To celebrate World Health Day on 7th April, MONAROSE SHEILA PEREIRA talks about the importance of taking care of your health.
Taking care of your health is a conscious decision and requires a strong sense of commitment. You must be determined to work towards good health by increasing your motivation. You can do this by thinking about the benefits of exercising every day. Nothing can stop the person who is driven to succeed. In order to be healthy you have to have a healthy lifestyle. Physical, mental and spiritual well-being constitutes a healthy person. You must be determined to exercise and do it regularly. Visualize the many benefits of exercising and follow your exercise routine. Nothing should discourage you. Follow your routine irrespective of outside circumstances and distractions. Be determined and dedicated.
There is a lot written about physical fitness but not much about mental fitness. However, mental fitness is a very important part of the overall well-being of a person. You have to be mentally strong to achieve anything in life. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to develop a healthy mind. Mental fitness means keeping your brain and emotions in top shape. Involve yourself in various mental activities like reading, solving crossword, word games, puzzles, Sudoku, etc. These are good exercises for the brain and help keep it active and alert. They test the reasoning and logic and other areas of the brain and they are fun ways of keeping your brain active and strengthening the brain muscle.
Mental health improves the quality of life in general. It helps us to have healthy relationships, make better decisions and choices, boost physical health, tackle challenges and grow and achieve our full potential. A mind that is free of depression, anxiety, stress, worry, addiction and other psychological problems helps us in living life to the fullest. Many physical ailments are caused due to mental illnesses. Therefore, it is very important to have a good and healthy mind and brain. The mind and the body are related. A healthy mind boosts a healthy body and a healthy body boosts a healthy mind. Physical activity pumps more oxygen to the brain and increases the amount of endorphins (feel-good chemicals) in the brain. Workouts and physical activity help fight depression and give you a positive attitude to life.
Besides exercise, meditation is also good for a healthy mind. It makes you calm and beats stress which is extremely harmful mentally and physically. A calm mind helps you think better and consequently live a better, richer and fulfilled life.
Affirmations are another way of ensuring a healthy mind. Affirmations are simple positive sentences that you say to yourself. For example, “I am happy.” They strengthen the neural pathways that take your self-confidence, well-being and satisfaction to a higher level. They help you become positive. Positive affirmations help to increase mental proficiency. You can start by making a list of all your good qualities and keep talking about them to yourself.
Imagery is another great method that helps calm the mind. Imagining a beautiful scene will calm your mind and reduce tension. This method channelizes the neurons in the less dominant side of the brain. The less-dominant side of the brain controls feelings of self-confidence and optimism. By forcing your brain to think of something other than your daily worries and through visualization the less-dominant side of the brain takes over and helps you be calm and relaxed.
Try to do something different. When you do something different you challenge your brain cells to work and be active. So break out of your daily routine. Expand your horizons. All these activate your brain cells. You can learn a new skill or language, try new cuisines, and travel to new places. All these help to strengthen the neural pathways. It is important to spend a few minutes every day affirming, visualizing, meditating, relaxing and developing your brain for good mental health.
You have probably heard the phrase ‘health is wealth’. It is important to take care of the body to live a better life and achieve your goals. You have to work out or use your body to keep it in top form. If you do not use your body your muscles will become weak and flabby. Your organs will not function efficiently, your joints will become stiff and you will be prone to injury. The human body is made to move and be active. Unfortunately, today’s work culture does not give the body enough exercise. Our ancestors were busy farming, chopping wood, climbing trees, etc. They were active. We are not. Therefore it is important to exercise regularly to be fit and healthy.
Exercising has many benefits to offer. It gives muscle definition and increases bone mass. It reduces the risk of heart diseases, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, tension, cancer, osteoporosis, etc. Exercise improves stamina, increases strength, endurance and enhances flexibility. It also improves skin quality and helps you look better and delays the ageing process. Exercise helps your body to use energy. It pumps more blood to the body and thus more oxygen is supplied to every cell in the body. You look and feel better. Gym instructor Mohd Asim Siddique says, “Exercising is a must for good health.”
The key to weight loss is to burn more calories than you consume. Therefore exercise helps to control your weight by burning off the calories. It improves the way you look and feel thus improving the quality of life. Exercise reduces stress, lifts moods and helps you sleep better. It can keep you looking and feeling younger throughout your entire life.
Find an exercise that you enjoy, such as running, dancing, a sport such as soccer, swimming, hiking, cricket, tennis or anything else that you find enjoyable, and then try to make exercise a regular part of your routine. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Students Ankit Singh and Ajeetkumar Agrahari say, “Walking is the easiest form of exercise.” Indeed it is the simplest form of exercise. You can walk to your destination instead of driving or taking the bus or auto. It does not cost you any money but in fact will save you some.
Monarose Sheila Pereira is an author, journalist and lecturer. She has published 12 books and has written for all the major newspapers and magazines. Some of her works have been translated into foreign languages. She also conducts self-improvement workshops.