One of the most common complaints I hear from patients is that they are feeling worn down and tired. They feel they just don’t have the energy they used to have. This can be a symptom of many medical diseases that need to be checked out by your doctor. However, if those are checked and everything comes back normal, there are other things you can do to get that energy back!
Let’s take a look at the average American lifestyle for a moment…it can be summed up in four words: sedentary, poor diet and stressed. Do you see that in your own life? How do we expect our bodies to function properly when we fill them with unhealthy foods and become so sedentary that even a walk through the grocery store can be difficult . And, when our minds are racing constantly with thoughts related to stress in our lives (“I need to get up earlier to get more done” “My house is a disaster” “My job is taking up too much of my time” “My family is driving me crazy!”) it puts stress on our bodies as well. Our minds never slow down and just rest. If our minds are not rejuvenated daily, our body will not be either, especially if it’s already struggling to overcome the fuel we are feeding it.
You cannot expect your body to feel energized unless you are caring for it properly. It may hang in there for a while, but eventually it will catch up to you and you will begin to feel worn down. I notice that for many people who feel that way, it’s because they ARE worn down. Give your body a break and stop expecting it to function at 100% when you’re only giving it 1%.
Get active, cut the trash out of your diet and find a way to de-clutter your mind. Your body will thank you for it.
Practicing yoga has already been shown to have a positive effect on the overall health of patients with a variety of illnesses including anxiety, depression, cancer and heart failure. Now, a new study by Dr. Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy that was presented at the annual scientific sessions of the American College of Cardiology shows yoga can reduce episodes of irregular heart beats in patients with atrial fibrillation. Dr. Lakkireddy was prompted to study this when he witnessed the improvement in a patient who practiced yoga regularly. Patients in the study participated in a yoga program (which included breathing exercises, yoga postures, meditation and relaxation) three times a week and decreased their irregular heart beat episodes from 2.6 to 1.4. More importantly, they reported an improved quality of life, decreased anxiety and depression.
Here’s another example of how clearing your mind of stress can lead to a healthier body. It’s amazing to me how our physical body is so directly impacted by our mental health. Yoga is just one way to work on improving your mental health. Find what works for you and stick with it…your body will appreciate it!
In 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that children under 2 years old should not have any TV/screen time. None. Despite this, 43% of kids under 2 years old watch TV every day! Not only should 2 year olds not be exposed to adult TV that may be on in the home, but also should avoid exposure to programs that are specifically marketed to parents with children under 2 years old. “Learning videos” like Baby Einstein and cartoons like Blue’s Clues have NO scientific evidence that they will help your child become developmentally advanced. And, there are more and more concerns that these videos may be actually harming your child’s brain development!
A study done at The Child Health Institute at the University of Washington has found a concerning correlation between the amount of TV that 1-3 year olds watch and their later ability to pay attention. For every 1 hour of TV/day before age three, a child is 10% more likely to show ADHD symptoms at age 7.
I have thought the main influence on the rise of ADHD we are seeing in our country is mostly due to the lack of consistent parenting and discipline. But, perhaps another huge factor is that we are actually rewiring our children’s brains from the very beginning to be “ADD.” We already know the best way to help babies develop connections in their brain is with social interaction. Most babies favorite thing to look at is a human face- they can stare at their mom’s face for a long time learning to mimic expressions, see shapes, colors, even emotions. When we substitute that human interaction for screen time (even “learning” screen time), it’s as if we’re telling that brain, go ahead and short circuit all those connections you are trying to develop, you won’t need them. But then that child gets to first grade and we expect them to have the wiring in place to be able to sit still and listen to a story when we haven’t given them what they needed early on to develop it.
Of course every mom needs a few minutes to take a shower or have some “me time.” But, next time you’re about to pop in an educational video for your child under 2, remember you may actually be doing harm and they would rather learn from you anyway!
For more information, I highly recommend Bright from the Start by Jill Stamm, Ph.D.
Have you ever stressed out about something you think other people want you to do? Watch as this man questions the thought, “I’m not living up to my full potential.” Funny how we let our minds convince us our thoughts are true that may not be true at all. And then, those thoughts become beliefs we act on or at least stress and worry about so much it can begin to affect our health and well-being.
Preventive Medicine refers to preventing medical illness and disease instead of treating a disease after it exists. I continue to be amazed at how many patients I see a day who are physically suffering from diseases that can be prevented (referred to as primary prevention) or at least managed better to have fewer complications (referred to as tertiary prevention). For a doctor this is an important and sometimes overlooked area of practicing good medicine. It’s becoming a more and more recognized part of quality medical care as people are searching for ways to provide good care at a more economical cost. There is even a new field of medical training referred to as preventive medicine. As a patient, I invite you to become more proactive in taking part in your own preventive medicine. YOU are the one that lives your life everyday! You know what you eat and what bad habits you have. Being honest with yourself and your doctor about the effect those habits can have on your health is the first step in looking for ways to stay as healthy as you can.
If our country successfully adopted healthy lifestyles and reduced the incidence of obesity, heart disease and diabetes, our cost of medical care would plummet. Education about healthy diets does not seem to be working. I notice that taking a deeper look at what is driving people to turn to unhealthy food or physical inactivity despite their knowledge about what is good for them is more important. Studying the social determinants of health (for example, those that don’t believe they can afford healthier options or have transportation to get it) and the mental determinants of health (for example, poor coping skills causing a anxious person to turn to food for comfort) I believe is the answer. I invite you to take a look at your own life, what is holding you back from making the lifestyle changes you already believe you should make?
Addressing that is true preventive medicine.