Such a ubiquitous topic that occupies quite a bit of our thinking time, for good reason. It’s as central to our life as a thing can be. Our lives revolve around health. It colors most of our experiences. Health can change the way we experience even the very mundane. So what is the best way to approach this topic?
I believe that health should be treated with the utmost importance as it applies to oneself. It is a permanent fixture in life past the point of a lucky childhood. We somehow make a dichotomy when we talk about physical and mental health, though I’m not entirely convinced they can be thought of as being separate. In fact, I think they are one and the same.
Our body is our biggest asset. It is the only known way through which we can have experiences. It is what brings us joy, calm, excitement, pain, enjoyment, agitation, peace and love. Treated well, you may be able to experience most of these quite well, may even extend our ability to experience for a bit longer. Neglected, which happens to be our default state, it diminishes our ability to have rich experiences. As with any asset, it requires attention and nurture. The amount of upkeep required may be subject to a few factors like age, habits etc, but it’s definitely a non trivial amount, which comes as a surprise as we realize from time to time.
Our body is a thing of beauty, it somehow manages to stay alive despite the way we treat it, which I think is a wonderful blessing. Default sustenance is still at it’s very core, sustenance. Unfortunately, there are some in this world that cannot afford more than a basic sustenance. Most would agree that they have levers at their control that can be tweaked for experiencing something more than basic sustenance. These levers are mostly known.
Good health mostly starts with food – simple, nutritious and necessary. Food habits alone can serve as a positive feedback loop towards a well functioning body. Interestingly, this is best learnt through experience, by consuming various types of food, and learning from the feedback that your body gives you. Within a few months, you get to learn what a food habit can do. This feedback is also very easy to miss and ignore with our “busy” lives.
Most would agree that some sort of activity goes a long way in delaying the general decline of the body associated with aging. Those of us who have crossed our twenties know this from experience. Dog owners know walks as necessary for their pet’s health. Somehow this doesn’t serve as an obvious cue as it applies to our health. I think a non trivial amount of activity is necessary to have a health mind and body. If activity is one end, inactivity is the other. Somehow they are the best of friends, sleep helps with activity and activity helps with sleep. Together, they occupy more than a third of our lives. Sleep is the loan shark you simply cannot win against. At the end of the day, you pay what’s owed. Habits seem to help take the drama out of these two.
Then there are these pesky things we call minds. They can seem to color even the best of days with the brush of their choosing. Minds seem to require their fair share of nurture. The experience of calm and peace seems to entirely be under the influence of the mind. Thankfully, our minds seem to be malleable. I will also go as far as saying that we need to perform laundry on them from time to time, with the activity of your choosing.
I believe that with some effort and attention into the food we choose, how much we choose to move and how we perform mind-laundry goes a long way in enriching our experience of life.