Though we have thrown tons of money at the problem in recent decades, Americans are sicker than ever. Each of us knows someone who has a chronic health condition – such as obesity, diabetes, asthma, or depression – which are wreaking havoc on their mind, body, and wallet.
I engage individuals and families every day, counseling them about lifestyle adjustments that include nutrition, fitness, and rest to restore their wellness and revive their perspective on the future. Here are some of the top factors that I include when talking with them.
Prevention trumps treatment – a majority of our chronic conditions are the result of lifestyle choices, and they usually develop over time. Every doctor will tell you that it’s easier and more cost-effective to prevent a condition rather than treat it. Whatever the state of your health, making changes now can bring improvement.
Real food is real medicine – the original holistic doctor, Hippocrates, said it best: “Let thy food be thy medicine.” Real food – as close to the way it is produced in nature – has the power to nourish your body, mind and soul. Taking time to prepare it and enjoy it, sitting down with family or friends, adds to the therapeutic benefits of your meals.
Time spend in nature is not a luxury – venturing out into natural environs has been proven to positively affect mood, focus, energy level and stress response. Seek out the green spaces near you – a local park, nature center, bayou or beach – and experience the transformative power of the natural world.
You have to unplug to recharge – in our high-speed culture we multitask to exhaustion and overschedule ourselves and our children. Chronic sleep deprivation is a significant risk factor for depression. Make time to stop! Create quiet spaces and schedule downtime without electronic devices. Your body will thank you.
Develop better stress coping skills – let’s face it, stress is not going away, so it’s best to hone your ability to cope. Breathing is a great starting place. Stop and focus on slow, deep breathing, accompanied by a positive focus. Consider what the cause of your stress is and look for an opposite activity, such as walking, dancing, keeping a gratitude journal, practicing meditation or exploring artistic outlets.
Germs are our friends – did I really say that? I did. While some bacteria are harmful, not all are. Some are vital to maintaining the balance in our immune system. Yet how many of us use antibacterial gel on a daily (hourly?) basis. Not only do these products thwart our bodies’ ability to train their immune response, but the chemicals in the products are highly disruptive to our endocrine system. Play in the dirt, eat fermented foods and take probioitics to balance your immune system.
Real change is hard work … but it’s worth it! Rather than waiting for our culture to change, you can take charge of your life. The health you desire is proportional to the effort you put in. Altering unhealthy patterns of eating, sleeping and exercise take time and commitment, but it beats waiting to start medical treatment for chronic disease conditions.
The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results.
Could you improve your current level of wellness? Making adjustments in the foods you consume and the way you care for yourself can change the way your body functions. I stand ready to encourage and to help you pursue wellness for you, wellness for life … because your health is wealth for you and those whom you love.