5 Steps to Wellness: A Commonsense Rx
Wellness without any pills, potions, or procedures? It can be possible according to CAPT George Ceremuga, DO.
Before his current assignment, Dr. Ceremuga was the Chief of the Integrative Holistic Medicine program at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital. He led the inpatient substance abuse program where they had a saying:
“Just for today, do the next right thing and good things happen.”
New health data released late 2015 shows that we need this advice now more than ever.
A Generation in Distress
For the first time in decades, mortality rates have increased for middle-aged non-Hispanic white men and women.[i] Mid-life distress is on the rise as can be seen by “declines in self-reported health, mental health, and ability to work, increased reports of pain, and deteriorating measures of liver function” (Case et al., 2015, p. 1).
But in the midst of this distressing news is a kernel of hope.
Overwhelming evidence shows that good lifestyle choices in diet, physical activity, tobacco and alcohol use, stress management and social connections improve overall health and reduce the impact due to chronic illness and mental disease.[ii]
This means that the choices you make today matter.
5 Steps to Wellness
Dr. Ceremuga’s prescription for wellness includes 5 simple and common sense choices. But choosing healthy habits takes discipline especially since our medical system can make you feel that your health is outside of your control. But most of this time, that’s not true. Studies have shown that up to 70% of health comes from everyday decisions.
As the New Year brings a moment of reflection, consider Dr. Ceremuga’s 5 Pillars of Wellness:
1. You are what you drink.
The human body is made up of 60-70% water. Sufficient water intake impacts weight loss, muscle fatigue, skin health, kidneys, bowel function and more. Remember to drink water by carrying it with you everywhere you go and drink it with every snack and meal.
2. Eat good, whole foods.
A healthy anti-inflammatory diet like the Mediterranean diet with a focus on vegetables and fruits will keep your body powered up. Focus on adding good food rather than depriving yourself of things you shouldn’t have. An added bonus: since vegetables and fruits contain mostly water, they will add to your hydration levels.
3. Move more! Motion is a lotion.
We all know the therapeutic benefits to exercise so be sure to fit movement into your day. At least 30 minutes a day of exercise is important. Ask your doctor for ways to move more and for advice on how much exercise is right for you especially if you are trying to lose weight or have certain physical conditions.
4. Recharge at night.
Get 7-9 hours of sleep to reconstitute your body. Getting enough sleep may have surprising benefits including a better sex life, better overall health, less pain, clearer memory and better weight control.[iii]
5. Nourish your spiritual self.
Focus on love and forgiveness—and start with yourself. If you are not loving and forgiving of yourself, it’s hard to inspire, motivate and encourage others. Try a loving kindness meditation and see how it makes you feel.
And a bonus: Check your relationships.
Maintaining positive social connections is essential to a healthy life. Read our article to see if you are in a healing relationship.
Just one positive change will put you on the path to wellness. See what resonates with you and start there because as Dr. Ceremuga says:
“Do the next right thing, and good things happen.”
[i] Case A, Deaton A. (Nov 2015) Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/10/29/1518393112
[ii] Kvaavik, Elisabeth (April 2010). “Influence of Individual and Combined Health Behaviors on Total and Cause-Specific Mortality in Men and Women: The United Kingdom Health and Lifestyle Survey”. JAMA Internal Medicine 170 (8). PMID 20421558. Retrieved 7 July 2015.