How satisfied are you with your life? What is life satisfaction and how do you get more of it?
Life Satisfaction is a sense of how happy you are with all aspects of your life taken together. You can be happy with your social and personal life though frustrated with your career, finances and health so that your overall feeling is of dissatisfaction. Or you may be less than happy with your health, spirituality and intellectual life and very happy with family and home such that your overall feeling is one of satisfaction. What importance each aspect of your life has for you helps to determine your sense of Life Satisfaction. When you enjoy a positive Life Satisfaction your physical and mental health are improved and you live longer.
The components of Life Satisfaction are: social, fun/recreation, career, finances, health/physical environment, family/friends, significant other, personal development (growth/spirituality). They are many tools to guide you in measuring life satisfaction or you may have a good sense of that already. If you enjoy using tools to guide/inform you go to:
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/health-happiness/repository-of-positive-psychological-well-being-scales/ One popular tool is the Wheel of Life image below.
As you learn more about the aspects of your Life Satisfaction you may identify areas that you may want to improve. Tips for promoting life satisfaction include trying new things, challenge yourself with something new to gain personal satisfaction with an accomplishment, cultivate friendships, practice positivity, or work with a life coach or counselor to plan strategies for life satisfaction. Start by learning more about your life satisfaction using one of the tools and then pick one area to begin inching towards happiness. Have fun with this - experiment to see what works best for you.
When you hear the word exercise you may think ‘hot, sweaty, uncomfortable, gym’ and more. So why exercise if it doesn’t feel good? Well, exercise can feel good and it has so many benefits that it may be life or death not to!
The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion took a look at the evidence to support exercise recommendations. They updated the guidelines in February 2018. https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/report/ or for a summarized version: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2018/11/13/new-physical-activity-guidelines-for-americans/
The summary notes that regular moderate to vigorous exercise prevents weight gain, reduces anxiety and depression, improves sleep and your overall satisfaction with life. Even a single exercise can improve brain function. In older folks exercise was found to reduce the risk of dementia, improve the ability to do your daily tasks, and reduces the risk of falling and injuries if a fall occurs. Exercise reduces your risk of many types of cancer and improves management of chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure
So, what about those words moderate and vigorous - they sound like hot, sweaty, uncomfortable, gym! Moderate activity means that you can talk comfortably but it’s an effort to sing. For example, a brisk walk (3-4 mph). Vigorous activity means you can say a few words but not full sentences. For example, walking very fast 4.5-5 mph, running or aerobics class.
Now, some people who are more sedentary (such as sitting and reading or watching television, or standing quietly) may become winded walking across a parking lot. We all need to adjust based on our current abilities. Start slow and work up to increase your effort. Any movement is better than no movement. Remember the statement: sitting is the new smoking. Move everyday throughout the day. It doesn’t have to be walking or running. What do YOU like to do?
Swim Stationary bike Seated Calisthenics Yoga Zumba Kayaking
Pickle Ball Cutting/Stacking Wood Mowing the Lawn Gardening Shoveling Snow
Walk the livingroom everytime a TV ad comes on TV, DVD or Youtube Exercise Programs
You can add your favorite movement here!
So, consider how you can improve your health and function by adding movement into your day.
You know that logey feeling you get after eating too much or too many high sugar/high fat foods. Why isn’t that feeling a deterrent to doing it again (a.k.a. cravings)? We want to avoid that feeling but something keeps us coming back to the same eating pattern. Let’s break down this food and mood situation and find some strategies to improve the mood.
Notice how our stomach and intestines feel when we are upset or anxious. Ever thought about the term “gut wrenching”? There is a direct connection between the gut and the brain via the vagus nerve and by many chemicals made in the stomach (ghrelin), intestines (ILP-5, GLP-1) and fat cells (leptin) to provide information to the brain. Our food contains the building blocks for feel good chemicals like serotonin. What we eat and how we nurture our gut affects our brain's chemicals and therefore our mood.
When we eat to 80% fullness lots of vegetables and fruits, whole grains and healthy proteins then we feed our gut bacteria, our body and our brains to promote healthy mood. When we minimize processed foods including sugars and animal fats we reduce an inflammatory chemical reaction that triggers an unhealthy situation for our bodies to have to respond to.
Eating healthy decreases cravings and that logey feeling so we feel happier and more energetic. A focus on vegetables as your main course with whole grains and healthy proteins as your sides can help bring you to nutritional health. Practice the 80% rule: stop eating when your stomach is 80% full. Leaving that 20% space decreases feeling overfull, decreases calories and you get to avoid that yuck feeling.
We are aware of the importance of exercise for health. However, the word exercise conjures up images of sweating at the gym, distance running and power cycling; not something everyone enjoys. I would like for you to consider a new way of thinking about exercise- MOVEMENT.
