The Big 6 of Good Health

When most people think of how to achieve a ‘healthy lifestyle’, I suspect they may often limit themselves to thinking only about what they eat and what exercise they do, which is important, but is also quite a narrow view of health and one that will probably not give long-term satisfaction and probably not even the desired results. There are a few more very important aspects to consider if we want to be truly healthy, which means expanding our focus from being solely concentrated on physical health, and incorporating our mental, emotional and spiritual health into the picture as well.

So, as my nerdy title suggests, I have listed below 6 main areas that need to be addressed if we are going to attain the kind of health that will sustain us through the kinds of ups and downs most people face in a lifetime. Points 1, 2 and 3 are primarily physical, although they do impact our emotional and mental health as well. Points 4, 5 and 6 focus more on the emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of health and are just as important. I could probably even argue a case for them being more important, but that’s for another day.Hexagon

So the areas to focus on if we want to achieve a totally healthy life are:

  1. Nutrition. Everyone knows you are what you eat. Some people don’t care, but I imagine if you are reading this, you are probably not one of those people. Plus there are ads on the tele that bang on about this all the time. So it’s a no brainer. I’m not going to harp on here about it. Food is important for our health. I will be harping on about it in future blogs though, so if you don’t care about food, best to unsubscribe now.
  2. Movement. I told a friend of mine the other day that I was calling point # 2 (which some would just call ‘exercise’) ‘Movement’ and his response was – “that is so wanky George”, and I guess if you are an exercise buff you might be forgiven for having the same opinion, or you’ll just completely disagree with me. But I don’t necessarily believe that all exercise is good for you (which I will expand on in a future blog) so I am highlighting that point # 2 is not about running for as long or as far as you can or pushing your body to its limit every day. It is about keeping your body as strong and limber as possible without overtaxing your cardiovascular system or your muscles or your joints. You need these body parts to be working as well as possible as you get older, so if you don’t look after them they might just pack it in, and then what?
  3. Sleep. This one has been getting a bit more attention in science, news and other media lately, and I only began to appreciate its absolutely VITAL importance once I restricted my sleep to only 3-4 hours a night for about 4 years (not a smart idea, I thought I was invincible back then). I don’t know how to convey in this small space how important this is – but getting a good night’s sleep is one of the MOST IMPORTANT aspects of being healthy! This means good quality sleep for a good length of time, every night. If you ignore good sleep habits for too long, your health will suffer. It’s a fact.
  4. Breathing. Everyone who practices yoga, meditation and Tai Chi already knows how important breathing is for your health. And funnily enough, smokers know it too (stay with me on this), although I’d say most don’t even realise what they are doing as they inhale-exhale. If they weren’t breathing in smoke and all sorts of dangerous toxins, their inhaling and exhaling rhythm would be an excellent example of healthy, focused breathing. This is the reason so many smokers go for a cigarette when they feel anxious; the regular, deep inhale and exhale is incredibly calming. There are also many other benefits to be had if you concentrate on your breathing, aside from relieving anxieties. Even if it’s only 10 minutes, incorporating some form of focused breathing into your day will improve your mental focus, make you feel more relaxed and improve all sorts of below-the-radar physical functions.
  5. Thoughts. Thoughts affect our feelings. If you didn’t realise this, just think about someone you love. This will hopefully make you smile, which you may notice relaxes your face, or you might get little bit excited about seeing them, or feel sad if you haven’t seen them for a while. Same situation if you think about your favourite food, or your favourite place to holiday. Just thinking about something sets off all sorts of emotional reactions inside our bodies. So if you can see how thoughts that are positive can make you feel good, then it’s not a big leap to realise that thoughts that are negative can make you feel the opposite of good. And the more negative our thoughts are and the more often we have them, the worse we’ll end up feeling. Now I know there will always be times when negative thoughts creep in and I guess we wouldn’t be human if they didn’t, but if we let these kinds of thoughts dig in, and lay down some roots, then we may just find that we become that angry, bitter, resentful old person who can’t find anything at all to smile about. Even someone they love. Being conscious of what we focus our thoughts on is profoundly important for a healthy emotional and mental state.
  6. Social Interaction. Human beings are social creatures. We thrive when in contact with other humans and when we are isolated all aspects of our health suffer. We feel better physically and emotionally when we have good friends or family around us, whether it is a small handful of people or a large social group. Does it go without saying that these relationships need to be the kind that add good things to your life, rather than the toxic kind that do more harm than good? I hope so. And contact with others can also nourish our mental health by challenging distorted ideas that may take hold if we are left alone for too long. We get a more balanced perspective when exposed to different ideas and opinions, especially if we don’t hold the same ideas and opinions as the other person. In lieu of human contact, pets have been shown to have a number of benefits for our health. So my hot tips for point # 6: Talk to a wide variety of people. Choose your friends wisely, stay in contact with your family and take time to nurture your relationships with both. Or get a pet.

