How To Make the Best Of Life isn’t just about nutrition and fitness, although, eating nutritious foods, getting physical activity, and taking precautions not to get ill, are obviously major components to overall quality of life of health and well being, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) “Prevention of Chronic Disease by Means of Diet and Lifestyle Changes” research. However, there are many other factors or dimensions involved.
Quality of life involves the degree to which an individual is healthy, comfortable, and able to participate in or enjoy life events.
However, the term quality of life is inherently ambiguous and subjective, but generally, it’s more about feeling great, having more energy, improving your health, and boosting your mood, as described by a 2020 Britannica “Quality of Life” entry. That’s how we define a healthy lifestyle.
In reality, your health and well being is determined by a very complex, multifaceted and interconnected group of factors (dimensions) involved in your life. Those are the social, physical, emotional, occupational (financial), environmental, genetics, aging, and intellectual factors. Ideally, when these factors are in balance you will experience overall health and well being, per a Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “Well Being Concepts” study.
However, imbalances in one or more the factors can occur and do many times due to life events. For example, poor social engagement, both quality and quantity, directly affect mental health, health behavior, physical health, and mortality risk, and premature aging, per a 2011 Journal of Health and Social Behavior ( NIH) study.
So, to answer your question, Can I enjoy life-long health and well being? Yes you can, beyond a shadow of doubt, by following a proven plan! So, let’s take a quick review of the nine factors and how they each effect each other and our overall health and well being. But, first lets look at Wikipedia definition of health and fitness.
Wikipedia best describes health and fitness as,
is a state of health and well being, and more specifically, the ability to perform moving tasks, occupations, and daily activities, achieved through proper nutrition, moderate exercise, and sufficient rest.
You can read more from Wikipedia here.
Physical Health Factor
Your physical health and well being isn’t limited to exercise. It’s tied to all the other life factors, as well, as they are to the physical aspect. These healthy factors include nutritious eating, proactively taking care of medical issues that arise, keeping your brain sharp, having social ties, enjoying a career, living in a safe, clean environment, aging gracefully, and maintaining healthy daily activities, determined a 2019 Frontiers In Medicine (NIH) study.
There are 5 healthy behaviors that will assist you to substantially reduce the risks of major health issues such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, back pain, or other chronic conditions which will effect your overall physical quality of life. These 5 very basic behaviors will go a long way in achieving and maintaining your health and well being for life:
Get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least 5 days a week because exercise can make people feel better, function better, and sleep better. The CDC, in a 2020 “Physical Activity Basics” study, recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise a week.
The evidence of health benefits of practicing physical activity out in nature is even clearer, particularly with the brain and we’ll cover that under the Emotional Section. Limit alcohol intake to one drink a day if you are a female, and two drinks a day, if you are a male.
According to studies, like this 2012 Nutrients (NIH) study, it’s perfectly fine and even considered healthy, especially for preventing cardiovascular disease and cancer, by most health experts to consume alcohol moderately, particularly if it’s naturally fermented red wine and beer.
Don’t smoke, this is pretty cut and dry…don’t do it and if you’re doing it, quit, according to an NIH “Smoking and the Heart” study.
Eat a healthy, nutritious diet, the fresher it is the better, which includes five fruits and veggies a day and all the ingredients of what is the typical Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean Diet was chosen, for the 3rd year in a row, in 2020, as the best overall diet by the U.S. News and World Report.
The importance of being fresh, as humanly possible, can’t be stressed enough, because foods can loose as much as 50 percent of nutrients if not fresh, found a University of Uakron “Food Storage and Nutrients” study. The nutrient-rich foods should also be certified organic and GMO-free, per another 2017 Environmental Health (NIH) study. One very good option here is to plant fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, in your own backyard garden.
Not only will you be getting great physical activity, but also supplying you and your family the freshest most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, per a 2016 NIH “Plants: Partners In Health” study. What you should plant, which includes fruits, veggies, raw nuts, and edible flower seeds, and eat include fresh, organic, well-balanced nutrient-dense protein foods.
High-protein foods should include grass-fed finished lean meats, fresh, organic, free-range finished poultry, grass-fed finished dairy and eggs (A); fresh cold-water or wild-caught fish and seafood (A); fresh organic fruits, vegetables, raw nuts, and edible flower seeds (A).
