HEALTH PORTFOLIO (H-Portfolio)
H-Asset: Emotional Wealth
Our emotions are our guidance system and symptoms of anxiety and stress continually deplete our H-portfolio’s asset; Emotional Wealth. This results in huge emotional and physical debt, as well as taxing of our health care resources.
Anxiety, back problems, depression, digestive problems, headaches, heart attacks, insomnia, stroke, and many other conditions have all been linked to stress. Stress is a reaction to a situation such as anxiety, and is a condition that is often characterized by symptoms of emotional or physical tension. Anxiety disorder for example, is the most common mental illness, affecting more than 40 million adult Americans with the highest prevalence in ages 18 years and older. However, the number of children with anxiety disorder is rising; 1 in 8 children are now affected by this illness (CDC, 2015). Gordon (2011) and Dingle (2015), have discussed possible “addictions” to video gaming and the use of Internet, as a connection to an increased trend towards anxiety and depression in children and adolescents.
In the United States, a staggering $42 billion in direct medical costs are spent each year on anxiety, and people with anxiety are three to five times more likely to see their doctor. Furthermore, approximately 22.84 billion dollars of these costs are associated with repeated health care services. Ironically, although the costs are high, only 1/3 of those suffering from anxiety receive medical treatment (ADAA, n.d.).
Just as we must have a nest-egg that can help us live out our golden years in comfort, we also need emotional wealth, in order to stave off chronic debilitating illnesses that drain our finances and happiness. Developing an H-portfolio that includes emotional wealth is extremely important, because a volatile market could prevent you from reaching your optimal health=wealth formula (H=W formula). It is never too early to invest in your emotional health.
Review of the H-Investments
My H-investment: As a licensed physical therapist, I am certain this MUST HAVE H-investment is worth every cent. Building an H-portfolio that includes exercise is another very wise H-investment that creates health and balance, empowering you to invest and manage your own H-solution for a healthy lifestyle. H-problems mean very expensive repairs. I try to get some type of physical exercise every single day, and that might include stretching, strengthening, yoga, walking and/or biking, if I want to reduce my stress level. I don’t always feel better at first, but I always feel better when I am done. According to Burg et al. (2017), there is a relationship between stress and exercise that is bi-directional. In other words, being stressed resulted in exercising less, however, exercising decreased stress levels. Exercise is a step in molding a positive lifestyle change, and if we push ourselves to do even a minimal amount of exercise when feeling stressed, the level of stress could actually decrease. Gerber et al. (2017) and Furtado et al. (2016) both found physical activity improved stress levels in undergraduate students, as well as in older adults participating in chair yoga. Exercise can be done almost anywhere. One can exercise without a gym and in most locations. Start slow, but get out there and move!
History of this H-investment: Indications of medical practitioners using exercise with their patients has been found more than 2.5 millennia ago. As early as 2600 BCE, medical historians have found evidence of physicians using breathing exercises for their patients in China. In 600 BCE, a physician, Susruta, became the first doctor to prescribe exercises for his patients. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, emphasized the therapeutic effects of exercise in his teaching. Herodicus, a teacher of Hippocrates, also emphasized these effects and clearly influenced Hippocrates. In 250-100 BCE, Caraka believed that exercise could “cure” diabetes. In 2017, the American College of Sports Medicine launched a global initiative for physicians to promote exercise in their practice, suggesting at the minimum that all individuals strive to attain 150 minutes of exercise per week (Tipton, 2014). This H-investment history is well established. Although no one can guarantee emotional wealth, exercise is an enjoyable and non-stressful way of helping to control its symptoms.
My H-investment: Essential oils have many uses, but I will share my MUST HAVES for anxiety and stress. I diffuse 3-6 drops of 100 percent Lavender oil in an ultrasonic diffuser in my bedroom during exercise, meditation, or bedtime. I place lavender oil directly on my skin, or I open the bottle and breathe it in. For extra relaxation, I put 2-3 drops of lavender oil in a warm bath with Epsom salt. There are many more essential oils that help relieve stress and anxiety, whichever you select may be a personal preference. It is best to try a few before coming to a conclusion, or consult a resource, such as a local herbalist or book.
* Despite the many benefits of essential oils, there are some precautions. Proper precautions must be exercised with pregnant women, people with respiratory conditions, or parents wanting to use essential oils on children should absolutely consult with a physician prior to using essential oils.
