Posts for: January, 2018
Last week we discussed the importance of taking your health in your own hands. We shared simple ways in which you can start being proactive about your health and wellbeing, like being adamant about annual and biannual check-ups, knowing your family medical history, listening to your body, and living an active lifestyle. To wrap up this first month of 2018, we thought it was important to talk a bit more about proactive and preventative personal healthcare.
The United States Congress designated January of every year as Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. Each month of the year is designated to one or more health and wellness issues or concerns. This idea is simply to spread awareness about the disease and issues that are affecting us, whether directly, indirectly, now, or in the future. Each year, around 13,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer. The number of devastating diagnoses of cervical cancer can be greatly reduced though. Annual screenings and follow-up care can significantly reduce your chances, as a women, of a potentially life-altering prognosis. This is a perfect example of being proactive and preventative about your personal health.
The sooner the better when it comes to your health! If there is something going on in your body, idol time is often the greatest destroyer. A simple screening at your gynecologist, a quick check-up with your general physician, or a short visit to the dentist can make all the difference because it is far easier to prevent a major health episode than it is to fix one. That’s not to say that everything is preventable, but earlier care and treatment is always better than waiting for the worst.
The new year is young though and there is no better time to take the reins and steer this year in the direction of a healthy one. Schedule your appointments, come visit us, and make this year your best and healthiest year yet.
It seems our approach to health is more often reactive than proactive. We visit our primary doctor or dentist when something is wrong. We are called to action when our health has declined, and we expect quick fixes. This system and approach to health is flawed. It is far easier to maintain our health than it is to find it again once we’ve lost it.
A significant percentage of chronic diseases and aliments are to some degree preventable. For example, heart disease. Heart disease can be caused by tobacco use, high blood pressure, poor diet, high cholesterol, excessive weight, and inactivity. Making positive lifestyle choices can greatly reduce your chances of battling heart disease. The same goes for strokes and certain types of cancers. Gum disease is another preventable malady that in its advanced stages can contribute to other inflammatory diseases. Bi-annual cleanings, a proper daily hygiene routine, and a healthy diet can prevent periodontal disease.
The point is, your health is in your hands. Being proactive will spare you from having to be reactive down the road, which can be expensive, time consuming, painful, and even life altering. The little steps you take throughout the year to keep your health in check will play a major role in your future health and overall happiness.
Here are some way to be proactive about your health:
- Stay on top of your annual and biannual check-ups.
- Trust your body and your instincts. When something doesn’t look or feel right, don’t write it off.
- Make a list of questions and concerns prior to seeing your doctor. This will help you address everything that is important to you during your appointment.
- Know your family medical history.
- Keep your body moving. When the option presents itself, take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator; for shorter distances, bike instead of always driving; take your dog on an extra walk; or go outside and play with your kids or grandkids.
- Set realistic exercise goals doing something that you actually enjoy doing.
- Drink more water and give up those sugary beverages (or at the very least limited them).
- Incorporate Juice Plus+ into your life. Ask Honi or Blake about this health game changer.
- Stop smoking.
- Sleep more. When we sleep, our body performs critical functions. It is also when we sleep that our body heals and repair itself. Sleep it crucial for our cognitive functions, as well.
- Manage your stress levels. Stress is an incredibly damaging force. Managing your stress levels involves finding ways to avoid stress and release the stress that does come into your life. This is different for everyone but could be as simple as just taking a long walk, meditating for five minutes, or sitting outside with a cup of tea.
- Spend more time doing the things that you love to do with the people whom you love to do them with. A positive mindset and overall sense of happiness greatly contributes to your physical health.
What makes you happy?
When was the last time you checked in with your happiness? If you were put on the spot and asked how happy you are, what would you say? Would you break eye contact and stumble around for a generic response like “I’ve never been happier,” or “Of course, I am happy?”
Each and every one of us deserves to live a life filled with happiness. The catch is though, happiness doesn’t just happen. We are the creators of our own happiness. It is up to you to recognize what fills you with joy, bliss, exuberance, laughter, warmth, satisfaction, tranquility, and content. This recognition often steams from a bit of reflection.
The source of happiness comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be something as simple as filling your refrigerator with colorful fresh and healthy food for the week, taking a long walk on the beach with your dog, or sitting by a fire with your best friend and a glass of wine after a long week of work. Or, it can be something more monumental like watching your children grow into kind, ambitious, and inspiring individuals, reaching your financial goal and embarking on a grand adventure to a new land, dedicating your time to a career that you truly love, or spending every day with the love of your life. The spectrum is infinite.
To live a happy life is to dance across the spectrum. It is acknowledging both the little and grand things that bring you joy and fulfillment. It is also going beyond just acknowledging what contributes to your happiness and making a conscious effort to ensure that a multitude of those things are part of your everyday life.
Make a list, mental or written, of all the things that come to mind when you think of yourself happy. The list doesn’t need to be in any particular order. Just take note of what surfaces in your mind.
