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Post-Surgery Healing: Natural Steps to Speed Up Recovery

Post-Surgery Healing: Natural Steps to Speed Up Recovery

Very often, many people reach for prescribed drugs to help alleviate post-surgery discomfort. Although they may be helpful, they come with a bevy of potentially harmful side effects. Because of this, researchers have been looking for more natural ways to help aid in recovery. Listed below are a few ways to help you heal, naturally.

Lighten up Your Diet

After surgery, your body needs time to adjust to the foods that you would normally be able to eat. Often, it has a more difficult time digesting processed or fatty foods. To aid your body in its recovery, you should eat lighter than normal.

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According to Dr. Elson M. Haas, M.D., director and founder of the Preventative Medical Center of Marin in San Rafael, California, the best options would be meat and vegetable broths, pureed vegetables and fruits, nutrient or protein powders, light soups, and fresh juices. Be wary of low-nutrient liquids and soft foods that are often offered at the hospital. You may also have a problem with nausea and a decreased appetite. To increase your appetite, you can try sipping on lemon balm tea several times a day, while ginger tea can help relieve nausea.

Treat Pain with Natural Pain Relievers

Instead of reaching for potentially habit-forming, side effect-ridden pharmaceuticals to help alleviate pain after a surgery, why not try natural pain relievers? Devil’s claw, or Harpagophytum procumbens, was found to help significantly reduce the sensation of pain, as well as reduce inflammation. Another effective herb is bromelain, which is found in pineapple stems. It helps boost immunity, alleviates pain, and shows anti-inflammatory properties. Remember to always do your own research and check with your doctor before commencing use of any new medications.

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Exercise

Besides taking natural supplements and monitoring your nutrition, you should also try gentle exercise to get your body going again. Before doing this, you should talk to your physician to learn your limitations and have them write out specific exercises that you are able to do. Keep your exercise routines low impact, such as short walks. Do not push yourself past your limitations during recovery because it could create an entirely new set of problems.

Boost Your Immune System

Not only are you recovering externally, your body must recover internally as well. With a depleted nutritional reserve, your immune system is also impacted by the general anesthesia which is found to temporarily lower T-cell activity, antibiotics which can suppress immunity, and pre- and post-surgery CAT scans and X-rays that can decrease stores of antioxidants.

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To help boost your immunity, there are many supplements and herbs that can go along with a nutrient-rich diet, such as Vitamin C (increases production of antibodies, helps reduce surgical bleeding, and helps metabolize anesthetics), Vitamin A (enhances immune cell function and protects against infection), and green tea (protects against bacterial infections and may help “turn on” immune cells).

Treat Wounds Properly

Besides ingesting herbs to help in post-surgical healing, you may also use them as topical remedies. According to New Zealand researchers, honey aids in rapidly clearing infection, reduces inflammation, and provides a moist healing environment. Another study published by Aesthetic Plastic Surgery found that gotu kola, another herb, was found to facilitate the repair of connective tissue, increase antioxidant levels, and reduce scarring.

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Regain Health

Taking antibiotics is unavoidable while recovering from surgery. Although helpful, they also come with risks. Antibiotics fight bacterial cells but also kill good bacteria during the process. Think “friendly fire.” Because of this, you are at an increased risk for developing UTIs, digestive problems, or yeast infections. Thankfully, there are ways to counteract these effects with probiotics, which are naturally found in your digestive tract. Such supplements are bifidobacteria and acidophilus, two of the most popular probiotics.

While taking these antibiotics, you’ll also be undergoing post-surgical tests which can expose your body to toxins. To rid your body of these toxins, it is suggested that after full recovery, you should try a juice or detox cleanse for a day or two, then begin a two-week diet of organic foods.

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Sasha Brown

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Last Updated on November 9, 2020

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

2. No Motivation

Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

5. Upward Comparisons

Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

6. No Alternative

This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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7. Stress

As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

8. Sense of Failure

People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

9. The Need to Be All-New

People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

10. Force of Habit

Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

Final Thoughts

These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

More on Breaking Bad Habits

Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
[2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
[3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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