How is my Health and Wellness?
Why is it so Important to Look After it?
How is my Health and Wellness?
We need to ask ourselves, ‘How is my health and wellness?’ and ‘Why is it so important to look after it?’. We need to start caring for every aspect of our being- which the term wellness explores. How are the physical, emotional (psychological), spiritual and social aspects of our lives? This blog contains 8 tips that will benefit you and your wellness! When we look at all these categories of our lives, we are caring about our wellness. We need to encourage the world to be more proactive about caring for their full wellness. Not just one aspect of it!
Have you asked yourself or are you asking yourself, ‘How is my health & wellness?’.
We all know what the term ‘health’ refers to, but have we given this relatively new buzzword, WELLNESS, any thought?
What exactly is wellness? …. and how is YOUR wellness?
Wellness is an active process of choosing to live a healthy and balanced life. Wellness is not simply being free from disease and ‘healthy’; it is accepting that we all need growth and to take part in our own evolution by making healthy choices and responsible decisions. Wellness refers to the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort. It is an approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to emphasizing treating diseases.
Wellness is ensuring our physical, mental and social well-being are aligned and working as they should be! We are all different; we are all wired completely differently and what is important to one person is different from
what is important to another. The common denominator is that we all need to be functioning well; each one of us needs to have our bodies aligned and each one of us need to look at our own ‘wellness’ and ask ourselves, ‘How am I? What part of me needs my attention?’
We all know the question we ask and answer multiple times a day:
‘Hi, Sue. Are you well?’
‘Hi, Angela. Yes, very well thanks and you?’
The question here is ‘Are you well?’, or are you hurting somewhere inside and just not seeing it or talking about it, or even acknowledging it?
We have become so robotic in our pleasantries, never revealing our true feelings- sometimes not even to ourselves!
The time is ‘NOW’ to start taking stock of all the areas of our well-being, our ‘wellness’ and doing something about the areas that are not aligned!
Looking at all the aspects of wellness is step number one to complete healing, and prevention!
Here are the 8 Key Steps to Health and Wellness:
We have all heard the saying, ‘we are what we eat’. Even if we don’t want to believe it, it actually couldn’t be more true. The food we put into our bodies is the most important thing we can do to heal ourselves or hurt ourselves. Food gives our bodies the instructions and information on how to function properly and our bodies react dependent on the nature and quality of food. We wouldn’t put diesel in a petrol car, we would be far too concerned about the engine combusting- so, why do we not worry about our ‘engine’ the same way? There’ss incredible information and medical research available on how food affects every cell in our bodies.
Research shows us that the food we consume even changes our DNA and our gene expression. Food pretty much enables or disables most diseases such as, Diabetes, high Cholesterol, Alzheimer, Cancer. Just to name a few.
Food Food Food
Food affects our gut health, our delicate rain forest of, meant to be good and beneficial, bacteria working to keep our inflammation under control, brain function healthy and our entire immune system in good working order. Among all these aspects of how food affects our body, a massive element we overlook is that food affects our mood.
Food affects the structure, functioning and clarity of our thinking and our memory capacity. Different neurotransmitters (the brain’s chemical messengers) are even affected by the foods we eat. When you are feeling down, low, have brain fog, even depression and anxiety, ask yourself if your diet could be a contributing factor? Start your healing and wellness journey with the food you eat; stick with the originals, what the earth created:(organic is best) vegetables, fruits, legumes, unprocessed grains and oils, nuts, coffee, fatty fish and proteins. Try, stay away from foods that are processed and refined: sugars, grains, oils, meats and dairies that are over-processed.
We know that exercise helps us lose weight; we know that exercise is meant to be good for you, but do we actually know why? Do we know what the benefits are? Exercise has numerous benefits for our overall health.It helps improve our mood; it increases endorphins (our happy hormones) and the extra oxygen to our brain allows us to think more clearly. Research even shows that regular exercise adds years onto your life! There is literally more and more scientific evidence released, almost daily, showing the incredible benefits related to exercise.
It’s good for us all
No matter the age, if you are alive- you should be getting some form of exercise. Science also shows that the intensity of this exercise doesn’t seem to make a difference in the health benefits department. As long as you are doing something, it’s better than nothing. So get those legs and arms walking, running, cycling, swimming or whatever your preferred method is- but the aim of the game is, to get moving. My number one choice is rollerblading; I’m doing it! It might not be conventional but it’s still improving my health day by day.