History of this H-investment: The use of essential oils dates back more than 5000 years ago, and was used by the Greeks and Romans for a myriad of purposes, some which included health benefits. Most of the early use of essential oils were for medicinal purposes, including treating disease, skin issues, infection, and respiratory ailments. Watanabe et al. (2015) completed a randomized, controlled study looking at the effects of bergamot essential oil on various stress responses in healthy females and found promising results. Soto-Vasquez and Alvarado-Garcia (2017) ran a randomized experimental trial that found improvement when using mindfulness meditation and essential oils to treat patients with anxiety. When used separately, essential oils and meditation both significantly improvement participants’ post-test scores on the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). However, combining essential oils and meditation simultaneously resulted in an improvement in both STAI scores and anxiety.
My H-investment: Meditation has many benefits, but I will share this MUST HAVE as a tool for emotional wealth. I try to meditate every day for at least 20 minutes. I cannot express the importance of building an H-portfolio that includes the mind-body connection. Meditation plays an important role in reducing anxiety and stress. I use several free podcasts from Hay House Meditations. Meditation and the joys of the “unsaid,” can calm and center the body for the day.
History of this H-investment: Archeologists have discovered evidence of meditation in wall drawings dating from 5,000 to 3,500 BCE. Indian scriptures describe meditation techniques dating back 3,000 years ago. As time progressed, many great religions began to practice meditation as part of spiritual development (Puff, 2013). Leung et al. (2017) found that there are meditation-induced changes seen at the level of the brain, in the amygdala, where stress can originate. Meditation had decreased amygdala activity which could result in less stress. Furthermore, meditation lowers your H-investment risk and puts more money in your pocket by reducing the amount of sick days and doctor visits (Hoge et al., 2017). What you invest in your health should be an important decision, and meditation could certainly help grow your H-portfolio over time.
My H-investment: Since I am a licensed acupuncturist, I continue to give a shout-out to on all of my incredible returns on this MUST-HAVE H-investment. I have even been called (lovingly) by my patients and friends, Acu-Shrink, because acupuncture and re-balancing your H-portfolio will not shrink your H-investment. Not only do I treat adults for anxiety and stress, I see more and more children who also experience anxiety and stress. Luckily, acupuncture is gentle enough for the whole family. According to Dr. Katholi of the Cleveland Clinic, acupuncture can address multiple symptoms in one treatment and be very effective in the treatment of many pediatrics issues, including anxiety, ADHD, and sleep problems. A study of 450 children, ranging ages newborn to 17 years old, assessed the effects of acupuncture and safety when provided by well-trained professionals. Not only is it safe, but acupuncture also releases natural-occurring endorphins, and has no medication side effects (2013).
History of this H-investment: Acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years and there is a reason for that. It works! With acupuncture, the body’s vital energy (Qi) circulates through the body’s channels, called meridians. These meridians have branches connected to bodily organs and functions. Illness occurs when there is an imbalance or interruption of one’s Qi. Acupuncture increases overall energy and vitality, and helps the body achieve balance. Arvidsdotter, Marklund, and Taft (2014) found that showed patients with anxiety and depression who incorporate integrative treatment and therapeutic acupuncture, showed improvements in their symptoms and quality of life scores, over conventional treatment in all the parameters measured.
Exercise, essential oils, meditation, with mindfulness, and acupuncture have been mentioned in my previous Health Management Series. Imagine all the H-possibilities by using the same H-investments… they are endless!
By considering your H-Asset, Emotional Wealth, as carefully as you would consider your own financial nest egg, you will improve your emotional health and never have the need to re-invest. This will lead you to significant returns and dividends on your “H-investment”!
Your Health… Your Wealth!
The Health Management Series by Dr. Lisa Williams embraces the theory that your health is your wealth, and sound health investments (H-investments) are the key to a healthy lifestyle. With my relentless pursuit to restore the natural healing process, I will review specific health assets (H-assets) and recommend H-investments for building health dividends (H-dividends) that will pay off in years to come. Yes, it is all about the H’s in this Health Portfolio.
