Feeling well means feeling whole, balanced, vibrant and alive. And there are many moving pieces that we can tap into to feel empowered on our wellness journey.
I focus on a number of key areas with my clients: nutrition and exercise being the most obvious, as well as emotional health, relationships, community, spirit, purpose and mindset. Within these areas, we can have a dramatic influence on our immediate and future health.
There has never been a better time than now for us to reflect on our health and lifestyles, and establish strategies for investing in our long term wellness.
The definition of health
‘The state of being free from illness or injury or a person’s mental or physical condition.’
– Oxford Dictionary
How one defines health has tremendous power. To define it as “the absence of disease and illness” is too limiting. If we broaden the scope to include mental health, which includes a focus on joy, gratitude, pleasure and exploring the meaning in our lives, we get a more holistic picture.
|Here’s my take on ‘true health’:
True health is personal
Everyone’s concept of ‘true health’ is unique.
It’s based on how you feel physically, think mentally and respond emotionally.
Your circumstances and environment also need to be taken into consideration.
Perfect health isn’t always possible
Functional medicine expert Chris Kresser talks about how he grappled with the concept of health during his long struggle with chronic illness. Most of his attempts at trying to heal himself were unsuccessful, and he sank into depression when he was unable to manifest the life he’d always imagined for himself – a “healthy” person with a successful career, family and an energetic life.
“At some point during this ‘dark night of the soul’, I realized that the depression and despair I was feeling was the direct result of comparing my actual experience with an idea of what I thought my experience should be. I saw that I was striving for an ideal of health that was—at least at that point—unattainable, and that this was the cause of most of my suffering.”
– Chris Kresser, Functional Medicine Expert
Chris goes onto describe how he shifted his focus from trying to cure himself to bringing more joy, pleasure and meaning into his life. He spent more time with friends, walked in the woods and surfed as much as possible. He taught medication at the San Francisco county jail. He ended up going on to study integrative medicine.
A few months after making these changes, he felt more connected, alive and hopeful than he had in a long time – and his physical health improved as well. This rejuvenation gave him the boost that he needed to continue searching for new treatments that ultimately led to further physical recovery.
The power of thought
Chris’s story echoes my belief that having a greater sense of purpose is essential for a healthy and fulfilled life.
When it comes to identifying what someone’s unique mind and body approach to health and nutrition is, I always look at the whole person. Specifically what is happening emotionally. Metaphysical manifestations are closely linked to what is happening in one’s life. Your relationships with others and yourself. Be very aware of the conversation you have with yourself.
I firmly believe that we are not just physical beings, we are in fact energy vibrating and our thoughts create our reality. If you are feeling low, you are often more inclined to get sick, eat junk food, catch the flu, exercise less and just have no energy, right? This is the perfect example of how your emotional state affects your physical state.
You have the ability to change your chemistry with thought alone, and spiritual connection to “something” – the universe, God, angels, Goddesses, your higher-self – whatever you want to call it that helps connect you with yourself. Meditation and mindfulness are powerful tools in this journey.
Ways to take charge of your true health
- Nutrition – What we fuel our body with affects everything from our energy levels, weight, immune system, hormones and more.
- Movement – Moving benefits the entire body. Cardiovascular health, mood, metabolism, bone strength and so much more.
- Community – a sense of community directly links to longer, healthier, and happier lives. Strengthening social bonds supports your health in the process.
- Spirit – Deepening our connection to our values and personal truths give us strength and resilience.
- Emotional health – Focusing on emotional health as much as your physical health will improve wellness and happiness throughout life
- Relationships – Inspiring and joyful individual relationships are essential to our wellbeing.
- A sense of purpose – When we share our unique gifts we feel useful, appreciated and validated. All of which relates to living a longer, happier life.
- Mindset – By shifting one’s collection of attitudes into a more positive light, the entire body reaps the benefits.