15 Oct Living Holistically to be Sick-Free
I had two important conversations today that made me realize I have to write this blog about winter sicknesses and immunity.
Two friends today were talking about everyone around them getting sick lately and was asking me what my recommendations are for what people should do to avoid sickness during our cold winter season. My immediate response to that question was IMMUNITY. My point is not to wait until you are sick to do something about it but it’s critical that we maintain a lifestyle that supports an optimal state of immunity. Yeah yeah, you know what I’m going to say right? Eat right? Exercise? OK, you got me but that is only a part of the solution to protecting ourselves from the icky and mutant strains of bacteria and viruses that exist nowadays. BUT… there is one factor that most people don’t put enough emphasis and consideration when it comes to living a holistic lifestyle and that is to avoid STRESS (the bad kind!). You can be a maniac exerciser and super healthy eater but still get sick every year. You might not be debilitated or bedridden because you are physically fitter than someone who doesn’t move at all but you still suffer with sinus congestion, coughs, fatigue, etc. Ask yourself the question, what is your level of stress on a day-to-day basis? What is your mindset on life? How happy are you on a deep level? These stressors contribute more towards your immunity than exercising and eating well combined. It is well documented that constant stress (not just the basic survival stress) over time cause chronic illnesses and the damage starts internally before it manifests into physical signs. So, here are some points that I live by that keep me sick free year after year.
- Stop kicking yourself for NOT exercising. The self-sabotage is NOT healthy. It’s better to just accept who you are and not compare with friends or family that exercise more than you do. Once you stop trying to be someone you are not, then you will likely start getting more active but it will be in the way that “works for you”. The key is to not be idle. Keep moving. If you have stairs in your house, go up and down as many times as you wish. While you are watching TV, do squats, etc. Walk to the store, walk up stairs instead of taking the escalator or elevator or instead of taking the bus for 3-4 stops to get to the subway/metro walk that distance, etc. Once you start creating the mindset that “moving” is your priority, exercise becomes automatic.
- Love your food because food is PASSION. So many people I know have a look of dread when their plate is put in front of them. I was a “dieter” since the age of 14 and have had weight issues for most my life. I was so sick of this subconscious obsession that I completely changed my mindset 15 years ago. I decided to JUST eat without worry. As I learned to accept and love myself, I learned to love my food and not allow it to hurt me, no matter what I ate. I look forward to eating every minute of the day (ok I know I’ve swung onto the other side of obsession because I do admit I am addicted to food!). This is not to say we should be negligent regarding our overall health because you still need to include a proper physical activity regime that correlates with what and how much you are eating. As a result of this mindset tweak, I lost 30lbs in about a year and reached my optimal body size. I’ve been this same size for over a decade and I’m no longer concerned about not being “skinny”.
- Exercise flexibility and this is for those control freaks out there. Some of us get into such a rut and stuck in our comfort zone that life becomes boring or lack purpose. A great part of living is learning to embrace CHANGE and many of us avoid change like the plague. However, life is not changeless and it is not completely in our control either. You can try to control your environment all you want but when change is “unexpectedly” forced upon you, then you are less capable of coping with the stresses of having to adapt. Start thinking about meeting new people and I recommend you look for people that are different but share the same values. Start “connecting” on deeper levels. Work connections are very different from personal connections. People tend to still maintain control on who they really are at work. To grow spiritually, we all need to continuously meet new people, especially if our tendencies are that of a loner, so we can learn about ourselves on deeper levels. I can’t stress how important socializing is. No one is a “true loner”. As human beings, we subconsciously need love, intimacy and connection. If you are spending most of your free time alone or with minimal socialization, then you are simply protecting your comfort zone. Learning to be with others and coping with differences is key to understanding ourselves and our fears and only once we can be forced out of our comfort zone can we truly evolve towards deep happiness and joy.
- Stop JUDGING. Isn’t it just so easy to look for everything that is wrong around us and judge things or people on what they should or shouldn’t be? No I’m not saying that we need to sit back and “ignore” what is wrong in the world but judging is a subtle form of hate. There is a difference between an observation versus a judgement. Observing is simply noticing something without your opinion without your emotions getting in the way of objectivity, however, a judgment is an observation that includes a visceral negative emotion- it’s you thinking you are better than someone else and indirectly imposing “your ways” on something or someone else. Many if not all judgemental people tend to forget that they too make mistakes. How about simply accepting others for their differences and open up to each person’s uniqueness and individuality. Let’s respect everyone’s own unique path of life lessons. Only once we adopt this way of thinking can we begin to make an impact (not control) on everyone that crosses our path ultimately contributing towards making the world a much more happy and peaceful place. It’s one thing to tell people what they “should” do but it’s more empowering to be influential.
- Stay POSITIVE. By the way, denial is NOT a beneficial mindset for personal development. We can never change or fix what we don’t acknowledge. Remember, deniers may fool everyone else around them but the subconscious cannot be lied to. So if you are controlling or a worry-wart, then you can claim all you want just how “positive” you are but your need for control or worry is a sign that you don’t truly believe or trust. One very good exercise that gets us on the path of changing this mindset is for every situation we are faced with in life that make us feel negative or scared, instead of falling into a vortex of negative thinking, sit back and evaluate both sides of the situation. There is always a positive and a negative aspect to everything that happens to us and it’s just too easy to fall into the negative victim mode.
- GRUDGES and RESENTMENT age us. Do you have a tendency to hold grudges? Do you get resentful when you “believe” someone has hurt you? Resentment is so insidious that once the symptoms start appearing, much of the inner damage is done. A big sign that you’ve been living too long with resentfulness is premature aging and the first physical signs are wrinkles and uptightness in the skin and structure of face.
Imbalance in any area of life may cause one to be more susceptible to various diseases. It also distorts their life’s vision. The importance of balance is accepted to be the key of living a good and meaningful life. Healing needs to be approached in a holistic manner; mind body and spirit. Too many people focus too much on the physical appearance like the body (healthy diet and exercise) but ignore the mind/spirit part. The mind/spirit is the most important part of overall health and it is also the most difficult part to work on because this is where fears lie.
Live authentically as this is the only way you will be able to impact everyone and everything in your life in the most positive way. We can only be honest with the outside world when we are honest with ourselves. Being authentic starts with a confident ability to expose who we are and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. The more real we are with others will it enable others to be open and real to us. This is where true connections live and through connections will we gain true meaning and purpose in our lives which will enable us to be sick free.