Physical fitness is not the sole basis of being healthy; being healthy means being mentally and emotionally fit. Being healthy should be part of your overall lifestyle. Living a healthy lifestyle can help prevent chronic diseases and long-term illnesses. Feeling good about yourself and taking care of your health are important for your self-esteem and self-image. Maintain a healthy lifestyle by doing what is right for your body.
A positive attitude can boost your energy, heighten your inner strength, inspire others, and garner the fortitude to meet difficult challenges. Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. – Winston Churchill
There’s a direct correlation between a positive attitude and better relationships, superior health, and greater success. Some studies show that personality traits like optimism and pessimism can affect many areas of your health and well-being. The positive thinking that typically comes with optimism is a key part of effective stress management. A positive attitude can boost your energy, heighten your inner strength, inspire others, and garner the fortitude to meet difficult challenges.
According to research from the Mayo Clinic, positive thinking can increase your life span, decrease depression, reduce levels of distress, offer better psychological and physical well-being, and enable you to cope better during hardships and times of stress. And effective stress management is associated with many health benefits.
Here are several ways to adopt a positive mental attitude:
1. Positive thinking often starts with self-talk. Self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head every day. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative. Some of your self-talk comes from logic and reason. Other self-talk may arise from misconceptions that you create because of lack of information.
2. Surround yourself with positive people. Spend time with people who are positive, supportive, and who energize you. Remember, if you get too close to a drowning victim, he may take you down with him. Pick a positive person instead.
3. Be positive yourself. If you don’t want to be surrounded by negative people, what makes you think others do? Learn to master your own thoughts.
Control your negative thinking. This can be accomplished in the following ways:
4. Consciously resist negative thinking. Be cognizant of and mentally avoid negative thinking. This will help you modify your behavior.
5. Be nice to yourself. Unfortunately, some people say the meanest things to themselves. If you criticize yourself long enough, you’ll start to believe it. This negativity can drag you down over time. It may be time to fire the critic and hire the advocate.
6. Set realistic, achievable goals. There’s nothing wrong with setting a high bar — unless you beat yourself up for not achieving your goals. The key is to build confidence by setting realistic goals and by hitting a lot of singles rather than swinging for the fences.
7. Keep it in perspective. Life is all about prioritizing the things that matter most in your life and focusing your efforts in these areas. This means that trivial things that go wrong every day shouldn’t get you down. Learn to address or ignore small issues and move on. It’s time to sweat the big stuff.
8. Turn challenges into opportunities. Instead of letting challenges overwhelm you, turn them into opportunities. (Rather than hitting the wall, climb over it or go around.)
9. Count your blessings. Be grateful and give thanks for the special things in your life rather than taking them for granted. Some people do this by giving thanks around the dinner table, keeping a written journal, or posting one special item each day on Facebook. Remember, some of the greatest possessions in life aren’t material. Take every opportunity to make a wonderful new memory.
It’s unclear why people who engage in positive thinking experience these health benefits. One theory is that having a positive outlook enables you to cope better with stressful situations, which reduces the harmful health effects of stress on your body. It’s also thought that positive and optimistic people tend to live healthier lifestyles — they get more physical activity, follow a healthier diet, and don’t smoke or drink alcohol in excess.
Advice on aerobic, flexibility, strength training and balance exercises to help manage and reduce PN symptoms.
Research has shown that strengthening exercises for peripheral neuropathy moderately improve muscle strength in people with PN. In addition, exercises to help peripheral neuropathy, when done regularly, may reduce neuropathic pain and can help control blood sugar levels. A comprehensive physical activity routine includes four kinds of activities:
Refer to a physical or occupational therapist, or a healthcare provider, regarding an exercise program that’s right for you.
