21 Free Preventative Medicine Habits!

by in Depression, Holistic Tips, Kitchen Sink, Motivation, Preventative Medicine, Stress, Zen Thinking December 5, 2010

Doctor#1 Laugh- When we laugh we release endorphins that make us feel good. These endorphins reduce pain and stress. Stress is a common cause of chronic disease.
Maybe you just lost a ton of money in the stock market and don’t feel like laughing a whole lot about it, but can’t you just muster up a deep dark cynical laugh about it? Good. Now that is a start!
Remember, things can always be worse, and we may not have a whole lot of control over them. But, we can always control our attitudes.
Now, go find some other things that are funny. Make your self laugh each and everyday, laugh at your friend’s silly jokes and make up a few of your own. Play some harmless pranks on your coworkers. “Laughter is the best medicine” for a reason. Now is the time to turn off the news and turn on your favorite comedy show. Laughs are free! Go get ’em.

#2 Get Sunshine-
Why buy vitamins and when you can get them for free? Twenty minutes of sunshine on our hands and face each and every day gives us the needed RDA of vitamin D. Sunshine also boosts our serotonin levels and makes us happy. In order to optimally benefit from “nature’s Prozac” you need to be under the blue sky for 15 minutes, or an hour under a cloudy sky.
#3 Drink Water- Water is free for the most part, delicious, energizing, and prevents horribly uncomfortable conditions like bladder infections, kidney infections, and kidney stones. Water also cuts our appetite and helps us feel satisfied. When most people feel hungry, they actually are feeling thirsty. Water immediately rewards you by detoxing your system, and plumping up your cells so you don’t look old and saggy. Drink plenty of water in between meals and shoot for about sixty to eighty ounces of water per day (depending on your size and activity level) to prevent disease.
#4 Sleep- Most Americans don’t get enough of it. Your system restores itself while you are sleeping. Detox and cellular repair occur at an increased rate while you are sleeping. Your immune system also works best while you are asleep, thus you are less likely to be plagued by colds and flu’s when adequately rested. Sleep is free to nearly everyone but med students and the parents of small children. Try going to bed an hour earlier each night if you can. In order to have the energy to exercise, eat right, and be your best—you need to be well rested.
#5 Give Hugs-The price of a hug is free and the benefits are countless. Hugs reduce stress, build community, and nurture both young and old alike. According to family therapist Virginia Satir, “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” Make it a habit to give out twelve hugs a day, even if they are to your self. Everybody needs a hug right now.
#6 Cut back on activities- Chances are you are doing way too much right now. Cutting back on activities and obligations may not only save you money, but save your life by reducing stress and lowering your risk of being in an accident from needless rushing around. Accidents are the leading cause of death in younger age groups. A few minutes less of rushing each day may save your life.
#7 Meditate-Taking five minutes to breathe, ground your energy to the earth, and release your mind of all thoughts is completely free and is a simple way to ensure your day gets off to a good start. Try “Five Minutes to Zen” if you are new to meditating.
#8 Eat Less-If you are overweight, you are eating too much, or too much of the wrong kinds of foods. Switch to a whole foods diet and eat slowly and until you are full. Overeating is ridiculously expensive and costs you much more than just the rising cost of food. Overeating can cost you your health!
#9 Pet your Pet- Well known for lowering both blood pressure and anxiety, interacting with animals is a great way to get you calmed down. Pets are great stress busters, and also serve as free entertainment. Take your dog to a dog park for a free fun relaxing time.
#10 Breathe- Air is still free last time I checked. You cannot be properly energized without sufficient oxygen. Sit up straight and breathe in and out deeply while watching your belly rise and fall. To further release stress try an activity called “Square Breathing”. If stress is killing you slowly, it is time to start breathing.
#11 Phone a Friend- Talking for the most part is free, and talking about our stressors has been shown to be a key feature in various longevity studies. Now is the time to reach out towards others, you are not the only one with problems. Being a friend for someone else and giving of yourself is also a great way to reduce stress. Studies show that those surrounded by a community live longer than those who don’t. Stay connected.
#12 Exercise- Consistently shown to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, improve well being, attitude and sleep, think of exercise as the hammer and nails in your preventative medicine toolbox. Exercise is the simplest inexpensive way to build your health. You don’t need a fancy gym membership to exercise. Just establish a basic routine of yoga and calisthenics and do them in the same order every day for at least twenty minutes. Then, go out and run, walk, bike, rollerblade, swim or organize a fun neighborhood game of football, basketball, soccer, or tag to burn up some calories.
