Create Healthy Habits

May 5, 2021

by Dave Ciaccio, Board Chair

The fourth newsletter in a series covering the Parkinson’s Foundation’s “5 Steps to Living Well with Parkinson’s.”  This month: Create Healthy Habits.

When I think about the word ‘healthy’, it invokes thoughts of nutrition, exercise, blood pressure, etc. But ‘healthy’ is much more than that. It’s a mixture of physical, mental and spiritual well-being. It’s a balance of all three dimensions that leads to a higher quality of life.

At times, we might find ourselves focused on one over the others. Let’s say, physical over spiritual. But neglecting any one at length can have an adverse effect on our overall health.

Here’s how I see the dimensions of my health:

  1. Physical Health: encompasses a variety of healthy behaviors including exercise, nutrition and abstaining from harmful habits. It means learning about and identifying symptoms of Parkinson’s and getting regular check-ups.
  2. Emotional Health: encompasses optimism, self-compassion, self-acceptance and the ability to share feelings while respecting, appreciating and loving others.
  3. Spiritual Health: encompasses a set of guiding beliefs, principles, or values that give our lives direction. It involves a high level of faith, hope and commitment, which provides us with a sense of purpose and a willingness to seek meaning in our everyday life. It allows us to appreciate the things which cannot be easily explained or understood.

Every dimension of our health is our own. It’s up to us to keep them in balance. And one way to do that is with the people around us. The author Dan Buettner said it best, “Remember, the people we surround ourselves with influence our behaviors, so choose friends with healthy habits.”