Good nutrition is often the first line of defense to avoid many diseases, including peripheral neuropathy. The best way to prevent peripheral neuropathy is to carefully manage any medical condition that puts you at risk. That means controlling your blood sugar level if you have diabetes or talking to your doctor about safe and effective treatments if you think you may have a problem with alcohol. Whether or not you have a medical condition, eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. Keep a food diary so you are aware of what you’re eating and to make sure you get all the nutrients you need each day to stay as healthy as possible.
Advice for daily care of your physical needs and managing the stress of dealing with peripheral neuropathy.
What predicts depression and anxiety among people with PN? Not necessarily the severity of the PN symptoms! The predictors are the psychological variables (i.e.: How do you feel? Hopeless, optimistic, anxious, etc.); social variables (i.e.: Are you active? Do you have support?) All of these variables can be changed!
Dwelling on what might have been if you were not diagnosed, self-pitying, ruminating about better times, and think of yourself primarily as a “PN patient” does not provide the escape from stress of the illness. These coping strategies are ineffective and can make your neuropathy symptoms worse.
Below are effective Self-Care and Coping Skills:
The following suggestions can help you manage peripheral neuropathy:
Take care of your feet, especially if you have diabetes. Check your feet daily for signs of blisters, cuts or calluses. Tight shoes and socks can worsen pain and tingling and may lead to sores that won’t heal. Wear soft, loose cotton socks and padded shoes. You can use a semicircular hoop, which is available in medical supply stores, to keep bed covers off hot or sensitive feet.
Quit smoking. Cigarette smoking can affect circulation, increasing the risk of foot problems and possibly amputation.
Eat healthy meals. If you’re at high risk of neuropathy or have a chronic medical condition, healthy eating is especially important. Emphasize low-fat meats and dairy products and include lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet. Drink alcohol in moderation.
Massage. Massage your hands and feet, or have someone massage them for you. Massage helps improve circulation, stimulates nerves and may temporarily relieve pain.
Avoid prolonged pressure. Don’t keep your knees crossed or lean on your elbows for long periods of time. Doing so may cause new nerve damage.
Living with chronic pain or disability presents daily challenges. Some of these suggestions may make it easier for you to cope:
Set priorities. Decide which tasks you need to do on a given day, such as paying bills or shopping for groceries, and which can wait until another time. Stay active, but don’t overdo.
Acceptance & Acknowledgement. Accept and acknowledge the negative aspects of the illness, but then move forward to become more positive to find what works best for you.
Find the positive aspects of the disorder. Of course you are thinking there is nothing positive about PN. Perhaps your outlook can help increase empathy, encourage you to maintain a balanced schedule or maintaining a healthier lifestyle.
Get out of the house. When you have severe pain, it’s natural to want to be alone. But this only makes it easier to focus on your pain. Instead, visit a friend, go to a movie or take a walk.
Get moving. Develop an exercise program that works for you to maintain your optimum fitness. It gives you something you can control, and provides so many benefits to your physical and emotional well-being.
Seek and accept support. It isn’t a sign of weakness to ask for or accept help when you need it. In addition to support from family and friends, consider joining a chronic pain support group. Although support groups aren’t for everyone, they can be good places to hear about coping techniques or treatments that have worked for others. You’ll also meet people who understand what you’re going through. To find a support group in your community, check with your doctor, a nurse or the county health department.
Prepare for challenging situations. If something especially stressful is coming up in your life, such as a move or a new job, knowing what you have to do ahead of time can help you cope.
Talk to a counselor or therapist. Insomnia, depression and impotence are possible complications of peripheral neuropathy. If you experience any of these, you may find it helpful to talk to a counselor or therapist in addition to your primary care doctor. There are treatments that can help.
Sleep is an essential part of living—sleep helps us avoid major health problems and it is essential to our mental and physical performance. It affects our mood and stress and anxiety levels. Unfortunately, sleep disturbance or insomnia is often a side effect of neuropathy pain. It is a common complaint among people with living with chronic pain.
