When it comes to living a healthy life, we typically think of a healthy diet combined with regular exercise. This is a good start, but it is not a recipe for complete health and wellbeing.
Our mind, body and spirit are all interconnected, and when one of these areas suffers, so to do the others. For example, dealing with highly stressful situations or grief can result in physical pain or illness. It is important to realise that to maintain a healthy balance between your mind, body and spirit, you must nurture yourself holistically by meeting your mental, physical, and emotional needs.
Now you don’t need to become an expert in yoga, nor do you need to become an elite athlete or nutritionist. There are many practical things you can do to achieve overall health and wellbeing in your daily life.
Here are our “Top Tips to Cultivating a Healthier Mind, Body, and Spirit.”
(Listed in no particular order)
Get enough sleep —
Getting enough sleep is vital to overall health and wellbeing and is as essential as healthy eating and regular exercise. A lack of sleep can lead to impaired concentration, weight gain, a higher risk of heart disease and diminished physical performance. Not to mention, a decline in mental health. Make good quality sleep a priority in your life and remember, there is no age limit on napping.
Eat a healthy diet —
This is a big one. Poor nutrition leads to a wide array of physical and mental disease. To list but a few; obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, many cancers, depression, mental fatigue…We could go on forever. The biggest problem we have today surrounding nutrition is difference of opinions of what is good for us and what is harmful. These days peer reviewed studies can be bought by the highest bidder where words can be manipulated to mislead consumers. After all, there is a lot of money in the food industry. One good way to look at the food you consume is how many ingredients are in it, the fewer the better, and how much processing it has been through. Generally, the more processed a food is, the less good it is going to be for you. By sticking to a whole foods diet, preferably organic, you are giving your body the best possible chance to thrive in the way nature intended. Keen to learn more? We recommend you take a look at the following documentary and then make up your own mind.
Get a minimum of 15 minutes of medium to fast-paced exercise daily —
Regular exercise is so important not only for your physical health and fitness, but for your mental health and fitness and the prevention of lifestyle diseases. Exercise ticks all the boxes. So, get your blood pumping, go for a walk, ride a bike, go to the gym, or take a nature walk. By making your regular exercise something you enjoy and look forward to will make it more likely for you to undertake. Don’t look at exercise as a punishment for eating that pizza, instead try to associate a feeling of positivity with it. For example, “What a beautiful day, I can’t wait to finish work and go for a ride and feel the breeze on my face”.
Meditate regularly —
OK before you roll your eyes, let me explain. Meditation does NOT mean you need to be able to tie your legs into knots, levitate off the floor or to stop your mind from thinking. I have heard so many people say to me that, no matter how hard they try, they can’t meditate. Meditation is not something that needs to be forced, nor does it have a particular destination. It is way simpler than the gurus will have you believe. You can do it sitting in a comfortable chair, lying down, you can even do a micro-meditation at the traffic lights. The idea is to ground yourself in the present moment, and the best way to begin is to bring your attention to your breath. Focus on your in breath, feel it pass your nostrils down into your diaphragm, hold it for a few seconds and release it slowly. As you breathe bring your attention to how it feels. Once you feel calm just breathe normally. As you relax, it is normal for thoughts to come into your mind, thoughts of the day’s work, finances, or a conversation you had. It’s ok if this happens, and it doesn’t mean you have failed. As a thought comes into your mind, try labelling it. For example, say to yourself “OK, that thought is about my rent being due.” Then gently unhook yourself from that thought and let it go…you can deal with it later. This time is for you. Allow thoughts to enter your mind without trying to stop them and simply recognise that they are a thought, gently unhook yourself, and let it go. This takes practice, but I assure you, it does come, even to the point where you can easily slip in and out of this state without specifically meditating. If you find yourself going down a rabbit hole, attached to a thought, and you will, that’s ok just recognise it let it go and return to your breath to ground yourself again in the present moment. Regular meditation, even 15 minutes a day, will have a profoundly positive impact on your overall health and will help to relieve symptoms of anxiety, depression and promote emotional and mental health. There is a huge number of guided meditations available on YouTube which can help get you started. A couple of our personal favourites to get you started include Max Strom highlighting the importance of breathwork in meditation (a great place to start or build your understanding) and you can catch Hayley here demonstrating her favourite breathwork activity. For those ready to jump right in here is a beginners meditation track you could try too.
Read more/learn more —
Nourish your mind by reading more books, watching documentaries, participating in online classes or even learn a new skill in workshops. Just as it is important to nourish your body with high quality food, so is it equally important to nourish the mind with high quality information and tasks. Our journey of learning should not end when we leave school, in fact, we should strive to continuously learn throughout our lives.
Volunteer your time and skills/knowledge —
Use your own special abilities to do some good in the world. Donate some time to a charity, start a blog or online community. Helping others is great way to feel connected in our daily life. This connectedness brings about a feeling of self-worth which can be incredibly beneficial to helping to overcome feelings of depression and anxiety. It’s a win for everyone.
Attitude of Gratitude —
Practicing gratitude daily is a great way to nurture your spirit. Start your day off by bringing to mind the things you are grateful for. Things like friends and family, good health, pets or simpler things like food, shelter, running water, nature. It is believed that you can’t be depressed while you are in a state of appreciation. Practicing being in a state of gratitude regularly helps for it to become a go to state of being and can go a long way to alleviating depressive feelings. Remember, practice leads to better practices.
Practice kindness-to others and yourself —
Being kind has many great benefits which can flow on to the wider community. Not only does being kind make others feel good but can also make you feel good too. It can help to create a sense of belonging and contributes to making the world a happier place. Some ways you can practice kindness to others may be checking in with a neighbour who might be isolated or lonely, call a friend or family member that you may not have spoken to for a while or tell someone how much they mean to you. Ways of showing kindness to yourself may start with following this list, treating yourself to some personal time or clearing away that to do list that is nagging in the back of your mind.
Let go of the things that no longer serve you —
Too often we carry around the past with us. Acknowledge things that have happened for what they are, and if there is nothing more you can do to change situations for the better, let it go. If it doesn’t matter tomorrow, then don’t let it ruin today.
Remove toxicity from your life —
We hear the word ‘toxic’ thrown around a lot these days but what does it really mean. When something is toxic it can be defined as very harmful or unpleasant in a pervasive or insidious way. Ultimately, anything toxic is detrimental to our health and wellbeing. Some sources of toxicity in our lives could be in our diets – preservatives, pesticides, chemicals, animal fats and proteins etc., relationships, environmental – air, noise or chemical pollution, social media or media content. We can’t always remove all forms of toxicity from our lives, for example, a toxic relative, but we can limit our exposure and protect ourselves when we do come in contact. However, by limiting our exposure to and removing as many sources of toxicity from our lives will have an incredibly positive effect on our overall health and wellbeing.
With a little bit of attention towards our own self-care we can dramatically improve our lives. Remember your health is more than just your physical health.
If you want to be truly healthy, you must nurture your health holistically – mind, body and spirit.Anonymous