Here’s a quick example of the start of a list.
I am happy when…
I am in the ocean.
I am outside and surrounded by nature.
I am doing something active like surfing, walking, hiking, swimming, paddle boarding, or snorkeling.
I do yoga several times a week.
My house is stocked with fresh produce and healthy food.
I do something creative like write or take photographs.
I am with the person I love.
I am with my family.
I am with my dog.
I spend time with my closest friends.
I watch the sunrise with a cup of coffee.
I complete a deadline for a project I’ve been working really hard on and see my finalize work published.
I have time to myself.
Try and dig deep and really think about even the littlest things that bring you joy like doing a coconut avocado facial while drinking a hot cup of tea or taking a nap during a rainy afternoon or perhaps cranking up the tunes and lighting up the grill. When you feel like you have a pretty substantial list, the next step is to evaluate how often the things that make you happy are taking place in your current life. As simple as it may sound, the key to happiness is doing more of what makes you happy.
It is easy to get caught up in the everyday. It is easy to make excuses, procrastinate, and get your priorities out of wrack. It is easy to put everyone else’s needs and happiness before your own. But this year is your year. Part of living your best life is being mindful, present, and in tune with you. Sometimes that first step to change is just asking a simple question.
Each and every one of us is given one life to live. We are gifted with the opportunity to make that life whatever we want it to be. So, why not make it the best life possible? The notion of living your best life might stir up a number of thoughts and emotions ranging from “easier said than done,” or “perhaps one day,” to “that life is but an unobtainable dream,” or “it’s too late now.”
Self-work is often the most difficult type of work and the type of work that a great deal of us avoids all together. However, with a slight attitude adjustment and some positive affirmations, the journey to living your best life can begin. Our individual version of our best life is as unique as each and every one of us is. There is no right or wrong here.
The beginning of a new year is as good as time as ever to start living your best life and best version of yourself. Here are a few tips to get the ball rolling; it’s not as hard as you might think.
Step 1: Make a declaration. Declare that today is the day that you start the rest of your life the way that you imagined it to be. While change doesn’t happen over night, recognizing the need for change and expressing the willingness to make those changes is the first leap forward.
Step 2: Remind yourself and envision what this life looks like. It can be as grand or as simple as you want. Maybe it involves more time outdoors, with friends, being creative, reading, traveling, learning to do something you’ve always wanted to do, or perhaps a complete overhaul…the possibilities are endless.
Step 3: Acknowledge where change needs to take place. There is no allotted time frame that these changes need to take place within; this is entirely up to you. Some changes might be immediate while others might take several years. The journey is yours. Establishing where changes need to be made will help you make them though when the time is right for you.
Step 4: Be kind to yourself. You are allowed to make mistakes, take risks, change your path, and alter your vision. We live in a world where a lot of judgment is thrown around, sometimes directly at us. Don’t contribute to that negativity by placing harsh judgment on yourself.
Step 5: Keep moving forward. There is nothing but the present and the hope of tomorrow. By wallowing in the past or focusing on your past decisions and actions, you are missing the present and missing the opportunity for a brighter and happier future. You can always move forward and should keep that natural momentum.
Start here and see what happens. Our journey is a lifelong one and you are allowed as many new starts as you are willing to take. Why not try a new start today?
Thank you for sharing a smile with us, as always!
The first week of a brand new year is a perfect opportunity to reflect upon the lessons you’ve learned, the feats you’ve accomplished, the hurdles you’ve cleared, and the happiest moments of your prior year. We learn and evolve from our experiences. Reflection is part of living mindfully.
Along with meditation, whether still or moving, and present mindfulness, the act of reflection is a fluid one. No thought or memory should be held on to, but rather given the freedom of a floating feather. Returning briefly to moments in 2017 when you felt the best, were the happiest, were the most peaceful, and felt the most proud, will help you achieve your goals and desired state of being in the new year to come. It is in remembering the best parts of a year that you will find inspiration to create more.
The year 2017 seemed to be quite a roller coaster for the collective majority. And, for some reason, the bad often casts a cloak of invisibility over the good. During this week of reflection, let the bad be of the past and the good prevail in the present. Consciously recollecting times when you were living your best life will help remind you that you have the majority control over your future. Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.”
For some, it might be beneficial to write a list of the best parts of your year, while for others the journey might be completed internally. Maybe you would like to vocalize your reflections and converse with a close friend or family member. The point is, don’t throw the good out with the bad. Set aside a little interrupted time for a brief year in a review this week. A cup of hot tea pairs nicely with this mindful exercise.
In the last year when was a moment (any length of time) that you felt…
Proud of yourself?
Bursting with joy?
Giddy with excitement?
Feel free to add to this list. Consciously bring attention to these sensations, emotions, and experiences and then do as Ralph Waldo Emerson advises and “write it on your heart that everyday is the best day of the year.”
Thank you for sharing a smile with us this week!