By developing three simple habits, you can improve your mental and physical health:
1. Sleep 30 minutes more each day
Increase your sleep about 30 minutes more tonight than you did last night. Stress levels are affected by sleep. Studies show that 90% of people do not get enough sleep. When we do not get enough sleep, we tend to be stressed and sometimes moody. Most people only sleep about 6 to 7 hours. However, we really need 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Try to add an extra 30 minutes of sleep each night. If you have trouble sleeping, try putting on some calm music and lowering the lights. This may help get all the thoughts out of your head.
2. Stretch 30 minutes each morning
Devote 30 minutes to stretching in the morning. If you have back pain, it is important to get up every morning and do your stretches. Many of you might have been in a physical therapy program at some point in your life, and you were given a home exercise program. Where are those sheets with your exercises? I encourage you to pull them out and do your stretches for your back first thing in the morning.
While you are doing your stretches, you could also start working on getting in your water for the day. Drink some water while you are doing your stretches. When the body is tight, you can feel very tense. By increasing your flexibility, you will help to decrease your back pain and decrease that tension. Drink your water and do your stretches.
Stretches for your hamstrings, quads, and lower truck would be great. Hold them for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat five times per set. Depending on the cause of your back pain, other stretches should be included as well.
3. Stress Less
Focus on spending 30 minutes of time to reflect upon the good things in your day. Thirty minutes to think about the things that you are grateful for. Choose 30 minutes before you go to bed in the evenings, after work or whenever, and focus on those things you are grateful for. Find 30 minutes where you can take a walk, get on the treadmill or do some activity depending on your condition. Consider walking outside and reflect upon the things that you are grateful for. This will help to refresh and renew your mind.
Studies have shown that people who are grateful are healthier and more successful, and have less stress. You might want to start keeping a gratitude journal and at the end of the day write down something today that you are grateful for. There might be someone in your life, your spouse, your child, or your parents. You may need to say something good to them about how they have helped you, how you love them, how much you love them, how much you need them, what they mean to you. Use this time to release frustration, and focus about good things.
This simple formula is an easy path to a healthier body and mind: sleep 30 minutes more each night, do 30 minutes of stretches in the morning, and spend 30 minutes reflecting upon the things that you are grateful for.
Do these three things for three weeks, and see how you feel. If you have more positive energy, or you feel better in any aspect, continue these habits daily.
Winifred Bragg, MD is a highly sought after speaker and the author of Knockoutpain: Secrets to Maintain a Healthy Back, a Best Seller on Amazon.