People are becoming increasingly interested in taking charge of their health. The countless demands of modern times are taking a toll on people’s wellness – in turn elevating their stress levels and decreasing their levels of happiness.
If not managed correctly, stress can lead to a host of unhealthy choices, such as not getting enough sleep, eating a diet with low nutritional value, spending increased time sitting indoors, enjoying less time exercising and being outside, and taking little to no time to relax and restore energy levels.
The effects of these actions can be very demanding on the body and mind, leaving us disconnected and not feeling so good. This is evident in the growing rise of conditions that are plaguing our health and happiness, including chronic pain, anxiety, depression, digestive disorders, obesity, cancer and heart disease.
So, what to do?
Today’s Information Age offers an abundance of readily available health and wellness tips, guidelines and recommendations on how to “get” healthy and make better choices.
But how and where do you begin? How do you change old habits and create long-lasting new ones? What information is true and what is myth? Should you try everything that sounds good until something magically makes you feel better?
The endless resources of advice out there can leave you feeling overwhelmed and confused — questioning the condition of your health, self-diagnosing yourself with things you never heard of, and wondering which practices are most appropriate and safe for you. A poorly understood, misguided and imbalanced approach often yields minimum benefits and stages perpetual discouragement.
Health and wellness starts with understanding yourself.
Of course, having a doctor that you can trust, healthy supportive relationships that you can rely on, and a therapist that you can talk to are all very helpful in taking caring of yourself. However, no one knows you better than you know yourself. The relationship you have with your body and mind can be deeply revealing and empowering in leading you in the right direction of long-lasting health and well-being.
The Mind-Body Connection
Our health and wellness cannot be based solely on the standard measurements of height, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, etc. Although these factors are certainly important, and I do not discredit the importance of having your health checked and addressed by your doctor on a regular basis. There is so much depth to the layers of our anatomy and physiology, so these measurements can only provide a snapshot glimpse of what our body and mind is experiencing.
A diagnosed medical condition is frightening and it can take on an identity in which we may begin to label ourselves as broken, inadequate and hopeless. Moreover, for many others, even when all of these vital functions are “within normal limits” and healthy, a general sense of well-being is still puzzling and out of reach. This can create feelings of guilt and anger because we “should” feel better since we are “healthy.” Right?
Well, there is just more to us than simple standardized measurements.
Our body is merely a vehicle for our mind and spirit, and if we can take good care of the vessel we are traveling in, we will surely move through life with a greater sense of trust, ease, happiness and well-being. True health and wellness rests in being balanced physically, mentally and spiritually.
Traditions such as Physical Therapy, Yoga, and Meditation offer a well-balanced approach in addressing the needs of your body, mind and spirit. Rather than “treating” and trying to “fix” yourself to health, a relationship with yourself is cultivated and strengthened through these practices.
So why are these practices helpful?
An evidence-based researched form of physical medicine, Physical Therapy is beneficial in helping you to understand the structure and function of the external framework and internal systems of your body. A greater insight in how your body is a completely connected is revealed, and with this new-found developed body wisdom, you begin to realize that your body should be treated as a whole, rather than as separate sections.
Yoga is a holistic practice in connecting your body and mind through movement, breathing, and meditation. The numerous benefits of yoga in improving the strength, flexibility, and balance of your physical body and mental state of being is continuing to be shown through the research, and those who practice could not agree more. Ask anyone who has practiced yoga, and likely their inspirational story of transformation and self-realization will follow. The beauty of yoga is that is an accessible practice for EVERY one to discover their mind-body connection.
(Trust me, once you try yoga, I’m confident that you will become hooked! Even just 10-minutes a day of practice can deliver an abundance of benefits!)
Meditation is the conscious act of calming the mind through inward concentration practices. It is an essential tool in centering your attention and reducing stress levels. With practice, you can develop the awareness and skills needed to not allow the uncountable number of thoughts, emotions and reactions that are taking place within your mind each moment dictate your behavior. This in turn can lead to healthier choices.
So, rather than treating your body and mind as separate entities, understanding the intricate connection and treating yourself as a WHOLE is the key to wellness.
Once you begin to truly make yourself a priority, you will start to naturally listen, better understand and intuitively take care of yourself in a way that brings more vitality, longevity and contentment into your life.
For questions on where to begin, how to implement a practice, or deal with any personal obstacles or barriers you may be currently, please comment below or contact me directly!