The Effects: How Self-Care Benefits Your Health and Well-Being

Benefits of Self Care Free pregnancy testing and ultrasounds

 Many common self-care practices have been linked to longevity and other positive health outcomes, says Ellen K. Baker, PhD, a psychologist based in Washington, DC. There's a lot of research, for example, showing that things like exercise, yoga, and mindfulness are supportive of mental and physical health, she says.

An article published in 2020 noted that longevity in the 21st century depends on abiding by healthy practices — such as exercising, not smoking, and following a healthy diet — and also embracing a positive lifestyle all around. Paying attention to your well-being involves asking yourself big questions (such as "What brings me satisfaction?") and then finding ways to get there.

The following self-care practices have been well-researched and linked to a longer life:

  • Exercise People who exercised between two and eight hours per week throughout their lives reduced their risk of an early death by 29 to 36 percent.
  • Finding Purpose According to the researchers behind a 2019 study, having a strong life purpose was associated with decreased mortality rates.
  • Diet Eating a diet filled with more servings of fruits and vegetables per day was associated with a lower risk of mortality, especially from heart-related issues.
  • Sleep A study published in 2017 found too little sleep (less than seven hours per night) was linked with higher mortality rates, though too much sleep wasn't healthy either.
  • Getting Outside According to a 2019 study, spending time in green space is associated with a lower mortality rate.

The clinical evidence documenting the long-term health benefits of specifically taking a self-care approach to health (over other approaches) is less robust, but it is building.

For instance, research shows that people with chronic conditions who were more likely to follow medication regimens, to be knowledgeable about how to take care of their health, and to have the skills to take care of their health (characteristics that are considered part of self-care) were more likely to score higher when it came to measures of mental and physical functioning.
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Monday, 25 September 2023

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