Quality Health: Beyond Diet and Exercise

58bd253138c37ddb144553353624c546_emotional-health2-863-430-cI don’t know about you, but I’m pretty tired of reading about diet and exercise and their impact on quality health (and I write about it!) I’m convinced that unless you live in the Krubera Cave in the western Caucasus Mountains of Abkhazia (site of the deepest cave in the world) you already know that diet and exercise play an important role in quality health. What you may not know is the importance that emotions play in achieving and sustaining quality health. The following points are not based on scientific literature with references. They are not based on double blind studies that qualify and quantify human emotions to determine where our focus needs to be to improve performance. Instead, they are based on experiences and observations which reveal a deeper understanding of self; an understanding which adds meaning and quality to life. As simple as these experiences are, few people take the time to intentionally incorporate them into their lives. The following five words can impact the quality of health just as much as the physical acts of diet and exercise. They don’t require money, time or great effort. They require a heart, a brain and a willingness to open oneself up to the world we live in.

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you-cannot-do-a-kindness-too-soon-for-you-never-know-how-soon-it-will-be-too-late-2 PART II(1) KINDNESS:

It takes more energy and effort to lack kindness than to be kind. Yet, how often do each of us think about this word and engage in the act itself? Kindness comes from a sense of giving. It can be tangible or intangible. In either case the act is provided without any conscious motive for personal gain. Naturally, there are behaviors of kindness which fall under the category of courtesy and respect. A typical example would be a gentlemen holding the door open for a lady. This, however, is a learned behavior. The kindness that I refer to is instinctive; one that occurs before the conscious brain is aware the act has even begun. This act of kindness comes directly from the heart.

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gratitude-quote PART II(2) GRATITUDE:

Gratitude is defined as “the quality of being thankful.” How often do we show and feel thanks in appreciation for the limitless opportunities that surround each of us? We must realize just because these opportunities exist doesn’t mean they are easily identified or easily used for personal gain. This, however, does not take away the fact they exist. Instead, people have a tendency to grumble; to find “bad” and “evil” in this world and focus on the harm it brings to their lives. It is all about PERCEPTION.

Rather than feeling anger and frustration regarding long security lines at the airport, bumper to bumper traffic on the interstates, another week of rainy cold weather, a weekend that went by too quickly placing us back in a working environment we don’t enjoy, maybe it’s time to perceive these “problems” from a different reality. What if, instead, we were thankful for safer airline travel as a result of security, thankful for having automobiles for travel and making commuting less physically demanding, thankful for a source of water needed to sustain life, thankful for cold weather that helps reduce viruses and bacteria in the air that our bodies must combat, thankful for a source of employment to provide for ourselves and our families.

Can you see the simplicity in altering perception and the qualitative health benefits that accompany this new realtity?

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baby happy(3) SMILING:

The exact number of muscles required for smiling remains controversial, however, consensus among researchers has found it requires significantly more muscles to frown than smile. When we look around and take notice of people, what is the first impression? Do we seem to live in a world that welcomes communication and interaction or one that focuses on self preservation and survival? Do we greet “strangers” with a smile, or do we look away pretending they don’t exist? Are we a healthier people  if we live our lives as isolated individuals or associating and interacting within organized groups? (examples: social and/or religious organizations)

The act of smiling reduces FEAR. It offers KINDNESS in a simple gesture. It welcomes positive interaction without speaking a word. Why then, are we so hesitant to offer this simple act on a REGULAR BASIS to each other? Again, a simple act, that improves the quality of health.

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inspirational-quote-set-prisoner-free II(4) FORGIVING:

How much “stuff” do we keep on the “back burner” in our brains that does nothing more than fuel anger and resentment. Fighting with family members and friends, divorces from spouses, working environment tensions, etc… Without having mechanisms to positively channel all these emotions, these “toxic feelings” accumulate within our bodies causing irreparable harm. These emotions cause physical and mental damage and often lead to an early death.

The act of forgiving is truly a simple act. Instead, we have a tendency to harbor those negative feelings of anger and resentment and are reluctant to remove and dispose this unnecessary weight from our “shoulders.” WHY? Where is the benefit to oneself remaining angry and resenting people and life in general? Is it possible that forgiving might “lighten the load” to such a point, it becomes possible to discover one’s desires, passions and  purpose in life with greater clarity and awareness? Is there a downside to forgiving?

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11110151613_a8f00300c9_b PART II(5) SHARING:

Finally, we get to a word that benefits EVERYONE. As children we’re taught to share with other children. This value teaches us how to provide physical and emotional support. We share toys, food, games and even friends (by introducing children to other children and expanding their social world.) The act of sharing is a value that many parents reinforce over and over again with their children.

