What’s going on, Sequoia Counseling community! I am in a great mood today because it is the 4th of July holiday weekend ! This is a time to celebrate our country and the freedoms and gift we have to live here. As I think about the concept of independence, I also think about our ability to live independently, without relying upon the care of others. What can we do to live our best lives and prevent future health/mental health issues? The answer is to develop lifestyle habits that target your whole person health!
A 2009 study of 23,000 adults found that basic life habits such as eating healthy, not smoking, exercising 3.5 hours a week, and maintaining a healthy weight resulted in an 80% reduction in chronic disease! Specifically, the researchers concluded that 93% of diabetes, 81% of heart attacks, 50% of strokes, and 36% of cancers would be prevented! That is amazing news!
The Veteran’s Administration’s (VA) Circle of Health image above describes the different connections between your health and other areas of your life. It illustrates things that can affect your well-being. Psychological and behavioral matters influence our ability to manage our physical health and make decisions to stay well. Factors such as social isolation, stress levels, and not sleeping enough can easily undermine our efforts to live a healthy life.
The VA also created the following questionnaire as a way to help decide where to make changes. I encourage you to print out this inventory and give it careful thought. Feel free to share it with others!
Setting Physical Health Goals
For those of you who are ready to make change or are in the process of change, it may be helpful to have clear goals. Dr. Edward Phillips, a physician with Harvard Medical School and the Veterans Administration, suggests the following 6 “targets” as health habits:
Caution: Roadblocks Ahead!
A review of things that interfere with motivation or are roadblocks to progress is necessary as we view the path ahead.
It may be necessary to find ways to address these factors as you move ahead with lifestyle changes. We can work together, along with your healthcare provider, to support your progress.
I hope this post gives you some encouragement and new ideas on how to make positive and empowering changes in your life. Let me know if you have any thoughts or comments !
Have a great weekend and be well <3