The Importance of Wellness in a South African Context

Did you know that South Africa is rated the 2nd most stressed country[1]? And that South Africa is rated the 3rd most miserable country in the world[2]? Unless we want to end up with large problems for ourselves, we have to do something about this issue.We may not be able to change the stress factors, but we can do something to help ourselves cope with the stress – stress management – and deal with the effects of stress – holistic health practices.

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People have forgotten how to find balance in their lives. We are a highly strung country that has to push ourselves to compete with the rest of the world. And even though we work many hours of the day (more than most other countries), this doesn’t necessarily mean we are more productive. In some instances we are less productive. Why is this the case? Because we are overworked and tired, and this leads to less effective work output. The happier and healthier you feel the better your work performance. The less stressed you are the better your work performance. Work meaning being a mother, a father, a secretary, an office manager, a CEO , a chef, an artist, an engineer, anything that we spend our time doing.

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What can we do about this? It is important to take a holistic approach: Incorporating the mind, body and spirit.The mind effects the body and vice versa. Emotions and intellectual thoughts play vital roles in our health and lifestyles. Our spiritual lives also play a part in who we are…our search for our purpose and seeing the bigger picture in what we are doing with our lives and what we spend our time doing. The mind, body and spirit all work together creating who we are.

The first point is healing the mind. We live in a society which can be very intellectually demanding. South African schools focus on a very intellectual academic system, with very little emphasis on physical exercise or practical application. People in the working world spend a lot of there time in the office on computers, problem solving, etc. Intellect and exercising the mind is very important, but we need to avoid burnout and find balance.

A new ‘buzzword’ is mindfulness[3]. More people are realising the importance of being mindful and more present. Mindfulness is aimed at being more aware / conscious of the thoughts we have so that we can consciously change them. This can be difficult to do if we are experiencing mental fog or mental overload.

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Mental overload

william-james-stress-quote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is where the ‘body’ part comes in. And there are 2 things that come to mind: Proper nutrition and moderate exercise with good posture. The body needs specific vitamins, minerals and enzymes for proper metabolism, hormonal production, nutrient absorption and to fight stress and other disease causing issues.

Just as the body needs certain nutrition to survive and function optimally, so does the brain. Foods that help avoid burn out and metal fog; are foods rich in omega 3 and antioxidants. We should avoid toxic foods laced with free radicals, such as deep-fat fried and micro-waved foods. We need to eat more fresh foods and fruits and vegetables with as little processes as possible and no additives or unnatural preservatives.

Exercise is important because we spend a lot of time during the day sitting down and using our minds. Our body and brains need the exercise to increase blood and lymph circulation and to activate the muscles. Simply walking for ½ an hour is a good exercise, and it to help clear the mind at the same time.

Exercise, especially mindful exercise like yoga, also helps develop self-confidence. The body can also effect the mind if we are self-conscious. We focus a lot of energy on worrying about the way we look instead of finding acceptance within ourselves.

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Body / Physical stress manifestations

 

How can reflexology help?

We often ignore the signs that our bodies are stressed. And we push through even though our bodies and minds are telling us to stop. Our body is incredible that it allows us to do this…for a certain amount of time – until we develop dis-ease in the body. Disease is your body’s way of telling you that you need to stop, pay attention, be mindful and recognize the areas that need to be healed. Not just physically, but mentally, emotionally and even spiritually.Simply taking medication and supplements will not help chronic disease. If we want to heal completely, we need to change lifestyle habits – whether it is the thought we think or the things we eat.

Reflexology is a great preventative therapy, as well as helping you deal with chronic or acute disease.The practitioner[4] can deal with the initial warning signs that your body is stressed or unwell as well as balance and detox an already diseased patient.

  • During the reflexology treatment your body switches to parasympathetic mode, the opposite of a stressed state. This helps with digestion, hormonal balance and repairing of the body.
  • During reflexology treatment your mind goes into a meditative state (peaceful)
  • Reflexology increases circulation to the organs and importantly, the brain
  • The treatment initiates the bodies self-healing abilities
  • Reflexology detox and balances the body
  • Reflexology decreases symptoms such as poor sleep quality, imbalanced hormones, brain fog, moodiness, pain, headaches, etc
  • It balances blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  • The therapist gives you lifestyle advice and nutritional advice

Even when you highly stressed, a reflexology treatment has the ability to calm and balance the body.The more frequent the treatment, the quicker healing occurs. After the initial treatments, the body learns to cope and balance itself; from then on only monthly maintenance treatments are recommended.

Reflexology has been show to improve performance in the workplace[5] and heal or resolve stress related conditions, such as infertility, nerve pain, recovery of strokes, and the list goes on.

The effects of stress may be overlooked. Over 90% of modern disease is stress related. This justifies that we need to seriously look into stress management. It may not be possible to reduce the workload we have, but it is possible to learn to cope with it, and allow our minds and bodies the tools to cope with it.

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[1] According to http://www.atlasandboots.com/most-stressed-countries/

[2] According to http://www.fin24.com/Economy/sa-rated-the-third-most-miserable-place-on-earth-index-20160808

[3] Definition: 1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something 2. a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique

[4] Atkins R and Harris P; Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 14(4); 280-7, 2008 Nov and http://www.thefountainhead.co.za/reflexology/reflexallresearch.asp

[5] Make sure that you reflexologist is a Therapeutic Reflexologist with an AHPCSA number

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