If you are suffering an acute mental health problem, call an emergency help line in your area immediately.
If you are not in an acute emergency, you may benefit from one of the practitioners listed below.
Grace Cirocco: She has coached and advised people of all ages and from all walks of life for decades. (She is also my wife, so I can speak from personal experience about her profound power to heal and change people’s lives for the better, as she has deeply helped me for decades.) Grace is a life and relationship coach, a workshop and retreat facilitator, a professional speaker and the author of the Harper Collins best-selling classic, Take the Step, the Bridge Will be There, available in several languages around the world. Grace has coached many young people through depression, anxiety, and general growing pains. Her warmth and down-to-earth style helps her to connect emotionally with her clients. Grace’s message is to know thyself and live authentically and courageously; to heal the dark side and reach for the luminous places not only within ourselves, but in one another.
Ultimately, the best way to live is to be mindful about everything you do. If you eat with awareness, then you will learn from personal experience which foods are good for you and which are not. (For example, I have a sugar addiction, which I usually keep under control pretty well, but whenever I indulge, I am immediately presented with unpleasant symptoms that remind me why I should stay away from sugar!) The following sites may be helpful in improving your awareness of which foods will be healthy for you.
Marla Pietruszko: She has helped many people heal from diverse health problems. “I believe that food is medicine and that your body is capable of healing itself from any disease, so long as you nourish and fuel it with the right balance of nutrients … and it all begins at the cellular level. The entire body and all its body systems are connected, so I believe in taking a whole body approach to healing, rather than just addressing one area of concern. Every single person is unique and has different needs, so I do not believe in a one size fits all approach. I believe in looking at your overall lifestyle, emotions, health, history, and past traumas, genetics and habits to help you achieve optimum health in a way that is unique and suitable to YOU and YOUR LIFESTYLE.”
Gary Taubes: “Gary Taubes is an investigative science and health journalist and co-founder of the non-profit Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI.org (their mission, among other things, is to “Identify the most solid scientific evidence about the relationship between nutrition and health.”)).” He has done excellent work to compile research on the dangers of sugars and the primary role of sugars and carbohydrates in obesity.
Blue Zones: This site has general diet and lifestyle advice for good health and longevity. It’s never too early to improve your health!
Canada’s Food Guide is here.
Eli Bay: I took Eli Bay’s course in the 1990s when I lived in Toronto. As of this writing, his courses are available to download and complete in the privacy of your own home. “For over 30 years, Eli Bay has been helping people substantially reduce and, in many cases, eliminate chronic anxiety, insomnia, fibromyalgia, migraines, chronically high blood pressure, depression and many other stress related physical and psychological conditions. With over 80% of physical health conditions being driven by stress, the learned skill of stress management techniques, as taught by Eli, have produced remarkable changes for thousands of his students. Not to mention what proves to be of immeasurable value to virtually all is an increased sense of well being and the ability to change their response to the stress triggers in their lives.”
Joan Borysenko: “This distinguished pioneer in integrative medicine is a world-renowned expert in the mind/body connection. Her work has been foundational in an international health-care revolution that recognizes the role of meaning, and the spiritual dimensions of life, as an integral part of health and healing.” There are lots of good resources at her site, including simple instructions on how to meditate here.
Jon Kabat-Zinn: “He is Professor of Medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he founded its world-renowned Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Clinic (in 1979), and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society (in 1995).”
The meditation instruction at the web sites of Borysenko and Kabat-Zinn are non-religious, and Bay’s stress-reduction courses are also non-religious. If you prefer meditation systems in the tradition of Buddhism or Zen, or in religious traditions such as Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, or Islam, there are many diverse styles of meditation in these traditions with many resources that you can easily find on internet. However, charlatans abound in all spiritual practices, so be aware! Learn to recognize cult brainwashing techniques, and avoid cults for your own protection!
Scientific evidence for the benefit of physical exercise, from Harvard Medical School, and from Wikipedia.
Advice from the Mayo Clinic is here, and here, and advice from Harvard Medical School is here, and here.
This blog post of John Fawkes lists some interesting sites for fitness, diet, sleep, and so on, and this seems like good advice.
To keep both your body and mind growing strong and healthy, it’s important to get enough healthy, moderate exercise every day. Of course, some will want to push themselves much harder; my son is a mountaineering enthusiast and recommends Uphill Athlete if you want to train for mountain-climbing.
I practice Qigong on a daily basis for health maintenance.
My Qigong teacher’s web site is George Picard.”George Picard started his martial arts journey in 1971 with Okinawan Go Ju Karate and currently holds a 7th degree Black belt and title of Shihan. In 2001 he was inducted into the Action Martial Arts Hall of Fame and was inducted into the World Congress of Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 2002. Sifu Picard started teaching Taiji and QiGong in 1995. He is 4th Generation holder of the Wu Yi Jie He family system of Chinese Medicine and Martial Arts lineage. His focus is helping people heal through the “24 Posture Therapeutic QiGong” system developed by Great Grand Master Dr. Wang Zi Ping. He currently has hundreds of certified QiGong instructors in Canada the United States and Europe.”
My Qigong teacher’s principal teacher is Helen Wu.
Some other excellent online Qigong resources are the web sites of Bruce Frantzis, Ken Cohen, and James MacRitchie.
I don’t practice yoga, because I prefer Qigong, but many people do practice yoga and find it very beneficial. You might try Yoga with Adriene, which includes lots of material for beginners.
Other Health Resources
Oliver Burkeman writes about living a meaningful life here and here.
There is value in humour in keeping our spirits up, especially when we’re troubled. Here are some sites that some will find funny.
Despair, Inc.: This is satire, and some will find it funny. From the wikipedia page: “Despair, Inc is a company based in Austin, Texas, that produces posters and souvenirs that satirize the motivational indoctrination common in corporate environments. They are known for their cynical and ironic “Demotivator” items, which parody the grandiose imagery and solemn language of Successories, a range of motivational products.”
xkcd: “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.” Randall Munroe has also written some very interesting, creative, science books.