Building optimal health and wellbeing: Is now the time for your come-back story?

relaxed person looking out the window

2020 has been a very challenging time for all of us; from the uncertainty and threat of COVID-19 on our physical health to the wider impact on our mental wellbeing and employment.

I have also been through my fair share of difficulties over the years, from exposure to war and conflict as a child, changing career and personal health and relationship struggles, to loss of my father to preventable cancer. COVID-19 may have been the final nail, but instead, I went on a search for strategies to manage my stress and get back on track.

I read about Stoicism, which teaches the idea of focusing on the actions and experiences within our control, perhaps ignoring the big picture issues that are out of our reach. I cannot help but feel a certain unease with this philosophy though. Imagine if every innovator, researcher, explorer, or entrepreneur in history simply ‘gave up’ on solving the problems that otherwise felt out of their control? What would the world be like today?

Perhaps a better approach to avoiding overwhelm, stress, and burnout may be to focus and be clear on what matters. What moves the needle? If we all spent a little more time reflecting and thinking, rather than running through back-to-back meetings, ideas may present themselves. Haven’t you often felt that the best ideas seem to come out of nowhere, when you are in the shower, going for a walk, or simply being in a ‘flow state’?

I have seen patients, friends, and colleagues struggle with their mental health, some attempting and sadly dying from suicide. That is one end of the spectrum, yet most of us struggle with our mental wellbeing daily. The isolation, stress, uncertainty, reduced access to care in the new COVID19 world, unemployment, redundancy, and the economy may be making things worse.

As I read more, I learned about Stoic optimism, seeing the opportunity in every disaster, getting equipped with the needed knowledge and skills, but more importantly, taking action. When faced with a problem, rather than dwell and get stressed pivot and refocus on finding the solution(s). This is critical as we look to get through COVID-19. Perhaps we could teach children some of these skills as part of the school or extra-curricular activities.

Everyone loves a good come-back story, and the world needs one right about now. Whether we want to improve our health, build our business, or career, or improve our relationships, it all comes down to mindset. Yet mindset is not simply determined by how we decide to think; there is so much more!

In my search, what I found were four simple strategies that will make us feel and perform better today, all while preventing disease in later life. I like to think of it as a blueprint for building optimal health and wellbeing:

  1. Lay a strong foundation through a constructive mindset;
  2. Design the right architecture through diet and nutrition;
  3. Install and tune-up our engineering through physical activity and brain games;
  4. Upgrade our ventilation system by identifying and removing the hazards in our homes, workplaces, and cities, while replacing them with health-promoting environments. These would be like spending more time in nature, such as parks or by the sea.

I truly feel that we are facing a mental health crisis. 1 in 4 people, aged between 18 and 24, reported they had considered suicide in the past month. That is according to a recent CDC survey of over 5000 people in June 2020, highlighting the detrimental impact of COVID-19. They also found that 41% reported adverse mental health or behavioural health condition related to Covid-19.

This is very similar to the UK, where 1 in 5 adults were affected during the pandemic. That is double from the 1 in 10 before the pandemic. Depression, for example, has particularly affected adults who were young, female, unable to afford an unexpected expense or disabled.

I decided to develop an online and accessible course (Business Brain Blueprint) for anyone looking to gain more focus, drive, productivity, clarity or creativity, along with improved mood and resilience against stress. These simple steps also help our overall health and wellbeing, building a strong foundation to take on any challenge.

So why do I care? Based on my continuous work with entrepreneurs, I am on a mission to improve human and environmental health by supporting entrepreneurs, both with their ideas and their personal health and wellbeing.

Disclaimer: The content is provided for information and education only and is not intended as a substitute for medical, psychological, or other professional advice. The content is not necessarily representative of any organisations or institutions affiliated with Dr Behrooz Behbod.

Are you the next Health Innovator? This week, he is launching his new intensive 28-day workshop that translates your passion into an innovative idea for the next health start-up or initiative. Transition Peak readers receive a special 50% discount using the coupon code “TP2020” (expires 31st December 2020). Scholarships are also available for anyone that is unemployed, on a low income, or a full-time student. Join the free 1-hour training to learn more about The Health Innovator.

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About the Author

Charlotte Billington, Career Transition Coach and Co-Founder of Transition Peak
Dr Behrooz BehbodHarvard and Oxford trained-public health physician
Dr. Behrooz Behbod is a Harvard and Oxford-trained public health physician, with international experience in the UK, USA, and Europe. He is the creator of The Entrepreneur’s Doctor (@entrepreneursdr). Dr. Behbod loves teaching and has created a free course online called Business Brain Blueprint. The course focuses on enhancing focus, drive, productivity, clarity, or creativity, along with improved mood and resilience against stress.