We have a strange relation with the word ‘free’, especially in the context of material things and services. On many occasions, the free tag is very attractive and draws people to it. But, there can also be a totally different reaction to the things that are free of cost. Free advice, for instance, is rarely welcome and is often scoffed upon. I find that there exists a similar attitude towards free remedies.
In the case of health, these happen to be physical activity, restful sleep, and cutting back on excess sugar and salt. This is not to say that remedies such as herbs and supplements are of no use, but they typically come with a hefty price tag. Perhaps it’s the price tag that makes them so attractive! Unfortunately, the allure of these expensive remedies is so high that it allows us to neglect our everyday diet and splurge on the pricey supplements to compensate for the lack of nutrients.
A little mindfulness has tremendous potential to help us tackle the deficiencies in our diet and fix our faulty lifestyles. Even then, we find it easier to take a supplement of Vitamin D in megadoses rather than spare a modest 20 minutes of our day to expose our limbs to sunlight. This is a prime example of how we disregard the immeasurable benefits of sunlight that is free of cost, and choose instead a remedy that comes at a price. In the same way, restful sleep, which is so crucial for our well-being but costs nothing, is easily neglected for some screen time late into the night. The light emitted from the screens on our phone, laptop and TV, is known to disrupt sleep. We also tend to eat the heaviest meal of the day late at night, which is another factor that can disrupt sleep.
Practicing meditation is another way in which we can enhance our well-being. Although this has long been known and espoused by our revered ancient texts, scientific studies have validated its effectiveness. The beneficial effects of meditation on the issues of hypertension, insomnia and anxiety, have been authenticated through recent scientific studies. It is estimated that we make more than 200 decisions a day regarding the food that we eat. This means that there are numerous opportunities for us each day to make a difference to our health and well-being. For instance, if you decide to cut back on your sugar consumption by half, a host of benefits will begin to follow. All that is free is certainly not bad. Wellness is an empowering concept, and you can embrace it without having to pay a price-this way or that.
(Neelanjana Singh is a nutrition therapist & wellness consultant)