Cheat Sheet

Healthy Mind and Body All-in-One For Dummies

It doesn’t take a huge amount of time or effort to keep your mind and body in tip-top condition. Keep fit and healthy, and a more positive mental attitude will follow quite naturally. Small changes really can make a big difference.

Low-GL Alternatives for Starchy Foods

You can take some simple steps towards losing weight, or maintaining your healthy weight, by swapping high-GL starchy staples with low-GL alternatives in your diet.

Starchy Staples Low GL High GL
Bread Pumpernickel, rye, sourdough, soya and linseed, barley and sunflower, granary, seeded breads and pitta breads (moderate GL), oat cakes, rye crackers (moderate GL) White, wholemeal, French stick, rice cakes, cream crackers, bread sticks
Cereal Whole oats, oatmeal, porridge, no-added-sugar muesli, bran sticks, semolina, quinoa Sweetened cereals, rice based cereals, bran flakes, wheat biscuits, shredded wheat
Pasta Egg-based pasta, mungbean noodles Overcooked pasta and pasta ready meals requiring re-heating
Rice Long grain, wild and basmati rice. Bulgur or cracked wheat, couscous, pearl barley Short grain, sticky white rice
Potatoes Baby new potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, celeriac, swede Large floury white potatoes, French fries, mashed potato

Aiming for a Healthy Body: Incorporating Exercise into Your Life

Exercising makes you feel good and look good. But fitting exercise into your busy schedule can be a challenge. The following easy everyday tips can help keep your body fit, strong and balanced:    

  • Set specific, realistic goals. Instead of vowing to ‘get in shape’, commit to walking three times a week.

  • Keep a daily exercise diary. Record the details of your exercising, such as how far you walked, how hard you pushed and how you felt.

  • Pace yourself. Build up your exercise slowly adding a few extra minutes each day.

  • Exercise with a friend or join a club. You’ll gain more motivation – and fitness – than if you exercise alone.

  • Choose a few gentle Pilates or Yoga exercises. Do these every day as a morning stretch routine. Try the Basic Cat Stretch or The Sun Salutation.

  • Remember to breathe deeply. Take a moment each day to breathe deeply and slowly. Doing so is relaxing and good for your health. Breathing wide into the ribs helps to release muscle tension.

  • Keep your shoulders relaxed and pulling down your back. Relax your shoulders, and keep pulling the shoulder blades down and away from your ears. Think of using the muscles underneath the shoulder blades to keep the shoulders in the proper position. This also works wonders for your neck.

  • Keep your belly scoop whenever you can. Pulling your navel toward your spine protects your back from potential injury. Using your deep abdominal muscles, especially when bending over and lifting, takes some of the strain off your back.

  • Think of a golden string pulling you up from the back of the top of your head. Holding an image in your head can help you change your body dramatically as you think of proper alignment for your body. Stand up with the back of your head pulled up towards the sky helping to lengthen your spine.

Ten Ways to Improve Your Mood – Instantly

If you experience the occasional low mood, try out the following list of ideas to help you handle the blues, boost you up and get you feeling positive again.

  • Have a little of what you fancy. What is your favourite food? Indulge yourself a little, but remember that moderation is the key. Treat yourself to an ice cream or chocolate bar.

  • Be nice to others. Doing a kind act for someone else is a great way to give your low mood a boost.

  • Get moving. Exercise can lift the weight of depression, raising you out of a low mood. Do some gentle stretches or have a walk to your local park.

  • Sing your heart out. If you enjoy singing, try it when you’re feeling down. Singing is uplifting, but choose an upbeat tune. Pop on your favourite CD and sing along to uplift your spirits and lighten your mood.

  • Phone a friend. Call a good friend to reconnect; this can help with all kinds of difficulties and raise your mood. You’ll feel so much better after sharing a problem.

  • Wash those blues away. Many people find that a long, hot bath helps soothe both mind and body. A hot shower can also refresh your state of mind.

  • Get a pet. If you’re feeling low, spend some time with your pet, or a friend’s pet. Studies show that pets help you feel to better.

  • Take time out. Spending time outdoors is a great way of brightening your mood. The natural light, sunshine and simply being in the great outdoors puts you in a better mindset.

  • Mellow your mood with mindfulness. Start living in the here and now. Accept your low mood as unpleasant but unavoidable and connect with the present in a more positive way rather than dwelling on upsetting thoughts.

  • Assume emotional responsibility. Remember that you feel the way you think.

Calming Your Anxious Feelings

When you feel anxious all over, with sensations like sweaty hands, a shaky voice, a racing heart or an unsettled stomach, try a few relaxing breaths:

  1. Put your hand on your abdomen.

  2. Take a slow, deep breath through your nose and notice your abdomen expanding.

  3. Hold that breath for five or six seconds.

  4. Slowly breathe out through your mouth and let your shoulders drop.

  5. As you exhale, say the word ‘relax’ to yourself.

  6. Repeat this type of breath ten times.

Using Your Imagination to Deal with Stress

Feeling stressed? Want to calm down quickly and easily? If you take the stress-producing thought or image and replace it with one that’s relaxing and calming, chances are that you’ll begin feeling much better. Here’s how:

  1. Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for a few minutes, and get comfortable, either sitting in a favourite chair or lying down.

  2. Think of an image – a place, a scene, a memory – that relaxes you.

  3. Use all your senses to bring the imagined scene to life. Ask yourself: What can I see? What can I hear? What can I smell? What can I feel?

  4. Let yourself become completely immersed in your image, allowing it to relax you completely. Feel better now?

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