Good health often starts with living a whole-person lifestyle. That means focusing not just on our physical health, but our mental and spiritual health as well.
At AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, we focus on whole-person health through the faith-based CREATION Life principles. Each of those components – choice, rest, environment, activity, trust in God, interpersonal relationships and nutrition – can help us improve our health from the inside out.
You can start to embrace these CREATION Life principles with the following tips:
Get Lots of Rest
Lack of sleep (or poor-quality sleep) can severely weaken your immune system. Adults should strive to get seven to eight hours every night – closer to eight.
“We have lost nearly two hours of nightly sleep since the last century,” says Tereza Hubkova, MD, integrative physician, AdventHealth Shawnee Mission. “It comes at a high cost to our immune system and brain health.”
Also, remember to make time for rest throughout your day. Listen to music, read, meditate, or try deep breathing exercises.
Eat Healthy Foods
Poor diet is one of the biggest roadblocks to good health. Dr. Hubkova recommends eating real (not processed) food, at least 25 to 35 grams of fiber daily, a variety of colors (from spices, fruits and vegetables) and avoid artificial sweeteners.
Be Mindful of Emotions
Your emotions, faith, beliefs and hopes can play a part in your health and healing. Positive emotions like love, gratitude and appreciation help strengthen our immune system, while negative emotions like anger, frustration and hostility can have a toxic effect.
Praying, reading and journaling can help increase your feelings of gratitude and appreciation. Listening to music you enjoy is shown to have a positive effect on your immune system. For example, Dr. Hubkova says drumming circles are thought to increase natural killer cells, which fight cancer and viruses, and singing can increase salivary immunoglobins that protect against respiratory infections.
Get Your Exercise
Working out regularly can help you be more resilient against a variety of diseases – it lowers your blood sugar, improves your mood and helps you sleep better. Overexertion (such as running a marathon), however, is not good for your body, including your immunity. “For optimal health, it’s good to train for a marathon, but never actually run it,” says Dr. Hubkova.
Go Out in the Sun
Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to asthma, autoimmune diseases, cancers, heart disease, depression, fatigue and a higher risk of fracture. A brisk 15-minute walk twice daily in the sunlight will help your skin produce vitamin D. But during the winter months, most of us still require vitamin D supplements.
In addition, if you have kids, encourage them to get outside. “Children need exposure to nature, dirt, pets and natural surface playgrounds – not artificial turfs full of toxins,” says Dr. Hubkova. “This sets the stage for how healthy our immune system will be for the rest of our life.”
For more information on CREATION Life and how it contributes to our whole health – mind, body and spirit – visit AdventHealthKC.com.
Ann Muder is a freelance writer and editor for AdventHealth Shawnee Mission.