Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. Are you “healthy”?

Few days ago I was contacted by a reader who asked for an advise. He was wondering if I could offer some suggestions on leading a healthier life. His question made me think, what can I offer as a general advise? He is not my client, so I do not know anything about his lifestyle, eating habits, exercise routine, general health, health issues if any, and so many other things I need to know when I start working with someone.

Purpose of what I do is perfectly summed up in the tagline/quote on my website – “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” – by the way I did not say that, the World Health Organization did, this is their definition of Health. For me this became sort of a mission statement.

I do very deeply believe that our health does not solely depend on doctors, medical professionals, prescription drugs…yes there is a place for that, but the base of health has to be build on mind, body and spirit connection, on healthy communities raising healthy individuals.

I will try to describe how I envision a “healthy person” “healthy life”, and how I try to live it.

I strive not so much for a balance, but for a rhythm of a healthy flow, healthy living. In my experience, the word balance is misleading, one of the definitions of balance is “A stable mental or psychological state; emotional stability” well than, I do not know anyone who can consistently stay in balance. Rhythm – “Procedure or routine characterized by regularly recurring elements, activities, or factors.” is a much better word to describe where I want to be in life.

I hope this makes sense, but what i am trying to say, is that striving for balance in my opinion is impossible and too demanding, like a juggling act of keeping everything up in the air, balanced simultaneously – just that, may drive one insane, too stressful; but striving for a rhythm – now, that is something I can do, just flow through life in a healthy, joyful, peaceful rhythm, less here, more there, it is okay, does not have to always be perfect, just as long as it flows 🙂 it changes. This week I have time to meditate, the next I do not, all is good, it is a rhythm and it keeps flowing and changing. One week I may be eating the healthiest perfect meals, and the next, we have events to attend and I eat whatever I feel like, and it is a treat. I may have some wine, some cheese, sweets and desserts, no guilt, just pure indulgence and gratitude; and then back to my regular “healthy” routine.

This in my opinion is rhythm! Like the rhythm of life, things change, move, and yes somewhere there is a deep underlying balance to it all, but on my small human level I can only control so much, and I prefer to give that up too! Without trying to control, I want to just flow, no resistance, just acceptance.

So that is the first important part of my understating of a healthy lifestyle. Next are physical, mental and social wellbeing, as stated in my tagline “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.

Our daughter playing Volleyball on the beach

Our daughter playing Volleyball on the beach

Physical wellbeing. Healthy body – maintaining an active lifestyle to stay fit, strong and keep the body moving. Eating a plant based diet with variety of vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, meats. Depending on a person this will vary – some do well with grains/legumes, some do not. Some need animal protein, others do not. Dairy, eggs, poultry, fish – all is okay if it works for you, as long as it is naturally grown, wild, grass-fed, pasture raised, clean, raised humanely, etc. This will merely be a step in bringing your body to a healthy state.

Today as I am updating this post, on December 19th 2014, my diet has evolved to include any and all vegetables and clean protein – all fresh, nothing prepackaged (I do indulge in potato chips on occasion :). Some fruit. Grains, nuts, raw cheese, and legumes are couple of times a month, and only if I really want some. I love sushi and that is my “take out” choice. No dairy, no sugar.

Quite time for self (with a book, meditation or just a walk)

Quite time for self (with a book, meditation or just a walk)

Mental wellbeing/health. Spirituality – appreciating life for what it is, the amazing gift we were given, experiencing it! Life is not about learning lessons! it is about living and experiencing it, the good and the bad. I used to think there is a lesson in everything, and yet could never explain to myself what is there to learn from a death of a loved one. Finally I heard Panache Desai talk about it and now I understand and I know – there are no lessons. And what a relief that is to know, these “terrible” in mind’s perception, things we face in life, are not happening to us so that we learn something, they are happening for us because life is life, life is an experience. We experience, we grow! I want for my rhythm to be peaceful one, joyful. At peace with everything! Do I always feel like that? No! But now, I notice when I do not, and I never have before, and that is a step in the right direction.

Living this way helps to eliminate stress too – “Stress doesn’t only make us feel awful emotionally,” says Jay Winner MD, author of Take the Stress Out of Your Life and director of the Stress Management Program for Sansum Clinic in Santa Barbara, Calif. “It can also exacerbate just about any health condition you can think of.”

Time spent with friends and family...

Time spent with friends and family…

And finally, Social health – Dalai Lama said: “If you want to change the world, first try to improve and bring about change within yourself. That will help change your family. From there it just gets bigger and bigger. Everything we do has some effect, some impact.”

So I believe that the only person I need to work on is me, and it grows from there to make an impact on those around me, on the community. Social health is a huge concept to address and can get overwhelming, so I focus on smaller goals.

I hope this is something that you can relate to and understand. But just telling someone to eat their greens means nothing, there are many people who eat the healthiest foods and yet they are not healthy nor happy.

