Our multitasking culture of juggling work, home, family, and other obligations often keeps us in an unending grind, contributing to a number of health issues including stress, depression, ulcers, and cancers. While maintaining a healthy diet and incorporating exercise into our routine is hammered into our brains, not enough emphasis is placed on other factors that can significantly improve our overall health.
Here are 5 other areas that can give us a health boost:
Fellowship – We are relational beings who need human contact, so we should create opportunities for group interactions outside of work and home. Whether you find fellowship at church, with your friends at a new restaurant, or become involved in a charitable organization, it’s important for your mental health. Without it we can become lonely and depressed. Additionally, interacting with people of all ages, from different socioeconomic backgrounds, cultures, ideologies, and countries teaches us tolerance and acceptance.
Spirituality – Spirituality is that need to seek a personal connection with something bigger than ourselves. Religious people find a connection to their deity through prayer and chanting, while non-religious people might connect with a higher power or with their inner spirit through nature, meditation, or yoga. No matter how we practice our spirituality, there is no denying its effects. In fact, studies have shown that meditation and other focus-based practices help to reduce stress, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, and other conditions, and encourage positive mental health.
Family – Some might argue that being around family is bad for their health. Think decades-long squabbles, conflicting personalities, opposing political views, and the like. However, making a conscious effort to forgive past transgressions, exercising tolerance, and being more supportive are all good for you. Letting go of bad feelings can improve the immune system, lower blood pressure, increase lifespan, and have other positive outcomes. And… participating in activities and spending quality time with children both help to improve their self-esteem and reduce their likelihood of developing negative behaviors.
Learning – According to Harvard Medical School, to keep a sharp mind you have to keep learning, use all your senses, prioritize your brain use, and repeat what you want to know. Increasing brain activities promotes the growth of new brain cells and can make new neurological connections! It could be as simple as visiting a museum, playing scrabble, or learning to play an instrument. A healthy brain also needs rest, so take time to decompress—nap, meditate, explore nature, daydream, and sleep well.
Achievement – There are some super-high achievers among us—laser-focused on perfection and driven by the win. You don’t have to be one of those people to claim achievement in life. Finding purpose, even if it’s just in one area in your life, can give you the sense of accomplishment you crave. Whatever you want to achieve, put a plan in motion and follow through. Accomplishments trigger dopamine—the “feel-good” neurotransmitter in our brains. And we all want to feel good, right?