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  • Writer's pictureMatt Crowe

11 Things You Can Do Today To Optimise Your Life

Updated: May 6, 2023



“The simple things in life are often the best!”

The older I get the more this pearl of wisdom rings true! And so it is when it comes to your health, fitness, wellness and longevity! Our lives are just so hectic and stress-fueled that we forget that there are so many simple things we can all do to live better, be healthier and simply be happier! You don’t have to do them all starting today… but you could if you wanted to! Not only are they simple but they are easy!


1)      Start every day with a large glass of pure spring water with lemon & Himalayan sea salts

The best way to start every day is to hydrate immediately upon waking up with a cleansing glass of pure natural spring water. Not coffee, not juice … just pure replenishing water! Your body is dehydrated in the morning after 7-8hrs of generally liquid free fasting. Lubricating your body, organs and cells kick starts your system and gives you your best chance of feeling good for the rest of the day. When we sleep we also depreciate our minerals and electrolytes so you also need to replenish these important salts as quickly as possible for optimum health & performance. In addition, adding a little lemon to help digestion and create a more alkaline blood state is ideal.

Note: I am all for the magic of caffeine in coffee but just wait until mid morning!

Prescription: Within first 5min of waking drink a 300m glass of spring water (filtered water next best) with juice from half a lemon and a good dose of Himalayan Red Sea Salts.


2)      Every morning get some sunshine and move within the first 20 minutes – get your circadian rhythm in order!

Your circadian rhythm controls many aspects of your life. Your sleep/wake cycle, body temperature and metabolism are strongly influenced by how well synchronised your body is with your circadian rhythm. The strongest synchronising agent for your circadian rhythm is light. Most specifically blue light emitted by the sun. Getting outdoors into the sunshine signals to your body the day has begun, increases your ‘readiness & alertness’ and tells you it’s time to ‘seize the day’.

Add some gentle non-stressful movement to your sunshine emersion and you are giving yourself your best chance to ‘have a wonderful day’.

Prescription: Get out in the sun and move for 5-15min every morning.  

·         Walk the dog

·         Have a routine of walking to the shop to get the paper

·         Take the kids for a scooter, cycle or shoot hoops

·         Do a little yoga or stretch routine

… or if you can’t make it outside there is not a better start to the day on so many levels than sex!


3)      Take a cold shower every morning & breathe!

If you want to tap your potential you need to expose your body to some acute stresses that teach your body to adapt, get stronger and be better fortified. There is no better way than cold water immersion. The shock of cold has a very positive stress response on our systems, fortifies our immune system and aids in decreasing inflammation & fat loss.

Prescription

·         Hardcore version is the whole 5min shower cold but this takes some serious mental fortitude!

·         Next best is to have your normal morning shower and finish the last 3 minutes with nothing but full power cold.

·         The best beginner option is to do 20 sec on cold and 10 sec hot and do 10 cycles.

Breathing Bonus

To get enhanced stress reduction and body chemistry effects try to do some deep breathing techniques at the same time you are immersing in the cold water. The Wim Hof protocol is a great start. Just take 30-50 deep inhalations filling your diaphragm completely with little breaths out (letting go) and when you start to feel that tingling (not dizzy) feeling hold that last breath for as long you can. 2-3 cycles should be plenty.


4)      Don’t eat breakfast some days – Try Intermittent Fasting

The long-held beliefs about breakfast and eating regularly are dead! Breakfast is not the most important meal of the day, you don’t have to eat regularly to boost metabolism and ‘starving’ yourself is not only NOT dangerous but extremely healthy if done in a controlled manner!

The amount of research supporting fasting benefits from fat loss & disease prevention to mental clarity & longevity are mounting  every day. The cellular repair and regeneration that seems to occur only during periods of non-eating (fasting) are quite amazing. I wont go into the details and many benefits here (see my blog at https://www.justonelife.one/home/2018/10/5/intermittent-fasting-everything-you-need-to-know ) but the fact is intermittent fasting is something you should consider to optimise your health and longevity.

Prescription- From all the research I would recommend the simple 16-8 diet where you compress your eating into an 8-hour window. Best solution is to not have breakfast but theoretically not having dinner might be more advantageous and simplify life as well. In addition, you might try once a week or two weeks to go one day completely without food or limit to 400-600 calories. It is all up to individual preference like everything to do with our bodies so just experiment and see what works for you.