To your health,
Elena

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Showing 20 comments
  • spartacus2030
    Reply

    Good post all in all. Very informative! Staying active is very important; and exercise should not have to be drudgery. I run a lot, and lift weights. Now I’m looking at swimming in the community pool twice a week. The pictures help to carry this very well. Could you please respond to this, I have something important to tell you. Don’t worry! It’s nothing huge…

    • Elena
      Reply

      Hello Spartacus2030! Thank you so much for stopping by and for the feedback! I always respond unless it is spam 🙂 even when feedback may be seen by some as unfavorable – to me it is just another person’s opinion, their view, nothing personal.
      I would love to hear what you have on your mind! 🙂 and usually I try not to worry beforehand -LOL but it is most kind of you to say that! Thank you! Elena

      • spartacus2030
        Reply

        Oh yeah! LOL! Now I remember. I wanted to tell you that when your blog is over 1000 words, you should includ the tag: wplongform. I just love your family! They look like a lot a fun!

        And don’t worry. If I have a “constructive” critisism, it would be about improving your blog, and not your writing. I’d expect the same from you Elana. Thank you so much for visiting my sight! Thank God! LOL! Oh don’t mind me. I’m just looking for more traffic. I don’t want to do one of those: “Attract a thousand strangers to your blog!” thing either. So I just hope if I comment, people will return the favor, and they usually do. People are pretty good on WordPress, usually… There’s a lot a stuff I get that’s first marked as spam, and I usually Unspam it. A pleasure to meet you Elena! Cheers…

        • Elena
          Reply

          Thank you for a great suggestion as far as #wplongform tag. I have never used it and just added it to the post’s tags list. I hope I did it right! I usually try to write smaller posts, but this one just kept going and going 🙂
          By the way being an English major you could really give me some “constructive” criticism I am sure 😉

          • spartacus2030

            “They look up to us!” LOL! Elena, you have a good writing style; easy to read along… Your blog is a poignant issue that does need addressing. You let us know of your personal side, and I do the same. Mine reads: “This blog is about my reaction to the life experience.” I wanted as wide a latitude to write that I could think of.

            How we get along so well too! As long as it’s a good read, I’m into it! Thank you for being so kind and friendly with me. And thank you so much for your comment on The Olympus 60 pics. It gave me quite a boost! :O)

          • Elena

            It is my pleasure spartacus2030 I love photography 🙂 WordPress indeed a nice community to be a part of, so many interesting and talented people. And again I thank you for your kindness, so glad you like my work! Elena

          • spartacus2030

            By “constructive”, I simply ment this way, instead of in front of everybody else… Just thought it was a good idea that’s all :O( Sorry. I’m very sensative. I get hurt easily. I must blow my nose. That’s better…

            It looks just like this Elena: WPLongform Just that, and nothing more :O)

  • willowmarie
    Reply

    Panache D. has such an interesting world view- nearly always leaves me with something that tugs at my curiosity. Here’s to balance!

    • Elena
      Reply

      Willow Marie, thank you for visiting and for you comment! I love your blog and can not wait to read your book! So grateful that you are offering it as a gift, thank you!
      Yes Panache does have an unusual view. Before hearing him speak I was actually all hang up on balance, and then I listened to these two speakers and both women had a very strong opposition to the word balance…that made me think. No wonder I used to feel like balance (work/family, rest/activity, etc) kept sleeping through my fingers. Like I said – to me balance is too much to strive for on daily basis, but rhythm feels simpler 🙂
      Thank you again,
      Elena

  • maddy726
    Reply

    This is probably one of the best things I’ve read in awhile. I love the concept of the rhythm of life over balance. You’re so right that we have to let go of this mindset that we have to control everything to achieve a perfect balance, and instead shift to one of acceptance and going with the flow. Wonderful.

    • Elena
      Reply

      Maddy and this is probably one of the best comments I have received in my 3 years of blogging. Thank you so very much! :))
      Balance feels like pressure to me, everyone and their mother talks about achieving a perfect balance, and I tried it ever since my first daughter was born in 1998. It never really worked for any extended period of time, and then i would stress out and feel like a failure. No longer! I know some would argue that the whole world and nature is built on balance – yes, but we as humans try to control things and life to achieve that balance – does not feel natural to me.

  • lindsbrown2013
    Reply

    Wonderful! I like how you are making “getting healthy” more accessible and doable by allowing us to be human!

    • Elena
      Reply

      Oh thank you Lindsbrown! It makes me happy to know that this is how my message comes across 🙂 By the way, both of my daughters are passionate about horses and riding. Oldest one in particular, so I absolutely understand how your girls feel about moving!
      Thank you so much for your comment and for the visit! Elena

  • seven2sevenmom
    Reply

    Thank you for putting what it means to be healthy and balanced in such good perspective. I have friends who would feel so guilty for that occasional sweet indulgence although they have daily exercises and diet plans. Just to add that the ability to have a focus on one’s spiritual development would also enhance the state of balance one shall strive to attain in life for total wellbeing. Cheers!

    • Elena
      Reply

      Hello Seven2sevenmom! Good to see you again 🙂
      I so agree with you about one’s spiritual practice, it absolutely helps to feel more in sync and balanced.
      Thank you for stopping by! Elena

  • tylorjstingelty
    Reply

    Really like your article on the different types of health that we strive to have on daily basis. Truly a inspirational writing.

    • Elena
      Reply

      Dear Tylorjstingel thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind comment. I am so happy you like the post and hope you will find the blog helpful 🙂 Elena

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