cocaine, alcohol, caffeine, and marijuana. Now is the time to stop!
Stop Smoking Educate yourself
. How much do you know about the risks of smoking as an older person? Studies suggest that you are unlikely to want to stop until you know the worst. Get online and find out now!
Stop Smoking Never too late
. Smoking for decades doesn't make it harder to give up nor are the benefits reduced. Studies demonstrate that quitting even post 65 brings significant health benefits and extends lifespan. After five tobacco-free years, risk becomes close to that of a lifelong nonsmoker.
Stop Smoking Make a plan
. The first step in quitting is to decide you want to stop (not just cut down). It may help to record your thinking in a journal. List reasons for quitting and explanations for why it hasn't worked in the past. Note alternative ways to cope with stressful events. Set down a date to aim for.
Stop Smoking Nicotine replacement
. Using appropriate nicotine replacement therapy, such as patches, gum, inhalers, and nasal sprays or non-nicotine Zyban tablets, reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms and can double your chance of quitting. Check with your doctor before buying off-the-shelf products.
Stop Smoking Involve professionals
. Consult your doctor about clinics or groups that offer programs tailored to helping smokers kick the habit. For free advice on how to quit smoking, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/tobacco/how2quit.
Stop Smoking Self help groups
. The camaraderie of other would-be nonsmokers can help in the struggle to quit. Seek out a group near home or work.
Stop Smoking You need friends
. Enlist the support of family, friends, and work colleagues. Have them email you supportive messages and be there to help you resist temptation at difficult times. It's easiest to quit if a friend joins the struggle.
Stop Smoking Avoidance strategies
. It often helps to sever associations between smoking, socializing, and alcohol. Save smoking for solitary sessions. Plan your social life around nonsmoking friends and venues. Cut out alcohol during at least the first two months of quitting; this seems to boost willpower to keep up the good work.
Stop Smoking Eat your greens
. Make sure to eat cruciferous vegetables most days. Two daily helpings of broccoli, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts can reduce levels of tobacco toxins in smokers, claims the American Health Foundation. stop smok ing 143
Stop Smoking Detox with fruit and veg
. Not only does smoking create freeradical molecules that prematurely age the body, but smokers also have lowered levels of the antioxidant vitamins needed to mop up the damage. As an antidote, pack your diet with free-radical-busting fruit and vegetables and drink plenty of water to flush away toxins.
Stop Smoking Keep your fingers busy
. When you just have to do something with your fingers, open pistachio nuts. They are a great snack for the heart, since they contain more cholesterol-lowering phytosterols than other nuts. Greek women swear by worry beads for occupying the hands. Knitting with chunky wool on large needles also brings satisfyingly speedy results.
Stop Smoking Herbal help
. To support and cleanse the lungs after giving up, take coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) as a herbal tincture (30 drops daily in water) or as capsules (follow pack directions).
Stop Smoking Try acupuncture
. Researchers have found acupuncture effective in helping kick the habit. Ask your doctor about referral.
Stop Smoking Homeopathic support
. Take the remedy Caladium 30 c daily for two weeks after giving up to modify cravings for tobacco. Take Nux.Vomica 30 c daily for two weeks to help the body rid itself of nicotine. If you develop a cough after giving up as the lungs try to drain built-up catarrh, try a daily dose of Pulsatilla 30 c until symptoms ease.
Stop Smoking Apples help
. Need to put something in your mouth? Try a crisp apple. The tangy freshness can stave off cravings.
Stop Smoking Natural painkillers
. Light, regular exercise reduces withdrawal symptoms and stimulates natural painkillers. Visit the gym when symptoms seem worse.
Stop Smoking Deserving treats
. Indulge in other pleasures: read a novel in a hammock, sunbathe for 15 minutes, have a few minutes extra in bed in the morning, or enjoy dark chocolate after dinner.
Stop Smoking Savings add up
. An Ohio State University study demonstrated that for every year of smoking adults lost around 4 percent of income. Put away the money you save by not smoking then buy something tangible: maybe a new sofa or a truly fabulous pair of shoes.
Stop Smoking Keep trying
. If you give in, don't feel like a failure. Dust off your self-respect and start over. The average person takes seven goes to give up for life. Zero tolerance of tobacco is essential after giving up. Even after years of abstinence, just one cigarette can trigger cravings. Detox with cruciferous greens to get rid of tobacco toxins in your blood.
. We all need a little daily stress to motivate us to get up, and to provide the impetus to tackle challenges. But when stressors are psychological and frequent, and not enough time elapses for the body to recover from its stress responses, well-being suffers.
The beauty and scent of roses help you unwind and keep your baseline stress hormone levels low.
Counter stress caused by sleep deprivation with an afternoon nap.
Borage, a known adrenal stimulant, is great for boosting emotional stamina.
De stressing Get moving
. A sure way to reduce stress levels is to exercise. Aim for at least 30 minutes' activity a day. Fit people are more resilient to stress, require greater stimulus to invoke the stress response, and return to normal more quickly following stressful incidents.
De stressing Act like a woman
. Women have ways of coping with stress that reduce negative health consequences. They use “tend and befriend” strategies while men tend to withdraw, act hostile, or resort to alcohol or drugs. This may be why women outlive men by an average of seven and a half years.
De stressing Count your hours of sleep
. On less than six hours' sleep, the brain seems to release stress hormones. During stressful periods, seek extra sleep in the form of daytime naps.
De stressing Relax in the bath
. Soaking in warm water sedates the nervous system; effects are greater if you add a relaxing essential oil.
De stressing Learn to meditate
. Meditation can return stress hormone levels to normal, relax muscles, and slow a racing heart. If you can't meditate on a daily basis, try to approach everyday activities in a state of mindfulness.
De stressing Herbs for stamina
. Stress engages the “fight or flight” mechanism or adrenaline response; over time this exhausts the adrenal glands. The herb borage (Borago officinalis), traditionally given to soldiers before battle to engender courage, is a known adrenal stimulant. On a stressful day take 20–30 drops of the tincture in water to restore emotional stamina.
De stressing Try flower essences
. Australian Bush Flower Essence combination Calm & Clear suits those who rush around trying to do too much and consequently achieve little. It contains essences to aid concentration, calm a busy mind, and promote mental focus.