About the author
Dr. Lisa Williams, founder of Gentle Touch Acupuncture and Gentle Touch Physical Therapy in New York City, is a doctor of physical therapy as well as a licensed acupuncturist. Lisa has been practicing for more than 23 years and has developed significant expertise in all areas of rehabilitation including pediatrics, geriatrics, general orthopedics, sports injuries, and wellness. Lisa’s own personal journey to healing, and discovering the mind-body connection, began more than 28 years ago, when a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis changed the direction of her life. Her quest has led her to create a multi-pronged approach to health and wellness. This approach combines acupuncture, exercise, nutritional alteration and supplementation, to successfully manage a plethora of conditions. Lisa’s Health Management Series was developed to inspire people to achieve their health and wellness goals, by sharing what she has learned from her own journey. Using her approach will empower you to find your own solutions for a healthy lifestyle.
For more information: Gentle Touch Acupuncture and Gentle Touch Physical Therapy. As you make the most of your H-portfolio in 2017, please create and share your own MUST HAVE H-investment with me at #Healthmanagmentseries or Health Management Series by Dr. Lisa Williams.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). (n.d.). Facts and statistics. Retrieved from https://www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics
Arvidsdotter, T., Marklund, B., & Taft, C. (2014). Six-month effects of integrative treatment, therapeutic acupuncture and conventional treatment in alleviating psychological distress in primary care patients–follow up from an open, pragmatic randomized controlled trial. BMC Complement Altern Med, 14, 210. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-210
Burg, M. M., Schwartz, J. E., Kronish, I. M., Diaz, K. M., Alcantara, C., Duer-Hefele, J., & Davidson, K. W. (2017). Does stress result in you exercising less? Or does exercising result in you being less stressed? Or is it both? Testing the bi-directional stress-exercise association at the group and person (N of 1) level. Ann Behav Med. doi:10.1007/s12160-017-9902-4
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2015, Oct). Coping with stress. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pub/coping_with_stress_tips.html
Children’s Health Team, Cleveland Clinic. (2013). Acupuncture for kids. A surprising effective choice. Retrieved from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2013102/acupuncture-for-kids.
Dingle, A., Kothari, J. (2015). Psychiatry advisor. Psychiatric impacts of video games and internet addiction on children. Retrieved from http://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/childadolescent-psychiatry/psychiatric-impacts-of-video-games-internet-addiction-on-children/article/396984/
Essential Oils Natural Remedies: The Complete A-Z Reference of Essential Oils for Health and Healing. (2015). Berkeley, CA: Althea Press.
Furtado, G. E., Uba-Chupel, M., Carvalho, H. M., Souza, N. R., Ferreira, J. P., & Teixeira, A. M. (2016). Effects of a chair-yoga exercises on stress hormone levels, daily life activities, falls and physical fitness in institutionalized older adults. Complement Ther Clin Pract, 24, 123-129. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2016.05.012
Gerber, M., Ludyga, S., Mucke, M., Colledge, F., Brand, S., & Puhse, U. (2017). Low vigorous physical activity is associated with increased adrenocortical reactivity to psychosocial stress in students with high stress perceptions. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 80, 104-113. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2017.03.004
Gordon, S. (2011). Video game addiction tied to depression, anxiety in kids. Retrieved from https://www.health.usnews.com/health-news
Hoge, E. A., Guidos, B. M., Mete, M., Bui, E., Pollack, M. H., Simon, N. M., & Dutton, M. A. (2017). Effects of mindfulness meditation on occupational functioning and health care utilization in individuals with anxiety. J Psychosom Res, 95, 7-11. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2017.01.011
Leung, M. K., Lau, W. K., Chan, C. C., Wong, S. S., Fung, A. L., & Lee, T. M. (2017). Meditation-induced neuroplastic changes in amygdala activity during negative affective processing. Soc Neurosci, 1-12. doi:10.1080/17470919.2017.1311939
Puff, R. (2013, June 7). Psychology today. An overview of meditation: its origins and traditions. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/meditation-modern-life/201307/overview-meditation-its-origins-and-traditions
Soto-Vasquez, M. R., & Alvarado-Garcia, P. A. (2017). Aromatherapy with two essential oils from Satureja genre and mindfulness meditation to reduce anxiety in humans. J Tradit Complement Med, 7(1), 121-125. doi:10.1016/j.jtcme.2016.06.003
Tipton, C. (2014). Advancements in Physiological Education. The history of “exercise is medicine” in ancient civilizations. Retrieved from http://advan.physiology.org/content/38/2/109
Watanabe, E., Kuchta, K., Komura, M, et al. (2015). Effects of bergamot essential oil aromatherapy on mood states, parasympathetic nervous system activity, and salivary cortisol levels in 41 health females. Forsch Komplementmed, 22 (1), 43-49.
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