Do you have Natural Vitality; a zest for life; a steady flow of the energy you need to perform well in your work and to enjoy your leisure activities to the full?
The answers to these questions identify where people fit into the following four-level hierarchy:
Can truthfully answer “yes” because the fundamentals for high-level wellness are present in their lives.
Can answer “yes” but only because their energy is boosted artificially by the use of stimulants like coffee, energy drinks or high-sugar foods.
Say “no”, because of poor lifestyle practices, poor diet, or because some aspect of their lives is sapping their energy.
Say “no” for reasons of illness. They may have a condition, such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, that denies them the energy they need, or they may be suffering from the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs prescribed for a condition not directly related to fatigue.
Anybody in Level One will be keen to maintain their high level of functioning while others will, no doubt, aspire to move up to Level One.
What actions can people take?
The first step for those who are operating at Level Four will be to take as holistic an approach as possible to identifying and addressing the underlying causes of their condition. If drug side-effects are contributing to the problem then it may be possible for them to work with their Doctors to find ways to reduce the dose or to move to a less debilitating drug.
Level Three people will need to work with a holistic practitioner to conduct an audit of diet, lifestyle and other areas such as emotional issues or sources of stress that are robbing them of energy. Once problems have been identified, steps can be taken to correct them.
Those at Level Two might not realise that they are “running on empty” and making demands of their bodies that can have serious longer-term consequences. If we find that we “need” stimulants then this is a danger signal and help should be sought. Other danger signals include awaking unrefreshed, poor appetite, reduced libido or frequent infections.
Those operating at Level One should be congratulated and will want to ensure that they know how to maintain their enviable status.
The fundamentals for high-level wellness
1. Drink around 2 litres of water every day
Only clean, high quality water counts in measuring the 2 litres. Teas (other than herbal), milk, soft drinks, energy drinks and alcohol should definitely not be counted. An adequate intake of water will reduce the risk of headaches and promote cleaner blood, clearer skin and enhanced digestion.
2. Eat in ways that support vitality
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and, ideally, will include a good source of protein such as eggs, beans or fish. Plan to incorporate into every meal, lean protein especially fish, low Glycaemic Index carbohydrates (ie not white bread, pasta or rice), copious vegetables and fruit. Avoid margarine completely and minimise sources of refined sugar such as cakes, lollies and most bottled fruit juices
3. Vitamins and Minerals
Many of us are deficient in essential vitamins and minerals, even when we eat a good diet, because many of the foods we buy have been grown in depleted soils and are lacking in key nutrients. It is wise for most people to take a good multi-vitamin and mineral supplement, daily.
4. Managing Stress
Chronic (long-term) stress can have a devastating impact on our vitality. The body responds by maintaining continuous, low-level secretions of adrenaline into the blood stream which can damage the adrenal glands and blood vessels and lowers our immunity. It is crucial to our wellbeing that we minimise stress in our lives and learn ways to manage it effectively.
5. Anxiety and Depression
Some of us are plagued by a feeling of apprehension; free-floating anxiety that “something might happen.” Others suffer from mild depression, the signs of which may include poor or increased appetite, changed sleeping patterns, inactivity or hyperactivity, no interest in anything or poor concentration. It is very important to seek help, initially from a natural therapist, if we feel anxiety or mild depression could be undermining our vitality.
Physical activity is essential to wellbeing. Those of us already committed to frequent work-outs at the Gym are doing well. However, there are major benefits to be gained from regular moderate exercise. Regularity is the key and a 20 minute walk every day is better than a vigorous Gym session once per week. Exercise brings many benefits including stress release, lightening of depression, improved digestion and better sleep.
When we regularly sleep well, and for long enough, we feel much better both physically and mentally. Most people need at least 6 hours (preferably 8 hours) of refreshing sleep. Good quality sleep will usually involve several periods of dreaming but our time in bed will be less beneficial if we are “tossing and turning”.
Among the actions we can take to promote good sleep are, exercise during the day, avoiding stimulants like coffee after mid-day, eating a small meal early in the evening and having a quiet, dark room for sleeping. Carefully chosen Herbal Medicines can help in establishing good sleeping habits.
8. Maintain Good Immunity
Infections, even relatively mild coughs and sniffles, will quickly rob us of our vitality. It is important to keep our immune defences functioning well so that the body can resist attacks from germs and viruses.
This is a complex area but the basics are simple: maintain an excellent diet with adequate protein, minimal sugar and zero junk food; minimise and manage stress; have regular adequate sleep; take any necessary supplements; reinforce your defences with herbal medicines when you sense a problem coming on; do everything possible to avoid taking antibiotics as they will compromise your immune system.
9. Hormonal Balance
The state of our wellbeing and vitality is profoundly influenced by our hormones. This is true for both sexes and hormonal imbalances may manifest in men in the form of heightened irritability or aggressive tendencies; many women experience the vitality-draining symptoms of pre-menstrual tension, period pain or Mittelschmerz (ovulation pain). In many cases such imbalances can be corrected relatively quickly by dietary changes, weight management and the use of powerful herbal remedies.
10. A Life in Balance
Our vitality is greater and our lives are more rewarding when there is balance between work and leisure, activity and rest, interaction and reflection. It might not be possible to achieve balance every day but most of us are able to manage our lives in such a way that everything “balances out” over time.
For more information on maintaining a healthy holistic wellbeing, contact Peter, your Naturopath in Adelaide.