By Teal Scott
Modern medicine has seen a lot of changes in recent years, but there’s still too much focus on dealing with specific physical ailments rather than preventing them. Learning to utilize the intensely symbiotic relationship that exists between the mind and the body can help you to maintain a healthy life. Here are five practical ways to achieve optimal health that your doctor won’t share with you:
1. Change Your Thoughts. The role of the placebo effect has largely gone unnoticed, misunderstood and even trivialized, which is unfortunate. The mind’s effect on the body (which we call the placebo effect) could be the single most important part of the healing process. Many people believe they do not have control over their own thoughts. This is not true. Changing thoughts, like anything else, simply involves practice. The things that tend to get our attention are things we do not like about our lives, or the negative thoughts, while the things that are positive about our lives go unnoticed. Change your thinking to one of optimism and gratitude. Consciously looking for things to enjoy, appreciate and be thankful for is enough to dramatically change the energy that you are projecting into your world, as well as into your body. Learn to recognize your negative thoughts and beliefs, and then replace them with thoughts that feel good to think. Soon, you will find you have let go of the thoughts that are standing in the way of your physical and mental health.
2. Stop Paying Attention to the News. We often get so familiar with our normal routine that we do not realize we are filling ourselves full of information that is not in line with good health. Many people get out of bed and immediately tune into the news. This ensures that you will start the day off on a negative foot. News, like any other business, must find a way to sell. Shock value sells. Negativity sells. It evokes a strong reaction from the reader or watcher that ensures it will get the attention needed to stay in business. The news paints an inaccurate view of our world. We often think that it is important to pay attention to “reality” and what is going on in the world, but the extreme and negative things that are going on, are not all that exists in our world. There are also (even more so than the amount of negative things) positive things going on every day. These are the things that don’t make for good headlines. When we hear or see something negative, but can’t do anything about it, it fills us with the feeling of powerlessness and fear. It helps form an inaccurate belief that the world we live in is one which we should be afraid of. We also form the belief that we can be a victim at any moment. This way of seeing the world is incredibly detrimental to all aspects of mental and physical health.
3. Eat for Health. You are what you eat. When you are in a positive mind set, you will find that you gravitate towards foods which are a match to your overall health. When you are in a negative mind set, you will gravitate towards foods which are not a match to your overall health. It remains true that physically taking steps towards health is no match for taking mental steps towards health. However, when you are nourishing your body with healthy things, it can definitely help you to achieve mental health as well. Realize that feeding your body in a healthy way is one way of showing love to yourself. Try to have fun expanding your palette. No matter what you’ve heard, healthy food does not have to taste bad, it can even taste better than unhealthy food. Deliberately look for restaurants with healthy options on their menus. Eat whole foods, fresh vegetables and fresh fruits. Eat less processed foods, and get help to slowly overcome your attachments to sugar, alcohol, caffeine and other “junk” foods. This should not be a stressful transition to make. The stress involved in dieting often only worsens the problem instead of solves it. So, set attainable goals and make the transition from unhealthy foods to healthy foods a gradual one. In no time, you will notice a difference in your energy level and your overall health.
4. Find an Exercise You Love to Do. It is no secret that regular exercise plays a large role in health. You are living life in this physical body, so…use it! You do not have to be athletic to exercise and it does not have to be a source of stress for you. In fact, exercise for the sake of exercise when you don’t enjoy it is detrimental to health. No one likes to force themselves to exercise. The way to get around the stress involved with exercise is to make exercise a part of something else you love to do. If you do not yet have a particular exercise you enjoy, you can start by searching for an activity that incorporates exercise which raises your heart rate for at least 30 minutes. You may try several activities before finding the one that really fits. Any type of exercise turns from a burden into a joy when you are focusing on what you love to do. For example, people who love being in water can exercise by swimming and because they love water so much, they will look forward to the exercise they are doing. The focus involved in a game of racquet ball, for example, can make players forget the amount of exercise they are actually getting. Physical exercise can also be a great way to get out and socialize in the community. Exercising with other people makes the process of exercise not only easier but more enjoyable. A lot of people are looking for other people to exercise with. If you integrate exercise into your daily routine, it will lead to a longer, healthier and more fulfilling life.
5. Put Out Into the World What You Want to Get Back. Simply put, you get back what you give out. We have a tendency to expect others to change the way that they are thinking and acting without realizing that the only person we can ever change is ourselves. The interesting dichotomy is that the minute you change the way you think and act, the world outside of you will also change. Begin to experiment with this by practicing random acts of kindness. Some good examples include: writing an affirming note with a message such as “you are worthy of all this life has to give” and putting it anonymously on someone’s car windshield or opening someone’s door for them. These simple activities empower you. They help you to see that you can make a positive change in the world. You will start to feel capable and proactive. The positive way you will feel as a result of doing this will reflect out into all aspects of your body and mind. You will begin to notice very quickly that you are being treated the same way you are treating others and there is nothing quite like a supportive environment to help you achieve your optimum health.
Taking steps towards your mental and physical health, along with making your health a priority, enables you to live the fulfilling and joyful life which you deserve to live. Your life is an open canvass. Enjoy it and make a masterpiece of it. Let your physical and mental health pave the way.
Teal Scott, The Spiritual Catalyst is a contemporary spiritual guide. She is the author of the spiritual self-help book, The Sculptor in the Sky. Visit her online at www.thespiritualcatalyst.com/.
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