I have always loved the holiday season. A time of joy, renewal, and reflection. And for many of us, a time of a dramatic rise in pressure, stress and strife. During this season of increased demands on our energies, obligations, and personal resources, it is imperative to stick to the fundamentals of health building and maintenance. There are many habits to emphasize and incorporate into our daily lives, too many to cover in this brief communication. But I did want to share a "Few of My Favorite Things" (as pertains health, wellness, and happiness). So, in no particular order:
We all know the short term consequences of poor sleep: decreased concentration and attention, daytime sleepiness, low energy, impaired productivity, irritability, and slowed reaction times. But did you also know that chronic sleep loss is strongly associated with myriad health problems such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, inflammatory illness, mood disorders, and even cancer?
Studies show that lack of sleep may be a contributing factor to the “current epidemic of type 2 diabetes,” and that sleep deprivation decreases our immunity and increases inflammation. Adults 21-55 years of age who sleep fewer than seven hours a night are three times more likely to catch a cold than those who sleep eight or more hours per night.
In addition to its disease-fighting qualities, walking is one of the best activities to promote general health and well-being. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Furthermore, recent scientific research has shown that walking – particularly when done as a group activity in Nature – can be a great way to prevent disease and enhance health.
For example, with respect to disease prevention, several studies have demonstrated that replacing sedentary time with equal amounts of light, moderate, or vigorous walking is associated with better general physical health and lower risks of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and early death.
Similarly, the scientific literature has clearly shown that those who spend time in Nature experience better mental health and well-being, improved attention and concentration, and reduced stress. It turns out that the combination of these two health-promoting activities – walking and being in nature – is particularly powerful. Group nature walks have been shown to significantly lessen depressive symptoms and lower perceived stress. These benefits have been particularly striking in individuals who have recently experienced stressful life events such as marital separation, job loss, serious illness, or even the death of a loved one.
So, this holiday season, be sure to take a hike, outdoors, with a friend.
Limit refined sugars and carbohydrates. Consider giving up the biggest sources of food allergies and sensitivities: gluten, dairy, and soy. Add more healthy fats such a fish, avocados, nuts, and olive oil. Make sure your sources of lean protein are free of hormones, antibiotics and pesticides.
One of Sir William Osler's philosophies of life was to live life in “day-tight compartments.” According to Osler, the regrets of yesterday combined with the fears of tomorrow are more than today can carry.
It is not our goal to see what lies dimly in the distance but to do what clearly lies at hand.” ~Thomas Carlisle
Or, as Dale Carnegie wrote, : If you miss the moment, you miss your life.
Like any health-related habit, to master living in the moment takes practice. So, practice.
Naturally, we all have heard the old expression: "He who laughs last, laughs longest." More recently I have come to like a comical twist on the old adage "He who laughs, lasts." Presumbably, this humorous adulteration of the original was adapted from the early 20th century poem adapted by W.E. Nesom:
If laughter be an aid to health,
Then logic of the strongest
Impels us to the cheerful thought
That he who laughs lasts longest."
Even though I try to incorporate these and other healthful habits into my daily routine, I also take numerous stress-busting vitamins and supplements, especially during hectic times of heightened stress. So, a few more of my favorite things:
Stress dramatically increases the need for vitamin C, especially in the adrenal glands. Adrenal C Formula® created by Dr. James Wilson is a sustained release, pH balanced vitamin C complex that neutralizes the excess acidity of ascorbic acid and delivers the specific trace minerals and bioflavonoids the body needs to fully utilize vitamin C and recover from stress.* This is a unique vitamin C formula designed to compensate for the changes in metabolic processes that occur in people experiencing adrenal fatigue and/or stress, and is a superior vitamin C supplement for general use.
GABA BOOST is a fast-acting all-natural nutraceutical product that quickly reduces tension, anxiousness & stress while uplifting mood. It increases GABA levels three different ways!
GABA Boost contains Phenyl-GABA which is the only form of the neurotransmitter capable of passing the blood-brain barrier in significant amounts to improve neurological function.
GABA Boost contains L-Theanine, which increases levels of GABA, prevents neurotransmitter overstimulation, and keeps the excitatory system in balance. It also contains Taurine which is a potent activator of extrasynaptic GABA(A) receptors in the thalamus.
ImmuWell 60 caps by NeuroScience supports the chemical messengers that maintain balance between the nervous and immune systems to promote a healthy stress response and mood.* Acetylcholine (ACh) is the primary neurotransmitter of the parasympathetic nervous system and the cholinergic pathway, which plays a central role in regulating immune activity. ACh also helps modulate the adrenal stress response. Huperzine A from Huperzia serrata inhibits acetylcholinesterase to increase ACh levels.*1 Elevations in ACh levels can suppress norepinephrine activity in the sympathetic nervous system. Tyrosine promotes norepinephrine synthesis to maintain balance between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems along with glutamic acid.*2Increases in norepinephrine also support the adrenal stress response and positive mood.