There’s more to whole life wellness than just treating symptoms.
Have you ever had one of those days when you just don’t feel good? Maybe a little sore. Maybe a little tired, or both. It can feel like such an effort to do anything and it’s easy to retreat, rest, give up on whatever you’d planned.
Our bodies are so intricately woven together, and we are much more than just our physical health.
In the monthly webinar and live informational talks, we talk about “whole body wellness.” This is because at Haraka we believe in helping you reclaim your limber life. When you move more easily, you feel better, when you feel better, your body produces positive and energizing hormones. You engage with others from a joyful place and your sense of self esteem improves. Your spiritual energy is up, and you find yourself being in a better place in your spirit, too. Quite a lot of positive outcomes for simply improving the state of your physical body.
Let’s look at this in more detail.
I like to use the metaphor of the four wheels on a vehicle. There is also the axel, the steering wheel, the windshield, and the mirrors – all metaphors for other aspects of life management. For now, though, let’s unpack in this in more detail.
Our physical self is the most common focus area, especially when dealing with health issues. As you’ve now read in other blogs we’ve published, we are firm believers in diet AND exercise AND self-managed, responsible healthcare – whether you are taking medication or supplements, or both.
I don’t plan on spending too much time on diet and managed healthcare, as they are covered in detail in other blogs. In the realm of exercise, I heard a powerful podcast interview with Ed Mylett and Dr Gabrielle Lyons . I’m now reading her book, Forever Strong, and highly recommend it!
Taking care of your physical health is one of the most important building blocks to a happy, healthy life. We’ve also spoken before of the importance of resistance and strength training, more so in some cases, than cardiovascular exercise. Dr. Lyons speaks of the critical nature of skeletal muscle mass and it’s contributory power to all your health indicators.
What does this mean for those with arthritis? Getting back to the “slow day” when you’re not feeling good. I would challenge you to pick up a dumbbell or resistance band and do a few muscle strengthening exercises. This will power you back up! Even though every part of you wants that cookie with a mug of hot chocolate and another Netflix episode…the ability to overcome the pull toward what is harmful in the long run, is the key factor between embracing a healthy future self, or staying where you are…and worse, gradually declining in your overall strength.
I realized that the “gift of movement” can indeed change your life. When I Googled that term, I stumbled upon this wonderful company and product! If going to the gym is just not possible for whatever reason, consider investing in one of their very affordable packages. This will give you the equipment to do a muscle strengthening workout at home. Plus, you could do this while you watch your favorite shows…just saying…
The reality is that when you build healthy muscle and strength, you are much more likely to feel improvement in your symptoms of arthritis related inflammation. Plus, muscle strength will help support damaged joints, and give you more stability – which makes it possible to then walk, swim, golf, etc. in a healthier way, with less discomfort. I know that I tend to do more physical activity when my body is stable and strong.
Add in a powerful supplement like Haraka - and you can experience relief from joint stiffness and inflammation, while building yourself up to a new level of fitness and strength.
Another important aspect of physical health is that of your sleep – both how much you get, and what quality of sleep you get. This article addresses the importance of sleep. You may not feel the benefit of your exercise and diet choices, if you subsequently shortchange yourself on sleep.
What action will you take in the next 24 hours to give the gift of movement to yourself?
The physical wheel is an important starting point, but like every good vehicle, you need more than one wheel.
The state of your emotions – your feelings, your relationships, your sense of connectedness – has the same powerful impact on your level of inflammation as you would get taking a pill. In fact, there is such a strong correlation, as proven in this scientific paper, that I think we need to pay more attention to the state of our hearts.
In Proverbs 4:23, we are reminded – “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
When you approach life with a negative, bitter, angry, or other type of negative emotion – you set yourself up for increased production of the damaging hormones as your body will always reflect what’s going on in your nervous system. These emotions create toxicity in your system and increase the amount of inflammation as a result. (I know – this is overly simplistic – I will unpack it in a deeper way in another blog!)
Here are a few ideas to improve your emotional self:
- Start a gratitude journal. Write in it every evening.
- Spend time with someone you love – make it a priority at least once this week.
- Reconnect with those you’ve lost touch with in the past year.
- Volunteer or do some small act of service every day, or every week.
- Take a long, hard look at your emotional wellbeing – what do you think is missing?
What specific actions will you take to address that, so that you change the resonance of energy in your body?
Just as your skeletal muscle is an organ, so is your brain. The “use it or lose it” axiom is very true when it comes to cognitive function. Inflammation will negatively impact cognitive health, as discussed in this medical paper. You can help your brain by giving it good nutrition, but also regular exercise. Keeping your neurons firing and stretching your thinking and learning will contribute to overall wellbeing and a healthy sense of self.
When we age, we don’t have to just accept a declining body and brain. You are in charge of your health, and you can prevent cognitive disease, starting now.
This great website gives you brain training exercises. If you don’t already, do crossword puzzles, Sudoku, play card games with friends, work on a jigsaw puzzle. It’s easy to get mentally lazy when you are no longer working full time. I like to remind myself to try something new, and pursue learning, at every opportunity I can.
Your intellectual self is the third wheel of your overall life wellness. Like any other wheel, it needs maintenance and preventative treatment, too. Include cognitive health in your wellness approach.
What specific actions will you take to boost your cognitive health?
Often this is treated like the spare wheel in the trunk – to be brought out in emergencies!
Your Spiritual Self is the fourth wheel and equally important as the other three.
No matter your belief system, having connection with a higher power is an essential part of healthy spiritual practice. We live in a world that is typically on sensory overload. Have you noticed just how much noise you are exposed to every day? No wonder we get fatigued and depressed.
Make time to be quiet, whatever that looks like for you. I’ve found that taking an hour to “wind down” at the end of the work day is helpful. I listen to quiet background music as I read, journal, reflect. Taking that time to “get off the treadmill” prepares me to have a great night’s sleep and to feel focused the next day.
Starting the day with prayer, meditation, quiet time, reading Scripture – all contribute to keeping the air in that wheel! Everyone is different, so find what works for you.
What specific actions will you take to nurture your spiritual self? What will you start, stop, add, or subtract from your routine?
We are fully integrated, beautifully created human beings. We have the choice to take care of ourselves and the choice to live a long, healthy, active life. Take care of all four wheels for yourself and enjoy many years of wellness!