In the Annals of Internal Medicine published 3 October 2017 Vol:167, issue 7 the authors conclude from a study of almost 8000 persons 45 years of age and greater that uninterupted episodes of not moving (such as sittng at your work station, your car or the couch) are associated with increased death. The authors suggest that movement be regularly scheduled throughout the day to reduce this risk. Working out at the gym a few times per week does not seem to negate the effects of prolonged sitting the rest of the week. This supports what you have been hearing the "Sitting is the new smoking."
Find ways to integrate movement throughout the day rather than seeing exercise purely as an activity unto itself. The idea seems to be less sitting and more moving overall. You might start by simply standing rather than sitting whenever you have the chance or think about ways to walk while you work. How about standing while on the phone or eating lunch, use a standing desk or walk laps with coworkers for a meeting. Your metabolism improves with movement and blood flow to the brain increases. You may enjoys benefits such as improved strength, endurance, refreshed focus and energy and, oh, a decrease in your risk of death from chronic disease.
What ways can you think of to add movement into your day? The suggestion is 5 or 10 minutes every 30 minutes throughout your day. Now, if you are one of those persons who enjoys sweating at the gym, distance running and power cycling keep it up - however, you still need to create movement regularly throughout your day!
Healthy For Good is a movement by the American Heart Association to inspire you to work towards lasting change in health.
They encourage: Eat Smart. Add Color. Move More. Be Well.
November is Eat Smart Month. You too can join the movement and practice eating smart!
So, what does Eat Smart mean? Choosing a variety of healthy foods, eating them in healthy portions, as well as enjoying your foods by eating mindfully. It also includes budgeting time and money for healthy nutrition. A good place to start is to include whole foods each day which are plant foods that are unprocessed and unrefined (or as little as possible) before being eaten - like whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables.
You can get daily tips and learn more about eating smart via this link to the AHA:
To get more information throughout the month to learn more about how you can Eat Smart
Sign Up @:
Enjoy Practicing Eating Smart and Be Well!
2017, another New Year has arrived. Traditionally it is a time for us to make New Year's Resolutions. It seems like a good time then to explore what they are and how to do them. A resolution is defined as a firm decision to do or not do something. We focus on a behavior or habit we would like to make then declare a determined pledge to ourselves to make that change. Sounds easy, right?
It's not easy! This is evidenced by the fact that of those who make a resolution only about 10% are successful. It turns out that when we make a resolution we bite off more than we can chew, so to speak. Our goals are too big and our time line for success is too short. We set ourselves up for failure from the start when ideally we want to set ourselves up for success.
The neurobiology of the human brain and how it forms habits is being actively researched and is quite complex. What we do know is that you can form new habits. The key is to repeat daily a chosen behavior in the same context (cue) until it becomes automatic (you do it without thinking about it). For example, the habit of putting on your seat belt upon getting into the car. The average time from the start of the habit practice until it becomes automatic is about 2-3 months. We also have learned that success is increased when you choose the habit you want not one someone else asks of you. The practice is positively influenced when you choose a new behavior to do rather than one to give up. Success is increased when the goal is broken down into smaller more achievable goals.
How does all of that work? Let's say your New Year's Resolution is to begin walking for health. You declare a determined pledge to yourself to walk every day for three miles. Currently you don't walk at all. You go out to walk and after one mile you feel cold, your muscles are tired and you're a bit breathless. You find this an unpleasant experience. The next day the temperatures are a bit colder so you find you are not motivated to go out to walk at all. You already feel defeated on day two.
Using the knowledge we have about habit formation you might consider adjusting your goal to walking for fifteen minutes three days a week on the best weather days on your lunch break. Making your goals achievable, specific, measurable and timed increases success. You will increase success if you prepare well for your goal such as checking in with your healthcare provider, shopping for warm clothing and footwear for walking, and consider walking in a gym or mall if you prefer to avoid the cold. Once your new goal is achieved (remember the average is 2-3 months) then make a new habit goal towards health.
Check this American Psychological Association article about resolutions:
http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/resoultion.aspx as well as this article that includes a tool kit for making resolutions: http://doi.org/10.3399/bjgp12X659466
So, go ahead and make a health related goal for 2017 keeping in mind these tips for success. Call COACHING2WELLNESS, LLC for support on your way to wellness!
I am pleased to share with you that I have earned the designation of Wellcoaches Certified Health and Wellness Coach. After completing the Wellcoaches Coaching Program in February 2016 I decided to pursue the nine-step certification process. This process included coaching with practice clients, submitting a written vision and goals, as well as successfully completing a written and an oral exam.
