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3 Tips for Creating a Healthier Mind and Body
Healthier mind and body: We often think of our mind and body as separate from each other, but they are very intertwined, with the health of one ultimately affecting the health of the other. This is something that Eastern religions, philosophies, healers and medical practitioners have known for thousands of years; it seems that the West is finally starting to catch up. As more and more research is done, it is becoming clearer how the effects of stress– which is thought of as something of the mind– in the form of toxic personal relationships, our jobs, and other aspects of our life lead to the development of a host of physical diseases. To achieve the ultimate state of wellness, you want to adopt habits that address both aspects of yourself—you cannot just focus on one.
1) Make Stress Management a Priority
We cannot avoid stress so we must focus on ways to reduce it and manage it more effectively when it does rear its ugly head. We all complain about how stressed we are, yet it is amazing how little most of us do to actually address it. We let it overwhelm us. While it is certainly part of life, we have a lot more control over it than we give ourselves credit for. Many of us take pride in our stressful lives and how much we endure and trust me, it is nothing to be proud of. The first step in creating a healthier mind and body is finding ways to manage this damaging force.
When you learn to handle stress more successfully, you set the stage for a whole new life essentially. You will easier make the choices that support a healthy mind and body, such as eating nutritious, whole natural foods, and exercising regularly. When it comes to stress management, there is no one best way, though I am partial to meditation since it helps you change how you react to the events in your life, which is the real cause of stress, not the actual events. But, you should do whatever feels good for you, whether it is yoga, deep breathing or just relaxing with some soothing music.
2) Limit Time with Toxic People
This can be a tough one since we cannot always easily remove ourselves from the people around us, but we always have the option to at least limit our time or avoid topics of conversation that focus on negativity. The people we surround ourselves with have a huge impact on our well-being. If you are always around people who are angry, negative, pessimistic, and the like, you will have a very hard time being a positive, optimistic person. It is surely possible, but let’s face it, most of us are not that good. We are still prone to outside influence and we want to make those influences as pleasant as possible.
This suggestion might involve you making some uncomfortable choices such as moving away from friends you have known your whole life and are maybe only friends with still for no other reason than you always have been, or being honest with people in a way you never have before. But, I cannot stress the importance of how much the people we surround ourselves with affects our mental and physical health. Pay attention to your relationships and how each of these people makes you feel; focus on cultivating or strengthening the relationships that bring out the best in you rather than the worst.
3) Be More ‘’Selfish’’
I know the word selfish has a very negative connotation but when I think of the bare essence of the term, it means acting in your own self-interest, and that is most certainly not always a bad thing. When I use the word ‘’selfish’’ here, I mean it in terms of merely doing things that benefit you, not doing what you want even if it means truly hurting someone else. We are conditioned to never do anything for ourselves, to always put others first. We feel guilty focusing on our own life. We stretch ourselves to the limit because we fear being labeled ‘’selfish.’’
But, while you are benefitting everyone else, you are depriving yourself of your mental and physical health by constantly denying your own happiness and oftentimes, fulfilling other people’s selfish-in-the-bad-way requests. You will be of much better use to people if you are healthy and whole. This means you will have to focus on yourself more and probably use the word ‘’no’’ a lot more often—both of which will be extremely uncomfortable at first. Remember, if you are not hurting anyone but merely upsetting people because doing what you want interferes with what they want, that is not your problem. Make your mental and physical well-being a top priority; you have every right to. Caring about yourself and caring about others are not mutually exclusive concepts…you can do both.