It’s no surprise that about 70 percent of pain patients, including those suffering from PN, back pain, headaches, arthritis and fibromyalgia, report they have trouble sleeping according to the Journal of Pain Medicine.
Pain can interfere with sleep due to a combination of issues. The list includes discomfort, reduced activity levels, anxiety, worry, depression and use of medications such as codeine that relieve pain but disturb sleep.
Most experts recommend a range of seven to nine hours of sleep per night for adults, regardless of age or gender. This may seem impossible to people with chronic pain, but there are steps you can take to improve your sleep, which may lead to less pain and lower levels of depression and anxiety. First, talk with your doctor to see if there are medications that may lessen your sleep disturbance. You should also check with your doctor to make sure your current medications aren’t causing some of your sleep disturbance.
Beyond medication, there are several things you can do yourself to improve your sleep. Here are some methods to try and help you fall asleep more quickly, help you sleep more deeply, help you stay asleep, and ultimately help keep you healthy.
Following are tips for improving your sleep:
Visualizing a peaceful, restful place. Close your eyes and imagine a place or activity that is calming and peaceful for you. Concentrate on how relaxed this
place or activity makes you feel.
Some patients find comfort from a pillow between their legs that keeps their knees from touching. And there’s an added benefit: A pillow between your legs at night will prevent your upper leg from pulling your spine out of alignment and reduces stress on your hips and lower back.
It may take three to four weeks of trying these techniques before you begin to see an improvement in your sleep. During the first two weeks, your sleep may actually worsen before it improves, but improved sleep may lead to less pain intensity and improved mood.
A sampling of the products available to help you remain as independent as possible, and maintain your own safety when living with a physical disability.
Tips for being a caregiver and needing a caregiver for yourself or a loved one.
Being a caregiver – or needing a caregiver – will affect most of us at some point in our lives. If you are chronically ill or disabled, what can you do to find the right caregiver – for yourself or a loved one – and what can you do to keep from getting ‘burnout’ if you are the caregiver.
Finding a Caregiver
Be as independent as possible. But, if you are struggling with everyday tasks, getting some help can help you. Here are some general guidelines to consider before you arrange for a caregiver:
Being a Caregiver
Many caregivers, especially family members, report symptoms of depression, increased stress and the general feeling of being overburdened when caring for a chronically ill or disabled patient. Here are some tips to help you avoid the emotional and physical strain of caregiving. There are many resources and tools available to help you provide care for your loved one
Being a responsible patient or caregiver means taking care of yourself first. If you are the patient, your caregiver will know how to give you the most freedom possible. If you are the caregiver, you will provide compassion and healthy support for the patient as you meet your own needs.
No, you do not have to force yourself into intense workouts at the gym but you need to keep as active as possible. You can stick to easy floor exercises, swimming, walking, or simply keep yourself moving by doing some household chores. Do what your body allows you to do.
What is important is that you continue exercising. Give at least twenty to thirty minutes a day to exercise at least three to five times a week. Have a routine; see to it that you have enough physical activity each day.
To maintain a healthy lifestyle, you need to keep eating healthy. Add more fruits and vegetables in your diet and eat less carbohydrates, high sodium and unhealthy fat.
Avoid eating junk food and sweets.
Avoid skipping a meal—this will only make your body crave more food the moment you resume eating. Remember to burn more calories than you eat.
Every now and then, to keep the stress and the demands of life from taking over, take a break to do something you love doing.
In order to have a sound mental and emotional state, you must surround yourself with positive energy. Yes, not all problems can be avoided. But it helps to face such obstacles with an optimist outlook. Surround yourself with encouraging friends and people that will provide you with constructive criticism every once in a while to help you improve.
Make it a habit to always look at the brighter side of life. Even if you find yourself in the worst situation, there is always an upside to it—something good and positive. Dwell on these things instead.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not that difficult, nor does it require a lot of work. Just keep doing what you do and apply the staying healthy tips listed above—surely you will be a well-rounded individual in no time.