How kindness can affect your immune system. In a Harvard study, 132 students watched a video of Mother Teresa carrying out acts of charitable giving. After the video, all of the students registered an increase in their level of immunoglobulin A, your body’s primary defense against viruses. I’m not saying you need to watch Mother Teresa every day, but if we decorate our lives with good friendships and relationships, and act as supportive, giving humans, the impact on our immune systems will be profound.
Treat your refrigerator like a giant medicine cabinet. As Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Your kitchen holds a giant medicine cabinet—your fridge!—so treat it that way. What you consume every day builds and sways your body and your immune system, so fill that giant medicine cabinet with beautiful, healthy foods. Extra feel-good points for eating the greatest variety of colors from as many different vegetables and fruits.
Eat snacks throughout the day. I’m a huge fan of midmorning and midafternoon snacks when my blood sugar is low. One of the most powerful indicators of a strong will is to keep your blood sugar balanced. If you’re out there building a great big life, your brain is helping you do this. And you need a good supply of glucose so your brain can be strong to its conviction.
Be blissful with dark chocolate. I love dark chocolate, particularly in the afternoon. Good dark chocolate—minimum 70 percent cocoa— can reduce levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. According to research, dark chocolate also helps produce anandamide, a natural “bliss” chemical in our body. Spread a thin layer of almond butter on a bar. It will be a Kumbaya moment for both your brain and body.
Try a digital sunset. I am zealous about bedtime. No matter what is going on, I’m in bed at 9 every night. So at my house, within an hour of the sun going down, we power down anything with on/off buttons—it’s our digital sunset. The blue light that comes out of your phone, your TV, your computer disrupts your body’s ability to produce a healthy level of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wake cycles. So power down by reading a real book, turning the
pages with your fingers. Or spend time with your loved ones, hang out, play games, commune together. Visually demonstrate living life well.
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.