Friday, June 28, 2013

Not-so-secret ways to stay healthy

Not everyone can engineer a daily lifestyle of tranquility comparable to that of Susan Smith Jones, one of many uber-healthy people profiled in The Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick by Gene Stone. Subtitled "What they know, why it works, and how it can work for you," the book is a cornucopia of solid advice from 25 people who have mastered the art of keeping body and soul in tip-top shape.
Upon rising at 4 a.m., Smith meditates, squeezes fresh orange juice, takes a hike in the Santa Monica Mountains, and eats a vegan breakfast. She writes or reads until lunchtime (raw food; sprouts), sees clients in the afternoon, and after dinner meditates again before bed at 8.  The author of The Joy Factor, Smith is a holistic healer and expert on relaxation who never takes medication and hasn't had a cold or flu in 25 years.
Granted, her regimen is a tad rarified, yet there are many habits of hers we can all assimilate. She offers seven cost-free suggestions that show up time and again throughout Stone's book as holistic paths to health. Here's my summary of them.
  • Get moving. Even a small amount of vigorous exercise can reduce tension dramatically.
  • Meditate and breathe deeply . . . your stress hormones will dissipate.
  • Eat a diet that takes stress off of your digestive system (yep, that means focusing on ye olde veggies and fruits).
  • Stay hydrated for maximum brain and kidney function.
  • Get enough sleep—if you want to live longer, not gain weight, and be more pleasant to be around, that is.
  • Laugh! Stimulate those endorphins!
  • Cultivate an "attitude of gratitude" by appreciating nature.
Interestingly, some of her precepts are echoed in the chapter that addresses the remarkable effects that a spiritual practice has on health. Theologian and psychotherapist Thomas Moore offers these five guideposts in that regard.
  • Spend time in nature, observing its mysteries and curious forms of vitality.
  • Walk thoughtfully, sit reflectively [i.e., meditate], especially in those in-between moments of everyday life.
  • Seek out art that has a spiritual quality for contemplation.
  • Have an inner prayer asking for what you need, praising what you see, thanking the source of life for what you have.
  • Engage in and reflect on some sort of "spiritual reading," whether it be poetry, fiction, nature writing, or spiritual ideas.
Secrets guru Gene Stone is one of the authors who is contributing original content to the Healthy Brain/Healthy Life forum that Daedalus is hosting on its website for the next few months. You're sure to find something of interest and value among the four showcases (Right Brain/Left Brain; Brain Gym; Total Recall; Food for Thought). We're also featuring news items, puzzles, quizzes, and more. I'll be sharing some groovy recipes from Secrets on down the line, so stay tuned. Bye for now . . .  I'm going for a walk!


  1. I picked up "Secrets..." a few months back. Thus far, I've only been able to commit to freezing cold showers in the morning and throwing back a little apple cider vinegar from time to time! There's a wealth in there, to be certain...

  2. Oh yeah, to be a young chick in a warm climate! Try eating sprouts for lunch through a Vermont winter with 3 feet of snow to shovel and maybe -30 without the wind chill.
    I hate people who want to give you a guilt trip for using your common sense.