I have been doing some deep thinking as of late. Thinking about quality of life in regard to health. What is health, I ask myself. How does my idea of being healthy differ from how others define this state. This forced me to dig a bit deeper as to what being healthy means. I came to the conclusion that being healthy is a compilation of many things. It is not as simple as “feeling good” since that state can be attained by unhealthy means in some cases. So, what have I come up with in regards to the definition of being healthy?
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”~World Health Organization, 1948
Proper fuel: Without proper nutrition we become run down quickly and in some instances cause much more harm than good. I am of the train of thought that the closer to nature that we eat , and supplement, the more our body has to work with. When we pollute ourselves with junk food, our body spends time trying to deal with the invading pollution instead of necessary maintenance and renewal. By ingesting mainly quality fuel we are being diligent in preventing many conditions that are food-related.
Movement: Just move it! The more I move, the better I feel. It’s not rocket science. Every little bit counts. I move a lot as a gardener when I am at work so I count these hours as part of my physical fitness time. I certainly feel way better lifting heavy objects, digging, planting, dragging, stretching, and so much more than I do when I am being stationary. Hard work is good for the body…and the soul.
Brain games: Exercising the brain is essential to being alert and “with it”. Reading a lot keeps my brain active as well. No fluff reading here – I want solid material not the literary equivalent of a wet paper bag. I would hope that word and math games assist my brain in being in great shape. I would like to think of my brain as pumped, not limp.
Spiritual practices: I consider myself a spiritual, not religious, individual. Spirituality is unique to each individual and very personal. I am not a fan of debate in this area for this reason. Spirituality is not about foisting your beliefs on someone else, it is about believing in something bigger than yourself and being a part of the flow of existence. Being spiritual is instrumental to great health, I think. It encourages us to not be solely self-focused which can become detrimental to many other areas of our lives. Being in Nature helps me feel centered spiritually. All around us there is incredible life going on in nature instinctively.
Positive thinking: This is one of the greatest predictors of being truly healthy. How we view everything around us or the things that affect us can either cause negative, stress-inducing reactions or positive response. Stress = discomfort. No thank you! You know me – I love to try to stay positive!
Love: Yes, I said love. We kind of throw the word around a lot. For instance “oh, I love that dress!” Not exactly what I had in mind when I said love. Love connects us to others through emotional channels. When we open our hearts by loving another we feel positive and joyous. Love can also be felt as a peaceful acceptance of existence. Allowing our soul to be in the moment and our thoughts to be gentle and accepting without being judgmental. When our thoughts are bathed in loving energy we allow ourselves to love and be loved with less resistance.
“The power of love to change bodies is legendary, built into folklore, common sense, and everyday experience. Love moves the flesh, it pushes matter around…. Throughout history, “tender loving care” has uniformly been recognized as a valuable element in healing.” ~Larry Dossey
Down-time: No person is an island, or something like that. If we are constantly running around stressing ourselves out we are not allowing ourselves the down time that we need…or deserve. I am not suggesting that becoming a couch potato is where it’s at, I am merely promoting some time spent relaxing.
Friendship: Feeling connected with others is a wonderful feeling. When we surround ourselves with others that are caring, fun individuals we gain the great benefit of camaraderie. The spirit of friendship is a healthy state to find yourself. It is therapeutic. Next time you are feeling stressed out, have a friend or two over and be silly…you will feel like a weight has lifted. There is a special comfort zone with a fabulous friend that you just won’t find anywhere else. Your health depends on close friendships with others.
Play: Please include play into your personal health regime. Jump in a pile of leaves, go bowling, see if you can still jump rope like you used to, have a snowball fight…whatever you feel like at the moment. Laughter keeps us youthful and in touch with who we are. No need to be all stiff all the time – smiling and laughing makes everyone more beautiful; inside and out.
In my mental quest for my personal definition of health, these are the areas I feel are imperative. I am certain that more will be added along my life path and my hours of mental musings. So, enjoy great health by giving your body, mind and spirit the respect they deserve. Health isn’t merely being free of disease – it is about living each moment to its fullest and being proactive!
“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” – Mahatma Gandhi