It is more important that you take care of you than that you take care of them.

Does that sound selfish? Done in the right spirit, it is the first step toward selflessness. You cannot give out of an empty basket. A hungry man is unable to feed another. A full chef delights in serving.

Decay or grow. Our bodies are built to move. Movement stimulates cell growth. Reduced movement results in cell atrophy. A lethargic lifestyle causes the body to waste away. Decay. The body is a good servant in that it responds as gracefully as possible to the treatment we give it.

Endless recycle program. Our bodies consist of trillions of cells. They continually die off and are replaced. Bones dissolve and regenerate. High school health class taught that we have a completely new body ever seven years. But it is in increments, like 1% a day. What determines the quality of replacement? Whether the replacement quality is high or inferior depends on the lifestyle choices we make every day. Stronger or weaker cells? Our choice.

Intentional care. Remember the airline instructions? In case of emergency, you place the air bag on you first before helping the child, elderly, infirmed or others. Be intentional about your nutrition, your rest and your needs so that you are in optimum condition – mentally and physically – to help others.

Emotions play a big part. Human beings are composed of molecules therefore everything affects our molecular structure. Destructive emotions such as anger, hate, stress and loneliness send a “decay” message to the cells. These long-held emotions lead to chronic pain. Even though the angry person may be wishing ill on another, in reality, he is issuing his own death warrant.

Conversely, positive emotions such as optimism, love, compassion and community promote strength, thus healthy molecules. Not only does the molecular body benefit, but also one’s mind, heart, spirit and social life.

Handling the day-to-day stresses of life begins with self-care. Start with quality quiet time. What if it really does work?