The big secret revealed! How to live your best life

In this month’s blog I’m going to chat about miracles. Well, not exactly miracles, but it feels like a small miracle to me and, even better, its backed by science.

When I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease affecting my spine I was convinced I’d end up in a wheelchair by the time I was 60,  a lot of people with AS do. But, here I am, at 60, fitter, stronger and healthier than I’ve ever been and I’m going to share some of the reasons why I think that might be the case.

It’s not because my disease has gone away. AS never goes away, it will continue to progress and cause challenges for the rest of my life. However, once the initial shock of diagnosis had subsided I chose to try and live my best life. I decided not to moan too much about my predicament (although I do have days when it’s impossible to be positive); I wanted to enjoy my time on this wonderful planet and not waste away my days.

This approach has taken hard work especially trying to fit in the daily physical exercise needed to keep my body as lean and strong as possible to fight my disease. Carrying extra weight with a fused spine is not good news. However, the exercise alone was never enough. Whilst I felt OK(ish) it was mostly with the help of a lot of pills.

So, what’s changed? In my case, its where I now live having moved out of the M25 corridor. Backed by science, where we live makes an enormous difference to our health and happiness. For years scientists have proven that being in among nature is beneficial to our health. Even in short bursts its proven to help with anxiety and depression and alleviate many of the health burdens that accompany modern day life. Research also concludes that spending more time in green spaces has such a positive impact that there’s many urban development projects in place that aim to nudge people towards the great outdoors.

But, and here’s the thing, another advancement in research shows that blue spaces, areas next to water, might give us even more benefits than green ones. I know it sounds exaggerated, but it’s true, because I’m spending so much time in blue spaces, my health has improved to the extent that I’ve reduced some of my medication. How good is that!

Scientists now have evidence that the mental boost that comes with connecting to nature in blue spaces go well beyond health and happiness. The list of other benefits is growing all the time and already includes improved attention, creativity and better memory. It can also enhance sleep and because I wear a Fitbit, I know my sleep is massively improved.

For me, the ocean has a real calming effect. I love listening to the gentle waves lapping the shores or the crashing of stormy seas against the rocks. There’s just something about sitting with your bare feet in the sand and listening to the sound of the waves that makes you feel good. It provides a sense of peace, being mindful and in the moment – something we all know can combat stress.

Breathing in the refreshing and rejuvenating salty sea air is amazing. Two years ago, during Covid, I started Yoga, which has been incredibly valuable for building strength and, more importantly, learning to breath properly. Being by the sea and knowing how to breath is invigorating. I didn’t know this, but the sea air is packed with beneficial negative ions too which boost your body’s ability to absorb oxygen and help balance serotonin levels thereby further improving your mood.

Seawater is incredibly rich in minerals. I’m not a regular swimmer but it’s something I intend to improve upon. The minerals such as magnesium, calcium, zinc and selenium have powerful anti-inflammatory, skin-healing effects and due to my AS I have loads of skin problems which often bother me more than the chronic pain. Lots of research now concludes that sea swimming can improve symptoms of eczema and psoriasis and also reduce allergic skin responses which, again, is music to my ears.

I love staring out to sea and watching the changing colours of the deep water, wide skies and turquoise coves. Because I enjoy photography, these scenes are magical to capture and I can see why blue is also linked with feelings of calm and serenity. Incredibly, after installing blue lights at train stations, Japan recorded a large decrease in the number of suicides. It seems blue can make us feel more at ease.

I think it’s fair to say that most of us are big dreamers. We imagine what our future could be, plan it out and then work hard every day to achieve our vision for when we retire. I worked hard for years to achieve my vision. But the difference between my vision and the reality is simple. I realised that my good health and peaceful mind is the most important and precious gift ever. Try to include a healthy lifestyle into your future goals and if you can live by the sea, you won’t go far wrong.

Health often doesn’t come from medicine. If often starts with peace in the mind and peace in the heart. It comes from laughter and love.

Until next time xxx

Published by meadandrea

Blogger, writer, author, love to travel, photographer

2 thoughts on “The big secret revealed! How to live your best life

  1. Thank you Andrea.
    You are an inspiration.
    The sea is wonderful and has so many benefits. I’m not a very good swimmer but I go in the sea as often as I can.
    I was very disappointed about the recent sewage discharge on our coastline.
    I went in this morning and didn’t see any poo.💩😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Cathy. The sewage issue is so awful, Cornwall suffers badly too, glad you didn’t spot any 😂. Loved the recent pics with your beautiful family xx


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