ELMOSS for 2007 – Back to the Basics

“Never underestimate your power to change yourself……”

– H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Changing oneself is one of the scariest and most difficult things to do. It requires motivation, planning, dedication and discipline. But it can be done. What we need is to have a desire to change. The desire should come from within us. We should control our own destiny – hopefully for the better.

It has been six years since I first used the mnemonic ELMOSS. It was my column for the millennium edition of the Medicine Hat News where I said sticking to the basic principles of good health will sustain us for the next millennium. New technology will come and go but the basic principles will always remain the same. In fact the new technology should make it easy for us to stick to our basic principles of good health, that is ELMOSS.

ELMOSS stands for exercise, laughter, meditation, organic/healthy food, smoke-free and stress relief life. Briefly let us examine each segment and see how it can help us stay healthy.

Exercise: Regular moderate exercise or physical activity has tremendous benefits. It is an important strategy in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and other chronic ailments including stress relief.

Walking improves cardio-vascular fitness, lowers cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Burns calories, improves muscle tone, relieves tension, improves digestion, and makes one feel good about one self. It also helps prevent osteoporosis.

Experts suggest we should do one hour of physical activity every day – it does not have to be all at one time.

Laughter: Here are some quotes which speak for themselves.

“Laughter is the closest thing to the grace of God,” says Karl Bath (1886-1968).

“Only three things in life are real: God, human stupidity, and laughter. But the first two pass our comprehension; we must do what we can with the third,” says Aubrey Menen in The Ramayana.

“I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain free sleep,” Norman Cousins.

Laughter brings happiness and happiness brings good health.

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

Meditation reduces stress, brings harmony in one’s mind, and increases focus. Reduces blood pressure and may boost your immune system to fight infection and cancer.

Organic healthy food: If you can find organic food then it is good. But it is not always easy to do that. What is important is to eat a low fat, high fiber diet with five to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables. There are definite benefits in terms of preventing heart disease and cancer.

Stress relief: Life without stress is not possible. So learn to manage stress. Be an optimist but have plan B ready. Never feel as if you are trapped in a situation. Learn to manage your time and people around you. Many people can help you – you just have to ask.

Smoking: Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in Canada. It is responsible for one in five deaths. Half of regular smokers die prematurely of tobacco-related disease.

Nicotine causes tolerance and physical dependence. It literally takes over control of your life. If you do not smoke then do not start. If you smoke then immediately find help to quit smoking. Your life is in danger.

For 2007, remember – if you take care of ELMOSS then ELMOSS will take care of you. Have a great year.

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