De stressing Begin chanting
. Chanting a mantra seems to help reduce stress, research reveals. Seek out a meditation class based on an Eastern tradition to learn how, or try Sivananda or Kundalini yoga, which teach the techniques.
De stressing Learn to pray
. Sit or kneel comfortably upright. Adopt your regular prayer position with your hands. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. On an out-breath repeat a prayer or holy word/s that have meaning for you. Repeat the invocation with every out-breath; let it melt away awareness of the body. As you utter the holy words, bring them into your heart, giving up any thoughts or emotions you are holding on to. Let the holy word ignite the spark of divine within.
De stressing Keep a plan
. If you've always got too much to do and too little time to finish everything, plan out your week in a diary. Build in space for leisure, relationships and downtime.
De stressing Ditch the overtime
. People who work long hours are at increased risk of suffering injuries and sickness that trigger time off work. If you feel trapped in an overwork culture, consider jobsharing, working part-time, or freelancing, if that is an option. If not, could you consider a careerswitch, sabbatical, or retraining?
De stressing Declare war on noise
. Noise pollution—leaking iPods, tantrumming toddlers, wailing sirens—evokes an especially rapid stress response and women seem to have lowest tolerance levels. At home, turn off phones, TV, and radio. Whenever possible, retreat to locations where wind and birdsong are the loudest audible events.
De stressing Attend a concert
. Listening to live music can lower stress levels, reducing blood pressure and feelings of depression and anxiety, shows one study.
De stressing We need bread and roses
. Build treats into difficult days. The heart needs constant nourishment from art and beauty, just as the body requires its daily bread. Spend lunchtime in a gallery, go to the ballet, place a bunch of organically grown roses on your desk.
De stressing Turn off the TV
. Working long hours and watching TV are closely linked in studies. See how much less stressed you feel if you have non-TV evenings. Does this give you time to talk to your partner, finish chores, take a bath, or simply go to bed earlier?
De stressing Keep a diary
. Keep a stressors and triggers diary. Buy a notebook and rule each page into three columns. In the first column log each time you become angry. In the second column cite the stressor. In the third column write down what you could do, either by avoiding the stress factor or by reacting differently to it.
De stressing Tense and release
. Lie on your back, arms and legs gently apart. Working from the toes up, tense every part of your body in turn, holding the tension before releasing on an out-breath. Include your feet, calves, thighs and buttocks, abdomen and chest, hands and arms, shoulders and neck, face and scalp. Feel how good relaxation is when compared with tension.
De stressing Productive jams
. Make sure you always allow enough travel time. If you have to sit in traffic jams regularly, make them productive: learn a language from a CD, listen to audio books, lighten up with a radio comedy, or chill with a relaxation tape.
De stressing Bathe in white light
. When everything is overwhelming, close your eyes and imagine a shower of bright white light beating down on the crown of your head. Feel it cleansing your body and washing away negative energy. Then imagine breathing in the pure white light, allowing it to seep into every organ and enter your bloodstream, bringing peace and purity. Finally, exhale the white light, letting it sit around your body like a force-field.
. Aging means change, whether as a result of emotional loss, physical ailments, or mental decline. And for most of us, change brings anxiety. A Dutch study found that anxiety goes hand in hand with depression as we grow older, with women at greater risk than men. Since anxiety can be a risk factor in many diseases, it pays to conquer it by adopting any natural approaches that work for you.
Burn essential oils with aromas that calm the mind and restore the spirit.
Use candle meditation to see the flame of life burning bright within.
Beating anxiety Prevent panic attacks
. Take the homeopathic remedy Aconite 30 c as soon as you start to feel panic rising to prevent it from developing. It is particularly helpful if you feel convinced you are about to die. Don't feel bad about this experience; it's more common than you might think!
Beating anxiety Meditate on a thought
. Think on the following quotation attributed to Mark Twain when anxiety strikes: “I'm an old man, and have known many troubles, but most of them have never happened.”
Beating anxiety Money troubles
. If you tend to fret about financial security and spend hours studying bank statements and doing frantic calculations, take one dose of the homeopathic remedy Ars.Alb 30 c, file bank statements away, and go and do something enjoyable.
Beating anxiety Knead putty
. Buy yourself a few pots of silly putty—choose an outrageous color. When you feel angry or can't get a grip on an issue, knead out your tension or throw the putty against a wall. When you can't stand it any more, throw the putty in the garbage can.
Beating anxiety Saddle up
. Try horseriding. Horses are considered to be highly responsive to human emotional states and are increasingly used therapeutically. Practitioners suggest that spending time with horses heightens social relationships and promotes teamwork, in addition to fostering emotional growth.
Beating anxiety Burn sandalwood oil
. Place 8 drops of this meditationenhancing essential oil in a room vaporizer to calm the mind and rejuvenate the nerves. Enjoy the balsamic woodiness of the scent.
Beating anxiety Float away
. To experience complete peace, try a session in a flotation tank, which guarantees the luxurious treat of total darkness, stillness, and (if you choose one without whale music) complete silence. Note how much clarity you gain after a session.
Beating anxiety Drink camomile tea
. Camomile has a sedative, musclerelaxant effect and works on the same part of the brain as antianxiety drugs. Steep tea bags for at least 7 minutes, or use two bags per cup.
Beating anxiety Connecting with the breath
. When you feel flustered or restless, close your eyes and be aware of the flow of breath in and out. Feel it cool on your upper lip and warm in your nostrils. This calm space for retreat is always there, waiting for you to drop into it.
Beating anxiety Driver shrug
. At the wheel, lift your shoulders toward your ears. Squeeze tightly then drop on an exhalation. Repeat, then roll your shoulders up, back and down. Reverse the movement.
Beating anxiety Bathing in green
. Being surrounded by greenery can reduce nervous and muscular tension and promote calm positivity. If you commute to work through the countryside, bathe in the different shades of green. In town, make diversions to spend daylight hours walking through parks.
Beating anxiety Boost natural opiates
. Boost circulation daily by going for a brisk walk or swim to pump freshly oxygenated blood around your body and fill your brain with natural opiates.
