In an ideal world we’d all like to possess a healthy mind in a healthy body. Can we have one without the other or is that not an option? We’re constantly bombarded with messages about how important it is to keep ourselves fit and active. That’s probably why going to the gym is such an important part of the daily routine for many of us. But where does the mind come into all of this?
You might think as long as you’re able to get to the gym and carry out your daily ritual, the mind doesn’t have too much of a role to play. Of course, you need the right kind of attitude of mind, but healthy? I’d like to suggest it’s very important and that without it, you’re bound to run into trouble.
Knowing how to keep our body fit and healthy is relatively easy. That’s because it involves exercise and eating a balanced diet. For the mind, it’s not quite so straightforward. The Open Education Database (oedb.org) lists 100 ways to keep your brain healthy and fit. You might think some of them will take the fun out of life, but it’s a comprehensive list, although I’d suggest there’s more to it than physical actions.
What is meant by a healthy mind in a healthy body?
The phrase “a healthy mind in a healthy body” is translated from the Latin, mens sana in corpore sano. This Latin phrase is often used in sport and education to state that physical exercise is an important part of maintaining mental and psychological well-being (Source: Wikipedia).
It doesn’t mean that only having a healthy mind leads to having a healthy body or vice versa. Nor does it suggest a puritanical existence is necessary. It isn’t about having high morals, although it can be if that’s what you want. To my mind, it’s about the mind and body being in in tune with each other, in other words, in alignment.
Deciding to get fit and actually taking the action to do it are connected by the mind. How you use your mind to make sure you do what you say you’re going to do, is the crucial link. Your attitude and self-discipline will determine the outcome, but is it a “healthy” mind that creates this mindset? It must be, because a healthy mind will look out for you, help to keep you safe and do the “right” things for your survival and advancement.
Why is it important to have a healthy mind and body?
It’s difficult to have one without the other. Yes, it’s possible, for example you might have a healthy mind with a good attitude but suffer with a debilitating ailment that keeps you from getting fit. In this case, you do the best you can and make the most of what you have. It’s the mind that creates, it’s your driving force and gives you the ability to make things happen.
Various studies suggest that taking regular physical exercise throughout your life will help your mind function better in later years. That’s one reason people often say that staying active helps to keep you young. There are medical reasons for this. Physical activity increases the amount of oxygen to the brain and the amounts of endorphins released by it.
A healthy mind is more difficult to define because it can differ from person to person. I would describe it as when your mind is working in your best interest, in whatever is good for you and helps you. Many people allow their mind to just run away with itself and control them according to their past experiences and what they’ve learned. The problem is, that the beliefs formed from this can be from negative, hurtful or fearful experiences in the past. A healthy mind is one where the conscious is controlled by you, where you are in control of your destiny. You send positive messages to your subconscious, which, in turn creates a positive, healthy environment and body for you.
How can we work to achieve a healthy mind and body?
I really believe it all starts with creating a healthy mindset, one which you define but ultimately one that is positive in it’s outlook. It’s a mindset that doesn’t bring up past mistakes or fears to make you feel bad and hold you back. If you don’t take control of your conscious mind, where you do you’re here and now thinking, it will keep reinforcing the subconscious with the same old messages from the past.
Once you’ve decided to begin a fitness routine today and suddenly you start thinking, “I’m a bit tired today, maybe I could start tomorrow”, who’s in control? By giving in to it, then not you, that’s for sure. Thoughts like that send a message to the subconscious that you don’t really want to start this regime, so you know what, let’s give it a miss. That becomes the new or same old routine.
Consciously thinking the thoughts that you want to think, and repeating them, making them louder than the negative ones your mind keeps throwing at you, is how to take control. It isn’t easy, stick at it, because persistence will win the day. Once you get into the routine of your new health regime, diet or whatever is, when you start to see results, you’ll feel good about yourself. Your mind will pick up on this and that’s when you begin to feel an alignment of a healthy mind in a healthy body.
You’re Almost There
When your mind and body are aligned, working towards the same goals, it’s a wonderful thing. You should be on your guard though. Negative thoughts will always creep in from time to time. Don’t let them get the better of you. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but remember who’s in control here. It doesn’t have to be a battle, it just takes a little strength on your part.
There will be times when you might need to break from your routine, if you get ill or something else crops up. That’s ok, don’t feel bad about it, because that’s a trick! When you feel bad for letting yourself down (which you’re not), those negative thoughts are creeping in again. If you allow them, you’re being fooled by your mind again. Eventually it might lead to that new routine going out of the window.
Remember, you have the power to be in control. Once you’re aware of that feeling, you’ll also know when you’re allowing it to slip. When you have a healthy mind in a healthy body, there should be no stopping you. It’s only you who will let it slip, so be prepared to stay in control. The benefits of this will extend into other areas of your life and everything in it can be truly aligned.