Health goes beyond just the physical aspect, it’s also about your mind and spirit. Create the mindset you need to succeed in life by considering what’s most important.
We live in a world that values perfection and an unreachable standard of beauty. Unfortunately, it’s perpetuated everywhere, and all too easy to fall into an obsession with the ‘healthiest’ diet or exercise routine when you’re striving for perfection.
But when we take a step back, it’s easy to see that there’s more to our health than the standard societal recommendation of diet and exercise.
While we still don’t have all the answers, more and more research is showing how connected our mind and emotions are to our physical health. Any choices we make regarding our health, whether that be what we eat, how we move, or how we react to the information we choose to consume, can have a profound effect in our lives. If we look a little deeper, we start to recognize all of these things can have a major impact on our health and spirit.
Here’s how you can start cultivating better awareness around your emotions that leads to better health, and a better life.
Whether we tend to be more introverted or extroverted, we all need meaningful relationships. Seeking health perfection can often be isolating, and leads to avoiding social situations where we miss out on forming the relationships that help us thrive. In fact, studies show that love and affection can be more important to our health than meeting physical needs.
Research has shown that infants who are fed and have their physical needs taken care of, but are not shown love or held are far more likely to suffer from emotional and physical problems. We need to be with others, an innate desire that we’re born with.
We can all speak from personal experience how easy it can be to forget about everything we have in life, and start complaining about the things we don’t have. This often does not lead you down a good road, and that lack of gratitude opens the door for negativity, the comparison trap, and never-ending striving for perfection.
Practicing gratitude can help us appreciate the simplest things: savoring ice cream and conversation with a friend, having the ability to take a walk outdoors on a nice day, having a bed to sleep in, the list goes on and on. If we started writing down all the things we’re grateful for, you may be surprised at how long the list can get!
Holding on to negative emotions and anger do nothing to the person they’re against, and even less for the one holding on to it. The person it really hurts is you.
Forgiveness doesn’t need to happen over night (and probably won’t), just taking baby steps in that direction over time makes a difference. Many times, the person we’re refusing to forgive is ourselves. We spend so much time beating ourselves up for not being perfect, or getting it wrong. We just need to take a step back and give ourselves a break.
Going right along with forgiveness, we need to show ourselves and others grace when we get it wrong. Making changes can be hard, especially when we’ve been doing things a certain way for years and years. Messing up is OK, mistakes are OK. We learn from them and get better with time, so accept the fact that we are never going to be perfect in any aspect of life. It’s more helpful and important to show yourself grace and compassion in that moment, rather than beating yourself down for not getting it right.
If we ignore the 4 things listed above, it’s nearly impossible to find and experience joy. We won’t find it when we’re obsessing over food in the name of health. We won’t find it when we’re spending hours at the gym exercising because we feel obligated. We can attempt to eat well and move joyfully, but when our intent is focused on the wrong things, we’ll never find it. So cultivate relationships, be thankful for what you have, forgive others and yourself, and show endless amounts of grace.
That’s how you’ll begin to know joy.
Adapted from the original article.
Hannah Griffith, RDN is a Registered Dietitian based in Charlottesville, Virginia. She is passionate about helping both men and women discover real health, by learning to nourish themselves and cultivate a better a better relationship with food and their bodies. Read more from Hannah at All In Good Health.