Chinese medicine is based of a few surviving ancient texts, most of which were written before the bible. Perhaps the most influential of these is the Huangdi Neijing (“The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic”).
In the Neijing we read a conversation between the Yellow Emperor and his physician-teacher, Qibo.
The Yellow Emperor begins by asking Qibo how the ancient people managed to live 120+ years with no signs of weakening in their body despite their age.
(Mind you, the Neijing was written over 2000 years ago, so the people he’s asking about were really ancient by our standards!)
Qibo replies that people in ancient times knew the proper way to live.
He continues to tell the Yellow Emperor that modern people, on the other hand, rush to gratify their every heart’s desire, rather than pursuing the true happiness in life. They live with irregular patterns in their routines and exhaust their energy.
2000 years later, I think it’s safe to say we have the same problems.
Most of us have very irregular habits, and rushing to fill our heart’s desire is practically written in our constitution.
Three sit-down meals a day don’t happen.
Instead we’re more likely to grab a power-bar, eat it on the drive to work and call it breakfast.
Then a few hours later we gorge ourselves with too much food to hold us over until the next chance we have to grab a bite.
And never mind eating seasonally appropriate food, we eat whatever we want, when we want, even if it has to be shipped in from Brazil or Taiwan.
As for living lives in a regular rhythmical pattern, I don’t know anyone over the age of 10 who has a regular bedtime.
And working hard but avoiding excessive fatigue? Forget about it.
We live in the age of busy.
Almost everyone is spending their energy working too hard at the wrong things, coming home from the gym after a 9-5 jobs with just enough energy to plop on the couch and press the buttons on the remote.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Here are 8 routines to live by for a longer and healthier life:
1. Go to bed around the same time every day.
(This can be a little later in the spring and summer, and should be a little earlier in the fall and winter when the days are shorter).
2. Wake up around the same time every day.
(This should be a little earlier in the spring and summer when the sun rises earlier, and can be a little later in the darker fall and winter months).
3. Sit down for three moderate meals every day and eat mindfully.
4. Try to eat at the same time every day.
5. Eat mild, wholesome foods, like steamed vegetables and rice, and avoid overly greasy, spicy, sugary, or processed meals.
6. Avoid snacking.
7. Work hard without exhausting yourself.
This means that you should be moving your body throughout the day.
Instead of sitting at a desk, set up a standing workstation, and for at least five minutes every hour walk around and stretch your body.
8. Find ways to stress less.
According to the ancient Chinese texts, if you follow these guidelines and you’ll be sure to live a long and vibrant life.
What routines help you feel more vibrant? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.
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 Adapted from Henry C. Lu’s translation