Old wives' tales are often dismissed as nonsensical — and yes, most are debunked myths. Beliefs such as catching a common cold from wet hair or getting more grey hair from plucking grey strands have been brushed off as hearsay. But not all "advice" that's been passed down from, say, your great-great-great grandmother should be shunned. For some, these pieces of advice still hold relevance today. We share some of our time-honoured wellness tips passed down from generation to generation that you might want to consider incorporating into your lifestyle.
Know your body constitution
Most of us only watch our bodies' temperature whenever we get sick. But for Team Clozette's Campaigns Manager Wanjing Lin, knowing your body's natural constitution — whether you have a "hot" or "cold body" — is a piece of elderly advice that's been ingrained in her since childhood. "They believe each body is different — some are naturally warm or cold. I've been told that mine is "warm", so when I fall sick it's usually because I've been pulling late nights or dehydrated or eating too many chips and stuff — things that build up heat," she shared. Wanjing also shared that she can still eat ice cream and do not need to cover herself up when she falls sick because she already has a "warm body". "On the other hand, my sister is the "colder" type so when she falls sick she needs warm soups and all to get better," she added.
This belief has roots in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, which discusses the "individual constitutions" we have and the things we should do or avoid in order to maintain balance. There are still calls for more research and studies to be done in this particular area of interest, but some studies like this one in 2013 and in 2018 have lent credibility to this concept.
Drink water first thing in the morning
Drinking water is essential for all of us, but could the timing of when we consume it improve our health? For law student, Charlotte, drinking water first thing in the morning "cleanses the digestive system and hydrates the whole body after hours of sleeping".
"Also, to keep a positive mindset and attitude," she shared. You may be wondering if there is scientific evidence in this. One study provides some evidence that drinking water before breakfast can reduce calorie intake for adults fighting obesity. However, apart from that, we have yet to find other studies which conclude that drinking water in the morning has other added benefits. But of course, if it makes you feel good to grab a glass after waking up, there is no reason to stop. After all, drinking water can also help mobilise metabolism.
Keep track of your dreams
Most of the time, we only remember bits and pieces of our dreams. According to a wellness belief passed down from Ancient Greece, paying attention to your dreams may help identify physical ailments you're experiencing. Whereas in the modern age, paying attention to your dreams relates more to mental health. One study found that our mood and ability to handle emotional stress during our waking time is related to our dreams. And that frequent nightmares can reveal an underlying cause and triggers such as PTSD. So you might want to start paying attention to what dreams can reveal about you and your mental health.
Don't get bored
Finally, a wellness tip that's been passed down to generations in our family is this: never get bored. According to my elders, getting bored is not just unproductive but can be potentially dangerous. It has been linked to anger and aggressive behaviour, leading you to try risky things just to get out of the rut. So instead of sinking into boredom, pour your energy into indulging in activities and embracing hobbies such as learning a new musical instrument (it's the very reason why I learned to play the piano!), language or a sport.
(Cover photo from: GLOBENCER via Unsplash)
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