The Dow is falling! The dollar is shrinking! The economy is tanking!
We all need to take a deep breath and chill out. Slowdowns are an unavoidable part of regular financial cycles. We go through these business slumps every so often, and our economy always comes roaring back, stronger than before. Meanwhile, our personal resolve to stay well never changes.
Why not save the money spent on all those cleansing herbs, cholesterol supplements and tension headache pills and, instead, focus on diet and peace of mind? If we think smart as well as healthily, why shouldn't a flatter wallet translate into a better diet? Let's run through a few of the proven ways spending less can actually improve pain-free wellness.
When it comes to healthy eating, research proves it's smarts, not just cash-on-hand, that makes the big difference. One recent study says, "Higher socioeconomic groups ate less fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, and ate more fiber, fruits and vegetables, and had more calcium in their diet." They might be able to afford four meals a day of beefsteaks and cheesecake, but educated people know better.
What's more, eating healthier can save money. For example, starting with breakfast, why not buy oats instead of high-priced sugary cereals and drink veggie juice or water instead of sweetened drinks? Morning, noon and night, always drink plenty of water. Dehydration, after all, is one of the main culprits of poor health and increased pain.
Only taking the time to research a few recipes holds you back from eating tasty, inexpensive and good-for-you lunches every day of the week. Give spicy chicken and roasted vegetable tortilla wrap a try. How about couscous mixed with chopped vegetables and fresh herbs? Have you tried lean roast beef on rye with horseradish and rocket leaves? Wellness was never so delicious as it is nowadays. Be grateful.
Our dinner menus can always use more green leafy vegetables. Fresh-wash the veggies for salads, of course, and steam those side-dish greens, to protect their natural taste, texture and color. The big plus is you won't need to add fat to cook them. As a main course, one of everybody's healthy favorites is salmon, full of those essential omega 3 fatty acids. And for later, there are easy recipes that make the simplest fresh fruit for dessert seem almost sinful.
For wellness-conscious consumers in hard times the mind, as well as the body, must be healthy. The other half of a wholesome traditional lifestyle is peace of mind. Of peace of mind, one expert says, "It is a state of inner calmness and tranquility, together with a sense of freedom, when thoughts and worries cease, and there is no stress, strain or fear."
How will putting ourselves through unnecessary stress and tension do our checkbook any good? Instead, take the larger view. Life calls out. Enjoy spiritual or mindful walks. Spend less time reading newspapers or watching TV news or reality shows. Avoid negative people. Don't nurse grudges or get jealous. Have the serenity to accept what cannot be changed.
Some specialists in stress-reduction recommend concentration exercises, to make it possible to put counter-productive thoughts and worries out of your mind. Also, practicing a form of meditation, even if for only briefly each morning or afternoon, can become among the most rewarding minutes of your day.
During this coming year, take a little regular exercise and start getting in shape again. Yoga suits the younger, and tai chi is for the older. Although lesser-known than yoga, calm, deliberate, graceful tai chi is as effective as it is inexpensive. No special clothes are needed, no mat or balance balls.
All these simple things can help you lose weight, lower cholesterol, beef up the essentially fatty acids and good fats, relax you, reduce stress and even save you money. Bottom line? Someday you may look back on the '08 downcycle and feel grateful. In flush times or lean, what makes all the difference is educating ourselves. Think smarter, live cheaper, get healthier.
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