We compartmentalise so much of our lives. We have our home life, and our work life, our social life, and our sex life. We get advice from an expert in this field, and then in that. And sometimes we forget to consider the whole, to notice the effect one area of our life has on another. Sometimes we think we can be one kind of person in this part of life, and that kind of person in the other.
But it doesn’t work like that. It is, for instance, impossible to be a ruthless business person at work, and a gentle loving partner at home. Whichever of those personality styles is the most dominant, will spill over into every area of your life. And it’s the same with our health. As much as a positive and joyful attitude boosts your immune system and the wellbeing of your body, so does a fit and well-nourished body promote a calm, confident and happy mind. We need to attend to ourselves as a whole – heart, body, mind, and soul.
When we exercise, we release endorphins which makes us feel good in ourselves and about ourselves. In turn, this gives us the energy and impetus to meet wholeheartedly any challenges we may face in other areas of our life. Regular exercise improves blood flow to the brain and speeds learning, enabling us to stretch ourselves and meet our emotional needs for achievement, status, and greater purpose. A fit person is able to recover more quickly from surgery, and exercise is now recommended for cancer patients even during treatment.
What we eat also has a huge impact on our psychological and therefore emotional wellbeing. Many of us in Britain, and the West in general, suffer from “affluent malnutrition” which contributes to anxiety, depression, addictions, and many other conditions; it affects mood and emotional stability, and memory capacity. A famous Buddhist saying has it that: “Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking and his pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness.” Taking it one step further, many, many years later, the nutritionist guru Patrick Holford said: “You think what you eat.”
A study conducted in 2004, concluded that a staggering 82% of us in the UK become impatient quickly, 64% become anxious easily, 53% become angry easily, 44% suffer from depression, and 43% have difficulty concentrating. This is clearly an unhappy way for us to be living.
From my practise of, and readings about, meditation and its wonderful ability to reduce stress, promote better sleep, develop better relationships, and encourage a calm and content state of mind, I know how important it is for us to train our minds. After all, we wouldn’t expect to have a well-honed body, able to perform at an optimum level, without undergoing a workout programme. But training the mind in isolation is not enough if we want to live a life of psychological and emotional wellbeing; it is vital that we also attend to our nutrition and give ourselves regular exercise.
Recommended reading: “Optimum Nutrition for the Mind” Patrick Holford
To find out how life coaching with Sarah could support you in living a more balanced life, please contact Sarah.