Here are five simple ways to get healthy without spending a cent.

Breathing seems to be something we need not even consider but, taking control of our breathing can help us live a better life. Journaling is a great way to get to know yourself and also get to the bottom of those issues that seem to follow us around.
We have added a fabulous yoga video too so that you can get healthier in the comfort of your own living room. We've also added a section on healthy eating and superfoods that can boost your body and immunity in many ways.

Healthy Breathing

The quickest, easiest (and cheapest) way to feel better is to examine your breathing. Often times when we are stressed we breathe shallowly, and this adds to the stress that we feel in our body.

To remedy this, we can do this simple breathing exercise. If practiced for even ten minutes a day stress levels will decrease.

Take a comfortable posture. It may be that you sit on a chair with your back supported, or you can sit cross legged on the floor, but make sure you are elevated high enough that your knees are always below your hips, otherwise you may get a sore back.

Now close your eyes. Take a deep breath in through your nose and hold it there for a moment before releasing out your nose again.

Now breathe in through the nose again – slightly deeper this time, count the seconds as you breathe in. Hold the breath in for a second or two and then release, but this time make sure that the out-breath is at least as long as the in-breath.

For the next ten breaths repeat this exercise. If you can, try to increase the length of the in-breath and the out-breath, as much as is comfortable for you.

After ten breaths let your breathing return to normal. Now keep breathing normally for the next ten minutes.

Witness the breath as it comes in through the nose, and is released through the nose.

If your mind wanders gently bring your awareness back to the breath and the sound that it makes when it enters the body, and the sound it makes when it leaves the body.

Rest your awareness in the silent gap at the end of the in-breath and the same silent gap at the end of the out-breath.

After ten minutes bring your awareness back to your body and to the room.

Notice any differences in your frame of mind and your body after this practice.

Journaling

Oftentimes when we are feeling stressed or unhealthy it is because something in our life is out of balance. Only we know the answers to the questions that plague us.

Keeping a journal is the best way to unravel the sometimes garbled messages from our subconscious. A practice recommended in “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron is the "Morning Pages".

In a journal or exercise book, jot down the date and then just start writing.

Don’t take your pen off the page and don’t censor or edit your thoughts. Keep the words flowing for twenty minutes. Even if you think you have nothing to say – just write “I have nothing to say…” over and over again and eventually something will rise from the boredom.

It’s amazing how well this technique works and once you have gotten rid of all the junk, it is much easier to move forward with life in a more considered less stressed way.

Don’t worry about wasting time – whatever comes out needs to come out and it will help you in some way (even if its just a grocery list that you write). You will find that sooner or later you will be given access to the deeper parts of your personality and the things that come up may surprise or delight you.

And don’t worry if you spend the whole twenty minutes describing why you find an individual so terribly annoying. You can spend pages and pages slamming an irksome person and invariably feel better at the end of the session knowing that no one else needed to get involved with the tirade.

Funnily enough – most times when we go all out on “hate fests” we find that by the end we are actually able to see that person a little more objectively and maybe even admit that there may be a teensy bit of our own baggage coming to bear on the person of our contempt.

You will find that if you continue the practice of journaling over a period of months you will find a rich vein of your own insights, thoughts and stories that are illuminated and uncovered by your honest relationship with your journal.

So get on the page – go and buy a journal today – and if you can’t afford it, buy a school exercise book for less than $2 – it works just as well.

Enough excuses already – start mining.

P.S. Morning pages don't have to be written in the morning, any time of the day is a good time to journal.

Walking

It sounds pretty basic but there is nothing better for mood lifting, stress reduction and general health than walking in nature. Often just getting out changes our perspective and gives us time to be thankful.

In our busy lives we take little time for silence and communion with ourselves. When walking in nature soothing sounds take center stage and our mind is renewed and rested.

The sound of the sea and the constant rise and fall of the waves reminds us of the temporary nature of our lives and of our problems while the crashing of the waves never fails to calm even a stressed mind.

Walking in the forest exposes us to increased oxygen levels and the sound of birds and the wind in the trees.

If you are feeling particularly down in the dumps go to tree that you find appealing and throw your arms around it – giving it an affectionate hug. Ask the tree to share her wisdom with you. Listen deeply, and in that silence you will hear the answer that you need. I have found that most often the tree will ask you to be patient and through its sturdy silence somehow bestow upon you the ability to do just that.

If you are nowhere near nature then a walk around your neighborhood can also be uplifting. Try to shift your awareness from the things you normally look at to other, more uplifting sights. For example take note of the colors of flowers in the gardens of your neighbors or bring your attention to all the animals and birds you see along the way.

Finally, do it often. The more you walk the better your body and spirit will feel. It doesn’t have to be a run, just a good walk for twenty minutes a day has proven to lower blood pressure and increase feelings of peacefulness and gratitude.

Practice Yoga

Yoga means union and there is no better way to experience a reunion with your own inner self. You don’t have to take costly yoga classes. There are loads of great classes from all over the world on You Tube and your local library is packed full of great yoga books. All you need, is the time to make this ancient system a daily practice.

Here is a great beginners class

Unlike other exercise yoga is designed to give you both a healthy body and a healthy mind. There are hundreds of poses that contribute to good health in different parts of the body and also help with breathing and stress levels.