#13 Play with Children-Engaging your creative mind will help you blow off stress. Most of us are stuck in our analytical left hemispheres all day. Let your creativity loose and take a visit to the right side of your brain. How about an arts and craft project? Research shows that craft products such as knitting reduce stress.
#14 Stretch-With age we lose both muscle mass and flexibility. You can easily sneak in 15 minutes of stretching at the office, in front of the television, or after your workout. At the very least: roll your neck, and stretch your pecs and quads–the muscles that get tight from sitting all day.
#15 Lift Weights-Weight bearing exercise is shown to be MORE effective in treating osteoporosis than the most popular pharmaceutical medications used to treat osteoporosis. So why is everyone on a bisphosphonate you may wonder? Because most people don’t want to take the time to do the work. You can prevent painful fractures in your spine that will occur inevitably from osteoporosis by engaging NOW in daily weight bearing exercise. Try using hand weights when doing lunges, squats, triceps and biceps curls. Push ups and pull ups are also super for driving calcium back in to the bone matrix.
#16 Quit Smoking- Let’s face it. Smoking causes death. Smoking is a leading cause of death. Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do to PREVENT not just lung cancer, but mouth cancer, lip cancer, esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, emphysema, arthritis, heart disease, and every other form of chronic illness. Smoking causes inflammation in the body which is just like throwing gasoline on the chronic illness inflammatory fire. Quit smoking now to save money today, and save your life tomorrow.
#17 Wear your Seat Belt and Helmet-Okay you may not need to do both of these at all times, but the leading cause of death in children and young adults is accidents. It takes you only a second or two to buckle up. That second could save your life. Buckling up is free. Do it.
#18 Write it Down- Freaking out about the economy? Not sure where your next groceries are coming from? Don’t know how you will fill up your car with gas to drive the next car pool? Worried that you are going to lose your house? Just let go from your job? Stressed out of your mind? Write all your worries down in to your journal. Now close the journal, and walk away, leaving your worries in the journal.
Purging yourself of your worries is therapeutic and reduces stress. Use your journal to move through the worry, don’t dwell on it. Dwelling on your worries does not facilitate any transformation processes, it just keeps you stagnant in your stress. Some worry is good. Chronic worrying means chronic stress. Chronic stress means chronic disease.
#19 Wash your Hands- With the cold and flu season upon us, the most important thing we can do to prevent illness is wash our hands. Always wash your hands before eating, after using the restroom, before touching your face, after sneezing and coughing, and after using a coworkers office space.
#20 Pray- A strong spiritual connection is always the key to surviving hard times. Researchers have found that chronically ill patients actually benefit from the prayers of others, even when they didn’t know others were praying for them! Whether you are praying for someone else, or praying for yourself, you are trusting Life and trusting God. Regardless of your religious standpoint, it is inarguable that prayer reduces stress for those that believe.
#21 Commit Kindness- Kindness is free, and is the purported driving force that “keeps the world going ’round”. Everyone needs kindness right now. Be kind to yourself, be kind to your family, your coworkers, your colleagues, your friends. Be kind to strangers, to telemarketers, to bill collectors, be kind to the homeless, to children, to adults in need, to pets, be kind to everyone that you encounter whether they deserve it or not.
Now is the BEST time to “Commit random acts of kindles and senseless beauty”. You may have problems, but are they an emergency or an inconvenience? Chances are they are just an inconvenience. Now is the time to reach out not retract in.
Now is certainly not the time to let your health fall apart, frankly none of us can afford it. Instead, follow as many of these simple and free preventative medicine tips to insure that you don’t miss any days of work. Stay positive to prevent stress from facilitating the formation of a chronic disease in your body. During these tough times when many do not have medical insurance, we all need to stay as strong and happy and healthy as possible.
Feel free to forward on these simple tips to anyone else that may benefit.
Thanks for stopping by my kitchen table! Feel free to subscribe, leave comments, or ask me any questions about preventative medicine.
~Dr. Nicole Sundene

