Meaningful Activities Help Overall Well-Being

Buttoning a shirt. Tying shoelaces or a necktie. Scratching that hard-to-reach spot on the back. These are some of the things we may take for granted but are actually “meaningful activities” because they are everyday aspects of Active Wellness and impact the quality of our lives. Sometimes a life event might transform these everyday activities into goals.  Beginning in 2010, that’s what World Occupational Therapy Day celebrates every year on October 27: helping people across their lifespans to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities.1

We might not think about these daily activities until they’re hard to do. Finding ways for us to do them is what occupational therapists are concerned with.2 An occupational therapist will talk with us about our needs and goals. They’ll do tests to find out our strengths and challenges, then come up with a plan to reach our goals. This will include exercises and activities to strengthen our skills. While the word “occupation” usually means a job or profession, it can also refer to daily activities that let us live independently and bring meaning to our lives.

The World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) is the international voice of the profession and globally comprises 101 national organizations. World Occupational Therapy Day is the opportunity to promote their holistic approach to maintaining mobility throughout life. Occupational therapists focus on adapting the environment and/or task to fit the person, who is considered an integral part of the therapy team. It is an evidence-based practice deeply rooted in science.3

This year’s theme for World Occupational Therapy Day is “Belong. Be You.”4 OTs (as occupational therapists are known for short) do just that: help us belong in our Global Wellness Community by being ourselves, as purposeful participants in Active Wellness.

1 https://www.aota.org/conference-events/otmonth/what-is-ot.aspx

2, 3 https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-an-occupational-therapist 4 https://wfot.org/world-occupational-therapy-day

Bones and Joints Work Together

Walking, jumping, typing, wiggling our toes, bending, pointing, drawing, sitting, sleeping—what do these and virtually all activities have in common? They require our bones and joints to work together. The world acknowledged the importance of healthy joints with World Arthritis Day on October 12, and healthy bones will be the focus on World Spine Day on October 16 and World Osteoporosis Day on October 20.

Our bones and joints truly make great teammates. Did you know:1

  • The adult human body has 206 bones, with 26 of them in the foot and 54 of them in the hand, including the wrist.
  • The femur, or thighbone, is the longest and strongest bone of the human skeleton. In contrast, the smallest and lightest bone is located in the middle ear and called the stapes.
  • The hyoid is a V-shaped bone located at the base of the tongue. It’s the only bone in the human body that is not connected to another!
  • Bones are composed of calcium, phosphorus, sodium and other minerals, as well as the protein collagen. Making up the skeleton of the body, bones protect organs as well as produce red and white blood cells.
  • The place where two bones meet or connect are joints, which are formed by short bands of tough fibrous connective tissue known as ligaments.
  • Some joints move and others don’t. For example, joints in the skull do not move, while synovial joints do. Synovial joints are located mostly in our arms and legs.
  • Hip and shoulder joints are the most mobile and known as ball and socket joints. They enable our arms and legs to move in multiple directions.
  • Ellipsoidal joints allow our fingers to bend and stretch; hinge joints enable knees and elbows to move; gliding joints work in the ankles and wrists by gliding against each other.

The more we practice Active Wellness, the healthier our bones and joints are and the longer they’ll last. Consistent physical activity, a balanced diet and getting plenty of sleep will help us stay healthy and keep our bones and joints working together our entire lives.

1 https://www.bidmc.org/about-bidmc/wellness-insights/bones-and-joints/2018/08/fun-facts-about-bones-and-joints

Celebrate World Vegetarian Month This October!

October is World Vegetarian Month and there are many facts, historical and nutritional, that may be little known but of interest. By definition, a vegetarian is a person who decides to abstain from meat whether it be for health, religious, or moral reasons. The term “vegetarian” is believed to have come into existence in 1847, whereas prior to that, those who refrained from consuming meat were known as “Pythagorean.”1 There is no proof that the famous Greek mathematician and philosopher was vegetarian but many sources say he and his adherents followed a restrictive diet that did not include animal flesh.2

Some other historical figures who are known or purported to have been vegetarian include the esteemed artist and philosopher Leonardo da Vinci, feminist and author of Frankenstein Mary Shelley, the founding father of the United States Benjamin Franklin, and Indian activist and leader Mahatma Gandhi. Historians note that the Mahatma strayed from vegetarianism briefly but renewed his commitment when studying law in England, even though it required 10 to 12 miles of walking to find vegetarian restaurants!3

In North America, vegetarianism became a movement in 1850 and is attributed to William Alcott who helped start the American Vegetarian Society.4 He happens to be a relative of Little Women author Louisa May Alcott. In current times, many celebrities are known to be vegetarians and the movement is growing as scientists continue researching the the health benefits of plant-based living.

