January, the start of a new year, is a time to reflect and a time to reset or establish new goals. I look forward to sitting down with my wife and discussing what went according to the plan we set last year and what deviated.
A new year allows us to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. I will refrain from the details for now, but we spend time writing our goals out and place them on a spreadsheet for intermittent review and for our goal writing session the following January. I enjoy the process of introspection and self-improvement.
Having a year of retirement under my belt and being free from the daily grind of my busy medical practice, I am happier and less stressed. Life is good, feels balanced to me, and I want it to stay that way. I have a purpose in my life, and I desire to live a long and healthy one with my loving wife and partner, Melissa. Toward that end, I set health goals that revolve around the Power of 5 formula.
Most of us can identify stress in our lives. It has a profoundly negative impact on how we feel and how long we can remain healthy. Seeking solutions to reduce or eliminate stress is vital.
Dr. B’s Power of 5 Pointers to Reduce Stress:
Incorporate mindfulness and meditation in your daily life–allow as little as 3-5 minutes a day.
My euphemism for what we eat. Obesity, diabetes and heart disease are rampant in our society. There seems to be a huge information gap between what people know and what people do. Healthy eating habits are important for our wellbeing. Medical science has discovered that sweets, sugar, carbohydrates, and processed foods promote systemic, chronic inflammation in our body and blood vessels, leading to heart attacks, dementia, and some forms of cancers.
Dr. B’s Power of 5 Pointers for Reducing Sweets:
Eat more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Read nutrition labels on the foods you purchase; you will be surprised how many carbohydrates and sugars are in the processed foods you are eating every day.
Physical activity and exercise, for as little as 30 minutes five days a week, can make a significant difference in health outcomes.
Dr. B’s Power of 5 Pointers on Sweat:
Develop a process for incorporating and tracking your daily activity goal. Set realistic goals and find a partner for greater accountability.
As a society, many of us just don’t get enough sleep. Diminished sleep duration or quality plays a significant role in chronic disease development. Strive for 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night.
Dr. B’s Power of 5 Pointers for Sleep:
Follow sleep hygiene recommendations.
Making and maintaining connections (and intimate relationships) with others is an essential component in the Power of 5 formula. Lacking connections and living a life of loneliness is the equivalent of smoking fifteen cigarettes a day. Life expectancy is shorter in those without connections or social interaction.
Dr. B’s Power of 5 Pointers on Sex/Socialization:
Commit to interacting with at least one person per day even if it is just to say “hello.” Develop a process to track connections–this can be very helpful and enlightening.
Your Calls to Action
Identify one of the Power of 5 “S”s listed above that you can improve upon or make better. We make progress by establishing a process that works for each of us by taking small steps. Those steps repeated enough times eventually become leaps and bounds, leading to better habits. Partner with someone who will hold you accountable and make it more enjoyable.
Consider keeping a log or journal. Studies show that writing or tracking progress increases success rates tremendously. Melissa and I have published a journal to help you track your Power of 5 progress; it is available on our website.
I am dedicated to helping you find your Power of 5. Tap into YOUR Power of 5 and get a little better every day toward your goal of continued health and wellness.
To a Long and Healthy Life,
David Bernstein, MD
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