Physiological benefits of yoga
Sleep improves Immunity increases
Pain decreases Posture improves
Weight normalizes Muscular flexibility increase
Energy level increases Muscular strength increase
Endurance increases Excretory functions improve
Pulse rate decreases Endocrine function normalizes
Respiratory rate decreases Gastrointestinal function normalizes
Blood pressure decreases Stable autonomic nervous system
Cardiovascular efficiency increases Galvanic Skin Response increases
Respiratory efficiency increases EEG - alpha waves increase
Respiratory amplitude and smoothness increase EMG activity decreases
Breath-holding time increases Joint range of motion increase
Grip strength increases Eye-hand coordination improves
Dexterity skills improve Reaction time improves

Healthy Eating

Superfoods

Imagine a superfood -- not a drug -- powerful enough to help lower your cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, and, for an added bonus, put you in a better mood. Did we mention that there are no side effects? You'd surely stock up on a lifetime supply. Guess what? These life-altering superfoods are available right now in your local supermarket.

"The effect that diet can have on how you feel today and in the future is astounding," says nutritionist Elizabeth Somer, author of Nutrition for a Healthy Pregnancy, Food & Mood, and The Essential Guide to Vitamins and Minerals.

"Even people who are healthy can make a few tweaks and the impact will be amazing," Somer says. "I'd say that 50% to 70% of suffering could be eliminated by what people eat and how they move: heart disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension can all be impacted."

You don't need specific foods for specific ailments. A healthy diet incorporating a variety of the following superfoods will help you maintain your weight, fight disease, and live longer. One thing they all have in common: "Every superfood is going to be a 'real' (unprocessed) food," Somer points out. "You don't find fortified potato chips in the superfood category."

Top Superfoods Offering Super Health Protection

  • Beans
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Oats
  • Oranges
  • Pumpkin
  • Salmon
  • Soy
  • Spinach
  • Tea (green or black)
  • Tomatoes
  • Turkey
  • Walnuts
  • Yogurt

Blueberries -- Antioxidant Superfood

Packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, these berries are also high in potassium and vitamin C, making them the top choice of doctors and nutritionists. Not only can they lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, they are also anti-inflammatory.

"Inflammation is a key driver of all chronic diseases, so blueberries have a host of benefits," says Ann Kulze, MD, of Charleston, S.C., author of Dr. Ann's 10-Step Diet, A Simple Plan for Permanent Weight Loss & Lifelong Vitality. When selecting berries, note that the darker they are, the more anti-oxidants they have. "I tell everyone to have a serving (about 1/2 cup) every day," Dr. Kulze says. "Frozen are just as good as fresh." Be sure to include lots of other fruits and vegetables in your diet as well. Remember too that, in general, the more color they have, the more antioxidants.

Omega 3-Rich Fish -- Superfoods for the Heart, Joints, and Memory

"We know that the omega 3s you get in fish lower heart disease risk, help arthritis, and may possibly help with memory loss and Alzheimer's," Somer says. "There is some evidence to show that it reduces depression as well."

Omega-3s are most prevalent in fatty, cold-water fish: Look for wild (not farmed) salmon, herring, sardines, and mackerel. Aim for two-to-three servings a week. Other forms of omega 3s are available in fortified eggs, flax seed, and walnuts. These superfoods have the added benefit of being high in monounsaturated fats, which can lower cholesterol.

Soy -- Superfood to Lower Cholesterol

A study reported in The Journal of the American Medical Association(2003) showed that a diet of soy fiber, protein from oats and barley, almonds, and margarine from plant sterols lowered cholesterol as much as statins, the most widely prescribed cholesterol medicine. "Look for tofu, soy milk, or edamame -- not soy powder," says Somer. In other words, soy sauce won't do the trick. One caveat: If you have a family history of breast cancer it is not recommended that you eat extra soy.

Fiber -- Superfood Aids Weight Loss and Checks Cholesterol

A diet high in fiber will help you maintain healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels. As a bonus, because fiber helps you feel full longer, it's a great tool in weight management. Whole grains, beans, fruit, and vegetables are all good sources. Try throwing some beans in your salad, recommends Kulze. "Fresh, frozen, or dried are the best. You can use canned, but they tend to be higher in sodium," Kulze warns.

Tea -- Superfood for Lowering Cholesterol and Inhibiting Cancer

"The overall antioxidant power of black tea is the same as green tea," says Kulze, "but green tea does have ECGC, a powerful antioxidant that we really do think is quite special." A recent Japanese study on green tea found that men who drank green tea regularly had lower cholesterol than those who didn't. Researchers in Spain and the United Kingdom have also shown that ECGC can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. For a double health whammy, replace sugary sodas with tea.

Calcium

OK, OK, you know the drill: Calcium helps build strong bones and prevents osteoporosis. Look for it in dairy products or supplements. Added bonus: Some studies show that calcium helps with weight loss. Here are the calcium levels recommended for adults by the USDA:

  • Age 9 to 18 -- 1,300 mg
  • Age 19 to 50 -- 1,000 mg
  • Age 51 and over -- 1,200 mg

And Finally, the Yummiest Superfood Yet ... Dark Chocolate

New research has shown that dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants and can lower blood pressure. Kulze recommends that you look for chocolate with 60% or higher cocoa content; the darker, the better. In addition, the darker it is, the lower the fat and sugar content. Now that's our kind of health food