The literary genius that is Roald Dahl was on the mark when he wrote: “If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely”. And by good thoughts, we’re talking about a positive, stress-free state of mind. Easier said than done in the fast-paced world we live in.
If you not only want to survive, but thrive in this day and age, here are the 10 golden rules to follow:
1. Avoid sugar and high-GL foods, instead eating low-GL foods. To lower the GL effect of the meal, combine protein-rich foods with carbohydrate foods by eating cereals and fruit with nuts or seeds, and ensuring you eat starchy foods (potato, bread, pasta or rice), with fish, lentils, beans or tofu.
2. Eat foods rich in the ‘energy nutrients’ – vitamins B, C and Co-Q, Magnesium, Calcium, Zinc and Iron. Dark green leafy vegetables are your go-to but root vegetables are also a good source. Think watercress, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, green beans or peppers.
3. Take a high-strength multivitamin and multi-mineral, providing significant amounts of B vitamins, plus extra Vitamin C and Chromium.
4. Cut down or completely cut out stimulants – tea, coffee, cigarettes, chocolate and caffeinated drinks. Stimulants are energy’s arch nemesis and our dependency on them is one of the leading causes of stress and fatigue. Even though stimulants can create energy in the short term, the long-term effect is always bad.
5. Include some form of de-stressing exercise in your weekly routine such as yoga or T’ai Chi.
6. Be conscious of your breath and learn how to breathe deeply as a means of reducing tension.
7. Take some time for meditation or quiet contemplation where you focus on the positives and take yourself away from it all, even just for 15-20 minutes a few times a week or, if you can every day.
8. Spend as much time as you can in clean air. If you live in a city, try get away to the mountains or the beach and go for long walks while you’re there to really make the most of the fresh, clean air.
9. Learn how to manage your time effectively. We are all very aware of how precious time is so it follows that a poor use of time is a major source of stress and waste of energy. Being able to stay focused in the present is the hallmark of truly efficient and effective people.
10. Get enough sleep – ideally around seven hours of undisturbed sleep every night. Even with the best intentions of getting into bed nice and early, actually falling asleep peacefully can be difficult or your sleeping pattern is erratic making you feel even worse when you wake up the next morning. There are things you can do to improve your slumber. Read: Good night sleep tight for more information.