Health is the backbone to enjoying life and being motivated to engage in creative pursuits.
If you have a million dollars but feel sick all the time–you wont be able to enjoy the million dollars.
If you got your dream job or started your dream entrepreneurial venture but feel sick, you won’t be able to give you’re all or be able to enjoy your dream position.
At the core of joy is your health, and after over a decade in the field of wellness I’m narrowing it down to four core pillars:
The 4 pillars to comprehensive health + wellness:
- Emotional Wellness
- Meditation to clear your mind and decrease stress
- Nutrition: What we eat is the fuel that keeps us going. When we eat better we feel better. I could write a book about nutrition…and in fact I have! Back in 2013 I published Eat Think & Live Rich: A Guide to health and Happiness to help support others through nutrition. In that book I share the 8 keys of nutrition, go deeper into common health challenges and how food can support deeper health. Plus I share 10 strategies to make the changes (often the most challenging part!) and I share 10 practices for deeper inclusive wellness. I won’t go into that any further since it’s all in one place right here.
- Exercise: This is also a topic I’ve written about a lot. Exercise improves our physical, mental, and emotional health. Sometimes we need to walk or run out the stress of the day, other times we need some serious kickboxing to release the anger, or yoga to release the stress and tension. Incorporating a variety of movements in a way that’s enjoyable and helps you feel better about yourself is what matters.
It’s important to understand that every little bit counts for your health.
Don’t discredit the 10 minute walk to the bus stop, your short 10 minute yoga routine, or the 15 minute power walk you fit in at lunch. All together it adds up. Research has proven that three 10-minute blocks of exercise is as effective as 30.
Personally I’m a fan of getting in those 10 minute blocks and adding in a larger block, whether it’s a 30-45 minute walk, bike ride, playing basketball, or any other activity you enjoy. Playing music and dancing in your room counts too. Find something you enjoy and get moving.
- Emotional Wellness: Our emotional body is as important as our physical body. Every day we interface challenges. It could be related to an intimate relationship, family, friends, colleagues, or simply being human–our own internal ebb and flow of emotions that can shift as fast as clouds do in the sky.
Taking the time to pay attention to what you feel is important.
There’s wisdom in your emotions and your emotions have information to share with you.
If you feel wonderful every day, but the moment you step into work you feel sad, lethargic and empty, and the moment you leave you feel happy again – your emotions are telling you that you’re in the wrong work environment!
You can ignore your emotions and this will ultimately play a major toll on your overall health, or you can listen to your emotions and start taking positive actions to finding a better position to match you.
If you wake up everyday feeling wonderful, are inspired at work but feel dull and empty when you get home to your partner/spouse/roommate – you might have to come to terms that your current relationship/living arrangement is not the right one for you anymore.
Emotions are important. It’s common to block them since they are very powerful and can commonly feel like “too much to handle.” But if you sit with them, embrace them, feel them fully and listen to the wisdom inside the emotion, you’ll find yourself clearly knowing what you’re next move needs to be for whole health and joy.
Sometimes getting the support of a coach, consultant or therapist is just what you need to support you through your emotional journey. Make sure you care for your emotional body as much as you do your physical body.
4. Meditation: Mindfulness and meditation can be incorporated into all the pillars above, and can be a core practice of its own. Meditation is about learning to be present with the moment. You can eat mindfully, you can exercise mindfully, and embarking upon the journey of being fully aware of your emotional experience is the heart of meditation.
Being present and giving yourself time to clear your mind of chatter and stress is one of the best ways to become clear on what’s really bothering you, and it’s a way to clean out your mind so that you can think clearer and feel better.
Meditation is not always fun in the moment.
Just as cleaning your room isn’t always fun in the moment. But afterwards: being in a clean home feels wonderful, and living with a clearer mind feels wonderful.
I’ve got several meditation resources for you including this free e-book for download and this audio. There are many free meditation audios online/on Youtube, or you can simply sit with yourself for 5 minutes and be present with your breath and your experience, even if the whole time you find yourself drifting off into thought, that’s ok.
That act of being present with your experience is the meditation and that alone creates tremendous benefit and paves the way for a clearer mind.
In the end the 4 pillars of health invite you to know yourself better, feel yourself better and to make braver bolder choices so that you are living at your highest potential.
Living by the 4 pillars asks you to commit fully to yourself.
Committing to yourself is a daily practice and the benefits begin immediately: from feeling more energized, confident, and empowered.
When you commit fully to yourself–magical synchronicities begin to unfold in your life. It’s like when you take care of yourself, the universe takes care of you.