The Pillars of Well-being: Nurturing Your Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Health

February 26, 2024

An individual's overall health is influenced by a combination of many factors, each playing its own unique role in the person's overall well-being. There are four interwoven components that influence our wellbeing, and these are our physical health, mental health, emotional health, and spiritual health.

We notice our physical health first as a strong and healthy body allows us to participate in everyday tasks with energy, and self-sufficiency. To maintain physical health, we need good food, consistent exercise and sufficient rest. Once these are in place our immune system is strong and we adapt to the daily stressors of life with ease. Being physically healthy is essential for a fulfilling life, whether it's for work, hobbies, or just enjoying daily activities. We often take our physical health for granted and it only takes a bruised finger, or a sprained ankle to make us realise this. 

Practicing Yoga

Due to the nature of a lot of work today most of us are leading a sedentary lifestyle. Gone are the days when physical work, including housework, involved physical activity. Clothes go into a washing machine and there is no need to scrub floors anymore.  We do not want to go back to that era, but we also need to realise why physical activity is so important. 

Physical activity moves blood. This is important for circulation but also for a condition we herbalists call blood stasis. Blood stasis may be described as blood that is stuck. It is not moving freely. It is often associated with menstrual cramps. Lack of physical activity is also associated with an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.

Physical activity is essential for managing weight. Obesity can raise a plethora of problems including diabetes, and joint pain. It is unfortunate that weight gain makes it even more difficult to exercise. What is the most concern here is visceral fat, namely, the fat that surrounds our organs. Research indicates that visceral fat triggers inflammation which in turn triggers a host of illnesses including cancer and cardiovascular disease. Needless to say, lack of exercise will also allow muscles to atrophy.

Physical health also improves our mood. We may often not feel like going out for that walk but within ten minutes our mood has lifted and the ‘feel good’ hormones, namely endorphins, have kicked in and we are glad we made the effort.

Finally, physical exercise boosts our immune system and if you add gardening to that is even more effective as Gardening exposes us to a variety of plants, each with its unique set of compounds which include antimicrobial or immune-boosting properties.

Finally, Physical exercise helps our brain and keeps us mentally alert, and it also helps us sleep better.

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