The Certified Health and Wellness Coach is a health professional who wishes to use coaching skills in working with patients or clients to improve their health and wellbeing. This certification indicates that you would be working with an expert facilitator of mindset and behavior change that generates sustainable healthy lifestyles, which prevent or treat disease, and foster well-being and thriving.
Wellcoaches is endorsed by the American College of Sports Medicine and works with the National Board of Medical Examiners which is an independent, not-for-profit organization that serves the public through its high-quality assessments of healthcare professionals.
I want to thank my practice clients for their participation in this certification process and providing helpful feedback as I practiced coaching skills. Your time and efforts have been so appreciated and I sincerely thank you! I also thank Dr. Christy Seed of Acadia Integrative Medicine for kindly providing me a beautiful office space for coaching as I launched COACHING2WELLNESS, LLC. Your business cheerleading has been so supportive! Another thank you goes to Ann McAlhany, certified business advisor, at the Maine Small Business Development Centers. Your business coaching has proven to be invaluable and demonstrated to me how and why coaching, in all its forms, is so effective!
Now I continue this exciting journey of health and wellness coaching and growing COACHING2WELLNESS, LLC.
In my initial blog I described well-being and its importance to our health. The seven components of well-being include energy, life satisfaction, mental and emotional fitness, weight management, physical activity/exercise, nutrition and health. In this and subsequent blogs I will explore further each of these components.
Let’s start with ENERGY!
Energy is defined simply as the ability to do work. Energy can be additionally defined as the strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity. But where does energy come from? Human bodies get their energy from the food we eat. Food is broken down into smaller and smaller components and through amazing chemical reactions is converted into energy. This energy keeps our hearts beating, our muscles moving and our brain functioning. You can see why what we eat is very important to our energy level. Along with healthy nutrition our energy level can be boosted with exercise,
healthy sleep, and stress management.
Exercise improves your energy level by increasing oxygen and blood flow to your organs and muscles. Studies show that consistent exercise improves energy level and decreases fatigue.
Healthy sleep is important for vitality as well. Unhealthy sleep contributes to daytime sleepiness that can result in a decreased motivation to exercise. There is also evidence that obesity adversely affects the sleep/wake cycle so maintaining a healthy weight improves sleep and energy levels.
Finding healthy ways to cope with stress can improve our energy level. Cortisol is a hormone made in our adrenal glands that helps our body manage a stressful event. When we have chronic and persistent stress that is not well controlled we are causing over production and exposure of cortisol to our body organs leading to health problems that drain energy.
Some find a glass of cold water or a cup of coffee energizing while for others it's a brisk walk, meditation or prayer that re-energizes them for the day. So, what gives YOU energy? Do you have plenty of energy for your day? Do you feel vigorous? Are you performing at your best? If you have trouble answering those questions try www.energizeforsuccess.com and go to The Energy Wizard Assessment. You can read more about healthy energy boosting at www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/eating-to-boost-energy
If after your personal energy assessment you would like coaching towards an improved energy goal Coaching2Wellness is here to help.
Welcome to the initial blog of Coaching2Wellness, LLC. In the website pages you get a sense of what health and wellness coaching is and how it can help you to wellness. So I thought a good place to begin a blog is to talk about what WELL-BEING is and why you would want to seek it.
Well-being is described as a state of being happy, healthy, comfortable, and successful. However, those states can vary in definition depending on who you ask. What makes you happy or comfortable may not be what makes your neighbor feel the same way. Well-being is affected by many factors including health, relationships, gender, culture, age, and social situation. We know that a state of well-being is closely tied to one’s health. According to the World Health Organization HEALTH is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
There are important reasons to seek well-being. When we are well we are more physically, mentally and socially able to engage in rewarding work, relationships and fun. We spend less time in the healthcare system thus saving dollars. We can reduce our risks of illness as we age such as heart attacks, diabetes and stroke. These diseases can lead to isolation and depression which in turn reduce our sense of well-being.
Interventions that promote health and well-being are eating nutritious foods, exercise, social engagement, satisfying work/volunteerism/relationships and stress management. However, learned lifestyles, social constraints, hectic schedules, lack of self-esteem or confidence get in the way of consistently enjoying health promoting behaviors.
So, what is YOUR definition of well-being? What brings YOU happiness? There is no formula that works for all. Go on a journey to well-being and learn what brings you happiness and health. There are many ways to take a look at your happiness. Check out UPenn: https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/ then click on questionnaires and look for Approaches to Happiness and the Subjective Happiness Scale. You can also do some reading in the Journal of Happiness Studies. The Centers for Disease Control offers information about well-being as well at http://www.cdc.gov/hrqol/wellbeing.htm .
Enjoy your journey to well-being. And if on your journey you find that a health and wellness coach would be helpful to you, well…call me!