Wellness In The New Year (or any year for that matter)

There are some things in life we just can’t control. The weather is a good example, but other people’s behavior runs a close second. In fact, sometimes we have a hard time controlling our own behaviors. Take a look at the last éclair in the box. Isn’t it calling your name? Although we can’t direct weather patterns, we can prepare for their uncertainties. Humans do have the wherewithal to live through a hurricane unscathed, but it takes conscious effort and self-direction. We can’t rely on other people to take care of us while they’re trying to tend to their own needs. When it comes to our personal health behaviors, only we are responsible. This we can control. Making a resolution to do it is fruitless, almost inane. Doing it is noble.

Wellness is not the same thing as health. It’s possible to suffer a chronic condition and still be well. A person who lives with a limitation may be more well than a person whose faculties are fully operational. While health may be defined as being physically, mentally and spiritually sound—maybe even financially, occupationally and socially— wellness describes a desire to enhance successful existence, one’s quality of life. Yet the definition of wellness is elusive and subjective. New models of wellness emerge regularly, existing on a continuum and being peculiar to each of us.

A sage cleric once said that ideas determine consequences, a concept based on absolute truth. Simply put, if you do this, that will happen. You can deny that black is black, and even call it dark white, but that changes nothing. The decisions you make today determine the outcome down the road. Because wellness is a process, it can always be improved, even by borrowing ideas and habits from others. Take a gander at some of these wellness ideas.  A few might make sense to you.

Indoor plants purify the air, albeit some are better at it than others. One of the best ways to improve indoor air is to quit smoking, and, if you have children, you’ll save money on doctor visits, too. Clean air also will help you in your newly-designed exercise program, even though it starts at only five minutes a day. We won’t beleaguer you with admonitions. We promise. This you can begin upon arising, while still in bed. What does the dog do when he first wakes up?  He stretches. Your blood vessels have been scrunched up all night. Stretch and open ’em up. Try to do a few sit-ups while you’re at it. Believe it or not, it’ll make a difference. Yes, it’ll take time, but some things are worth the wait. After your feet hit the floor, drink a full glass of water. A drop of lemon juice won’t hurt. You’ve been dehydrated all night—no fluids for eight hours. Your cells probably resemble dried peas or a half-inflated basketball. It’ll take about 20 minutes for the water to hit home, but when it does you’ll feel refreshed and improve the viscosity of your blood to keep it flowing the way it should.

Replacing that soda with plain or acidulated water or tea will swap hazard for benefit. The sugar in soda provides empty calories that get stored as fat if you don’t burn ‘em off. Even artificial sweeteners fool the body into thinking you ate something sweet. When the body learns it’s been fooled, it makes you hungry so you can use up all the insulin that’s now floating around, looking for something to do. Weight may increase. http://www.medicinenet.com/artificial_sweeteners/page11.htm

Have you looked into supplements?  Despite some negative press by opposing industries and their minions, they work. Fish oil does provide cardiac and anti-inflammatory profit, and high quality multi-vitamins do what they declare (Fletcher, 2002) (Gaziano, 2012). Besides, the nutrients once promised by fruits and vegetables now are in short supply because of modern farming practices, careless shipping and storage, and poor kitchen habits.

The cost of sleep deprivation—both financial and salubrious—is enormous. During this suspension of will power and consciousness the body and mind put things that have been disassembled by the day’s toils back together. Some of the factors that interfere with sleep can be controlled. Though not the simplest thing to do, interfering stress can be modified or even eliminated. Getting eight hours of sleep at least three or four times a week is a boon to health (Romeijn, 2012) (Ribeiro, 2012) (Chamorro, 2011) (Donga, 2010).

Taking care of yourself is necessary before you can be expected to take care of others. Some proactive measures, albeit controversial in particular circles, ask for more than moderate energy expenditure.

Reading labels is one. Learn what toxins are added to the kids’ vaccines and do something to avoid them, like asking the doctor to take the liquid from the middle of the vial—if vaccinations are a must. What’s the rub with vaccines?  Formaldehyde, mercury and MSG as preservatives. Getting more than one shot at a time places a heavy burden on a little body, so request dosing at intervals. Learn what additives are in your toothpaste. Got canker sores?  Look for sodium lauryl sulfate on the label (Chahine, 1997). Other personal and house care items might contribute to personal woes because of unneeded synthetic additives like perfumes, foaming agents, softeners and petroleum distillates.

