What’s going to keep us healthy in the next millennium? Is it going to be science and technology or ELMOS?

ELMOS is what I call the basic tenants of good health. If you take care of ELMOS then you know you have taken care of yourself. There is no better care than self-care.

ELMOS stands for: Exercise, Laughter, Meditation, Organic Healthy Food and Stress Management. Many of the modern day killers (stress, heart disease, accidents, and cancer) will be taken care of if we take care of ELMOS.

What about our genes? May be genetic engineering will take care of that. But, there are no guarantees in life! What we can do is build a good foundation for good health. I believe, ELMOS is that foundation.

EXERCISE. A study published in 1994, showed that regular exercise is important for health and reduces the risks of chronic diseases. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine encourage 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity every day. But it is estimated that only less than half the adults in North America exercise regularly. We need to do more.

LAUGHTER. There is a lot of truth in the old saying – laughter is the best medicine. The happier you are the better you feel. Ashley Montagu has written about the origin of laughter. She says the only animal that speaks is the only animal that laughs. Laughter is an expression of joy and can be infectious. This is one infection worth spreading!

Montagu says: It is well known that laughter has a tonic effect on the mind and body, suffusing the body with a feeling of well-being that few other activities are able to provide, refreshing, relieving, enlivening, and involving the whole body in its “happy convulsion.”

MEDITATION. The practice of meditation has occurred worldwide since ancient times, says Encyclopedia Britannica. There are numerous techniques of meditation – religious or otherwise. It is considered holistic and humane. Medical and psychological studies have shown that meditation is effective to varying degrees in the symptomatic control of migraine headache, hypertension, and other conditions. It helps in the purification of body, mind, and soul.

ORGANIC HEALTHY FOOD. The Environmental Magazine says: Of the 300 pesticides approved by the federal government, 73 (including some of the most frequently used) are “probable” or “possible” carcinogens (substances which cause cancer). There is also a risk to nervous system damage. What about the balanced healthy diet?

The Canadian Cancer Society, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, and the Canadian Produce Marketing Association have recently launched a campaign to encourage Canadians to eat at least five servings of vegetables and fruit every day. This will help “prevent thousands of future cases of cancer”.

STRESS MANAGEMENT. I did not use the work “prevention”. As Newsweek magazine says: Living a stress-free life is not a reasonable goal. The goal is to deal with it actively and effectively. Some of the coping mechanisms are: exercise, meditation, relaxation and massage therapy. Learn to philosophize and rationalize issues. It is good for the soul.

I believe, ELMOS will save many painful moments in our lives in the next millennium. But we need to find time and make an effort. Nobody can help us with that. We have to set our own priorities.

I wish you and your family a happy, healthy and prosperous thousand years!

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