Shaking off the stigma about health
Lets move into love with ourselves and back into health while we are at it.
What do you think of when you read or hear the word health?
Are are you starting the day with a routine that serves your body from the inside out? Or are you rushing around trying to get out the door and cursing that bloody swiss ball that you almost tripped over the the one hundredth time, that reminds you “I really should use that thing”
As a practitioner of “health” I often get the vibes from clients and friends that health is something “I must start doing” or “next year I’m really going to get into my health” as opposed to being an integral part of their day to day existence.
But what if the word health wasn’t such a loaded term. What if we swapped the word from health to happiness - Because after all, the two words are synonymous.
What if we dropped all of the weight behind such terms as fitness, cleansing or meditation and replaced the feelings that is often associated (guilt, shame) with feelings of hope towards moving into a better version of ourselves.
I recognize that not all of us have a poor relationship with health but an overarching theme that we can’t seem to shake is that to be healthy we must become a restricted, shrunken down version of ourselves that does not have the ability engage in social activities.
What is commonly noted in our society is that health and happiness are two separate ideas.
I believe health is a byproduct of being truly happy, because if we have enough love in our lives and a love of life itself, why would we consciously go out of our way to bring our bodies out of harmony?
So we have a few things going on here, we have a health crisis and we also have a happiness crisis (or lack thereof)
While we are living in a society where it is reported that up to 3 million Australians will experience either depression of anxiety each year it begs the question where are we going wrong and as a collective what do we need to be embracing in order to give us the tools towards a more resilient and happy world?
I believe (in a very simple context) by focussing on happiness, our health crisis will also become less of an issue
So where to begin.
Let us start by defining what health really is.
Often people mistake health as being in perfect alignment with a 6 pack of abs, shiny white teeth and a tanned rig, but unfortunately this cannot always be the case. There are plenty of truly healthy people that still get struck down by disease and illness, often this is not because they are in “bad health” but more commonly there is a lesson to learn and grow from that brings these people into even more harmony with the world.
One of my teachers about this subject Paul Chek defines health as:
“ A willingness to engage your body and mind so that you can see challenges in life (of the body or mind) as an integral process of creating and living your dreams an accomplishing your goals”.
So what does happiness mean to you?
All of these point in the direction of gaining more connection. More connection with ourselves and more connection with others.
To gain more connection we often need to challenge the habits and themes in our lives that are bringing us out of flow, These could include strained relationships, working a job that does not fulfill, and very oftentimes and even more damaging to our health are the themes and beliefs towards ourselves that are not conducive to health, along the lines of I am not enough…
Too big, too skinny, not enough money, not enough time the list can go on and on, what I believe we need to start questioning is
Ten out of ten times if you ask yourself an objective question like this, you will get a loud and clear response, the trouble is that we are so close to the picture when working on ourselves that we fail to see the obvious triggers and downfalls.
What I encourage my clients to do is to find what it is that is truly important to you, find things that “light you up” experiences and situations that bring the best out in yourself and to put it simply do more of that.
Once we have uncovered what it is that is worth living for and engaging those nice things so there isn’t any room for the crap that bogs us down, the next step to focus on is consistently doing the things that bring our physiology into a state that we can keep doing the things we love
These factors all have to do with syncing ourselves up with nature, see if you can go down the list of tips for better more natural health and point out where in your life there could be more of it.
Set your rhythms:
Get up when the sun is coming up and go down as the day is ending. Keep it this simple, if your body is in sync with that of natures, energy levels will also be on point as well as our sleep cycles and from here our bodies ability to grow, repair and rebalance will be functioning optimally.. When we are beaming with physical energy, everything else in life seems achievable.
As a guideline try to be in bed by 10pm and up at 6am.
We breathe up to 25,000 times per day and the quality of our breathe plays a huge role in our daily experience with the world. If affects our bodies ability to detox, build and repair, relax and energise.
Simply have your hands on your belly upon waking and pre sleep and see if you can breathe deeply into the belly, from here catch yourself throughout the day when you are in stressful situations or otherwise and observe the quality of your breath. Awareness is the key to changing bad habits.
Since most of our body is made up of water it would make sense to be taking good care of your hydration.
With a hydrated system we have a system in harmony. Poor hydration can lead to a number of health complaints ranging from a shitty mood to serious disease.
Put simply, buy a good water filter or source natural spring water and drink more of it.
A quick calculation is to optimal hydration is this
0.033 x your body weight in Kg and the answer will come out in litres.
Eg if you weigh 100 kg you should be drinking 3.3 Litres per day, as a base line.
Add more for things like coffee, alcohol, exercise, stress as well as eating crappy packaged and processed foods.
Nourish - do not restrict:
Food should be enjoyed, not feared!
Try to stay away from too many fads and hacks as they all tend to swing the pendulum in one direction too hard. To begin with just simplify your food simply by eating, minimally processed, in season, organic and not too much off it. Chew your food thoroughly and try not to overeat.
After eating a whole food and organic diet for 3 months consistently and you are struggling with intolerances or inflammation then begin experimenting with alternative eating habits ie Paleo, Ketogenic, vegan ect. Try not to get too hung up on any dogmatic ideas, see your body as a testing implement and learn through personal experience what certain foods do to your system.
Exposing yourself to nature and its elements is essential for our circadian rhythms, immune function as well as many other aspects of our health but besides anything else, IT JUST FEELS GOOD!
Get out in the bush, take a view from up high, go bare feet and throw yourself in the ocean. I’ve never heard of a person who treated themselves to nature and wished that they had not.
How much time in your day is dedicated to being still? We are in such a frenzied rush to get through our days that we often undermine the importance of being still, Meditation is a great way to practice stillness. If you have a practice, how often are you visiting this? If you do not have a meditation practice just start by focussing on your breathing for 5 minutes morning and night and then ask around to find a teacher or teaching that appeals to you.
Every day we need to move our bodies, not just when we are at our Yoga or fitness classes, These days our bodies are static much more than they are active and moving, try to see where in your life you can make time for unbound play and physical expression and try to visit this type of body movement everyday. Think of dancing to a song, having a running race, wrestling with a mate, trying cartwheels and handstands. These forms of play nourish our body physically chemically and emotionally
Have a dream team:
We all need people to bounce ideas off and oftentimes to show us the mirror from the little white lies and justifications we tend to sell ourselves.
So check in and ask yourself, Do I have a dream team?
People who I can go to for objective and knowledgeable advice? If the answer is no, begin a small circle of trusted mates as well as outsourcing some pro’s that all have your back.
Each day as a declaration of love for yourself, do something that is purely for you and your happiness! It could take 3 minutes by writing yourself a little love letter or you might organise to see a movie that no one else is interested, but try to do things for yourself, the more we can fill our own cup the more we have to give.