Our thoughts and behaviors not only have an effect on our life outcomes, but also change our body physiology as well. Ultimately, our thoughts and behaviors can positively modify negative health predispositions. Here are three helpful tips that you can use as a guide to encourage your child to develop the healthy habits of a holistic lifestyle.
Tip #1: Maintain Your Brain
Stress contributes to chronic disease in children, and for adults it has become a colossal killer of health. Stress begins in the mind and when we are regularly stressed, the body’s response systems do not get rest. The result of this is wear and tear on our bodies, which effects our brains, hearts, vital organs, and even our immune systems. Most of us are familiar with the importance of our thoughts in relation to our behaviors, and even more encouraging, is that there is evidence to support the mind’s influence on our bodies. Meditation, social support, and our spiritual practices all have a positive effect on health outcomes and promote overall better health. Children can learn deep breathing skills while young, and holding, hugging, and daily conversations between you and your child, all leave a healthy imprint on the brain.
Tip #2: Make Physical Activity a Part of Your Lifestyle
There are so many benefits to exercise when practiced regularly. Aerobic exercise has been the most researched, however, 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 days a week, will also benefit your health. Exercise increases longevity, decreases the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and colon and breast cancers. It is the best natural remedy for reducing mild to moderate depression, and on a financial note, it deceases health care costs. Observe what your child naturally likes to do to move and encourage it. The best exercise habits are built from activities we enjoy.
Tip #3: Encourage Healthy Eating
It is hard to believe that in the United States 33% of the population are overweight with 34% considered obese. These figures keep growing and sadly include the young population. As a consequence, all of the advantages of a healthy lifestyle are denied to the younger overweight demographic, whose situation when ignored, can lead to a life of chronic disease and low self-esteem. As a result of our busy lives we may rely on quick meals and eating on the go, forgetting that fast food restaurants do not have our best interests in mind. Here is something hard to digest: A baked or boiled potato has .5% fat and 11% protein calories versus French fries which are 42% fat and 6% protein, and even worse, potato chips are 60% fat and 3.6% protein. This is just one example of how convenience is costly to our health. “Simple” really is better. Read food labels and eliminate heavily processed foods and foods that include dyes and ingredients you cannot pronounce. For healthy minds and bodies, our diets should include fish filled with Omega-3s, vegetables and salads, non-starchy fruits (like berries), and tree grown nuts (as long as you, or your child are not allergic). In the same way as our bodies are, our brains are largely composed of water, so be sure to get plenty of it throughout the day.
In the end, you and your child’s holistic health are a result of your personal choices and behaviors. So remember to choose wisely!
If you would like to learn more about raising your child holistically join me in a conversation with Dr. John D. Mark.
© 2013 Cathi Curen, Holistic Children Radio