One of the many changes we have seen over the past few years in health and wellness is our increased access to online information. There are more podcasts, videos, meet up groups, webinars, and telehealth than ever. Yes, we must sift through using critical thinking and analysis to be sure our sources are credible. That said, I have learned valuable nuggets of wisdom that have supported me in making healthier choices through online events and resources. I have been invited to share my experiences and knowledge around a variety of well-being topics in these venues, as well.
Recently, I was asked to be a presenter at an international health and wellness coach summit. The four days of immersion and interactive learning for health coaches and professionals were filled with new research, best practices, and shared experiences. Research shows that up to 80% of non-communicable, chronic health issues like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, cancer, depression, and anxiety can be reversed through comprehensive lifestyle medicine protocols often administered by health coaches. As a health and wellness coach myself, I continue to be inspired by the progress towards well-being my clients have made through the support of coaching.
Why is health care utilizing health coaches so beneficial? Over 70% of deaths worldwide are related to non-communicable diseases (NCD) and they devastate individuals, families, communities, and country healthcare systems. Health care providers and patients are frustrated and agree that we need new evidence-based, innovative solutions proven to stop and reverse lifestyle-based chronic diseases. The scientific evidence has proven lifestyle is medicine, and health coaches are trained to guide clients through habit and life changes using comprehensive tools to address the root-causes of chronic health issues.
The three-person panel I participated in chose the topic “Evolving into Your Best Self.” I engaged in an inspiring conversation with two physicians who are also health coaches. We each have a mind-body-spirit approach to our understanding of well-being and our practices. It was fun to bounce ideas and tips off each other throughout the live presentation. I’m passing along a few of them to you.
Foundational Practices for Self-Care
It is important to build self-care practices into your daily life. Living mindfully, paying attention in the present moment with as little judgment as possible, is critical. Noticing how you are feeling – when you are stressed, tired, hungry, or unsatisfied – is the first step in choosing to make a positive change. Consider the pillars of lifestyle medicine in your self-reflection. They include nutrition, sleep, physical activity, stress management, tobacco/alcohol cessation, and healthy relationships. How satisfied are you in each of these categories? Is there one small step you could take to improve your health in each of these areas?
Expanding your mindset
With foundational practices as a part of your daily routine, continuing your mindful living can open you to noticing more experiences of gratitude, positivity, beauty, and delight. When you move from primarily living dysregulated to being mostly regulated, you can develop your well-being practices into expanding your mindset. Your mindset acts as a lens through which you see the world. It impacts what you notice, how you interpret different situations, and your well-being.
Beginner’s mind refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions as you live moment to moment. This ignites curiosity, creativity, and new possibilities. Growth mindset encourages you to learn new strategies and skills which enhances meaning and purpose. A positive mindset uses strategies like gratitude, reappraisal, and savoring to identify the good things and increases your positive emotions and contentment.
These mindsets foster conditions for transformation, a new expanded world view. They can also cultivate your capacity to notice more subtle ways of knowing such as intuition, synchronicity, and revelation. You may also experience an increase in your confidence to take risks, stretch yourself, and explore new areas of learning. These practices not only improve your physical health, but can positively impact your mental, emotional, relational, spiritual, occupational, and societal health.
As your inner health and wellness improves, you have a direct positive impact on your family, friends, neighbors, and community. If you continue to expand your mindset, you become more authentic and empowered. You live as the best version of yourself. Your example will inspire those around you to do the same. Optimal health is a gift that keeps on giving!