6 Tips to Improve Mind-Body Well-Being
July 10, 2022
Mind-body well-being is a multi-faceted concept that includes a person’s physical, mental, emotional and social well-being, and how it affects their ability to live a fulfilling life. Jenna Bradesca, MMS, PA-C is an integrative medicine and lifestyle consultant at University Hospitals Connor Whole Health, which partners with the conventional medicine team to equip patients with evidence-based therapies to take charge of their health.
“It’s important to look at the whole person when determining how best to help them,” says Bradesca. “I recommend that people optimize their sleep patterns, physical activity, stress reduction practices, nutrition and social connection. Finding balance in these pillars of health can result in sustainable, lifelong improvement in one’s mood and overall quality of life.”
A whole-health approach shifts the question from “what is the matter with you?” to “what matters to you.” Understanding a patient’s motivation and purpose is crucial in building a trusting and compassionate relationship.
A Whole-Person Approach to Well-Being
There are a number of ways to improve well-being. Whether you’re a working mom juggling too many demands or one of the millions of people who manage chronic health conditions, it’s all too easy to let self-care fall by the wayside.
The good news is it’s never too late to begin making lifestyle changes to improve your whole-person wellness. Bradesca shares some of her top tips for making small changes that, over time, add up to a big difference in quality of life.
Move Your Body
Exercising regularly can increase your endorphins – hormones often referred to as “feel-good” chemicals – and improve mood. In fact, research suggests that exercise can help with relieving symptoms of depression in some people. Simply taking a walk can be enough to boost well-being.
Your diet has a direct impact on how you feel both physically and mentally. Reduce consumption of foods that can negatively affect your brain and mood, such as alcohol, caffeine, trans fats, and foods with high levels of chemical preservatives or hormones. Other changes you can make to eat better and improve wellness include:
- Try to avoid skipping meals: Going too long between meals can cause irritability and fatigue.
- Minimize sugar and refined carbs: Foods like sugary snacks, sugar-sweetened beverages, baked goods and refined carbohydrates can lead to a crash in both energy and mood.
- Eat a balanced diet: Increase intake of a wide diversity of nutrient-dense, whole foods including vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
- Enjoy your food: Food is not the enemy. Enjoy your meal and eat mindfully.
- Stay hydrated: Aim to drink 8 glasses of water a day.
Improve Your Sleeping Habits
Whether you’re sleeping too much or too little, your mood likely suffers as a result. Most people need 7-8 hours of sleep. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Keep your room dark and comfortably cold. Avoid screen time, unplug. Build a routine and celebrate the opportunity to recharge.
Stay Socially Connected
Oftentimes, when people are stressed they withdraw from others and isolate themselves. Keeping in touch with friends and family and participating in social activities can greatly improve stress management by giving your mind a break.
Set a Routine
Consider writing down or planning what you need to do each day, and try to stick to that schedule as much as you can. A routine can help you find a rhythm in life, accomplish everyday tasks (which are often harder to accomplish during depressive episodes), meet responsibilities and feel less overwhelmed – all of which can do much to improve daily well-being.
Practice Stress Reduction and Relaxation Techniques
Reducing stress and increasing relaxation can go a long way towards improving your quality of life. There are many proven ways to reduce stress and increase relaxation, including:
- Taking walks and spending time in nature
- Guided meditation and mindfulness techniques
- Deep breathing exercises
- Music and art therapy
- Practice gratitude
- Biofeedback, massage and acupuncture
- Keeping a sense a humor
The integrative medicine team at University Hospitals Connor Whole Health deliver specialized, expert care for adults and children, including massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic medicine, lifestyle and integrative medicine and mind-body therapy. Learn more about how integrative medicine services can assist you on your path to optimal health.