By Dr. Myatt
Every day, each of us have a number of simple choices to make. Those who consistently make good choices tend to stay emotionally and physically healthy. Those who consistently make poor choices lose physical and mental health much faster than the expected “aging” decline of the body. Some consistently poor choices can make a person downright crazy — what we call “certifiable” (as in “certifiably insane”). Even if one doesn’t drive them self to total insanity, anxiety, depression, anger and dissatisfaction with life are still mild symptoms of emotional imbalance.
You may be surprised to learn that these choices are everyday “little things” that really add up — for good or for ill. Everything from high blood pressure, overweight, heart disease, diabetes and increased cancer risk to mood disorders, emotional instability and even a complete “psychotic break” can result.
Here are the disaster-driven lifestyle choices that sick (or going to be sick) people consistently make:
1.) Stay up late at night (no consistent bedtime). The healthiest choice for weight control, normal blood pressure and balanced hormones is a regular sleep/wake cycle. Since melatonin, a potent antioxidant produced in the body, is made during dark hours, sleeping at night is far more beneficial than sleeping during the day time.
The unhealthy choice: stay up until 11, 12 or even the early hours, then sleep in late in the morning.
The healthy choice: try to get to bed by 10 p.m., or 11 p.m. at the latest. And keep your bedtime consistent each night.
2.) Find every excuse not to exercise. Consider that “running around” all day counts as good exercise (it doesn’t). Make excuses based on the weather, lack of gym membership, too tired, [put your excuse here].
Interestingly, the people who “don’t have time to exercise” always seem to have time for less important activities, like playing games on the computer, watching mindless television shows, or yakking endlessly on the cellphone.
It also amuses me that many of these same people who “don’t have time to exercise” have plenty of time to worry about their blood pressure or diabetes or overweight. They also have time to run to the doctor for check-ups for these illnesses.
The unhealthy choice: continue making excuses for why you can’t exercise for 15 minutes every day, and count all your “running around” as exercise.
The healthy choice: exercise for 15 minutes every day, and do something “brisk” (push yourself a bit until you sweat and breathe heavy). Read “Why Aerobic exercise is a Waste of Time” to learn how to maximize your 15 minutes per day:
3.) Spend plenty of time doing “mindless’ things. Granted, everyone should have a relaxing hobby or two or three, ways to “switch gears” from “work mode” to pure “enjoyment mode.” Hopefully, these hobbies are ones that enrich mind and/or body. Not every hobby falls into this category.
For example, a game or two played on the computer can be enjoyable. For most people, however, there is little redeeming “nutritional value” from such games (exception: older folks can benefit from improved reaction times depending on what type of game they’re playing).
For others, computer gaming becomes almost addictive, with little benefit to recommend it. Combine that with someone who stays up late at night to play (see health-destroyer #1), and computer game addiction can be some serious “junk food” for the mind.
Likewise, watching more than one or two television shows per night — especially the “new breed” of comedy or inane dramas, often becomes a royal waste of time and mind.
The unhealthy choice: spend lots of time playing computer games, watching mindless T.V. shows and reading “junk food” books.
The healthy choice: engage in uplifting and nutritionally “rich” hobbies like gardening (good exercise), photography, sewing or knitting (at least you’ll produce something to show for your time). Watch uplifting movies and television shows (not to excess), and occasionally include a true story or geographical or historical adventure — something with redeeming mental “nutritional value.”
4.) Eat a fast-food, junk-food diet. You know, the kind with high fat and salt, low in essential fats, protein and nutrients.
Instead of cooking at home for nutrition’s sake, always order take-out. Hey — that neuron-destroying MSG, artery-clogging trans fat and diabetes-inducing high carb junk food will help your cause (which is to lose your health and your mind, as quickly as possible).
The unhealthy choice: eat out, order take-out or buy fast food “heat and eat” from the grocery store often.
The healthy choice: fix more home-cooked meals, including non-starchy vegetables, whole proteins and garden-fresh ingredients. (This is where a gardening hobby comes in healthy!)
5.) Take a pill for everything that ails you. High blood pressure? Don’t bother to lose weight, exercise, get regular sleep and eat better —- take a pill to fix the problem instead. Even better: ignore the problem altogether.
Diabetes? Don’t lose weight or exercise — take pills instead.
Depressed? Everyone knows that mood disorders are caused by a Prozac or Effexor deficiency. Don’t bother to get regular bedtimes to regulate your hormones, or eat right to provide essential nutrients, or exercise to create those “feel good” endorphins. No, by gumpy! Just take a pill instead.
The US ranks somewhere around 43 in the world for life expectancy. Over 200,000 people are killed each year by correctly prescribed medications. (It boggles the mind to think how many are harmed or killed by incorrectly prescribed drugs).
The unhealthy choice: take a “pill for every ill.”
The healthy choice: correct your little “everyday choices” and allow your body the opportunity to bring you back into healthful balance.
Unfortunately, people who are making the worst lifestyle choices are often the ones least likely to recognize themselves in this report. Many people will simply experience poor health and mild states of mood disorder over these poor choices, but some will go so far as to have a “psychotic break” (a real “disconnection” from reality). Here are some warning signs of advanced mental instability:
I.) Paranoid. Is everyone out to get you? Your spouse is mean and doesn’t understand you when he/she tries to make a suggestion? People who are “losing it” almost never recognize their part in their troubles.
Instead, they blame everyone around them, their circumstances and “bad luck” for their miseries. Introspection, the art of self-examination, eludes them. Life is bad, and it’s everyone else’s fault.
II.) Grouchy. No matter what friends or family try to do, the person headed for a breakdown seems perpetually grouchy.
They get angry easily. They take offense easily. They go into a “rage” and do dumb things — like get in the car and drive (usually too fast) to nowhere.
III.) Dissatisfied. Whatever they’ve got, it’s never enough. Happiness is always “just around the corner,” after more money has been spent and more things acquired. Spending is often out of control, and the headed-for-trouble person would drive him/herself and family into deep debt with the misplaced belief that a new car or a bigger house will buy happiness.
If you see yourself in any of this (which you won’t if you’re “far gone”), I encourage you to start making some consistently better choices each and every day. The little things — like sleep habits and choices of hobby — have a much greater impact on mental and physical health than most folks realize.
And by all means be sure to get a physical evaluation from a doctor, preferably an holistic doctor who isn’t just a “pill pusher.” This is to rule out hormone imbalances, circulation problems and other physical abnormalities that could account for your symptoms. Most times, however, nothing significant will be found.
My bottom line? Make better choices more consistently so you can keep your health and your sanity.
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