8 therapeutic lifestyle changes
It is often said that one should not just aspire to be rich but to be wealthy. In order to understand this, we could say, while being rich only covers the financial aspect, wealth covers every aspect of our lives. Let’s Explore the following TOP 8 therapeutic lifestyle changes.
We are designed to move.
Our bodies are mechanical miracles that enable us to walk, run, lift and play. As we use them, our bodies adapt and flourish. Our muscles grow stronger, our bones tougher, our hearts more powerful. Health improves: we become leaner and fitter, and less likely to develop deadly diseases such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and cancer.
Exercise also benefits the brain and mind. Scientists used to think that the brain was largely unchangeable. However, now we know that the brain is amazingly responsive and can even increase in size when stimulated by exercise or meditation or when fed a healthy diet. When we walk or workout more blood and oxygen flow to the brain, and over time new blood vessels form so that the increased blood flow becomes permanent. With exercise, the brain actually increases in size as brain cells live longer, sprout new connections, and join each other to form new neural pathways. Sounds like fun right?
2 Diet & Nutrition
Feel better by changing your diet.
For most of human history the compelling concern of everyday life was simply finding enough to eat. Fail for a day and you felt hungry; fail for several days and you starved. Consequently, humans evolved to wolf down large amounts of food whenever it was available, and to delight in sweet tasting sugars and calorie-loaded fats.
But what is good for preventing immediate starvation is not what’s good for maintaining long-term wellbeing. Lots of sugar, fat, and calories take a toll on both body and brain, as the growing epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease make all too clear. The mind also suffers. An unhealthy diet takes a toll on mood and mental acuity, eventually resulting in greater rates of depression and dementia. On the other hand, a healthy diet enhances mental function, reduces the rates of depression and dementia, and lowers the loss of mental acuity that can occur with aging. Consequently, those of us fortunate to live in countries with large amounts and varieties of readily available foods have to consciously select our diet.
In short, the foods we choose are enormously important for both our physical and mental wellbeing.
3 Time in Nature
We are a part of nature and nature is a part of us.
For the first time in history we live divorced from nature. We reside in huge cities, spending most of our time under artificial lighting. We keep unnatural daily rhythms, and spend hours each day immobile in front of television and computer screens. Not surprisingly, we now suffer from new disorders with picturesque names such as nature-deficit disorder, digital fog, technostress, and techno-brain burnout.
Fortunately spending time in natural settings is healing and restorative. If you start spending more time in nature, you’ll likely feel better emotionally and spiritually, and also function better intellectually and socially.Being in nature is healing. For example, natural settings can reduce symptoms of stress, depression, and attention deficit disorder. Likewise, patients in hospital rooms that overlook natural settings suffer less pain after surgery, require less pain medication, and leave hospital sooner.
Service is not necessarily a sacrifice, but rather can benefit both giver and receiver.
Service is said to serve the giver by reducing painful unhealthy mind-states such as greed, jealousy, and egocentricity while strengthening pleasant, healthy mind-states such as happiness and generosity. Psychologists agree. Their research shows that people who volunteer more are happier and healthier and even live longer. Elderly volunteers who donate their time to assist students who are having trouble at school not only feel better themselves but also display improved intellectual abilities and better brain function. The same benefits can be experienced through undertaking meaningful paid work.
Society also benefits when individuals are generous. Generosity tends to lead to more generosity, and those who witness kind, caring behavior are more likely to be kind and caring themselves. The evidence is clear: generosity and service to others improves psychological, physical and brain wellbeing. When people help others, in their work or beyond it, they themselves are helped and tend to end up happier and healthier. Contribution and service to others have long been considered essential elements of a life well lived. Now they can also be considered essential elements of a healthy life.
5 Build GOOD relationships
The idea that good relationships are crucial for both physical and mental wellbeing is an ancient theme.
