What is Health?
How do you define health?
Is it the absence of disease? Is it dependent upon being full of energy, strength, and vitality each and every day? Must we be able to see every muscle, vein and a few of the major internal organ when we sit poolside?
Merriam-Webster defines health as the condition of being well or free from disease; the overall condition of someone’s body or mind; or the condition or state of something. I submit to you that health is none of the above. Rather, health is complete and utter harmony between the body, mind, and spirit. A healthy body is dependent upon a healthy mind and spirit. For example, if we steal from our employer and spite what I choose to call God, we will hold large amounts of stress in our body, which can interrupt endocrine function; promote glucose metabolism disorders; and stimulate appetite and weight gain. Similarly, a healthy spirit is dependent upon the health of our mind and body. If we are stricken with anxiety or disease, we may be unable to feel at peace with the world so that we can embrace “life on life’s terms”. If one element of this health triangle is shaken, the other two are likely to fall and the body may be overcome by ill health and disease.
Enjoying the presence of friends and family; participating in a the right amount of exercise; recognizing the need for rest and relaxation; striving for growth and personal fulfillment; embracing hardship and the unknown, eating well most of the time, and seeking guidance from a Higher Power are just a few of my favorite ways to my health and the health of others.
There are also many things that I believe promote ill health. Too little exercise, too much junk food, manipulative behavior, isolation, and the burden of resentment all have the ability to weaken our health status.
It may not be relevant, but I’m pretty sure it’s no coincidence that physical, psychological and spiritual disease can be attributed to spending a little too much time in any of the seven deadly sins – wrath, avarice, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.
True health is a matter of finding balance in the biochemical, emotional, and environmental factors that influence how we live our lives. There are no shortcuts in the process. We must clearly identify our ideals and values so that we can live on purpose each and every moment we are given on this Earth.
Unfortunately, we will stumble. We will make mistakes. But we can find health and happiness with a practice of imperfection as long as we build a practice grounded in gratitude, openness, and acceptance.
Maybe the most important thing we can do to be truly healthy is to give thanks. The psychological and spiritual return on simply saying “thank you” makes me believe that to do otherwise is ludicrous.
Of course, observing a simple diet built upon a foundation of real, minimally processed foods while consistently getting in some cardiovascular exercise and resistance training will ensure that the body keeps up with the mind and spirit.
We must be patient in our quest for health as we will surely stumble along the way. But, don’t lose heart my friends. Everlasting health is permeating through the ethos ready for each of us to open up and receive.
Have a safe and happy 4th of July!