When we hear the word health, the first thing that often pops into our minds is physical health but mental health is just as critical to our overall well-being. Mental health is “a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community” (WHO, 2014.). According to a 2007 article published in American Psychologist (Keyes, 2007), mentally healthy adults reported the fewest missed days of work, low levels of helplessness, having clear goals in life, high resilience and high intimacy, the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease, the lowest number of chronic physical diseases, the fewest health limitations of activities of daily living and lower health care utilization. Continue reading Health….it’s not just physical.
Why couldn’t the pirate play cards? Because he was sitting on the deck! Bahahaha…..oh come on….go ahead and laugh. April is National Humor Month so there is no better time to make a commitment to interject more laughter into our lives. Laughing is one of the best things we can do to support our well-being and the best part is that we can actually fake it ‘till we make it when it comes to reaping the benefits of laughter. Forced laughter is just as good for us as spontaneous laughter. So go ahead…laugh along with that sitcom, or to your favorite comedian, or those silly talking dog videos on you tube, or check out one of hundreds of free laughing yoga videos online. It’s fun, feels good and is good for us.
Laughter, whether forced or spontaneous is good for every aspect of our well-being. People who laugh on a regular basis have a lower standing blood pressure than does the average person. Laughter eases psychological stress, strengthens the immune system, promotes muscle relaxation, reduces pain, enhances learning, enhances oxygen flow throughout the body, relaxes blood vessels, enhances cardiac muscle conditioning, elevates mood, helps us connect with others and enhances our energy (1). There isn’t much else that can benefit us like laughter can. Laughter is so good for us in fact, that a 2016 article in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine suggests that primary care clinicians start prescribing it to their patients (2). Can you imagine? You go to the doctor and you leave with a prescription for laughter. Now who wouldn’t want that?
To get you started on incorporating some laughter into your day, I’ll share a couple of my favorite videos….the ones that not only make me laugh out loud but that make my husband laugh at me because I’m laughing so hard. If talking dogs are up your alley you’ve got to check this video out. It gets me every time. Or, maybe you’ll find this video of Dennis Quaid on the Ellen Degeneres show funny. I know I did. If you’ve got a favorite funny joke, video or meme I’d love to see it. Send it my way at firstname.lastname@example.org.
November is Diabetes Awareness Month so what better time to talk about diabetes and prediabetes. According to the CDC more than 30 million Americans have diabetes and one in three adults has prediabetes. Ninety percent of those with prediabetes don’t even know it. The consequences of diabetes, both physical and financial can be dire. People with diabetes are at increased risk of dementia, hearing and vision loss, heart disease, kidney failure, lower leg amputations, depression, dental decay and tooth loss, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, bone fractures and nerve pain. As if that wasn’t enough, in Vermont diabetes is one of four chronic health conditions that is responsible for fifty percent of all deaths. Not only do people with diabetes suffer physically but they also suffer financially. People with diabetes spend up to 2.3 times more on their health care costs than do their healthy counterparts. Continue reading One out of three Americans has prediabetes and 90% don’t even know it. Could you be one of them?
Stress. We all experience it and it seems to be getting worse. In fact, the results of the 2017 “Stress in America” survey done by the American Psychological Association showed “a statistically significant increase in stress for the first time since the survey was first conducted in 2007” (American Psychological Association, 2017). We’re stressed about our safety, money, our jobs, the economy and our future, and this is wreaking havoc on our health and well-being. Continue reading Emotional intelligence…the antidote to stress and the key to well-being?
When we think of good nutrition we often think about food but we don’t often think about water. In addition to proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals, water is one of the six essential nutrients. The adult human body is approximately sixty percent water and we cannot live without it. Water plays a key role in every body process including regulation of body temperature, joint lubrication, removal of waste products, delivery of oxygen to body tissues and is essential in the formation of saliva which starts the process of digestion (Cross, 2018). Continue reading Water….a critical nutrient that we may not be getting enough of
“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants” – Michael Pollan
Eating too many eggs will raise your cholesterol. It’s safe to consume eggs everyday. Saturated fat cause heart disease. There is no evidence that saturated fats increase one’s risk of heart disease. Carbohydrates are fattening. Maintaining a diet high in complex carbohydrates may be protective against weight gain. Organic foods are healthier. There is no difference in the nutrient content of organic and conventionally grown food. And on and on and on….. Continue reading Nutrition: Let’s get back to basics
When we think about well-being, specifically physical well-being, often the first things that come to mind are physical activity and a healthy diet. While these two elements certainly do contribute to our physical well-being, sleep is also essential and may be the piece that many of us are missing. More and more research is coming out about the importance of sleep and the connection between sleep, health and disease. Even just a few nights of sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on our body, mind and spirit. Continue reading Sleep….the missing ingredient in your well-being?
When you think about your physical well-being, what comes to mind? Do you feel vibrant and energized? Do you have a spring in your step? Do you feel strong and confident that your energy will enable you to tackle the day ahead with ease? Or, do you feel run down and sluggish? Are you dragging yourself through the day with thoughts of how much you have to get done and when you’ll be able to get home and get back in bed? Do you feel like you run out of energy to do the things that really matter to you…the things you enjoy doing just for you, that add joy and meaning to your life?
Continue reading Physical Well-being
“I know what I should do but I just can’t seem to get myself to do it.” “I make progress toward my goals but then I sabotage myself.” “I just can’t seem to get out of my own way.” “I’ve lost and gained the same twenty pounds so many times I’ve lost count.” Sound familiar… read on. Continue reading A free benefit for employees who are currently eligible and enrolled in our CIGNA health insurance programs
The term well-being is not new but it is only in recent years that the term has become more mainstream. While there is no consensus around a single definition, there is general agreement that at a minimum, it includes the presence of positive emotions, the absence of negative emotions, satisfaction with life, a sense of fulfillment and positive functioning (1). In 2010, New York Times best selling authors, Tom Rath and Jim Harter released their seminal book, “Wellbeing: The five essential elements”. In it, the authors define well-being as “the combination and interaction between our love of what we do each day, the quality of our relationships, the security of our finances, the vibrancy of our physical health and the pride we take in what we have contributed to our communities (2). This definition highlights the five domains of well-being: career, social, financial, physical and community.
Continue reading Well-being…trendy term or science backed concept?