For the Health of It---Take Care of All of You

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Do you take your multivitamin faithfully everyday? Is your only exercise carrying the laundry basket up and down the stairs? How stressed out are you? Whether you work inside or out side the home, there are many challenges that can create stress in your life. When is the last time you laughed? Do you remember when it was that you read a really intriguing book because you wanted to? Do you take time to pray, reflect; meditate on life’s meaning and your purpose? Being a healthy person is more than having a body that works properly. Maintaining optimum health involves all of you. It is your mind and emotions, your social relationships, your sense of hope, your satisfaction with work, as well as your body.

You’ve heard it said, “If you don’t use it, you will lose it.” Research findings show your mental capacity can increase with continued intellectual activities, regardless of your age. Activities such as crossword puzzles, playing word games or cards strengthens the synapses (junction in which a nerve impulse passes) between brain cells in memory transmission areas. Vocabulary and reasoning skills often improve with age. Your thinking ability remains strong, even when your memory seems to fade.

Everyday life brings out various emotions in each of us. It is essential to maintain good mental health, which is the connection between mind and emotions. Building your self esteem and continuing a positive attitude will make you resilient to emotional states and life’s challenges. Stress is a major concern in many of our lives. Stress causes major negative effects on the immune system. Chronic stress depletes the body’s resources and ability to adapt.

Improve your emotional well being with the following suggestions:
  • Practice positive thinking and talking.
  • Read self-help books that interest and positively motivate you.
  • Participate in personal growth activities or support groups (church functions, mom groups, book clubs, community sport leagues, volunteer, etc.)
  • Spend time with friends and family to discuss personal concerns and provide mutual support.

    We all need to find safe and constructive ways to express our feelings of anger, sadness, joy and fear. Learning who you are and what makes you happy will teach you how to balance what you can and cannot change about yourself.

    You are worth more than you could ever calculate. It is because we are different that each of us is so special. Everyone should believe in something greater than their human frame. Developing a principle of faith will give you meaning and purpose. How do you develop faith in something? Explore yourself by asking, “Who am I?” or “What is the purpose of my life?” Identify your values and beliefs.

    To discover and maintain your spiritual well-being try these helpful suggestions:
    • Look for inspiration from uplifting books, movies, TV, spiritual gatherings, serene music, nature, prayer and meditation.
    • Practice spending quiet time alone on a regular basis.
    • Look for deeper meanings to problems and patterns in your life.
    • Practice acceptance of yourself and others.
    • Allow yourself to deeply feel pain and grief.
    • Practice appreciating the depth and greatness of life.
    Life is not a race. Stop to take time to believe, give and receive. Your faith will give you a focus to fully live in the present and look boldly to the future.

    Physical health involves what you do with your body and what you put into your body. Personal fitness and health goals can be achieved through nutrition, physical activity, safety and self-care. Visiting your health care provider regularly can help you build a balanced health plan.

    The following tips will assist you in achieving your physical well being:
    • Perform appropriate and enjoyable physical activity for 15 to 30 minutes per session.
    • Eat a healthful diet.
    • Stop smoking.
    • Use alcohol in moderation, if at all.
    • Learn to recognize early signs of illness.
    • Get adequate rest and sleep.
    • Use safety precautions when possible, such as helmets, seatbelts, observing the speed limit and practicing safe sex.

    A lack of sleep can deteriorate your mental/emotional, physical and spiritual well being. Put sleep at the top of your to-do list. Without adequate sleep, you can not feel your best. Cut back on alcohol, smoking and caffeine, all of which can make it more difficult to fall and stay asleep. Practice resting early in the evening, so your mind is clear and relaxed before bedtime. Be sure to keep regular hours to ensure consistency in your biological clock. Your productivity and stress less level for the following day can be influenced by how well you sleep at night.

    A comprehensive approach to maintaining overall good health requires a positive mental/emotional attitude, health promoting diet, healthy lifestyle choices and self-responsibility for your wellness.