Sound mind/sound body–you’ve heard it before, but it’s even truer today as we cope with more and more information. Although the human brain is only 2% of average body weight, it consumes about 20% of available energy and 20% of oxygen. A brain stressed by poor nutrition, lack of oxygen, or insufficient sleep can’t process information efficiently or effectively. You’ll feel foggy, stressed, and unproductive. Cultivate healthy habits for better concentration, mental clarity, and overall well-being. Core healthy habits include
Good nutrition, with emphasis on whole foods. Minimize or eliminate sugars, artificial sweeteners, trans fats, and processed foods.
Exercise. A balanced exercise plan includes aerobic exercise to improve cardiovascular fitness, weight-bearing exercises to increase strength and build lean muscle, and stretching exercises to promote flexibility.
Sufficient sleep. Many time management program suggest getting up an hour earlier. This can be counterproductive if you’re already getting too little sleep. Look for other ways to save time than by shortchanging your need for sleep.
Need to make some changes? There’s plenty of advice and programs available in books, in videos, on TV, and on the Internet. No single program will be right for everyone, so you’ll need to experiment to find what works best for you. Some tips to get started:
Make one small change at a time. If you find yourself resisting a change, try an even smaller step. For example, if you haven’t exercised in a long time, try beginning by walking for five minutes, not running for thirty minutes (and check with your physician before starting). Or start upgrading your diet by substituting one healthy snack for your usual candy bar or doughnut.
Choosing among programs can push you into information overload if you let it. Review a few programs, and try the one that appeals to you the most. Then stick with it long enough to tell whether it’s working for you. Trying to mix-and-match programs can be confusing. But don’t hesitate to switch programs once it’s clear that one doesn’t work for you.
Don’t let preconceived ideas stop you from trying something new. Not a morning person? Try exercising first thing in the morning anyway. That was the key that helped me create a regular exercise habit after years of starting and then quitting. Now I look forward to lifting weights.
Take these steps toward a sound body and a sound mind, and you’ll feel less stressed by information overload.