When we think about the state of our health, we typically think about things like our diet, cholesterol level, weight, and the amount of exercise we’re getting.
These things are all important parts of your health – but other aspects are equally important: your emotional health, spiritual health and intellectual health.
As a chiropractor, I care about your total health. Physical, nutritional and emotional health are all intertwined. Good health can only be achieved when all three of these aspects are truly balanced.
During times of uncertainty and elevated stress, it’s easy to forget about our emotional health because we can neglect it for a while and still survive. However, it throws the entire state of our health off balance – making it more difficult to deal with stress and other life challenges.
We’re all under a lot of stress and uncertainty right now, so I thought I’d write about ways to tend to our emotional, intellectual, and spiritual health this week – and hopefully make things a little easier for all of us.
Our emotional health involves the state of our relationships, our ability to give and receive love, and our ability to deal with the stress in our lives. Our intellectual health comes from stimulating our minds and continually expanding our view of the world. Spiritual health does not necessarily involve your belief in a higher power, though it certainly can. Spiritual health is maintained by surrounding yourself with peace and quiet and connecting with your true inner self.
You can neglect your emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs and still survive. You may go months, weeks, or years without realizing that anything is wrong.
Eventually, however, it will catch up to you and you may not even realize that it has to do with something other than your physical health. You might feel mentally exhausted, stressed out, or physically tired. You might feel empty or that your life has no real purpose. You may feel constantly irritable or on edge all the time.
Does this sound familiar?
Tending to your emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs each day has incredible benefits. It leads to increased self-confidence and self-esteem and reduces the risk of depression or anxiety. It improves your ability to cope and adapt to changing conditions in your life – both at home and at work. It also keeps your mind sharp so that you will make smart life choices. Finally, it leads to better relaxation and an overall improved mood balance.
Nurturing your emotional, intellectual, and spiritual health will help you become a well-rounded, complete person. Since all aspects of your health and body are connected, it will positively affect your physical health as well: improved blood pressure, lower heart rate, reduced physical pain, and increased energy levels. You will also be inclined to eat more healthfully.
Morning silence. One of the simplest and most beneficial things that you can do is observe a period of morning silence. Remove yourself from the noise of the world and the noise of your own mind. Do your best to stay in the moment during this quiet time. Focus on the things that you are thankful for and avoid thinking about anything that happened in the past or worrying about the future.
There have been many books written about meditation. Browse the shelves at Barnes & Noble and find a book that speaks to you. There are also YouTube videos or CDs that can help guide you through the meditation process.
If meditating is not for you, that’s okay. You don’t need to meditate to surround yourself with peace. Wake up 10 minutes earlier each day – before your kids or spouse – and enjoy your morning coffee or tea in peace. Turn the television off and leave the newspaper on the table. Sit on the porch with your coffee and just enjoy being with yourself for 10 minutes.
Walking. Another great thing to do is walk every day. Leave the music at home. Enjoy and fully appreciate the sounds and beauty of nature. These are the sounds you were born to hear. This is also a great time to practice being present in the moment and not stuck in the past or focused on the future. Quiet your mind.
Read. Stimulate your intellectual health by feeding your brain. Read books that challenge you and expand your mind to see things from different points of views. The world isn’t black and white, or red and blue. Choose books on topics that you’ve always wanted to learn more about.
Television. On TV, look for programs with substance – programs that challenge the way that you think or see the world. Mindless entertainment such as sitcoms, television dramas, or gossip magazines is a great escape and perfectly fine in moderation, but don’t make it the sole diet for your mind. Just like pizza is fine on occasion, it’s not something that should be eaten every day.
And while we’re on the topic of news, give yourself a break from the news at least a few days a week, as well as social media. The news media is fear-based and specifically targeted to appeal to our anxieties. Don’t worry – you won’t miss anything, you can catch up on the important stuff the next day.
Take a class! You can also stimulate your mind by taking a free online class on cooking, art, gardening, writing, or a foreign language. Do a quick Google search – you’ll be amazed at what’s out there for you.
Good people. Nurture your emotional health by surrounding yourself with loving, caring people who have your best interests at heart. Everyone you know is just a phone call away. Give your time to people who allow you to truly be yourself. Choose friends who are encouraging and supportive, but also challenge you to be a better person and raise the standards you set for yourself. We all have people in our lives that make us feel good and fill us with positive energy. There are also people that bring us down. Spend your precious time with the positive people!
Total health means that you pay attention to all of your health needs equally, not just your physical concerns. This is more important now than ever before.
Make time each day for your emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs and you will be amazed by how much better you feel.