Feeling 20 when you're not
Written by: Dr. Fred Harvey, MD
America is the greatest place for opportunity on the planet. We have such abundance of possibility here. It is our strength AND our demise. We have so much abundance and so much opportunity that we can become overwhelmed with our choices. Our choice to go to school, to buy something, to work somewhere, to eat out, to join a health club. We try to do more and more in the same time that has always been there. Then we burn out. That’s what happens when we fill our plates with too many things we decide to do because of some philosophy to better ourselves. We often neglect to do those things that are not fun or easy. Then, turn back to comfort behaviors that are not necessarily in our best health interest.
So in order to feel better we need to take some of the strain off of our adrenal glands or take some time to smell the roses. Simplification of our internal “noise" is the place to begin. To reduce the confusing complexity in our minds relieves great burden and allows up to think more clearly and effectively make decisions about our lives. Let’s start with a very valuable technique that helps all of us: mindfulness. Due to differences in our hard wiring we may approach mindfulness differently, but we can all benefit from these activities. They include meditation, contemplation and mindful movement. Some folks really cannot sit still to meditate. These people may benefit from a mindful walk; one without headphones or other things that may distract from the connection to nature as they walk. Some may derive great benefit from contemplation of zen koans or Psalms. Other may find quiet meditation the best way to clear the mind. Each of us needs to practice one of these simplification techniques.
Nutrition is another area that can be complex and confusing. There are so many fad diets out there that it can be tough to see the forest for the trees. There is a bigger picture here that applies to nearly all humans. Simply, we are omnivores in general. We eat just about everything. That said we evolved eating mostly plants. We have been gathering hunters for thousands of years. Our digestive systems like leaves, twigs, nuts seeds, berries, fruits, roots and even some animal products. If we decide that our dietary choices can be improved, there is no need for a “diet”. Were each of us to increase our servings of vegetables by 2 and reduce processed products by 2 each day we would be healthier.
Finally exercise is critical. Numerous studies support the addition of 20-30 minutes of exercise can eliminate a variety of health challenges. Diabetes, depressed mood, high cholesterol, low testosterone, high blood pressure and cancer can all be mitigated or eliminated by regular vigorous exercise.
These three simple things can help you to feel like 20 when you are not.