Beating anxiety Candle meditation
. Light a candle and sit in front of it. When your body feels relaxed and your breathing is calm, begin to stare at the flame. Allow the light to erase thoughts from the present moment. Close your eyes and see your flame of life within. However brightly it's burning right now, give thanks. When you feel ready to blow out the candle, keep the thought of the flame within you burning bright.
Beating anxiety Anxiety flower remedies
. Try 7 drops morning and evening of the following Australian Bush Flower Essences: • Dog Rose is good for a generally anxious nature, and particularly for anxiety about health. • Crowea, for inveterate worriers who torment themselves with a thousand little negative “what ifs.” • Sturt Desert Rose, for those whose anxiety is mixed with guilt about having done the wrong thing.
Beating anxiety Cry it out
. If you feel like weeping, do: it sheds stress hormones and can make you feel pleasantly emptied and able to start again. Laughter is another natural healer.
Beating anxiety Be good enough
. It's enough to be a good-enough mother, boss, lover, employee, or carer. Free yourself from having to achieve perfection all the time. When demands pile up and everyone expects something, do what you can, keeping the perspective that in five years' time it probably won't matter.
Beating anxiety Come back to the body
. Lie on your back with legs stretched out, arms by your side. Close your eyes and visualize all the water within your body. Start to roll slowly onto one side, picturing liquid within each of your cells tipping almost imperceptibly. Continue to roll onto your front, trying not to jolt the water within. Keep rolling to the other side and onto your back again, taking as long as you need, so as not to upset the water. This exercise may take 20 minutes.
Beating anxiety Spacious thinking
. Close your eyes and look at what image appears when you say the words “empty mind.” If it's a half-full cup, try to widen your perspective. Imagine sitting on a cliff top watching the horizon, following the line where sea and sky meet. When life feels confined, close your eyes and return to this spacious place.
Beating anxiety Daydream downtime
. Don't schedule every minute of the day for achieving stuff. Take time out while commuting, sitting at a desk, or in the park to daydream, staring into space and following wherever your thoughts go.
Beating anxiety Lottery reverie
. Have a million-dollar moment. Let your brain drift over all the things you'd do if you won the lottery. Travel, do good, live somewhere different. When you come to, ponder how you could make some of those wishes come true.
. Mood swings are a disconcerting but natural hazard of the menopausal years. To lessen highs and lows, cut back on caffeine and get enough sleep: jittery nerves from sleep deprivation and copious coffee make down times seem worse. Try relaxation techniques yoga and meditation are particularly helpful.
Lifting mood Skullcap tea
. Many herbal formulas promise relief from depression, low mood, anxiety, and insomnia. Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) appears in almost all of them. Drink the tea or take 20–30 drops of the tincture daily in lots of water it tastes very bitter.
Lifting mood Uplifting herbs
. St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) works well for many people with symptoms of depression because it acts as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (the physiological mechanism used by the tricyclic class of antidepressant drugs). Consult a herbalist to find which form might suit you best and take for at least two months. Consult your doctor if taking prescription drugs, including oral contraceptives, and avoid excessive exposure to sunlight.
Lifting mood Dealing with loss
. If a low mood is a reaction to a loss or disappointment of some kind (a specific loss such as the death of a pet or a more general sense of disappointment about life), take the homeopathic remedy Ignatia 30 c daily for short crisis periods. It is particularly suited to those prone to weeping or sighing.
Lifting mood Burn oils
. Add 3–4 drops of the following essential oils to a room vaporizer to lift mood: rose, jasmine, lavender, geranium, orange, frankincense.
Lifting mood Choose good fats
. The brain requires oil to function well, particularly omega-3 fatty acids. Low concentrations have been linked with mood disorders, while good amounts enhance braincell receptors' ability to process and react to mood signals. Get your fill from wild salmon and small oily fish, hemp, argan, and flax (linseed) oils (rub onto the skin, too), grass-fed meat, and organic cheese.
Lifting mood Plan to travel
. Gaining perspective on life can be helpful when things seem difficult. One of the best ways to do this is to travel. Try a tour for like-minded people who enjoy art, hiking, or ancient history, or a backpacking adventure that lifts you out of your own mechanical existence into the lives of others.
Lifting mood Become a poet
. Writing poetry is recommended by some doctors as a way to wean patients off antidepressants. One study suggested writing poetry stimulated levels of immunoglobin A. If you find words hard to conjure up, buy a pack of poetry fridge magnets and enjoy composing a line or two when reaching for the milk.
Lifting mood Emotional relief with yoga
. Yoga is supremely effective at calming an agitated mind. Try the pose below, or face a sofa, cross your legs, and lean forward resting your arms and head on the seat.
1 Supta virasana: kneel about 1 ft (30 cm) away from a sofa with knees hip-width apart; try to place your bottom on the floor between your feet (pile cushions beneath your bottom until you are comfortable).
2 Lie back on the sofa with back and head completely supported (add pillows where necessary). Rest for 5 minutes, breathing gently. (Avoid this pose if you have varicose veins or phlebitis.)
Lifting mood Go for a run
. You can feel better in just 30 minutes if you exercise. Research on patients with a major depressive disorder demonstrated that a 30-minute workout at moderate intensity can disable the anger, confusion, distress, and fatigue associated with a bad mood.
Lifting mood Suffering can help!
. Hardship may be important to some people in restoring equanimity. Climbing a mountain, walking a long trail, completing a trip by sail or oars can bring a sense of obstacles beaten, and a triumphing over self-obsession.
Lifting mood Get real
. Don't try to be happy all the time: if you need to cry or rage, do so. Mood swings are part of life—and life can be unfair.
Lifting mood Visualizing confidence
. Sit quietly and close your eyes. Think back to a time when you felt confident and optimistic. Perhaps after passing your driver's test, having a successful interview, getting married, or giving birth. Recall how you felt. Fix this image by drawing an imaginary circle around your feet. Step out of the circle, knowing it's there whenever you need to step back in and psyche yourself up for a stressful event.
Lifting mood Start the day right
. Make every morning a fresh start. Whatever happened yesterday, assert on waking that today will be filled with fresh possibilities. Vow to live in the present.
Lifting mood Seeking help
. If dark moods affect your quality of life, get help before they start to affect your work and social life. This will make independence more likely into old age.
