Many people appear to be overly concerned with their health these days.
And why not?
Maybe because the Health Bill just passed?
Or, because all of the toxins, diseases, lack of exercise, and whatever else lurking out there to potentially threaten a long and prosperous life.

Many of us know the formula for health: proper diet, regular exercise, and reduction of stress. Admittedly, some people go overboard, perhaps obsessive, into any one of these categories, or sometimes all of them.

Based on several decades of observation, I would say that certain key elements for positive health are overlooked by most. First, let us remember the advice of the ancient Greeks: ‘Nothing in excess’. In other words, balance may be the most important element to a healthy life.

Now for some specifics: a twenty-year study at University of California-Berkeley revealed that adequate rest each night was the most important factor for optimal health. (I’m guessing that assumes you have enough water and food.)

How much sleep is enough?

According to the study, it varies for each person, but the average was eight hours. Common sense, right? But most of us don’t get that. Also, the study indicated that the quality of sleep is more important than the quantity.
Here’s the key: How many of you are getting deep, restful sleep? (That means unencumbered by drugs, alcohol, poor digestion, worry/anxiety, and excess stress.) I’m guessing not too many.

Overall, the study showed that adequate quality rest is the most important factor for positive health.

Next, most health watchers focus on the three biggies: nutrition, movement, stress reduction. In fact, this is where we are directed if medical advice is sought, unless pharmaceuticals are prescribed

But many of us neglect an entire environment that has a devastating impact on health. And most general practitioners will not talk about it. Besides, it’s much easier to prescribe a sedative.

So, what is it?

The inner landscape atop your shoulders.

I know, I know. Much is written about this topic, whether you call it mental health, a sanity check, or mind noise.
But seriously, the state of your mind plays a huge role in your health, from organ vitality to proper digestion of food to the depth of rest at night.

In this day and age of economic uncertainty and technological overabundance, many lie awake at night, our minds racing, until we either succumb to exhaustion or resort to some concoction of chemicals. The cause of such mental anguish could be anything: lack of money, fear of loss, teenagers, and overbearing boss—you name it.

What to do?

Dare I say it: look inward, but not through mental masturbation. Spend time with yourself.

The key here is to listen, at first, to what your mind is saying (if you are able) and simply acknowledge a few of the mind’s worries/fears/concerns. (What have you got to lose? See what happens.)

Then, take them one at a time and ask yourself: What do I need for that?

After the question, be still and quiet (to the best of your ability). Most of the time, the answer will come to you, maybe rising to the surface like a bubble through water. Or it may just pop into your awareness (aka, your consciousness).
(Sounds simple, and it is, but be prepared to practice, like with anything else, in order to get steady results.)

Allowing for the inner dialogue described above opens the doorway for key often unmentioned elements of health: compassion, forgiveness, and acceptance for all of you. Best of all, you are the provider, too.

By offering these intangible salves to your self, the sores and scars of daily stress can heal, just as a glass of water sates the parched.

Directions for use: Apply regularly, as needed.

UC Berkeley, Harvey Sleep Lab, 2003.

Freeze Frame Technique. Heart-Math Institute, Santa Cruz, CA

MBF(R) Level Two Manual. Geoffrey Gluckman, MSc. 1995.

Author's Bio: 

As the creator of the Muscle Balance and Function Development® System in 1993, Geoff has provided seminars, workshops, and individual consultations for health care providers internationally.

Credited with starting the postural and functional exercise revolution now in force in North America, this stemmed from a ground-breaking postural fitness article in Shape Magazine(November 1994) that featured him, including a specially designed MBF® functional exercise program for women.

He authored the internationally acclaimed Muscle Balance and Function Development® CDROM(1997) and related manuals, as well as several articles for journals.
In 2000, he appeared on the Body by Jake Healthy Lifestyles television show as the featured functional fitness and biomechanics expert. Over the years, he has presented at international conferences for organizations, such as 3rd Interdiscplinary World Congress on Low Back Pain, NSCA, and IDEA. He also served as a guest staff member of The Nicklaus/Flick Golf School and the Assistant Director of T.H.E. Clinic in Del Mar, California, home of The Egoscue Method. He
holds a Master's Degree in Exercise Science and a Health/Fitness Instructor certification by the American College of Sports Medicine.

In addition, he writes features for print publications in the United States, Canada, and Australia, such as Iron Horse Magazine, Law Enforcement Technology, Credit Union Business, and Mini Rider, and Earth Action Right Now, a non-profit organization.