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Healthy Living - Not Just Diet and Exercise

I had a thought that you might be finding some of our articles rather long-winded, so I decided to keep this one short in the hopes that you will have time to read through. The message is important. A healthy body means a healthy mind, and vice versa. I concede there are some who are unfortunate to be disabled and find it difficult or impossible to perform even simple tasks that we take for granted. Yet we only have to watch the Paralympians in action to realise how their minds drive them to achieve heights of excellence that we, the lucky ones, can only dream about. Others who don’t aspire to be athletes still find ways to overcome their disability with a persistence that must be admired. These people offer us a shining example - a good life comes from striking the right balance between the physical and the psychological. When one is diminished, the other compensates. At least, that’s the way it should be; but all-too often most of us start out pretty even, then somewhere along the road we neglect one or both.

Eating the wrong food, especially to excess, is as bad as going on a diet of healthy ingredients, yet consuming so little that the body suffers. When this happens, the mind follows suit. Like any other organ, the brain needs sustenance – the right combination of nutrients to keep it functioning properly so that it can tell the body it controls what, when and how to do everything it has to; but a regular supply of minerals, proteins, etcetera isn’t enough. It is far more than a machine that pushes buttons as required – it thinks. To do that properly, it needs stimulation and peace. The assumption that it is coping perfectly well without our help leads us to take the welfare of our most essential asset too much for granted. Once the mind begins to tire, the body suffers as a consequence; and this sets off a chain reaction which will bounce back and forth like a tennis ball during a prolonged rally. Eventually, one player will become exhausted to the point of collapse. If our game of life ends the same way, there are no winners.

Imagine looking in the mirror and groaning because we are disappointed with what we see. Maybe our face is a bit drawn, there are bags under the eyes and our hair has lost its lustre; or the clothes we intend wearing for tonight’s date are showing bulges that they never used to. How do we feel? Nine times out of ten, not good. Realisation that we haven’t been taking care of our bodies would probably cause us to be irritated and concerned; or, if we’ve known about our deteriorating condition for a while and haven’t done anything to rectify it, we’ll most likely be annoyed with our carelessness. Add a lower self-esteem to the mix and gloom sets in. Now, if we didn’t think so much, we wouldn’t be phased; but try telling the mind to forget how we look because it’s of no consequence. It is incapable of ignoring anything, especially important factors that affect the body in its charge. It will respond by sending back a message – “I don’t like what’s happening, so do something about it!” – not in those actual words, but in a form we can identify: tension, indigestion, headaches, shortness of temper, fatigue and more. Unless something practical is done to redress the imbalance we have created with a poor diet and the wrong exercise regime, the brain will try to compensate, producing the necessary nutrients and chemicals, but not always in the right amounts because: a) we failed to provide the correct raw materials; and b) we are expecting too much and it is over-taxed. If we fail to look after our minds as well as our bodies, we are in for an increasingly worrying time which won’t get any better by shoving the problem under the carpet.

This is why our Healthy Living series includes matters like stress and depression, even jobs and coping with kids. They are all part of the lives we lead and they impact on how well we manage. As you can see from the next issue, there will be more on the Season of Happiness menu than just articles about food and physical health; but we’ll toss in a few of those too, plus another recipe each month.

So, that’s about it for this one. While you are here, though, you might like to click on Money Matters 21. It’s not just to do with boring finance – in fact you’ll find some useful suggestions on white goods and cooking with them. Why not have a squizz before you leave?

Next issue:   Relationships – keeping them alive and well

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Where every effort has been made to be accurate and fair-minded, comments and opinions expressed on this website are based on personal experience and do not necessarily reflect the views of the wider community or those groups and institutions mentioned. A Season of Happiness and its staff accept no responsibility for any outcome based on suggestions offered. What works for us may not work for you. Please bear this in mind.

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