In a culture of chaos and confusion, what you are chasing has never been more important. Pandemics, culture wars, economic uncertainty, and bitter politics have created an all-out attack against our peace and health using weapons of confusion, chaos, fear and torment for many. Addressing job loss, school changes, family conflict, legal matters, business issues and so many other problems often distracts and disrupts our attention from the essential element of our health and wellness. Decide today that you will become a warrior for your health and wellness.
Let’s talk about how chasing wellness can significantly improve your ability to not only to survive the onslaught of attacks and disruptions but thrive and grow stronger. Chasing wellness is a Prevailing Matter. Understanding the connection between your body, mind and spirit will help you get a glimpse of how to begin chasing wellness. Do not live one more day feeling overwhelmed, discouraged or discontent. If you have historically accepted that it is “normal” to feel “bad” because of challenges, here are a few time-tested and research-proven strategies to begin your basic training in the battle to rescue your wellness and protect your health, hope and happiness. It is time to place your wellness plan at the top of your resolution list and start living life to its fullest.
- Thoughts Matter. Begin every day with positive thoughts and words, not dread. Dr. Daniel Amen recommends something as simple as, “Today is going to be a great day.” You can control your thoughts and words, but you must be intentional and disciplined. Your thoughts have a direct impact on how your feel physically. When you think negatively, you feel negatively. This is because negative chemicals are released into your body. When you think positive thoughts, you feel better. When you start the day with positive words and thoughts, your brain will look for the reasons it will be a great day rather than looking for reasons why it will be stressful. If you find your thoughts wandering down the black hole of negativity, quickly shift your thoughts to something positive. Find a devotional that help set your mind on positive things. Think about what you are thinking about.
- Nutrition Matters. Food impacts the way you feel physically and mentally. In times of stress and anxiety, many will turn to unhealthy eating and substances. Take the time and be intentional about maintaining a nutritional lifestyle that promotes better physical and mental health. Watch your sugar and junk food intake. If you find yourself using more mind-altering substances like alcohol, marijuana, prescription medication or illegal substances, now is the time to reduce that if you are able or reach out for support to guide you back to a healthier stress management strategy.
- Focus Matters. The onslaught of negative current events and conflicts have many feeling lost, anxious, confused and out of control. As you watch listen to negative or stressful reports, your brain releases “stress” chemicals that not only make you feel anxious and tense, but actually have harmful effects on your physical body. When you focus on what you can control, your sense of wellbeing will return. Even the smallest of steps like making your bed, organizing that closet, completing a work project, completing a puzzle will increase your sense of peace. Focus on taking the next right step in chasing wellness. Turn off the television and learn a new hobby. Put a puzzle together. Lifelong learning has been shown to reduce Alzheimer’s. Training your brain to think about the things you can control and implementing some of these basic strategies helps alleviate stress.
- Faith Matters. Faith is an essential element of health and wellness. In this culture that diminishes faith, you may not realize how detrimental it is for you to neglect your faith. There is ample scientific evidence to support the benefits that faith has on our health and wellness. Faith in a higher power is associated with health, and in a positive way. For example, researchers at the Mayo Clinic concluded, “Most studies have shown that religious involvement and spirituality are associated with better health outcomes, including greater longevity, coping skills, and health-related quality of life (even during terminal illness) and less anxiety, depression, and suicide. Several studies have shown that addressing the spiritual needs of the patient may enhance recovery from illness.” Start today paying attention to building your faith.
- Exercise Matters. Movement matters in the battle for your peace and wellbeing. Exercise is the fastest and healthiest way to feel better. Taking a walk 30 minutes a day at least 4 times a week is the best way to start moving and fighting for your health in this battle. When you walk like you are late for an important meeting, you release important chemicals that reduce stress, you improve your oxygen intake and your sleep improves. When you walk, you can listen to informative podcasts, uplifting music or just enjoy nature. Do not listen to news or anything negative because your negative chemicals will be released and keep you in a state of anxiousness and discouragement.
- Sleep Matters. Studies have shown that sleep is just as important to our health and wellbeing as air. Many of us need at least 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep to promote optimum health and stress management. If you have historically neglected the importance of sleep to your overall health, you may need to engage several strategies to protect and guard your sleep. Make sure that you reduce any screen use at least one hour before bedtime. You will get your best sleep when you keep the same bedtime schedule and your bedroom is dark and cool. Keeping a note pad next to your bed for any last-minute thoughts before bed is a good way to let your mind relax, as well. Read something comforting and hopeful if needed but avoid screens for the hour before bed. Sleep deprivation is a serious health crisis and causes many wellness issues that can be avoided. If you have found yourself unable to sleep because of all the cultural chaos, be intentional about your sleep and about other strategies of chasing wellness.
