Wellness means more than just the absence of illness. Focusing on wellness and practicing self care helps us put our emphasis on prevention and health.
Self Care means:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Exercising our wonderful bodies
- Being aware of the stress in your life
- Practicing stress reduction methods on a regular basis
- Finding or creating a group to meet with on a regular basis to encourage community, support and sharing.
Wellness means reducing your risk for disease:
- Preventing and treating injuries
- Monitoring health and safety hazards in our homes and workplaces.
- Using our health care system focusing on prevention instead only using the healthcare system for disease.
Our life expectancy has increased 62 percent in the last century. The advent of genetic engineering holds great promise to increase our health and extend longevity.
Aging is no longer described as mandatory retirement, depression, disability and pain. Our attitudes toward aging have changed dramatically. Aging now means that we live longer, are happier and healthier. Many of us create our dream careers and have entirely wonderful lives as we age.
Those of us who live to be centenarians have several traits in common:
- Have a good sense of humor
- Are optimistic
- Are independent
- Are active mentally
- Eat breakfast
- Practice forgiveness, don’t hold onto resentments
Tips for Wellness, Self Care, and Healthy Aging
- Take care of what you eat. Eat foods rich in vitamin C everyday—it’ll help protect against many diseases. Eat more asparagus, blackberries, cabbage, cantaloupe, kale, and raspberries; they are rich in vitamin C. Also eat foods rich in beta-carotene, such as carrots, spinach, and sweet potatoes—they can help prevent cancer and other diseases.
- Treat your body right. Take extra care of your body. Start small with annual flu shots, but also don’t forget the bigger steps such as quitting smoking. Women and men should also do self-examinations on for breast and testicular cancer, as well as maintain a normal weight. Excess weight can lead to heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, cancer and many other chronic diseases.
- Rest well. Get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is critical for the healing cycle of our bodies. Insomnia stresses the mind, body, and soul. Before bed, listen to music, read, listen to a guided imagery tape, or take a warm bath. Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool. And don’t drink caffeinated beverages before bed.
- Cherish water and beware of the sun. Water relieves constipation, cleanses the body, and clears the skin. It is critical in the body’s daily functioning, since our body is 80 percent water. Drink six to eight glasses of water a day. You should also definitely wear sunscreen. Skin cancer is a constant risk.
- Protect your teeth. Floss your teeth daily. This reduces periodontal diseases and it actually affects longevity. The CDC indicates that people with gingivitis and periodontitis have a mortality rate that is 23 to 46 percent higher than those who don’t. They are linked to increased rates of cardiovascular disease and strokes, as well as to an increase in mortality from other causes, such as infections.
- Be active. As many as 12 percent of all deaths in the U.S. maybe attributed indirectly to lack of regular physical activity. Avoid this danger by taking a walk to loose weight and stay healthy. Walk just 20-30 minutes a day, three times a week to stay healthy. Regular exercise will also improve your mood, give you energy, lower signs of aging, and reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, hypertension, obesity and many other diseases.
- Lower stress. Engage in stress reduction practices regularly. Studies show that meditating for 20 minutes a day reduces blood pressure, decreases heart disease, and increases our immune response, along with many other health benefits.
- Get creative. Experiment with various relaxation practices that have health benefits, including yoga, tai chi, or chi gong. You can also try guided imagery as well. You can purchase or rent guided imagery tapes or CDs for health and relaxation benefits. Lastly, give journaling a try. Journaling keeps you healthy, mentally, physically, and spiritually. It helps to move your worries and thoughts out of your body on to the paper.
- Stay happy. Laughter is very healthy for your body, mind, and soul. We have new research revealing the health benefits of laughter. Being playful helps your immune system and creates a long and happy life.
- Build a community. Research shows that people who are engaged in some type of group activity live longer and are healthier. Create or discover a group to get involved in. You can play cards or join a study group, a meditation group, or a book club. It doesn’t matter what kind of group it is. They provide support, community, and love.