We live in challenging times. So in this coming year, instead of simply turning to personal wellness resolutions and intentions, why not elevate wellness to the next level by also encouraging and inspiring others around you to live the best year of their lives. How? By using the following essential tools for your mind, body and spirit.  

A Firewall

You have the power to decide what to allow in your mind. This is your firewall. When I was learning to meditate, I was taught a Buddhist practice called “Strong Back, Soft Front,” in which you decide what to allow your mind to experience. Your front is soft when you are empathetic, loving and kind; your back is strong and courageous when you are discerning about what to allow in your environment. If you let in too much negative, your front weakens and can become negative. Use your firewall to keep a high watch, and integrate what encourages you, instead of what makes you less hopeful. 

Nutrition and Exercise

Good food and movement are two of the most powerful tools to keep your life in balance. When you over-sugar or over-carb, you are more susceptible to stress and become more emotionally liable to attract things you don’t want in your life. When you choose to eat a cleaner, healthier diet of organic and non-GMO foods whenever possible, this keeps your psyche and psychology clean. Eating more plant-based foods also lowers systemic inflammation, which in turn promotes optimism and vitality. 

Exercise has multiple benefits, too. Research shows that it positively affects our neurochemistry, boosting production of feel-good compounds like dopamine and serotonin, which can bring a smile to your face and reduce stress by lowering your heart rate and blood pressure.  

Karma Yoga

When you see a good person leading a good life, this becomes a positive contagion both psychologically and spiritually. When I was in my 20s, I lived in an ashram where I practiced karma yoga, the discipline of selfless action as a way to deeper purpose and meaning. It is about joyfully involving yourself in any activity. For me, it was working in the gardens, eating well, meditating and practicing mindfulness. My daily practices were in fact spiritual in nature and became a form of social activism that I imprint on others to promote self-care and be strong, courageous and compassionate. Research suggests we can stay strong and motivated when we see our wellness endeavors as a vehicle to move from “me” to “we.” The most important spiritual practice is to help elevate and serve others with less ego and more heart. We are alive to the degree we serve! 

The cofounder of Optimum Wellness and Live Naturally, Dr. James Rouse has a doctorate in naturopathic medicine. He is an inspirational speaker, personal coach, author and the cofounder of Skoop, a line of powdered superfoods.