Lifting mood Plant bulbs
. If you suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), anything that lifts the dreariness of the year's dark months can be helpful. In late summer plant bulbs to poke through the cold dark ground at that down time of year. Snowdrops, hyacinth, and crocuses provide earliest color. See them as a harbinger of spring warmth and new beginnings: new life needs a period of cold and dark in which to prepare to bloom.
Lifting mood Cook something good
. Invest feelings of positivity in a dish to serve to others or for yourself. As you chop, fry, and stir, mix in a little passion and personality by tuning into the scents, texture, and taste and staying in the moment.
Lifting mood When you overeat
. If, when you feel down, you need to eat carbohydrates, try adding sources of the mineral chromium to your diet—research suggests this may help when carb cravings typify depression. Sources include whole grains, green beans, and broccoli.
Lifting mood Light matters
. Try eating, reading, or watching TV by daylight lightbulbs if lack of natural light gets you down in winter. Full-spectrum lightboxes, or even a light visor worn like a hat, offer more intense light therapy, although 30 minutes' daily exposure to real outdoor light is best.
Lifting mood Drink lemon balm tea
. Try lemon balm tea, which is known to reduce anxiety, for its calming qualities. (Avoid in pregnancy.)
Lifting mood No technology day
. A survey of 1,500 men and women found that the more time they spent at a computer, the more depressed they were likely to be. If technology overload is causing you to feel stressed or affects performance and decision-making, set limits for time spent online, telephone rather than email, and set aside time for socializing and destressing. Have one technology-free day a week.
Lifting mood Quick fix flowers
. Bach Flowers Rescue Remedy is a must for destressing in situations of shock or when you need instant results. Place 4 drops in a glass of water and sip until symptoms subside. In extreme cases place the four drops directly on the tongue.
Lifting mood Embrace your rage
. Give vent to feelings of anger in a positive way and you are less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, studies suggest. Holding in emotions may increase levels of stress hormones in the body. Use anger as a tool for positive change in life or relationships, and address the issues that cause it. When you're over the outrage, express the depth of your feelings honestly, and state what needs to change, listing the consequences if nothing does.
Lifting mood Write a letter
. If a death has brought about unresolved issues or regrets, write a letter or an email to the deceased. If it helps, put it in the mailbox or send it into cyberspace.
. Optimists live healthier, more fulfilled lives than pessimists. They also live longer than people who see their glass as half empty. But modern, busy lives seem to mitigate against contentment: we are perhaps too bombarded by demands to appreciate the happiness of the present moment.
Positive thinking Flower power for optimism
. The best Flower Essence to promote optimism is the Australian Bush Flower remedy Sunshine Wattle. It is a good choice for people who take a grim view of the future because past events have been difficult. Take 7 drops every morning and evening for two weeks. Chrysanthemum from the Flower Essence Society range supports those having difficulty accepting aging. Place 2 drops in a glass of water and sip four times a day, or as necessary.
Positive thinking Laughter benefits
. Laughing helps blood circulate more effectively. Increased blood flow means more oxygen and nutrients where they need to be. Hit a comedy club or watch reruns of comedy classics on TV.
Positive thinking Manage anger
. Anger increases risk of suffering an injury or accident, suggests research. It is also a risk factor in reduced immunity, stroke, heart, and circulation problems. If you are prone to anger enroll on an angermanagement course and keep a diary listing triggers, reactions, and remedies.
Positive thinking Look in on yourself
. Try to see yourself from the perspective of someone looking in on your life. Refer to yourself in the third person. Does she enjoy life to the full? Does he make the most of opportunities? Why does she spend so much time frowning?
Positive thinking Challenge your inner voice
. If you have a demon on your shoulder constantly berating you or telling you that you've blown it, change him into a guardian angel who instead brings you more rational and empowering words.
Positive thinking Ditch negative stereotypes
. If you regard growing older as becoming decrepit, uninteresting, and depressed, you are more likely to age prematurely. Indeed, one study found those who had such negative perceptions experienced hearing decline earlier than those who saw aging as a golden time of positive possibilities.
Positive thinking Smile at strangers
. Dare to give a stranger a smile, even if you don't feel full of the joys of spring. Studies suggest even pretending to be happy makes us feel joyful and spreading love makes the world a more positive place for everyone.
Positive thinking Just play
. Find excuses to lose your inhibitions and play: try tag or dressing up with grandchildren, organize softball or volleyball on the beach, throw a Frisbee in the park, hold a Scrabble party with neighbors.
Positive thinking Spend time outdoors
. Natural light increases serotonin in the brain for instant positivity and stress-reduction. Spend a little time often in the sun, aiming for 10–15 minutes' sunbathing without sunscreen before 11a.m. or after 3 p.m.
Positive thinking Count your blessings
. At the end of every day think on the good things that happened. On bad days look for silver linings. (The gearbox went? At least it didn't happen on the highway. Your heel snapped? Time for a shopping trip.) Give thanks for blessings daily.
Positive thinking Thought affirmations
. Hang on to these thoughts: “I can do anything I choose,” “Today I'll eat well and exercise,” “I'm glad I've reached this age; I now have confidence and experience.”
Positive thinking Treat yourself
. Knock off early when there's good swell if you're a surfer; spend a day clothes' shopping at the start of the season; catch the matinee of a new show. Pleasure is wrinkle-lightening.
Positive thinking Savor life
. Contemplating death forms part of the world's great religions for a reason: it makes us more positive about living life to the full. One lunchtime, spend time perusing gravestones or sitting in a churchyard in quiet contemplation of the transitory nature of human existence. Before you leave, vow to do something that enhances your life and the lives of those you love.
A good night s sleep
. While we sleep, organs, bones and tissue repair, and emotions and memories shift from an active to a storage part of the brain, essential for long-term memory. Insomnia is a common concern in later life, especially for women. What keeps us awake? Worry and health problems, according to a telephone survey of 1,000 Americans. And hot flashes.
A good night s sleep How much do you need
. Some people do well on five hours' sleep; others need nine. If you suffer from insomnia and go to bed out of habit rather than tiredness, it may be time to rethink your routine. See what happens if you go to bed an hour later, or if you rise earlier.
A good night s sleep Natural rhythms
. While on vacation learn about how much sleep you need by going to bed when you feel tired and getting up when you wake naturally. See how it pans out over a week or longer, and reflect on how winter and summer bedtimes and waking times vary.
