Secrets of health. - Part I10, Mar, 2016, by Seema Bhatnagar
“Health is wealth.” – is this not we all have heard since our childhood? How truly it conveys the power and significance of health in one’s life. Though we all know the significance of health but the ground reality is starkly different.
Here are some glaring facts about health according to WHO.
>800 000 persons approximately die from suicide globally each year (one death every 40 seconds)
*1 - Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980.
*2 - In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 600 million were obese.
*3 - 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2014, and 13% were obese.
*4 - Most of the world's population lives in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
*5 - 42 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2013.
Aren’t these facts alarming enough and truly eye openers? Most worrisome part is, it has reached to the point of afflicting children, which means - somewhere the elders at home are either ignorant about health or children are not looking up to their parents as role models.
In this age of information where every media tries to spread significance of health, still an average person is ignorant about the exact definition of health and doesn’t have clear idea about what does it mean by true health or why it is important to have good health.
"Health is not valued till sickness comes." ~ Thomas Fuller
As a general belief, health means, an individual is physically sound and disease free. According to some, minor illnesses like cold, cough, virals, allergies are norm for body. Since these are not threatening enough so nobody wants to go into their root cause, but the reality is - a truly healthy person should not even contract any fever or infection.
Commonly, physical health is given prime importance but in reality, an individual enjoys health at two levels, mental and physical. The mental aspect of health is commonly ignored when it comes to definition of good health.
It is extremely important to understand these two aspects of health in more detail:-
Physical health means – a body free from any pain and pathological ailment.
Mental health means – a mind free from negativity, stress and filled with positivity and optimism.
Unknowingly, purely out of personal ignorance, many people fall into physical maladies. Not consuming healthy food, not exercising enough and eating more than what is needed leads to physical ailments. Isn’t it surprising that a country like USA, a developed one, where each and every product is sufficiently marked with nutritional value, has world’s maximum number of obese people?
Mental illnesses are the gifts of modern age. People invariably live in a stressful and lonely environments landing in to state of depression and negativity at a very early stage of life. Not at all surprising that kids of age as low as 5 years are suffering with stress and anxiety related symptoms. Isn’t it uncomfortable to know that well developed countries are topping in number of individuals afflicted with some or the other type of mental illness.
"To live for hundred years it is important that the body is healthy, devoid of weakness and ailments." ~ Atharva Veda
The rate at with which we are progressing technologically, at the same rate we are also falling into our own trap and jeopardizing physical and mental health.
In such a cut throat and competitive society living healthy doesn’t come so easy because there is always one or the other task is ready to be acted upon and failing at one means a failure of life or a misfortune for an individual. This culture of perfectionism is causing more harm than any good to society.
Mind and Body relationship.
"The body should be sound and healthy because only then we can have a healthy mind." ~ Atharva Veda
If you are having pain or may be a wound somewhere in the body, then mind is continuously focusing on that particular part for its alleviation and at the same time individual feels pain and some sort of negativity inside.
Similarly, if you are living with negativity due to strained relationships at work or home, body naturally responds to it and acquire pain or some other symptom which gets manifested as a cancerous growth or glandular imbalance in body or any form of bodily illness.
This mutual response of mind and body is called psychosomatism. Any psychosomatic imbalance leads to illnesses in body.
Psychosomatic illnesses usually includes pain in some body part, sexual, gastrointestinal or neurological problems, tiredness, and menstrual problems.
So, this concludes that health means a perfect harmony between body and mind. If one is concerned about health then one should pay attention not just to body but equal attention to mind as well.
The concept of psychosomatic illnesses is well described in ancient Indian scriptures, which state that mental illnesses are the primary diseases and become the sole reasons for physical illnesses in long run.
Ayurveda and Health.
Ancient Indian science - Ayurveda, which literally means the science of life (Ayur = Life, Veda = Science), is an ancient medical science which was developed in India thousands of years ago. It primarily prescribes the best practices for a healthy and happy life and natural herbal cures for diseases.
Ayurveda describes what all should be practised by an individual in a daily life, right from waking up in the morning till retiring to bed in the night, covering each and every aspect of life. This wisdom of Ayurveda can be summarized as the four basic pillars of life, ahar(food), vihar(life style), achar(personal behavior) and vichar (mindsets).
#1 - Ahar
– what one should eat, how much one should eat and how one should eat.
#2 - Vihar
– how much rest / recreation time is needed in a day, daily routines including Niyamas, i.e. Shaucha - Cleanliness, Santosha - Contentment, Tapas - Austerity, Svadhyaya - Self-study, Ishvara pranidhana - Surrender to God. Read in more details: Self-Discipline - 24 hours Meditation.
#3 - Achar
– conduct of individual with the external world – which is in fact is the first step of the 8-fold path or Ashtang Yoga, i.e. Yamas – Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (Truth), Asteya (non- stealing), Brahmacharya (moderation in seeking pleasures), Aparigraha (non-stealing). Read in more details: Self-Discipline - 24 hours Meditation.
#4 - Vichar
– goals and objectives in life, personal thoughts and mindsets.
Practising these basic four pillars of life an individual can enjoy a holistic life. These four basic pillars are fundamentally covering the mind and body aspects of individual.