Obtaining perfect health, what does that mean? It’s probably different for each person and I’m not entirely sure what that means for me. But I want it. I have been working towards my idea of perfect health for many years. I’ve struggled with my health since a teenager. Poor health and chronic digestive conditions crept up on me slowly. It has happened so gradually that it almost seemed normal. I have a feeling that this is the case for many people in today’s Western world. We accept these niggling little issues with our health that may not have an official diagnosis, but over time get worse and often interfere with our quality of life.
Everything did start out mild for me; however, at some point everything came crashing down and I was unable to leave the house for six months, or work for four years. I have managed to recover from the majority of that experience; however, I am only about 70% there. Things have come to a standstill, almost like 70% health is all I can have. But I won’t accept that, I want 100%. There is something stopping me from reaching perfect health, and I have a feeling it’s more to do with something non-physical, rather than physical. But why is this?
In the Western world we often focus on physical treatments for many chronic health issues. While this is a very important part of the recovery process, there is something we often neglect. We’re not just physical beings, we are body, mind and soul; or spirit, however you want to look at it. We now know how the mind can affect the body. Whether that’s in a positive way, or a negative way.
When we only look at physical ways to heal our health problems, we fall short. Like I’ve been falling short at 70%. Don’t get me wrong, good health needs a well-balanced diet, exercise, treatments and maybe supplements or drugs depending on the issue you’re dealing with. But good health is holistic.
I’ve tried the supplements, the nutrition, conventional medicine, exercise and alternative treatments; and while these have all provided some benefits to my health, they have all failed to get me where I want to be. What was I missing, or failing to look at?
When you begin to understand the mind-body connection you realise that this is as important as any physical treatment when it comes to good health. This includes things such as your attitude, negative thinking, socialising, following your passions, your mood, your beliefs and much more.
Now I’m not saying that you should start pushing all negative thoughts aside and become a positive thinker, that’s not going to work. That will only succeed in repressing your thoughts and emotions which leads to more problems. But start noticing ongoing thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, habits etc. to understand how your mind is working. Lucky for me I had someone point this out to me. As they say you can’t see the forest for the trees.
Are you a very negative person, do you constantly compete against the clock, causing anxiety? Do you see the positive side as well as the negative? Or do you only dwell on the negative? Do you live in anxiety? Do you push aside your passions because you believe they are a waste of time? Are you isolated, or lonely?
These are only a small number of examples which impact your physical and mental health in one way or another. And which I believe have impacted my health cause my health standstill at 70%. I took care of the physical side, but neglected the non-physical aspects of wellbeing.
But what is the source of this struggle? I believe it’s living in your head rather than living through your heart. As kids we lived in the moment, through our hearts. But at some point, this is knocked out of us and we learnt to live in a state of fear. The brain isn’t there to make us happy, it’s there to keep us safe, and it does a good job of that; although sometimes the brain likes to be employee of the month too often.
Always living through the brain equals living in a state of fear too often. It can be anything that may seem insignificant from the past. Maybe you experienced rejection as a child at some point and this was stored as a memory. Your brain wants to protect you from being rejected again, so this fear might get activated by any type of event that may seem like rejection, but isn’t and cause anxiety.
Similar to this, but more logical, if you were bitten by a dog and developed a fear of dogs. This may be a more reasonable fear compared to anxiety-type fears. Your brain is protecting you from dogs that may appear vicious. However, the rejection fear seems reasonable to your brain. The brain doesn’t differentiate, it’s protecting you, that’s it’s job. But probably not always in your best interest. It could even be detrimental to your wellbeing and relationships if you get caught up in it.
When you live in your head, you’re constantly living through these fears. Some are beneficial, and could save your life. However, the majority are pointless fears that cause ongoing anxiety and stress. Such as the rejection example above. Or even something you’ve seen on TV that you have unconsciously taken on as a fear. We are constantly bombarded with fear-based images on TV and don’t realise what this does to our wellbeing.
Although I understand that living through my heart is better for health, wellbeing and overall happiness. And using the brain as a tool rather than the CEO of my life is the way to go, how to achieve this is another puzzle I’m yet to solve. There’s a lot of information that you can read with instructions on how to live through your heart; be authentic, buy a colouring in book, watch your thoughts float past like fluffy white clouds, but that just brings up more questions.
I won’t pretend to have the answers, because I don’t. But I will say that I will keep looking until I find my own answers. I think that’s the only way to go when you want to grow (nice almost-rhyme). Read and learn as much as you can, but other people’s advice and experience won’t substitute for your own personal experience; which will only come from looking within yourself.