Living Well, in Just Four Words
Just four words.
Tara Parker-Pope has been writing about health and wellness for over twenty years, both as the health columnist for the New York Times and as the author of three wellness related books. She recently wrote a column in which she wrote that all of what she has learned about living well could be summed up in just four words.
I love the simplicity of this, and I could not agree with her more.
Move. As someone who spends a fair amount of time as a writer, it is not uncommon for me to experience writer's block at times. I have recently renewed a practice of going for a thirty-minute walk whenever I feel this way. It is amazing the positive effect, getting up and moving for a short while makes a big difference. And when I exercise on a regular basis, my mood, energy, and sleep are all significantly improved. I forget who the health educator is that I first heard this idea from, but he had a unique way of reminding people of the importance of actively moving at least thirty minutes a day. He offered a seemingly simple and even a bit amusing challenge to us all: see if you can limit being sedentary to no more than twenty-three and half hours a day.
Nourish. We, of course, already know the importance of eating healthy foods. Author Michael Pollan, who also has a gift for simplifying health wisdom, advises us to, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
When it comes to the word "nourish," what we physically eat is only part of the picture. It is equally important to monitor our daily intake of the things that nourish us both emotionally and spiritually. A focus on what truly nourishes us can have more than the originally intended meaning.
Reflect. One of the reasons I like writing this column every week is that as a fellow traveler on this journey of living well, it offers me a built in time to pause and reflect on what I personally need to remember to do to be well. I believe that the ancient philosopher Socrates was correct when he said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." Taking time daily and weekly to pause and reflect on our lives, relationships, work, and service and making needed corrections are essential to our well-being.
Connect. We know that isolation is a risk factor for both physical and emotional illness, and so it stands to reason that connecting with others is a crucial factor in being well. We are wired for connection, and so nurturing our relationships is key to our well-being. The same is true for cultivating our connection with our spiritual Higher Power-with God, or however, we name our Source of life and well-being. Remembering to nurture connections in all aspects of our lives gives us positive energy.
Move. Nourish. Reflect. Connect. It indeed is as simple as that, and as hard as that. Certainly, we can remember these four simple words. And perhaps that is the first step to putting them into practice on a regular basis.
If you would like to read Tara Parker-Pope's article about these four words you can find it here.
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