How to get healthy in 5 minutes

Do the right thing by your body and soul in five minutes flat!

Share a smile.

A smile is a great mood booster, both for yourself and those you smile at. Try smiling at someone randomly in the street and enjoy their smile in return – it is very hard not to smile when someone smiles at you. Spread some good vibes!

Research from the University of Massachusetts found that accident victims who had become paralysed were more hopeful than lottery winners. They realised not to sweat the small stuff in life. Smiling is also a key ingredient to a longer life.

Take unnecessary items out of your bag.

Carrying around a heavy bag can have serious effects on your posture and give you sore shoulders and a sore back. Get into the habit of taking unnecessary items out of your bag at the end of each day. If you have a lot of items to carry, get a well fitting backpack and wear it on both shoulders so the weight is evenly distributed.

Blow on your thumb.

Stressed out, feeling first date jitters or are you freaking out about work? When you feel your heart running at a hundred miles an hour, blow on your thumb. Try it now and feel how calming it is! It will slow down your heart rate and get it back to beating at a normal speed, helping to calm you down.

Make plans for some time out.

Anticipating a fun event can be good for your heart and soul. Make plans for the weekend such as a movie or picnic, so you have something to look forward to when you're struggling through the week. Make longer term plans for a weekend away or a holiday to keep you going through the humdrum day to day stuff.

Add some fresh flowers to your living, sleeping, work or study area.

Pick some flowers from your garden and put them in a vase where you will see them often. Studies show that seeing flowers in your living area will perk you up, whatever else is happening! Put some in your study area to perk you up while working.

It is a myth that it is not a good idea to put flowers or plants in your bedroom because they use up oxygen. While plants do use oxygen at night, they give off ten times as much oxygen during the day. During the night a one-pound plant will use 0.1 litres of oxygen in an hour, whereas a 68kg sleeping person uses around 70 litres of oxygen in the same time (www.snopes.com/oldwives/flowers.asp).

Let some fresh air into your bedroom.

Sleeping in a stuffy bedroom won't improve your health. Opening a window will release any chemical fumes and bring in some wonderful fresh air. Have a hot shower to generate high levels of negative ions which will help boost and rebalance your immune system

Declutter your life.

Cluttered rooms do nothing for your wellbeing and stress levels. Organise your bills and other "to do" items in folders. Try to deal with things as they arrive, e.g. use internet banking to schedule bill payments.

Go through your storage area and kitchen cupboards and throw out those things you haven't used in the last two years. Do the same with your wardrobe - if it hasn't been worn or used in 2 years, are you ever going to use it again?

For an extra boost sell any items that may be of use to others on eBay or Gumtree, have a garage sale or simply give your unwanted things away. Give your unwanted clothing to a charity so someone else can get some use out of it. Helping others is a great booster!

Contact an old friend.

We've all got old friends we haven't contacted for a while. Get on the phone, write an email, or send a card to someone you haven't been in touch with for a while and see whether you can get together for a coffee or a meal. Catching up with a friend can be a great morale booster for both of you.

Learn to Meditate

The benefits of meditation are now recognised by doctors and health professionals.  It is a great stress reducer, can benefit you in handling difficult situations and can help you get to sleep.  Start in a small way, don't expect too much of yourself, just go with the flow!

Join a Yoga Class

I couldn't leave this out!  The benefits of yoga are accessible to everyone.  Saying "I can't do yoga because I'm not flexible enough" is like saying "I won't go and learn to play the piano because I don't know how to play".  A yoga class will build up your flexibility, along with all the other benefits you will receive.  If you are unsure of your fitness, talk to the teacher.  They should be able to direct you to a class suitable for your current fitness level.

There is yoga available for everyone, from chair-based yoga to power yoga, to yoga classes that simply offer gentle relaxation poses and yoga nidra (a profound yoga relaxation practice that is a treat for the body and soul!).