For Emotional Happiness, Walk the Walk
Spend more time in the company of people who have the habits you want.
Andrew Weil, MD, has devoted the past 30 years to developing, teaching, and educating others on the principles of integrative medicine. Weil is an internationally recognized expert on integrative medicine, medicinal herbs and mind-body interactions. The founder of Weil Lifestyle, LLC, a leading resource for integrative medicine education, information, products, and services, Weil combines a Harvard education and a lifetime of practicing integrative medicine to provide a unique approach to health care which encompasses body, mind, and spirit.
Weil donates all of his after-tax profits from Weil Lifestyle products to the Weil Foundation, an organization dedicated to sustaining the vision of integrative medicine. This independent non-profit organization is committed to changing the training and practice of health care professionals; educating the public about health, healing, and nutrition; reforming public policies governing health and health care; and researching the application of integrative medicine.
He is a clinical professor of internal medicine and the founder and director of the Program in Integrative Medicine (PIM) at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Weil received both his medical degree and his undergraduate AB degree in biology (botany) from Harvard University.
PIM, founded by Weil in 1994 at the University of Arizona, was established to train physicians to be integrative medicine practitioners. PIM’s overriding mission is to foster the transformation of health care through innovative educational programs, rigorous scientific studies, and exceptional clinical care that integrates biomedicine, the complexity of human beings, and the healing power of nature. The program features a broad range of comprehensive fellowship training programs, a clinic, and an NIH supported research group. Through PIM, Weil hopes to grow and strengthen integrative medicine within the health care community at large.
Weil is also a best-selling author and editorial director of DrWeil.com, an online resource for healthy living based on an integrative medicine philosophy. Weil’s books include the national bestsellers Spontaneous Happiness, Spontaneous Healing, 8 Weeks to Optimum Health, Eating Well for Optimum Health, and The Healthy Kitchen. He also authors the popular Self Healing newsletter and a monthly column for Prevention magazine. As a frequent guest on Larry King Live and Oprah, Weil provides information and insight on how to incorporate conventional and complementary medicine practices in one’s life to optimize the body’s natural healing mechanisms.
The strongest scientific evidence we have for physical interventions that can improve emotional wellbeing are for physical activity. There’s an overwhelming body of scientific evidence showing that being physically active both can protect and treat depression.
The form of physical activity that has most commonly been studied is walking, interestingly. And one of the findings that comes from the research is that moderate regular physical activity may be more effective than intense physical activity. So it’s not necessarily that more is better.
But the idea is that you want to move your body every day if possible in some way or other. Doing this is one of the most powerful interventions that we identified both for preventing depression and for treating it.
Now often when people are depressed the last thing that they want to do is move. So I think you really want to hit them over the head to get them moving. One of the practical pieces of advice that I often give is that if you want to develop better habits, whether it’s better habits eating or exercise, spend more time in the company of people who have the habits you want.
And that is a very simple, very effective piece of advice. So if you want to eat better, spend more time in the company of people who have good eating habits. If you want to be more physically active, spend more time in the company of people who are physically active.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
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