One of the most impactful revolutions of recent times has been the widespread awareness about healthier food choices. An increasing number of people are moving toward eating healthier, wholesome, and nutritious foods. Whether your diet dairy-free, gluten-free, yeast-free, sugar-free, pesticide-free, or all of the above, the motivation behind the change is to improve your overall health. But is physical health only about eating right?
You may look fabulous on the outside but health is also a state of being and not just about your body fat percentage. Have you taken a moment to observe how many times in a day you have felt angry, depressed, stressed, helpless, anxious, or just plain sad? In all this frenzy about eating right, physical well-being has completely overshadowed mental and psychological well-being.
The green smoothies that you drink may help you clear your gut but it won’t be able to clear your head from all the negative thoughts. The mind and body are inextricably linked and your state of mind ends up finding expression in your body. Your thoughts filter down into our physical body in the way of physical actions, and biochemical releases which show up as emotions.
The mind is the root of your existence while the body is just an extension of who you are. If you want to bring yourself to a state of complete well-being, you need to start with the mind. If your mind in a constant flux, no amount of healthy food can change the way you’re feeling. For a tree to be healthy, it’s the roots that need to be nurtured. When the mind is in a state of equilibrium, your physical and emotional states also work in harmony.
There are numerous Eastern traditions that have explored the mind-body connection and created tools to help bring balance to both. To nourish your mind, you could start with reading self-help books that help you create a positive frame of mind. You could also do yoga or tai chi if you like to reach the mind by using the body as a medium. But if you’re a complete novice, start with the simplest of processes which requires you to do pretty much nothing. Start with meditation.
Meditation is a process whereby you create a certain distance between your mind and yourself. By simply sitting and observing your thoughts, you become a spectator of your constantly running mind. How does this help? Right now you engage with pretty much every thought that you have. You see a donut, you immediately want to eat it; you see a dress, you just have to buy it. This makes you very impulsive. This also means the moment something bad happens you automatically feel sad or depressed.
However, as you meditate, you learn that not all thoughts need to be engaged with. The mind may generate a thousand different thoughts and jump from one to the next in a split second. When you become increasingly aware of this, you can pick and choose the thoughts that matter and engage only with them. This empowers you at the very root of who you are.
How To Start
There are many different types of meditation to choose from. Some of them include breath meditations, guided meditations, deeper transcending style meditations with mantras, and chanting meditations. Certain practices need to guided and might need supervision. But to start with, you could sit comfortably in a chair, close your eyes with your hands in your lap and observe the breath moving in and out of your nostrils.
Your mind is going to wander but try to bring back your attention to the movement of breath. Just one session is not going to transform you, so you need to be patient. Spend 10-15 minutes every day in the morning or evening for your practice. Wear loose, comfortable clothing; natural fibers like cotton, linen, or wool if possible.