We all want to feel good and be happy with our lives. We want to have friends and family who are fun to be with and treat us kindly. The relationships we have with those we feel closest to are very important to us. We are willing to spend a lot of time and energy to maintain and nurture the bond we have with these chosen few. For this effort, we often receive a great deal of enjoyment, fulfillment, and good feelings about life and even ourselves.
However, the greatest source of happiness, joy, and satisfaction comes not from our relationships with others. It comes, first and foremost, from our relationship with ourselves. In order to love ourselves, we must first know who we are.
We are emotional, psychological, intellectual, social and spiritual beings. All of these parts of who we are depend greatly on the condition of the vehicle we travel around in. Of course, this vehicle is our own body.
Viewing things from the holistic perspective we recognize that all of the parts of who we are effect and are affected by our physical beings. We therefore must give special care and attention when considering the importance of our body in our everyday experiences of life. The condition of your body and how you feel physically has a profound effect on mood, the ability to think clearly, and attitude toward others. It even has an impact on your higher level of consciousness and awareness.
With that in mind, we must pay careful attention to how we take care of our bodies, each and every day. We must provide proper sustenance, movement and rest for our bodies to function at their highest potential. After all, that old saying proves true. We are what we eat. Likewise, we are also greatly impacted by the degree to which you get enough movement each day and then enough rest to recuperate. We all need to get sufficient exercise and sleep to help our bodies and our brains work together effectively.
In order to maintain optimal performance our bodies must be fed with proper nutrition. Our diets should be filled with mostly whole foods like vegetables, fruit, seeds, and protein sources from dairy, meats, eggs, fish, or soy products. With a balanced diet of approximately 50% good carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 20% good fats, we give our bodies an excellent chance of being healthy and strong. It is important to limit your consumption of processed foods, staying with whole and organically grown foods whenever possible. This helps limit exposure to unhealthy chemicals that may have a negative impact on your overall quality of life.
The structure of our muscles and joints suggest that we are built to engage in certain movements with ease and strength. Our largest muscles are in the chest, back, buttocks and legs. We are made to walk, run, and jump, as well as to pick up objects so they can be carried from place to place. When we exercise, we allow our bodies to maintain these natural activities and movements. Without exercise, our muscles atrophy and lose their natural ability and potential. As a result, we don’t feel good physically, and our emotions, moods, and self-esteem are greatly affected.
Our bodies also need to recuperate. We need to process the foods we have eaten, allowing the nutrients to get to the different parts of our bodies. And we need to replenish the cells that have been broken down or used up in our daily lives. Sleep gives our bodies the best chance to start the next day with motivation, energy, and clear thinking. Too little sleep robs our bodies of much needed resources. Most of us need between seven to eight hours of sleep nightly. Growing children and adolescents need even more.
If you give your body the careful attention it needs to operate most effectively, you will find that you have more motivation, creativity and energy. You will also feel better about yourself and your life. Your self-esteem will rise. Friendships and family relationships will improve too. Healthy eating, exercise and proper rest are crucial tools that can help your potential for a happy and fulfilling life to be maximized. Take good care of your vehicle. It’s the only body you have!
Written by Robert Mielke, PhD, LP. For more information about Robert, visit www.mielkeandweeks.com
Feel Good Foods
Did you know your mood and stress level could be fueled by the food you eat? Different types of food have different effects on our bodies and brains.
If you are lacking energy and gusto, grab some carbs. Your brain is fueled by carbs. Good sources are whole grains like brown rice, whole grain bread or pasta and oatmeal. If you are completely drained of energy, grab some orange juice. The liquid will get to your brain quicker.
Are you tense all the time? Incorporate healthy fats (monounsaturated & polyunsaturated fat) and fiber into your diet. These two nutrients help lower your blood pressure. Healthy fats can be found in nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oil. Fiber is found in plant foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains.
Feeling down and out? Grab some chocolate. Yes, you read it right. Chocolate has a positive effect on our mood. The healthiest for you is dark chocolate. It does have a little caffeine and sugar, which could make you hyper, but the overall effects are positive. Remember not to go crazy with your portion size. Too much could make you feel worse (nauseous, headache.) Keep your “feel good” serving to a “fun size” candy bar.
Prevent Feeling Bad: Avoiding certain foods can keep you feeling better all the time.
Limit the following:
Saturated & Trans-fat: These fats can make you feel bloated and heavy. They sit in your stomach for a long time sometimes creating heartburn and stomach distress. These fats also have detrimental health effects; they lead to heart disease and cancer when eaten in large amounts.
Caffeine: A small amount of caffeine is OK everyday. Consuming too much (energy drinks) can lead to feeling stressed, nauseous, and anxious. Caffeine withdrawals can be painful if you are consuming a lot each day. Be sure to wean yourself so you don’t experience mood swings and bad headaches.
Simple sugars: Candies, cookies, sodas, and other desserts will give you an immediate sugar high and then make you crash. Prevent crashing by avoiding these foods. Don’t eliminate them completely because you may crave them and binge. Just remember to eat small portions to satisfy your sweet tooth (a “fun size” candy bar.)
Submitted by Rachel Fox. Rachel graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics. She is pursuing her certification as a Registered Dietitian and has great passion for food, cooking and playing tennis. Rachel currently contributes to a blog at www.eatdrinkbetter.com