Even healers need to be healed at times, so below I have included some information on how focusing on the mind, body, and spirit could make a positive impact on your well-being. Some of these may be impossible right now, but others, like breathing, can be done when you just have five seconds.
Excelling at Mind-Body Practices
Mindfulness is one of the most effective and well-researched mind-body skills. More than 2,500 studies in the past 20 years have demonstrated the positive impact of mindfulness on physical, emotional, cognitive, and psychological well-being. Yet, most people completely underestimate its power. For example, mindfulness decreases emotional distress and anxiety, improves pain, changes our genes, grows our brain, and increases our well-being and quality of life.
Here are just a few examples of how to practice mindfulness:
Mastering the Physical Needs of Your Body
We all know exercise and eating right keeps our bodies in the best shape. This is an integral part of whole-person health, and it is vital to create what we generally consider "feeling healthy." It creates a baseline of where you feel best and helps you notice earlier when your body is telling you that something is wrong. This might imply your immunity level is low, you're fighting off an illness, or you are in pain.
Food as Fuel
To do this, ensure your body is fueled appropriately following healthy eating patterns, like those based on the Mediterranean diet. With an extensive list of benefits, this diet focuses on eating fish or seafood, beans, and whole grains, and choosing plant-based foods as a foundation of every meal like fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients as well. This eating method is strongly associated with benefits for cognitive function, depression, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and much more. Download the Mediterranean Diet Pocket Guide here.
A Note About Vitamin D and COVID 19
As the pandemic continues, we learn more about who it affects and how to keep ourselves safe. I wanted to be sure you knew my stance on one factor that is often in the press, low vitamin-D levels. There are now large observational studies showing that high serum vitamin-D levels are associated with better outcomes to viruses, including influenza and SARS-COV-2 that causes Covid. Whether supplementing with vitamin-D also improves the outcome is unknown. However, supplementation for patients without calcium or renal problems is safe, as long as it is from a reputable supplier. The basic guidance I give recommends that adults take 100mcg or 4000 IU of vitamin D for each day to achieve 25(OH)D serum levels to at least 30ng/ml and over 60ng/ml, if possible. Learn more in my cosigned letter to The National. Washing hands, proper distancing, and wearing a mask, are important things patients (and you) can do to protect everyone.
Exercise plays a role in how you feel physically. Cardio like walking, running, and biking improves health, both physically and mentally. Strength-training should be monitored, but it helps with the risk of heart attacks, retaining motor function, and more. Moving meditations like Tai Chi and Qigong works on muscle control, balance and incorporate a mindfulness component. Learn more details about each of these exercise methods.
Spirituality's Impact on Whole-Person
For many, spirituality, faith, and religion are central parts of who they are at their core. These can help you find happiness and meaning within rather than from external influences such as money, belongings, work, fame, or food. Focusing on material items can leave a feeling of being empty, lost, and alone. Having a purpose that involves helping others – family, friends, community, etc. – is one of the most consistent factors correlated with a long and happy life.
Watch a clip of my discussion with my daughter Rev. Maeba Jonas on the connection between healing and spirituality.
Once you understand your inner self on a spiritual level, you can bring this sense of peace, wholeness, and healing to others. Connecting with your spirituality or faith can help during stressful times in life. For example, it can help you when becoming a caregiver to a loved one or experiencing a life-changing event.
Take care of your mind, body, and spirit to provide yourself with the opportunity to stay healthy and help others. Use this month as a starting point to connect the dots between mindfulness and the impact on your body, mind, community, and spirit.