We can rely on doctors or we can take charge of our own well-being. Subtle changes in our outlook, habits, diet and posture can be a way for us to take responsibility for our own health. Osteopath, Victoria Kent, takes us through 5 areas where you can start your journey to a more balanced healthy life.
What is health? This depends upon which philosophy you are looking at;
In modern mainstream medicine, this is often described as the ‘absence of disease’. This definition, whilst factually correct, fails to take into account the ever-increasing rates of people who see their GP for tiredness, stress, chronic pain, depression etc. For while these people are genuinely not ‘feeling well’, equally, they are not suffering from a ‘disease’.
Complementary medicines such as osteopathy describe health as the ‘connection and balance of mind, body and spirit’. Rather than focusing on illness or specific parts of the body, we look at the overall wellness of a patient and how they are interacting with their environment. This approach is termed holistic health.
The concept of holistic health also encourages people to accept responsibility for their own wellbeing, and on their everyday choices that affect their health.
It is only when we take personal responsibility that we can start the healing process. We are all individuals and no one treatment, medication or technique is going to work for us all. Our beliefs, values and attitudes affect our health and we believe subtle but positive changes in a persons outlook, habits, diet, posture etc are part of the cure back to good health.
For most people ‘wellbeing’ is made up of physical health, emotional nurture, mental stimulation, focus, clarity and spiritual nourishment. Therefore, in order to function at our very best, we need to make sure our needs are being met in each of these areas.
These things can seem out of reach when you live a busy life, like many of us do, but there are some simple things you can do every day to improve your holistic health and inspire mindful living.
We are what we eat. Our body does better when it is less toxic-consume foods that aid detoxification. Aim to eat organic (at least the dirty dozen), GM-free, hormone and antibiotic-free as much as you can. Drink lots of water and herbal teas.
Aim to take a daily 45-minute walk outside (instead of sitting inside with your iPad).
Sweat out toxins with exercise, a sauna or hot yoga.
Rediscover a passion, interest or hobby by making time to incorporate it into your week. Or learn something new that can add to your life. People who learn are more likely to be positive, less discriminatory and more educated. Read more books, bake a new course, sign up to a new group . . . Surround yourself with like-minded people who you can grow and learn from.
Tap into the culture; research shows those who attend sports and cultural events and places are more likely to report good health
Sing! Research shows singing may improve our mood and counteract stress.
A large body of research indicates people who have more meaningful relationships are happier, healthier and live longer.
Go for a walk with a friend and leave your mobile at home!
Schedule in family dinners – this creates connectedness amongst family members and is linked to healthier eating habits, higher academic achievement and increased emotional wellbeing.
This is the life we lead inside ourselves as opposed to the life we lead outside ourselves through work and play. Spirituality is learning how to be more forgiving, compassionate, kinder and less judgemental.
Meditate, take up yoga asana practise or practise karma yoga (selfless action towards everything in the universe)
Take a walk in nature and marvel at its beauty and perhaps do a walking meditation.
Most of us experience the restorative feeling of spending time in the great outside; it improves stress levels, improves mood and concentration and increases vitality.
walk barefoot on soil, grass, sand – many studies show the benefits of having direct contact with the positive ions on the earth’s surface including better sleep and less pain.
Play outside – pack a picnic instead of eating inside, spend the afternoon walking in nature instead of going to the mall, plant your own garden . . . .
Like introducing anything new, give it time. It may be easier to choose just one thing to start with so as not to feel overwhelmed.
When we start to experience the value in caring for all parts of ourselves, we begin to feel more complete, fulfilled, healthier and happier, and will project an exuberance that shines from inside out!