Other foods include organic whole grains and complex carbohydrates, natural fermented foods, monounsaturated oils like extra virgin olive oil, fresh organic herbs and spices, and antioxidant drinks, infused water, naturally fermented red wine and beer, and fruit and veggie smoothies (A). And, reward yourself with a piece of dark chocolate for a snack! Yes, that’s right, dark chocolate, not milk chocolate (A), per a 2017 Frontiers In Immunology (NIH) study.
Supplement your diet with the best natural Adaptogen Super Food, healing plant, Peruvian Maca. As an added protection and assurance, begin the practice of supplementing your diet daily, with an non-toxic, organically grown, natural Adaptogen, healing, nutritious plant food called Peruvian Maca (A).
The wide ranging benefits of Peruvian Maca are well documented, and are incredible, per this 2008 Menopause (NIH) study. High in nutritious value and well-balanced in primary nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and various plant compounds called polyphenols, P Maca is the perfect healthy choice to add to your daily diet.
Maca is a plant with great potential as an adaptogen and appears to be promising as a nutraceutical in the prevention of several diseases,
Reduce your risk for poor health and chronic disease by adapting daily stress relief practices like meditation, as per a 2020 NIH “8 Things to Know About Meditation for Health” study. In addition and so vitally important, is sleeping at least 7 or 8 hours a night. The NIH confirmed the amazing benefits of slumber in this 2013 NIH “Benefits In Slumber” study.
Occupational Well Being Factor(Financial)
Engage in work, a “dream job”, as discussed in a “Dream Job Search” article, or a career, that provides personal satisfaction and enrichment to you, and is consistent with your talents, values, goals and lifestyle, and will keep you professionally healthy.
After sleeping, you spend most of your life working or involved in gainful pursuits, and having an enjoyable and worthwhile form of work is one of the most important factors of How To Live the Best In Life. So, ask yourself a question. Does your work motivate you, and let you use your ability to your full potential?
If it doesn’t, as apparently it is for 1/3 of Americans in the workplace who experience stress, according to a 2013 survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) “Coping With Stress At Work” study, you may need to re-evaluate how you spend your working hours.
Even if you can’t change where you work, you can still change your approach to the stressors and challenges you may face through daily activities. According to a national survey conducted for CareerBuilder in 2013, only 32 percent of college grads landed jobs actually related to their career or chosen field.
Doesn’t it make more sense and worth taking the risk of doing something you love, that uses your talents, as discussed in a “Explore Talents” article, versus doing something that feels safe? Financial health and well being also includes being fully aware of your financial state, and budget, and managing your money to achieve realistic goals.
If you are feeling stressed about your financial situation from being in debt, per a “Freedom From Debt Relief” article, you’re not alone. If you are feeling the harmful signs of stress, you’re in the majority. 72 percent of Americans surveyed in a recent 2018 American Psychological Association Harris poll “Stress In America – Generation Z” study, said they experienced financial stress, including worrying about paying bills, emergencies, taking care of aging parents, children’s college tuition, and their own financial future in retirement.
When you analyze, plan well, and take control of your spending, you can make significant changes to stay out of debt, in how you save, and ultimately, how you feel. Here is one example how financial health can ruin your health.
One meta-analysis 2013 University of South Hampton “Debt Linked to Mental Health Problems” study of nearly 34,000 individuals found that people in debt are three times more likely to have a mental health problem such as depression, than those not in debt. Want another example? Chronic stress, from experiencing long-term debt, throws your body out of whack.
The NIH-reviewed 2014 Social Science Medicine study addressed the relationship between the “high price” of debt and it’s impact on physical and mental health. Quoting the study:
Our findings show that reporting high financial debt relative to available assets is associated with higher perceived stress and depression, worse self-reported general health, and higher diastolic blood pressure, and other serious health issues.
Emotional and Intellectual well being Factor
Just as your flexible body indicates physical health, a flexible mind, indicates intellectual health. When you are intellectual healthy, and always strengthening your intellect, you value lifelong learning, foster critical thinking, develop moral reasoning, expand world views, and engage in additional education for the pursuit of knowledge, according to 2011 Scientific America research “5 Ways To Maximize Your Intelligence”.
