Over the years, I have been able to hone my message of wellness and prevention. I have really distilled it down to four pillars. MEDS. No, not medication, rather Mind, Exercise, Diet and Sleep.
These four pillars are also supported by two other broad concepts - the concept of passion and the concept of happiness. Happiness is a recipe for success. Most people think that if they work hard and then are successful they will gain happiness, but in my experience, you must be happy first. Sprinkle in whatever you are passionate about and only then will you have success.
You need to use your mind. The mind is, to be cliche, incredibly powerful, but it is now clear that meditation and other forms of relaxation lower the stress in your body. Not just stress as a concern, but stress as defined biologically by hormones. Many people feel that modern culture is surrounded by ADHD-like stimuli, chronic attention deficit, new window pop-ups, news alerts, tweets, multi-tasking in general. When we meditate, this blunts the effect of the cultural ADHD, and it improves our decision-making, our concentration and our memory.
When I say ‘exercise,' I am really talking about activity. The majority of us are very sedentary. We have desk jobs. Manual labor is not nearly as common as it used to be and we have become conditioned to be inactive. We use automobiles and public transportation. We use escalators and elevators. We are simply not active enough. If you look at regions of the world where people live routinely to age 100, such as Okinawa or Sardinia, a very active lifestyle is part of the recipe for longevity.
What you choose to put in your mouth on a daily basis is the single, most important decision you make. No one forces you to eat bad food or upsize your Value Meal. You truly are what you eat. Today we have an abundance of food that is high in calories and low in nutritional value, making it more difficult to decipher the healthy choices from the unhealthy ones. Make sure you take the effort to choose what you eat instead of simply opting for what is most convenient.
Everyone needs sleep. Chronic sleep loss is tightly associated with risk of high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, depression, heart attacks, strokes, and decreased immunity. There is no question that sleep is important. It is not some bizarre evolutionary mistake. The body clearly needs sleep. So instead of catching up on emails or watching reality-television to end your day, hit the sack early. Your body will thank you for it.
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