Proper Nutrition and Exercise may not sound like an ecological principle but it is probably the most important foundation for all personal achievement.
In a nutshell we simply can not function at our optimum if we do not get the proper nutrition and exercise. There are 4 realms of nutrition and exercise, 1 physical, 2 emotional, 3 spiritual and 4 mental
When it comes to physical, emotional and spiritual nutrition and exercise, we share those needs with our close relatives, the large primates. We can learn a lot from them as to what makes them thrive. As far as the mental nutrition and exercise, that is a uniquely human need. With advent of complex language came the need for meaning and understanding about our lives and our world as well as the need for mental stimulation and mental relaxation.
There are volumes on proper nutrition and exercise on the physical level, so I will not mention much other then the most cutting edge and important facts that are not common knowledge or practice in our culture.
Starting with nutrition, there is a basic formula that if you follow you will begin the move to optimum functioning. First there are five main things that each meal should include: Low fat protein, high omega 3 fats, live food enzymes, diverse pro-biotic bacteria, complex carbohydrates. The biggest more calorie dense meals should be eaten as early in the day as possible to increase the possibility of aerobic digestion. 3-5 meals a day with at least 2 hours between meals is optimal. One fact overlooked by most in our culture is the ability of your body to digest your food. Any food that is undigested is toxic to the body, in that case your stool should: not be urgent, not be hard or stuck, be the consistency of a banana, smell of rich compost like you would buy at the nursery, and have zero undigested food in it. Culturally we are taught to think that digestion is yucky and to not pay any attention to it. This is one of the largest mistakes we can make if we are committed to excellent health. Simply put, everything starts in the digestion, it is our power plant, our battery and waste processing system. If it does not function optimally, we can not. So experiment, pay attention and get yourself on a diet that optimizes your stool and you will be amazed at the results.
As far as physical exercise goes, we all know that we should do it. Here is another reason to make it a priority. There was a recent study that determined that 10 minutes of mild cardio exercise secreted the equivalent brain chemicals antidepressants. Put another way there is a huge body of evidence that indicates that exercise is the single easiest way to improve your mood, the essential brain chemicals that make you happy oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine are all secreted when you exercise and as you age your brain looses the receptors for these chemicals and if you do not get them continually they degrade faster. So like everything, use it or lose it. So if you want to be, not just healthy but happy exercise regularly. A key to exercise is making it fun for you, whether that is listening to your favorite music while doing it, Dancing in your living room by yourself, or find a new outdoor activity that is fun for you, make it fun for you, and don’t worry about what any body else thinks.
Now on the Emotional nutrition and exercise. The notion of emotional exercise may seem odd to some, if you think of it in a context of nature all living things grow. Once growth stops, then death begins. It is the same in the emotional self, no growth equals the beginning of dying emotional. So emotional exercise is growing emotionally. The easiest way to exercise emotionally is to take on a new role in your life, Coach a soccer team, work in a soup kitchen, start that career that you have always wanted to, take a class in something that you have always wanted to get better at.
As far as emotional nutrition goes, it is pretty simple but so often overlooked. We all need unconditional love and attention from people close to us, Large primates will die if they do not have a troop to live in. They and we need to feel that we belong. Being accepted by someone or someones, is the almost exactly same in our consciousness as being loved. There are volumes of information that outline the negative effects of a lack of loving relationships in one’s life. There is a much smaller but growing body of evidence that links high functioning and happiness to high levels of love / acceptance. The easiest way to increase the amount of unconditional love in your life is to go out and unconditionally love another.
Proper mental nutrition and exercise is pretty straight forward. you need good information on subjects that are interesting to you. Exercise can be simply explained this take the information that you acquire and express it somehow. Through writing, teaching, art, profession, etc. The point is to take the mental inputs and move them out into some medium outside yourself.
Proper spiritual nutrition is finding deep meaning and value in your life. You must come to a place where you know that your life has meaning and is important. This can be achieved through organized religion, science, art, profession, relationships, service, etc. The bottom line is that your proper spiritual nutrition depend on a conviction that your life is on purpose and valuable.
Proper spiritual exercise is the process of regularly updating your beliefs and action to make sure that they are consistent with your deepest held convictions and current understanding. In nature everything evolves. Evolution is life. It is the key to thriving life. As you grow you will learn new things and acquire new capacities and your understanding and conviction should naturally change with that evolution. As Emerson says, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”
In another article we will discuss one of the most important topics. how do we create these new habits.
Wishing you and all life health, happiness and prosperity,