As a preventive and lifestyle medicine physician and health coach, I truly believe that lifestyle IS medicine! As I work with patients and clients and in my own life, I find it's nice to reaffirm the power of simple lifestyle habits for maintaining wellness and preventing chronic disease.
The conventional health care system in the U.S. tends to rely on brief office visits and pharmaceutical interventions to manage lifestyle-produced diseases. But this approach is not sustainable, nor is it satisfying for patients and providers. Lifestyle and preventive medicine offers another approach which seeks to identify and treat the origins of disease rather than only focus on controlling the symptoms.
In this philosophy, an emphasis is placed on working in partnership with the patient and a comprehensive health care team to support her in making sustainable changes in behaviors such as diet, exercise, stress management, sleep hygiene and other health habits.
No matter where you fall on the health spectrum, you have the power to treat each moment as an opportunity for positive change.
Start with these simple, yet powerful, steps toward a healthier lifestyle today, and see how getting back to the basics can build the foundation for a sustainably healthy lifestyle!
1. Cook your own real food with love.
Cooking is a great opportunity to connect energetically with your food, family and friends. It is a chance to choose healthy, local and organic sources of nourishment and prepare them in a creative and delicious way.
The food you eat carries nutrition and energy to help us deal with stress, prevent disease and enjoy our lives.
Experiment with new flavors or real food recipes to cook at home this week.
2. Move and stretch your body (bonus if you do it in nature).
Regular physical activity improves many bodily functions and is generally just a good way to make you feel better. Additionally, balanced forms of enjoyable exercise can help us manage stress, reduce anxiety, strengthen the immune system and improve sleep.
It can be interesting to experiment with different types of movement and play to see how they work for you and your body. Choosing movement that helps create inner balance in addition to physical balance helps optimize your overall health.
What type of exercise or mindful movement would you like to try out this week?
3. Give thanks, even if you don't feel like it.
We're often so busy and preoccupied with doing that we forget to appreciate what we already have and who we truly are. We all yearn for something more, something deeper that enhances our lives and gives us a sense of true fulfillment in life.
By focusing on the positive and paying attention to experiences that lift you up and give your life meaning, you start to attract more of that into your life. Perspective is everything. Make it a point to pause, appreciate yourself, your gifts and the present moment.
How can you set yourself up to be healthier, happier and more fulfilled?
4. Connect with meaning to yourself and others.
As humans, we thrive off connection. When we meaningful join with others, we find comfort, love, joy and support. Love for yourself and others nourishes your body, mind, soul and spirit.
Look at the relationships in your life. Friendships, romantic connections and communities you belong to. Notice where you can expand your compassion and patience and open your heart.
How can you deepen your current relationships?
5. Live a nontoxic life.
Many aspects of our homes and workplaces impact our health, mood and energy. You want to feel safe, calm and energized in the places you spend your time.
Start with these simple lifestyle shifts and cultivate vitality and health to live the life you desire!