Globally, India has the highest percentage of vegetarians when compared to other countries, with roughly 30 percent of the population adhering to a plant-based lifestyle.5 Generally acknowledged by nutritionists and dieticians to be a healthy way of eating and even a way to sustain weight loss, it is important to know that some vegetarian foods can be high in calories and fat. For example, if you cut out meat but replace it with lots of cheese and nuts you could end up consuming the same number of calories or even more. On the other hand, eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, soy and moderate amounts of nuts can help you maintain a healthy weight.6

Here are some important nutrients to keep in mind when eating a vegetarian diet: 7

• Protein—Protein is important for maintaining healthy muscles, skin, bones, and organs. Ovolacto vegetarians may have an easier time getting enough protein but vegans should be sure to eat enough soy products, meat substitutes, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

• Calcium—This mineral is important for building strong bones and teeth. Vegetarians who do not consume dairy products can find adequate calcium in leafy greens, broccoli, fortified soy milk, and fortified juices.

• Vitamin B12—The body uses this vitamin to produce red blood cells and it is mostly found in animal products. Vegans must include a B12 supplement, consume enriched cereals, or drink fortified soy milk.

• Iron—Iron is a crucial component of red blood cells and lack of iron can lead to anemia, or iron deficiency. Dried beans and peas, whole grains, leafy green vegetables, and dried fruit are good sources of iron. Be sure to combine the above foods with foods high in vitamin C (oranges, strawberries, hot peppers) because vitamin C aids in iron absorption.

• Zinc—This mineral is an essential component of enzymes and formation of proteins. Good sources of zinc include whole grains, soy products, nuts, and wheat germ.

Kenzen Nutrition is composed of a complete program based on organic ingredients. At Nikken, our goal is to help the Global Wellness Community fill the nutritional gaps in any daily diet. Founded on a whole-food philosophy, our organic-based solutions help bring your daily food regimen closer to nature and make it easy to practice Active Wellness.

1, 4 https://nationaltoday.com/vegetarian-month/

2, 3, 5 https://www.britannica.com/list/8-of-historys-most-famous-vegetarians

6 https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/get-the-facts-about-vegetarian-diets

7 https://www.depts.ttu.edu/hospitality/pdf/SmartChoices2011_Veg.pdf

Activate Your Breathing Power

To breathe is to live, but how can we breathe better to live better in our pursuit of Active Wellness? We know the use of a Kenko Air Purifier® can help improve indoor air quality in multiple ways, but there are ways to physically enhance our lung capacity.

Good breathing techniques may not only help our bodies get the oxygen needed but also keep our lungs healthy and strong. One particular exercise that helps the lungs intake oxygen is called diaphragmatic breathing.1 In layman’s terms, this type of exercise is called “belly breathing.” Follow these steps:

  1. Relax your shoulders and sit back or lie down.
  2. Place one hand on your belly and one on your chest.
  3. Inhale through your nose for two seconds, feeling the air move into your abdomen and feeling your stomach move out. Your stomach should move more than your chest does.
  4. Breathe out for two seconds through pursed lips while pressing on your abdomen.
  5. Repeat.

Another exercise helps keep our airways open longer, which helps reduce the “work” of breathing. It’s called pursed-lips breathing and helps improve the lung’s function of inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide.2 Pursed-lips breathing is simpler than diaphragmatic breathing and can be practiced at any time. Follow these steps:

  1. Inhale slowly through your nose.
  2. Purse your lips, as if pouting or about to blow on something.
  3. Breathe out as slowly as possible through pursed lips. This should take at least twice as long as it did to breathe in.
  4. Repeat.

To help increase lung capacity, the British Lung Foundation advises deep breathing in general. It’s believed that deep breathing can help clear mucous from the lungs, which allows more air to circulate.3 Simply inhale deeply through the nose, 5-10 times, then cough a couple of times and repeat.

In addition to breathing exercises, do the following for healthy lung maintenance:

  • Stop smoking, and avoid secondhand smoke or environmental irritants.
  • Eat foods rich in antioxidants. 
  • Exercise more frequently, which can help your lungs function properly. Swimming is especially helpful for increasing lung power.
  • Improve indoor air quality. We highly recommend our KenkoAir Purifier.

