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Habits: Directing Your Life Intentionally

2023-01-23T04:18:54+00:00January 22nd, 2023|Adults, Membership, Mental Health, Public Health|

Our brains are the most amazing organ. The brain organizes and integrates an incredible amount of data quickly while allowing us to operate on “auto-pilot” for much of our day. Our brains create systems and pathways that are so well worn that we can do routine tasks without shifting our focus to them.

How can we harness the strength of this amazing gift to help us create the life we want? By understanding how to intentionally form our habits

So… what is a habit?

Habits are behaviors we perform on a regular basis where some component of the behavior is considered “automatic.” Forming new habits just requires practice.

Developing new desired healthy habits is something we can direct our brain to do for us. Dr Diaz works with patients to help them build habits and reach their goals.

>> Learn more aT: Roots Health DPC <<

Habits are pathways in the brain that have formed through repetition. The repetitive pattern starts with a cue from the environment which triggers a behavioral response and is reinforced with a reward. The classic example was the experiment with Pavlov’s dogs where the dogs salivated (behavior) in response to the bell (cue).

In order to create a new, healthy habit—or even to break a bad habit—you’ll want to be as intentional as possible with all three parts: cue, behavior, reward. You can manipulate your environment to introduce cues that you can then intentionally start to associate with a desired behavior and reinforce it all with a reward.

Changing your life habits can be simpler than you may think. With a few tricks, you can gain or lose any habits you’d like.

Understanding these tips will help you stick to healthy habits and break bad ones as you work toward your health and wellness goals in 2023.

FOCUS ON THE CUE

In order to create new habits, we need to focus on the cue, NOT the behavior.

Let’s say you want to start practicing yoga on a regular basis. Instead of focusing on doing yoga, try focusing on developing the routine around initiating the yoga.

An easy way to do this is to choose a cue that already occurs regularly in your daily life, such as drinking morning coffee. During the early stages of developing your yoga habit, focus your effort on prepping your yoga space while you brew the coffee. Then go fill up your cup and go straight to the location in your home you have chosen to do yoga.

Develop the habit of prepping to do yoga every morning, which makes it more likely that you’ll actually do it. Do not focus on the behavior… you can start with 5 minutes daily of yoga and gradually build up to your targeted time.

After a while, you’ll start to notice that when you get up to get coffee (environmental cue), it takes little to no effort to set up your space and practice yoga (habitual response).

You’ll even start to look forward to it, and maybe even feel like something in your life is off when you do not practice yoga…. And that’s the power of habit!

REINFORCE WITH THE “REWARD”

Using the yoga example, you might get done and treat yourself to a (healthy) snack to go with your coffee. Whatever you do, be sure to incorporate a healthy reward into your habit routine.

The more often the cue, behavior, and reward occur in close time and proximity to one another, the stronger a habit becomes.

HEALTHY HABITS TO START RIGHT NOW

All habits are not created equal. Some habits can have positive impacts across multiple areas of our lives. The most impactful habits are ones that point you toward regular exercise, eating well, and getting good sleep. These three are my top picks for unlocking a healthier life starting today.

HABITS VS GOALS – Don’t confuse habits with goals.

Goals are great, but putting habits in place that move you toward your goals are key. The goal is the destination and the habit is the journey.

You have the tips you need to build healthy habits and break bad ones. Start the process today and build a better life for yourself…. one habit at a time. Interested in learning more about how you can use habits and achieve your health and wellness goals? Set up a FREE “Meet and Greet” to speak with Dr Diaz today. Space is limited.

Book a free meet and greet today!

Making Health Your Priority in 2023: Tips for Success

2023-01-22T20:41:04+00:00January 16th, 2023|Adults, Community, Family Practice, Health Care, Membership, Mental Health|

The goal of becoming healthier is among the most popular resolutions. Many resolve to eat healthier and exercise regularly. These resolutions are great, but they do not address the way stress can sabotage our best efforts to live a healthy life. Emotional well-being underpins our success at achieving our health goals for 2023.

Goal setting is good, but the mindset work that builds the foundation for the path to success is what is most important. Living a healthy life is a journey, not a destination, and there are no “quick cures” when it comes to health and well-being. Failure can cause impatience and it is necessary to remember that you will succeed… if you don’t expect overnight success.

>> Learn more about Roots Health DPC <<

At Roots Health DPC we provide a system and support to ensure that you achieve your health and wellness goals. We know that healthy living is the foundation for a successful happy productive life.


