Current Health Article Shares 6 Steps to Optimal Well Being

6 Steps to Optimal Well-being

Do you know that to change or modify a habit, you need not invest a great deal of time?

Whatever little time you can squeeze in, with and/or in-between your busy schedule, makes for a good beginning. It lays the foundation, and helps you to make changes that can transform your health for the rest of your life.

By Rajgopal Nidamboor

You think of doing something — hit the path to good health. But, you don’t.

You need to do something quickly — this is all it takes to get started, provided you don’t hanker around “to-do” lists which are rarely translated into action.

Do you know that to change or modify a habit, you need not invest a great deal of time? Whatever little time you can squeeze in or with, and in-between, your busy schedule makes for a good beginning. It will make you feel happy, stronger, and energetic. It also lays the foundation for the rest of your life, and helps you make changes that could transform you as a person.

If you still feel you have some difficulty to start on your roadmap to optimal wellness, here is a simple “do-it-yourself” plan, or program, to gently change and feel the difference with yourself.

Support for Getting Well

It is a known fact that spouses, family, and friends, are often our fulcrum of support. Studies have shown that people, who have this form of support, feel a greater sense of self-esteem. They also take better care of themselves and adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Those who bond “bond” best — because, a strong social network helps reduce stress and tension of daily life and living. In one study published in The British Medical Journal, over 2,700 participants, aged 65 and older, were followed for almost a decade. Among the activities researchers tracked were swimming, brisk walking, shopping, volunteer work, and playing sport, or cards.

Results suggested that people who spent time in social activities and with family or friends were physically fit, mentally vigilant and took pleasure in active life just as those who spent time in the gym, or did physical exercise.

As for those people who had no close ties with friends, relatives or the community, researchers found that they were three times more likely to die sooner than those with at least one source of social support. While it was deduced that social engagement is a strong factor in influencing longevity, lack of it was more harmful than disorders such as high blood pressure.

Remember — just being with your loved ones, or a simple touch or warm hug will make you feel happy. It also raises your sense of happiness and well-being.

Laugh your Blues Away

Laughing is said to be the best medicine. Laughing helps your breathing mechanism; it helps your levels of stress and stressful hormones drop. A smile sure takes you a mile — when you giggle, your immune cells are stimulated. Laughing elevates your positive feelings; it changes your entire vision and outlook to doing something better — most importantly, with your health. It has been suggested that when we bottle up negative feelings inside us, they can bring about unfavorable biochemical changes. In other words, accumulated negative feelings can often evoke physical, nervous and immune complaints, or syndromes.

A good laugh is liberating; it is also therapeutic. No wonder why many stressed out people who are on the edge or totally drained out watch a comedy on TV, or go to a funny movie and/or opt for a membership of a comedy, or laughter, club. You could do it too. The more you chuckle, the merrier. So, the next time you are tense, anxious, or stressed, just relax a bit and watch a Laurel & Hardy comedy. It transforms your world and brings happiness back on your face. Reason — your feel-good hormones, or endorphins, are elevated in your body, and you become cheerful. Research has shown that the very prospect, or anticipation, of watching a comedy TV show — a day or two before actually viewing it — can reduce signs and symptoms of mild depression, anger, anxiety, fatigue, and tension, by almost 45 per cent.

Know Your Genes

We all know that fitness holds the key to good health and also prevention of illness, including cancer. Only exercise, fitness, and a healthy lifestyle, however, are not enough for longevity or good health, though. It is necessary for you to know your genes too — especially, your family history of health and disease. It is best to know not only your grandpa just as much as your grandma well, but also their medical history and record. Knowledge of family history related to health can help cut risks for developing serious diseases and with good measure. Tracking your family history would be an additional advantage for your physician — this will help identify diseases you are likely to develop as you age.

Proper Hygiene

It’s always best to wash your hands, including fingers, with soap and water, at regular intervals. Disease-causing germs are tough creatures. You need to really wash them away; besides, you need to rub your hands together to loosen the disease-causing particles. Best to avoid the hand dryer; it is no good, because the gadget expels bacteria every time you switch it on. A better idea would be paper towels; they are sterile and clean. You dispose them off after use. However, making a habit of washing hands is not only the most important thing you can do to keep yourself away from getting sick, it is also a great way to prevent hepatitis-A and meningitis.

Cut Calories and Eat Smart

You may have a healthy, balanced diet — but, if you are adding inches to your waist, it does you no good. You need to do something, quickly — may be, by way of a small trick. If you change over to a sugar-free tea or a caffeine-free diet soda, you’ll be able to cut 150 calories a day.

It would be a good idea to switch over to green tea. The natural herb has the ability to lower cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease, cancer and dental cavities. It also has weight-reducing properties. Green tea, taken without milk and sugar, has the capability to also protect your skin from UV damage. Green tea is rich in anti-oxidants; it prevents cell damage. Besides, it can knock off bacteria and viruses. Researchers say that the anti-oxidants in green tea are 100 times more effective than vitamin C; they are 25 times better than vitamin E, another great anti-oxidant. This makes it an ideal tonic.

Reduce your caffeine intake. Caffeine is said to deplete the body’s stores of calcium. However, it’s a difficult task to reduce its intake. Is it not a great way to begin one’s morning with a steaming, energizing cup of hot coffee? It holds a magical effect. All the same, moderation works best — with the beverage.

As for those who gulp large amounts of soda, they are at risk of osteoporosis [bone disease], mainly because soda, which has no nutritive value, replaces milk or other calcium-rich foods. The habit is dangerous for children and teenagers, whose bones are increasing in density. Besides, the acid in soda can dissolve tooth enamel and lead to tooth decay.

Growing children need at least two to three servings of milk, or milk products, daily for them to grow up as healthy individuals.

Eat your plate clean was what you heard all along when you were a kid. This may not have been a good idea, but your mom insisted. Things have not changed much today, so much so excess has become the norm.

Is there a way out? There is. You need to eat smart. The idea is: you should know to watch portion sizes and eat only until you are content. How to know how much is enough? Here are some simple tricks:

* One serving of cooked rice should be equal to the size of your closed fist. * Likewise, a serving of cheese should not exceed the size of the end of your thumb. * Eat slowly, and enjoy your food. It takes about 15 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that you’re content.

There is also an unwritten golden rule. When you taste the real thing, or, in simple terms, your favorite dish — try to limit your serving.

Read Stimulating Books and Benefit From Meditation

If you are a keen reader of books etc., jolly good. If not, you could make a beginning and read works that appeal or entertain you. Beyond this, you may add on and expand your horizons by reading books that stimulate your mind — something related to biographies, self-help, spirituality etc.,

Also, think of yoga and meditation. If you are already into it — excellent! If not, make the first move and join a local group or yoga/meditation centre, where the basics are taught. Practice yoga and do meditation for 20-30 minutes a day — to change yourself, not the world! You will be happy with the results, down the line.

It takes time for yoga and the meditative path to bear fruit, yes; but, practice makes it perfect. Because, when you practice them with an open mind, you will begin to accept things as they are, not what you want them to be!

Inference? Just start on your 6-step plan to optimal health and well-being, and bring harmony into your life — right away!