For the entire of month of September, you save significantly when you purchase the September Exclusive Pack (Item 4445) by receiving the KenkoAir Purifier® and HEPA replacement filter for the price of the KenkoAir Purifier. In addition, all KAP HEPA filter replacements (Item 1445) are 20% off.

1, 2 https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-increase-lung-capacity

3 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323787#when-do-they-work

Lungs are Vital in Our Amazing Human Bodies

Breath gives life, so breathing is one of the most important things our respiratory systems accomplish. The most vital components of breathing are our lungs.

Here are some facts about our lungs1 that are notable:

  1. In humans, the right lung is larger than the left to accommodate the heart.
  2. Exhalation is just as important as inhalation. The air we breathe contains 21% oxygen, of which only 5% is used—the rest is exhaled.
  3. We think of our digestive systems as being in charge of waste disposal; however, 70% of waste is eliminated through our lungs in the form of up to 17.5 milliliters of water exhaled each hour!
  4. Children and women breathe at a higher rate than men.
  5. Lungs are the only organs in the human body that are capable of floating on water.
  6. A person inhales an average of 13 pints of air every minute!
  7. Imagine this: If we were to open up the lungs and lay them flat, they would be so large that they would cover an entire tennis court!

So many physical activities we do naturally are the work of our respiratory systems. For example, coughing, sneezing and yawning are ways to rid our lungs of unwanted substances that we unknowingly inhale. Yawning also helps us intake more oxygen, especially when the brain senses a shortage of needed air! 2

Similar to our digestive tracts, our lower respiratory tract is colonized by diverse groups of bacteria. On the other hand, unlike the bacteria in our digestive tracts, studies have shown that the flora or microbes in the respiratory tract do not cause disease.3

As we inhale and exhale, there’s a small amount of air, called residual volume, that always stays inside our lungs.4 Our amazing lungs keep at least 1,200 ml of air in the lungs at all times! Even after we do a good exhale, there’s always more that can be pushed out.

Residual volume actually helps keep smaller airways and air sacs (known as alveoli) open a little at all times, so that the next breath and the next and so on, comes easier. The tiny but powerful alveoli cover a surface that measures more than 1,076.4 sq. ft. or 100 sq.m. This large surface area is necessary to process the huge amounts of air involved in breathing and getting oxygen to our lungs.5 Alveoli are responsible for three overall processes6 involved in breathing:

  1. Ventilation: moving air in and out of the lungs
  2. Diffusion: oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange
  3. Perfusion: pumping blood through the lungs

When we take deep breaths in and exhale slowly, we are helping our lungs do their best work! It’s all part of Active Wellness and getting to know the intricacies of our remarkable bodies.

1 https://pulmonaryhypertensionnews.com/2017/12/20/8-fun-facts-lungs/

2, 3, 4 https://careplusvn.com/en/10-surprising-facts-about-the-respiratory-system

5, 6 https://www.healthline.com/health/alveoli-function#alveoli-function

Inhale Positive Energy, Exhale Stress

Did you know that our respiratory system works hard for us by taking in 20,000 breaths daily? Deep breaths are more efficient: they allow us to fully exchange incoming oxygen with outgoing carbon dioxide. They have also been shown to slow the heartbeat, lower or stabilize blood pressure and lower stress.1 That’s why it’s so important to make sure the air we breathe in is clean and energizing.

According to a two-year study led by researchers at Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, Utah, outdoor air pollution is a major contributor to indoor air pollution, but HEPA filters in the home may significantly reduce fine-particulate matter in the air compared with non-HEPA air filters. They found over a 12-week period of time that HEPA filters reduced indoor particulates by 55% and outdoor pollutants coming inside by 23%.2

HEPA stands for “high efficiency particulate air” and the HEPA standard is defined by the United States Department of Energy. First developed in the 1940s, HEPA filters were used to trap potentially radioactive particles found in facilities containing nuclear materials. By the 1960s, HEPA filters expanded into the consumer market for air conditioners, vacuum cleaners and stand-alone air purifiers.3

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recommended air purifiers as an effective tool to combat viruses and smoke, noting that the airborne particles from smoke and respiratory aerosols that contain viruses are often in a similar size range, mostly between 0.1 and one micron. Authentic HEPA filters are able to trap particles of this size range effectively.4

HEPA filters are not all the same. Because these filters are designed to run 24/7, they can run up your energy costs. Therefore, an Energy Star qualification is recommended.5

Air filter construction is another consideration. If air can flow around the filter, it is less efficient. Some filters are labeled “HEPA-style” and these generally are not air-tight.

