Health and Your Inner Teacher

When you travel the halls of your memory, who do you remember as your most influential teachers? How did these teachers influence your life and change it for the better? Great teachers spark more than math, literature, or science in your life. They spark something else as well, something deeper and long-lasting that stays with you. As an individual living your life, you have another teacher you may not have touched on in your memory. That teacher is you! When you’re trying to get healthy and support your body and mind better, your inner teacher is key toward achieving what you want.

Health involves learning. You learn about your body and which lifestyle habits foster balanced health, versus which habits derail health. But you also learn something else. You learn about yourself as a person, how you face challenges, and which obstacles are blocking your road to health. The journey toward health involves more than regimens for diet, exercise, and sleep. The journey is unique to who you are and where you’re at in life too.

Bringing out your inner teacher to learn about your health isn’t always easy. Everyone wants to believe they are perfectly healthy, and sometimes facing the reality that your health needs more support can be challenging. It means admitting that you’re not perfect and that you still have more to learn. It takes knowing that supplements, medications, or doctor’s visits alone can’t keep you healthy. You as a person are an essential part of your health, and acknowledging this fact takes honesty and courage.

When you call forth your inner teacher in an open and honest way, you can explore your physical and mental-emotional health through a unique lens. You can ask yourself if there are societal and personal expectations that are burdening you and blocking your health. You can explore whether some part of your past unfairly has a hold on your health and who you are today. You can explore your relationships with yourself and other people to see whether they are supporting or hindering health. You can also notice how you manage stress and emotions and whether your current approach could use some adjustment for better health.

Good teachers both challenge you out of your comfort zone and patiently support you through the discomfort that can result. Getting healthier can feel strange and uncomfortable at times. The body and mind are used to doing what they always do—in other words, homeostasis or equilibrium. They will maintain states of health, but they also maintain states of unbalanced health. To get healthy, your inner teacher has to push you beyond comfortably unhealthy habits. On the other hand, your inner teacher also has to patiently help you through these potentially awkward transition periods and regularly remind you: “I can do this!”

What steps have you taken lately to bring out your inner teacher on the road to better health? If you feel that it’s been a while since you’ve listened to your inner teacher, that’s okay. He or she is always there and you can turn to that side of yourself when your health feels neglected or stuck. Remember to give your inner teacher the same respect that you would any other great teacher in your life.

As you head into the autumn season, a period of time that is infused with transition in the air around you, encourage your inner teacher by asking yourself the following questions:

1) What are current strengths in my health?

2) What are some weaker points of my health that require more attention and learning?

3) Without focusing too much on the past or the future, what steps can I take today toward better health?

4) What are my obstacles to health in the present moment?

5) How can I create space in my life for my inner teacher to express itself and help me with health?

As you ask yourself these questions, you’ll find that your body and mind naturally know which direction to go in—if you listen to them. By paying attention to your inner teacher, you’ll learn new things about your health and how better to support it. And you’ll enter your own hall of fame of great teachers.

How To Stay Committed to Your Health and Happiness

For many people, knowing what they need to do to feel healthier and happier in their life is often a lot easier than actually following through with it.

I am sure you have experienced times in your life, or perhaps even currently, where you set a goal, made a resolution, devised a plan of action for your desires for yourself personally and/or professionally, and then before you know it, you are back to just thinking about it or it becomes a passing thought.

Perhaps your goal is to lose weight, be or eat healthier, be happier, walk or exercise more, make a certain quota, go on more sales calls, get projects completed, overcome a fear, spend more time with family or friends, or tackle your to-do list, etc.

You may even start off on your objective like you are off the runners mark before the gun is even fired. You have a plan and THIS time you are sticking to it, right?

Then before you know it, your momentum slows and then you stop working towards the goal you said you originally wanted.

The part of yourself I call “Victim Thinking” has entered the building, which in this case, would be your thoughts.

It’s that voice that says tomorrow you will start, or talks you out of what your plans are, or makes excuses, or on some level actually creates an occurrence to stall or set you back, or makes a non-believer out of the believer in you.

This voice can be conscious or unconscious. If you aren’t succeeding at your goal, you can bet that victim thinking is lurking in your thoughts and making other things more important than you, your happiness and well-being.

