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5 Vital Keys to Health and Wellbeing
By Margaret Paul

I was a sickly child and I hated being sick. In my early 20s (which was 54 years ago!) I decided that I was done being sick and done not having energy to do all the things I wanted to do. I started doing research on what creates health, and I was fortunate to read a few books that changed my life. At that time, I threw everything out of my kitchen and started to do my grocery shopping at the one tiny health food store in Santa Monica, California.

As I got off all processed foods, stopped eating sugar and ate only organic foods, my health improved rapidly. My excitement about how good I felt led to a life-long passion for learning about what creates excellent health and wellbeing. I discovered that we each need to address five major life areas to create excellent health.

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1. FOOD – Eat for a balanced gut
There are many ways of eating and there is no one way that works for everyone. Each of us needs to tune into our body to see what feels best, perhaps it’s eating a Paleo or modified Paleo diet, a vegetarian diet or a vegan diet. However, whichever suits you, there are some general guidelines that apply to everyone.

Recent research indicates that 80% of our immune system is in our gut, and that the balance or imbalance of our gut flora affects our organs and our brain. An imbalanced gut is caused by antibiotics and other drugs, by processed, sugared and pesticide-laden foods, by bad air, fluoridated water, too much alcohol, over-exercising and stress.

Eating fresh, local and organic foods goes a long way toward creating health, as does including fermented foods with each meal (unless you are suffering from SIBO – Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth. If this is the case, it’s best to work with a functional medicine doctor to heal the SIBO before including fermented foods in your diet). An imbalanced gut can cause both physical and emotional problems.

2. EXERCISE – The best exercise is what you do naturally
It is very important to find exercise that you love to do so that you look forward to doing it and want to do it your whole life. Research indicates that the best exercise is what you do naturally – gardening, walking, fun sports and so on. Intense or extreme exercise, such as running marathons, tends to create an imbalance in the gut flora (called gut dysbiosis), and can even create gut permeability (leaky gut).

3. HYDRATION – (Sorry, coffee doesn’t count, it’s a dehydrator!)

Our bodies need good, clean filtered water – about ½ ounce per pound of weight – so a 150-pound person would need 75 ounces of water daily. Coffee doesn’t count as it is dehydrating. Not enough water can cause insomnia, anxiety and muscle cramps. However, overdoing it and drinking too much water isn’t healthy either.

4. SLEEP – Skimping on zzz’s weakens your immunity
A lack of sleep greatly lowers the immune system’s ability to fight off illness. Most people need at least seven good hours of sleep a night to keep their immune system healthy.

5. STATE OF MIND – I put this last on the list, yet it’s the most important.
Research indicates that stress is a major cause of 90% of all illness. Most people have no idea how to lovingly manage life’s stressors. They might run or meditate, and this might help, but what creates the most inner peace is learning how to take loving responsibility for your feelings. This means that you learn to move toward your painful feelings rather than push them away with various addictions. It means embracing all your feelings with a desire to learn about what they are telling you.

All our feelings have information for us. There are two basic kinds of painful feelings:

1) Wounded Feelings we create by our own self-abandonment, such as anxiety, depression (these can also be caused or exacerbated by a gut imbalance), guilt, shame, anger, emptiness, aloneness, jealousy and so on.

These feelings tell us that we are being unloving to ourselves by ignoring our feelings, judging ourselves, turning to addictions to numb our feelings, or making others responsible for our feelings.

2) Core Painful Feelings of life, such as loneliness, heartbreak, grief and helplessness over others and events. These feelings are telling us a lot about what is happening with others and with situations and events.

When our desire is to love ourselves rather than to try to control our feelings or control others, we open ourselves to the possibility of learning with our feelings, which can lead to understanding, acceptance, peace and joy. Learn to love yourself now by taking our free Inner Bonding course at http://www.innerbonding.com/welcome!

Margaret Paul
She is a bestselling author, popular Huffington Post writer and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® self-healing process, and the related SelfQuest® self-healing software program - recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette. She has appeared on numerous radio and television shows (including Oprah). Her book titles include "Do I Have to Give Up Me to Be Loved By You" (and subsequent titles "Do I Have to Give Up Me to Be Loved By God," and "...By My Kids"), "Healing Your Aloneness" and "Inner Bonding." Margaret holds a Ph.D. in psychology, is a relationship expert, public speaker, consultant and artist. She has successfully worked with thousands and taught classes and seminars for over 47 years.