A good night s sleep Don t take problems to bed
. Women are more likely than men to lie in bed worrying. Keep a notebook by the bed to jot down concerns or things you just have to remember, then let them go. If you stay up late finishing chores, make a weekly schedule to distribute tasks or cut back to essentials only.
A good night s sleep Scheduling sleep
. If you crave an extra hour's sleep, but can't fit it into a busy working life, add time incrementally by hitting the sack just 15 minutes earlier. After a week add another 15 minutes. Repeat until a month later you retire one whole hour earlier.
A good night s sleep Eat before bed
. Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps reduce anxiety and elevate serotonin, a brain chemical that promotes relaxation. In a recent study, mild insomniacs who ate a tryptophan-rich snack before bed reported more restful sleep and enhanced alertness next morning. Try a small chicken, tuna, or egg sandwich on wholemeal bread (carbs promote sleepiness), a banana, glass of milk, oat cake, or handful of almonds or sunflower seeds.
A good night s sleep Try visualization
. Rather than counting sheep, put yourself in a peaceful place. Imagine lying in warm sand on a balmy beach, reclining beside a tumbling waterfall, or watching a golden sunset. Experience the scene with all your senses: what can you hear, feel, and smell? In research studies at Oxford University, insomniacs who visualized themselves in a relaxing scene found sleep 20 minutes sooner than usual.
A good night s sleep Stop obsessing
. Aim to think flexibly rather than obsessing about a sleep “problem.” Two hours' lost sleep a night doesn't reduce the ability to perform tasks states the UK's leading sleep expert, Professor Jim Horne.
A good night s sleep Sleep thinner
. If you need a prompt to retire early, write this on a sticky note: “Lack of sleep may make me fat.” Research at Columbia University Medical Center found that people who got less than five hours' sleep a night were 50 percent more likely to be obese than those who slept for eight hours. Lack of sleep equates with raised production of an appetitestimulant hormone, and a reduction in a hormone that promotes the feeling of being sated.
A good night s sleep Establish a routine
. Decide on a sensible bedtime, then write a timed plan of how you can achieve it. It might go like this: turn off computer, eat, clean up, take a warm bath, read or listen to music, turn off the light. Set real times to each activity, and stick to them.
A good night s sleep Creating a love temple
. Remove all work-associated items from your bedroom. Devote the room to sleep (and love-making) only, and put crisp, clean sheets on your bed weekly.
A good night s sleep Restful lavender oil
. Store lavender bags between bed linens and put 5 drops of essential oil of lavender on your pillow.
A good night s sleep Keep to schedule
. Condition body and mind to expect sleep by getting up and going to bed at the same time every day, even when last night was a bad one. Try not to veer more than an hour or so away from routine at weekends.
A good night s sleep Invest in blackout blinds
. Find curtains that block every chink of light from a bedroom. Close doors and unplug nightlights. The less light in a room, the less the body is prompted to release the adrenaline-like hormone cortisol, which prevents easy sleep. To help you down, spend evenings by candlelight.
A good night s sleep Limit caffeine
. If you have trouble sleeping, limit yourself to two small cups of coffee a day and enjoy them in the morning: the body can take 12 hours to clear caffeine. After noon avoid coffee, black tea, hot chocolate, and soft drinks.
A good night s sleep Relax before bedtime
. Don't do things that worry you just before you go to bed—going over finances and paying bills, planning a wedding, arguing with teenagers, watching a documentary about child labor are all anxiety inducers. Opt for a little light cross-stitch or an erotic novel instead.
A good night s sleep Power napping
. Embrace the afternoon slump in energy levels: it's a perfectly natural dip and is the body/mind's way of making it through a long day. If you can, take a 15-minute nap— this is the best reviver there is.
A good night s sleep Top homeopathic insomnia remedies
. During a spell of insomnia, take up to three times daily. Stop when you start to feel better or after a week if it has not helped:
Arg.Nit 30 c may help break a cycle of sleeplessness maintained by a sense of anxiety (“What if I can't sleep?”) as bedtime approaches.
Ars.Alb.30 c is for very restless people who must get up and pace or clean when they can't sleep.
Coffea 30 c is for when sleeplessness is a result of excitement or an overactive mind.
A good night s sleep Herbal companions
. Look for the herbal combination valerian, passiflora, and scutellaria to promote restful sleep. All are available as teas or can be used in capsule form for a stronger effect (take as directed on the pack). Valerian is a mild tranquillizer but, unlike the drug derived from it, is not addictive. (Avoid if pregnant or taking conventional sleeping medication.)
A good night s sleep Make a soothing herbal sleeping bag
. Follow a recipe from 1606 by placing a couple of handfuls of dried rose petals and 1 tbsp each dried mint and cloves in the center of a piece of muslin. Tie the corners together to secure, then place beneath your pillow.
A good night s sleep Exercise in the morning
. If you have problems going to sleep, don't exercise within three hours of bedtime. Instead, take a morning walk in sunshine: bright light stimulates the production of melatonin which ensures daytime alertness and nighttime drowsiness.
A good night s sleep Rearrange your diary
. If you're not someone who springs into action the moment your lids lift, try not to arrange early morning appointments. Slow brain function can last a full two hours after waking, hindering performance and decision-making, according to a recent report in an American medical journal.
A good night s sleep Take a warm bath
. Have a warm bath before bed to soothe body and mind: add 10 drops essential oil of lavender mixed into 1 tsp sweet almond oil, or 12 tbsp Dead Sea salts.
A good night s sleep Excess weight insomnia
. Sleep apnea may affect those who are overweight (untreated, it raises the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and liver damage). If you have symptoms such as daytime tiredness, snoring, nighttime breathing issues and morning headaches, go and see your doctor.
A good night s sleep Practice restful yoga
. In a study by Harvard Medical School women slept more than half an hour longer following 10 weeks of bedtime yoga that focused on meditation and breathing. Follow the instructions for the resting supported bridge pose by raising your hips on yoga blocks as you let the whole body relax for a better night's sleep.
A good night s sleep Don t just lie there
. If you have trouble dropping off or wake regularly during the night, don't lie in bed for more than 20 minutes. This can send stress levels soaring and fix associations between bed and lack of sleep. Instead, get up, leave the room, sip camomile tea, and read a dull book. As soon as your eyelids start to droop, head back to bed again.
