How do we live more healthfully? It’s a question that people have been asking for thousands of years, and from which have sprung countless cottage industries from weight loss centers to natural food supermarkets. But what does it mean to be healthy? Is it merely the absence of pain, or is it an exuberance, a vital energy that infuses all of your daily activities, bringing you the maximum in joy and lightness of being?

I tend to believe the latter. True health is not just a functioning organic system - it is a system at peak condition, synergistically combining a positive mindfulness with a moderate approach to the maintenance of the body. Below are some tips on how to keep yourself living as healthy as possible.

1) A Balanced Diet - Who does not know this by now? A healthful diet is essential to a healthy life, and there can be natural health solutions for almost every ailment. There may not be a singular diet that is good for all people; and while there are many who espouse the secrets to the “perfect” diet, there are definite guidelines from which all can benefit. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is essential to good health, and processed foods filled with sugar and fat should always be avoided. Eating fruits, vegetables, and nuts and legumes ensures you’ll obtain the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to be at top condition. One good rule of thumb: eat sparingly. A person should only eat till they are about 80% full before stopping.

2) Exercise Daily - The famous ancient Chinese doctor Sun Ssu-mo once said of exercise: “One should learn how to exercise from nature by observing that flowing water never stagnates and a busy door with active hinges never rusts or rots.” This is just as true with the body. Modern life has too many of us sitting for long hours, allowing our muscles to atrophy, our bones to shrink and our circulation to slow. Even just a half hour a day of simple movement such as walking can greatly help improve overall health and longevity.

3) Avoid Stress - Stress is one of the biggest killers known to Man. This was merely an anecdote for much of our history, but science has now confirmed that mental stress causes chemical reactions, which can cause harm from cellular damage to heart failure. Aside from taking the time to enjoy oneself, one of the best stress-avoiding techniques comes in mindful breathing. Just a concentrated period of 10-30 seconds of slow, deep breathing can lower your heart rate and oxidize the blood system.