Updated: Dec 4, 2021
Foundation for Healing
Foundation for Healing
Creating a solid foundation for better health begins with a few simple techniques that you can integrate into your everyday life. This section is one of the most important for the healing process, because these steps create an inner environment that supports all of the other processes. Take this information to heart, and actually practice it in your daily life. Here are the steps for creating a strong foundation for good health.
I’m sure you’ve heard how important proper breathing is for good health. Our breath is the doorway to good health, and is a profound part of regulating so many functions in the body, including energy levels, hormonal levels, serotonin production and distribution, immune functioning, inflammation, mental functioning, cardiovascular health, sleep patterns, cortisol levels, thyroid functioning, and circulation. Many people have developed patterns of breathing from the chest rather than from the belly. Belly breathing signals the parasympathetic nervous system, releases endorphins in the brain, and calms an overactive mind. Take the time to master belly breathing, by following the steps below.
1. Place your hand on your belly, sit up straight, and take a slow, deep, natural breath, allowing your belly to expand outward with each breath.
2. As you exhale, allow all of the oxygen to be released from your lungs, contracting your belly back towards your core. The breath should be relaxed, natural, and slow. Consciously slow down your breathing, taking deeper breaths. Allow your body to take in slightly more oxygen than you are used to. This doesn’t need to be forced in any way, but rather, a conscious allowance to take deeper breaths–Your body wants to!
3. Practice makes perfect! This may seem simple, but really pay attention to how you are breathing, and continually bring your attention back to the flow of breath in your body, being sure to breath from your belly. Throughout your day notice your breath. Any time you find yourself tense or anxious, or notice that you are breathing from your chest, take the time to straighten your spine and take a deep and relaxed belly breath.
Water and Hydration
Getting the proper amount of water is essential for healing the body. The body requires adequate hydration to maintain energy, for all the organs to function properly, and to aid in the detoxification process. On average, try to drink 2 liters of water each day–of course this will depend on your weight, diet, and other health factors, but 2 liters is the average requirement. Be sure to only drink small amounts with food, and the majority of water should be consumed between meals (at least 20 minutes before, or 1 hour after meals). When you consider that our bodies are comprised of up to 75% water, then imagine how the quality of water would profoundly affect your energy, health, and state of being.
Good nutrition has a direct impact on your overall health and quality of life. When your diet consists of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, you aren’t just satisfying your hunger, you’re nourishing your body too. Although it’s okay to indulge once in a while (we’ve all been there!), it’s crucial to keep track of what you eat so you can maintain a healthy lifestyle. The choices you make when you eat don’t affect just one part of your body—like your stomach. There’s your heart, your brain and your skin to consider, too. Good nutrition can benefit you on many levels. It’s one of the best ways to improve your health and your quality of life.
It is amazing how simple and effective exercise is in keeping the body healthy and toxin free. You have probably heard it a thousand times, and yet most people still do not get enough daily exercise. Try to get at least 30 minutes to an hour of exercise each day. The quality of exercise is extremely important. When exercising, be sure to stick mostly to aerobic exercise. What this term means is that you are taking in enough oxygen in every moment to supply your body with adequate oxygen for all the functions of the body. The key to making sure that you are doing aerobic (versus anaerobic) exercise, is your breathing. Be sure to maintain belly breathing throughout the duration of your workout. Once your breathing moves up into the chest primarily, your body begins burning oxygen faster than you can inhale (which leads to gasping for air). This puts stress and strain on the body, releases cortisol, and can contribute to burnout, rather than a build-up of your energy reserves.
One of the most healing practices that you can cultivate in your life is the practice of meditation. There are unique physiological changes that occur in the brain and body during meditation, all of which lends itself to healing the body. Cortisol levels decrease, endorphin levels increase, and inflammation in the body decreases, all which happens within the first 10 minutes of meditation. Begin with a practice of 10 minutes daily. Either sit cross legged on the floor, on a cushion, or in a chair (whatever is most comfortable for you). As you sit, continually bring your attention back to your breath, taking deep, slow, and natural breaths into your belly. Allow your breathing to become slower as you sit, relaxing your body with every exhalation. As a thought arises, bring your attention back to your breath. When another thought arises, bring your attention back to your breathing, relaxing the body, and allowing your belly to fill with air. It may help to set a timer, allowing you to sink more deeply into the practice. As you progress, increase the time you sit to 20 minutes, 30 minutes, and even an hour (depending on how much time you have in your day).