5)      Talk, Laugh, Socialise – Connect with your tribe!

When it comes to powerful interventions that genuinely increase our quality and length of life nothing may be more important than socialising and interacting with friends, family and colleagues on a regular basis. We are a social species that thrives on contact with other human beings!

Many studies including a Harvard study running for over 70 years have found that the number one factor influencing how long we live and our quality of life is socialising with family & community. It is no surprise that many of the ‘blue zones’ around the world (areas with high numbers of centenarians) are areas where family dinners are a 2-hour daily event and the community is a close group that interacts in work and play on a daily basis.

Prescription:

Talk, laugh, play, confide and just be with the people you love! Re-connect with your tribe!

·         Make your own family dinner a real occasion every night

·         Organise regular events with your mum, dad and siblings

·         Catch up with friends as often as possible

·         Get involved in community events, sports or any association that is social and interesting

·         Join a gym, a dance class, a language class – meet new people.

·         Volunteer at charities and events

·         Embrace boys and girls weekends away – time with our own gender is so important!


6)      Be grateful every day

I know it sounds all ‘whoo’ but the research is in and the simple act of gratefulness has many very real and tangible health benefits. Not only does it ground you and make you appreciate everything and everyone you have but the simply art of daily reflection on the things you are grateful for might just extend your length and quality of life. Numerous studies now show that people that are respectful and mindful of just how fortunate they are in life tend to have higher perceived happiness with their lives and actually live longer. You can trace this back to lower levels of stress leading to reduce inflammation and many other associated health factors.

Prescription

How you practice gratefulness is up to you but a couple of the best ways are:

·         Keep a gratefulness journal and every night before bed write about something you are grateful for and why.

·         Every night around the dinner table ask each family member to say one thing they are grateful for before you start to eat. A kind of gratefulness ‘grace’!


7)      Sleep, sleep, sleep … and bring back the power nap!

Once again I have spoken about sleep at length (https://www.justonelife.one/home/2018/8/20/sleep-as-essential-as-food-water ) but it would simply be remiss not to mention it in my top 11 things for optimal living. Many scientists and doctors (and myself) put it first on the list because the simple fact is that every hour you are awake is generally affected by the quality of sleep you had the night before. We know our bodies rest, repair and rejuvenate whilst we sleep so without adequate sleep we are always living in a sub optimal state. The body needs 5 x 90min sleep cycles each day or more precisely 35 sleep cycles per week. Every cycle less than this has an affect on everything from mental alertness, performance, recovery, fat loss and mood.

The power nap is so under-rated. The reality is that if our culture ditched the stigma and embraced the value of a post lunch power nap (just 20 or 30min makes a difference) people would be more productive, less stressed and happier!

Prescription – If you are a poor sleeper and are not actively prioritising this aspect of your life it is time to start! There are so many interventions you can take to sleep better.

·         Plan enough time for sleep each night – organise your day/life!

·         Get some sunshine in the morning to set your circadian rhythm.

·         Get your nightly routine in order such as night time tea, unplugging devices and reading or meditating

·         Make sure you have the best possible mattress and pillow

·         Prepare the room appropriately with dark, cool and quiet ambience

·         Take supplements if required (there are many)

·         Have sex


8)      Thrive with supplements!

You can eat a perfect diet of whole real foods with plenty of variety but the fact is you will probably still not get all the vitamins, minerals & nutrients to have optimal nutrition. Put another way “You can survive without supplements but you wont thrive!”

Our modern fast paced world full of pollutants, toxins, stress and inflammation is putting more demands on our bodies and systems then ever before! You simply need supplements to top up the many vitamins & minerals required to help you maintain optimum health!

Once again everyone is extremely different in what supplements they need based on a variety of factors from their diet, where you live, what you do and your internal biochemistry but there are a few key supplements that most people in the western world can benefit greatly from.

Prescription:

All supplements are definitely NOT created equal. Many of the same product will have extremely different levels of absorption & effectiveness due to the amount of the active ingredient, where it was sourced, what part of the ingredient is used (roots or leaves), what it is combined with and many more critical production factors. In general only go for the highly clinical and more expensive brands because as they say, otherwise ‘you are just creating expensive pee”! My recommendation are Bioceuticals, Metagenics & Nuzest.

