We all desire perfect health, or at least good health, which may mean different things to each person. By perfect or good health I don’t mean ‘lack of disease’ although that is a worthy goal for anyone. Beyond ‘lack of disease’ lies a reality unknown to most adults in our technology-based world called Wellness.
A person living the reality of wellness doesn’t experience the disease syndrome known by most, because he or she has no concept of it within his or her mind. The concept of wellness and bringing it into your own experience may seem beyond reach to some or at least difficult for most. However, anything worthwhile requires effort if we are to bring it into our experience permanently. What follows are 10 suggestions about what can bring you closer to the goal of “perfect health” and except for the first one, are presented in no particular order of importance.
1. Change your mind. Anytime we look to change something in our lives; we must first start with changing our mind. So the first step in any endeavor concerning change is to shift our perception of what we think it is about, i.e., acquiring good health in this case. You must begin where you are, both in physical/mental health and your belief about it. From there you bring into your experience practices that will alter what you don’t want and promote what you do want, e.g., a love of fatty foods keeps you from losing weight, so you change your perception about those foods. Everything that follows in this article uses the concept of mind first, body second in creating health and dispelling disease.
2. Eliminate defeating habits. Determine what habits that you now pursue keep you from perfect health. Do you smoke? Do you sit in front of the TV every evening after a day at an inactive job? Do you yell at the kids all the time? Is tension and anxiety a constant companion? Each situation needs attention in a particular way, but remember it all starts in mind. Once you’ve gotten a handle on what’s not working your life, pick the one that seems most detrimental to your health and focus on its cessation. If an addiction, like smoking or alcohol keeps you shackled to its use, then joining a program that focuses on eliminating it from your life is a first step. Other habits may not seem as severe as quitting an addiction, but belief in something that holds you in its grip (like the food thing above) will stifle any health-oriented program.
3. Exercise. Begin an exercise-oriented program. Two types of programs come to mind — physical activity that works on the cardiovascular system, such as running, and quiet energy-based programs such as Yoga or Tai Chi. There are dozens, maybe hundreds of ways to get the blood moving through your body in an accelerated way. However, unless you are already physically fit to some degree, START SLOWLY. If you suffer from a physical impairment, such as heart disease, get guidance from your physician before beginning any physically challenging program. Unless you are in a wheelchair, one of the easiest and best exercises is walking. Simple stretches before and after round out the walking experience.
4. Breathe. Most people use only a portion of their lug capacity and take short, shallow breaths. Each breath brings oxygen that not only is needed to sustain life, but to promote health as well. Begin with slow, deep breaths that move your diaphragm. To check for a deep vs. shallow breath, put a hand on your abdomen (stomach) and feel it moving as you breathe. Take a deep breath and feel whether your hand moves up on inhale and out with the exhale (it sometimes helps to lie on the floor while doing this activity). If not, then continue to practice by taking long, deep breaths focusing on its origin at the diaphragm. Letting your lungs contract fully when exhaling offers a way to rid the lungs of stale air while bringing in fresh. Feel your hand sink into your abdomen or lightly push on it as the air escapes. Several programs and books exist that lead you through a breath routine and are very beneficial toward wellness.
5. Meditate. When you sit and watch the sun set or the leaves move in a gentle wind, you are meditating. Any quiet moment that relaxes the body and brings peace of mind could be considered meditation. While those moments can work wonders in our busy world, to obtain and maintain wellness we need longer sessions of purposeful meditation. Sitting in a quiet place for a few minutes focusing on your breath, especially outside in nature, can soothe the most troubled mind. What deters many people from this practice is failure to maintain a clear mind while doing meditation. Since we have 50,000-plus thoughts moving through our minds every day, it’s no wonder that people give up trying to meditate almost from the outset. Maintaining a focus, such as on your breath or saying a mantra (word or phase that has meaning to you, e.g., “peace” or “I am whole”) in your mind will dislodge the mind-chatter and bring quiet serenity. Again there are many books and articles written about meditation that can be of great help in pursuing this practice.
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6. Forgive. There are more people in therapy, penitentiaries, asylums, hospitals and withdrawn from society because of resentment and hatred then any disease on earth. Why? Because most either find it difficult to forgive a perceived injustice or else revel feeling superior to someone else that forgiveness eliminates. Of all the suggestions I’ve given in the article, this one is the hardest to even begin, much less practice. However, it may prove to bring a level of health not known before to the person who achieves such a routine. It can be done while meditating or any quiet time, even in the car on your way to/from work. Give it a try. I guarantee you’ll notice a difference in how you feel about yourself and eventually, the world.
7. Give Thanks. Gratitude is another attribute that many overlook. Feeling “the world owes you a living” is debilitating and engenders much of the same feelings as I stated about forgiveness. Offering “thanks” at the beginning or end of each day can bring an air of worthiness to your life. With that, your mental, as well as your physical, outlook opens to beauty that remained hidden before. Give thanks throughout the day whenever you feel gratitude for something, or even better when you don’t feel gratitude.
8. Laugh. Many studies prove that laughter is a great healer of mental and physical impairments. Take part in experiences that promote laughter. It could be said that “a chuckle a day keeps the doctor away” for it has been the case for many people.
9. Balance Your Environment. Living and working in the confines of a polluted city can have debilitating affects on your body as most people know. But any similar environmental condition within or without the home can keep wellness at bay. Become aware of the air you breathe, the water you drink and what you use on you body and how they affect your health. Ignorance banishes us all to a life filled with unwanted surprises and challenges. Awareness brings light to any situation and helps us through it.
10. Maintain a “Healthy” Diet. The average American or Westerner’s diet is atrocious as many statistics prove. “You are what you eat” has much truth to it and carries the essence of “good health” to many people. The American society’s focus on busyness in all phases of their lives results in failure to maintain a diet that is beneficial. Too much fat, too much protein and overindulgence in calories from all sources creates and maintains unhealthy bodies. There’s not enough room for this subject in my article, but many articles and even books are available concerning poor diet. Converting to a vegetarian diet would be a step in the right direction to perfect health, but that in and of itself would not fulfill the need to assure that our bodies assimilate all of the nutrients they need each day.
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While all ten suggestions put forth aren’t needed at once, taking a first step toward any one or all of them brings you one step closer to perfect health.