Strengthening your intelligence, as well, will be the result, when you learn a new skill or concept, attempt to understand a different point of view, or exercise your mind with puzzles and games, you’re building intellectual well being, found a Harvard Health 2019 “The Thinking On Brain Games” study.
Re-centering, deep-breathing, per a 2017 Breathe (Sheff) reviewed by the NIH; mindful meditation, per a 2020 Mayo Clinic “Meditation: A Simple, Fast Way to Reduce Stress” study; and yoga, per a 2015 Harvard Health “Yoga – Benefits Beyond the Mat” study, are all beneficial in strengthening and changing the state and function of your mind. Learning a new language, studies show, like this one 2012 Elsevier study published in the journal of Neurolmage, for example, strengthens your brain cognition.
Learning how to play the guitar is another by increasing brain plasticity, per an a 2009 F1000 Biology Report (NIH) study out of the University of Zurich.
If you really want to change your brain and state of mind, immerse your self in nature because the healthy beneficial effects of “green spaces” are well-documented. Here are just 3 of many NIH studies that confirm the mind benefits of nature:
“How Does Nature Exposure Make People Healthier?”, per a 2018 PLOS|ONE (NIH) study; “A Review Of the Benefits of Nature Experiences”, per a 2017 Environmental Health Perspective (NIH) study; and “Nature Contact and Human Health,” per a 2009 Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (NIH) study. In addition, exercise and cardiovascular fitness increased cognition and verbal intelligence by 50 percent, per a 2008 Indian Journal of Psychiatry (NIH) study. And eating the proper nutrient-dense foods we’ve outlined in this article, will improve the physical structure of your brain to preventing cognitive decline. Here are a few examples of how nutrient-rich foods help.
The NIH found that few people are aware of the connection between nutrition and depression while they easily understand the connection between nutritional deficiencies and physical illness. Another 2016 “The Mediterranean Diet and ADHD in Children and Adolescents” study published in Journal of Pediatrics, of 120 children and adolescents, consuming fast food, sugar and soft drinks, or the opposite to what is considered the healthiest diet and lifestyle, the Mediterranean diet, was associated with a higher prevalence of diagnosed attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Social well Being Factor
Building a network of human support based on interdependent mutual respect and trust with your friends, family, and co-workers, leads to better health and social well being. Socializing can provide a number of benefits to your physical and mental health. Without social ties, distress emerges and health fails.
For example, studies, like this 2008 BMJ (NIH) study, showed that people’s happiness depends on the happiness of others with whom they are connected with socially.
Did you know that connecting with friends may also boost your brain health and lower your risk of dementia? One example is, the NIH confirmed in a 2011 Journal of Health and Social Behavior study, solid scientific evidence which shows that social relationships affect a range of health outcomes, including mental health, physical health, health habits, and mortality risk.
Developing a sensitivity and awareness toward others’ feelings is another feature of social well being. Evidence shows that social connections not only help you deal with chronic stress, but also keep you healthy. Research like this 2009 Mayo Clinic “Friendships: Enrich Your Life and Improve Your Health” study and review, has shown that one sure way of improving your mood is to work on building social connections.
Genetic Well Being Factor
According to the latest research in Genetics, like a 2006 NIH “Genetics and Health” study, it now appears your genes are influenced and altered by both internal, or inherited genes, and external factors, your thoughts, your attitude, your stress, your social activities, what you eat, your physical activity, and mental attitude. Family medical history is very important because it’s, most likely, the most useful genetic test to rely on, according to a 2020 NIH “Why Is It Important to Know my Family Medical History?” study .
By collecting your family history over several generations, you can learn whether you may be at an increased risk for certain health problems in the future, and whether there are steps you can take to reduce your risks. Genetic and trait variations allows populations to adapt more readily to different environmental changes.
In fact, this variation in population is necessary for evolution of species and natural selection, per a 2020 ScienceDaily “Evolution” review. Because many traits and conditions are the results of combination of genes and environment, we see a wide range of variation for most traits in the population.
