The 6 pillars of health

So what is health and wellness?

It’s actually defined by the World Health Organisation as:

‘A state of physical, mental and social well being’.

At Teacan, we believe in a lifestyle approach to mental and physical health – there really is no magic pill.

When living a healthy lifestyle, our bodies are evolved to release a steady flow of ‘feel good’ chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine, endorphins and endocannabinoids. If presented with a dangerous situation where immediate action or attention is required, stress related chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol are released, which is perfectly normal and we need this balance to ensure we manage the dangerous situations in our lives. The key to this biological system is balance.

Unfortunately, modern day life doesn’t lend itself to this balanced release of chemicals, but knowing what makes us tick and how to achieve this chemical balance is essential to feel well and avoid mental and physical health issues.

So please enjoy our quick run down of the 6 pillars of health and make sure you are paying attention to each one! 🙂

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1. Nutrition

You are what you eat. Simple as that.

There’s so much misinformation out there driven by commercial and corporate motives. However, the basis behind every proven healthy and nutritious diet is actually quite simple.

You should eat a well balanced and varied, nutritious diet that is full of natural foods and in moderation.

It’s tough to do but if you do eat well and make this part of your daily routine, the positive effects on physical and mental health are undeniable.

2. Physical Activity

Exercise or physical activity is extremely good for you. It gets your heart going and provides benefits to both your physical health and mental health. It raises levels of all important feel-good chemicals, decreases stress hormones and steadies the metabolism to allow for sustained energy release. Anandamide, an endocannabinoid nicknamed the bliss neurotransmitter, is also shown to spike during exercise.

The evidence is also mounting that neuroplasticity (formation of new brain cells) and memory function is greatly improved when taking part in a regular physical activity. So please make sure you do it!

3. Meaningful Social Connections

We are not talking about facebook likes or instagram followers. This is about family and close friends; the people who really care about you and vice versa. It’s proven that loneliness and isolation are more detrimental to mental and physical health than either of the nutritional or physical activity elements. So spend time with the people close to you, and you will feel better. Easy.

4. Cerebral Stimulation

This one is overlooked. When we create new neural connections in the brain our body releases the same feel good chemicals as when we eat a nutritious meal or exercise. There’s a reason for this; our biological evolution has determined the more we learn, the more knowledge we have and the better our chance of survival.

So be creative, and keep the mind as active as possible – listening to music (pattern recognition), fun hobbies, reading, music, whatever you enjoy learning and doing – it’s absolutely essential to overall health!

5. Purpose and Meaning

Having a purpose and meaning in life is key to feeling fulfilled. What is your place in society? Your family? What about your social circle? Your job takes up such a large part of your life, so make it count for something. Always follow your passions rather than the money. Hard work at something you enjoy or care about a lot will result in feeling productive (and not feel like hard work!) whilst having an active role in your social circle and family will make you feel positive about your place in your immediate social community.

6. Nature

Nature is an obvious one if you have ever had a walk in the park, a trip to the countryside, or been near a river, lake or ocean. We were evolved to live in nature, not indoors in offices sat behind a desk.

Connection to the natural world including wildlife is proven time and time again to have a positive effect on our mental health in particular.

Our body knows best, and being in nature is proven to make us feel good, so prioritise it.

There’s no magic pill…..

So there we have it. For anyone trying to achieve a sense of wellness or health, check through all 6 items on our list. If one or more is not getting enough attention then take a closer look at that and change something.

Many people seek a magic pill from the Doctor or a medicine as a quick fix. The truth is that there is no such thing. Tackle the root cause and you may get that feeling of wellness and health that you want and deserve 🙂