Not long ago, Dr. David Fawcett, our VP for Clinical Programming and our Wednesday evening Addiction and Recovery webinar host, was interviewed by TheBody.com about how individuals with HIV can live great lives. We thought this article was so good that we’ve adapted it here for a more general readership. Basically, we felt that Dr. Fawcett’s keys to living well with HIV apply to everyone, not just individuals living with HIV – especially recovering addicts and loved ones of addicts.
In a nutshell, Dr. Fawcett’s keys to living well are:
- Find Your Purpose: Figure out what it is that excites you, makes you happy, and helps you feel worthwhile, and then do it. Dr. Fawcett says, “Having a sense of purpose is correlated with lower stress, better health outcomes, and an improved overall sense of wellbeing.”
- Quit Smoking: Smoking is bad for your health. Period. People who smoke have dramatically higher odds of heart attack, lung cancer, pneumonia, and numerous other life-threatening issues. Smoking is also a form of addiction. So don’t wait for the right time to quit because the right time is now. When you do quit, you’ll feel better both physically and emotionally.
- Get a Job: Working is good for more than your bank account. Having a job creates structure, fills otherwise empty hours, and builds self-worth.
- Eat Well: Good nutrition – eating the right kinds and amounts of food – helps with weight management, energy level, organ health, immune system health, and mental wellbeing. When we eat well, our self-esteem improves, we are happier, and we are healthier physically.
- Manage Stress: Stress is an unavoidable reality in modern American life. But you don’t have to let it rule your life. Taking a few minutes each day for breathwork, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, or a similar relaxation and awareness practice helps you release stress while increasing your awareness of what’s important.
There are countless other facets to living well. In fact, Dr. Fawcett lists several others in the article that appears on TheBody.com. However, these five seem most applicable to the readership of this website.
For more information about stress management, self-care, recovering from addiction, and living a better life, you may want to check out Dr. Fawcett’s weekly Addiction and Recovery webinar (Wednesdays at 5 p.m. Pacific). You can join these sessions live and you can ask questions about what’s important to you. You can also check out past sessions on the Sex and Relationship Healing YouTube channel.