I work with many different types of people. Some are athletic and have a history of exercise while others are just beginning. Some eat healthy most of the time and others struggle to manage food and drink with boundaries. There is no question that exercise and what we eat are important to our health but that is just part of being an overall healthy person. There are so many factors that impact our health in a positive or negative way and we do not include these factors enough when addressing our health. And these factors do not matter if you have exercised your whole life or have always eaten in a healthy manner. Here are just a couple of things that deeply impact our health.
It is so important to manage emotional reaction to stress and the thought processes you have when placed in a stressful situation. You notice I did not say that we should manage stress differently. I read a lot where we should manage stress differently but I like to be more direct and specific. The stress will never go away. From my experience and what I observe of others, there will always be stress no matter who we are. The way we manage our response to stress impacts our overall health in either a positive or negative way. For years I would get upset when stressful situations would arise, trying to control the situation instead of my response to the situation. It did not work well. Learn to manage your stress response for your health. Each healthy practice that we engage in will help to manage our stress response but it begins with intentional mindfulness and self-awareness that the way we are reacting to stress could be healthier.
There are so many health benefits to an optimistic view of life. Pessimists tend to have more depression, physical ailments and disabilities, and struggle to work through life’s problems in a healthy manner. There is a direct correlation between depression and many diseases of the body including heart disease and many cancers. The ability to respond in a healthy way to difficult events in life such as a health scare will also be impacted by your outlook. Your overall quality of life and functioning improve with optimism.
“In a study on a population of elderly subjects of both sexes, aged between 65-85 years, Giltay et al. noted that dispositional optimism predicted less probability of mortality in general and of cardiovascular mortality in particular. These data have been confirmed in a subsequent longitudinal study on a population of males aged between 64 – 84 years in which an inverse correlation was reported between dispositional optimism and the risk of cardiovascular death.”
“It has been demonstrated that in the presence of severe pathological conditions, optimistic patients adapt better to stressful situations compared to pessimists, with positive repercussions on their quality of life. For example, in a sample of patients who underwent an aortic-coronary bypass, optimism was significantly and positively associated with quality of life in the six months following the operation . The optimistic patients in fact presented a more rapid clinical improvement during the period of hospitalization and a quicker return to daily routine after discharge from hospital.”
Optimism is not what people traditionally consider positive thinking but rather a true belief system where the individual trusts that there will be a good outcome from events in life. Optimism has even been the key to people living healthy in horrible conditions such as concentration camps or as a prisoner of war. Believe that you have the skills to work through life’s curves and remember that you have worked through things in the past that were difficult.
It is so important to take care of your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. I was told once that our lives are like a table, with those four areas the legs that hold us up. When one of those legs are out of balance, the whole table (our body and mind) is out of balance. Please exercise and stay as strong as you can. Manage your emotional responses to life events by being present with yourself and by management from the inside out. Improve your mental health with the first two, through study of self and by being honest with what you struggle with. Be careful with what you give energy and focus to and check yourself often to make sure you are giving energy to love, success, service, and learning. If you struggle get help like I did. Do it as soon as possible. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!