Use these tips to help ensure you follow through with prioritizing your health in 2023:

Stay in Touch

Connect with friends in person. It’s good for your health to maintain friendships. In general, a lack of social bonds can damage your health as much smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure.

Surround yourself with people who are making their personal health and wellness their priority. In a technology-fixated era, it’s never been easier to stay in touch, so fire up your favorite social media and then follow up with in-person visits.

Plan for bumps in the road: A support system can help. We thrive with social interaction and support. Surround yourself with like-minded people looking to prioritize their health and wellness this year. It is important to have someone there on a regular basis to get you through those rough times.

Manage Your Stress

Stress, in small doses, can actually be helpful for short periods. But chronic stress can increase your risk of—or worsen—anxiety, depression, diabetes, heart disease, and more. The best way to manage stress is to control the factors you have agency over:

  • Get enough sleep
  • Exercise
  • Ensure you are eating well
  • Spend intentional time relaxing away from stressors

Relaxation, sleep, socializing, and taking vacations are things we all deserve and owe to ourselves for our health and well being in 2023. Finding healthy ways to cope with the stress in your life is imperative to your well-being.

Cut Back on Alcohol

Drinking alcohol in excess can increase risk for depression, increase memory loss, and increase hot flash symptoms in perimenopausal women. Heavy chronic drinking increases your risk for liver and heart disease, stroke, mental deterioration, and even cancers of the mouth, throat, liver, and breast.

If cutting back on alcohol to a couple of drinks per week seems to be difficult, consider reaching out for help.

Get More Sleep

You probably already know that a good night’s rest can do wonders for your ability to function on all cylinders. But sleep is more beneficial to your health than you might realize. A lack of sleep has been linked to a greater risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Aim to get quality sleep and more of it by exercising good sleep habits. These habits can include actions such as:

  • Going to bed and waking up at consistent times daily
  • Having a comfortable bedroom atmosphere (i.e., one that is dark, quiet, and relaxing)
  • Getting exercise during the day

It’s common for people to make New Year’s resolutions, but it’s also common for people to break them. Fortunately, there are resolutions you can make with ways that can help you stick to them. At Roots Health DPC, we take the time to understand your unique health goals and work with you to address obstacles to your success. We invite you to join us and let us help you achieve your health and wellness goals in 2023.

Book a free meet and greet today!

Holiday Stress – Mondays With your MD

2022-12-12T22:24:06+00:00December 12th, 2022|Adults, Mental Health, Public Health, Sleep|

Prioritize your mental health this holiday season

Tis the season of giving!

Make sure you fill your own cup first…there is nothing to give from an empty cup.

We all feel stressed from time to time during the holiday season – there are changes to routine, pressure to attend social events, shopping, cleaning, entertaining, travel, and more… that can all take a toll on our mental health.
Since the pandemic began, the loss of loved ones, financial stressors, and feelings of anxiety around the uncertainties have impacted many. It’s important to adjust at your own pace and take care of your mental wellbeing along the way.

Don’t let stress and negative thinking ruin your holidays and hurt your health.

With some practical tips, you can minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays. Heck…you may even end up enjoying the holidays more than you thought you would!

5 Tips to “enjoy more and stress less” this holiday season:

1. LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS
… for yourself and others! The holidays do not have to be perfect… or even just like last year. Families change and grow and so do traditions and rituals. Remember feelings are not facts and they do not last forever. Try to focus on what really matters most to you this holiday season. Acknowledge your feelings and give yourself the space and time to process them and then, when you’re ready, choose to move on.

2. KEEP YOUR ROUTINE AND HEALTHY HABITS
Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to stress.

  • Get sleep
  • Eat healthy meals
  • Avoid excessive alcohol
  • Include regular physical activity
  • Use deep-breathing exercises, meditation or yoga.

3. PRACTICE MORE SELF-CARE

Make time for yourself and take a break. Reserve spending time just for you, without distractions. Engage in hobbies that bring you joy: take a walk, enjoy music, listen to an audiobook, get a massage, let your artistic side play. This simple tip may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do.

“You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re too busy: then you should sit for an hour” –old Zen proverb

4. SAYING “NO”
Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends, family, and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every activity or if you are unable to host them beyond your limits. Remember that “No” is a complete sentence. If you have an obligation that is taking more time than planned, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.

5. ASK FOR HELP
Reaching out for help during the holidays is one of the best things you can do. Speak with a person you trust…a friend, family member or your therapist, about your current feelings. You will discover that feeling down or stressed during the holiday season is very common. Give yourself the time you need to use tools to overcome those negative thoughts. Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, if you find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores… talk to your doctor or mental health professional. You are never alone.

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