. People who surround themselves with a community of friends, family and neighbors tend to live longer. Establishing good bonds with those around us promotes a healthy state of mind, which results in enhanced immunity and reduced risk of heart and circulatory problems.
Community spirit Don t worry if you hate them
. If your circle of family and friends is riven with squabbles and rivalry, you will win in the mental sharpness stakes according to one US study. Be thankful to your difficult acquaintances for that at least!
Community spirit Make friends online
. Thanks to the internet, we can widen our circle of friends and support networks to encompass the globe. Join chatrooms and converse on message boards with people who share your interests.
Community spirit Use support groups
. Having an online support community has been found to be especially positive for older people with chronic health conditions. In one study, 74 percent of people who took part in an online diabetes group felt more hopeful about their condition after online discussions. Let this be your stimulus to sign up.
Community spirit Flower power
. Try these Bach Flower Essences if you find socializing difficult:
Beech helps if you tend to be critical of others and avoid people because you feel irritated by them.
Water Violet is for self-reliant and private people who find it hard to come out of their shell.
Community spirit Join a craft circle
. Keeping the brain engaged and creative juices flowing may be one of the keys to longevity and retaining brainpower. If knitting by the fire seems too tame for you, look out for guerrilla knitters, stitch ‘n' bitch groups, and macramé and mojito nights.
Community spirit Don t retire early
. Resist the urge to give up your job just yet. People who work beyond the age of 55 seem to live longer than those who retire early, according to a study reported in the British Medical Journal—this may be because working maintains camaraderie, social relationships, and a sense of purpose.
Community spirit Eat locally
. Not only do you benefit the countryside if you “eat your view,” but spending on local food also keeps money in your community.
Community spirit Photo therapy
. Research suggests we gain in positivity from simply looking at photographs of loved ones.
Community spirit Make friends in faith
. If your friendship group is faithbased, add points to your youthful quotient: one study found attending religious services lowered anxiety and stress, adding seven years to life.
Community spirit Volunteer today
. Giving up precious time to do something kind or helpful to others advances longevity, studies reveal.
Community spirit Talk to someone new
. Once a week start a conversation with someone you usually ignore— the checkout girl or the bus driver. Think about how it enhances life.
. Good health depends upon the liver, the body's main organ of detoxification. But liver function declines with age: size and blood flow decrease and the organ finds it harder to metabolize (or process) toxic substances and withstand stress. Since so many body systems rely on the liver, take time to nurture it (and to look after the body's other organs of detoxification: the skin, kidneys, colon, and lungs). Care is especially welcome after a period of overindulgence.
Detoxing Herbal cleansing
. Dandelion and burdock make a good general detox combination. Use 30 drops of the tincture in water or take capsules, following dosage advice on the pack. Burdock cleanses the digestive system, and dandelion promotes bile flow and is a great liver tonic.
Detoxing After illness
. For detoxing after taking antibiotics, take homeopathic remedies Sulfur 30 c in the mornings and Nux.Vomica 30 c in the evenings for a week.
Detoxing Detox with the seasons
. In spring and fall, cleanse the liver with the herb milk thistle (Carduus marianus), which encourages liver cell renewal and repair. Take 30 drops of the tincture in water daily, or take capsules as directed for a month or so.
Detoxing Weekend nurture
. After a period of excess spend a weekend nurturing body and mind. Eat three light meals daily based on plant foods and fish (stop eating before you feel full) and keep well hydrated. Rest (turn off electronic equipment) and focus on destressing activities, such as yoga or meditation.
Detoxing Nuke a hangover
. Homeopathic remedy Nux.Vomica 30 c is a fantastic hangover cure. It has a particular affinity for the liver, stimulating it to process toxins quickly, so much so it has been known to encourage bad habits (as in “What the hell, I can always take Nux.Vomica in the morning!”)
Detoxing Eat and drink well
. Build your detox regime around antioxidant fruit and vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts, and seeds and natural yogurt. Drink at least eight glasses of water daily, supplemented with peppermint, fennel, and camomile teas.
Detoxing Encourage circulation
. A daily walk encourages circulation and lymph drainage, which is also helped by drinking lots of water.
Detoxing Balancing fluids
. If drinking more water makes you go to the bathroom more, your kidneys, which are largely responsible for fluid balance, may benefit from a few drops daily (in water) of a tincture of the herb barberry (Berberis vulgaris).
Detoxing Lengthening the breath
. To rid yourself of toxic emotions, close your eyes and focus on your breath moving in and out. As you relax, notice how your out-breath lengthens naturally. Try to lengthen the out-breath so it is double the length of the in-breath. Imagine exhaling negative emotions as you lengthen the out-breath.
Detoxing Passive twisting
. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Take your arms out at shoulder height, palms up. On an exhalation let the knees drop smoothly to the floor on one side and allow them to rest. Take five easy breaths. Inhaling, lift your knees back to the starting position. On an exhalation, drop your knees to the other side and rest, as before.
Detoxing Joint circling
. To open the body's energy gates at the start of your detox regime, follow this warmup sequence. Start each movement small, then make the action more expansive. Enjoy the feeling of everything moving and shake out each body part afterward.
1. Stand with feet hip-width apart. Raise one foot a little and rotate the ankle clockwise, then counterclockwise. Repeat on the other ankle.
2. Place your hands on your hips and make circles with your pelvis. Move your hands to your knees and make circles in both directions.
3. Now extend one arm fully, as if trying to grow it. Rotate the arm, describing the biggest circle in the air you can. Repeat with the other arm.
Detoxing Passive backbend
. Roll up a blanket and place it on the floor. Lie on your back with the blanket level with where a bra strap would be, under the lower part of the shoulder blades. Spread out your arms at shoulder height, palms up. Lie in position, breathing, softening your chest and spine.
Detoxing and relax
. After exercising, rest in yoga's supine relaxation pose. This allows the body time for recovery, supporting detoxification.
Detoxing Dry brushing
. Before a shower or bath dry-brush the skin with a loofah or body brush, making long strokes in the direction of the heart. This boosts circulation and sweeps away dead skin cells. It also acts as something of an antidote to a sedentary lifestyle.
