Enjoying optimal health means you feel good. In that state, your baseline is positive. It’s both mental and physical because mind and body are so completely intertwined.
In recent years, I’ve made a concerted effort to eat healthier. In the simplest terms – and please keep in mind I am not a dietitian, nor do I make claims to be one – I’ve learned I need to eat more protein, good fats, and fibre and less sugar.
Protein promotes better immune function and improved muscle growth and repair. Good fats protect my heart. Fibre improves digestion and controls blood sugar levels. Refined sugar increases inflammation in the body and causes blood sugar spikes and crashes.
Nourish yourself with good food and your body can sustain itself over the long run.
People often start the path to better health with the intention to change behavioural habits. They forget that what they’re changing is exactly that, a habit. In other words, it’s a pattern of action that typically occurs without conscious thought.
When faced with temptation or resistance – which is normal – it’s easy to give in or give up. It’s hard to change habits because they are largely automatic.
That’s why most New Year resolutions fail. Binary thinking sets in. I’m either healthy or I’m not. If I eat that chocolate cake, I’m “bad” and I’ve failed in my objective of achieving optimal health.
Truth is, health is on a continuum. Success comes from eating better, more often, over the long term. Put setbacks in their rightful places, as belt notches along the way. Eventually, you’ll be able to cinch your belt tighter. You’ll feel good more frequently. That’s how you know it’s working.
Conversely, acknowledge when you feel bad. Don’t ignore the negative feeling by pushing it away or distracting yourself, maybe, in fact, by eating that chocolate cake.
What you resist persists.
Negative feelings don’t “go away.” They get suppressed and guess where that negativity gets stored?
Yup, in the body.
Physical and Mental Health
Optimal health, whether physical or mental, is the accumulation of many positive thoughts and behaviours.
Just as the quality of the food you ingest is important, the quality of your thoughts matter too. Good mental health means thinking less about monitoring what you’re focused on in each moment and more about creating awareness around the impact your thinking has on how you feel in each moment.
To put it differently, monitoring usually involves judgement, which reinforces negative thought patterns. Awareness supports positive mindset shifts. It has a softer emphasis; it’s not as hard as judging.
You see, what you think gets reflected in what you see around you. Think positively and you can expect to see the world in a positive light. The opposite is also true. To quote Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.”
Positive vibes create optimal physical and mental health.
You build physical muscles through exercise. Imagine doing bicep curls to strengthen your arms. It takes repetition and gradually adding weights to build the muscle.
It’s the same with your mind. If you want to build a positive mindset, you must build your mental muscle. “PQ reps” are the mental equivalent to bicep curls. To shift from negative thinking to positive, you do PQ reps and gradually build the muscle over time, so the shift happens quicker, with more ease.
Positive vibes for optimal health. It’s not a slogan but a way of life.