Dr. Mark Hyman wrote an excellent article on the body mind connection.The most important factor that determines our level of health is our attitude! Our social networks, community, and spiritual beliefs play into the attitude. As my grandpa, Dr. Emilio Giuliani, always says, “It’s mind over matter.”
Here are some facts from Dr. Hyman’s article:
- 95 percent of all illness is caused or worsened by stress. Low socioeconomic status is associated with poorer health outcomes and higher risk of death from all causes. This is not because of poor health habits, but because of feelings of powerlessness and loss of control. Internalized racism and stress are associated with high amounts of belly fat.
- Stress hormones damage the hippocampus — the memory center in the brain — causing memory loss and dementia.
- In a study of people who volunteered to have cold viruses injected into their noses, only people with a high level of perceived stress got colds. Women with metastatic breast cancer survived twice as long if they were part of a support group.
- Belonging to a group — a religious group, a bowling club, a quilting group — reduces risk of death from all causes and increases longevity, despite health habits.
- In a study of doctors, those who scored high on hostility questionnaires had a higher risk of heart attacks than those who smoked, were overweight, had high blood pressure, or didn’t exercise.
So how do we make our mind and spirit healthy? I know my joy and strength come from a personal relationship with God. But whatever your beliefs, here are some tips that will strengthen your mind and spirit and reduce your stress.
- Develop and maintain nurturing relationships: By nurturing, I mean have a couple really close friends who can encourage you. If you feel drained after hanging out with someone every time, then you may need to reevaluate that relationship.
- Exercise: Rids your body of stress chemicals, boosts your energy, helps you maintain a healthy weight, improves your mood, promotes better sleep, and energizes your sex live (Ladies, regular exercise leads to enhanced arousal. And men, it helps prevent erectile dysfunction, so get that workout on!)
- Learn something new: Learning new skills protects you from certain types of dementia
- Eat right: Rid your body of toxins by avoiding refined sugars, alcohol, and preservatives.
- Meditate/Pray: Releases stress. There are endless benefits, so click here for an article on the health benefits of meditation
- Relax: Practicing deep breathing, having a massage, or taking a hot bath are excellent ways to relax
- Address your stress: Understand what causes you stress and be able to recognize when your body is under stress
- Take your supplements: vitamin D helps prevent colds, magnesium relaxes you, and vitamin C and the B-complex vitamins help balance your stress response