Among the many steps to wellness, one of the most effective is realizing that food is nourishment, not entertainment. Eat what your body needs, not what your senses of smell and taste otherwise dictate. Unburned carbs get stored as fat. Sugars—think cookies and cakes—create acids that support disease, including cancer (Liu, 2000) (Burley, 1998) (Tuyns, 1988). The wrong fats encourage vascular problems—get the essential fats instead, like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Under hydration frustrates cell activity and will cause mental fog. The more you talk about health, the more likely you are to cater to it. Who better to direct person-centered health care than the person inside?

Mauro Alivia, Paola Guadagni, and Paolo Roberti di Sarsina Towards salutogenesis in the development of personalised and preventive healthcare EPMA J. 2011 December; 2(4): 381–384.

Burley VJ. Sugar consumption and human cancer in sites other than the digestive tract. Eur J Cancer Prev. 1998 Aug;7(4):253-77.

Chahine L, Sempson N, Wagoner C. The effect of sodium lauryl sulfate on recurrent aphthous ulcers: a clinical study. Compend Contin Educ Dent. 1997 Dec;18(12):1238-40.

Chamorro RA, Durán SA, Reyes SC, Ponce R, Algarín CR, Peirano PD. . Rev Med Chil. 2011 Jul;139(7):932-40. Epub 2011 Sep 16.

Donga E, van Dijk M, van Dijk JG, Biermasz NR, Lammers GJ, van Kralingen KW, Corssmit EP, Romijn JA. A single night of partial sleep deprivation induces insulin resistance in multiple metabolic pathways in healthy subjects. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Jun;95(6):2963-8. Epub 2010 Apr 6.

Fletcher RH, Fairfield KM. Vitamins for chronic disease prevention in adults: clinical applications. JAMA. 2002 Jun 19;287(23):3127-9.

Gaziano JM, Sesso HD, Christen WG, Bubes V, Smith JP, MacFadyen J, Schvartz M, Manson JE, Glynn RJ, Buring JE. Multivitamins in the prevention of cancer in men: the Physicians' Health Study II randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2012 Nov 14;308(18):1871-80.

Albert Lee, Andrew Kiyu, Helia Molina Milman, and Jorge Jimenez Improving Health and Building Human Capital Through an Effective Primary Care System J Urban Health. 2007 May; 84(Suppl 1): 75–85.

Simin Liu, Walter C Willett, Meir J Stampfer, Frank B Hu, Mary Franz, Laura Sampson, Charles H Hennekens, and JoAnn E Manson A prospective study of dietary glycemic load, carbohydrate intake, and risk of coronary heart disease in US women1,2,3 Am J Clin Nutr June 2000 vol. 71 no. 6 1455-1461

Ronald W. Manderscheid, PhD, Director, Carol D. Ryff, PhD, Elsie J. Freeman, MD, MPH, Lela R. McKnight-Eily, PhD, Satvinder Dhingra, MPH, and Tara W. Strine, MPH Evolving Definitions of Mental Illness and Wellness Prev Chronic Dis. 2010 January; 7(1): A19.

McMahon S, Fleury J. Wellness in older adults: a concept analysis. Nurs Forum. 2012 Jan-Mar;47(1):39-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-6198.2011.00254.x.

Mullen KD. Wellness: the missing concept in health promotion programming for adults Health Values. 1986 May-Jun;10(3):34-7.

Ribeiro S. Sleep and plasticity. Pflugers Arch. 2012 Jan;463(1):111-20. Epub 2011 Sep 27.

Romeijn N, Verweij IM, Koeleman A, Mooij A, Steimke R, Virkkala J, van der Werf Y, Van Someren EJ. Cold hands, warm feet: sleep deprivation disrupts thermoregulation and its association with vigilance. Sleep. 2012 Dec 1;35(12):1673-83. doi: 10.5665/sleep.2242.

Tuyns AJ, Kaaks R, Haelterman M. Colorectal cancer and the consumption of foods: a case-control study in Belgium.

Nutr Cancer. 1988;11(3):189-204.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease.