Habits for Whole Health and Well-Being

Habits for Whole Health and Well-Being
Life is made up largely of habits. They are the ABC’s that are always basic components of our lives. I have developed a list of habits, A through G, that affect our whole health and well-being. I found that using this list with members of Whole Health educational groups helped us remember what affects our health. Let’s stroll down alphabet lane.
A is for animal. Not that I consider us just as animals, but that all of us share with animals the needs for shelter, food, water, rest, exercise, and social relationships. These are BASIC AND NECESSARY for physical survival.
B is for beliefs. Our beliefs have many sources. What we believe comes first from parents and also from brothers and sisters, other children, grandparents, teachers, religious leaders, the community and society. We adopt beliefs from people and organizations whom we take to be our authorities.
Sometimes we come to our own conclusions rather than accept the ideas presented to us by others. We become “our own authority.” Whether we adopt our beliefs from others or come to our own conclusions, our beliefs serve as our guides to and judges of our behavior.
Beliefs color our view of the world and our everyday behavior. This is true even if we have NO BELIEFS. If we have no beliefs, we believe that something or some things are not believable. Beliefs may be helpful to us or detrimental to us.
Evaluating our beliefs is difficult. They are usually associated with emotions. Beliefs are hard to change. We cling to them because they are “right” and “true” or else we wouldn’t believe them. Usually our beliefs were helpful and adaptive when we accepted them. As adults we may re-evaluate their rightness and truth with a better frame of reference than we could as children.
C is for change. Change is always occurring. Sometimes change is subtle and sometimes dramatic.
Yet, if we wish to change something we must make definite plans to do so. Usually, if things are going well, we do not wish to change. When we are unhappy or hurting in some way, then maybe we will try to change. We plan for change when it has to do with things or people we care about. At the root of planned change is an idea of something different that we would prefer to the way it is today.
In therapy it is often said that we are the only ones we can change. That is, if I want change, I must change the way I am or the way I behave or the way I feel or the way I think or all the above.
Sometimes, as a result of the changes we make, others change in response to our changes. Sometimes they change because they want to change, regardless of what we want or do. So the general principle remains: we really can change only ourselves and can have the most satisfying results if we concentrate our efforts on changing ourselves, our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Sometimes, in spite of our efforts to change, we find ourselves in the same old rut, doing the same thing or having the same thing happen to us over and over. A vicious cycle. You may go to the section on Stepping Out of Vicious Circles if you need to now https://evelynmmaxwell.com/2013/11/02/stepping-out-of-vicious-circles/. The book mentioned earlier, Straight Talk by Miller and associates, helped me immensely in developing my system for getting out of vicious circles. It takes time to work through some of the thoughts and emotions that are aroused when you think of your own vicious circle. It takes time to figure out what you REALLY want for yourself and for others.
D is for daily. Good health depends on good daily habits and a daily routine. We need to eat every day, three or four times a day. We need water every day. Some daily exercise is necessary. Staying in bed all day, every day, seldom promotes health. We need sleep and rest every day. We need a daily routine, a healthful pattern or rhythm of sleep, nutrition, work, exercise, recreation, meditation, and rest. Only in unusual marathons should we “eat on the run” or “rock around the clock.”
E is for emotions. Emotions are what move us to action. We do something about the things and people we care about. Emotions motivate us. When we ignore our feelings, our emotions, we ignore our health. When we recognize our feelings we can work with them to improve any situation. We have a wide range of emotions mostly related to being glad, sad, or mad. And we have emotional habits, patterns of emotional responses to everyday life.
See the difference in intensity of feelings by reviewing “Feeling Words” at https://evelynmmaxwell.com/feeling-words/
To change patterns of emotional responses see “Stepping Out of Vicious Circles” https://evelynmmaxwell.com/2013/11/02/stepping-out-of-vicious-circles/.
F is for finances. In our economic system, money is necessary for life. You cannot meet any of the basic physical needs in a responsible way without money, either your own or someone else’s money. Government programs and charitable programs are available to meet some basic needs, but often cannot meet all our needs. As the lady says, “You’ve got to do it yourself.” You either have to search out the job, the program, the educational opportunities, or sit in your corner waiting to be rescued by someone. Even if you are rescued, there is much that you yourself must do to keep on going in the way you want to go. Sometimes we need to change our financial habits. For free budgeting online see https://www.mint.com/?cid=ppc_gg_nb_stan_Free-Personal-Budget&srid=sr3_1597859_go&kw=personal%20budget%20free
or http://download.cnet.com/SimpleD-Budget/3000-2057_4-10766253.html
or do you want to save more? go to http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/FinancialManagement/doc15274.ashx
More questions? http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/FinancialManagement/doc15274.ashx
Want to watch a video about how finance and debt affect us spiritually?
G is for God. Those who have a habit of turning to God have access to a real and present Power. God is more than a “set of beliefs” or a “faith.” New and dynamic dimensions open to us when we become open to God and communicate with God through habitual prayer and meditation. The book I love most for prayer and meditation is “The Practice of the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence, it is published in various editions.

Here is an example of how habits are important to health.

I wasn’t able to take the medication the doctor ordered for my depression. It made me feel worse than ever. I made up my mind to be better by Thanksgiving. The doctor said I had to keep up my daily routine. I got up early and went to bed early. I ate three good meals a day. I wasn’t hungry, but I ate anyway. I went to work no matter how bad I felt. The support of my friends and work helped me most of all. When I got home from work I didn’t lie down and go to sleep. I wanted to, but I stayed awake so I could sleep better at night. At first I didn’t sleep very well, then I got so I slept at night O.K. I went to a lot of entertainment no matter how bad I felt. I prayed a lot. You have got to do it yourself, nobody else can do it for you.

This lady took an active part in her recovery. She prayed for God’s help to do what she knew she had to do, and she did it. Perhaps knowing that she could not depend on medication helped her realize that she had to do it by herself. She also knew that her mood affected others who love and care about her and that they were saddened by how badly she felt. Sticking to her routine, no matter how she felt, played a big part in her recovery. Caring family, friends, and a support group were also part of her recovery. A doctor who worked with her on specific instructions regarding her habits for overcoming her malaise and depression with its sleep disturbance was another part. A change in medication was also indicated.

Depression is a very common complaint. It occurs more often in women than in men. One of the early signs of depression is fatigue.

FATIGUE is a sign that we need to review our habits. A fairly new diagnosis that defies medical science is Fatigue Syndrome. A syndrome is not really a disease with a cause such as a bacteria or virus infection. Fatigue is an initial symptom of many illnesses when the body is just beginning to succumb. Fatigue may be combatted by improving our habits of nutrition, rest, sleep, exercise and emotional self-care.
We prevent and even overcome many illnesses by responding to the early sign of fatigue and improving our health habits. In addition, fatigue can be the direct result of poor health habits.
You can use the ABC’s for Whole Health as a starting place.


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