Any problem large or small, can be solved with a simple methodology: Reduce the problem to its component parts, until the fundamentals are clear and the answer to your riddle becomes elementary.

When we talk about “Optimal Health” or “moving towards optimal health”, if there are problems, one method of dealing with those problems is to look at the rudimentary elements of health.

There are four elements of optimal health.

Someone once said, “Perception is everything.”  Probably a marketer or advertising guru. But it’s true. How we perceive plays a large part in who are and what we do. In discussing most issues, we need to start with the mind, mind state, mind-body connection. After all, if the mind is not present, what is life? Our mind state and our attitudes define us.

Mind state is fundamental. Of course the mind state is not easy to define to begin with but let’s try.

Mind state is not the brain. The brain is a physical organ composed of “gray matter” and electrical currents that rush about coding and decoding messages, controlling many autonomic subconscious functions, such as blood pressure, heart beat, breathing, etc.

Mind state is the result of how we manage our brains, or more simply our thoughts. Some people drive their thoughts and developed their philosophy of life more consciously than others. There is a methodology to this as well. This also can be broken down into component parts.

A book I read this summer and constantly go back and refer to is “The Five Elements of Effective Thinking.” If you want to know more about getting the most out of life, your health included, pick up a copy at your local library, bookstore or click here to purchase a copy from Amazon.

This book should be read by parents, teenagers, teachers, mentors, coaches, and politicians. I could be wrong, but I think we wouldn’t have wars if even a few politicians could learn the fundamentals of effective thinking. In fact, the basis of this article on health is a result of using the methods in this book.

Mind state affects your physical and emotional health. If you smile and are happy, you are healthier than you would be if you are nasty and cranky. In fact, it works the other way as well. If you are cranky and grouchy, it could be you are not getting proper nutrition for your body. You may be suffering from underlying allergies. Something in your immune system or digestive system may be off. This is where you can play the part of scientist and experiment with various food types and find out if this could be a part of the overall problems you are experiencing with health.

Tools for the Mind: Affirmations are tools that are powerful and effective in helping to guide the mind. Here are few:

1. Every day in every way, my life is getting better and better.

2. I control my own happiness.

3. I treat everyone I meet with love and kindness.

The Garbage Truck Story – sent to me by email from a friend.

“One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us! My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, really friendly. So I asked, “Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!” This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, “The Law of the Garbage Truck.” He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage(frustration, anger, and disappointment, etc.). As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they’ll dump it on you. Don’t take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don’t take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets. The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. Life’s too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so… love the people who treat you right & pray for the ones who don’t. Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it! Have a blessed, garbage-free day.”

Bottom line: Life is what you make it. That’s the key mind state.

I know there are naysayers and skeptics who will take this view on mind state want to toss it onto the nearest garbage truck. They will say, “What about the horrors of the world, dictatorships, Kim Jung Ill, concentration camps, etc. Sometimes life is more than hard. Sometimes life is unjust. But the rule of thumb here is not to let others’ toxins poison you. You don’t have to drink the Kool-Aid. In the midst of adversity, our noblest virtues shine brighter.

Remember Victor Frankl and the fish head in the bowl of thin soup. (Man’s Search for Meaning)  The beauty of the entire universe can be contained in the smallest act of kindness even in the worst circumstances imaginable. If the world is dark and life seems just too tough, its actually easier to see small acts of love and kindness. They shine brighter.

Exercise is the second element of optimal health.

Yes, there, I said it. Life itself is defined by movement. Your physiology is major. How you move, how you hold yourself, how you engage your body, If you don’t move, you no longer exist. Try it. Go to bed and never get up again. Life is defined by movement, action. You can think of exercise, running, lifting weights, going to the gym. You can also think of inspirational movement, dance, ballet, grooving to your favorite tunes. 

Think of all the parts in your body that are moving constantly. Blood flow, electrical currents in the nervous system. Then think of all the fun things you can do with your body. Go for a walk in the park. Climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Ride a bicycle. Go for a swim.  Bounce on a trampoline. Take a Zumba class. Join a ballroom dancing group. There are thousands of fun things you can do and it will count towards your need for exercise.

Interestingly, the more you exercise, the more you enhance your mind and brain power. Exercise even contributes to endorphins, chemicals your brain produces to make you feel happy. Exercise and be happy. Lethargy never got anyone anywhere.

Can you respond to this article and tell me your favorite type of activity that provides a means of exercise for you? Can you tell me a favorite affirmation that has gotten you through a difficult time? Thanks for participating. Click here to send me something.

The next two elements will come in a separate article in a few days. Thank you.

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