NEW YEAR, NEW YEAR: Keep positive energy flowing in 2014

The health connections between the body, mind and spirit are interwoven and quite fascinating, Destiny Kelley said.

The Peachtree Corners resident, who holds a bachelor of science, is a certified health coach, a certified worksite wellness specialist, a member of the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and a certified Reiki practitioner.

“In order to keep yourself healthy you must take care of your mind, body and spirit,” Kelley said. “We all have energy running through our bodies and when that energy becomes stuck, stale or stagnant it can cause physical ailments. For example when you are under a lot of stress one of the first physical signs are usually gastrointestinal issues. The digestive track is very vulnerable to stress.”

Kelley said children — and adults — often show signs of stress with a “tummy ache” and that there are advantages to treating the whole person, not just the ailment or disease.

For the new year — and the new you — Kelley offers five ways to keep positive energy flowing through the body.

1. Feed the body and the soul.

While eating fresh fruits, vegetables and avoiding processed food is one way to detox your body, detoxing your spiritual life can just as easy, Kelley said. Take a break from your electronics and put away the phone and the tablet. Avoid watching violent movies or playing violent video games and spend time reading a spiritual book, praying or meditating.

“Just 10 to 30 mins a day can do wonders,” she said.

2. Breathe.

“Just breathe,” Kelley said, “but with the intention of clearing out the negative energy and replacing it with positive energy.”

She suggests sitting in a comfortable position in a quiet room.

“Close your eyes, put your hand on your abdomen and breathe in and out slowly,” she said. “As you breathe in expand your belly out against your hand and as you exhale relax. Imagine a strong white light emanating from the sky into the top of your head and running down your spine. The light shines with glowing energy washing away the bad day, the hurtful things others have said and will refresh you.”

Kelley suggests spending 10 minutes each day breathing in the good and releasing the bad.

3. Get outside.

Physical activity causes a physical and chemical reaction in the brain, releasing endorphins, or “feel good” chemicals, Kelley said. But there’s more you can do than just exercise.

“Sure you can walk on a treadmill in the gym,” Kelley said, “but when is the last time you walked in a park without your ear phones?”

Kelley suggests leaving the music at home and taking a walk outside or a hike in the woods. Ask yourself what you see, hear and smell.

“Take note of the wonders around you and appreciate your neighborhood, a local park or a hike in the woods,” Kelley said.

4. Volunteer your time.

“Nothing can make us appreciate our circumstances more than helping others,” Kelley said. “Although the holidays have passed organizations need help year round.”

Kelley suggests volunteering at a soup kitchen or cooking a meal for an elderly neighbor. Take your children to the local animal shelter and help walk the dogs. Or organize a neighborhood “Care Team.”

“When you hear about a neighbor who is having a hard time, have a group of people who can reach out to them,” Kelley said. “One family can cook a meal, another can get their mail while their out of town, and have someone bring them flowers or mow their lawn.

“It’s the little things we can do that can make a difference in someone’s life,” she added.

5. When you are feeling spiritually and emotionally drained, reach out.

Kelley suggests calling a spiritual leader or someone from your religious community or reaching out to someone who specializes in clearing negative energy.

“Reiki practitioners work with the body’s energy,” Kelley said.

Reiki is an Eastern technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by a certified Reiki practitioner and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through each us and is what causes us to be alive. The idea is that if one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.