Where does this value go as we become adults? Somehow, this value is replaced by another important value that (in my opinion) has become “diseased” over time. The value of SUCCESS. To achieve success in life, we have to “beat” others; we have to strive to accomplish tasks whether or not these accomplishments occur at other people’s expense. Our ravenous focus on achieving the “GOAL” can become so out of control we become willing to sacrifice our sense of right and wrong. We hold our heads high with great pride believing the hard work and effort required to achieve this status was worth it. In reality, this craze to achieve “success” has often resulted in a void that has left many a person empty inside.

This isn’t what we were taught as children. We were taught success was based on sharing. It was better for two people to be happy than one. It was better to play together developing creative and social skills than to possess “all the toys” and not allow the other children to participate in the fun. Where and when did we decide this important value no longer applied to life? When did we decide success was based on accumulating possessions and hoarding these possessions for personal gain? Where did the concept of “sharing” lose its value?

Sharing our time (ex. organizations like Big Brother, Meals on Wheels, etc…) our money (ex. charitable contributions,) our hearts (ex. visiting a senior citizen center and spending some quality time with a person who needs simple companionship) is a value we need to restore. Sharing is a value we need to make certain is NEVER lost over time. By adding this value back into our lives, our quality of  health improves as we develop greater purpose and fulfillment.

These five words are as effective at improving the quality of our health as diet and exercise. They DO NOT replace it, but rather complement and build upon our needs to living healthier lives. Why not take a moment to write down these simple words and think about your efforts at achieving their goals. If you come to realize these words and concepts have been displaced by your current “reality,” why not begin restoring their meaning to improve your life and your quality of health! Quality health is about enriching life. Participate and become part of the solution. You, and the rest of the world will benefit from the experience.

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27 comments

  1. This wonderful post made me 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is truly spectacular. I want people to smile and feel good about themselves and their purpose in life. Sharing the gifts that each of us possess makes this world a better place to live in. Thank you for sharing your smile!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You through me for a loop here. I agree 100% with everything. When a person makes a commitment to live his life with these five words. Each one brings its own special joy. They cleanse and heal. Beautiful post my friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was time to approach life from a different angle. I thought these words might help inspire and motivate positive new thinking. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. you sound sort of angry.
    what irks me is how everyone sidesteps the metabolic effects of certain psych meds and makes it all about diet and exercise when research clearly shows that’s not the entire picture. That’s what makes me upset. But being upset never helped anyone, least of all me.

    Like

    1. With all due respect, I’m not sure where you are getting “anger” from this post. The point is, that we all hear about diet and exercise as the cure, but the “root cause”, which is a main focus of many of his blogs whether dealing weight or general health is not addressed and is a HUGE component of diet failure. What drives us to overeat? I like the phrase I’ve heard several times: “it’s not what you’re eating, but what’s eating you”. This is so true! I too, have experienced a metabolic issue which caused me to gain weight. I am so sorry for your situation, as I have been there too. The reality is that just a fraction of weight issues are a result of metabolic disturbances. If you read the blog again after reading my response.
      I hope you will see it in a different light.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. The intent was to show that quality health is more than simply diet and exercise. I tried to show the impact our emotions have on attaining success by using five words everyone can easily relate to. I was hoping people would view this as inspirational. I’m sorry the message was clearly received.

