“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” John F. Kennedy
We all want to be as healthy and fit as possible, and it’s no secret that to do that we should have a well-balanced diet and exercise program. While I agree that’s a wonderful start, there’s a lot more to it than that. Let me ask you a question. If someone were to eat sensibly and exercise regularly but be in an abusive relationship, would they be healthy? What if their eating and exercise were in check but they were lazy, or talked negatively to themselves, or smoked cigarettes, didn’t treat others well, or were greedy? The list goes on, however the point is that being healthy in one or two areas does not guarantee health. A healthy body and an unhealthy mind do not mix! Take a traditional martial artist for example. They not only practice martial arts, but physical fitness, meditation, non-violence, and an overall balanced life. If they were to only become proficient in the physical aspect of martial arts without acquiring the mental and emotional discipline acquired by living the proper lifestyle, it could backfire. They could be depressed, fly off the handle and hurt people, or become a bully. That is the exact opposite of what martial arts are intended to do for a person. I would like to draw a parallel between this and adopting a healthier lifestyle. It’s great to begin making healthier eating choices. It’s great to dedicate yourself to being active several times a week, but it’s just the beginning. Your goal should be to become healthier and balanced overall. Your diet consists of not only what you eat, but also who you spend time around, what you read, listen to, and watch. If you eat healthy food and watch toxic television, or listen to toxic music, or read gossip columns, then you are not healthy. Think about negativity like a virus. It must be contained or it will spread. The only cure for negativity is positivity. Feed your mind and body with enough positivity and you not only stop, but transform negative energy into positive. Take your time with this, and increase positivity in small doses however, if you try to go from 0 to 100 too quickly you will likely burn out. How you do this is to slowly and consistently replace these toxic anchors that are weighing you down with healthy habits that enlighten you. Just like medicine you will build up a tolerance over time, meaning you can tolerate more positivity without mentally burning out, so increase the dose as needed. I have put together a list of negative habits and corresponding positive remedies to assist you, feel free to use these, or make up your own but remember, start in small doses, and increase in small increments. This is a marathon, not a sprint. The list goes as follows:
1: Watching television
2: Listening to music that is violent, apathetic, perverse, promoting drug use, etc.
3: Reading, listening to, or watching the news (I know this one is controversial. If you feel you must follow the news then skip this one, but I would strongly advise against it.)
4: Watching movies that glorify violence, or promote people as sex objects(I know a lot of people watch pornography, I wouldn’t advise quitting cold turkey, just start by watching porn that isn’t so dark, like real couples that seem to love each other, etc.)
5: Hanging around negative people. Everyone feels down sometimes, then there are the people that always have something negative to say. I’m talking about the gossipers, the ones that shoot you down when you have a new idea, the ones that impose on your time and leave you feeling drained. If you are in a relationship with a person like this I would recommend getting out as soon as possible, but if you are unable to for whatever reason, flood yourself with as much positive truth as possible. Get headphones. This is a topic for another article.
6: Having a job that brings you down.
1: Watching positive videos on Youtube. (This is great because you can handpick each video that you watch.) If you are unsure about what videos are positive think about the message. Is it inspiring? Does it make you feel good inside? Is it funny? Does it make you smile? Does it leave you feeling empowered? If the answer to any of these is yes it’s most likely a positive video.
2: Listening to uplifting music. This could be music without words, or it could be any music with a positive message. Keep in mind though, that you likely won’t find much of it on the top 40 station. You could also listen to lectures and seminars that will teach, uplift, and inspire you.
3: Read books, or listen to audiobooks that teach you something and inspire you, whether fictional or nonfiction. Books that empower you to achieve your goals and think highly of yourself.
4: Work on bringing your ideas to life. Let’s say you want to write a book. Give yourself a timeline that clarifies when you plan to have it finished, and then break it down into small daily steps such as, write five pages a day, or write for thirty minutes every day before bed. No matter how small the steps you take, if you keep moving forward, eventually you will arrive at your destination. Draw, paint, play music, sing, dance, learn a new skill. Give your brain the stimulation it craves instead of sedating it with violent and oversexed images.
5: Hang around positive people. This is very straightforward, however, I realize that it is not always possible. In those cases where it isn’t I recommend dropping negative people from your life gradually. Hang out with them less, answer their calls less, respond to their texts and DMs less, slowly wean yourself off of them, and them off of you. If this isn’t possible, for example if it’s a coworker or family member you have to see daily, then tune them out with positive messages as often, and I emphasize often, as you can.
6: Start looking for a job in an atmosphere that you like. Maybe it’s not an ideal position, but if it’s in an environment that you like, it could do wonders for elevating you mentally. In the meantime you’ll be working on bringing your visions to life, and perhaps one day they will grow into a stable income source for you.
7: Go outside! This one is simple. Spend time in nature. It has a way of calming our minds and putting things in perspective. If you can get to an area with grass or sand, take off your shoes. It’s called grounding and it has been proven to have many health benefits from reducing inflammation to improving heart rate variability. (Lowering resting heart rate.) 20 minutes a day is recommended, but any amount of time is beneficial.
8: Develop a spiritual practice. This can look like whatever is right for you. It could be church, yoga, meditation, silent time, prayer, or anything that fulfills your soul and leaves your heart feeling full.
Keep in mind these are only some examples and the sky is the limit as far as options, just try to make sure that any changes you make are positive. It won’t always be easy, and I encourage you to come back to this article from time to time to reinvigorate yourself. Remember, consistency is key. I hope this serves you well, and feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have. Much love!