  1. Wow Doc this really is a beauty! Kindness, kindness, kindness! Even to telemarketers? Ok, ok. I’ll try it. Thanks for putting together such an inspirational list, everyone needs this right now.

  2. Doc, these are all such great, and free, ways to change your life for the better. Laugh and sunshine–talk a walk while telling yourself a joke.
    I really like call a friend…sometimes just hearing the sound of someone’s voice can make your, and their, day.

  3. Practice random acts of kindness and senseless beauty…
    Love this Doc! xo

  4. I loved this post. It was just what I needed to read delivered exactly when I needed to read it. You made my day. Thanks!

  5. Hi SA, glad you liked it 😀 Well you never know who is on the other end of that phone right now, everyone in our country is down. We need to bring each other back up. It’s not always successful but if we all could make a prudent effort it would ease the suffering a bit.

  6. There you go Mike, why don’t you make us a video of you doing as many of them at once as possible. That should get a good laugh.

  7. Hi Miss Matchmaker & TT- Glad you enjoyed! Thanks for stopping by to leave a comment, that always makes my day!

  8. Just in case you missed something, here’s a summary of what Nic said in this thrilling post:
    #1 Laugh
    #2 Get Sunshine
    #3 Drink Water
    #4 Sleep
    #5 Give Hugs
    #6 Cut back on activities
    #7 Meditate
    #8 Eat Less
    #9 Pet your Pet
    #10 Breathe
    #11 Phone a Friend
    #12 Exercise
    #13 Play with Children
    #14 Stretch
    #15 Lift Weights
    #16 Quit Smoking
    #17 Wear your Seat Belt and Helmet
    #18 Write it Down
    #19 Wash your Hands
    #20 Pray
    #21 Commit Kindness
    Thanks Nic!

  9. AMEN!!!!! Life could always suck more!
    We should all be too blessed to be stressed.

  10. Hmm, not sure about #9. My dog pooped on the carpet not once, but twice yesterday. I can tell you as we rent it didn’t reduce MY blood pressure 😉

  11. Excellent article. I basically do all of these (well, my only pet is a fish) and I think laughter, especially, is an important self-healing mechanism our body comes equipped with. Doctors have discovered that simulated laughter has the same positive effects on the body as spontaneous laughter, and I have a squidoo lens on laughter yoga.

  12. What a wonderful thing to read over lunch today. Thanks Dr. Nicole!
    I think hugging is such an undervalued thing in our culture. People need to give more hugs! Hugs not drugs.

  13. Excellent…I really enjoy your site! Thanks!

  14. Hi WD thanks for your great summary! lol

  15. Yes Erin, we really are all blessed. Thanks for leaving a comment!

  16. Hi Marelisa- Yes, your fish my not appreciate the petting 😉 Interesting that spontaneous laughter elicits the same type of response as forced. That is good to know, thanks for stopping by 😀

  17. Hi Heather- Hugs are really important, especially for parents to give their small children. Hugs reinforce our needs for acceptance and connection.

  18. A great list. Thanks Nicole. I think too many people get obsessed with their problems and forget the little things that make such a difference.

  19. I like the idea of curing ourselves without resorting to drugs. I am in total agreement with all your points here! Laughter is by far one of the best nature’s antitodes to ailments!

