Guidelines for Living a Naturally Healthy Lifestyle
by Maryanne Dittmeier, BFRP

Many who have not begun to change their unhealthy habits feel that "getting healthy" is too much work, it's expensive and that old age and illness are inevitable, so why bother?

In fact, illness is not necessarily inevitable and getting healthy does not always require a lot of work. Taking just one step to eliminate an unhealthy habit or adding just one new routine to your day can bring revitalization, happiness and well-being that is certainly worth the attempt. Currently millions of Americans suffer from fatigue, over-stress, lack of adequate sleep. High blood pressure, obesity, depression, diabetes, heart disease, allergies, are on the rise not just in adults, but young children, too.

Living a more natural lifestyle to improve health can be gradual and quite simple. It can be done with a professional's oversight or completely independently. Making a change in your own life not only has impact on you, but also positively affects your family, friends, co-workers, even the world as a whole. Consider the following suggestions as you begin to evaluate how you are feeling and what you can change in order to function at your optimum level of health.

Mind: Begin by looking at how you are feeling about yourself and about how your life is at the moment. Look at the sources of your lack energy, or happiness. How would you like to feel and what do you need to do to feel that way? Generally, any imbalance in our physical selves, our thoughts or emotions can be attributed to a general term: "stress.” Stress is a reaction to what’s happening internally or externally and can be a result of negative or positive life experiences. Getting married, buying a new home, childbirth, etc. are all wonderful life experiences but create tremendous stress as well. Raising teenagers, unemployment, divorce, newly diagnosed illness, loss of a loved one, unemployment, etc. are negative life experiences that create stress. These and other experiences create stress chemically and biologically in our bodies that, over time, can lead to illness.

Dr. Edward Bach, a noted physician, immunologist and researcher discovered Bach® Flower Essences between the 1920's and 1930's as a way to support health by changing negative emotions and attitudes into positive ones. He found that one's outlook contributed greatly to healing or the continuation of illness. Negative thought, emotion and lifestyle contributed to greater stress in mind, body and spirit and even put great stress on the immune system. The Bach Flowers are a subtle yet powerful support for mind and spirit in beginning or sticking to a healthy life style. For instance, Hornbeam can help change procrastination into motivation, Mimulus changes fear into courage, Walnut helps support during transitions, Larch strengthens low self esteem, and Wild Rose can turn resigned apathy into direction and action. Bach Flowers can be an important and incredibly helpful method to decide, commit to and maintain new health habits which include the following:

Exercise brings oxygen to the muscles, blood and cells, increases energy levels, improves sleep quality, decreases stress and anxiety, improves digestion and elimination and decreases heart disease. Drinking 6-8 glasses of fresh, pure water each day regulates body temperature, flushes toxins and waste from the body, improves skin condition, decreases tiredness and apathy and lubricates the joints.

Choosing fresh, organic foods is important to fuel the body and support the body's functions. Eat an ample supply of fruits and vegetables, supplement with grains, nuts and seeds, and eat minimal amounts of meat, if you wish. It’s very helpful to eliminate cow dairy products (use soymilks and cheeses, rice ice cream is delicious, almond cheese is, too), refined sugars, caffeine, foods with artificial preservatives and flavorings.

Folks with a sense of connectedness and/or a daily spiritual practice tend to have stronger immune systems and live longer. Those who follow religious traditions are often less stressed. Having a hobby, like gardening, walking, music or art, for example, offers distraction and concentration on a pleasant activity. Yoga, meditation and Tai Chi offer spiritual awareness and peace. Others find being in nature (in the sun, near the water, walking in the woods) to be spiritually uplifting. Healthy and supportive relationships can be satisfying spiritually. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Make yourself necessary in someone's life." Helping others develops gratitude in our own lives and brings happiness to others.

Mary Ann Dittmeier, BFRP is a Bach Foundation Registered Practitioner. Attend the Seminar on Bach® Flower Essences and Living a Natural Lifestyle on November 1, 2003 at Hampton Inn, Farmingville. $85.00 pp; $25.00 deposit required. Call (631) 475-8308 or send payment to PO Box 774, Medford, NY 11763