Building a Better You, Week 2: Healthy Bodies Need Healthy Minds
By Martin Brown
For a very long time Western culture broke mental health and physical health into two separate spheres. In the last two decades we have adopted more of the Eastern philosophy: that a healthy mind and a healthy body are two parts of the same picture of good health. We simply cannot live full and happy lives unless we address the needs of both our minds and our bodies.
The mind and the body depend on each other for much of their success. Here’s two simple examples of that co-dependency:
First, it’s very hard to maintain good physical condition when the mind is not committed to the process of staying fit. Disciplined minds are essential in the creation of disciplined bodies.
Second, your physical condition has a great deal to do with your mental health. If you abuse your body, overeating, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, your mind will be unable to focus on those things you need to do to keep yourself in top form.
Now knowing that healthy bodies need healthy minds, and healthy minds depend on sound bodies, it’s important to ask: What steps can I take to create optimum performance for both my body and my mind?
Begin by eating a healthy diet.
Bodies overloaded with sugar, starches, caffeine, and more, create minds that are unable to think or act clearly. It is true that caffeine is a stimulant, but it’s a short-term fix for a long-term problem. Trying to overcome the effects of too much junk food, and too little sleep and exercise, with the use of stimulants is a game that plays itself out once your body moves beyond its late twenties.
End this insanity, by changing your diet now. It’s just common sense. Junk food going in does not create good results coming out. If you wonder how your body feels carrying 20 or 30 extra pounds just pickup a thirty pound weight at a gym and carry it around for a few minutes. You’ll get pretty tired pretty quickly. Because your excess weight was put on a quarter of a pound at a time, your body adjusted to the burden over a period of weeks, months, and years. That doesn’t mean you’re not causing terrible strain to your body every time you get up from a chair. That exhaustion you’re causing your body by carrying around excess weight, is tiring your mind as well. Take that weight off and every part of your being will celebrate the new you.
Simply put, healthy minds thrive on wholesome foods. Don’t believe that? Just try cutting out the junk food for a week and start eating three solid, nutritionally balanced meals everyday for one week. You’ll feel as if your mind just got a jolt of energy. Proof is in the doing. Try it out and you’ll see.
Finally, don’t forget the magic of exercise.
I say magic because the positive results and benefits that exercise can produce in a short period of time is nothing short of miraculous. Exercise is like a jolt of electricity to every cell in your body. Whatever exercise you choose: swimming, jogging, biking, walking, Jazzercise, and much more, it’s what your body is craving. Your shoulders come up, your posture improves, your breath is deeper, your sleep is sounder, and the list of benefits goes on and on. Get going, and the fact that you feel alert and energized with your improved diet and new exercise program will be your body’s way of saying “thank you” for creating a healthier, and happier you!