GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS: Social distancing, working from home, remote schooling, self-quarantine are just some of the examples of how lifestyle plays a big part in our pathology prevention efforts. When we take control of our lifestyles like these and others such as not smoking, eating more nutritiously, exercising, getting enough sleep, and practicing good hygiene we fight pathologies, and lots more. Medical expenses for lost work, medicine, and health care go down. This impacts our national economy, but maybe even more importantly the quality of our life. We build our personal self-reliance capabilities and improve our level of wellness. Lifestyle is also a major factor of the chronic disease epidemic in the US, which if continues, will destroy the US health care system before 2025.

ISSUES: Your lifestyle directly impacts your ability to control your health and quality of life. If you let your weight get out of control, your ability to perform common physical actions like bending down and trying your shoes. This can severely restrict the functionality of your respiratory system, digestive system, cardiovascular system and urinary system. This in turn will impact our nervous system, endocrine system, immune system, reproductive system, and musculoskeletal. This will cause a general downward spiral impeding the functioning of all our bodies functioning. But our lifestyle doesn’t only impact ourselves. Like smoking, the pathogens we carry, and behavior we may and may not perform, spreads to your family, community, and nation. Soon, regardless of our resources, finances at every level can be impacted. Our lifestyle also determines just how much it takes to maintain status quo, and what it will take to improve it. You may have heard of people who take 4 to 6 pills to get the same effect, where 2 normally would have been plenty.

STRATEGIES: You can always make an improvement.

  1. Use a lifestyle assessment. This doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Just take a moment and reflect on your current lifestyle in terms of pathology prevention. Look at each of the 8 Health Guardian’s practices listed on our homepage. You may eventually want to dig deeper and consider every pathology prevention practice, but first only consider the 8. Are you doing everything you can at that level? If not, drill down into and get some ideas for improvement.
  2.  Now set some reasonable goals on how you would like to be functioning in 6 months.
  3. Now, with your goal in hand, identify 4-6 objectives that must be accomplished for you to consider that you’ve been a success. If you list more than 6 objectives, group some up into a higher level of abstraction. If you don’t have 4 objectives, maybe you can divide a few into more detail. 
  4. Now you have a roadmap for lifestyle change. Work on it, be flexible, hold yourself accountable, celebrate victories, make changes when required. Remember, if you get tripped up, stand back up, and get back into the race. 
  5. Evaluate, and repeat! 

INTERACTIONS: Expect change, and resistance. Have you ever tried to quit smoking, maybe alcohol abuse? It’s hard, there are professionals who can help. If you’re dealing with drug addiction, then you do need help. If your trying to watch less TV at night, maybe you can do that on your own. Whatever your dealing with, lifestyle change always impacts others. It may change medication balances. What you want to change, may not be the best for you. Talk it over with your Health Guardian and those being impacted. Our herbal infusions provide a holistic approach to strengthening your organ systems, and can play a major role in your pathology prevention efforts, while lowering medical costs, and improving your overall lifestyle.

WARNINGS: When we set out to change our lifestyle, we will meet resistance most of the time. This doesn’t mean that your friends and family don’t love you, what it means is folks don’t like change. Think it through, make your decision, commit to it, and be successful. If you must change your peers, do it.

PRIORITIZATION: Out of all the practices you could use to make your lifestyle healthier, what should you do, given your limited time and resources? By using this pairwise comparison spreadsheet, you’ll gain directional insight and focus for determining what changes you should make now.

  1. Begin by evaluating CAREGIVING against MANAGEMENT. Select the one you prefer by placing a "X" in the cell if you want to select CAREGIVING, an "O" if you want to select MANAGEMENT. Then continue down the row, comparing CAREGIVING to NUTRITION and on down the row, selecting one over the other. Your selection criteria might be, "Which one do I know the least about?" or "Which do I feel would be the most valuable to me?" Write down your criteria and be consistent, asking the same questions at each evaluation.  
  2. Count the "X"s in each row, and put the total in the cell on the right of the row with the heading "X-Count". In the example, CAREGIVING received 4 "X"s, so you would enter a 4 in that cell. In the PHYSICAL row, there are 2 "X"s. After counting all the "X"s, it makes later steps easier if we transcribe the X-Count under the O-Count. In the example the X-Counts are in the light green cells. 
  3. Under each column, such as "MENTAL", count the "O"s. Under the "MENTAL" column there are 2 "O"s in this example, so enter the number two in the cell under this heading in the O-Count row. In this example, the O-Count row is in a light blue. The table will add the X and O counts in the Priority Practice row. The highest number is your next lifestyle focus. In the example, it looks like we need to change our Lifestyle by adding some Spiritual Practices. 

You have now prioritized the high-level practices. You may need to drill down to prioritize more specific practices, or choose to work at this level. You are in charge of your lifestyle changes.



   Now, the most common chronic illness for aging adults is arthritis. Many forms of arthritis can be prevented and treated by means outside of medication. Does this mean you never take medication for arthritis? No, it does not. There are many treatments that are complementary to medication. But Health Guardians need to do more to keep arthritis from getting to a point where medication is the only treatment. How? One: keep joints moving. Two: keep excess body weight off joints. Three: start a simple strength training routine. These three decisions will go a long way toward knocking arthritis off the top of the chronic illnesses chart. Determination is strong medicine. Action is strong medicine. A support system is strong medicine. The Health Guardian uses about everything from diet, to exercise, to creating a family safety net, to help them in the fight against arthritis and other conditions.