Nikken supports clean air every day with eco-friendly KenkoAir Purifier® and its HEPA replacement filters. To celebrate the global effort for “healthy air, healthy planet” Nikken is offering two specials for the entire month of September. You save significantly when you purchase the September Exclusive Pack (Item 4445) by receiving the KenkoAir Purifier® and HEPA replacement filter for the price of the KenkoAir Purifier. In addition, all KAP HEPA filter replacements (Item 1445) are 20% off.

Here are some specific benefits of the KenkoAir Purifier that go above and beyond a standard HEPA filter and that Nikken is proud to share:

• The KenkoAir Purifier® (KAP) houses an advanced, multiple-stage HEPA filtration system that actually exceeds the measured efficiency of capturing up to 99.97% of 0.3 micron particles in the air. (0.3 microns is approximately 3% of the diameter of a human hair6)

• The KAP operates ozone-free so it is non-toxic and environmentally-friendly.

• The advanced system is designed to generate negative-ions, similar to those found in natural environments, such as forests and lakes.

• Energy Star qualified, the KAP is 35% more efficient than standard models and saves at least 215 kilowatt-hours annually. Its power consumption is designated at 55 watts and covers 313 sq. ft./29 sq. m.

• Having a re-usable prefilter reduces the KAP’s carbon footprint.

• Replaceable filters extend the longevity of the KAP.

• In addition to environmentally-friendly active carbon and microfibers, even the body of the KAP is made of recyclable materials, such as polyurethane, polypropylene and ABS plastic.

• The KAP allows you to select manual or automatic operation, and you can clearly see the condition of the room air from the air quality display on the top of the unit.

To breathe is to live and the KenkoAir Purifier helps us on our path to Active Wellness.

1 https://www.uchealth.org/today/understanding-breathing-and-the-importance-of-taking-a-deep-breath/

2, 3, 6 https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180925110030.htm

4 https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/what-hepa-filter-1

5 https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/why-hepa-air-purifiers-are-the-best-in-fighting-indoor-pollutants/2021/08/20/70aa6888-ec06-11eb-8950-d73b3e93ff7f_story.html

Breathe in Clean Air for Healthy Living and Active Wellness

The United Nations has declared the International Day of Clean Air to be September 7 this year. In support of the global effort for “healthy air, healthy planet,” the clean air initiative emphasizes the health aspects related to what we breathe in. The United Nations states, “This year’s focus is on prioritizing the need for healthy air for all, while keeping the conversation broad enough to encompass other critical issues such as climate change, human and planetary health as well as the Sustainable Development Goals.”1

Here are five main health benefits2 we can enjoy simply by breathing in clean air:

  1. Decreased Allergies and Asthma Symptoms: Clean indoor air can greatly improve the symptoms of allergies and asthma, thus increasing well-being and productivity.
  2. Cleaner Lungs: Clean air keeps lungs healthy and functioning optimally. Breathing in polluted air is similar to inhaling cigarette smoke.
  3. Improved Digestion: The respiratory system is important not only for healthy lungs but also for healthy digestion. Clean, fresh oxygen is needed in order for the muscles of the digestive tract to function as they should by breaking up food and moving it along in the digestive system.
  4. Improved Mood: Serotonin is a highly important neurotransmitter responsible, among other things, for regulating mood and anxiety. One of numerous factors that serotonin production and serotonin uptake in the brain are dependent upon is oxygen intake. Enzymes responsible for the production of serotonin can be impaired by low quality oxygen intake, leading to feelings of depression and anxiety.
  5. Longer Life Span: Breathing in clean air can also improve the immune system, which is one way our bodies build on for a long and healthy life.

We can’t always control outdoor air, but we can actively monitor our indoor air and keep it as fresh as possible. Here are five simple tips for keeping indoor air fresh and clean:

  1. Air purifiers can be an effective way to reduce harmful particles in the air. It can be helpful to have one in each room, especially bedrooms.
  2. Keep pets well groomed, especially if they are big shedders. Removing excess fur not only helps keep pet skin less irritated, but it also helps keep air cleaner.
  3. Take your shoes off before going inside. The dirt your shoes bring in can contain pesticides, pollen, fungi, bacteria and more undesirables.3
  4. Indoor houseplants can help improve air quality, according to a study published by the American Society for Horticultural Science. Several types of houseplants help filter out common volatile organic compounds from indoor air. For example, spider plants are effective at reducing benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide.4
  5. Rather than using chemically-based detergents and air fresheners, try using natural cleaning products and remember to open your windows at least part of the day.

