admin

Updated on May 18, 2023

Stay Smart, Stay Immune

admin

Updated on May 18, 2023

Stay Smart, Stay Immune

Stay smart, stay healthy

Why do we fall ill, catch infections, or suffer from chronic diseases? While experts are tirelessly trying to figure out everything that happens in our brain and body, health and disease have remained a pertinent inquiry. Our body is a complex system. Different cells, tissues, organs, and systems work in close harmony to perform an array of functions.

Concept of health and wellness

Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is ‘a state of complete physical, mental and, social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’1,2 You consider yourself healthy if you do not have any known disease and do not have to frequently visit hospitals and clinics. Whenever the term ‘health care’ is mentioned, it instinctively brings to mind medicine, and one’s thoughts immediately focus on illness, diagnoses, and therapies. The emphasis on disease prevention and promoting good health has seldom been prioritized within the realm of health care.

As you aspire to achieve good health, ask yourself some bigger questions:

  • Do you ever pay attention to what you eat? Do you care to gather facts on the potential health benefits or hazards of your diet?
  • Do you sleep without any difficulty or medications?
  • Is physical exercise a vital part of your daily routine?
  • Are you aware that your daily dose of stress determines your illnesses, healing, and recovery?
  • How do you cope up with the side effects of medicines?

If any or all these questions left you dumbfounded, then the whole idea of health and well-being gets defeated.

Ideally, the foundation of our health lies on four pillars:

  • Nutrition
  • Lifestyle
  • Environment
  • Genetics

Whenever any of these four pillars is under attack or becomes weak, you need an external support to avert a collapse. This marks the entry of medical care in your life and it gradually becomes the fifth pillar of health.

On the contrary, wellness places emphasis on one’s personal perceptions of their body, mind, and spirit. Wellness and physical health are closely connected and cannot be separated when discussing overall well-being. The notion of wellness offers a deliberate approach to living that enables individuals and society to achieve their maximum potential. True wellness cannot be obtained through purchases at spas or recreation centers. The correlation between health and wellness operates in conjunction with various lifestyle factors to foster holistic healing of both the body and mind.

Holistic health

Conventional medicine and health care have saved millions of lives and will remain relevant. Holistic approach to health is not a modern concept but is derived from ancient traditions to achieve higher levels of wellness and prevent diseases.

Holistic health is an approach to life that motivates people to identify all the aspects of their existence: physical, mental, social, and spiritual. People need medicine, hospitals, doctors, and super specialists because they save lives.

But they also need nutrition, balanced diet, emotional well-being, physical and mental exercise, and meditation to enable them to participate in their lifestyle choices and health decisions.

By consciously prioritizing aspects such as nutrition, behavior, physical activity, and sleep, you enhance your emotional and spiritual well-being. This, in turn, boosts your ability to prevent infections and promote the healing of chronic conditions.

Dimensions of holistic health and wellness

The dimensions of holistic health and wellness that contribute to quality of life are physical, social, mental, environmental, and spiritual.

1. Physical

You should be able perform daily activities without any exertion, undue fatigue, or physical pain.

2. Social

You maintain positive relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and community. You can efficiently balance work-life pressures and are satisfied in what you do. You contribute positively to your organizations and to the society.

3. Mental

The capacity to face and conquer the challenges presented by life stems from having a clear understanding of your strengths and limitations. It involves acknowledging and effectively expressing your emotions (such as anger, fear, sadness, joy, or stress) to others in a constructive manner. Additionally, it entails embracing new ideas, acquiring new knowledge, and actively engaging in skill development.

4. Environmental

You recognize your responsibility to preserve nature, and actively contribute to protect it. The healthy status of your environment directly improves the quality of your life.

5. Spiritual

It is that unending quest to find your purpose of existence and the meaning of life. Think beyond selfish motives to establish peace and harmony. Understand the importance of values, personal purpose, and a common purpose that binds humanity.

Healthy habits for a strong immune system

During this overwhelming phase of the pandemic, having a robust immune system is crucial for navigating through it successfully. Your immune system serves as your primary and final line of defense, and its strength relies on the lifestyle choices you make. A stronger immune system significantly enhances your ability to prevent and recover from diseases or infections, providing you with better chances of staying healthy.

You cannot pour from an empty cup. The model of healthy immune system depends on your diet, physical activity level, emotional health, and quality of sleep.

