Since I have been diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, I have tried many things in order to improve my health. My focus has always been on food. I was obsessed with that, but with time I understood that there are other aspects that we need to balance in our lives in order to take full control over our health and happiness.
Many times, we address our health problems by looking at the food we are eating but relationships, physical exercise, spirituality, resting and having the life that we really want has the same impact on our general well-being and physical health.
There are many things that we can do in order to find the proper balance in our lives such as being grateful, cultivating our passion, living in the present moment, etc. Here are 5 aspects or basic principles for unlocking the great power within for living a happier and healthier life:
1. Healthy and Balanced Dietary Habits
How many times have you heard in your life “We are what we eat”?
In some cases, this may be true — we all know people who eat too much bacon— but what we eat makes a big difference in our general health and mood. Anything that we put into our body can either fight diseases, create diseases or nourish us into health.
We live in a world of highly processed foods where everything comes in a package. Refined sugars are everywhere and under a myriad of different names in foods that we wouldn’t even expect. There is an over-consumption of animal products (in most cases of the worst quality) and we mask our chronic fatigue by drinking double-shot lattes and energy drinks that make us addicted and needing more over time.
Our bodies aren’t made to eat this way and we have the proof that in most western populations, and anywhere else where we can find those destructive dietary habits, there is an increase of chronic diseases to the point that it has become a normality. Obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancers, autoimmune diseases and many other health issues are afflicting people on a daily basis. The death rate and younger people getting sick are increasing at an incredible speed. Basically we are killing ourselves with our own hands – actually with forks and knives. This should be our wakeup call!
Eating a whole foods plant-based diet could definitely be a solution. Studies prove that eating only unrefined natural products from plant sources prevent many modern diseases and can possibly even reverse it.
Eliminating or drastically reducing animal by-products, refined carbohydrates and processed foods from our diet, increasing the amounts of fruit and vegetables can have a great positive impact on our general well-being.
You may not agree that a whole foods plant-based diet is the healthiest for everyone but definitely eating meat every day (even if it comes from “clean sources”), loading up on refined carbs, drinking sodas, limiting the amount of vegetables and fruit to one apple and a small serving of salad per day, is not what could lead us to a healthier life.
2. Physical Exercise and Rest
We could eat all the organic, gluten-free, raw vegan, healthy food in this world but, if we don’t get our body moving, we are not going to be healthy. Lying lazily on the couch all day long and browsing through Instagram feeds or watching TV is not the way to go. The reason why? The human body is not designed for it.
We are the laziest generation ever; we want everything fast, in a simple way and without any efforts. Technology — no matter how great it is— confines us to indoor activities rather than enjoying the outdoors. Humans started with the basics of looking for food and now we have ended up with food looking for us with a delivery man knocking at our door.
So here is my question to you: Is this evolution or de-evolution?
In order to keep your body active, you don’t need to be a triathlon champion. The adequate physical exercise required for your body depends on different factors such as age, body type, body weight, flexibility and other aspects. Simply walking more, going for a run, doing some yoga or signing up for a dance class are great ways to keep your body active and can make a big difference in your overall health.
Resting also plays an important role in our health as well. We can’t pretend to sleep just a few hours per night and keep going on our daily routine, doing more is not always better. There are people spending too much time doing nothing and some are doing too much, causing stress to the body and getting overly tired and consequently becoming sick. Our bodies are perfect bio-machines that need adequate rest in order to regenerate – not more caffeine.
3. Spiritual Practice
Being spiritual doesn’t only mean having a religious faith or meditating every day. It is the capacity of creating a deep connection with our inner self/higher self and, in that moment, feel that we are one with our surroundings. Time completely stops, real joy and unconditional love come from within and, in that exact moment, you are nourishing your soul. It may be hard to understand, but we forgot how to connect with ourselves and be fully present.
We are always thinking about what we have to do next but never paying attention to what we are doing right now. There are situations when, without noticing, we are fully in the moment. During that time there are no worries, no illnesses, and everything is right in balance where things are supposed to be. Try to think of the last time this has happened to you. Spiritual practice can be achieved by praying and meditation but also having a walk in nature, sitting on a seashore watching the waves, listening to the sounds of the ocean, getting lost in this greatness. All of these are great spiritual practices.
I found that dancing and surfing help me feel more grounded and connected with myself. Dancing and following the music on the dance floor connects me with my feelings and helps me learn more about my body and what I’m able to do. With surfing, waiting for the next wave gives me a feeling of peacefulness and awareness of the ocean. It feels like freedom. Everything stops and I feel so grateful and connected with nature. Those times, that force you into the present moment, are great spiritual practices and it would be perfect if every moment of your life became a continuous spiritual practice.
Knowing what makes you feel this way is great – even if it’s to simply listen to some music or relax in an armchair. So look inside yourself, experiment with different things and find new ways to bring yourself into that state of peace.
4. Purposeful Life and Career
One of the most beautiful things in life is waking up in the morning because we want to and not because we have to. The alarm doesn’t have to be a curse. There is no such a thing as opening your eyes every morning with a great smile on your face, ready to embrace the beautiful day ahead. We are conditioned to hate most of the week, living only for the weekend and once it is Sunday, fearful thoughts of the coming week flood our brains again.
Is it really worth it to live a life where we “live” only two days a week? Is it really worth it to work 8-10 or more hours a day doing a job that you hate, not having time to cultivate your passions, spend time with your loved ones and counting down until retirement?
The answer is a loud NO! I know that you know this truth.
If you are spending your life doing something that you hate and it doesn’t make you feel fulfilled and satisfied, then your life is just slipping through your fingers. It will be hard to reach the balance that will make you feel completely happy and this will most likely affect your health, directly and indirectly.
We only have one life and we all know that our time is limited. We know when it starts but only the universe knows when it will finish. It is a great gift and the time that we use is the only thing that we cannot have back, so we must live this life to the fullest doing what we love every day.
Working just for money without a higher perspective about why we do something, makes us feel unworthy. We are used to seeing work as a sacrifice but it isn’t! Find what makes you truly happy, look inside yourself and value your precious time!
5. Healthy Relationships
During our lives, many people cross our path and it is up to us to decide who we want to keep close but oftentimes the fear of being alone, or in order to feel accepted, we change our personality and our beliefs dragging ourselves into toxic relationships.
This sucks our energy and our vitality because we feel trapped in something we don’t want but we are scared to let go of. Having healthy relationships with your partner, with your friends and family means having people around you that truly support and empower you. In our life, we need continuous stimuli so those who surround us closely should not discourage us but encourage us.
I am sure you have noticed that if you are with a group of people that are complaining all the time, being negative about life, you are more inclined to complain as well. The energy around us is really important, so choose your relationships wisely. Don’t be with someone just because you have to (because actually, you don’t!).
According to the universal law that says “like attracts like,” by that rule then it is equally true that negativity attracts negativity. So the most important relationship you can have is the one with yourself. Learning how to love and accept yourself is the key to having healthy relationships with others. How can you have someone believe in you and empower you without first believing in and empowering yourself?
Remember how important you are, how powerful and capable you are, loving yourself is the first step in order to give love and receive love. Never forget that taking care of yourself is the number one priority.
Following these 5 basic principles, you have the power to change your life and finding the right balance will drive you towards a happier and healthier life.
Realize that the dominating thought in your mind eventually produces reality. Therefore, concentrate and visualize the person you intend to be with all the happiness and health you desire, believing it and acting upon that thought. This will become your reality.
“You are not what you think you are, but what you think, you are.” – Brian Tracy.