But that’s not all, your exposure to microbes, harsh environments, environmental stressors, toxins and pollutants, are all instrumental in your genes switching on and off, determining which proteins are released, whether they are altered or changed, determining if the result will be health or disease, determined a 2003 NIH “Microbial Threats to Health: Emergence, Detection, and Response” study.
We’ll cover gene alteration under Environmental Well Being Factor section. What researchers do know and agree on, is that the interaction between heredity and environment, is often the most important factor of all, per a Kahn Academy video (1).
Environmental Well Being Factor
If you don’t think the environment doesn’t effect your overall health and well being, consider this:
Evidence shows that air pollution can cause lung cancer, the number one cancer killer in the U.S., and many other health-related issues. Wikipedia describes air pollution this way:
Air pollution occurs when harmful or excessive quantities of substances including gases, particles, and biological molecules are introduced into the earth’s atmosphere. It may cause disease, allergies, and even death to humans, and other living organisms, and damage the natural environment.
For more information on air pollution from Wikipedia, read here. Children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to air pollution. In these 2 studies, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) addressed the negative health issues of air pollution associated with young people, per a 2006 Pediatrics Child Health (NIH) study; and older adults, per a 2015 Journal of Thoraicic Disease (NIH) study.
According to the World Health Association (WHO) 2020 “Water, Health, and Ecosystems” research, about one-third of the world’s population lives in countries with moderate to high water stress and pollution, and problems of water scarcity are increasing, as covered in a “Solutions In Water Pollution” article, partly due to ecosystem depletion and contamination. The WHO has forecasted that 2/3 of the world population may be living in water-stressed conditions by the year 2025, if present global consumption patterns and contamination continue.
Thousands have lived without love, not one without water,
British poet W. H. Auden once said.
While most Americans have access to safe drinking water, potentially harmful contaminants, from arsenic to copper to lead, have been traced in our tap water of every single state in our nation, according to a 2017 NRCD “Threats on Tap: Widespread Violations Highlight Need for Investment in Water Infrastructure and Protections” study.
One of the major contaminants is dioxane. Dioxane is very water-soluble and can travel rapidly through ground soils to permeate groundwater supplies and aquifers, according to a EPA “Dioxane Review”. Once polluted with a substance like dioxane, or any of a whole suite of manufacturing chemicals that are being found in water supplies, an aquifer may be unusable for decades, or even thousands of years.
Being environmentally well means recognizing the responsibility to conserve water and preserve, protect, and improve your environment, and also, appreciating your connection to nature. Environmental well being intersects with social well being, when you work together to conserve and protect the environment for future generations, and improve conditions for others around the world, as confirmed in a 2008 Elsevier “Sustainable Development” study .
Spiritual Well Being
You want to know How To Make the Best In Life? Studies suggest spirituality and prayer are beneficial to mental health, physical health and may even add years to your life.
You can seek spiritual well being in many ways, for it’s incredible health benefits, including quiet self-reflection, reading, and open dialogue with others. In medicine, the NIH-reviewed 2001 Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings summed up the importance of incorporating spirituality as part of a patient treatment plan and the health and wellness benefits derived. The NIH said,
In summary, spirituality can be an important element in the way patients face chronic illness, suffering, and loss. Physicians need to address and be attentive to all suffering of their patients—physical, emotional, and spiritual. Doing so is part of delivery of compassionate care. I think we can be better physicians and true partners in our patients’ living and in their dying if we can be compassionate: if we truly listen to their hopes, their fears, and their beliefs and incorporate these beliefs into their therapeutic plans.
For the spiritually-well person, exploring the depth of human purpose, pondering human connectedness, and answering questions like, “Why are we here?”, is okay and welcomed. Seeking spiritual well being includes being open to exploring your own beliefs and respecting others beliefs.
Your connection with your surrounding and the creator of all things, is your first and foremost important facet of your existence. Having an intimate relationship with nature is programmed into our psyche, according to a University of New Hampshire 2016 “Ontology of Close Human-Nature Relationships” study. Since the beginning of time, nature has always been held in reverence, held in high regard, and honored by early man.
Unfortunately, most of modern population lives in urban areas almost totally void of nature. Today you live in a world that has moved away from connecting with nature, by systematically destroying, polluting, and poisoning it, as evidenced by the studies, like an EPA “Air Pollution: Current and Future Challenges” study.