Attaining holistic health

Here are the five ways to embrace the concept of holistic health and wellness with reference to positive lifestyle:

1. You are what you eat

Acknowledge the association of food with culture, climate, crop cycle, and cuisine. Local, seasonal, or traditional, food is a blessing for everyone. Malnutrition does not target the poor and the rural people.

A simple deficiency in vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, B12, or iron is regarded as malnutrition. Today, even the elite and urban population is highly undernourished. A cookie or a packet of chips that you eat sometimes is not the reason why you fall sick.

The reasons are many: consuming more than your requirement; high reliance on processed food, ignorance about health hazards of added sugar, disregard towards ancient or traditional food like whole grains; using food to cope with emotions; self-imposed starvation and following fad diets.

Processed or junk food is abundant in added sugar, lacks essential nutrients, increases hunger levels, and can lead to addiction, as well as potentially increasing the risk of developing conditions like diabetes, cancer, and heart disorders.

To simplify your approach to cooking and eating, prioritize a diet that consists primarily of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. When sourcing food directly from farms to your kitchen, it’s important to avoid getting caught up in hashtags, trends, or influencer-driven narratives since they often fluctuate and may not provide reliable guidance. Instead, focus on consuming real, wholesome foods that nourish your body without the confusion and fluctuations of popular fads.

2. Physical Exercise

Physical exercise regardless of age, gender, or physical capabilities, benefits your immune system and overall health. When you engage in physical activity, you keep your weight and calories in control and keep chronic diseases at bay. Sports, yoga, dance, or gym, physical exercise in any form instils confidence, strength, and competence. It rejuvenates your body and mind, improves appetite and sleep, and delays ageing.

Yoga is an approach to live life. Yoga encompasses physical, mental, and spiritual aspects. Yoga is not about complex poses to stretch and twist into a pretzel to attain maximum benefit. The effects of yoga are deep and far-reaching.

The correct union of poses, breathing, and meditation induces structural and chemical changes in your brain. This affects the way you process your emotions, stress, and anxiety, and assists you to live a contented, healthier life.

3. Make sleep a priority

The quality of your sleep deserves same level of attention that you give to your diet and physical exercise. A highly underrated pillar of a healthy immune system, sleep energizes you for another day and declutters your mind.

During this ongoing pandemic and work-from-home set up, some of us are bound to adhere to different time zones or work graveyard shifts. Regularly skipping sleep negatively impacts your immune system and your ability to fight infections declines, alters your appetite, causes weight gain, and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.

Regular physical exercise and yoga improves sleep. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine, and try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. Take a power nap just before resuming your night shift.

Don’t stock up your sleep for the weekend when you do your night shifts. Stick to your exercise, diet, and sleeping schedule even on holidays. Sleep is not a luxury, but a priority. It restores and empowers your physical, mental, and spiritual health.

4. Other lifestyle factors

Smoking, alcohol intake, drug abuse, and stress are determinants of an unhealthy life and outweighs other health determinants. Cigarettes deplete vitamins and minerals from your body while you smoke it, besides inserting toxic chemicals and free radicals in your body.

Stress impacts your overall health, social life, and quality of life. Actively engaging in hobbies, listening to music, and taking regular breaks from routine life are some easy actionable ways to destress. Alcohol is not a healthy style to destress and enjoy, as alcohol consumption negatively impacts your blood pressure and heart functions.

5. Practice mindfulness

You are born with the power of mindfulness. All it requires is to stop, take a step back, and practice it. How hard it is to slow down and pay attention to your surroundings? When you experience your environment with all of your senses-touch, sound, sight, smell, and taste, you achieve the state of consciousness or awareness. This is mindfulness. Live in the moment. Find joy in simple pleasures. Accept yourself and acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses. Avoid negative or destructive thoughts. When you have negative thoughts, try to sit down, take a deep breath and close your eyes. Focus on your breath as it moves in and out of your body. Sitting and breathing for even just a minute can help. Mindfulness will teach you to not let your anxiety about your past or future affect you.

Conclusion

Aim to maintain a balance in each of the spheres of holistic health: physical, mental, social, and spiritual health. Eat healthy. Exercise adequately. Sleep well. Detoxify your body and mind. Practice mindfulness.

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