Each of these areas could be (and I’m sure they will be) a blog or two of their own. There is way too much scope in each area to do it justice in just a few sentences. But it’s a good place to start – to be aware that good health is more than just eating good food and keeping active.

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A blog about the blogs

Hi readers.

I promise that this will be the only blog about the blogs that I send out. I figured that since it was still only early days you would forgive me (plus there are only 7 of you and one of you is my mum). The intention of this blog about the blogs is to give you an idea of what you might expect to see, and give newcomers more incentive to subscribe (so it’s pretty much blatant marketing of Get Healthy Get Happy)DSC00372

There are 3 main pages on the site at the moment – Get Healthy, Get Happy and Mmmm Food. The initial blogs are going to fall roughly into these 3 categories and the pages currently have a bit of an outline of some of the topics I thought I’d cover under each. As I build up the site, the pages will hold sub-pages with topics similar to (or possibly exactly the same as) the blogs.

You should go and look at the site anyway, but I am including the page summary details here:

GET HEALTHY

Being healthy. So many different opinions on what health is, how to achieve it and how not to.

Some people believe vegetarianism or veganism is the only way to be truly healthy. Some believe you can’t be completely healthy without including some meat or animal products into your diet. Some believe you should restrict yourself from having any sugar, wheat, dairy, salicylates or nuts (and for some people with intolerances or allergies this is clearly a very good idea).

Some people follow fad diets – Atkins diet, macrobiotic diet, Mediterranean diet, raw food diet, fruit flush diet, paleo diet, instinct diet, 17 day diet, 4 day diet,  cookie diet (!), I could go on.

Some people run every day. Some go to the gym and push weights or do an aerobics class. Some go to cross-fit gyms. Some cycle to work. Some play social or competitive sports. Some practice yoga, Pilates or meditate. Some swim in the ocean every day of the year (even the really cold days??!!). Some do martial arts or boxing. Some do zumba, piloxing,  hula-hooping or aqua cycling.

Some take vitamins, herbs or protein supplements.

Some people do none of the above and still seem to maintain a fairly healthy existence.

So what am I going to be talking about? Good question. I’m just going to approach some health conditions and health topics in a way that will hopefully be easy to implement into most people’s daily life. Sometimes even small changes can make big differences.

GET HAPPY

I’ll admit that the title of this page is actually a bit misleading. The page isn’t going to be about ‘getting happy’ because being happy, while a wonderful feeling, is usually only a fleeting one. This page is going to be more about contentedness, satisfaction with life, family and friends, community, love, humour and laughing, music, nature and pets. There will also be some attention drawn to the more negative emotions we all feel at some time or another and my approach to these. To me a full life is one where we can embrace the lows and build our character by sustaining ourselves and others at just these times. Anyone else with me on this?

Although ‘Get Happy’ just sounded catchier than all of that and fitted better into the website name. So there you are. That’s the real reason for the page title.

MMMM FOOD

Food is one of my all time favourite things. I like shopping for food, I like eating food. I like eating out at restaurants and trying new dishes. I like the social aspect of food. I like eating at home with friends or family. I like talking about food and reading about food. I like looking in recipe books and cutting out recipes that look tasty. I copy them by hand or cut them out of magazines and stick them in a recipe scrapbook I started years ago. I like sharing recipes with other people and receiving their favourites. I like trying new recipes. I started my “experimental Sundays” for just that purpose. I like the ethics of food. I like sustainability, ethical food decisions and conscientious food waste.

So the Food section of this site is going to be just all sorts of information, resources, photos of, and thoughts on food.

And that is my blog about the blogs. Thank you for reading. I hope you continue to read and enjoy.

In good health, and happiness

Georgina

Natural therapies for your health and happiness