As usual, a New Year brings new advice on what to do to be healthy and feel better year ‘round. Some of this advice is just plain silly, and some is downright dangerous. But, with the new Dietary Guidelines released by the federal government hitting the airwaves recently, it seems like the perfect time to offer some common sense advice about changes you can make to feel better all the time.

Regardless of your thoughts about what our government tells us is good for us, I’m offering practical advice on how to be happier and healthier in the New Year and beyond. For most of us, this means removing harmful influences from our lives, as well as increasing positivity – about which I’ve written on before, Effective Leadership Tools – The Importance and Value of Positivity.

What to reduce the intake of…

  • Sugar – given how much humans love to get high, this may be the substance that brings the US empire to its knees. Recently, when travelling across Europe, I noticed how little soda, fast food, and convenience store food Europeans eat (not to mention they don’t let American companies sell genetically engineered food in their markets). Food can be paleo, natural, and gluten-free; yet still be full of sugar in some form, especially grains – but just the obvious stuff is loaded with energy-sapping white sugar.
  • Violence – movies and television shows have become so violent, so consistently, we hardly notice it anymore. Arguing pundits on radio and TV are only slightly less violent. Viewing these images regularly increases stress and anxiety, whether consciously or unconsciously.
  • Fear – we ingest fear when we watch or listen to the “news”. So-called news media outlets are clamoring for eyeballs, and the more fear-based the stories they can show you the better it is for them – but not for you!
  • Screen time – did I mention we are all addicts at heart? If it’s not sugar, it’s the electronic devices used for games, social media, texting, and email – we are so hooked we are in denial. Consider a cleanse, or setting some permanent boundaries (e.g., no screens 30 mins before bed or 30 after waking up).

What is all of this sugar, violence, fear, and screen time costing you: restful sleep, stress and anxiety, panic attacks, lack of emotional connection…? It makes little sense to cleanse your body if your mind and heart remain infected. Stop moving with the crowd. What can you do – in all areas of your life – to finally change these things – THIS year?