Detoxing Clean air plants
. Studies at Oslo University found increasing the number of indoor plants in a room reduced headaches and improved concentration. Try the common peace lily, spider plant, and Boston fern. English ivy is recommended as an indoor cleanser to help people with allergies breathe more easily.
Detoxing Smoke free home
. Toxins from tobacco smoke include the same carbon dioxide as emitted from car exhausts, tars, cyanide, arsenic, and some of the dangerous ingredients found in floor cleaners, paint stripper, industrial solvents, and rocket fuel. These toxins gather in dust, carpets, and soft furnishings. Stop smoking to detox your home.
Detoxing Organic only
. When detoxing, eat only organic produce to avoid introducing more toxins into your system. This is especially important when consuming fats and animal products.
Detoxing Lemon kickstart
. Kickstart liver-cleansing by drinking the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon in water every morning before eating or drinking.
Detoxing Press the great eliminator
. To tone the digestive system and ease head pain, exert firm, circling pressure with the thumb of one hand onto the back of the other, where the base of the thumb and index finger meet. Keep up the pressure for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other hand. Avoid when pregnant.
Detoxing Forgiving with flowers
. For emotional detoxing, the best forgiveness flower essence is Dagger Hakea from the Australian Bush Flower range.
Detoxing Clear out your junk
. Hoarders can find themselves holding onto a lifetime's negativity in the form of clothes that no longer fit, incomplete work or studies, treatments for old illnesses, and outof- date foods. Once a year, detox problem areas: beneath the bed and in closets, medicine and filing cabinets, and your kitchen cupboards.
Detoxing Explore journaling
. When life seems to hit a crossroads, try a journaling exercise. Without thinking too hard or for too long, write about what you want to take into the next phase of your life and list the things you need to leave behind. It might be people, emotions, ways of coping with stress, work, or lifestyle habits. Set aside an hour or so for the exercise.
. Age brings increased susceptibility to cardiovascular disease—one of the greatest risk factors is simply being over 65. Reducing risk is relatively simple: stop smoking, eat healthily, and be active most days. Happily, what's good for the heart keeps the brain acting youthfully, too.
Healthy heart Assess your risk
. Get to know the risk factors for cardiovascular disease for people over 50: smoking, high blood pressure or cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity. If you check yes to two or more, you are 50-69 percent more likely to develop the disease suggests a study published in one medical journal. Visit your doctor to work out ways to reduce your risk.
Healthy heart Quit smoking
. Smokers are up to five times more likely to have a heart attack earlier in life than nonsmokers. Twenty a day doubles your risk of developing heart disease. Try the stop-smoking ideas.
Healthy heart Sleep well
. A study of people aged 32–59 suggested sleeping five hours or less a night might increase risk of high blood pressure. Aim for seven or eight hours to allow the heart to slow and blood pressure to drop.
Healthy heart Destress
. Stress can raise blood pressure and release stress hormones detrimental to heart health. Use all the destressing techniques that work for you to reduce daily worries. Establish a long-term stress-reduction plan by enrolling on a term's meditation, t'ai chi, or yoga course. Alternatively, book a session with a life coach.
Healthy heart Herbal support
. Drinking herbal tea is an easy way to support the heart as you grow older. Try hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha) tea bags. This herb is widely used as a cardiac tonic and circulatory stimulant. Studies have shown that it improves coronary circulation, reducing risk of angina and helping normalize blood pressure.
Healthy heart Giving and receiving
. This breathing exercise stretches the subtle energy pathway known as the heart meridian, opens the chest, and reminds you that love is about giving and receiving. Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms crossed over your chest (hugging yourself), head down. Inhaling, open your arms and chest as wide as possible, raising your head. Exhaling, close your arms gently around yourself. Repeat several times, changing the cross of your arms each time.
Healthy heart Take up saunas
. If you don't have a heart condition, start taking weekly saunas, shown in Japanese studies to reduce risk of heart problems in susceptible men.
Healthy heart Just chill
. Those who are quick to anger may be more at risk of heart attack, angina, heart failure, or stroke. Feeling angry in middle age makes you more than twice as likely to suffer heart disease and heart attacks later in life than if you maintain a calm disposition. Adopt strategies that stop you from reacting with hostility to stressful situations or people: counting to 10, taking a deep breath, calling a friend, or lunchtime kick-boxing sessions.
Healthy heart Speak out
. In one study, male civil servants aged from 35–55 who felt justly treated at work had less risk of coronary heart disease than those who felt badly treated. If you sense injustice at work, try to resolve issues not by moaning to colleagues, but by speaking out to those who have the power to help: managers, HR personnel, union reps.
Healthy heart Keep the faith
. If you have spiritual faith your blood pressure is likely to stay low, regardless of your age and size, found researchers at a university medical center in North Carolina.
Healthy heart Acquire a dog
. Dog owners are less likely to succumb to heart disease, and heal more speedily from illness and surgery, research suggests. Enjoy the companionship and enforced walks.
Healthy heart Get exercise
. The hearts of people who exercise show fewer signs of aging. Regular exercise reduces risk of heart attack and stroke, lowers blood pressure, and raises levels of healthy cholesterol. T'ai chi benefits heart health, too, found researchers from Tufts University Medical School, Boston. Improvements in heart health can be measured just three months after starting a program.
Healthy heart Start walking
. If you hate getting sweaty, be reassured by research suggesting that walking can be as effective in reducing cardiovascular problems as more vigorous workouts. Walking two miles a day reduces heart attack risk by almost a third. Aim to walk briskly for at least 2½ hours a week. In a study reported in a US medical journal, women who did so gained as many benefits as those who devoted the same amount of time to more aerobic forms of exercise.
Healthy heart Look after your teeth
. People with gum disease seem to be at higher risk of heart attack according to studies, regardless of their age, weight, or cholesterol level. Use the essential toothcare tips.
Healthy heart Find 10 minutes
. If you don't have time for a full exercise regime, just do 10 minutes this brings health benefits, though not the full complement of an all-out 30 minute daily training session.
Healthy heart Work those calves
. Calf exercise acts like invisible support hose, sending blood back to the heart and so relieving (and preventing) varicose veins. Find hills to walk up and perform calf lifts when standing in lines. At your desk flex and extend your feet and, keeping your heels down, lift and lower your toes. Spend time daily with feet raised above your head (resting against a wall or sofa).
