I grew up in Center City Philadelphia in the 1970s, an enclave of clog-wearing moms and bearded dads. I went to a school run by peace-loving Quakers, and even my own mother, more preppie than hippie, went through a phase of growing alfalfa sprouts on our kitchen counter. Of course I rolled my eyes at all of it, but looking back, many of the food and lifestyle choices these aging hippies espoused were spot on. Here are five ways the “me” generation got healthy living right:
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When I was 11 years old, I joined a friend’s family on a car trip from Philadelphia to Chicago. Every morning before we could get back on the road, we had to wait 20 minutes while the mom meditated. At the time we mocked it relentlessly, but looking back, it likely gave her enough patience to endure a long car ride with restless, bickering kids.
Meditation’s value as a stress reliever and all around mood booster is impressive; extensive research has proven that it can lower risk of depression, beat anxiety, and improve mental health. And it doesn’t take much. Studies show that people who practice mindful meditation—sitting quietly with your eyes closed and repeating a word or “mantra” over and over—for just 20 minutes a day reap significant benefits.