When you sleep better do you feel better the next day? What about if you exercise? How come when you begin exercising your diet seems to improve as well? Why does working out make you feel like you have more energy?
All these observations and questions only scratch the surface of how interconnected your health is to everything else.
The old understanding that you could work on your heart health, or your strength, or your mind, or [enter body part here] is falling away. What we realize now is that improving any system in the body is going to benefit the health of every other system.
Let’s look at the biggest three distinctions in the body; the mind, the body, and how you feel overall (sometimes called the heart or the spirit). With these broad categories it is easy to see how they integrate with one another. When you take care of your body you feel better, when you take care of your body you can think more clearly. If you relax your mind your body also relaxes, if you get your mind to stop racing you feel better overall and your health markers improve. Lastly, vice a versa, if you are happy with life your mind and body are probably doing pretty good, or you have a strong desire to make them healthier.
Two Specific Examples
One of the easiest inputs we can track the effect of on the mind, body, and heart is something we all love….sugar.
We know sugar causes us to gain weight when we eat too much. If you have more sugar than you need for energy then you store it as excess fat. This fat causes major problems for our physical health and many forms of disease.
If you’ve ever gone off sugar and then back on you also know that eating it makes you feel tired! Your body gets a quick boost of energy, but as soon as that boost ends your energy levels take a dive. If you are eating sugar throughout the day you are simply riding that energy roller coaster. This makes you pretty moody and hangry. This will affect those around you as well.
You also won’t be very productive as the focus on food will override the task at hand. Just a little bit of sugar affects all threes areas of your health.
Let’s end with a positive example though. Instead of starting with the body (eating something) let’s begin with the mind. Say you decide to take five minutes to just be silent by yourself. During those five minutes you let go of whatever thoughts have been nagging you.
Clearing the mind like this is going to have a great impact on your mind first and foremost. Giving it the opportunity to relax will allow it to focus more clearly when needed next. Secondly, the more you do this the more your body will also relax. This helps you increase your flexibility and overall joint health. Have you ever heard someone say, “I hold my tension in my shoulders”? As practitioners release physical tension the patient sometimes can also let go of what they have been holding in their minds. Lastly, after this brief moment of silence your mood is going to be happier. The more you put your situation in its proper context the easier it is to let it go. If you’ve ever let a tantruming toddler almost get the best of you, stepped aside, and come back refreshed you know exactly what I mean.
These are only two examples described with a 10,000ft view, but they show how you should be mindful (no pun intended) of the interaction your bodies’ systems have with each other. If you want to feel physically better don’t just go to the gym. Think about other areas you can improve as well. If you want to be happier don’t just wish for it. Add in exercise, mindfulness, and nutritious food. If you want to think clearer and be more productive don’t beat your head against the wall and stay up late. Sleep more and pay attention to your diet.