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  21. Do you hear that everyone? Dr. Morrow says this is EXCELLENT advice…now everyone should listen to him 😀
    Hi Evelyn- laughter is by far the best antidote to almost everything, that is why I had to list as as #1. Thanks for stopping by to leave me a comment.
    Hi Ceejay- I think now is the time for all of us to sit down and think about what is REALLY important. Most elderly people will tell you that your health is the MOST important thing. We take things for granted when we are young, and then everyone shakes their head and wishes they could have done it differently. That is the best advice I learned from working in a retirement home for 4 years. All of my “grandma’s and “grampa’s” there would constantly nag at me to take care of my health.

  22. Simplest things or ideas are the most difficult ones to figure out. Thanks for the million dollar advise! I’ll do my best to include these advise into my schedule.

  23. Nicely done. I especially liked the part about hugs.

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  25. […] easily go through your categories and find a theme for some numbered posts such as my article “21 Free Preventative Medicine Tips” […]

  26. […] 21 FREE Preventive Tips References: 1. The beneficial effect of regular endurance exercise training on blood pressure and quality of life in patients with hypertension. Clin Exp Hypertens. 2004 Apr;26(3):255-65. 2. The beneficial effects of Tai Chi Chuan on blood pressure and lipid profile and anxiety status in a randomized controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2003 Oct;9(5):747-54. 3. Results of the Diet, Exercise, and Weight Loss Intervention Trial (DEW-IT). Hypertension. 2002 Nov;40(5):612-8. 4. Long-term weight loss and changes in blood pressure: results of the Trials of Hypertension Prevention, phase II. Ann Intern Med. 2001 Jan 2;134(1):1-11. 5. Blood pressure response to caffeine shows incomplete tolerance after short-term regular consumption. Hypertension. 2004 Apr;43(4):760-5. Epub 2004 Feb 16. 6. Effects of coffee on ambulatory blood pressure in older men and women: A randomized controlled trial. Hypertension. 1999 Mar;33(3):869-73. 7. Food allergies and migraine. Lancet. 1979 May 5;1(8123):966-9. 8. A randomised controlled trial of stress reduction for hypertension in older African Americans. Hypertension. 1995 Nov;26(5):820-7. 9. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of coenzyme Q10 in isolated systolic hypertension. South Med J. 2001 Nov;94(11):1112-7. 10. The effect of low-dose potassium supplementation on blood pressure in apparently healthy volunteers. Br J Nutr. 2003 Jul;90(1):53-60. 11. Effect of potassium supplementation on blood pressure in Chinese: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. J Hypertens. 2001 Jul;19(7):1325-31. 12. Effects of magnesium supplementation in hypertensive patients: assessment by office, home, and ambulatory blood pressures. Hypertension. 1998 Aug;32(2):260-5. 13. supplementation in patients with essential hypertension: assessment by office, home and ambulatory blood pressure. J Hypertens. 1998 Nov;16(11):1693-9. 14. Effect of vitamin C on ambulatory blood pressure and plasma lipids in older persons. J Hypertens. 2000 Apr;18(4):411-5. 15. A randomized controlled trial of high dose ascorbic acid for reduction of blood pressure, cortisol, and subjective responses to psychological stress. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2002 Jan;159(3):319-24. 16. Short report: the effect of fish oil on blood pressure and high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol levels in phase I of the Trials of Hypertension Prevention. J Hypertens. 1994 Feb;12(2):209-13. 17. Blood pressure lowering in elderly subjects: a double-blind crossover study of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Am J Clin Nutr. 1991 Feb;53(2):562-72. 18. Does fish oil lower blood pressure? A meta-analysis of controlled trials. Circulation. 1993 Aug;88(2):523-33 19. Hypotensive effect of long-acting garlic tablets allicor (a double-blind placebo-controlled trial)] Ter Arkh. 2002;74(3):76-8. 20. A randomised crossover comparison of reserpine and sustained-release nifedipine in hypertension. Cent Afr J Med. 1997 Dec;43(12):344-9. 21. Effect of oral L-arginine on oxidant stress, endothelial dysfunction, and systemic arterial pressure in young cardiac transplant recipients. Am J Cardiol. 2004 Sep 15;94(6):828-31 22. Effect of oral L-arginine on blood pressure and symptoms and endothelial function in patients with systemic hypertension, positive exercise tests, and normal coronary arteries. Am J Cardiol. 2004 Apr 1;93(7):933-5 23. Oral arginine reduces systemic blood pressure in type 2 diabetes: its potential role in nitric oxide generation. J Am Coll Nutr. 2002 Oct;21(5):422-7 Sign up for healthy news you can use! As a member of our community, you will receive fun and simple preventative medicine health coachings, whole food recipes, research, exercise, lifestyle, and stress management tips. To receive our preventative medicine news enter your email below. Enter your email address: […]

