Today's blog: The simple things that lead to good health

By Kiley Owen, PA-C

My Weekend Work Mornings

When I work a weekday shift, I typically take interstates to work, which allows me to skip the stoplights and get there faster. But when I work a weekend shift, traffic is minimal in the morning, so I like to drive through town, which offers much nicer scenery.

couple relaxing on porch with painted red bricksI drive on a street that is lined with beautiful old houses. One of the houses often has a couple sitting outside on their porch, leisurely drinking coffee and reading the paper.

They look so relaxed, so content, so unrushed. It's a nice, peaceful scene. Seeing them makes me feel a bit more serene.

Once I enter the hospital, I will meet patients and loved ones whose lives are filled with much more worry, stress, and uncertainty. Part of my job will be to help put them at ease.

Seeing this couple, with their simple and relaxed weekend morning routine, puts me at ease. 

They remind me of three important things pertaining to good health:

1. Enjoying the Simple Things

Often it's the simplest things in life that bring us the most joy and the greatest sense of well-being. Our culture encourages us to do countless tasks, to rush from one activity to another, and to acquire as much stuff as possible. But if we're not careful, all this doing and all this stuff can take a negative toll on our health.

Sometimes the best thing we can do for our health is to simplify, get rid of the clutter, free up our time and space, and focus on what is most important.    

2. Making Good Use of What We Already Have

potted purple crocusMost of the houses I pass on my way to work have beautiful, large front porches. Yet this house is the only one I see with people actually using their porch.

Many of us have nice things that are rarely used. Some examples might include:

  • A porch, deck, or patio that doesn't do much entertaining
  • A dining table that doesn't see enough family dinners 
  • Neglected gardens or flower pots
  • A fishing pole, tent, volleyball net, croquet set, etc. that's just collecting dust
  • A nearby park or nature trail that never gets visited

I am certainly guilty of having (or having access to) things I don't appreciate and use enough. My intent is not to inflict guilt, but to bring awareness of some health-promoting treasures that are right in front of us!

3. How Our Presence Affects the Well-Being of Those Around Us

Just as the calm presence of the couple on the porch makes me feel more calm, my mental state affects those around me. If I'm rushed, irritable, and stressed, those around me will feel that stress, too.

But if I'm calm and relaxed, those around me will feel at ease.

I especially try to keep this in mind at home. Those closest to me see the "real" me, which isn't always a nice sight. I certainly have my moments of rushing around, impatience, and irritability. But I do make a conscious effort to create an environment of calmness, comfort, and peace within my own home. Sometimes I succeed, ... and sometimes I fail miserably. But I keep trying, realizing how my actions can positively or negatively impact those around me. 

How About You?

How might simplification, making good use of things you already have, and recognizing the effect we have on others' health make a positive difference in your life?  

Kiley Owen is a physician assistant, blogger and preventive health enthusiast. This post—along with helpful links to other resources—originally appeared on her blog, makinghealthapriority.com.