1. Practice self-respect and self-love; they reinforce each other. With these feelings, you will treat yourself and others with the highest regard. Find friends that support your growth and your life of healthy habits.

2. Work with yourself or with the aid of a counselor to heal past wounds and sources of destructive behavior. These attitudes might result in smoking, alcohol or drug abuse, or acting out toward others from deep-seated frustrations and anger. Remember that there may also be a biochemical component to addictive behaviors.

3. Learn about fair fighting in your personal relationships to avoid vicious or violent arguments that could separate you further from your loved ones and which can cause emotional damage. Learning to listen fully before responding (and not reacting) is an important approach in healing conflicts. Know the difference between reaction (as defensive behavior) and response.

4. A key guideline in personal relationships is, “Don’t say things out of anger.” Remember that words can be deeply hurtful. Learn to express your anger in safe and non-hurtful ways; anger can be a teacher to help in your healing. When you feel angry, work it out through physical activity rather than in your relationships, and then heal the problems through constructive communication.

5. Eat a balanced diet with good-quality foods, such as vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and fruits. Avoid foods that cause reactive symptoms as they can affect your moods. Try to break food habits/abuses, especially to psychoactive foods such as sugar, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, and for many people, wheat products. Explore the Glycemic Index (GI) since a diet lower in sugars can stabilize mood. GI relates to how quickly foods are turned into sugars in your blood, and we want lower GI foods.

6. Exercise regularly with a balanced program that includes stretching for flexibility, aerobics for endurance, and weight training for strength. This can help to lower body weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol. And exercise makes your body, mind, and heart happy, and is a good prevention and treatment for depression.

7. Nutritional supplements to support emotional well-being include the essential fatty acids, the B vitamins, calcium and magnesium to relax the body and muscles, valerian root or kava for anxiety or better sleep, and St. John’s wort, SAM-e, or 5-HTP for depression.

8. Learn to manage your stress and communicate your feelings in a safe and non-aggressive way. Practice forgiveness and moving forward in life, still being aware of what you have learned from your life experiences (to avoid repeating mistakes in behavior).

9. Identify your key issues, create positive affirmations, and practice them daily. Examples could be, “I am a loving person and I deserve love.” Or, “I am happy and healthy, physically and emotionally.”

10. Develop close personal relationships that you can count on for support. Continue to expand your ability to give and receive in your friendships and “loveships.” Give yourself permission to live with passion and spontaneity.

Elson M. Haas, MD

Elson M. Haas, MD is a medical practitioner with nearly 40 years experience in patient care, always with in an interest in natural medicine. For the past 30 years, he has been instrumental in the development and practice of Integrated Medicine at the Preventive Medical Center of Marin (PMCM), which he founded in 1984 and where he is the Medical Director. Dr Haas has been perfecting a model of healthcare that integrates sophisticated Western diagnostics and Family Medicine with time-honored natural therapies from around the world.

This educating, writing doctor is also the author of many books including Staying Healthy with Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine, 21st Century Edition, The NEW Detox Diet: The Complete Guide for Lifelong Vitality with Recipes, Menus, & Detox Plans and more. Visit his website for more information on his work, books and to sign up for his newsletter.