With the recent arrival of spring and today’s celebration of renewed life, it’s a great opportunity to reflect upon the life we’ve led and set goals for healthy improvement. Therefore, this article serves as a challenge, or opportunity, for us all to refresh and grow.
Sometimes the idea of “setting goals” can seem too daunting, and therefore, nothing much comes of the task. Conversely, many of us tend to go full tilt at the challenge, only to burn out after a short period. No matter what category you fall in, there’s one very important thing to remember: Small steps can travel long distances just as big leaps, but they are much easier to manage.
So on that note, what small changes can you make right now to make your life healthier physically, emotionally or spiritually? The following, from the experts at the Cleveland Clinic, are just a few ideas to help you get started.
Would you like to regularly eat a healthier diet? Write it down (all of it), recommends Mike Roizen, MD, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic. Writing down what you eat makes you more aware of exactly what and how much you’re eating, which helps you make smart food choices and control portions. Sharing that information with a friend means you’re held accountable, plus you get support. Studies show that keeping a food journal and buddying up increase weight-loss success.
Would you like to reduce your stress? Practice deep breathing, offers Michelle Drerup, PsyD, of the Cleveland Clinic Sleep Disorders Center. The quality and rhythm of your breath affects your nervous system, including the portion of the brain that influences your feelings of calm or stress. A conscious, calming breath can offset the experience of anxiety and other stressful emotions. When we breathe fully and deeply, our lungs and chest send signals to our brain and we begin to feel calmer.
Would you like to improve your longevity? Make time for friends says Roxanne Sukol, MD, MS, of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. Results of a study from Brigham Young University showed that people with adequate or high social relationships had a 50 percent greater likelihood of survival than their friendless counterparts. In addition, say experts, people with social support have fewer cardiovascular and immune problems, as well as lower levels of stress.
There you have it—three solid ideas to get you started on your path to renewal. Where will you go from here? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section on how you plan to grow and renew this spring. For more ideas for healthy living, check out www.clevelandclinicwellness.com.