Some interesting insight in an article I read by Dennie Hughes, who is a contributing editor for USA Weekend. She collected thousands of letters from parents and kids over the past 7 years asking the question, “How can we keep families happy and healthy?” Here’s what she got:
1. Parents matter- Most 13-24 year olds reported that their parents were their top role models. If you want to keep your kids IN your life and out of trouble…make time for them.
2. Healthy teeth and gums- The bacteria that causes gum disease and tooth loss may be a cause of heart disease. Poor oral health may also be a factor in the development of dementia. Start good dental hygeine early in life.
3. Model healthful behaviors- Stop preaching and start doing. Obesity is on the rise in our youth (and adults), so get your running shoes on, avoid fad diets and junk food and plan family outings on a regular basis.
4. Trust your practitioner- Googling and researching on-line has become a way of life. It’s OK to learn more information on-line and try to self treat, but always trust your practitioner or doctor over the Internet.
5. Clear Skin- Your complexion is influenced by your diet, hormones and heredity. When a group of teen males aged 15-25 changed from a diet heavy in overprocessed and high sugar foods to one of whole grains, lean meat, fish, fruits and vegetables for 12 weeks, they had over 50% fewer pimples. Fortunately chocolate is still on the “OK” list-dark chocolate, that is.
6. Wash your hands- The simplest and most effective means of avoiding sicknesses and even the “superbug” known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is washing hands frequently.
7. Sleep more- Too little sleep is associated with obesity, as well as heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Of coarse it also leads to more stress, clouded thinking and exhausted adrenals.
8. Grieve together- We really haven’t looked at the way we grieve after a loved one dies since 1969, when studies showed that moving forward was a 5-stage process (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance). New research suggests that it’s not such a straight and narrow path. Some gradually recover on their own, while others benefit from a support group or look for spiritual guidance. It may take 6 months or longer, but everyone has their own unique way of healing.
The bottom line: Our emotional health is intimately connected to our physical health. Spending time with family, friends and loved ones continues to enrich and extend our lives.