Healthful Living: How to Support Your Mind, Body and Spirit!
By Lorie Rosenberg
When posed with that question, many people think that they're taking care of themselves, but when you look at their actions and the types of things they're doing, you have to question whether they're really doing it effectively at all. Others may realize that they're living an unhealthy life, yet they're so caught up in their roles and responsibilities, that they're doing the best they can just to get through each day.
Yet life shouldn't only be about going through the day, trying to meet your responsibilities. And it shouldn't just be about money, status, or fame either. Because all of that doesn't matter if you're not healthy enough to enjoy it. That's why you need to be committed to a life that's healthy and promotes balance. This will help you be productive and happy wherever you work or play.
How Do You Live a Healthful Life?
It's important to find strategies to help you live a fulfilled life that enriches your mind, strengthens your body, and invigorates your soul! Now that sounds like a tall order, and it can be. But when you take time to map out your life instead of letting life determine your designated path, then you're halfway there.
Most days our actions are based on the responsibilities we have and the challenges that get in our way. Instead of being proactive, we become reactive to the world around us...and our choices are based upon behaviors that have become engrained in us. For example, when you start to feel hungry during the day, you reach for a bag of chips instead of a piece of fruit. You drink soda when you should be drinking water. You light up a cigarette when you're feeling stressed. You develop bad habits that may bring you short-term pleasure, but in the long run, they're unhealthy for you.
Here are some strategies to help you live a more healthful life:
Knowledge is the key to enriching your mind. By continually challenging yourself through various intellectual pursuits, you will also grow personally. You'll be able to look at problems in a whole new way and understand more about the world around you and how you relate to it. You can accomplish this by continually reading and accessing knowledge from the people you come in contact with on a daily basis. You'll gain new perspectives on cultures, viewpoints, and other ways of doing things.
There are various ways for you to enhance your knowledge. You can take a course or work towards a degree. You can keep abreast of current news and events in society. You can challenge yourself to try something new, and you can obtain new thoughts and ideas from others around you...that will help you view the world differently, possibly stepping outside of your current mindset and understanding how other people live. You'll discover how to expand beyond your current beliefs and perhaps become more accepting of different cultures or lifestyles.
You can challenge your mind with word games, puzzles, Sudoku, or other types of brain exercises. For example, friends of ours who are in their 70s do a cryptogram each morning to keep their minds sharp and alert. This is a type of word scramble where each letter of the alphabet is represented by another letter. The objective is to determine the words to a quote or saying from a famous person. Some ways to solve the cryptogram are by looking at double letters, letter usage, vowel location, etc. I have found this to be a very stimulating exercise and one that strengthens my mind as well.
In addition, you can learn a new language, start playing an instrument, or take up painting. When you do this, you stimulate parts of the brain you may not have been using very much. This helps to keep your mind sharp and opens up new pathways for learning and growing intellectually.
Enriching your mind is so important to living a healthful life. It allows you to continue to learn new ideas and ways of doing things, and it helps you understand the world around you and build upon the experiences that life brings your way.
Many people today fail to take care of themselves physically. They eat too much without doing any physical activity to keep themselves fit. They abuse alcohol or drugs, and allow these and other bad habits to dictate their lives. They allow their many responsibilities to be their primary focus, without including some type of physical activity that will contribute to their well-being. This unhealthy lifestyle results in a variety of physical ailments that can lead to heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and many others.
That's why it's important to schedule time during the day to do some type of physical activity to work your muscles and exercise the heart. The endorphins from this type of activity help to relieve the stress that's caused by the day's challenges. It counteracts the calories that are ingested each day, and it provides an overall feeling of well-being.
Fortunately, getting healthy is easier than you think. You really don't have to devote hours a day to get in shape by undertaking activities like weight lifting or aerobics. While they are good for you, if you're like most people, you just don't have the time. And that's okay, because you can simply take a brisk walk for 20 to 30 minutes a day and this will help improve your overall physical health. It will provide a break from your daily responsibilities and allow you to rest your brain while you work your body.
The important part of getting fit is consistency. Doing a physical activity for at least 3 days a week for 20 to 30 minutes can really help. Even better is doing some type of physical activity every single day. And it helps if you can find an activity that you really enjoy and that you'll participate in regularly. This includes biking, walking, playing tennis, handball, or other types of energetic sports activities. Weightlifting, exercise bands, Pilates, and yoga are also helpful. The key is consistency and follow-through.
In addition, it's time to get rid of bad habits such as smoking or excessive drinking. These habits are destructive to your life in all sorts of ways and can be destructive to your relationships.
To live a healthful life, you need to ensure that you're happy...inside and out. That means doing the types of things that are congruent with your values. It's important to be involved with work that aligns with your talents and strengths, to develop and sustain meaningful relationships that nurture your life, and to take time away from your hectic schedule to enjoy a quiet moment in nature or get some needed downtime.
Another way to nurture your soul is to find a hobby or passion that excites you and brings you joy. If you're not sure what that is, think about what you did as a child that was fun and created excitement in your life. It may be something you haven't done in a while, but it might just provide the spark you need to ignite your soul.
Sometimes being still is the answer. You can do that with meditation, yoga, or prayer. It will help you eliminate the constant clutter that occupies your mind and allow you some quiet time to free yourself from the stress and anxiety of the day.
Getting in touch with your soul through organized religion, spiritual readings, or perhaps just communing with nature can be just what you need to enrich your soul and invigorate your spirit. The key is trying to get in touch with your higher power or inner source that helps to guide and direct your life.
Creating Life Balance
In today's busy world, it's difficult to manage all of your responsibilities while trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. There is so much to do every day in your work, in your personal life, and in your relationships with friends and family.
The goal is to try to create some type of balance and allocate time in your day to take care of yourself, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. You value the appointments you make with your customers and clients. It's time to value the appointments you make with yourself to support your mind, body, and spirit. When you're healthy, there's really nothing that you can't handle or overcome. It's the essence to truly living!