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Health & Spirit

Small Moves and Big Government: Well-Being Matters in 2018

Marilynn Preston on

New Year clearances are happening all over town, including my own desk, piled high with articles, notebooks and coffee-stained press releases leftover from 2017. It's an activity, like skinny-dipping, that I highly recommend.

One thing I am keeping is an intriguing new book called "The Psychobiotic Revolution," by Scott C. Anderson, John F. Cryan and Ted Dinan. It explains the cutting-edge science that proves your gut and your brain are interconnected, and why many foods we innocently eat mess up our physical and mental health, causing depression, anxiety -- Alzheimer's, too.

(Maintain your microbiome! The research is in. Does your doctor even know how to spell microbiome?)

I'm letting go of "green smoothies for life." It's a highly recommended new release, but I've decided life is too short to gulp down your breakfast, even if it is a healthy and balanced mix of 10 fruits, 10 vegetables and enough protein powder to get you through dinner without actually chewing. (Did you know you can put banana peels in a smoothie?)

Time-saving smoothies also conflict with one of my primo resolutions for this new year: to slow down -- a daunting campaign now entering its 18th year.

This new year's process of sorting through and tossing out has me thinking about two aha! insights of 2017, or as my family calls it, the Year of the Book. ("All Is Well: The Art {and Science} of Personal Well-Being" came out in late April and managed to become an Amazon best-seller in August, thanks to an algorithm I'm grateful for but can't possibly explain.)

 

INSIGHT NO. 1: TINY MOVES BRING BIG RESULTS. When most people think about doing more exercise in 2018, they mean big-motion activities: more walking, running, swimming, basketball, biking -- whatever sparks joy.

All are stellar choices. Have fun; play sports! But here's my wish for your new year: don't ignore your inner body. Sensing how to communicate with it is a giant step forward when it comes to taking care of your personal well-being.

This isn't woo-woo, it's science: You can learn to make tiny, subtle moves within your own body. These small inner shifts of muscle, tissue and breath --done slowly, with awareness -- help energize your spine, balance your sacrum, and lubricate your joints so when you do play sports or pick up heavy suitcases or groceries, you're less likely to screw up your back, or wrench your shoulder. And if you do -- accidents happen -- you'll have some self-care tools to speed your recovery.

Collectively it's known as somatics training: teachers and practices that help you develop inner body awareness. Somatics-based yoga, Feldenkrais, the Alexander Technique, qigong, tai chi are all proven ways to direct your attention inward, to connect and balance your mind, body and breath. Do all that on a regular basis in 2018 -- with patience and kindness -- and you can audition for Jedi knight.

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Copyright 2018 Creators Syndicate Inc.
 

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