...so why do we only work on our physical fitness when most of our physical problems emanate from the mind?
Feed your mind not your stomach
It goes without saying that a healthy diet is important to whole body health. The right nutrition provides your body with everything it needs to function reliably. Unfortunately the vast majority of us don’t enjoy the luxury of a perfect diet because we are tempted by far too many poor quality (but highly enjoyable) foods without fully understanding the implications for our bodies, our health and our lifespan. The decision to eat products that taste good rather than do us good is of course a cognitive decision (albeit, heavily influenced by multiple messages from manufacturers advertising the aspects of such foods that address parts of our brains that make it difficult to resist) but resist, we must, if we really want a better quality of life. Many of us accept that it is very difficult to totally avoid low-nutritional value foods so we aim for an achievable level of consumption; a realistic balance.
Take A Balanced Approach
Most of us want to improve our health because we know it makes sense, but other than changing our diet, which IS very important, how can we ‘change our minds’ about what we choose to eat, what we do and, crucially, what we think, in order to achieve a better state of health?
is, as I have already stated, a major part of the process and something that is well covered by more specialists than I care to count. But relatively few people realise that changing the way we think about our health can contribute much more to the improvement process, not least by helping you feel better about eating more nutritionally beneficial foods, whilst avoiding the need to take supplements to ‘top up’ your nutritional intake. HOW you think about nutrition is dependent upon what you already believe, based on how you have been brought up, educated and influenced. This is often called our mindset and many people think this is a fixed aspect of their personality and even their moral code. But your brain is not set in stone. Your brain is ‘plastic’; malleable, It can be developed, it can be re-balanced so what you think and what you believe CAN be changed. Then what you choose to eat and actions you take to improve your health becomes easier when your decisions feel right!
On the physical level,
TaiChi, yoga and even ballet can help put your whole body in better balance but they can also have many positive effects on your state of mind. But you have to make the decision to participate in such activities and taking that first step can be pretty daunting because your mind gives you a series of reasons why you don’t need to do them (any one of them would be fine!) based on your past experiences, social norms and even family and peer pressure. These things take place in your mind, not in your body so why aren’t people addressing these aspects of their lives? Why don’t we take as much care of our minds as we try to do for our bodies? Especially as it can be so much easier - you’re not going to have to break into a sweat to address your mental improvement training and rainy mornings pounding the streets aren't required! There are some simple practices that anyone can choose to do.
Your brain is brilliant!
It makes things happen that not only keep your body functioning but can help it deal with things that go wrong. And YOU don’t have to do a thing! But, when too many things go wrong in your body or there is a long term build up of problems, your brain has a lot to deal with (usually without you even realising what’s going on) and it can become overloaded. Just imagine what happens when you overload your computer. It slows down. Basic tasks take longer and longer and, if it could feel pain, it would be feeling very uncomfortable - just like you feel when something goes wrong - it’s time to press Control / Alt / Delete, restart and clear the system so that it can do the job it is intended to do. Your brain is much the same (but infinitely more powerful), and whilst you may not be able to shut it down and restart - that might be a step too far - you CAN ‘reset’ it, so to speak, to enable it to refocus its efforts on what it NEEDS to do; reducing pain, delivering more energy, speeding up recovery times, etc, whilst controlling your body more effectively.
Your brain is ‘plastic’!
It is capable of learning and re-learning, replacing old neural pathways with new ones, but if it has been actively managing your body on a consistent basis, fending off issues that your brain’s neurons have been focusing on for long periods of time, then it may be time to hit the reset button so that new neural pathways can be formed to alleviate your problems in a much more effective way. Neural connections have a habit of becoming cul-de-sacs when they have become too busy and become increasingly ineffective in dealing with pain, disease and other debilitating conditions - that’s when we tend to turn to drugs and eventually more drugs. But we can make the changes needed to improve things.
Your brain is susceptible…
to being influenced by external factors which our consciousness leads us to believe are irrefutable truths and which we then respond to without checking out the facts and so we become ‘controlled’ by less-than-favourable environmental, cultural and societal influences - it’s a human thing! But if we keep our conscious minds open and avoid being persuaded to believe, for instance, that the only treatment for a particular health issue is a particular drug or a surgical procedure, then we consciously take control of our decision-making and can then explore other options - there ARE always other options, probably much healthier options, than taking medication which may only mask problems rather than positively affect your overall health.