To achieve and maintain overall good health is everyone’s goal. The secret in achieving this goal can be described in a single wordbalance. If you balance the physical, mental and social facets of your life, you make a strong move toward good health.
Certainly our lives are complex, juggling the stress and strain of everyday living in our modern, fast-paced world. Yet, you need not be overwhelmed in your quest to be healthy if you begin with an approach that emphasizes balance. This slightly cumbersome term, a biopsychosocial perspective, merely means to keep your physical (bio) body, your mental (psycho) condition, and the social parts of your life in balance.
Taken one at a time, each area of your life can be analyzed, using simple steps to assess and promote homeostasis, that is, to maintain balance. Our physical or biological state is always adjusting to maintain a balance; when we are overheated, we perspire so that we may cool down. When we are lacking energy, we become hungry so that we may re-fuel our bodies. When thinking about the physical aspect of your body, remember to think of its basic needs and how well these needs are being met. Of primary importance is the fuel or nutrition you give your body. Begin by knowing how much you should eat and drink to maintain your weight. Each day, consume the calories that you know you will burn. Strive for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical exercise each day. This allows your body to burn calories, as well as helping you maintain good physical and cardiovascular fitness.
Your body requires a variety of nutritious foods to stay in top condition. The key here is nutritiousit is not enough to merely feed your body, you must be sure you are providing it with balanced nutrition. Optimally, you will choose foods like vegetables, fruits, whole-grain products and low-fat dairy products. You will include adequate protein in your diet, including fish. Limit the foods and drinks that are high in calories but low in nutrients, and remember to limit saturated fats, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium.
If your eating habits are less than perfect, or you know you tend to avoid a specific food group, you can augment your diet with multi-vitamins or specific vitamin supplements. As with any supplement, you should always consult your primary care physician when making your decisions. Purchasing vitamins to help balance your eating habits need not be expensive, thanks to quality discount vitamins available through the Internet or at large drug stores and pharmacies.
The second key to good health is to be sure the mental aspect of your life is balanced by minimizing stress and maintaining good sleep and work habits. Psychologically, the body works best when it is functioning with a positive outlook, has adequate rest to allow for both physical and mental recuperation, and is not in a constant state of stress. While some stress in our lives is inevitable, the body is ill prepared to remain in a constant state of siege.
Two factors that contribute to your overall positive mental health include enjoying the work that you do, and knowing how to handle the stressors that life presents. If one or both of these areas in your life is in need of improvement, you can take steps to move in a healthier direction. Consider a different focus at work or sign up for training to add additional skills to your current knowledge; take a class for fun, to allow yourself to relax and unwind. Talk to your friends and family about your plans and goals, and they may be able to contribute new ideas for staying mentally active and involved.
And this brings us to the third segment of a balanced and healthy life, that of your social and community activities. Research tells us that people with adequate social networks live longer, healthier lives. Friends and family are the part of your life that brings your mental and physical states together in activity. Positive interactions with others allow your mind and your body to thrive. These interactions begin at the very closest level, with family and close friends. They form your immediate support system, as well as your purpose in doing and giving to those near to you.
Next comes your interactions with those in a wider community, the people you work with and pass on the street each day. These social exchanges, if positive, can directly affect both your physical well being as well as your mental state of mind. These acquaintances also allow you to design your own groups, people who share your passion for classical music, or who love to play a round of golf with you on a Sunday afternoon. Whatever your activities with others, positive social experiences contribute to good health.
On a larger scale, the social arena of your city or even your state can be a way to positively interact, by earning a living and by contributing to a higher purpose such as promoting justice in our society. While your social focus may be far reaching in the people it touches, it continues to have a close and personal impact on your own health. Just as with nutrition, when you sometimes need to add more nutritious food or to purchase affordable discount vitamins to supplement your food intake, you may want to add more positive social interactions to your life, in the form of friends or community activities. As with diet when you restrict your intake of saturated fats, you may also decide to limit social activities that are more stressful than they are rewarding.
Maintaining a balance in your life, keeping your body healthy (don’t forget to research for discount vitamins and start a vitamin regimen), keeping your mind alert with positive activities, and your social interactions productive and positive will reward you with one of life’s greatest gifts, that of overall good health.