Philosophers, psychologists and scientists agree. In fact, the quality of our relationships is one of the most important of all lifestyle factors in determining the quality of our lives. It is amazing just how powerful our relationships are. Rich relationships lower the risk of diseases ranging from the common cold to heart disease and strokes and of psychological disorders such as depression. Good relationships are associated with greater psychological health and happiness and with better intellectual and work performance.
The dramatic effect of relationships on our wellbeing is grounded in the very design of our brain. The new research field of social neuroscience shows that we are hardwired for empathy and intimacy. Our brains resonate with one another like tuning forks, picking up subtle emotional and social cures, enabling us to empathize with others, and to literally feel what they feel.
In every relationship and in every interaction we create an intimate brain to brain link-up. This neural link allows us to feel and affect the brain function of everyone we meet. We are not only parts of social networks but parts of neural networks.
Given this intimate link between our brains, it’s no surprise that our relationships are so important and powerful and that we affect each other so dramatically.
We all benefit from relaxation, humor and play, and researchers are beginning to understand why.
Playfulness is built into our biology. Youngsters of many species—from cats and dogs to monkeys and chimpanzees—spend large amounts of time playing, and in the process they learn and grow.
For children, play is more than just a way of having fun. It’s also a way of experimenting and trying new things; of testing themselves and expanding their limits, of training muscles and developing minds. Play is also a way of learning how to live together, of learning how to compete and cooperate, to make friends and acquire social skills. Yes, play is fun, but for children it’s also an integral part of learning and growing.
Adults also benefit from play, and the many benefits are summarized nicely by the word recreation, or re-creation. With recreation and play we re-create, refresh, and revitalize ourselves. We speed our recovery from work and stress, reduce painful emotions such as anxiety and worry, and foster feelings of happiness and joy. No wonder recreation and play are so good for us both physically and emotionally.
7 Relaxation and effective stress management
Stress and challenges are an inevitable part of life.
Stress can be good: it can push us to learn new skills, stretch our limits, and encourage us to reach new levels of mastery and success.
But when stress is severe, and especially when it is also chronic, then that is another matter. Severe stress exacts a toll on both body and mind. Mentally we feel anxious and tense and can easily become overwhelmed and exhausted. Over time we can end up feeling hopeless and helpless, depleted and depressed. Physically, stress takes its toll throughout the body with effects ranging all the way from tense muscles down to disrupted functioning of our genes.
However, there are many skillful strategies and practices for dealing with it, besides meditation. These include several of the other Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes, or TLCs, that we are looking at. By using one or more of them we can reduce our stress and sometimes even learn and grow from it.
Religion and spirituality are vitally important to most people. In fact some 90% of the world’s population engages in religious and spiritual practices. For the other 10%, some appreciation of the “Big Picture” – the size and wonder of the Cosmos – is invaluable.
For most of these people, religion and spirituality are especially important in coping with stress and illness. When faced with health challenges or life crises, whether their own or those of loved ones, most people the world over call on their religion for help and support. Research evidence suggests that these people do in fact feel comforted and are more likely to also be happier and healthier.
However, the kind of religious involvement makes a big difference. In general, people tend to feel better and be psychologically healthier when they are involved in religious communities that emphasize qualities such as love and forgiveness, rather than focusing on themes of guilt, sin, and punishment.
What kinds of health benefits do people receive? Research demonstrates both physical and mental health benefits. Mentally, people with regular religious-spiritual practices are less likely to suffer from psychological difficulties such as anxiety and depression or drug and alcohol abuse. They are also likely to be psychologically healthier and happier, to be more resilient, and to have better relationships and marriages.
Regular religious and spiritual practices are also associated with better physical health. Such people tend to have fewer specific health problems such as high blood pressure and to be in better physical shape overall. One of the most remarkable of all research findings is that people who attend religious services weekly tend to live an average of SEVEN YEARS longer than those who don’t. But hey, Don’t worry if you are not really religious, some people substitute Yoga or meditation as a means of spiritual connection.
What are you waiting for? Get out there and LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH and start seeing the changes that will bring you a WEALTHY LIFE.