I read this quote a few times before it completely sunk in. Our bodies don’t decide how we live. But our bodies certainly do reflect our lifestyle and the choices that we make.
I’m not talking just about eating healthful foods instead of junk food. Or even about exercising, drinking lots of water, getting enough sleep, and not smoking. These habits are a major part of overall health. But they’re not everything.
You can run five miles a day, substitute quinoa for white rice, carrot sticks for Cheetos, and drink two liters of water, yet still feel unhealthy and unhappy.
Attention must be paid to good mental and emotional health, as well as being physically fit.
Mind, body, spirit.
For me, this means feeling happy and fulfilled. Having a purpose. Using my talents in a constructive way, to improve my life and help others. It means having a strong marriage and good relationships with family and friends. A positive attitude. Faith.
It doesn’t mean I’m happy all the time or always feel like I’m being productive. If I’ve had a disagreement with my husband, if there’s a problem at our business, or if I’m overwhelmed with money issues, then I don’t feel good, no matter how health-conscious I think I’m being.
When something isn’t going right, it makes my whole body feel ‘off.’ My stress and unhappiness is mirrored in how my body feels.
Here are some issues that can drag us down, mentally and emotionally:
- Feeling lonely
- Being miserable in a relationship
- A stressful job
- Money worries
- A constant, negative attitude
- No spiritual connection
- Needing to lose weight
- Health concerns
It’s not easy to change these around. But if we take a deep look at what truly is making us unhappy and unfulfilled, then actions can be taken to improve that situation. The first step is getting at the root of the problem.
Years ago I had a job that literally made me sick. I was under extreme stress. I stayed because I had just graduated college and needed to make money. I didn’t want to feel like a failure by quitting. I didn’t want others to think I couldn’t handle a full-time job.
My joints were swollen and painful, I was tired all the time, and cried almost every morning before work. When I finally quit, it was like a one hundred pound weight was lifted off my shoulders. I instantly felt better. Soon my body wasn’t sore, I had more energy, and I smiled and laughed easier. My only regret was that it took me too long to leave.
Change is difficult. But sometimes it’s what we must do for our health and well-being.
Here’s a checklist of what I strive for:
- A positive attitude, a life filled with optimism and happiness
- Minimal stress and anxiety
- Strong marriage and relationships with my daughters
- Strong network of family and friends
- A meaningful way to spend my days
- Good business decisions
- Creativity (I love writing, photography, gardening, baking)
- Strong faith
- Good nutrition and exercise
- Getting enough sleep
- Practicing mindfulness and meditation
These take time and effort to incorporate into a daily routine. It’s about making good choices and practicing healthy habits.
Having a happy, healthy body makes it all worthwhile.