Effortless Healing by Dr. Joseph Mercola offers easy, practical advice for improving your health. Ideas that anyone can implement, no matter their current level of health.
Being healthy is hard. At least that’s how it seems. We have to constantly watch what we eat. We have to exercise. We have to reduce our stress levels. It seems that being healthy is a full-time job!
I recently read Effortless Healing: 9 Simple Ways to Sidestep Illness, Shed Excess Weight, and Help Your Body Fix Itself by Dr. Joseph Mercola. If you’ve never heard of him, he is probably the foremost natural health doctor in the United States. I love his book because so many of the suggestions were so easy that I think anybody could do them. They don’t take a lot of time or effort, but can have great impacts on our health. And if you’re like me, you’re all about doing what’s easy and effective.
So here are seven of my favorite suggestions from the book.
- Stand up. Many of us spend a lot of our days sitting down, especially if we have a desk job. However, too much sitting is unhealthy. It’s not just because we’re not exercising. It’s because the posture is detrimental. (Anybody who has sat for a long time on an airplane instinctively knows this). Simply changing your posture many times a day (by standing up) changes your relationship to gravity and helps your muscles stay strong, keeps your circulation moving, and helps your body stay responsive. You need to do it about every fifteen minutes. If you are in a situation where you can’t stand up that often, even shifting and changing position in your chair will help.
- Exercise less. Yes, new research is showing that running and doing cardio for long periods of time is not as beneficial as we once thought. We’re now learning that interval training actually burns fat and increases our fitness more effectively than the standard exercise routines we have been taught all our lives. According to Dr. Mercola, you can get more benefits by exercising for only 20 minutes using what he calls “Peak Fitness” than by doing an hour-long cardio work out. So how do you do it? Warm up for three minutes. Then exercise as hard and as fast as you can for 30 seconds. Recover for 90 seconds (keep moving, just more slowly). Repeat this cycle seven more times, and you’re done!
- Get more Vitamin D. We all know that sun exposure is what produces Vitamin D in our bodies. However, precious few of us are in the sun long enough (or expose enough of our bodies) to produce enough Vitamin D. Pair that with our fear of skin cancer, and almost all of us are wary to spend more time in the sun than necessary. Even if we do want to spend more time in the sun, we can only get enough of the good kind of sun rays (UVB) about six months out of the year (if you live in the US in an area that has winter). So what should you do? Take a Vitamin D supplement, but make sure it is Vitamin D³. (Vitamin D² is synthetic and less potent).
- Hug more. It’s true. Hugging is healthy. Hugs release the hormone oxytocin, which is the “feel good” hormone. Oxytocin has some amazing health benefits, like reducing cravings for drugs, alcohol, and sweets. It reduces inflammation and promotes wound healing. It helps you feel attached to others and keeps depression at bay. So hug your friends, your spouse, and your kids. And if you have animals, you can hug them, too, and get the same health benefits.
- Laugh more. Some amazing studies have been done that show that physical health benefits follow laughter. For example, Type 2 diabetics had smaller spikes in blood sugar while eating a meal and watching a funny show than those who listened to a boring lecture while eating. Laughter helps you stay positive and attracts others to you who are also optimistic. So if you have felt guilty about all the time you have spent watching funny cat videos on YouTube, you can stop feeling so bad about it.
- Breathe through your nose. I used to be a “mouth breather.” This was because I had a severely deviated septum and literally could not breathe out of one side of my nose. Because I breathed almost exclusively through my mouth, I woke up many times a night, desperately thirsty due to all the moisture loss through my mouth. Since I had surgery to correct this, I am amazed that I can actually breathe exclusively through my nose, and can actually get a good night’s sleep! Breathing through your nose helps your body find balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide. So if you find yourself breathing through your mouth out of habit, try breathing through your nose exclusively and see what happens! (If you have problems breathing through your nose, I personally suggest going to see an ENT to see what can be done. I had no idea how much I was suffering by not being able to fully breathe through my nose).
- Walk barefoot. Connecting directly with the earth (called “grounding” or “Earthing”) has some amazing health benefits. Studies have shown that it can improve the quality of sleep, regulate the secretion of cortisol (the “stress” hormone), reduce muscle stiffness and chronic pain, and more. How does this work? Well, it has to do with electricity. You are an electrical being, and so is the earth. If you remember your chemistry class, you know that electrons can pass from one thing to another. When you touch the earth, you absorb electrons that help your body heal itself. It can neutralize free radicals and reduce inflammation. The best things to walk on are sand, grass, bare soil, stone and rock, and concrete (as long as it is in direct contact with the earth and hasn’t been painted or sealed). Asphalt, wood, rubber, plastic, vinyl, and tarmac will not ground you, as they are insulators.
For more great ideas, tips, and explanations, I highly recommend you pick up Effortless Healing: 9 Simple Ways to Sidestep Illness, Shed Excess Weight, and Help Your Body Fix Itself (this is an affiliate link so you can purchase this book on Amazon). In the meantime, commit to trying at least one of the seven suggestions above for a week or a month and see how you feel!
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