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  • Dr. Alex Swenson-Ridley

The 6 Pillars of Health and Why You Need to Pay Attention to Them



Through my own health journey and work as a wellness practitioner over the years, I have boiled down what I consider the essential ingredients to being able to find and maintain health. These have become what I refer to as the Six Pillars of Health. The Six Pillars are as follows:


Mindset and Motivation

Stress

Nutrition

Movement

Sleep

Mindfulness


If you aren't familiar with it, the World Health Organization defines health as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."


My argument and the approach I take in my books, coaching and DIY programs is that if you are missing or ignoring any of these six pillars on a daily basis, attaining a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being is next to impossible. While this blog in general and the masterclasses I teach live dive into much more detail on these pillars, I want to give an overview of what each pillar means.


Mindset and Motivation:

When I talk with our practice members about what’s missing from them having the health, body, life and balance they feel like they can’t grasp, the answer is almost always: “I just don’t have the motivation to do any of the things I’m supposed to do.” They’ve tried this diet, or that exercise plan, or adding this meditation into their life, only to find that after a few

days, weeks or months they fall off the wagon and end up right back where they started.


The reason? None of those programs or fad diets or meditation routines delved into

the mindset change that needs to come with making changes that are going to stick and last. Despite our best intentions, unless we take the time to work on the real, deep down WHY we’re making changes (or have a major health crisis that forces them), our old habits will inevitably come back into play sooner or later.


Stress:

These days, it’s not exactly new news that stress has a negative impact on our health. Many, if not most, of the chronic conditions and diseases prevalent in the world today can actually be traced back to long term high levels of stress.

“Stress can be defined as any perceived physical or psychological change that disrupts an

organism’s metabolic balance. Surveys and research reports conducted over the past 2 decades reveal that 43% of all adults suffer adverse effects due to stress. In fact, 75% to 90% of all visits to primary care physicians are in some way related to the adverse impact of psychosocial stress.” (Nutritional Management of Stress-Induced Dysfunction, 2002.)


However, knowing something, and completely understanding it are two very different things. My personal health journey speaks volumes to this.


Nutrition:

Can we make an agreement when it comes to nutrition? Can we agree that we all actually know what we need to do to be healthy? We know that there are certain things we should be eating, and those we shouldn’t. On a surface level, we know when we make a choice to eat

something that’s bad for us and when we choose to eat something our body really likes and does well with. Sure there might be some science you don’t understand or a deeper dive that you could have into some new fad diet or way of eating or way of prepping your food to make it faster, or when to eat, or what to eat or, or, or.


If you’re like the other client's I’ve had the pleasure of working with you don’t need another plan to follow. You need someone or something to help you figure out how to make the basic things like eating more vegetables, not ordering out so much and saying no to desert be the norm, and not the exception.


Movement:

Let’s start by defining movement as self a form of self care. What does self care mean? In my simplest definition, self care is doing the things that allow you to fill your cup and rejuvenate your energy. In other words, it is the movement of breath, body and mind that rejuvenates your being and soul. Why are we talking about self care in a conversation about movement, which most might equate to exercise? Because the movement we engage in on a daily basis should be geared at providing self care, not washboard abs and a bikini figure.


Sleep:

There is a growing amount of research attesting to the fact that too little sleep can raise insulin levels, lead to weight gain and insulin resistance (which 60% of our heavy sugar consuming society already suffers from). Good sleep influences the extremely important balance of cortisol, oxytocin and insulin. You can read more about why that's important in an upcoming post that will dive deep into sleep.


Mindfulness:

Being mindful is having the ability to be attentive to yourself and the people around

you without judgement. It also allows you to approach situations with your full attention and a quiet mind. Can you imagine being able to go through your day without the constant chatter of (often negative) thoughts directed at yourself and others? Or what it would be like to have the energy and time available to focus completely on your kids or spouse without a million other thoughts and to do lists running through your mind? When you start approaching you life and health mindfully, balance naturally follows.


If these pillars of health are intriguing to you, there are a couple of ways you can dive deeper into learning about them:


1. My book, The Rejuvenated Mama: How to Renew Your Energy, Reignite Your Motivation and Reconnect to Yourself contains the full step by step process for healing and implementing sustainable change in all six areas. It can be found as an ebook on our website or through Amazon in paperback and kindle options.


2. Join me for one of my upcoming live talks or online masterclasses. Please call or email us to find one that works best for your schedule.


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