5 Keys to Sustainable Well-Being
There’s a little known secret that the natural high of good health trumps all other kinds of highs, artificial or otherwise. The temptations of the easy high are everywhere. The problem is when you numb the hard stuff, and you end up numbing the good stuff too, like joy and progress. What’s the alternative? The mellow rush that comes from taking consistent good care of yourself. Health is easier to achieve and maintain than you might think, and it can be your best ally in buffering the slays of this modern world.
Good health may be your best armor in this world, but why does it seem easy for some people to maintain vibrant health, and more challenging for others? The key is in trusting life and letting down your guard, ironically, getting into the flow with healthy behaviors, and keeping at them until they begin to feel effortless. Just like a plane that eventually reaches cruising altitude, you too can reach the natural high of good health with practice. Here are five ways to naturally cultivate sustainable well-being in your life:
1. Get Positive about Expressing Yourself
Emotions are meant to be felt and expressed, not bottled up or suppressed. As scary as it can seem, expressing what you really feel, and being who you really are, affects the quality of your health dramatically. Suppressing emotions through addiction, soft or hard, just delays the inevitable, and literally stresses your body out in the process, which can break your body down. Consider the idea of creating or being positively addicted to something like music or sports that has the capacity to transform you, as opposed to annihilate you. Instead of dreading what you feel, try examining it, savoring it, or even honoring it. What you release, releases you, and raises the bar of your health threshold that much higher.
2. Reach Out…And Hang Out With Someone
Yep, you guessed it. Connection is crucial to health. In fact, it just may be the most important thing you do. John Travis says “Connection is the currency of wellness.” Why is this? Because we are social creatures. It comes down to hardwiring. Why does connection work? Think about it: how does anything work in life? Because it has something else to feed off of. How does a light burn energy? Because it is plugged in. We are all interconnected, whether we like it or not. We thrive when we connect not only with our own lives, but the lives of others, and the world at large. What if you’re a lone wolf? No worries. Just make sure you call or email someone once in blue moon. Most likely you’ll be glad you did, and so will they. Who knows, you just might enjoy yourself too, another key to sustainable well-being.
3. Get In the Flow and Get Moving
We were designed to move. But movement should feel good, not be a chore. In fact, it raises more of the feel-good neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. Your own brain is your best pharmacy. It even has THC receptors (accessed naturally by the neurotransmitter anandamide - ananda meaning “bliss” in Sanskrit – or by allowing your kinesthetic awareness to take precedence along with deep, slow breathing). Consider what you truly enjoy, and then do as much of it as you can over the course of your day to keep your metabolism running on high, which is the whole point. Not only does what you focus on take focus, it takes shape according to amount of time you engage with it. It’s a law of physics: “…a body in motion tends to stay in motion.” And the more you move, the more your body will ask you for what it needs nutrition-wise to sustain itself naturally. It’s win-win.
4. Eat What Sustains You
Trying to figure out what to eat has become like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube. Instead, try following your body and your natural instincts. What food is your body asking you for, especially if you’ve been active? Try to only eat what makes your body thrive. What raises your energy levels when you eat and keeps them steady? What drops your energy immediately? What we eat is deeply personal, but it can also affect us deeply. A few things to keep in mind: maximize fresh food, eat both for pleasure and nutrition, and consume live, cultured foods that support your life-force and the living system that is your body.
5. Get Outside and Get Back Into Nature
According to Richard Louv, author of The Nature Principle, nature makes us more intelligent and creative. But more urgent is that we need nature. We need the electromagnetic energy of the earth and sun, and the rush of the ocean and trees to balance out the mesmerizing, technological pull of the screen. We need the wide, beautiful distraction of nature to alleviate the mental fatigue of circuitrized modern life. We crave "…the living dream that we share with the soaring hawk” (The Spell of the Sensuous - David Abram), the cadence of whale song, and unbroken stretches of beach scattered with shells and enigmatic life. Being outside calms and soothes the stress response and recharges you naturally. Looking for a sustainable, healthy high? Look no further than the unpaved path outside of your door.