  27. […] 21 FREE Prentive Medicine Tips Sign up for healthy news you can use! As a member of our community, you will receive fun and simple preventative medicine health coachings, whole food recipes, research, exercise, lifestyle, and stress management tips. To receive our preventative medicine news enter your email below. Enter your email address: […]

  28. […] since they are useless, so the only thing I can change is what I do now. Besides, I always thought laughter really was the best […]

  29. […] 21 Free Preventative Medicine Habits! Click Here to Read More Kitchen Table Medicine Articles © Sign up for healthy news you can use! As a member of our community, you will receive fun and simple preventative medicine health coachings, whole food recipes, research, exercise, lifestyle, and stress management tips. [?] Share This […]

  30. With walking we can synchronize the movement of the body, the movement of the breath, which is called the speech level, or the throat chakra in Eastern philosophies, and the movement of the mind, through emotions, feelings, and thoughts. This is really the powerful value of such a simple exercise, where walking becomes more than just walking. It becomes a profound and harmonizing therapy benefiting us on all levels, body mind and spirit. For more practical health advice, visit

  31. When we make an affirmation, we generate a positive thought, but unfortunately it often doesn’t result in a real difference. Why? More often than not, the thought is generated in a contrived way, and is not genuine. We may tell ourselves that “we are healthy and happy”, but deep down, we might not really believe it. Often, our positive thoughts are just a few thin layers covering a multitude of suppressed negative beliefs generated by fear, aversion, attachments and the like. These negative beliefs can be both conscious and unconscious, but regardless of their specific location in our psyche, they are clearly the obstructing force in any real effect of positive affirmation on our reality. Which leads me to conclude that, Yes, positive affirmations do work, but only to the degree that they are truly genuine– that you generate them and sustain your belief in them from the deepest core of your being possible. This means being in touch with yourself, experiencing the true potential of your existence, and then being genuine to that experience. Read over my advice for lifestyle changes that are truly valuable to your health and well-being by visiting

  32. Your cells are your foundation for health. If your cells begin behaving or functioning abnormally, your foundation will begin to crumble, leaving you vulnerable to a wide range of health problems. The body is incredibly resilient and efficient, but over time, a poor diet and lifestyle may weaken the health and vitality of your cells. The food you eat is also the food your cells consume, so by eating nutrient-dense food, you provide your cells with the support they need to keep your entire body healthy. Start stocking your fridge with some of the best foods known to support proper cellular health.
    Cruciferous vegetables, such as bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are excellent for your cells. They all contain substantial amounts of a compound called brassinin, which helps support healthy cell growth. They also contain diindolylmethane (DIM), which supports healthy hormonal balance in both men and women by promoting the excretion of xenoestrogens, which are “bad estrogens” we encounter through toxins and pollution.

  33. Glad to see that I’m practicing most of these habits. I need to make some improvements when it comes to stretching and weight lifting. I just joined the local gym, so hopefully those habits will improve too. Thanks for the list. Val
    .-= Val´s last blog ..Jun 4, Foods That Heal =-.

  34. I agree with Doc Nic for putting laughter in #1 spot. A good humor is certainly our way for better health. When we laugh, it relaxes our whole body. Thus it relieves physical tension and stress, it can even increase immunity.

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