While focusing on our physical health is very important to a general improvement of ourselves, it is not the ONLY thing we need to focus on. Stress is a physical reality, an actual medical condition with documentable symptoms. Not everyone realizes this. But ironically, though it has strong effects on the body, stress is often CAUSED by non-physical triggers. True health can only be reached when all aspects of our life are in balance. We can have the body of an olympic athlete, but still be an emotional wreck. That is not really healthy. Similarly, if we face moral dilemmas on a regular basis; if we are not at peace in our spiritual life as well, then that too will be triggers for stress in our emotions and body.
Some may think of this as new age thinking, but in reality, the concepts have been around for a VERY long time. Before “modern” civilization grew in arrogance, acting as if only the knowledge we have obtained by modern means has any merit, people understood much about this general balance required for healthy life on a more instinctual level. But anyone who has truly explored themselves knows that there is much more to us than just a body.
So what to do about it? Well just as we want to make daily exercise and a good diet part of our physical lives, we also want to make the same available for our mental and emotional lives. You might be thinking how does one exercise the emotions? What is mental food? It’s not as exotic as it sounds. Just like developing healthy physical habits improves the body, developing healthy emotional and mental habits improve the other aspects of self. The diet is actually the easiest part. Positive thinking. Looking at the bright side of things instead of the dark side. Attitude! That is as much a habit as anything else. The exercising is a little more difficult, but not really all that much.
Mental exercise can be done directly. Do things that challenge your brain and make you think. Personally I use Lumosity.com, and it has become as much part of my exercise routine as my physical exercises. However one of the best ways to regain and maintain balance in our lives, reducing stress and helping all aspects of our self-improvement be more effective, is meditation. I know this scares some people. Many think they are not capable of it. But the reality is, in its most basic form meditation is simply the emptying the mind. It is actually very easy to do. Many people do it without even realizing it.
The simplest way to meditate it to just throw ourself 100% into what we are doing RIGHT NOW!
That there is the essence of meditation. focus on the here and now. If we are doing our body workout, focus completely on the workout. Not on what we will be doing for dinner; not on the big meeting we have in two days; not on the argument we had last week. Focus ALL of our attention on what we are doing now. Not only will we vastly improve how well we do the current activity, we will also find the satisfaction level once it has been completed vastly increased. The truly beautiful thing about this form of meditation is it can be done NO MATTER WHAT WE ARE DOING. The key is to focus 100% on whatever it is.
Give it a try, and the results may be a surprise!