Global Wellness Day – #Think Magenta

On the occasion of Global Wellness Day, which is celebrated on every second Saturday of June. Human beings have progressed extensively in the field of technology. Machines are replacing the work of human. This has resulted in less human interactions and more of virtual interactions. Even though this has its own advantages in connecting across countries, the feelings and emotions aspect in human interactions has taken a back seat.

The pandemic has changed our perspective towards life in many ways and helped us learn a lot of new things. The rapid spread of news on COVID-19 happened through media inputs. The day started for most people by looking into the statistics /data of COVID-19 infection, more so through WhatsApp groups. With the spread of COVID-19 infection, there was also spread of hopelessness, uncertainty and fear which brought in a lot of negativity.

What happens to our physiology with negative thoughts?

This input of negative thoughts had set in a cascade of reactions and many succumbed to this fear and hopelessness more than COVID-19 itself. Our thoughts impact the physiology. Positive thinking empowers one at the physiological level of the Cell. Our basic functional units are called cells that function in two modes towards its survival. One is to nourish itself through cellular rejuventation. The other mode is to protect itself from offending agents, for which it has to close its membrane and guard with sensors. At any given time, the cell can perform either of the functions.

Fear and uncertainty send a message deep down to the cells and sets them in a protective mode. If the cells are recruited mostly for protection, then vitality of the cell gets compromised as there is not much nutrition function happening.

Positive thinking helps to switch the mode of function in a balance more towards nourishing mode, thereby the cells are well nurtured and their vitality is improved.

Is it possible to have a volitional control over our thoughts?

Yes, thoughts are generated by the mind and if the mind is nurtured well through the right kind of food and activities, then one can stay positive despite challenges. Ayurveda explains moderation in food, rest and activities and lays a path to good health.

What should one eat to stay positive?

“You are what you eat” is a famous quote. Our ancient wisdom talks about how food plays a major role in how we act out in the world either by being reactive or by being responsive. One must have balanced nutrition with complex carbohydrates, adequate protein and fat along with vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Millets provide adequate protein, calcium. One big serving of seasonal fruits with breakfast and fresh greens and salads provides adequate vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Eating dinner early improves the quality of sleep.

Practising yoga helps one balance their energy. Breathing efficiently through pranayama practices and meditation give clarity in thinking, thereby enabling one to respond to any situation with a positive attitude.

Similarly, mindful movements like Tai-Chi channelises the flow of life energy called Chi Practising these mindful movements refines the mind to stay focussed with positivity.

Importance of recreational activities and community space for seniors to live a healthy life

With increasing lifespan, the population of seniors is on the rise. Science and technology have helped in expanding the life span and the longevity. But still a lot of work needs to be done to add quality of life to the years of longevity to bring in positive ageing.

Health is holistically defined by WHO as a state of physical, mental, social and spiritual wellbeing. Living in a community set up has proven to be one of the ways to attain this, particularly for seniors. A senior living community brings likeminded people with varied interests together. Service providers of these communities work through various activities to address health concerns in different dimensions.

Health is addressed through the important pillars as its foundation, which includes physical, emotional, mental, intellectual and spiritual well-being.

At the physical level

Nutrition through balanced and customised meals towards elder needs, timely meals with proper rhythm are provided in community set up. Movement as a group activity helps boosting the morale and joy of living together.

At the emotional level

Artistic activities such as dance, drama, art and craft, painting helps expressing emotions with creativity.

At the mental level

Board games, traditional games and memory games help maintain cognitive fluidity and this flexibility brings in cognitive reserve. Cognitive abilities can be improved by enhancing the perception through sensory integration, focussed activities, executive functions like problem solving, decision making and sequencing. These specific activities will help in maintaining cognitive reserve and thereby diminishes the risk of dementia.

At the intellectual level

Organising debates, discussions on varied topics, solving puzzles and sudoku takes care of the intellectual health.

At the spiritual level

Connecting with nature through outdoor activities and outreach programs to reach out to the needy, empowers one with hope to give something to others.

Living in a senior living community helps in promoting holistic health and positive ageing.

Positive thinking promotes positive psychology and helps in adding quality to life and pave way for positive ageing.

By Dr Karthiyayini Mahadevan, Head, Wellness and Wellbeing at Columbia Pacific Communities

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