“The greatest wealth is health.”
Today, April 7, is World Health Day. Eating healthy food, getting exercise, and taking care of ourselves are all on today’s recommended to-do list! Of course, we all know that health-promoting activities should be on the to-do list every day, but sometimes we get so caught up in taking care of everything else that we forget to take care of ourselves!
If we don’t make “taking care of ourselves” our number-one priority, we can never be at our best. So, in this moment right now, stop and breathe deeply for a minute. Feel your breath go through your whole body; take in that you are alive—not with your head but with your entire being—and say to yourself, I am alive!
Imagine, we have a whole day set aside specifically for world health!
On this day, sixty-seven years ago, the United Nations established the World Health Organization (WHO). This agency focuses on international public health and raising awareness. This year’s theme is food safety. So, let’s look at what it means to be aware of the safety of our food together:
- What do we have on hand in the refrigerator and freezer?
- What is in our cupboards?
- Do we take a good look at the labels before buying something?
- Are we getting enough fruits and vegetables? How do we wash and prepare them?
- From farm to fork, do we know what our food has gone through to make its way onto our plates?
Today is just about raising awareness, and many of us can’t answer that last question. If you decide you want to know more about World Health Day or food safety in particular, visit the website of the World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/2015/en/.
Too many in our world today do not have enough food to be healthy and strong. Many of us who are reading this are very fortunate to often have an abundant supply of safe food on hand. I would like to end here by offering that, in this moment, we express our gratitude for this blessing in our life.
In gratitude for our abundance . . .
Sit with yourself and bring to mind all the wonderful nourishment that is available to you. Stay with this feeling of gratitude for a few minutes, simply breathing. As you feel this sense of gratefulness flow through you, offer loving intentions out into the world that we may all one day have the opportunity to be grateful for our global abundance and good health!
“To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”
In the upcoming months—from Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Day—we will have plenty of opportunities to enjoy celebratory feasts and activities. These special times of the year are often filled with precious moments as we spend quality time with our family and friends. These memories, in large part, are what give meaning to our lives, showing us how blessed we are to have opportunities to give our Focused Attention to those we love.
So with this feeling of gratitude in our hearts, wouldn’t it be important to show up for these moments in the best of health? Our bodies are the vehicles that support us and give us strength. To be in the best health possible is a daily practice. So, as this holiday season approaches, consider making good health a priority by trying out the tips below. Know that if you are taking care of yourself, you will be giving those around you a priceless gift—your presence in mind, body, and spirit.
- Get your body moving. Physical activity doesn’t have to be strenuous, but it does have to be consistent for good health. Stretching, walking, yoga, bicycling, tai chi, swimming—these are all low-impact activities that keep your joints nimble and your muscles toned. Start small, try a few different activities, maybe 10 minutes a day, and settle into one that you enjoy. Remember, moving every day is the key, so commit to spending some time moving your body.
- Make healthy food choices. The holidays can be our most challenging times when it comes to food. We will most definitely encounter high-calorie meals and out-of-the-ordinary desserts. For me, this is a time to really make an effort to be mindful and know at each moment that I have a choice. It can be easy to fall into automatic pilot and just eat whatever is placed in front of us. The point is to consciously make the choice to have that second helping or just half of that outrageous dessert. Be in the moment, knowing that you have the power to make smart choices around food. Your body will thank you!
- Give up an unhealthy habit. Is there something in your life that you know is not healthy for you? Whatever it is, contemplate a plan to kick whatever “habit” it is. Maybe it is an addiction like smoking. Did you know that November 20 is the Great American Smokeout? That’s just two days from now! Days like this are reminders that we are never alone. There is a tremendous amount of support out there—you just need to ask for it.
- Replenish your body. Our bodies are made up of mostly water. In fact, we come into this world from a “sac of water.” So it makes sense that when we spend time in and around water we feel an overall sense of well-being. When I get into a bathtub, my first response is, Ahhh. That’s my body’s way of saying thank you. So replenish your body with this life-giving gift. For instance, take a warm bath, nurture your body with a tall glass of fresh water several times a day, or if weather permits, go to the beach or a lake.
- Sleep well. Do you have too much to do to get a full night’s sleep? The importance of sleep is in the media a lot lately, and I am very happy about that. When it comes to sleep, I know that if I don’t get enough, it is difficult for me to be at my best for the day ahead. Figure out the best sleep schedule for you, and make every effort to stick to it. If time is short, make it a point to take on just one less thing so that you can get your adequate amount of sleep.
- Smile and laugh. I say often, “Don’t take life so seriously, but be serious about the life you’re living.” See the humorous side of things as often as you can. Lighten up! Don’t take things personally; it really is not about YOU! When you make the decision to have a daily practice that nurtures your body as well as your mind, your practice will translate into your life as a deep, beautiful, light spirit that finds not only peace and joy in everyday moments but humor too!