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Healthy living beyond the physical self

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What is healthy living? Is it based on what you eat? Or, is it based on much you exercise? How do the thoughts rolling around in your head that might be lending to a negative opinion of yourself or others fit into this picture? Does spending your time thinking about what you would like to be doing as opposed to being out there doing it, or working towards it sound like a healthy habit? In the broader picture, being healthy is more than time spent at the gym and foods ingested.

Much focus is typically placed on how we look. How skinny (or not) are we? How flawless is our skin? How well-coiffed is our hair? As a result of this, much of what we hear in relation to being healthy comes in forms to trigger action based upon how we feel about ourselves in these aspects. However, let’s say you spend the requisite one hour at the gym four to five times a week, eat salads for lunch every day with a glass of water and curb the extraneous snacking, but your thoughts are constantly at battle telling you should be at the gym additional days, or you should cut back your already reasonable diet because you don’t look “good enough.” Does this sound healthy? You look great on the outside, but how is the inside doing?

If you are combating stress, guilt, anger, resentment, or judgment towards others or yourself, this greatly takes away from your “healthy” quotient. As time is spent on the physical, consider spending ample time on mind quieting practices, assessment of any self-sabotage that may be taking place, or monitoring to realize if any residual unpleasant emotions arising from any outstanding issues visit you regularly.

Negative patterns are another aspect that warrant your attention and time. Binge eating or drinking, compulsive shopping or “acquisition” of material objects, repetition of patterns that lead you to find yourself in the same place (same relationship, same financial situation, same disappointments, or a woe is me mentality) over and over again require your intervention to be discovered, confronted, and overcome.

If you feel that in the life you are currently living you may be focusing more on the physical aspects and neglecting the intangible, mental, or emotional portions that could require some attention, then look into doing some introspection to come to the root of the issue and consider finding a way to alter it. This can be done on your own or with the aid of self-help books or online courses (www.dailyom.com is a great resource for these types of courses), a support group, with a therapist, or by confiding in a trusted friend and immediately begin orienting some of your focus inward. Even becoming aware, or having an a-ha moment can be enough to get this ball rolling in a healthy direction.

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