This blog is written by our clinicians and aims to keep patients informed with up to date information on medical conditions.
In celebration of World Health Day, we are sharing our tips on taking care of ourselves and the world around us.
Ways we can take care our health
1. Take part in gratitude practice
Gratitude practice is the art of taking time to consider what we are grateful for. Many researchers have carried out studies exploring the positive effects of gratitude practice. The results are incredible.
Daily gratitude practice can:
- Increase people’s satisfaction with their lives1
- Increase feelings of happiness1
- Reduce feelings of sadness1
- Lower stress levels2
- Lower blood pressure3
- Improve immune function3
- Improve sleep4
To incorporate gratitude practice into your daily life, you need to discover what works best for you. Everyone is different and will prefer different ways of expressing their gratitude. Some people find it useful to have someone to hold them accountable. Others may prefer to keep their gratitude practice more private.
Some ways you might choose to practice gratitude are:
- Using a journal to write about what you are grateful for
- Using a voice recording function on your phone to document your gratitude practice
- Sharing your gratitude with others via social media
- Making a mental note of your what you are grateful for as you go about your day
- Scheduling a daily check-in with yourself where you actively think about what you are grateful for
There really is no wrong way to practise gratitude!
2. Move your body every day
Daily movement plays such a key role in supporting physical and mental health. Regular exercise brings a huge range of beneficial effects including:
- Helping people maintain a healthy weight
- Lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes
- Reducing the risk of certain cancers
- Reducing the risk of depression and other mental health problems
Modern day life can get busy. It can be a challenge to accomplish everything we need to in the day, including getting our daily exercise in. That is why it is important to incorporate movement into your day in a way that works for you.
Getting your daily movement in can mean:
- Getting outside for a walk on your lunch break
- Cycling or walking to work
- Attending fitness classes you enjoy with friends
- Taking breaks throughout the day to stretch or move around
- Taking up a new physical hobby that brings you happiness
The key is to choose a form of movement you enjoy and that fits into your life. This will make it easier for you to get the daily exercise you need for your mental and physical wellbeing.
3. Spend time in nature
Have you heard of shinrin yoku or forest bathing? It is the ancient Japanese practice of spending time in nature to improve wellbeing.
When we spend time in nature, we experience a range of sensory stimuli. Taking in the sights, smells, and sounds of nature has a range of positive effects on mood and wellbeing. Researchers also believe that the particles we inhale from the fresh air, such as microbes and ions, can improve our health.5
Studies6 have shown that spending time in nature:
- Boosts mood
- Improves self-esteem
- Lowers stress levels
- Improves mental functions including memory
- Lowers levels of the stress hormone, cortisol
- Lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
Next time you are feeling in need of a bit of a boost, why not try forest bathing?
Ways we can take care our planet
1. Support local
Food transport contributes to the emission of greenhouse gases. Buying local produce helps us reduce the distance our food travels to reach our plates. By shopping locally, we can reduce our food miles and help look after the planet.
Not only is shopping local good for the environment, it also helps support farmers and business owners in our communities. Additionally, local produce travels less distance, meaning you are eating fresher food.
2. Reduce plastics
Plastics are harmful to the environment for many reasons. Plastic production contributes to climate change through the emission of greenhouse gases. Even after they have been produced, plastics continue to damage our environment. As they slowly break down they release methane and ethylene, harmful greenhouse gases. On top of this, plastics are a danger to wildlife.
The world is so reliant on plastic. It can feel difficult to know where to even start with reducing our plastic use. Here are some tips you can use to help you get started.
- Avoid single-use utensils such as straws or cutlery
- Carry a reusable water bottle
- Replace cling film with reusable alternatives
- Sign up to a milk delivery service that reuses your glass bottles
- Invest in a reusable coffee cup
- Keep reusable tote bags handy
- Buy refills for your soaps and cleaning products
By taking these small steps, we can look after ourselves, and the planet around us.
- Cunha LF, Pellanda LC, Reppold CT. Positive Psychology and Gratitude Interventions: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Front Psychol. 2019;10:584. Published 2019 Mar 21. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00584
- Komase Y, Watanabe K, Hori D, et al. Effects of gratitude intervention on mental health and well-being among workers: A systematic review. J Occup Health. 2021;63(1):e12290. doi:10.1002/1348-9585.12290
- Gratitude is the Attitude for Good Health. www.heart.org. https://www.heart.org/en/delta-dental/gratitude-is-the-attitude-for-good-health. Published 2020. Accessed April 8, 2022.
- Mills PJ, Redwine L, Wilson K, et al. The Role of Gratitude in Spiritual Well-being in Asymptomatic Heart Failure Patients. Spiritual Clin Pract (Wash D C ). 2015;2(1):5-17. doi:10.1037/scp0000050
- Franco LS, Shanahan DF, Fuller RA. A Review of the Benefits of Nature Experiences: More Than Meets the Eye. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017;14(8):864. Published 2017 Aug 1. doi:10.3390/ijerph14080864
- Keniger LE, Gaston KJ, Irvine KN, Fuller RA. What are the benefits of interacting with nature?. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2013;10(3):913-935. Published 2013 Mar 6. doi:10.3390/ijerph10030913