Recently, at a healthy-living conference, I had one of those quickie-checkups. In five minutes, you get a blood-pressure reading; plus a finger-stick blood draw; a computerized printout of your triglyceride, cholesterol and blood sugar levels; and a mini-analysis of your results from the attending health pro. Amazing!
If you can access these kinds of tests at your fitness club or a local health fair, do — it’s a great snapshot of your overall health, and a solid motivator to make positive lifestyle adjustments if you don’t like what you see.
In my case, the numbers were all good. So I’m going to keep on doing what seems to be working for me —namely, eating mostly whole foods, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and managing my stress. And, being an inveterate self-improver, I’m going to continue experimenting and fine-tuning my approach.
One adjustment I’ve been working on over the past few years involves upping my daily intake of what nutritional psychologist Marc David, MA, has dubbed “vitamin P,” which stands for Pleasure.
To date, there’s no blood test that can directly assess your baseline level of this nutrient, and no official Recommended Daily Intake. But as a key factor in both our physical and mental vitality, pleasure counts for far more than most of us realize.
That’s why, ever since we did a feature on the relationship between pleasure, satisfaction and optimal health (“A Real Pleasure,” December 2008), I’ve had a clipped-out pull quote from the story posted on my kitchen bulletin board. It reads:
“What’s clear is that our levels of pleasure and satisfaction are directly related to our biochemical balance.”
(Read the rest of this article, which first appeared in Experience Life magazine.)