Be Vigilant With Your Health

Some accidents and illnesses are beyond our control–falls for example; or autoimmune disorders or some forms of cancer.
For the most part, however, there are many ways in which we can control our health:
Manage your stress
Some stress is good-getting married, moving, beginning a new job. Other stress, not so good-constant deadlines, working or living in negative environments, saying yes to too many activities or projects. This stress keeps your body in a constant fight or flight mode. The stress hormone cortisol remains high in your body which can wreak havoc on your system by weakening your immune system, causing insomnia and depression in addition to many other problems.
There are many ways to manage stress, meditation and yoga are what many people thing of first. But there is another more profound way–change your perception. I will give you an example. Today was seeing my home care patients; the first was on the east side, the second was on the west side, the third back on the east side sorta way east and the last was up in Harlem.
On my way to see the third patient, I took the train downtown and waited to take the bus towards the east side. Everything was great until I looked up and saw everyone was getting off the bus and I realized I had gotten on the bus heading west (insert angry emoji). Now I was going to be super late as I waited for the bus to make it’s slow trek back east for this patient and even later for the other who was BACK ACROSS TOWN and UPTOWN!!!
What could I do about this? Nothing. So I didn’t get upset about it. I called the uptown patient and asked to see her on a different day. She said, “Ok, no problem.” When I finally arrived at my way east side patient’s home, I apologized profusely. She also replied, “Hey, no problem, it happens.”
I could have gotten uptight, with my anxiety and anger increasing at every red light or customer pick up, the stress hormone cortisol mounting moment by moment. What would that have done for me? And it all would have been for nothing since neither patient was upset. But even if they were, what can you do about someone who is upset? Empathize with them, sincerely apologize and carry on.
Why go to the doctor for these stress-related illnesses when you can take charge of your life and your health by changing your perception and reactions to events that come your way?
“If you change the way you look at things the things you look at change” — Wayne Dyer
Eating overly processed food, simple carbs, sugar (which is in everything), transfatty acids and saturated fats regularly, can have the following effects on you:

  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Type-2 diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Some cancers
  • Depression
With good nutrition, these illness are so preventable!! Think of the time and expense of becoming sick, not to mention the drugs that you end up taking when you have a diagnosis of diabetes or high blood pressure (and the side-effects that may arise from these meds). Read more about the risks of poor nutrition here.
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”–Jim Rohn
Sleep is the new black. Everyone is talking, writing and blogging about just how important sleep is. A chronic lack of sleep can lead to the exact same illnesses as being highly stressed and/or having poor nutrition:
  • Weight gain/obesity
  • Risk of heart disease
  • Risk of stroke
  • Depression
  • Poor immunity
  • Poor concentration (which can lead to accidents depending on the job)
Read here for more reasons you need quality sleep.
“The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.”
–E. Joseph Cossman
A lack of exercise is…wait for it…no bueno!!! Guess what happens to your body when you lead a sedentary lifestyle:
  • Greater risk of developing high blood pressure
  • Risk for type 2 diabetes.
  • Coronary heart disease than those who are inactive.
  • Anxiety and depression.Physical inactivity may increase the
  • Risk of certain cancers
According to an article by Johns Hopkins Medicine, “Thousands and thousands of deaths occur each year due to a lack of regular physical activity.”
“To enjoy the glow of good health, you must exercise.”–Gene Tunney
Exercise your brain
With age the brain changes and mental function changes as well. However, cognitive decline is not a given. According to there are several ways to remain mentally sharp as we grow into our elder years:
  • Mental stimulation by doing crossword puzzles, learning a language or learning to play an instrument;
  • Get physical exercise.  Research shows that using your muscles also helps your mind. People who exercise regularly increase the number of tiny blood vessels that bring oxygen-rich blood to the region of the brain that is responsible for thought;
  • Improve your diet. People who maintain a Mediterranean style diet, (fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, unsaturated oils (olive oil) and plant sources of proteins) are less likely to develop cognitive impairment and dementia;
  • Improve your blood pressure;
  • Improve your sugar level;
  • Improve your cholesterol level. High levels of LDL, the bad cholesterol, are associated with an increased the risk of dementia;
  • Avoid tobacco in all forms;
  • Don’t abuse alcohol. Excessive drinking is a contributing factor to dementia;
  • Care for your emotions. Anxiety, depression, sleep deprivation and/or exhaustion may be predictors of cognitive decline with age
  • Maintain social networks. Strong social ties are associated with a lower risk of dementia, as well as lower blood pressure and longer life expectancy.
“True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united”–Wilhelm Von Humboldt
Maintain dominion and control of your health by implementing all of the above–stress management, good nutrition, sleep, and exercise of body and mind. You don’t have to give your power over to doctors and big pharma.
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Book Authored by Deidre Ann Johnson

Keep this handy book by your desk while working or in your carry on when travelling for tips to keep you flexible and pain free.

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