Each year, I make New Year’s resolutions. Often, I cannot accomplish them all. But for many reasons, the year 2000 was a good one for me. I tried to follow what I wrote in my column on January 1st, 2000. I said that if we take good care of ELMOS then ELMOS will take care of many of the health problems that affect us.

What does ELMOS stand for?

E stands for exercise, L for laughter, M for meditation, O for organic healthy food, and S for stress relief. You can help yourself with ELMOS. It is based on our own time, our own determination and our own dedication.

So, how did I do in 2000?

Exercise: I have been using my treadmill. But not as much as I would like to. Experts recommend moderately intense exercise daily at least for 30 minutes. I have been pretty close but I hope to do better this year. If you are new to exercise then remember to warm up and cool down. Know your limitation and check with your doctor if you are not sure.

Laughter: I haven’t been laughing much last year. I have been too busy taking care of other things. But this year I want to laugh a lot. Laughter is the best medicine. It is cheap. And it can be infectious. So let us plan to laugh a lot and spread it around.

Meditation: A quotation from Blaise Pascal (a French philosopher, scientist, mathematician, and writer) says it all, “All man’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone.”

Meditation is defined as private devotion or mental exercise consisting in any of innumerable techniques of concentration. Like many of you, I do practice some sort of meditation each day but not enough to benefit my health. May be half an hour of silence with eyes shut in a room alone (with soft music or relaxation tape or a rosary) is what I should aim for this year.

Organic healthy food: It is not always easy to find organic food, says my wife. And it is expensive. But she tries hard to buy whatever she can find. Maybe one day we will have a supermarket full of organic food. I eat 5 to 10 servings of vegetables and fruit daily. I stick to low fat and high fibre diet. But what bothers me most is the amount of fried food and sweet stuff lying all over the place. Sometimes at home, most of the time at work, in cafeterias and restaurants. This year my target is to cut down further on sweet stuff (good bye to my favourite chocolate chip peanut butter cookie!).

Stress relief: Life without stress is not possible. Stress is part of our life. Some people take up smoking, drinking alcohol or coffee, and eating junk food as an escape from stress. I try exercise, laughter, a good movie or a book, massage therapy, or swimming with few minutes in the whirlpool. I find water very relaxing. I expect my stress level to be little less this year if I can control my time.

Looks like I have some work to do this year. Perhaps you too. Why don’t you make a list of your plans and stick it somewhere where you can see it everyday? You may send me a copy if you like. Apply the KISS principle – keep it simple stupid!

Good luck and happy New Year.

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