The most often recommended supplements in today’s western world are:

Multivitamin – difficult to get good ones but I recommend ‘Good Green Stuff’

Quality fish oil for omega 3 for inflammation

Probiotics (and possibly prebiotics) for gut health

Vitamin D for bone & muscle health

Magnesium for bone, heart and performance

B Vitamins for blood, skin, energy & immune function

Zinc for immune, healing & skin                                                       


9)      Unplug – break the ping addiction!

We are addicted to our smart phones! The statistics surrounding our relationships with our phones are frightening. The average person now checks their smart phone 80 x per day and spends 3.5 hours per day looking at their screens!

There is research showing how every ping and ring on our phone from email, text or other alert releases a dopamine response from our bodies as we are excited to see who has contacted us or what message has come through! We are literally addicted to the rush of the ping!

The reality is that we all need our phones for a certain amount of necessary daily activities. The problem is we don’t know when to stop! Our phones are having a devastating affect on how we interact and live as human beings. The possible negative flow on affects from our phone addiction is endless but it all comes down to common sense and being aware of your actions. You really don’t need your phone with you all the time! In fact if you do feel naked without your phone you need to go ‘cold turkey’ to break the FOMO (fear of missing out) anxiety!

Prescription:

Make a conscious effort to do things without your phone and get back to basics. Here are some simple examples:

·         No devices at the dinner table! Talk to each other.

·         Go for a walk, to the beach or play with the kids and leave your phone at home!

·         Go for a run, cycle or to the gym and leave your phone at home or work.

·         Go out with friends and just enjoy their company without your phone.

·         Turn your phone off at 8pm every night and just chill with family.

·         Do something crazy and talk to people at the bus stop or on the train!

·         Never have your phone in your bedroom.


10)  Make your car a travelling university!

Traffic is one of the greatest wastes of time and sources of frustration and stress in the western world! We all have to get to work so no matter whether it is by car, bus or train you can harness this time to learn and gain knowledge! Welcome to the world of podcasts and audible! My car is now my travelling university where I listen to an amazing array of podcasts and audio books on a wide variety of topics. I now no longer dread the up to hour long commute because every day I am excited to get in the car and expand my knowledge. It is all about changing your perspective!

Prescription:

Get yourself an audible account and podcast forum such as iTunes and take the time to explore the amazing world of information and knowledge delivered directly to your smart phone. Each audible book will cost you about $16 and you can subscribe to any podcast for free! You will be amazed at the incredible amount of topics and information from world leading experts in every field that is right there waiting for you to listen!


11)  Meditate in an infrared sauna

I must admit that a few years ago if you told me to practice meditation or mindfulness, I would have told you “that stuff is for the Hippies & Yogies”! I was simply ignorant and naive!

The truth is meditation has many different types and incantations that don’t involve chanting on a mountain side somewhere and the health benefits are simply irrefutable. Meditation is now a popular practice to help reduce stress & anxiety, fight depression, improve self image, boost cognitive ability & memory, decrease inflammation & blood pressure, control pain and improve sleep!

Prescription:

Meditation practices can be as simple as 5min a day! Meditation is highly personal and whatever works for you is the right thing to do! The benefits can be life changing!

·         Go for a walk, clear your thoughts and just completely take in the nature and world around you.

·         Eat a healthy meal and savour every mouthful being mindful of every bite.

·         Sit and close your eyes and think about nothing, let your mind be a blank page.

·         Take a barefoot walk on the dew-covered morning grass and ground yourself.

·         Cycle, run or swim and just be completely connected with your body and breathing as you focus on every stride, pedal or stroke!

·         Do yoga and immerse in the stretching and breathing practices.

·         Sit in a sauna and breathe as you sweat and completely tune out to everything outside that wooden box!

Note: Infrared sauna may be the perfect meditation platform because you also get the decreased inflammation and detoxification benefits of the infra red sauna which are being backed by a large amount of research lately.

Summary

There truly are so many very simple things you can do to make a huge impact on your life and the lives of those you love. We are an amazingly complex and diverse species yet we are all bound by such simple needs and desires. Sleep, water, movement, sunshine, nourishment, breathing, human interaction, gratitude, belonging, learning, family and love. Just choose one of the above and start from there! Every step you take is a step towards optimal living and longevity!

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