   The biggest concern for seniors today is a big C, but not the big C. It's cardiovascular disease, also known as CVD. That's the number-one killer for seniors 65-plus. So, does that mean cardiovascular disease is a death sentence and there's little or nothing we can do about it? Heck no! Cardio comes from the Greek kardia, which means heart, vascular is related to blood vessels, arteries, and veins. So a disease affecting the heart and blood vessels is known as cardiovascular disease. Many times, CVD is caused by hypertension, or high blood pressure. CVD is also associated with atherosclerosis, a condition in which fatty material, called plaque, collects along the walls of arteries. This fatty material will thicken, then harden, forming calcium deposits. This buildup narrows the arteries, making it harder for blood to flow through them. In combination with other factors, it can eventually block arteries, causing a blood clot that can lead to heart attack or stroke. Fatty, processed foods are typically the culprit in CVD. There are simple things you can do to significantly reduce your chances of CVD – including mastering an understanding of food labels and identifying bad fats – so you can keep your cardiovascular system running freely.

   Half of men and one-third of women will develop cancer in their lifetime. Cancer is a general name given to over 100 diseases in which cells grow out of and invade other tissue. Left untreated, this abnormal growth can cause serious illness and even death. Your risk of developing most types of cancer can be significantly reduced by changes in your lifestyle. Number one: if you smoke or use tobacco, quit. Number two: when you’re in the sun, protect your skin (limited exposure is good because you need vitamin D). Number three: get physically active. And number four: eat better, because a healthy diet reduces your chances of cancer. Those are simple, common sense things that you can do on your own behalf.

   For many of us, our history with change makes this possibility hard to imagine. For the Health Guardian, it is this possibility that we commit to, and turn change efforts into reality. In this department, we introduce you to The Health Guardian’s Change Roadmap (HGCR), change process methodologies that dramatically increase your ability to navigate your desired health changes, and its transformation, successfully. The HGCR has been developed through thirty years of application in medical context across all types of efforts from, weight loss, fitness, nutritional diets, sleeping, and living with chronic disease. It will help you plan, design, and implement a comprehensive change strategy and process plan to deliver your results at optimal speed, effort, and cost.

   The Health Guardian’s Change Roadmap (HGCR), will build your confidence in how best to attend to the most challenging aspects of transformation-the human dynamics-helping you design a change process that engenders commitment and engagement of those being impacted, and devotes needed attention to mindset, behavior, and culture change. The HGCR will help you stay on track when new information or circumstances arise that would otherwise thwart your effort with conflict, chaos, and resistance.

   A culture has a set of common values. Values are the foundation of the culture. Values give the culture an overarching purpose and guide as to how each member acts and behaves in different situations. The Health Guardian must be aware of these cultural values, recognize the impact they have on health and overall wellness. The Health Guardian contributes to cultural values for positive change, endure existing values and the resulting health impact, or become isolated from that culture.

   Each culture also has a set of norms. Norms are the spoken and unspoken rules of how the culture operates; they represent your values in action. Norms guide how members interact with one another and with the outside world. Examples of cultural norms include things like how members resolve conflict (yelling? - passive-aggressiveness? - calm, assertive discussion?) and how or if members help out outside of official expectations. Norms are conveyed both by example and by intentional instruction.

   Rituals/Traditions are also part of culture. They are a set of behaviors and routines that provide members with a sense of identity and purpose. They provide cohesion to the group and connection to other members. Rituals and traditions can be big things like meetups, outings, events, or special activities around holidays, but they can also be small things like dinners or game nights. This also includes rites of passage for members as they go through various stages of cultural acceptance.

   Healthy relationships are a vital component of health. Isolation—the lack of social contact—has been studied extensively. Researchers have found that isolation is linked to negative health impacts, including increased blood pressure; higher rates of colds and flu; heightened substance abuse; greater incidence of dementia and cognitive decline; higher mortality rates from breast cancer, heart disease, and other chronic diseases.

   Socially isolated people are more susceptible to illness and have a death rate two to three times higher than those who are not socially isolated. People who maintain their social network and support systems do better under stress. Approximately 20 percent of Americans feel lonely and isolated during their free time. Touching, stroking, and hugging can improve health. Laughter really is good medicine. Cholesterol levels go up when human companionship is lacking. Warm, close friendships cause higher levels of immunoglobulin A (an antibody that helps keep away respiratory infections and cavities). A strong social network can create a good mood and enhance self-esteem.

   The social dimension of wellness encourages contributing to one’s human and physical environment to the common welfare of one’s community. Social Wellness emphasizes the interdependence with others and nature. It includes the pursuit of harmony in one’s family. As you travel a wellness path, you’ll become more aware of your importance in society as well as the impact you have on nature and your community. You’ll take an active part in improving our world by encouraging a healthy living environment and initiating better communication with those around you. You’ll actively seek ways to preserve the beauty and balance of nature along the pathway.

   Social wellness is having positive interactions with and enjoying being with others. It is having comfort and ease during work and leisure situations and communicating feelings and needs to others. It involves developing and building close friendships and intimacy, practicing empathy and effective listening, caring for others and for the common good, and allowing others to care for you. It is recognizing the need for leisure and recreation, and budgeting time for those activities. As you proceed on your social wellness journey, you’ll discover many things. You’ll discover that you have the power to make willful choices to enhance personal relationships, important friendships, your community, the environment, and ultimately, the world. As you travel the wellness path, you’ll begin to believe that – socially.