Make 2016 a Journey to Your Best Health!
It’s that time of year again for new intentions, new habits, and new ways of doing things for a healthier, happier you! At Arogya Holistic Healing we are passionate about helping people to make healthier lifestyle choices, and we want to encourage everyone to make 2016 the Year of Health! A year to make real changes in your life to bring wellness to your mind, body, life, family, and relationships.
We know change can be challenging. So often we have these grand plans for transformation that just don’t seem to have the results we hope for, or we lack the motivation to make those necessary lifestyle improvements a permanent part of our lives. However, to make sustainable changes, you not only have to make and meet your goals but also shift your consciousness about health. We believe that from a holistic perspective of health, it can be easier to make the changes you need, by seeing life as a journey of healing, understanding the power of your habits, and diving into the root causes of dis-ease.
Let 2016 be the year of healthier ways of being!
It can seem difficult to have the energy to make changes, and taking time for your well-being sometimes seems beyond what your schedule/family/engagements/schoolwork allows. And sometimes, changing your habits to become healthier can feel like trying to fit a square peg into a round whole. No matter how much effort you put into hammering that square peg, it just will not fit into the hole, and eventually, you will give up. This is where a paradigm shift is necessary. When you shift your consciousness, everything changes, and as your view transitions to a holistic perspective, you’ll notice those pegs start to fit easily into those holes.
The first step in shifting your perspective of health is to make a choice:
Either you stay on the path of conventional, emergency-based medicine, where you go to the doctor to be healed when you are sick, waiting until serious symptoms arise and opting for pharmaceutical medication or surgery.
You take the holistic approach, making every day about your health and well-being, knowing that every moment is an opportunity for wellness and wholeness and that a healthy lifestyle is the best preventative medicine.
If you’re ready to make the jump into a holistic mindset, for sustainable lifestyle changes, you probably know which option to choose. From this holistic perspective, it’s easier to make lifestyle changes, because wellness becomes your focus. But it takes intention and work to step by step shift into a wellness-based way of living. In fact, if you are ready to make this shift, or you are already on board, it’s important to realize that a wellness lifestyle is a journey of healing.
Making your life a wellness journey not only means feeding yourself nourishing foods, and taking care of your body, it means transforming every aspect of your life, bit by bit, so you can truly be your most radiant, present, loving, and grounded self. This might seem far from your present condition, but no matter what, you have to start wherever you are, with patience and kindness toward yourself.
Health from a holistic perspective:
The words “healing journey” make it seem like the road to health is long. This is because in holistic medicine the concept of health is vast and comprehensive. In a conventional western perspective of health, if we are not actively sick, we are “healthy.” And if we are “healthy” it’s easy to ignore signs the body is giving us that point to underlying imbalance, like irritability, constipation, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, etc. From a holistic perspective, any of these symptoms are the body’s signal that something is not functioning quite right, and that there is a need for healing, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual.
In holistic medicine, health is not black and white. Health is a spectrum where 99.9% of people are somewhere in the grey zone, and where total health is freedom from disease, complete well-being, radiance, peace, happiness, joy, ease, and harmony in all aspects of one’s life. Sounds pretty different from what your doctor might consider healthy, right? That’s because holistic health takes into account every part of your being, and your body is not seen as something separate from your thoughts or emotions. In fact, everything is connected, and interrelated. If one part of your self isn’t doing well, it’s going to have an effect on all the other parts, which is why in holistic medicine, we treat the whole person; aches, pains, feelings, fears, thoughts, and all. Wherever there is discord in your mind, heart, or body, there is a need for healing.
Many times, patients come to our holistic healing center surprised and confused about a health condition. “How did this happen?” they ask. Well, as the Chinese proverb says “it takes more than one night to freeze a pond.” The same is true of disease, and healing. The accumulation of decades of poor nutrition, stress, negative feelings, lack of self-worth, etc., over time result in real, manifested dis-ease, or disease. The same is true for health. If you want to thaw the pond, it will take more than one day, or one treatment to magically transform what ails you. Just as disease takes the accumulation of stressors on the body, wellness takes an accumulation of regular, healthy habits. This is why making your life a journey of healing by living a wellness lifestyle is so important. Though the road may be long, every step you take towards healing yourself ripples out into your life and relationships, and you’ll find that little by little life gets more meaningful, harmonious, and full of joy.
From a holistic perspective, everything is connected, and your health is a mirror of your inner mental, emotional, and spiritual condition. In Chinese medicine, for example, it is well understood how negative emotions affect the body and are factors in disease. Anger, frustration, and resentment, for example, affect the flow of chi through the liver meridian, which causes problems like headaches, asthma, and high blood pressure. Untreated, these imbalances can lead to more serious problems over time. Understanding the inter-relatedness of our thoughts, feelings, and physical experience is crucial to making sustainable changes in our lifestyle because our inner experience has a huge effect on our health and the choices we make.
In Taoist philosophy, there is a saying, “It’s best to eat healthy food. And if you already do that, you still need to exercise too. And if you already do both of those, best of all is to meditate to nourish your heart, the core of your being.”
Often, subconscious thoughts and feelings are the root cause of your health problems, and lack of commitment to healthy living. Without knowing the subtle workings of the mind, it can be easy to ignore these deeper disharmonies. For example, what seems like positive New Year’s resolutions can, under the surface, be laden with negativity like self-loathing, guilt, and frustration. These resolutions tend to fail because they don’t address the negative emotions that are usually the root causes of the habits you’re trying to change. When we have limiting or negative ideas about ourselves, these very ideas can sabotage our health by leading us to indulge in unhealthy behaviors. These indulgences give us just a momentary sense of relief from the suffering that lead us to make those unhealthy choices in the first place. In order to make sustainable lifestyle changes, it’s best to get to the root of the problem: your mind!
With meditation and mindful inquiry into our internal experience, we see ourselves from a deeper perspective. We can perceive the conditioning that keeps us falling into the same traps again and again. Though sometimes it’s hard to see these parts of ourselves, awareness is the first step to liberation! From a place of awareness, it’s easier to make better choices about what to eat, and how to spend our time.
Personal Inquiries for Healthy Choices:
Personal inquiry is a golden key to our journey of healing. Throughout my day when I am confronted with an old habit, or tempted by an unhealthy choice, I find it helpful to ask myself some of the following questions:
1) Is this [food/activity/situation/etc] going to support and nourish me? Or will it harm me?
2) What part of myself does this [food/activity/situation/etc] feed? And do I really want to feed that part of myself?
3) What do I get from this?
In terms of practical actions you can take to harmonize your lifestyle, there are so many things you can do! And if you take the time to ask yourself, you probably know best of all which area of your life needs your attention first. If you are looking for some great tips for bringing wellness into your here and now, check out our blog post: Combating Modern Day Stress, which details several recommendations for healthy and peaceful living.
Wherever you are on your path to health, know that all you can do is take one step at a time. In this way, the path is slowly, but surely leading toward a healthier way of being. Sometimes you may take a step or two backward, but find the strength within yourself to get back on the right track. With a compassionate heart, investigate why you had those setbacks, and understand that whatever part of you drove you to make those choices is yet another part of yourself yearning to be healed.
Whether you already embrace this lifestyle, you’re just getting started, or this is completely new and you’re ready to begin, all you need is the will and commitment to love and take care of yourself. And with dedication to this journey to your best health, witness how this very love and care unfold the miracles of life.
By Chloe Bolton