Thrive in 5!

Dr. Tanya Hudson
Woman walking in nature and thriving
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Here are five quick facts to boost your physical and mental health, so you can feel amazing!  It’s time to take charge! It’s time to THRIVE!!

#1 Brain’s Perception: Repetition Shapes Default

What you do on repeat (a thought or an action) the brain sees as being VERY important and this becomes our “default.” 

Yep, it’s true.  Think about this for a moment.  What is something you do every day?  Exercise?  Meditate?  Recognize and replace your negative thoughts?  Show compassion for those around you?  Practice self-care?  

Or perhaps you doubt yourself, see the “bad” in everything around you, or stay up until 3 am scrolling through social media?  

You can remodel your brain based off of your behavior and set a new “default” to promote calm, happiness, and health. 

Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to form new connections and pathways and change how its circuits are wired.  

Where to start?  Still your mind daily for at least 1 full minute.  

#2: Be in control of your devices so they DO NOT control you

This is HUGE.  This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart (because I see the negative effects of excessive screen time in ALL my patients).   We are all addicted.  The facts are staggering–

  • WHO reported in 2020, that people spend an average of 6 years and 8 months in their lifetime on social media.  I know.  Speechless.  Want to read more of these sad and alarming statistics?  Click HERE.
  • Americans check their phones 96x a day (that’s once every 10 minutes).
  • 4 out of 5 people check their phones within 5 minutes of waking.
  • Teens are spending an average of 7 hours and 22 min on their phones a day (I see closer to 9 hours in my teen patients).  

PLEASE.  PLEASE.  Please be aware of what is happening in our digital world.  Watch “The Social Dilemma” documentary, if you haven’t already (click HERE for the trailer).  My entire family watched this and my teen boys GOT IT.  I recommend this movie to kids 12 and older (maybe younger if your child is excessively on screens and social media, which I do not recommend).

THEN get the book, How to Break Up with Your Cell Phone by Catherine Price.  READ IT.  This is not about getting rid of your phone, but about creating a healthy relationship with it.  

I am going to be bold here–I see screen addiction and social media as an even bigger global crisis than COVID was.  

Where to start?  Turn off your notifications, focus on more green and less screen, watch the documentary, and get the book.

#3: Connect with Nature.  Today.  Everyday.

Why?  Here is what close to 1000 studies have shown about nature:
“It can lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels, reduce nervous system arousal, enhance immune system function, increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and improve mood. Attention Deficit Disorder and aggression lessen in natural environments, which also helps speed the rate of healing. In a recent study, psychiatric unit researchers found that being in nature reduced feelings of isolation, promoted calm, and lifted mood among patients.”

I don’t know a drug that does all this and with NO side effects, to boot.  It’s non-negotiable.  We are humans of nature.  Don’t let yourself, or your kids, miss out on this extremely vital part of health.

Where to start?  Again, more green, less screen.  Set a timer if you have to.  Schedule it.  Walk outside, take a deep beautiful breath, and connect with the nature around you by focusing on what you see, feel, hear, and smell.  

#4: Don’t inflame your body

Inflammation is the smoldering fire that leads to many chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancers, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and pain.  

Get rid of fast food, junk food, and limit fried, greasy foods.  Avoid sodas, excessive alcohol, processed meats (hot dogs, sausages), margarine, high-sugar foods, and “white foods” such as pasta, rice, and bread.

Focus on fish, avocados, leafy greens, berries, nuts and seeds, water, dark chocolate (aim for at least 70% cocoa), olive oil, tomatoes, and cherries.

You are what you eat.  Nourish your body, so you can thrive. 

Where to start?  Stop buying the crap.  Have healthy snacks and fruit on hand to satisfy cravings.  

#5: Stop consuming just to consume

Instead of jumping on that bandwagon we call consumerism, ask yourself, “What brings value to my life?”

I recently watched another life-changing documentary “The Minimalists, Less is More.”  (Click HERE to view the trailer.)  It got me thinking, what void am I trying to fill with the “stuff” in my life?  Does it ease anxiety, bring happiness, or help me feel more complete?  What are the things in my life that truly bring value?  Am I buying because of what marketers tell me “I need?”  

I love that my teen boys watched this film with my husband and me.  Between ads on YouTube, games, and television, they are bombarded by what “they need.”  After watching the film, we realized what we truly need to feel complete, content, and at peace is within ourselves.  

So where to start?  Watch the film and think about what truly brings you joy.