By MARILYNN PRESTON

The spring solstice is here with a secret and sparking message that everyone on the rocky path to a healthier lifestyle needs to hear: When the seasons change, we can, too.

“Springtime is in the air,” writes Kenneth Cohen, a Qigong master. “A good time for spring cleaning of mind and body through meditation, healing practices, eating spring greens … and bathing in natural hot springs.”

Before I shower you with my own suggestions, let me ask: What’s your No. 1 wish when it comes to living a healthier life?

(Think for a minute. These interactive columns are my favorites.)

The truth is we humans can make positive change any day — if we’re really ready, if we’re deeply committed. But in spring, Mother Nature gives us an extra cellular push. Spring is the season of new beginnings, new growth. In spring, when all things made of light turn toward the light, it’s easier for you to do the same.

1. DO SOMETHING YOU’RE AFRAID TO DO. Fear often keeps us from being the people we’d like to become. Over the next few weeks and months, face a fear … and work through it. Stop coloring your hair. Volunteer at a hospice. Jump out of a plane, with an instructor, tandem, screaming.

When we overcome a fear, our whole body relaxes into a feeling of confidence and well-being. If I can do the thing I feared, what else can I do?

2. LOOK INTO YOUR BIOCHEMISTRY. Face the facts: Your doctor probably knows next to nothing about nutrition. It’s lack of training more than lack of interest, I hope, but in any case, you’re on your own when it comes to figuring out what to feed your body to keep it healthy and strong.

Your biochemistry is uniquely your own. Just because your best friend takes vitamin D or iron or vitamin B12 doesn’t mean you should.

The best way to determine what you personally need (and what you don’t) is to have basic bloodwork done and find a nutritionist who will analyze the results and get you started on a path toward rebalancing.

Remember: Real food — unprocessed, mostly organic — is the smartest way to get what your body needs. Supplements are secondary.

3. STEP UP YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. Most people say they’d like to exercise more — more walking, more biking! — but then they insist they don’t have the time. Nonsense. In the land of well-being, you (SET ITAL)make(END ITAL) time.

Spring into action. Less screen time and fewer hours on social media means more time to play. Get up an hour earlier, to walk, to run, to move your body in ways that feel good. Take the stairs instead of elevators and escalators. Keep a sturdy stationery bike next to the TV and sprint your way through every dopey commercial that pushes drugs to ask your doctor about.

This spring, no matter how many times you’ve failed to make physical activity a priority, begin again. Plan for success, never give up, and at some point, you will¬†find the time because being active feels better than sitting still. Physical activity spreads joy-making chemicals throughout your body. Really!

4. FIND YOUR STRESS AND LET IT GO. Stress happens. It’s not your fault as much as it’s your destiny as a flawed human on a wobbly planet. How you alleviate stress is up to you, and that’s worth working on this spring.

Choose an activity that heightens your inner awareness and lowers your anxiety. Meditation? Qigong? Cooking? Or my favorite: somatics-based yoga, slow and deep.

More than 75 percent of all sickness and disease is related to stress, in your body and in your mind. This spring, sense the stress and let it go. It’s a little like throwing up: You’ll know when it’s happening.

5. EAT SMART. Turn over a new leaf this spring — preferably spinach, kale or arugula — and just say “no” to junky processed foods and drinks. Give your kitchen a spring cleaning — a mindful makeover. Read labels. If the so-called food has line after line of ingredients you can’t even pronounce, toss it. And sugar? Cut back, cut down and keep at it until your addiction to sugar melts like a marshmallow.

If you wean yourself off sugar this spring, you’ll sail through summer with a lightness you may never have known before. Really!


– Marilynn Preston is the author of Energy Express, America’s longest-running healthy lifestyle column. Her new Amazon best-seller “All Is Well: The Art {and Science} of Personal Well-Being” is available now on Amazon and elsewhere. Visit Creators Publishing at creators.com/books/all-is-well to learn more. For more on personal well-being, visit www.MarilynnPreston.com.