Healthy heart Eat whole grains
. Older adults who eat whole grains seem to be less prone to heart problems—they have less incidence of metabolic syndrome (a cluster of symptoms that make heart attack, stroke, and diabetes more likely) and are less likely to die of cardiovascular disease. Look for amaranth, barley, buckwheat, bulgur, corn (including popcorn), millet, quinoa, rice, rye, oats, sorghum, teff, triticale, wheat, and wild rice.
Healthy heart Love fruit and vegetables
. Research at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary in the UK suggests eating plenty of fruit and vegetables may raise levels of salicylic acid (the key ingredient in aspirin, prescribed to people at risk of heart attack). Plant sterols also seem to lower cholesterol levels. A large European study found men who eat foods rich in lycopene (such as tomatoes) reduced risk of heart attack by half. Garlic helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure and makes arteries more elastic.
Healthy heart Oatmeal please
. Eating oatmeal for breakfast can lower cholesterol levels, suggest studies, and keeps you feeling full enough to resist heart-unfriendly mid morning snacks. Add potassium-rich chopped banana, which helps lower blood pressure.
Healthy heart Eat more magnesium
. A diet rich in magnesium sources— whole grains, cashew nuts, avocado, spinach, halibut, tofu—protects against metabolic syndrome, suggests one study. Combine with food rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which work to support healthy cholesterol levels and reduce blood pressure.
Healthy heart Seeds and meat
. Eating peanuts, walnuts, and almonds correlates with lower cholesterol levels (people on peanut-rich diets also experience dips in triglyceride levels: high levels are associated with heart disease). Keep a bag of nuts and seeds in your desk drawer or sprinkle them on cereal. However, occasionally swap these plant proteins for meat because research suggests this can help keep blood pressure at healthy levels.
Healthy heart Good fat
. Omega-3 oils may offer protection from coronary heart disease, though a recent review of multiple studies in the British Medical Journal didn't find a clear effect. Choose dietary sources over fish-oil supplements, which may be contaminated with heavy metals and carcinogenic manmade chemicals. Opt for small oily fish, hemp and linseed (flax) oils, argan oil, and lingonberries. Grassfed meat and organic cheese are also good. Avoid margarine: it may contain artery-clogging trans fat.
Healthy heart Throw out salt
. Reducing your salt intake by a third could cut your risk of heart disease by up to 40 percent states the UK's Department of Health. The easiest way to control salt intake is to avoid processed food: salt lurks in the most unlikely places, including breakfast cereals, bread, and cookies.
Healthy heart Make fruit salad
. Mix berries with chopped banana, apricots, nectarines, melon, and figs. Fruit salad keeps the heart healthy by raising potassium levels, which helps keep blood pressure in check and so reduces the risk of stroke. Fruit fiber is good for healthy cholesterol. Finally, add in some pomegranate juice: a recent study suggests it boosts arterial function.
Healthy heart Savor fine chocolate
. Cocoa contains antioxidant ingredients that relax the blood vessels, promote circulation, and reduce blood pressure. Make hot chocolate with cocoa powder or choose dark chocolate with 70 percent cocoa solids.
Healthy heart Drink milk
. A French study found that men who eat a good amount of dairy produce were less likely to develop metabolic syndrome, perhaps because calcium helps regulate blood pressure. Another study found dairy reduced the risk of high blood pressure by half. Go for skimmed or semiskimmed milk and low-fat yogurt because high-fat products have been linked with heightened risk of cardiovascular disease.
Healthy heart Drink wine
. A glass of red wine a day is heart-friendly thanks to its antioxidant properties (which prevent artery hardening), and is associated with lower blood pressure and reduced stress levels.
. If your digestive system isn't working well, you won't absorb all the youth-preserving nutrients you need from food. Keep digestion at optimum levels by building your diet around whole grains and fresh fruit and vegetables and make sure you are drinking plenty of water. Take time to enjoy your meals—enjoyment is key to good digestion.
Good digestion Stop stressing
. Digestion can become less effective if you feel anxious. Whenever stress takes over, stop what you're doing, close your eyes, empty your brain, and focus on the even flow in and out of your breath. Let this prevent other thoughts from taking over.
Good digestion Sit down to eat
. Allow enough time for eating; sit at a table, and don't do anything else while you dine. Really enjoy everything you put in your mouth, savoring taste and texture.
Good digestion When emotions play a part
. If you are aware of a link between digestive symptoms and your emotions, consider hypnotherapy. Research suggests this is one of the most effective treatments for any form of irritable bowel syndrome.
Good digestion Try herbal teas
. Drink a cup of camomile, fennel, nettle, or peppermint tea after a meal to aid digestion.
Good digestion Top homeopathic heartburn remedies
. Take these remedies up to three times daily while symptoms are present or for up to two weeks:
Try Carbo.Veg 30 c for heartburn accompanied by much burping.
Nux.Vom 30 c helps after eating spicy food or drinking alcohol.
Take Robinia 30 c for heartburn at night after lying down.
Good digestion Top homeopathic constipation remedies
Take alumina 30 c, for constipation resulting from dryness in the bowel.
Try Nux.Vom 30 c, for frequent ineffectual urges to use the bathroom.
Use opium 30 c, when there is no urge to go at all or the bowels are completely inactive.
Good digestion Probiotic yogurt
. Start the day with a helping of live natural yogurt to introduce healthy bacteria into your digestive system.
Good digestion Yoga therapy
. To extend the front of the body maximizing blood flow to the digestive system and make space for the internal organs try the yoga pose Supta virasana.
Good digestion Digestive juice
. Blend a small fresh pineapple with an apple, pear, and stick of celery to create a breakfast juice that benefits the digestive system.
Keeping a clear head
. Headaches seem to decline in number as the years pass. However, that doesn't mean we always have a clear head. Natural remedies can be effective—but before trying these, make sure you are not dehydrated by drinking water or eat a snack in case you are experiencing a blood-sugar dip. If symptoms are severe seek medical attention.
Keeping a clear head Stay focused
. When concentration starts to fail, place 3 drops essential oil of basil or rosemary on a handkerchief. Inhale when you need to stay focused. (Avoid rosemary oil if you have epilepsy.)