Nikken supports clean air every day with eco-friendly KenkoAir Purifier® and its HEPA replacement filters. To celebrate the global effort for “healthy air, healthy planet” Nikken is offering two specials for the entire month of September. You save significantly when you purchase the September Exclusive Pack (Item 4445) by receiving the KenkoAir Purifier® and HEPA replacement filter for the price of the KenkoAir Purifier. In addition, all KAP HEPA filter replacements (Item 1445) are 20% off.

1 https://www.un.org/en/observances/clean-air-day

2 https://cascadeenviro.ca/5-important-health-benefits-of-clean-air/

3, 4 https://www.treehugger.com/ways-get-clean-air-without-chemicals-4864310

Loving Our Furry Family Members

We love our pets so much and our affection is reciprocated in ways that melt our hearts. In North America, the two most common pets are dogs and cats. Not only do those who live with pets receive that special love from their furry family members but cohabiting with them teaches children how to treat non-humans with kindness, care and respect. This in turn shows children how to treat living creatures, big and small, as part of planet Earth.

Since 1998, the pet population in the United States has almost doubled, with two thirds of the country being pet owners.1 Similar to humans, dogs and cats that sleep well, live a healthier lifestyle than those that don’t. Not only that, but a good night’s rest can help improve your dog’s memory and can even make your pooch smarter, according to a study published in a 2017 edition of Scientific Reports.2

Domestic dogs and cats sleep an average of 12-15 hours daily, with up to 20 sleep cycles, each lasting 15 minutes. In contrast, humans average four to five sleep cycles, each lasting 90 minutes. Cats and dogs reach REM less, so they need more sleep to obtain adequate rest.3

Humans spend a lot of time searching for the perfect mattress that provides us with ample support, good circulation and all-night comfort. The Kenko Naturest® Fit supports quality human sleep and the Kenko Sleep Pet Pad does the same for our furry friends. Both are made with magnetic, rubberthane and tourmaline technologies. Together, these technologies impart a gentle massaging effect that is activated by the sleeper’s natural movements. The breathable fabric helps with temperature control by allowing air circulation and helping your pet to maintain a comfortable level of body heat. And because we know well how much shedding and staining can occur with any pet, both the small and large Pet Pad have removable covers that are easy to launder.

Keeping our pets healthy and happy also makes it easier for us to live the Active Wellness lifestyle. Recent studies suggest having a pet can actually help reduce our blood pressure, alter the course of heart disease and decrease our stress levels.4 By taking good care of our pets, we are actually taking better care of ourselves! Astounding numbers show that this reciprocal relationship between humans and their pets is growing:

• According to the National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association from 2017-2020, there were approximately 95.6 million pet cats and 89.7 million pet dogs in the United States as of 2020.

• In Canada, there were about 8.1 million pet cats and 7.7 million pet dogs in 2020.5

Contrary to common belief, some cats and dogs live together happily, proving that interspecies “siblings” can love each other as much as we love them! It’s a win-win situation!

1 https://www.amazon.com/Pet-Nation-Affair-Changed-America/dp/0593083865

2 https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/the-importance-of-a-good-dog-bed/

3 spacecoastpetservices.com/2020/01/09/how-much-sleep-dogs-cats/#:~:text=Dogs%20and%20cats%20go%20through,lasting%20up%20to%2090%20minutes.

4 https://thezebra.org/2021/04/05/the-love-affair-with-our-pets/

5 https://www.statista.com/statistics/1015882/number-of-pet-cats-and-dogs-canada/

The Circulatory System: An amazing circuit that keeps our bodies going…

Proper circulation is key for maintaining optimal health. It ensures that blood and oxygen continuously flow throughout the body, allowing every organ to function properly. It helps to heal wounds faster, it keeps the brain sharp, it keeps the heart healthy and it even gives the complexion a natural glow.1  Therefore, it’s vital to look after our circulatory system as part of our active wellness.

Top tips for circulatory health include exercising for 30 minutes a day, most days of the week as well as maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. Here are 7 further tips that are easy to incorporate in your daily routine!

1. Get More Omegas… Omega-3 fatty acids help improve blood flow in the body and are an excellent source for heart health. Omegas can be found in certain types of fish such as mackerel.  For those who are vegetarian or vegan, kale also contains a small amount of omega-3 fatty acid. There are many natural supplements that contain Omega-3.

