Health = Mind + Body + Spirit
Are you healthy? How do you know? What is your yardstick for health? Do you realize that health is dependent on everything that comes into your body, brain, and soul? That’s right; health improves or deteriorates with the quality of nutrition, rest, emotions, and thoughts you allow into your life.
When we speak of our health, we are almost always referring to physical health – our weight, energy, number of sick days or whether we suffer from chronic conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc.
Mental health is becoming a bigger part of the conversation but when we use that term we usually think of depression, bipolar, or other personality disorders where terms such as chemical imbalances, genetic flaws, and brain damage are tossed around.
Spirituality is often considered either “religious fanaticism” or “woo-woo” (magic, witch craft, superstition). As a result, large portions of society see spirituality as a weakness rather than an important part of health. But the truth is that our spiritual condition is related to our outlook and attitude toward life – how we feel about ourselves, our society, our circumstances, and our future. For instance, my spirituality is a combination of my gratitude for everything and everyone in my life, my growing confidence in my purpose, and my faith and trust in God which allows me to release the idea that I can control that which is out of my control.
It is becoming increasingly accepted that physical health is greatly affected by our thoughts, beliefs and faith. But do you understand that the entire mind-body-spirit connection is crucial to your overall health?
Mental health is closely tied to physical health. Sugar imbalance, chemical toxins, and lack of nutrients affect our brain cells. Why is so difficult to understand that everything that we put in, or on, our bodies affects every cell in them? Since every cell is part of the same body, if something affects our stomach or lungs or skin, it should stand to reason that it also affects our brain to some extent. Also, hormone imbalances are often the result of stress and addictions, so chronic stress or long-term addictions create chronic chemical imbalances in our brains as well as our other organs and cells! We seem to accept that the chemical imbalance is part of the suffering person’s normal makeup (genetic) but more often, it is due to something missing or awry in their lives. There have been many studies which proved that a clean diet, stress/addiction management, and toxin-free environments all contribute to overcoming many mental health problems.
Physical health, the presence or absence of pain, disease, or energy, is directly related to our lifestyle – what we eat and drink, how much we sleep or move, PLUS how we respond to environment and circumstances. Stress, sadness, poor self-esteem, loneliness, anger and all addictions (physical and emotional) are HUGE factors in our physical health condition. Most of us have heard of people who attribute cures to their mindset and determination, so I think it only makes sense that illness can also be caused or intensified, by our mindset and beliefs.
Spiritual health is achieved through gratitude, meditation, self-care and self-acceptance. Using these practices we can all find peace, joy, and purpose, in other words - happiness. These attitudes are essential to set up optimum conditions for our bodies to absorb nutrients, repair cell-damage, boost immunity, and increase energy. This energy and healing will rebalance the chemicals in our bodies and brain. Self-love and emotional management techniques contribute to the diminishment of the symptoms associated with mental disorders but we should remember that being of service to others also contributes to our well-being. Feeling productive or useful - having a reason to get up in the morning - is often how we find our purpose in life, and that, my friends is where we find balance and happiness.
(I have already touched on some of these topics in past blogs and will continue to dig into more of them in the future….but back to today’s topic! ;-) )
I don’t believe that we can place more importance on one aspect of this health triangle than another. Each one supports the others and cannot be ignored for long without serious consequences to our life.
Improvements to physical health result in reduction in pain, increase in energy, overcoming physical addictions, and contribute to a positive attitude. This in turn can contribute to optimism, peace, joy, and self-esteem which mean a reduction in stress and emotional addiction. These changes all help to further reduce negative emotions such as depression, sadness, and loneliness so that we want to get involved in relationships, activities, self-improvement and service. My entire health coaching philosophy revolves around two principles: 1. It is never too late to improve our health and vitality, and 2. Health is the total of mind, body, and soul. I will never coach on only one aspect of my client's health.
Diet, rest, clean environment and self-care: the building blocks of health.
Purpose, energy, positive attitude and joy: signs of good health.
Over the course of our lives we tend to focus on one aspect of health more or less than the others, but eventually we reach a point where the neglected area(s) become cause for concern. If you are one of the lucky ones, you will realize this and adjust before you suffer from serious illness, emotional or mental issues, or lack of energy and joy. If not, now is the time to start adding some balance to your lifestyle to regain that lost vigor and life-quality!