In a world where modern technology and lifestyles are rapidly updating, some of our current practices, habits, beliefs and attitudes may have a negative impact on our physical health, emotions, mind and spirit. To maintain balance amongst the three elements of our holistic being, the mind, body and soul, some of the general tips to guide us modifying our habits toward achieving holistic life were listed below:
Here are my picks to attain a holistic life:
1. Prayer and Meditation
Start your day with a prayer, seeking forgiveness, guidance and connections to our creator in everyday activities and end it with gratitude.Practice meditation to be mindful of what’s occurring within ourselves, be still, take a deep breath and experience the moment of your existence. Both are beneficial to achieve better sleep, sharp memory, decreased level of stress and calm emotions, self- awareness, enhanced focus and a positive attitude.
2. Eating a healthy, well balanced diet.
In this modern era where production of processed foods and urbanization are rapidly increasing, lifestyle changes are obvious which have led to a change in dietary patterns of most people globally. In pursuit of promoting health and well- being, a modification to a holistic lifestyle by eating a healthy diet is our goal.
According to WHO,the foods that we consume have a direct effect on our health. Eating a healthy, well balanced diet will help prevent all forms of malnutrition, chronic diseases and will boost our immune system to fight infection.
A healthy diet for adults includes fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains. At least 400g of fruits and vegetables a day. Less than 10% of the total energy intake from free sugars, less than 30% of energy intake from fats (unsaturated fats), less than 5g of iodized salt a day. A healthy diet for infants and children is the same as for adults. Some additional recommendations for infants are exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months.
3. Have a regular sleeping pattern
Why do we need sleep?
Our brain and nerve cells need sleep to function effectively and send messages to the rest of our body’s system; the heart, lungs, kidneys, vessels, metabolism, immune system and the production of hormones which regulate growth in children, repair body tissues and help the body fight stress.
The sleep researcher says poor quality and lack of sleep causes less attention, poor concentration and judgment. It increases the risk of chronic diseases like hypertension, heart diseases, diabetes and depression.
As we age, needs and sleeping patterns change. Quality of sleep is more important than the total hours of sleep you get every day. To cope with these changes, we must set a regular schedule of going to bed and awakening so that we feel rested and relaxed upon waking up. Most adults need 7 hours or more, good quality sleep on a regular schedule, while teens between 8-10 hours, school age 9-12 hours. Pre-school 10-13 hours, toddlers 11-14 hours, babies 12-16 hours including naps respectively and newborns 14-17 hours a day.
4. Physical activity and Exercise
Regular physical activity and exercise will decrease weight, build muscles, promote circulation, while removing toxins from the body and releasing happy hormones. It also alleviates long-term depression and promotes better sleep.
The Centers for Disease Prevention recommends modern intensity aerobic physical activity for healthy adults aged 18-65 years for a minimum of 30 minutes on 5 days per week, or vigorous intensity aerobic for a minimum of 20 minutes on three days a week. Some of the activities may include walking, biking, hiking, dancing, swimming, water aerobics, jogging and running. Other light activities are some household chores, like gardening, cooking and cleaning.
5. Quit Smoking and Avoid alcohol consumption
Smoking poses a health risk to active and passive smokers. It can cause cancer, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Tuberculosis, bronchitis and certain eye and immune system diseases. You should not smoke from the start or must quit smoking gradually. Seek help and advice on programs to avoid withdrawal symptoms from smoking.
About alcohol consumption, a global study says no amount of alcohol is beneficial to your health. According to the Global Burden of Disease Study, while they found that alcohol is good for the heart, it can also potentially cause cancer and other chronic diseases which cause more harm than benefits. Excessive alcohol drinking can cause alcohol poisoning or alcohol overdose, which can affect your breathing and may lead to coma and death. It affects our concentration and judgment which can lead to road accidents and injury. Drinking alcohol was 28% of all the traffic related – deaths in the US in 2016, according to CDC. It can also affect social behaviors such as aggression against others, children and sexual abuse and self-disclosure. Avoiding alcohol is a difficult task for some individuals because of peer pressures and cultures, which influence their insight about alcohol consumption. As a holistic human being, we must empower our health by avoiding elements that may destroy our homeostasis. Consider the help of professionals on ways to stop drinking alcohol and to minimize the effect of alcohol withdrawal.
6. Positive Relationship and effective communication
How can someone achieve a positive relationship?
The first step to building a positive relationship is to take care of yourself and your mental health. It is important to practice self-care, to treat yourself well, and to pamper yourself on a regular basis. Recognize your own strong and weak points, it very important for your well-being and for your healthy and happy relationships with others.
Likewise, effective communication is one of the important element of a positive relationship with others. Clearly, positive relationships can be achieved with active listening, open communication without bias, mutual respect, and trust. Connect with others who share the same vision and insights of achieving a holistic lifestyle as a common goal.
We lived in a technological stage where most of our equipment was automated; foods were manufactured synthetically, processed, and frozen foods were a trend because it is an easy way to satisfy our hunger during busy days. Climate change and pollution are problems that make us ill. Maintaining our body homeostasis from physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual aspects should be given a priority to enjoy a productive and meaningful life. The first and most important thing is to be mindful and be aware of yourself. Know, accept, appreciate, and nurture yourself by practicing self-care. Our body is in need of a healthy, well-balanced diet, which is more on fruits and vegetables, unsaturated fats, less sugar and salt. Sleeping habits are another issue in this computer-age; teens stay late at night playing games, and other internet stuff while adults work remotely. Lack of sleep is related to some chronic diseases; we must initiate scheduled sleeping habits of sleeping and awakening to achieve quality sleep. Prayers, meditation and exercise may also be effective in inducing a good sleep. Maintaining a good relationship within ourselves and other people is important to our emotional and mental health. Physical activity is another way to calm down our emotions; it promotes blood circulation, relieves stress and promotes a healthy immune system. Lastly, achieving a holistic lifestyle is not easy as you should stop some social habits like smoking and alcohol. These two social vices are the most common causes of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart, and lung disease, depression, social isolation and aggression. The road to a holistic lifestyle is rough; it needs a dedicated individual to maintain a balance between the three elements – the mind-body-soul. It is easy if you take small steps at a time, practice your attitude and it will become your habit and unconsciously it will become your lifestyle, a holistic life.
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