Long Lasting health changes
DR ME has just spent the last few weeks inspiring over 350 children to make small yet significant changes to their every day habits to make themselves healthier. I believe that if you are healthier, you are happier, and therefore get more out of life, including increased productivity in schools or the workplace.
By teaching people the reasons why it is important to be healthy, I then recommend changes that they can implement to their daily lives to initiate this change. For example it is proven that by eating a diverse range of foods, this can positively help your microbiome extract more energy from food, increase your immune system therefore decreasing the changes of getting ill, and converts food to hormones and chemicals helping your body regulate itself more effectively. On average we make 200 decisions about food every day from when to eat, how much to eat, what to eat, whether to have seconds etc. Therefore by encouraging people to eat the rainbow (something that is plant based that is green, yellow, orange, red, blue/purple and white) every day, this will increase their microbial diversity, and positively influence their health.
Change happens for many reasons. People can be inspired through events like DR ME workshops; they can have a health scare, or simply are given a wake up call one day. I believe that over the past few decades our health habits have slipped.
For example we are now so inactive, that we are the first generation having to consciously build physical activity into our daily life… we have to think about how we are going to move enough during the day to make sure we are healthy.
Foods that used to be classed as treats now get consumed on a daily basis: chocolate bars, crisps, fizzy drinks, fast food etc. We are no longer keeping these treats for birthdays, Christmas etc., and their daily consumption is playing havoc with our health.
Work dominates our lives for a greater proportion of the day than it used to, we physically leave work but we are always contactable via email, messenger, or phone call on our smart phone. By spending more time on work related activities this robs our day of any recreation we would like to pursue. This in turn pushes our bedtime back and thus reduces our time asleep each night… something that is vital for every cell within our body to recover from the stresses and strains of the day.
Boredom doesn’t appear regularly in our every day lives as often as it used to. When we get a free second we reach for our smartphone that tells us how much money is in our bank account, what the weather is doing, or what is trending on social media that day. When we are bored our brains bring us to the here and now, and we actually take time to realise what is going on around often leading us to being mindful. Our brains are thankful when they are given a bit of a break, and let it wonder to wherever it wishes to go. So next time you have a spare minute, I challenge you to look around, take in the moment instead of reaching for your phone.
So change is good, and the easiest way to implement long lasting change is to adapt our environment. By keeping junk food out of the house will encourage you not to reach for a chocolate bar late in the evening. By getting your bike serviced and buying some new running gear may encourage you to be active on your way to and from work. Take your work emails off your personal phone and put your work phone in a drawer on arriving home. Allow your minds to relax from time to time- consciously listen to the lyrics of a song or better still have a play on a guitar, dust of a jigsaw you've been meaning to complete for a while, or sit and draw a picture.
Changing your mind-set and your environment will take time and effort. Being healthy isn’t an easy option but it is a necessary one for a long, fulfilling life. Start with small changes and allow these nudges to snowball into larger variations, and very quickly you will both see and feel the effects to yourself and those who are close to you.