Total health/true health is more than just eating well, exercising appropriately, thinking right or meditating. Although eating well, moving well and thinking well are very important. Getting all these three ducks lined up still does not guarantee perfect health but it does improve your statistics and probability for good health.
Research is showing that the stresses we have in our lives, be it relationship struggles, workplace conflicts, traumas from childhood etc or basically any unresolved issues we have in our lives can be contributing to health issues, mainly via chronic stress and over activation of the Sympathetic Nervous System. When these stressors remain unresolved then illnesses like cancer, depression etc can result.
I am happy to discuss with my patients where in their lives they may need to direct their attention and suggest some other suitable medical and allied health professional when or if required.
Research also shows that being happy in yourself and with your social or family group is important for health and maybe even more so than good nutrition, good exercise and good thinking. Conversely, issues like loneliness can precipitate ill health despite good nutrition, good exercise and good thinking.
A great question to ask ourselves is: What does my body need in order to heal? What would benefit me the most right now?
The answer may surprise you…and may help you become healthier!
But remember ALL emotions are needed in a balanced life – we just need to know/learn how to safely manage the more unpleasant emotions so they do not wreak havoc on ourselves and those around us!
We can use our thoughts and our imagination to create good things in our lives or we can use our thinking and imagination/visualisation to create more negative scenarios. Intention, mindfulness &/ meditation are great tools at teaching us how to recognise our poor thinking habits and how to replace them with more healing ones. Thoughts are energy and have the power to influence our biochemistry. If we habitually choose darker negative thought patterns this switches on our Sympathetic Nervous system to produce increased adrenaline and cortisol, which if maintained for too long can negatively influence our immune system/circulatory system/ digestive system/ reproductive system/endocrine system/nervous system & or musculoskeletal system. Disease or injury can be the result over time.
The framing of positive intentions (knowing where you want to go/what you want you body to do/be) are powerful for healing. Often we get stuck because we just want to be rid of something we do not want in our lives – but for our body to heal it needs to have a plan or direction. We need to know where we want to go/what we wish to become/achieve….For example, instead of thinking, ‘I just want to get rid of this pain’ – I invite you to try thinking & imagining how it would feel to state a goal -‘I would love to be able to run 30 minutes without stopping in 6 months’. Then listen to your body in conjunction with any therapists & do the little steps you are guided to do or are required to make to reach this goal.
I also believe that spiritual health and balance is vital for our overall well being. By spiritual I DO NOT mean anything religious. I believe the definition of what is the meaning of spiritual wellbeing is individual, but to me it means being open and in awe of nature and the universe. Research shows that being in or exercising in nature is good for our well being. I think this is a no-brainer, as being outside in nature naturally stirs the soul into a happier state. Being inside in a built environment is not healthy for too long, in my opinion, because it negatively affects our spiritual well being. We require balance in our lives and we need to learn how to achieve balance for ourselves. That part can be tricky.
Exercising and being in nature, admiring a mountain view or an ocean or a lake is calming to most of us. Watching children play is a spiritual experience, as is remembering our own childhood fun. Or even spending time with a beloved pet is spiritually uplifting…there are many ways to uplift the soul.
Watching the clouds float or race across the sky, or seeing a mountain range like the Himalayas or Alps, or observing animals in their habitats or observing a tree, these all demonstrate at least to me that there is something more out there than just us and our individual lives.
Also the mind is NOT just the brain!