These actions have disrupted ecological balance, by not only destroying nature physically, but also bringing you deep unhealthy negative emotions within yourself, which are innate and you aren’t even aware of these emotions, according to Shilagh Mirgain, PhD, University of Wisconsin Psychologist, in a 2017 UW Health “Health and Wellness” study.
These negative energies expand out of control, affecting a significant portion of the population, and the result is the violence, destruction, and misery that is all around you now and in the entire world, besides what it’s doing to everyone’s health and well being.
By reconnecting with nature through prayer or mindful meditation, you are being mindful of self, and you will receive a quiet spirituality, wisdom, be nurtured with a stronger foundation, strengthening your spiritual well being, and live a life peacefully and justly with nature and all living things.
You will have a quiet respect for others, living in gratitude, volunteer your services to the less fortunate, for example. One NIH-reviewed 2013 American Journal of Public Health study found that helping others brings on a general peace by reducing harmful stress and even mortality, by buffering the association between stress and mortality.
According to a 2016 Pew research “Many Americans Overeat, Fewer Meditate to Cope With Stress” poll, 42 percent of people who practice spiritual prayer or mindful meditation, are stress-free and far more unlikely to overeat or indulge in other unhealthy coping behaviors.
In you forming a strong spiritual well being, you will no longer experience fear of change or concerns of what the future holds because you will have in your possession a consistent source of strength, comfort, peace, meaning, and understanding.
By letting go of the 9 myths covered in a 2018 PsycCentral “These 9 Beliefs Block Your Path to Inner Peace” study, turning to nature will release your inner voice, and by listening to your inner desires, you will experience feelings of fulfillment, peace, and happiness. Connecting to nature, thus oneself, you will find the easiest path to calmness, which you can always summon and always rely on, when life gets difficult or chaotic.
Let go of your ego, and turn inward to discover the great abundance of the universe, by developing your powerful intention, and mindfully releasing it, knowing that the greater power will deliver what you need. Turning inward will release you from the burdens of stress and strife depriving you of enjoying life.
, per a Energy Yoga Wellness Center quote.
Aging is the process and changes which occur in living organisms over time. It sounds simple on the surface, but it is very complicated and open for debate, in how aging occurs, and what causes it, and there is much disagreement over what actually causes aging, as discussed in a 2007 Clinical Interventions in Aging (NIH) study.
These changes are not only physical, but also psychologically, and social, and not always in negative ways, but also in positive ways. An example of aging having benefits is the ability to gain knowledge, experience, and wisdom.
Older people tend to be happier than younger people, and their happiness increasing with age, a 2016 “Paradoxical Trend for Improvement in Mental Health With Aging” study in The Journal of Clinical Psychology reported. Researchers contacted 1,546 people ages twenty-one to ninety-nine via random phone calls, and found older age, not surprisingly, is tied to decline in physical and cognitive function.
But, it was also associated with higher levels of satisfaction, happiness, and well being, and lower levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. The older the person, the study found, the better his or her mental health and well being tended to be.
Experts on the psychology of aging say the new findings add to a growing body of research that suggests there are emotional benefits to getting older. But, how is it possible this paradox exist, with all the myths and negative connotations of aging? According to Laura Carstensen, Stanford Center on Longevity “Mentally Sharp” research, evidence shows that people’s goals and reasoning change as they come to appreciate their mortality and recognize that their time on Earth is finite.
I’m sure you can readily see there are certain specific things you “can do” to assist your body in slowing the aging process, as we have discussed in this article, or at least, prevent the process of aging from accelerating, or causing premature damage:
Watch your weight, eat fresh, as possible, foods which are balanced nutritionally, high in fiber and low in saturated fats and sugars. Drink plenty of water and other fluids such as fruit infused water. Implement a routine of moderate exercise and stretching program at least five days a week.
Supplement your diet with a natural whole, healing food Adaptogen, Maca for added assurance. Stop the use of tobacco products. If you drink alcohol to relax, drink it moderately. Use some relaxation or meditation techniques. Get ample (7-8 hours a night) restful sleep on a specific time schedule.
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(A) Follow these links for more information, more documented studies, or to purchase any of these incredible nutrient-dense foods for a optimal healthy lifestyle.