At the arrival of spring, it is a natural instinct to cast off the winter blues and feel renewed. Preserve your longevity by greeting the spring with seasonal health practices. Nearly five millennia ago, Eastern physicians observed the influence of each season on health and contrived specific seasonal advice to avoid illness. The tips below are adapted from the age-old wisdom in the "Yellow Emperor's Canon of Medicine," and following them will strengthen you against spring illnesses, preserve your longevity and result in a revitalizing spring season!
1) Rise And Shine
Ancient wisdom for springtime recommends: early to bed and early to rise. The bodily systems are sensitive to the chilly winds of early spring, so dress warmly for the cold mornings and evenings. Start each day with a sense of inner peace by getting up a little earlier than usual and stretching, meditating or reading inspirational phrases.
A great early-morning practice for spring-cleaning your body is to drink cleansing lemon water. Simply heat up filtered water and squeeze half of a lemon in it. The lemon activates your liver to release toxins and helps to cleanse and move the roughage that stays behind in your intestines.
2) Detox With Cleansing Tea
Cleanse and nourish your body with herbs that help your body gently detoxify and also support the dominant organ system of the spring, the liver, an organ that plays an essential role in your body's ability to detoxify. Here is a list of some cleansing herbs that will restore your liver and help you expel wastes from your body:
- Green tea contains many strong antioxidants and is helpful for detoxifying. Green tea's detoxifying abilities have been linked to weight reduction and fat burning, and they can combat liver disease, diabetes and high cholesterol. Choose decaffeinated green tea.
- Chrysanthemum flower is traditionally used to cleanse the liver, brighten vision and neutralize toxins. Studies have found that chrysanthemum may assist in lowering blood pressure and decreasing cholesterol.
- Dandelion root has been found to enhance the flow of bile, supporting liver health and aiding in detoxifying.
- Milk thistle, due to its content silymarin, has a protective and a restorative effect on the liver, stimulating the growth of new liver cells.
- Hawthorn berry, a famous cardiovascular tonic, is packed with antioxidants. Hawthorn is used to cleanse the blood of plaque and other toxins. According to studies, it helps the body maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure.
- Turmeric speeds up the detoxification process in the whole body by increasing bile production and releasing toxins. It also exhibits anti-inflammatory properties, helps improve circulation and prevents blood clotting.
- Rose petal tea is thought to calm the emotions and help eliminate toxins by cleansing the liver and gall bladder.
These herbs and herbal teas are available from health food stores and Eastern medicine practitioners. You will get the most successful results when you work with a licensed herbalist who can create a formula for your specific needs. Of course, always discuss with your physician before beginning any new health regime.
3) Release Emotions And Stress
Another piece of advice from the Yellow Emperor is that your mental and physical activities should be like the spring weather: active, alive, open and not suppressed. Many people suppress emotions in their bodies instead of releasing them through a healthy outlet. Work proactively with your emotions by journaling for 10 minutes every day for a month. Write from the position of an observer and record your emotions without judgment or editing. The next step is to identify the source of any anger, sadness or other unhappiness so that you can begin to spot emotional patterns and make changes. Deep breathing will also bring balance. Sometime during your busy day, find time to close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths to restore your equilibrium. Better still, start a daily meditation program to head off emotional extremes before they begin. Studies show that people who meditate are calm, slower to anger and better able to see through problems to good outcomes.
4) Get Moving To Get Your Spring Energy Moving
If you spent your winter curled up on the couch, the spring weather and extra sun time should be beckoning you to get physical in the great outdoors. If you need motivation to get moving, how about the fact that more motion can equal increased longevity? Preliminary studies show that sitting for prolonged periods of time can increase your risk for serious health issues, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and possibly cancer. Our bodies are not designed to sit all day, and yet most of us spend the majority of our time sitting in our desk chair, couch or car seat, or reclining in bed. Research has found that the health risks lie in the overall amount of hours spent sitting without interruption, so even individuals that exercise 30 minutes a day face the danger of too much sitting.
This spring, turn every activity into a moving opportunity. Take long walks, enjoying the fresh spring air to keep the blood circulating and to release physical tension. Instead of resorting to the phone or email message, walk over for face-to-face communication. Chat with others standing up. Take the stairs. Walk instead of drive. Ride your bike. Some other helpful exercises you can do throughout the day are squats, lunges, jumping rope and basic stretches. You will increase your longevity potential and your energy!
I wish you a joyful and healthy spring. May you live long, live strong and live happy!
You can find many more practices to increase your longevity in "Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of Ways to Live to Be 100," which is now available on Kindle. If you are interested in a lifestyle program designed to transform your health and lengthen your years, check out my new book "Secrets of Longevity 8-Week Program."