- Kindness Matters. Kindness to others matters. There are many scientific studies that show helping others is a proven way to relieve stress and improve your mood. When you serve others, your brain releases a bounty of feel good chemicals and it helps put things into perspective for you. Even the smallest acts of kindness like waving at your neighbors, smiling when you do not have to wear a mask, paying for the person behind you in a drive through, etc. will make a difference for you. Building a kinder community starts when individuals begin to engage in more acts of kindness. You can take that step and be the one to be kind. Being kind to yourself also matters in the battle for your peace and wellbeing. Make kindness a way of life.
- Gratitude Matters. When you focus on things that you are grateful for, you will feel better and build resilience to prevail over negative circumstances. There is volume of research that indicates making a daily gratitude list can significantly increase your sense of happiness in just 3 weeks. In the morning and evening, jot down at least 3 things you are grateful for. Be intentional about looking for things to be grateful for throughout each day. When experiencing a challenge, focusing on even the smallest things of gratitude can help reduce the stress and anxiety of the situation
- Music Matters. Listening to uplifting music just 25 minutes a day has been shown to lower blood pressure and stress, according to a many scientific studies. Listening to music is an essential strategy in the battle to protect your health and wellness. Be careful not to listen to music filled with anger and hate.
- Hydration Matters. Making sure your water intake is appropriate is essential to your overall health. When you are dehydrated, your brain function decreases, you experience headaches and sleep disruption, which can lead to making many poor decisions or reacting inappropriately to situations. There are many healthy ways to hydrate like drinking green tea which can help you feel more relaxed and more focused. Be intentional in hydrating yourself and you will notice the difference in your energy and your overall wellness.
- Connection Matters. Humans are made to connect and maintain social interaction with others. Various restrictions are preventing our ability to connect in our normal way, but through innovative platforms connecting is possible. If you are isolated for any reason, be intentional to connect with family and friends. Get involved in a cause that is near to your heart in making a difference in your community. You can join a digital book club, yoga class, bingo, or bible study to maintain your connections. If you cannot find one, start one. When you become disconnected you are more likely to struggle with depression and discouragement.
- Laughter Matters. Laughter is good for your physical and mental wellbeing. Laughter signals your brain to release many chemicals that help your body and mind relax. Think about the last time you truly laughed at something. What have you laughed at in the past or have found humorous? Be intentional about finding joy and laughter every day. This basic strategy will help you fight to improve and protect your health.
- Journaling Matters. There are many scientifically proven health benefits of keeping a journal, especially of distressing and concerning matters in your life. Journaling helps to get your stressful thoughts out of your head and helps you gain perspective. Without journaling, your mind plays your concerns over and over like a never-ending loop of a horror movie and your body reacts accordingly. When you journal, your mind is freed to focus on all the matters on your gratitude list, the new hobbies you are learning or the ways you can serve others.
- Reducing News Matters: Recognize the impact of “breaking news stress disorder.” Be careful what you watch and listen to. Stay informed, but don’t let fear-inducing headlines and news programs ramp up your stress. There is no reason to listen to loops of bad or distressing news hours upon hours. It is recommended that you limit your exposure to news to no more than 15 minutes a day for optimum health, especially since there is so much misinformation right now. Learning a new subject or skill is a way to fight depression, Alzheimer’s, and many other ailments. If you find yourself experiencing “breaking news stress disorder”, it is time to break up with this habit. Replace the intake of news and find an online course, instructional video on YouTube, puzzle, board game, gardening or other healthy activity. When you minimize breaking news in your daily intake of media, you minimize the adverse impact it has on your health and wellbeing.
The fact is that if you do not chase health and wellness, you will struggle with physical and mental illness. You are going to address your health and wellness sooner or later. Take control today. Chasing wellness is a marathon, not a sprint. These basic strategies can help you reclaim your peace, joy and happiness and regenerate your life. Even the smallest of changes toward chasing wellness will improve how you feel and how you think. You will find that chasing wellness is the key to being healthier, happier and more successful in all the other races you are running and increases your ability to address and prevail over your problems, rather than running away from them. Running from your problems is a race you will never win.
Let 2021 be the year that you become your healthiest in your mind, body and spirit. Chasing wellness is a prevailing matter. If you need support and guidance to get back into the battle for your best future, reach out to Prevailing Matters. We can help you claim victory over every challenge you have.