Wednesday, October 17, 2012

In Search for the Perfect Health

It is natural to worry about health in our 60s. That's when symptoms of ill health start to show. To some they become evident at a younger age, which may means they stand to die younger or suffer more years before they go. It is too late to search for the elixir of perfect health, if there is one, at a senior age. We have damaged our bodies enough to make them unsuited for perfect health. Perhaps a better approach is to maximize whatever health we already have and live as long and fruitful life as we can. In response to a friend's enquiry on how to live a healthy life, although there are thousands of advices and resources on the Net, I've come up with my own list.

1. Accept that life is for living. Think positive. Nobody and no body is perfect, accept that yours is as best as you get with all its imperfections.
2. Help others, do good. Surprisingly research have shown those who help the poor and disadvantaged by offering financial and professional aids and serve as volunteers in charitable organizations are happier, more satisfied with life and have a greater sense of purpose and well being.
3. Smile and laugh more. In fact talking more is good as it means you are socializing more. People who are sociable tend to have a healthier outlook and expectation towards living. If one is bored then it will negatively affect one's health since he is likely to be idle and wasting his time.
4. Move a lot. Stand and walk as often as possible. We are created to stand more than sit. In fact we develop pouches because we sit too much. This is aggravated when we eat while sitting which make us eat more than necessary.
5. Eat slowly and chew your food. This is one of the most easily applied health tip that controls over eating. Research have shown people die faster from eating too much than too little, and most diseases are caused by over satisfying our desire for food. And eat a balanced diet. Forget about a meat-free or total vegetarian diet. We are created to be omnivorous.
6. Manage stress. Lucky if you have no stress. But if you have it, which covers 99% of the human race, you are not alone. Learn to control stress instead of letting it control you. Stress is mostly created through wrong or unreasonable expectations of self, spouse, colleagues or society in general. It is the devil that causes unhappiness, jealousy and quarrelsome relationship. Cultivate contentment and isolate from the temptation to compete and compare. Take frequent breaks, like going for holidays, to balance out stress and enjoy creation. Maybe to see how fortunate you are after all when you visit less developed societies than yours.
7. Be spiritually alive. The Bible says that man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. This is because we are spiritual beings. When we are spiritually healthy we are giving our physical bodies the strong foundation to build our physical health. Our bodies will one day decay but our spirits live forever.
8. Live moderately. Eat anything and everything but not excessively. Our bodies are not machines that take punishment of over indulgence of too much fatty food, carbohydrate, even protein. Minimize synthetic food, eat and drink natural. Enjoy all things and be thankful to God for our state of health. Even in pain or inconvenience realize that we are finite beings here on earth and that perfect health exist only in the spiritual realms.
9. Don't be a health freak. Obsessive attention to special diet, designer lifestyle and over physical exertion can make living miserable and even stressful. Some of us are born with good genes, blessed with nice jobs in stress free environments and good families and stand a better chance to grow old healthily. Others struggle. In the end we all come to the same place, reclined and still. Accept what you are, don't envy or compare but be grateful that there are more people suffering from ill health below you than those above.

Some people live very long life, not by choice but by circumstances. In the following video clip note that these villagers live a near monastic life, in isolation from civilization but in healthy and natural environment. Their lives are very physical, there are no comforts, no sedentary work. Their bodies are always on the move, and their diet often basic and bland. They live long, very long. But you may want to ask the question at the end of the video, is longevity a desired goal to pursue? Or better to live a happy but healthy (but shorter) life and die without major illness and in your sleep?

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