Exercise helps you to sleep better, helps you to de-stress and removes anxiety. It also helps fight diseases and increases bone density. No drug on earth will give you the benefit that 30 minutes a day will give you!
“Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.” – Hans Christian Anderson. We can only truly live if we have some time in our day, in our week, where we are receiving those golden rays of sunshine kissing our flesh, exposing our skin to vitamin D. It is a powerful vitamin that is actually a hormone; every tissue in the body has Vitamin D receptors, including the brain, heart, muscles, and immune system- which means vitamin D is needed at every level for the body to function. Vitamin D helps to activate genes that help regulate the immune system and release neurotransmitters (dopamine & serotonin) that affect brain function and development.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a mood-altering disorder which causes its recipients to become depressed; this is due to a lack of sunlight and prone to people living in countries that experience little to no sunlight for parts of the year. A lack of Vitamin D affects bone density, but, most importantly, medical science believes that the lack of Vitamin D is a major factor in depression.
Good, clean, fresh air helps us to focus, improves lung health and it stimulates both our physical body and our emotions. Fresh air has the powerful ability to improve our emotions and helps settle our nervous system and bring a calmness and peace to our over-worked, stressed bodies. It is amazing how a walk or just sitting under the trees, breathing in good, clean air, will clear and settle your mind. It helps improve our mood and even increases our energy levels. Try and set time aside every day to get out into the fresh air, even if it’s eating your lunch on a park bench or sitting on a patch of grass under the trees.
Drinking Clean Water
Are you drinking enough water in your day? Are you actually consuming water or are you getting your fluid intake by other means, such as coffee, tea, juice, shakes etc…? Drinking good clean water is incredibly important for our full bodily function; every aspect of our body needs and relies on water. The human body is made up of 60% water, approximately 73% of the brain and heart are made up of water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even our bones are about 31% water.
Just those facts alone should encourage us to be drinking more clean water, but do we? Have you prioritized water in your day? Water is a pure fact of survival; we cannot survive without it and it is essential to our body functioning as it should.
Water = Life
Drinking water allows the improved increase of brain function; helping protect the brain; it is involved in the production of hormones and neurotransmitter; improving memory clarity & concentration. Science shows us that even mild dehydration can harm the function of our brain. Water helps transport and deliver oxygen to every cell in your body, also helping lubricate joints. It is 100% beneficial to our digestive system and removing waste and toxins from our body. Water is a powerhouse of goodness even helping us lose weight and boosts energy performance during exercise.
Really, at the end of the day, good clean water and enough of it has miracle powers for our body. Stop ruining it and making it hard for your poor organs by diluting this goodness with juice and other additives! But saying all of this, there is nothing wrong with having your treats during the day. Therefore having Coffee, green tea, tea etc, as long as they are in moderation and an add-in to your clean water drinking regime.
Sleep is as important to our bodies as eating, drinking and breathing. Our brain literally cannot function properly without good quality sleep. We think we can, and we try to, but science shows us that we are just not functioning at our best; we not giving the world 100% of ourselves when our sleep is affected and most importantly, affected often! It allows our body to repair itself and our brain to organize and categorize all our memories and processes information. Sleep helps keep our heart in healthy working order; it helps reduce stress; it is even believed, due to scientific studies, that a lack of sleep and too much light exposure could be a contributing factor to certain cancers.
Sleep helps reduce inflammation in our bodies; it makes us more alert and helps us lose weight. Napping during the day is also a great way to get your daily sleep intake, which is also an effective, refreshing alternative to caffeine. Napping is good for your overall health and can make you more productive. In a study, people who did not nap, or took naps shorter than one hour, experienced mental decreases four to six times greater than those that napped for at least an hour.
Sleep helps the body to repair itself; it is a time when the body should be able to rest and relax, and during this time the body is hard at work repairing damage caused by stress, ultraviolet rays, and other harmful exposure. Your cells produce more protein while you are sleeping- these protein molecules form the building blocks for cells, allowing them to repair the damage. Now doesn’t all that powerful information entice you to get 8 hours of sleep a day? Try to steal an hour here and there to take a miracle nap, too!
I like to refer to talking and general conversations with close friends, family, counselors and therapists as “POWER TALK TIME” and “Power of Listening” -both are incredible and both are needed. We need to be able to talk about our feelings and emotions to other people, to off-load our stresses, hurts, joys, concerns and anxieties. It just makes us feel better and freer. We need to be able to do this with freedom and protection, knowing the person we are sharing our deepest darkest to is able to keep them safe, without exposing us to the world, and breaking that confidence. Being able to talk freely allows us to de-stress and enables us to reevaluate our thought processes; it so often helps us to figure out a way forward, without any external advice, giving yourself a ‘mental autopsy’.
