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Five Lifestyle Changes for Optimal Health

As many of you know, I have been practicing as a Registered Nurse for 28 years now. I have seen first hand the huge advances in technology and hundreds of new drugs on the market. Despite the technological advances and new medications, the rate of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer are on the rise. All these technological advances and new medications are not clearly working at least as one would hope they would.

Increasingly research from scientist and healthcare providers point to something beyond traditional medicine that can help improve the lives of people with chronic illness. This research is grounded in treating the holistic needs of a person and not just simply giving medications to mask the symptoms.  The Western Medicine model is reactive instead of proactive. You get a problem then you get a pill.

What would happen if we made lifestyle changes to prevent the problems from occurring in the first place?

The conventional approach of Western Medicine is very limited with the statistics proving its ineffectiveness.  This is certainly not to discredit Western Medicine completely.  I have personally benefited from prescription medications and it is always important to talk with your doctor before stopping any medication.

I have struggled at times with my faith versus my profession.  My faith and my system of beliefs teach me that the cure to whatever ails us is rooted  in our lifestyle choices.

Here are five lifestyle choices that you can begin today to optimize your health:

  1. Nutrition: Our foods are full of genetically modified organisms, pesticides, artificial sweeteners, and other man-made chemicals many of which lead to disease. Ditch the soda and sugary fruit drinks for water. Trade out the processed food for raw vegetables and fruit as well as legumes, nuts, and other sources of healthy fat.
  2. Fitness: A lot of people will say, “I’m active because I work all day.”  Research has shown that a 30-minute walk daily at a moderate pace has great health benefits and can help ward off disease. Sedentary lifestyles have been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and more.
  3. Stress: A great deal of many illnesses is directly related to stress, emotions, and beliefs. Practice yoga, meditation, silent time, a nice long walk in nature, nurture your spiritual being or whatever works for you to control stress. Stress has been scientifically linked to many diseases and can even lead to premature death.
  4. Emotions and Beliefs: It is important to be aware of our emotions and beliefs. Holding onto emotions such as anger and depression have very negative health implications.  Antidepressants are the most widely prescribed medications.  Prozac and Zoloft cannot do for you what yoga, meditation, prayer, and relaxation can do yet one of those medications is likely the first thing your doctor will recommend for depression. However there are certain situations where medication may be necessary.
  5. Social Support and Love: Having a social network of friends and being surrounded by love is vital to optimal health.  No one communicates anymore.  We text and use social media as the primary way to share and connect with others. By doing so we are missing out on the human physical connection.

It is important to remember that these five lifestyle changes work together with each other to reach optimal health. In other words, if you are exercising but not eating properly, you will be off-balance. If you are focusing only on your physical health but neglecting your mental health, you will be off-balance and therefore prone to illness. And the same goes for your spiritual life.

I like to think of myself as a home with 4 rooms. There is the spiritual room, mental room, physical room, and emotional room. Taking time to make the necessary lifestyle changes will ensure that we visit every room daily to keep it clean.

By eating properly, getting good exercise, managing our stress, and having a great positive, loving social network, we can heal ourselves and even prevent illness.  Optimal health is about making good lifestyle choices. It is up to each individual. We get to choose sick care or health care.

Talk with your doctor about these lifestyle changes in combination with the care she recommends.  Get moving, eat right, stress less, and love more in an effort to live a happier, healthier life.

If you like this article, be sure to like, share, and subscribe.  You can also comment below. Your feedback is always appreciated.

Until next time,

Vince Shifflett

 

 



Vince Shifflett is a published writer, musician, and critical care nurse. He shares a weekly blog using his 28 years of nursing experience as well as his personal experience in an effort to help us live a life of optimal health. Sign up to follow the weekly blog at: vinceshifflett.com.  You can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

 

 

 

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Repeating the Pattern

Ever think about why we repeat the same negative patterns in our lives over and over again? Why does the alcoholic continue to drink after three DUI convictions? Why does the person in an unhealthy relationship keep attracting the same type of person over and over? Why does the smoker with lung cancer continue to smoke? Why does the person with a potentially fatal sexually transmitted disease continue to have unprotected sex?

Ever stop to think that these patterns are meant to be learning experiences for our lives? In other words, that situation in your life will never go away until you have learned the lesson it came to teach you.

I often think about my beautiful, precious mother. She was married to my dad for 25 years before he transitioned. For the sake of family I will just say, it was not a healthy relationship. My mother endured a lot. She unfortunately repeated the pattern with her second husband. It was almost an identical situation. He was unfaithful. He was sick and needed a caretaker. Once again my mother stepped in and played the part.

Why did she repeat the pattern by choosing the same type of person as opposed to someone who would cherish, adore, and take care of her? Again, why do any of us repeat the same patterns? Could it indeed be that we did not learn the lesson the first time around?

Despite my awareness of this situation, I have still repeated the same patterns over and over in many situations and circumstances in my life.  I have grown to belief that some patterns are generational and therefore consequently handed down from our parents and others in our lives.

How can we break these patterns?

I am using a few conscious methods to work on breaking some of the negative patterns in my life. I would like to share them with you.

  1. Recognize the Pattern: Being aware of the pattern is the first step to breaking the cycle.
  2. Be willing to change by learning the lesson: We must be willing to look at and examine self in an effort to grow and not repeat the pattern. It has been my experience that a desire and true willingness to change is essential for breaking the negative patterns.
  3. Take a look at how your life is and what you would like to change: Take time for self-reflection to really go deep inside in an effort to know and feel what you want your life to be like.
  4. Do not blame yourself or others for how your life has turned out: Blame blocks our growth and learning. It is not a blame game. It is about learning from the experience of repeated patterns.
  5. Assess your environment. Is it healthy or does it lend itself to repeating the same patterns?
  6. Change your thoughts:  Take control of your mind.  Change your thoughts from I can’t to I can.  Start believing that you are enough.

Let me be clear, we are co-creators of our own lives. I have found it important to be a conscious creator.  We must ask ourselves the hard questions about why we keep repeating the same patterns.

Many people live their lives reacting to the events around them without taking time to examine their own thoughts and actions. I have found myself repeating the same patterns due to my own thoughts and actions. It is my intention to break the cycle and embrace newness. To begin to be more aware of my thoughts and actions and the repeated patterns that I am creating, in an effort to break the cycle.

What patterns are you repeating in your life?

Have you been able to break some of the patterns in your life and if so, how? Share your own stories about breaking negative patterns in your life. I look forward to your feedback.

Until next week, be blessed and don’t forget to enter your email address (vinceshifflett.com/blog) to receive my weekly blog straight to your inbox.

In Gratitude