2. Sip Smarter… Drink black or green tea. A 2001 study, published in the journal Circulation, found that black tea improves blood vessel health. The antioxidants in these teas help to increase the width of the blood vessels. This enables the body to pump blood more easily.

3. Quit Smoking… So, this one isn’t easy. But, it’s absolutely necessary! Nicotine causes the blood vessels to constrict or narrow, which limits the amount of blood that flows to the organs. Over time, the constant constriction results in blood vessels that become stiff and less elastic. Constricted blood vessels decrease the amount of oxygen and nutrients the body cells receive.

4. Get Iron-Strong… If you don’t have enough red blood cells to circulate oxygen throughout your body, then you’re considered anemic. Women are especially susceptible to becoming anemic, especially if they are pregnant. Consuming an iron-rich diet such as spinach, legumes and red meat (in moderation) can greatly help you increase your red blood cells.

5. Compression for Comfort… Compression socks are a staple of any runner, but they should be in every household regardless of athletic ability.  That’s because these special socks reduce swelling in the legs. If you keep your legs elevated when you wear them, it will put pressure on the feet to help blood vessels push blood through the upper body and up to the heart.

6. Brush Your Body… If you’ve never heard of dry brushing before, you are seriously missing out on a relaxing and stimulating way to increase your blood flow! Before taking a shower or bath, use a soft-bristle brush and gently brush your skin in long, upward strokes. Start at your feet, and then move to your legs, thighs, stomach and arms. It not only feels amazing, it will help increase your circulation instantly.

7. Ease into Exercise… Sitting too much and for too long can be detrimental to your body. Your circulation system is no exception. Any type of movement is good, including a gentle walk, but experts say a good high-impact activity is jogging/running, and a good low-impact activity is yoga. Movements that involve bending, stretching and twisting help to compress and decompress a person’s veins, which may help improve circulation.2

Whether in doors, taking a gentle stroll outside or for more active exercise, Nikken’s Kenko mSteps and Kenko mStrides insoles can help energize your feet! 

*Terms and Conditions apply.

  1. https://www.henryford.com/blog/2020/10/how-to-boost-circulation
  2. https://niveinclinic.com/why-good-blood-circulation-is-vital-to-your-health/

Do More by Doing Less

By Guest Editor: Jeff Isom, Chancellor of Nikken University

Most of us are continually striving to be active, healthy, and well. The idea of Active Wellness is perhaps more of a process than a result and encompasses a variety of aspects in our lives. One of those areas is the personal growth we work towards as we decide what to create and accomplish on a day-to-day basis.

A question someone might ask themselves is, how do I do more with the time I have? It may be that we can accomplish more by deciding to focus on less. Think about the idea of limiting your daily to-do list to the top 3 most important things you want to accomplish for that day. You could do this same process at the beginning of every week for the week ahead. It is a simple strategy, but one that might prove to be extremely powerful.

This habit turbocharges your productivity because it forces you to prioritize the most significant things you want to achieve, and then causes you to have laser-like focus in getting them done. Having just three items to focus on throughout the day and week can help you stay centered and to accomplish more, even on days when you feel overloaded.

In order to make this approach work, it is important that you write out these 3 main focus areas before busying yourself with “urgent” but not important tasks like checking email, texts, or social media. It is necessary to prioritize what you want to achieve during the course of the day. You can also reference your schedule for the day and your week to see how much time you’ll have to devote to your top tasks.  Then, you can shift around meetings and commitments to concentrate on what really matters.

As you think about putting this Rule of 3 into practice, create your list on a daily basis first in order to realize how effective it can be. You can then add the weekly exercise from there. Make sure that your top 3 items are challenging but also realistic and achievable. This will help you stay motivated and ride the momentum for getting things done.

After you list out the top 3 items to accomplish, it is okay to write down additional minor tasks to take care of during the day (such as remembering to buy stamps, writing a thank you card, or going to the dry cleaner). What’s important is that you prioritize and place your energy on your top 3 tasks, and work on smaller items as time allows. At the end of the day, you can measure your productivity by looking at how successful you were at accomplishing your main 3 tasks.

To accomplish more and to spend time on your highest-impact tasks, you have to act on them on a daily basis. The Rule of 3 is a great way to do exactly that. This habit will help you do more by doing less. It will increase your growth as a person and move you closer towards Active Wellness in a variety of areas in your life.

About the guest editor: Jeff is Chancellor of Nikken University and regularly runs Nikken’s Humans Being More Workshops around the globe!