Program Cultivate Personal a 6-Month Period In Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

program cultivate personal a 6-month period. In developing program draw reference relevant theory research. The include following sections Description well-being (definition outcomes) measurement well-being processes reflections.

Cultivating personal wellness

Description: My definition of wellness

Wellness is defined as a state of optimizing one's physical, mental, social, and civic health. With this in mind, I have decided upon the following plan to cultivate my own state of physical wellness.

Physical and mental wellness: Measurement of well-being and well-being processes

Exercise must be the core of every physical wellness prescription. It is important to maintain a healthy weight and regular exercise can significantly impact longevity. According to the American Heart Association, "Intensive exercise prevented shortening of telomeres, a protective effect against aging of the cardiovascular system, according to research reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association" (The anti-aging benefits of exercise, 2009, LA Times). Regular physical activity increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL) (also known as good cholesterol) while decreasing the triglycerides that are major contributors to heart disease. Lowering weight and blood sugar helps prevent type 2 diabetes, and weight-bearing exercise can protect bones against osteoporosis (7 benefits of physical activity, 2011, The Mayo Clinic).

Physical activity also boosts an individual's mood. According to the journal Psychosomatic Medicine in 2007, "202 men and women with major depression were randomly assigned to participate in a supervised exercise program in a group setting, do home-based exercise, take an antidepressant medication or take a placebo pill. After 16 weeks, 41% were in remission, meaning they no longer had major depressive disorder. Those who were in the exercise and medication groups tended to have higher remission rates than the placebo group" (Stein 2009: 1). And unlike drugs, moderate exercise has no negative side effects, only positive ones such as weight loss.

To increase my state of physical wellness, I intend to embark upon an exercise regime that will boost my level of physical fitness. For two weeks, I will try different physical activities, such as weight-lifting, yoga, and Pilates (for strength and flexibility) and biking, running, and aerobics at a gym (for cardiovascular health). The evidence suggests that compliance with a physical fitness regime is enhanced when the exerciser enjoys the activities he or she engages in, thus I will focus on first finding what activities I like best, and create a program revolving around those elements of fitness for the next six months. I intend to work out using cardio-related exercises for three days a week for at least a half an hour and do either yoga or strength and flexibility exercises for a half hour for the other three days (day seven will be a rest day). I will also try to introduce small 'exercises' into my daily routine, like taking the stairs instead of an elevator, and taking a walk instead of watching television to de-stress.

As well as taking more physical exercise, I will also strive to be a more educated person regarding health-related issues. I will research what tests and wellness screenings are appropriate for an individual of my age, gender, and state of health, and set goals for myself if I am found to need improvement in any of these core areas. I know I need to improve my diet. It is far too easy to rely upon convenience and prepared goods for meals. These foods tend to have too much sugar and are not nutrient-dense. I will try to shop at the perimeter of the supermarket for fresh produce, dairy, and low-fat protein, versus prepared foods.

I intend to increase my consumption of fruits and vegetables to the minimum of five servings per day, recommended by the FDA, and to eat as much minimally processed food as possible, such as having cut-up vegetables and hummus as a snack, rather than a bag of chips. I will eat fruit rather than drink fruit juice, eat unsweetened yogurt rather than ice cream and eat a baked potato rather than eat French fries. I will measure my sense of well-being by my ability to follow my lifestyle change goals and meet these benchmarks.

Social health: Measurement of well-being and well-being processes

Exercise can also be a powerful source of social engagement, which is also important in wellness promotion. Exercisers who exercise as part of a group have significantly higher rates of compliance than those who do not. Having friends who reinforce unhealthy eating habits and exercise patterns can subvert fitness, while the 'social infection' of positive habits can have the reverse effect. A 2007 New England Journal of Medicine study found that if an individual became clinically obese, "their friends were 57% more likely also to become obese. A friend of that obese person was about 20% more likely to become fat, and this was the case even if the weight of the linking friend remained unaltered" (Garfield 2010). By normalizing negative eating and exercise patterns, negative habits can impact people around the individual. The same study found "if a person began to smoke for the first time, the chances of their friend doing the same increased by 36%" (Garfield 2010).Conversely, positive social habits can have a wellness-promoting effect, and leanness or the decision to quit and never stop smoking can be highly influenced by social pressures and cues.

Of course, cutting friends out of one's life to engage in more positive health habits is not necessarily a 'healthy' behavior. However, this research encourages me to be more mindful of the ways in which I interact with others, and the extent to which I allow my friends to have an impact upon my health. Simply because 'everyone is doing it' -- whether this relates to smoking, drinking, eating Cheetos, or not exercising -- does not necessarily mean that it is the good thing to do.

It is also important to realize that what it seems like 'everyone' is doing is not necessarily the real behavior of one's peers. For example, an anonymous, Internet-based survey of 500,000 randomly selected incoming college freshmen found that 62% had not had a drink in the "previous two weeks -- an increase from 60% the prior year and a huge jump from 38% in 2006" even though the survey was taken during the typical 'party time' of freshman orientation (Berk 2011).

Being socially engaged is an important part of physical wellness. "Social isolation has been shown repeatedly to prospectively predict mortality and serious morbidity both in general population samples and in individuals with established morbidity, especially coronary heart disease. The magnitude of risk associated with social isolation is comparable with that of cigarette smoking and other major biomedical and psychosocial risk factors" (House 2001). Evidence such as this makes me feel considerably better taking time to take a short break from work and school to socialize! However, the bulk of the evidence suggests that social engagement is necessary, but it must manifest itself in a positive fashion. Social engagement that reinforces unhealthy rather than healthy behaviors does not promote overall wellness.

Over the next six months, I will resolve to promote my overall wellness by engaging in more healthy habits with friends and colleagues. Incorporating physical activities into social relationships, such as taking a bike ride rather than watching television, can be very easy. Volunteerism and giving back to the community can also be a form of social engagement with friends. Volunteering for a local soup kitchen, 'walking' to raise money for a worthy cause, or simply sharing a mutual interest together are all ways to make friends feel socially connected in a positive way. The goals I will set for myself will be to make sure that one of my 'physical activities' that is part of the first component of my wellness plan has a social component. Ideally, it should also have an aspect of improving life for the local community or others, such as taking a walk to pick up litter at a local park, or walking or running to raise money for breast cancer awareness. By the end of six months I will have completed at least one volunteer-related effort that gives back to the community, in conjunction with my friends.

Civic health: Measurement of well-being and well-being processes

Becoming more socially engaged is also a critical component of wellness. Volunteering is not simply good for others -- it is also good for the volunteer. Volunteering can promote a sense of self-empowerment and confidence, and thus make a substantial contribution to well-being. This is one reason why giving back to the community is an important part of my wellness plan.

To further increase my sense of civic health, I also intend to try to learn more about the world around me. It is easy to become very isolated from the rest of the world, when work and school make pressing demands on my time. Everyday over the next six months, I will try to turn into the national and international news on the television, or read a reputable newspaper on the…

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