Three Factors of Optimal Health
Three Factors of Optimal Health
In the study of Eastern Medicine, it is difficult to overlook the clear and prolific urgings to live a life of balance in order to obtain optimal health.
In Ayurveda, to be healthy, one is told to heighten the senses or “indryas” through balanced diet, clean living, periodic cleansing as well as proper thinking and attention to protecting the mind. According to ancient Ayurvedic texts, the doctors of their time claimed that illnesses began in the mind and faulty thought processes. While today we have more clinical data and comprehension of the genetic component of illnesses, we have also grown farther from the natural world that innately seeks balance. As a result, we have a country suffering from diabetes, obesity, dementia and other disorders while having the greatest technology and medical advancements.
It has never been more important than now to focus on creating wellness and health. The three factors that stand out in building a strong picture of well being stem from Eastern medicine and philosophy. These three pillars of health all tie into one another and are inseparable in the quest for better health and well being. To simply “dispel evil and support the good” we must look at this iconic traditional phrase on multiple levels. This directive must apply to all aspects of our lives.
Now to the three factors of optimal health:
- Tend to the Triad- The “stool” that cannot stand without each of it’s legs depends on the health of MIND, BODY, and SPIRIT. Balance in these three entities is essential in order to attain true health. There must be balance between the mental peace and equilibrium, physical strength and agility, and spiritual harmony in faith and connectedness. This one factor could fill books on how to achieve this. It is a consistent blend of proper amounts of exercise, mindful consumption of nutritious food and a clear, focused mind through reflection, rest and meditation in whatever form the individual benefits from. In any case, too much focus on any one area will draw out of balance the other two. That is why the “stool” must have balanced legs for us to sit upon it.
- Nutrition- Healthy, organic and fresh foods clearly nourish our cells and create vital energy if we are able to absorb their nutrients well. In order to create health wealth, we must eat at the proper times in the amounts our bodies require and to pay attention to the state of being we are in when we sit to ingest a meal. A peaceful mind certainly benefits digestion. Supplements can be helpful and should be taken for gaps in our nutritional picture or if we exert a great deal of energy and require extra help in obtaining the nutrients we require. Using supplements that are “clean” and as close to nature with the least amount of processing is vital. Pairing with a qualified and capable practitioner can be invaluable in this quest. Nutrition relates back to the point number one in that we must nourish all three aspects of the Triad: body, mind and spirit. Avoiding the news for a while, clearing the mind with walks in nature or by the sea, speaking with friends and sharing laughter. Ask yourself when the last time was that you felt truly joyous and in a state of balance?
One of my professors during my almost 30 years of study in natural medicine said, “it’s not what you eat, but what you digest.” While we immediately think of food in this respect, we must not lose sight of the impact of the circumstances, stresses and fast paced world that easily sets us up for imbalances. Finding quiet PEACE and enjoying a lovely, colorful and aromatic meal based on healthful, natural foods can be a delightful experience. Feed your body, mind and spirit.
- Perspective- Again, this point ties inextricably in with the last two. This point leads us into the things we do, think and feel. Many of us are out of tune with our body signals and also allow our thoughts to rage. This factor has to do with the management of our emotions, relationships to others and ourselves. We have to learn to take care of ourselves and simultaneously recognize that, if we encounter a health imbalance that requires care, we must visit a trusted doctor and receive needed attention. This is part of being a balanced, healthy individual and seeing that we can’t always do everything on our own. This point also encompasses the internal compass we all have. In order to have perspective, we must also have purpose. A life without purpose gives the person little impetus to achieve wellness. Purpose can be anything that creates direction, drive and life satisfaction. It can be family, it can be artwork, it can be helping others, it can be creating projects; the possibilities are endless. The late Dr Wayne Dyer spoke about this factor without framing it in this way, but he instructed people to lose themselves in something greater than themselves- to create, to love, to BE. This is an integral part of being an optimally healthy person.
Optimal health is about balance in all things. This is a staple of Eastern thinking and, sadly, one that most of us have lost sight of. Being able to regain this balance and retune our natural internal compass means tuning back into our deeper voice and that of the world. Not the man-created world, but the world of nature, of natural knowledge and balance. This is not an easy quest, but one that gives us the vitality, strength and energy to be capable, intelligent and equilibrated individuals. This drive creates a trust in our own healing capacities and reconnects us with our true nature. By tuning into our state of wellness, we are proactive in caring for our own health. Certainly that is a quest worth pursuing.