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  4. I so agree with these sentiments Jonathan. They are simple and easy to “do” cost us nothing and make us feel better yet so much of the world does not have desire to practise the simplest of tasks. I for one (as you know from my posts) am a master of Kindness and Sharing with the latter featuring much more heavily in this coming year with the walk and the fact I am signed up for something called abandofbrothers.org after speaking to the Chief Exec Nathan Roberts, so that is something to very much look forward to. I do need to work on my Gratitude as I do believe that I am truly grateful for all of the wonderful things that I have had happen to me over the past 18 months yet I need to acknowledge it for sure.
    As for Forgiving and Smiling, the former is a tough one to achieve but I try each day to make it a bit easier for me to step back and let bygones be bygones. I do try not to harbour resentments and if someone has done me wrong (of which there are a few and massive wrongs were committed) I try not to harbour the hate or the grief that it caused me at the time. I simply put them to the back of my mind and try to forget about them. On the whole it works well but I can have little flares of dislike if I see the people in question. Still, I have changed my social circle so this really does not happen too much.
    As for smiling, I find that is driven by the mood in my body. I was full of the joys of spring yesterday and then as the day wore on I started to feel like my resolve was chipped away with experiencing and hearing things that were “news to me”. This is something I need to achieve because this morning although I am not “blue” or depressed in anyway I am certainly NOT my happy smiley self. Maybe I need to take some time for some self indulgence, laying on the sofa and watching programs and sport that I like instead of spreading myself so thin and pleasing everyone else.
    So there you have it Doc. Maybe a little more than you had actually expected but I do acknowledge the words you write as sage and sensible and for that it is easy to open up and reply!
    That will teach for being a decent bloke!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to read EVERY word of your comments. They are filled with important emotions and human understanding. I do believe you are one who introspects. This practice helps reveal new truths about ourselves and about our feelings. It is necessary to learn from the experiences that cause these feelings and to minimize repeating mistakes.
      Putting those “harbored feelings” in the back of your mind is not necessarily the best place to store them. These thoughts and feelings can cause serious harm (both physical and emotional) without any self awareness. This is why I mention the word “Channeling.” Learning to REMOVE these feelings rather than store them produces healthier outcomes.
      BTW- If people have a tendency to over utilize your kindness (in favor asking) there is a way of handling this that will either prevent this outcome or receive a “compensatory” favor in return. If someone asks you for a favor, before saying “yes,” you can remind them you are participating in a charitable event and would love to know if you have their support in this event. If they hem and haw responding, it becomes much easier to say NO to their request! This is a diplomatic way of resolving being taken advantage of while helping others (charitable event) in the process. I call it diplomatic subtlety! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So many people fail to realize that these intangible qualities are actually the building blocks of a quality life. Inward attitudes contribute to the outward expressions of health. It’s impossible to truly be “healthy” without changing the way you relate to others and changing the way you think about life itself. These are the “roots” that produce the “fruit” of outward change our culture is so desperately striving for.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Love the sentiment and emotions behind the comment. You have obviously learned a lot from your personal journey. Many will benefit as a result. Stay healthy and happy!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am making it a point to do more of everything on your list this year. It doesn’t take a lot of effort and yet many of us still don’t bother to do it. I think, in a lot of ways, our culture doesn’t always welcome kindness and happiness though – a lot of folks are too into themselves.

    I remember my first time on the train commuting to work. I made the mistake of smiling at people and saying hello only to realize that you don’t do that with fellow commuters. Everyone is so into their phones, they don’t smile back, and interaction isn’t welcome. I’ve become one of them on my commute now rather than pushing through with my usual attitude!

    You’ve inspired me to get back to it and persevere (and not just on my commute)!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have learned through trial and error that “change” is often unwelcomed. Learning how to convince others that it is beneficial and encouraging them to participate takes time and patience. I lived in NYC for many years. Try applying the concept of “smiling” and watch the skepticism it is met with. I did it anyway as well as saying things like “good morning,” and “have a great day” as people entered and exited the subway. People got used to me and began greeting me the same way. It was also nice to see the smile on their faces as I saw them each day. Anything is possible if it is important enough to us. Give it a shot and enjoy the experience!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Love, love this thought: Anything is possible if it is important enough to us. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So, so true!

      Like

  8. All of the points you made in your post Jonathan were spot on and so important to living a joyful, empowered life. I like # 2, Gratitude, especially because it really is true that you can flip your thinking on any situation and completely change how you feel about it both emotionally and physically. Hmmm, maybe I need to do that the next time I’m stuck behind a slow driver…;)

    Lots of good stuff here that I hope to incorporate in to my week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I figured a solution to your driving dilemma. I am going to buy you an electric golf cart to use as transportation. This should keep even the slowest of moving vehicles way out in front of you. 😀 This fulfills my “Sharing” component! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Perfect Jonathan, I love it! I can also add it to my gratitude list.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. great post….the other healthy!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know it! Interestingly, just as difficult to attain for many.

      Like

      1. so very true…..

        Liked by 1 person

  10. This is SO good! We all know that emotions play a role in our diet and exercise patterns but few of us actually take the next step to work through them. Just this morning, my coworker walks in and I’m eating a doughnut. I tell her, “Sorry you had to see me eating my emotions” and we all had a good laugh. But it’s sooooooooo true. I guess I need to work on that 4th concept. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you enjoyed the article. Emotional behavior plays a major role in many people’s lives. Anyone thinking that weight control can be successfully addressed with diet and exercise alone is sadly mistaken. The human emotional component is a ROOT CAUSE that must be addressed to alter future behavior in a positive direction. One of my suggestions is to eat that donut, but eat it under different circumstances. Let the donut be a flavor of enhancement to a POSITIVE situation rather than an “unhealthy choice” to temporarily “block” a negative experience resulting in negative emotions. Attitude plays a major part in good health.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m certainly working on it. And I know myself — I will never give up doughnuts indefinitely! Or at least it will be a long, long time!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. This is very nice! Thank you! (I meant to tell you how much I enjoyed the story about Jonathan the turtle.) thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your feelings. I appreciate your comment very much.

      Liked by 1 person

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