Healthy, Fit & Fabulous: The Ten Commandments for Living a Healthy Life

By: Linda Winkler Garvin, R.N., M.S.N. ~

Creating a Contented Life requires us to spend some time to figure out what we need to do for ourselves to keep our lives healthy and give us a sense of self worth.  Getting involved with a hobby, taking a new class or inviting someone over for a meal are just some of the many ways to connect with other people. Adopting a positive outlook will have a beneficial outcome in beginning this process.

The 10 commandments listed below are suggestions for getting started

1)    Exercises:  Gentle Exercises that combine breathing, posture & stretching can promote physical & mental well being.  Exercises allow individuals to have more control over their health condition & life.

2)    Nutrition:  Start by avoiding foods that contain ingredients you can’t pronounce.  Avoid foods with high fructose corn syrup, Tran’s fatty acids, highly processed foods or foods that are high in sugar and fat.  If a food item contains more than six ingredients, leave in on the shelf.

3)    Beverages:  Choose your beverages carefully.  When it comes to water, try to drink filtered or pure water.  Be wary of sweetened or soft drinks, even if they are marked as diet, since they can deplete the body’s calcium, trigger carbohydrate urges and increase insulin levels.

4)    Stress reduction:  Controlled breathing, meditation or guided imagery can be helpful in quieting the brain and relaxing the body.  For more information on guided imagery see & go to The Healing Power of Guided Imagery.

5)    Volunteering:  A study released by the Corporation for National and Community Service has shown that volunteering can result in positive health benefits.  One report indicated that some of the health benefits of volunteering are greater longevity, lower levels of depression, higher functional ability, less incidence of heart disease, as well as higher levels of happiness and self esteem.

6)    Forgiveness:  Forgiveness does not mean forgetting or denying another person’s responsibility for hurting you.  By embracing forgiveness, you may be able to let go of the angry and resentful feelings you feel emotionally & physically.  Possible benefits may result in understanding and compassion.  That being said, people/friends who express a lack of compassion or turn your expressed problems into “their issues “may need a reassessment of the time you spend with them.

7)    Sleep:  A good night’s sleep is an important component in maintaining health and pain control.  Web MD states an estimated 30%-50% of the general population are affected by insomnia and 10% have chronic insomnia.  It is a wise idea to check the medications you are taking with your pharmacist to see if any of these prescription or non-prescription medications could be affecting your sleep.

8)    Intellectual Stimulation:  It is important to enrich our physical, mental and spiritual health by enjoying lives simple pleasures.  Libraries offer a vast array of books to lend out and some have movies for rent.  Bookstores frequently offer some interesting free events and speakers.  Explore the wonderful state parks available to everyone.

9)    Spirituality:  Many people report that their sense of emotional hardiness is derived from their particular relationship with a spiritual being.  Whether that is defined from attending a place of worship or done privately there can be a wonderful sense of support derived from this relationship.

10) Relationships:  Honest communications with others is imperative.   Healthy friendships with others can not only be a source of great comfort and strength, but can also improve your health.  The feeling of connectedness can reduce your stress, increase your level of happiness and be a great support at a time of loss.

Visit these sources for more health tips:

Linda Winkler Garvin, R.N., M.S.N., of Alameda, California, is Director of Health Management Associates, a health advocate and educator with an advanced degree in Nursing.  She assists individuals in navigating the complexities of their health problems from medical treatment, health insurance issues, management of health issues and chronic pain.  She is the author of several articles including, healthy lifestyles, travel, nutrition, health insurance, guided imagery & chronic health problems.  Learn more at or e-mail at


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