We have all heard the saying “Your Health is Your Wealth,” how you invest in your body is essential to having a long lasting life. From the food selections we make, to the amount of sleep we get, to the amount of physical activity we engage in weekly – it all effects us in the long term so its important to know to to best maintain our health.
In order to make the leap towards living a healthy life you must make a commitment to yourself. Optimal health takes a lot of work initially because often times we have to course correct on years of adrenaline rush, doing too much too fast that plays havoc on our hormones causing imbalance. We need to stop making the excuse that we don’t have time and move. We need to eat whole healthy foods rich in nutrients and give up our acidic ways. We need to make sure we are getting enough sleep to allow our bodies to be restored when we wake up in the mornings. And we need to change our attitude and outlook towards life and be happy!
Our autonomic nervous system has two major operating systems — the sympathetic nervous system, which produces the body’s stress response, also known as “fight or flight”; and the parasympathetic nervous system, which produces the body’s relaxation response, also known as “rest and digest.” This is our homeostatic state, when the body is in equilibrium. The body’s natural self-repair mechanisms only fully function when the nervous system is in relaxation response.
We all know stress is bad for us, but did you realize that every stressful thought, feeling or belief — we average more than 50 such responses every day — disables the body’s ability to repair itself? So even if you do work out on a regular basis and eat healthy, you could still be sick if you harbor a lot of stress because your body will lose the ability to self-repair because you are constantly in the “fight or flight mode.”. And most importantly stress disconnects you from your higher power.
Many people turn to Western medicine to help, abusing prescription drugs, putting them in a worse spot then they were to begin with. Others turn to alternative practitioners, including acupuncturists, homeopaths and energy healers, which can temporarily help but doesn’t solve the core issue at hand.
In order to keep the nervous system in relaxation response so the body can heal itself, we need a different kind of medicine. The medicine is being happy with you. In addition it’s serving others, expressing your creative self, it’s seeing the glass half full, laughing, being around animals, being able to speak your truth, being in nature, and nourishing the body with real food. Medicine is tapping into your higher power and being un-apologetically you.
When you give yourself this medicine, you turn off your stress responses, turn on your relaxation responses and allow the body to do one of the things it does best – heal. Whether you are healthy or not right now, your body is a self-healing organism and when treated right miraculous things will start to happen.
Another factor is our attitude, I touched on this briefly but want to expand upon the idea that our attitudes severely affects our health. I have witnessed this first hand with my 88 year old grandmother, she has never had a chronic disease, depression or any other illness other than your common cold and normal aches and pains that comes with age. How can that be you might ask? It’s because she is the most positive, happy, spiritually whole person I know. She lives a life of purpose, she serves others, loves herself and everyone around her.
Most of us don’t often think about how our personalities and behaviors influence our health and the ways we cope with illness. That is an unfortunate fact because we might all do a better job of staying healthy if we understood more about how our health is affected by our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about ourselves and the world.
Your mind is a computer that can be programmed. You can choose whether the software installed is productive or unproductive. Your inner dialogue is the software that programs your attitude, which determines how you present yourself to the world around you. You have control over the programming. Whatever you put into it is reflected in what comes out.
It’s important to look at what we are feeding our bodies and our brains, is it serving us in a positive way or in a negative way. You can start making small changes today with the food you eat, exercising to release those endorphin’s, and with positive self talk and mindfulness techniques.
The health benefits of positive thinking:
Increased life span
Lower rates of depression
Lower levels of distress
Greater resistance to the common cold
Better psychological and physical well-being
Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
A few of the many benefits to being happy:
Happier people live longer on an average, up to 10 years more.
Happier people make better and faster decisions.
Happier people have stronger immune systems, and endure pain better.
Happier people are more satisfied with their jobs, are more productive, & earn more.
Happier people have less depression & suicide, greater self-control & coping skills.
Exercise helps combat health problems: Regular exercise helps prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, a number of types of cancer, arthritis and falls.
Exercise improves mood: Need an emotional lift, or to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A gym session or brisk 30-minute walk can help. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.
Exercise boosts energy: Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle your daily to do list.
Exercise promotes better sleep: Struggling to get a good nights sleep? Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. Just don’t exercise too close to bedtime, or you may be too energized to hit the hay.
Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life: Do you feel too tired or too out of shape to enjoy physical intimacy? Regular physical activity can improve energy levels and physical appearance, which may boost your sex life. But there’s even more to it than that. Regular physical activity may enhance arousal for women. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don’t exercise.
So how much exercise should you get a week?
For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines:
Aerobic activity. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. The guidelines suggest that you spread out this exercise during the course of a week.
Strength training. Do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week. Aim to do a single set of each exercise, using a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions.
Moderate aerobic exercise includes activities such as brisk walking, swimming and mowing the lawn. Vigorous aerobic exercise includes activities such as running and aerobic dancing. Strength training can include use of weight machines, your own body weight, resistance bands, or activities such as rock climbing.
As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more. Want to aim even higher? You can achieve more health benefits, including increased weight loss, if you ramp up your exercise to 300 minutes a week.
Reducing sitting time is important, too. The more hours you sit each day, the higher your risk of metabolic problems, even if you achieve the recommended amount of daily physical activity.
Short on long chunks of time? Even brief bouts of activity offer benefits. For instance, if you can’t fit in one 30-minute walk, try three 10-minute walks instead. What’s most important is making regular physical activity part of your lifestyle.
Really think about the place you are in right now, what is stopping you from ultimate health? Maybe to finally get well, you need to quit your soul-sucking job or escape a toxic relationship. Maybe you need to meditate more, or move to the country. Maybe you need to find your calling and do your part to save the world. When you start living your truth, your body’s natural self-repair mechanisms will flip on and you will have done everything within your power to heal yourself and you will have the energy you need to get your rear into gear and achieve the health goals you set for yourself!
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver
Perfect Health – Deepak Chopra (I highly recommend all of his books)
The Hot Belly Diet – Suhas G. Kshirsagar
The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin
The Surrender Experiment – Michael A. Singer
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