Standing- Looking in!
Sometimes it’s that we are able to see the picture more clearly as if we are standing outside of ourselves- looking in. Dr Caroline Leaf discusses this scientific process, which she calls Multiple Perspective Advantage (MPA), and explains that we have, as humans, the ability to stand back and observe our own thinking, feeling, choosing, and any underlying existing memories. We can then think of the perspectives they provide and decide if it’s beneficial to us or not. Almost as if you looking at someone else’s story and helping them instead, it’s helping you. You are helping and objectively looking at your situation. Being are able to analyze the pros and cons of how you are perceiving and understanding different situations and behaviors you may have, and deciding which direction to go in and which decision is more beneficial. Now isn’t that incredible!
Sometimes we need to talk to an external person, a counselor, a therapist and not a friend or family member. Sometimes we feel (although we shouldn’t), that by sharing our heart & emotions to those closest to us, it is a burden to them or that they won’t understand. Talking to someone also helps us combat loneliness, which is a global epidemic in today’s world. A recent study reveals that loneliness kills more people than obesity. Talking helps combat anxiety, stress and depression. So, if you are not talking to anyone, now is the time to start. If you feel like you can’t talk to those in your life and in your circle, move out your circle and find a trained professional.
Practicing Spirituality, Mindfulness or/and Meditation helps us get to know ourselves better; it helps us relieve stress, helps us find peace and encourages us to live. What does any of this mean? It’s a journey- starting with asking yourself some deep and personal questions. Are you searching for something? My spiritual quest started when I was 21. I had been to church for years through my school but I never believed in having a spiritual life or believed in a God. Just shy of my 21st birthday, this all changed. After this new awakening, I started reading my bible and ‘journaling’: a form of meditation and mindfulness.
Journaling is proven to help reduce stress, improve the immune system, keep your memory sharp. It improve mental health and moods and strengthen emotional functions. It was incredible and took my life onto a road I will never get off. There is power in sitting quietly, praying, writing your thoughts, breathing and just having that time to reflect on your heart, mind, emotions, your day, your life, your people and all that is you!
Taking on a lifeline of its own in people’s lives and becoming a crucial aspect of mental health help and people’s healing journey. Mindfulness can help to relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, and surprisingly- help alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties. Helping improve our over-all well-being and contributes to a satisfying life. Being able to look at all that you have and taking stock of all your blessings will only improve your life and create a better today and tomorrow.
Meditation is training your mind to focus and direct your thoughts in a meaningful manner. The benefits are unbelievable making people realise, it’s time to stop, breathe and clear your mind from the overcrowded thoughts. Removing the cobwebs of the past and reflecting on a new day and a new future. This all helping to reduce stress, control anxiety, reduce mental health issues, social anxiety and phobias. It also helps enhance self-awareness, self-growth, lengthen attention span and the list continues.
Maybe it’s time to wake up a little earlier. Start by spending your first 30 minutes of the day praying, breathing, journaling. Quietly searching your thoughts, heart and emotions before the day takes hold of you. And, before you know it, you climbing back into bed to get ready to start all over again.
Friends, family, work colleagues, fitness friends; our circles of loved ones are incredibly important and something we need to nurture and allow to grow constantly in our lives. People who have one or more close relationships have more joy in their lives. We have an inherent desire deep within to have close relationships, to have people we can trust, rely on and have fun with. Unfortunately, life happens and these relationships sometimes get broken and we sometimes also get broken through the process. Relationships need to be honest, supportive and uplifting, not abusive and unsafe.
We need to have healthy boundaries and it needs to be mutually beneficial to all involved. Good relationships bring great benefits; science and research prove that they allow us to have less stress, help improve our health, increase better lifestyle habits, we live longer and with greater purpose. Having meaningful relationships even allows us to develop our identity and enables us to thrive in life, which helps combat loneliness, which, as you read above- reduces our life span and is detrimental to our overall health and wellness. Loneliness is the number one cause of suicide in today’s world. We live in a social media, selfie-driven, fast-tracked, information-obsessed world. And yet the rise of teen and young adult suicide has reached numbers the world has never seen before. It is time to ask why and to start making good and beneficial relationships.
So, after all the information you and I have consumed, maybe it’s time to start putting all these wellness steps into practice.