I often feel high one day and low on the next even if nothing has gone wrong. Is it possible to feel high 24x7 without a single low?

— Vijayan

I deeply believe you can feel happy and optimistic 24x7 because I’m a living example of this fact. It’s about being fit physically, mentally, spiritually to start with. For this, incorporate certain patterns into your lifestyle:

Walk/ cycle daily for 30–60 minutes. It’s exalting.

Eat low-fat food in a pleasant atmosphere; drink two litres of water.

Spend half an hour in solitude. Empty your mind. Then, reflect on how easy life has been made for you — you don’t have to make any effort to breathe, for your heart to beat, for digestion, elimination, for hair to grow… Let gratitude rise at this gift of effortlessness.

Do something creative and therapeutic. For me, it’s writing. Sometimes the flow is terrific, sometimes it rides on bumpy speed-breakers, other times I’m lost in the sheer depth and beauty of its process. It teaches me that life is exactly like that, and I don’t have to fear it or berate myself. It’s about expressing the best you have in yourself and experiencing its beautiful aftermath. And you learn to be accepting and to appreciate life even as the radiance grows in you.

Quit worrying. Worry is a perverted rag-picker. It picks up the rags and ignores the riches. Concentrate on the riches. Notice the little joys — they make for a bigger, better life.

Shed all the beliefs (read: baggage) in a karmic past and karmic future, and live light-heartedly in the now. If any ache or painful circumstances arise, give them to the higher forces to deal with. And continue to love, laugh, light up, live and let live. Above all, as the Poet says, “Don’t take anything for granted, take everything with gratitude.”

I love reading, but can’t because when I bend my head, my neck and shoulders hurt. Please guide me on what I should do. I also work a lot on the computer.

— Aditya C

No sweat. For reading, get yourself a table-easel (available at any art stationery shop). Place your book on it and read away. Similarly, elevate your keyboard and monitor so that your chin stays parallel to the floor as you work on the computer. Do these exercises daily (5–10 reps each) to strengthen weak muscles and remove stiffness and pain:

Look up at ceiling, bending your head back. Return to normal position, looking straight in front.

Look over your right shoulder then turn your head to look over your left shoulder.

Shrug your shoulders smoothly backwards, keeping neck and back straight.

Stretch your arms straight in front of you at shoulder level. Clench and unclench fists. Rotate fists clockwise and anti-clockwise. Bend elbows to bring fists to shoulders, then return to original position.

And do this postural exercise every now and then: Sitting normally on your chair, encircle the back of your chair with your arms and interlace fingers of both hands. Sit in that position until you feel a loosening in shoulders and neck.

I’m 42 years old. I’ve been consulting a dietician for the past two months. Apparently, my weight loss is slower than what she targets for. To speed it up, she has asked me to stop taking the calcium supplements prescribed by my doctor and milk products until she advises otherwise. Does calcium slow down weight-loss? Please advise.

— Shirin P.

No, calcium does not hinder fat-loss. In fact, the dietician’s logic is mind-boggling. Apparently, her targets are more important than the client’s health! If you stop your prescribed calcium tablets and dairy foods, all that your weighing scales will display is bone-loss, not fat-loss. You may even develop aches in joints and legs. So, please continue having calcium. I suggest eating fat-free food. Dry-roast your masalas and grind them. Avoid ghee, butter, cooking oil completely. Season salads with salt, pepper, garlic pieces, lemon juice. This is the way of the wise.

Finally, remember, the inches go first, the weight loss registers later. Exercise and tone your body. Above all, put your health first.

The writer is co-author of the book ‘Fitness for Life’.