So how do you stay committed to living a healthier and happier life when that little voice you may or may not hear is trying to sabotage your results?

Become aware of your thoughts and/or excuses that are holding you back or getting in the way. When you are conscious of what’s stopping you, then it becomes easier to work with the thoughts instead of thoughts working against you.

If you have set a goal or devised a plan of action towards something, and if you aren’t following through with it, or something or someone (being you) gets in the way, then it’s time to call in the reinforcements and become liable. Not just once in awhile, but frequently.

Choose someone in your family, or a friend, or a coach, mentor or counsellor to help keep you on track and hold you responsible for what you say it is you are working towards.

You are more apt to stick to your goal(s) when someone is holding you accountable for them and cheering you on when you need it.

Set a date you wish to start, and not next month or year.

Create a plan of action. What steps are you going to take to accomplish what you would like?

Be reasonable about the actions you will be taking. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. When you succeed at the small steps towards your desired outcomes, then it’s a lot easier to believe it’s possible to now take and succeed at the larger ones.

Know when you or someone else needs to challenge you more as you can become idle in your thinking and way of doing things and may need to take steps to get moving again.

Congratulate yourself whether you are taking big or small steps. Some goals are harder than others and take time and persistence. Acknowledge your growth, commitment, and hard work.

Don’t beat yourself up if it takes you longer than you thought, or if you start and then stop and then start again. What’s important is you get right back to it.

Old habits and mind-sets are hard to break, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Don’t rush from one goal right to the next. Take time to enjoy the progress you have made and to make sure your next goals are in alignment with where you are now. What’s truly important for your continual growth, health and happiness?

The attempts you make are never failed ones if you are learning what isn’t working and then staying committed to discovering what does.

“When it is obvious the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps”. Confucius.

Remember, don’t give up; try, try again. You CAN do it!

Using these techniques with insight will assist you in not only staying on track with your goals but making sure they are in harmony with you and your vision.

What’s So Important About Brain Health?

The importance of keeping your brain healthy

Your brain is one of the most important organs in your body. It controls your entire biological system, and without having a healthy brain, you may find yourself with a poor quality of life in your elderly years. Of course, most people understand the importance of the brain, but what has changed in recent years is the information researchers have uncovered about the brain and how individuals can take action to keep it healthy. Just like muscles in your body can benefit from nutrition and exercise, so too can your brain benefit from nutrition and exercise.

The importance of keeping your brain healthy

There are many health issues directly related to brain function. The obvious ones are those that people observe with an elderly relative or parent. The onset of Alzheimer’s or others forms of dementia are prevalent today. Even when a specific form of memory or mental condition is not diagnosed, the majority of people will lose their mental alertness with age. A small loss of cognitive ability can bring about a lower quality of life.

The good news is that some of this mental deterioration can be prevented and in some cases reversed. Although medical researchers are still learning about the root causes of mental disease, they have discovered factors that contribute to it, and the surprising finding has been that people of all ages can benefit from activities that help keep the brain functioning in a healthy way.

Improving your brain health with nutrition

Just as nutrition is important to the rest of the body, it is just as important to the brain. There are certain aspects of the human diet that may be more important than others for the brain, but right now, research indicates the fundamental importance is a balanced diet. Researchers have understood the importance of nutrition for early brain development for a long time, but now it is understood that nutrition plays an important role in brain function throughout a person’s life.

Improving your brain health with exercise

The brain needs oxygen, and the best way to do this is with exercise. However, there are many scientists who believe it is not necessary to engage in strenuous exercise. A good walk in the fresh air can be just as beneficial to your circulation.

Improving your brain health with less stress

There is strong data that correlates high blood pressure with damage to the brain. This is especially true with people in their middle ages. Live a more stress free life and if necessary help control blood pressure with medication.

Improving your brain health with mental stimulation

There has been a lot of research in the last few years that correlates using your brain with less degeneration in the latter years of life. Even those who have suffered from a form of dementia have had their mental faculties deteriorate less than those who have not had daily stimulation. This mental stimulation can be something as simple as reading the newspaper everyday instead of watching television. Your brain must be used actively and not passively as is the case with television. Solving crossword puzzles is another example of a daily mental activity.