Whole Body Wellness Series: 3 Ways to Change Your Life Forever
In this series from your Friendswood Chiropractor we’ve discussed the mind-body connection and the importance of managing stress and how staying positive can help improve the body’s overall well-being. We’ve also discussed the importance of physical activity and the role of proper nutrition. Let’s discuss what you can do today to begin your journey to whole body wellness.
The Role of Prayer and Meditation
The mind is designed to remember and sometimes focus on negative events that occur in our lives. This is a natural process of the “fight or flight” response. Negative experiences or stressful events is necessary in the process of growth and development.
Without going through difficulties in life, we would be unable to change and adapt to other negative situations that arise. This may also be known as spiritual growth. Such growth is important for us as human beings too be prepared for the next event, that we may handle it better than the last time, and so on and so forth.
The neuroscientific study of spiritual practices: “A number of studies have revealed changes in blood pressure and heart rate associated with meditation based practices, although these practices were not associated with spiritual approaches. The autonomic nervous system changes may be complex involving both a relaxation and also an arousal response. Several studies have reported predominant parasympathetic activity during spiritual practices which includes decreased heart rate and blood pressure, decreased respiratory rate, and decreased oxygen metabolism.”
Neurobiology of Spirituality: “Meditative practices predominantly activate the parasympathetic system characterized by the low heart rate and respiratory rate associated with meditation” “There is an observed increase of β-endorphin as also NMDAr antagonism during meditation, both of which have antidepressant effects. The decreased level of CRH and cortisol also plays an important role in allaying depression. Thus, via multiple neurochemical changes, spiritual practices can counteract depression”
Whether you have a spiritual belief system or do not have a belief system doesn’t really matter. Research has shown that simply taking time to engage in some form of meditation (also known as prayer) can be profoundly beneficial to the mind and body due to the effects on the nervous system.
Physical Activity and Your Health
Science has also examined the importance of physical activity and the unprecedented need to increase physical activity worldwide. Without physical conditioning, like mental stress, our bodies are ill equipped to adapts to physical stressors, losing muscle strength, decreasing heart health, increasing risk for obesity, and increase risk for disability from injury and chronic pain.
Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence: “There is incontrovertible evidence that regular physical activity contributes to the primary and secondary prevention of several chronic diseases and is associated with a reduced risk of premature death. There appears to be a graded linear relation between the volume of physical activity and health status, such that the most physically active people are at the lowest risk. However, the greatest improvements in health status are seen when people who are least fit become physically active.”
Exercise and physiotherapy for chronic low back pain: “Regular exercise has also been shown to be very effective at preventing low back pain from returning. Studies show that it can prevent a recurrence in 1 out of 3 people who have recurring acute low back pain. Exercise programs may include things like strength training, stretching, and endurance training. Other kinds of exercise like yoga and pilates may also be suitable for low back pain. Staying active despite the pain is often hard, though. Many people are not sure what types of activities are suitable for them. Others are afraid that exercise will make their symptoms worse, or that they might hurt themselves. But there is no reason to be too afraid or to completely avoid exercise in the long run.”
Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide. The importance of maintaining an active lifestyle and a healthy diet full of colorful, unprocessed fruits and vegetables are paramount for the facilitation of healing and repair.
3 Ways You Can Change Your Life Forever
Whole body wellness comes from every part of your body – the mind, body, and spirit. Without these three components, barriers to healing occur and the cycle of pain, fatigue, and depression will persist. Here’s what you can do today!
- Find time to practice Prayer and Meditation – Only a few minutes a day, throughout the day, is sufficient to provoke the ‘rest and digest’ response by your nervous system.
- Begin by practicing deep breathing exercises from your belly, not your chest.
- Remove yourself from all distractions or potential stressors, this can be in a quiet room or outside for a walk.
- Acquire a positive saying or repeat a prayer that most comforts you
- Focus on the positive and practice letting go of the negative impacts of life
- Maintain healthy social and family support. Volunteer or become involved in your church organization
- Eat plenty of vegetables, full of nutrients to support healthy formation of necessary brain chemicals that help regulate mood
- Engage in regular physical activity – Research has proven benefits of physical activity including improved mood, physical strength and balance, increase bone density and injury prevention
- Find opportunities to stand, walk, stretch, or exercise during lunch breaks or during your favorite movie at home
- Get support from family, friends, or partners to help fulfil activity goals, create fun competitions and remember a little bit goes a long way
- Don’t set yourself up for failure. Begin exercise with simple activities and build up as the body allows
- Listen to your body. If you experience pain during exercise, you may need some help. A Chiropractic Doctor can evaluate your physical condition, identify the source of pain, and provide therapeutic exercise to encourage healing or restore postural misalignments
- Eat a healthy diet. Nutrients and phytochemicals found in unprocessed foods are important for the regulation of hormones an energy production
- Warm-up and Cool-down sessions are important
- Educate yourself about Nutrition and ask questions about a healthy diet – the color of your food speaks volumes.
- Make meal plans and prepare whole foods ahead of time
- Look for food rich in color and without preservatives. Buying certain organic foods, such as green leafy vegetables, can limit exposure to harmful chemical additives and cross-contamination
- Have the family participate. Make changes not only for your self but help others make changes, also.
- Avoid refined sugar, canned food, packaged goods including single serve items.
- Remember to check the label. If you can’t read the ingredient, it’s probably not good for you.
- Don’t neglect serving size. Make sure to read the recommended serving size and try to stick with it.
In addressing all three aspects of health – the mind, body, and the spirit – you have the power to break through the barriers to healing, remove the brain-fog garments that cause you to muddle through your day, and become stronger longer.
If you have any questions about spinal health, physical activity, nutrition, or experiencing a chronic condition that you would like to see improved, Dr. Haywood is ready to address your concerns about your body. Call us today and see how Chiropractic Care can improve all aspects of your life.