Most of us want to lead healthy lives; we want to feel good in body, mind, and soul. Many of us suffer from chronic health conditions that make this seem like a dream. CBD has been touted as a miracle cure for just about everything, but in truth, there are no miracle cures, and good health requires much more than taking a pill. It’s about forming simple, daily, healthy habits that altogether make up a healthy life, and then doing the best you can to keep them.
The DRESS system from Functional Diagnostic Medicine (FDN) is a holistic system that focuses on five of the most crucial areas of health—Diet, Rest, Exercise, Stress Reduction and Supplementation—and provides simple techniques for healthy living that any person could apply to their lives.
The First Pillar: Diet
The fuel we put inside our bodies is crucial to our health and wellbeing. But eating healthy is about much more than sticking to sandwiches or going without the dressing on your salad. There is so much diet-related misinformation out there it’s almost impossible to attempt to sift through it. From Weight Watchers to Atkins to Keto, there are as many miracle diets out there as there are miracle pills. But the reality is there is no single diet that’s perfect for every body. According to FDN, finding the right diet for your unique body requires three different things:
- It’s made of real, whole, nutrient-dense food.
- It contains the right macronutrients in the correct ratios for your individual metabolic requirements.
- It must eliminate the foods that cause stress to your body (this includes “healthy” whole foods that you are sensitive to and junk foods).
The Second Pillar: Rest
Over 40 million people in the United States alone suffer from sleep problems. Struggling to fall asleep, stay asleep, get enough sleep and get enough quality sleep are just some of the issues we’re facing every day, and many people underestimate the impact this has on our lives. Poor sleep quality alone impacts our recovery, brain function, weight, and digestive health, along with a host of other things, and that’s even with 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
Here are 5 simple steps to getting a good night’s sleep:
- Create and stick to a sleep schedule and bedtime ritual: Creating a ritual helps your body get into a sleep routine. Things like drinking hot tea or taking a long bath before bed will help, and make sure you go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
- Pay attention to what you eat, drink and do before bed. Don’t eat a huge meal or go to bed hungry, and stay away from anything that will give you a blood sugar spike. Also make sure you limit screen time before bed.
- Create an optimal sleep environment: The area you sleep in should be cool, dark and quiet, so limit noise and light from the room as much as possible, and sleep in comfortable clothing.
- Get some exercise. As long as it’s not done in the evening before bed, exercise will help you sleep better. It will help you fall asleep faster, sleep longer and more deeply.
- Watch out for stress. If you’re feeling stressed, your sleep will be impacted. Try writing down everything you’re worried about before bed, taking 10 slow, deep breaths, and getting some exercise during the day.
The Third Pillar: Exercise
Speaking of exercise, we all know it’s an important part of health, especially considering we’re living more and more sedentary lives. But just like diet, the right exercise routine differs for every individual and is based on age, activity levels, health conditions and fitness goals.
However, many of us still struggle to exercise, often because we can’t find the time to fit it in. So instead of thinking about it in terms of going to the gym, or a class, or a run, try to find creative and simple ways to incorporate more movement into your daily routine, like taking a short walk with your morning coffee. Also look for anything fun, anything that has you forget the fact you’re actually exercising, like learning a new form of dance, because if it’s fun, you’ll keep going back.
The key is to start small and remain consistent. Instead of attempting to run a marathon, just start by using a step tracker to track your steps, and attempt to beat your score everyday.
The Fourth Pillar: Stress Reduction
It’s official: American’s are the most stressed they’ve ever been. One-third of the country is living with extreme amounts of stress and 48% say their stress levels have increased in the last 5 years. But FDN says not all stress is bad, and distinguishes between two different kinds of stress—eustress and distress, the latter being the one we really need to look out for.
Distress is very destructive on our lives, it leads to malfunction and disease in our bodies, and when not taken care of, can have serious long term effects on our health and wellbeing.
Reducing stress is paramount to our health because it impacts just about everything else—what we eat, how we sleep, if we have the energy to exercise. Here are two ways you can reduce stress in your life:
- Figure out the cause of the stress and make changes. This is obvious, and even though we often have little to no control over our life stressors, it’s still very important to look into.
- Focus on your breath. The first thing that happens when we feel stressed is our breath gets shallow and our sympathetic nervous system triggers. Focusing on your breath brings you into the present moment, reducing the stress and the physiological effects it’s having on your body.
It’s possible CBD might help with stress. Read our blog, “Does CBD Help With Sleep” to learn more.
The Fifth Pillar: Supplementation
The food we eat as part of modern civilisation makes it nearly impossible to get all the macro and micro nutrients we need, which is why we use supplements. Just like diet and exercise, the key is knowing which supplements your body actually needs, so you don’t waste time and money on unnecessary things. Supplements are recommended as part of the FDN Program to fill three basic functions:
- Substitution – These supplements replace something that is currently missing in the body or lacking in production. An example might include HCL or digestive enzymes.
- Stimulation – These supplements stimulate organs, glands and systems in the body to do their jobs. Examples might include vitamins and minerals.
- Support – An important function, not to be overlooked. These are short term aids to the body while function is being restored. One example is adrenal glandular supplements which help the body respond to stress.
There are no miracle cures when it comes to health, not even CBD. But the five areas above are the highest leverage points any human being can make to bring greater wellness to their lives. If you can master each of them — good diet, rest, exercise, stress reduction and supplementation — you’ll be well on your way to living a vibrant, healthy, optimal life.
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