The Only 2 Things You Need to Be Healthy

by Joanna on October 15, 2012

Do you ever feel like there is just a bunch of information rolling around in your head, and if you could just squeeze it down to the essentials, you could use it.

Or, at least, make sense of it.

Or that it might quiet down in your old noggin’?
Me, too.

I think a lot about health and how I can help people feel better physically. There is literally bajillions of pages and books of information on the subject. (Yes, ‘bajillions’ is a real word. Duh.) I wish I could study it all.

But, honestly, it all comes back around to two really important and essential things that many of us are missing. If you can get these two going, you’re more than half way there.

 

Thing One: Movement

We need to move because we are made to do so.

Up until the mid 1800s, most humans:

  • built and maintained their own house or shelter
  • found or made all their own food (grocery stores being a relatively new invention)
  • washed their clothes by hand
  • farmed (to one extent or another)
  • walked more often than they rode anywhere.

So, it’s only in the last 200 years that we’ve learned not to move that much.
And you can see how well that’s worked for us.

Movement, or exercise of any sort, is necessary for being healthy. Just straight up truth.

I’m not just hinting at the much-touted lack of exercise by Americans (and Westernized cultures). The effects of not moving are now considered a global pandemic .

We have to start adding movement to our lives again. It is not a part of daily life, as it was a century ago. We have to make the choice to do it.

But here’s the thing about movement: because we are made to move, our bodies feel better and work better when we do it.

And there are some really enjoyable consequences of moving regularly (and vigorously):

  • you lose weight
  • your endorphins and serotonin levels rise (the ‘feel good’ neurochemicals)
  • you “magically” want to eat less (after about 6 weeks of regular exercise)
  • you sleep better, and
  • you want to feed yourself better (This one is especially awesome to me, because it kills two birds with one stone. Exercise begets better nutrition).

 

Thing Two: A Good Scream

I know from my own life, and that of my patients, that a good scream can fix a lot of things.

Negative moods and feelings are clearly and strongly associated with degeneration of our biological systems. People who are depressed are more likely to suffer from heart disease and cancer, and develop greater stress (leading to whole host of related problems). The opposite is also true – a heart attack can bring on depression.

Noticing and working with our difficult emotions is also necessary to feel, and be, healthy.

Feelings of depression, guilt, shame, frustration, anger, and sadness all happen to us from time to time. This is part of being human. Helping these emotions to get up and out is how screaming can help us.

Now, I take a broad definition of ‘scream.’

Some people need to scream out loud (although, I yell into a pillow- well away from family and friends so as not to scare them!).

But ‘screaming’ can also be done through a good, hard bike ride.
Or by writing out difficult feelings.
Or dancing them out.
Or singing them out.
Or shadow-boxing with them.
Or talking to a good friend about them.

Doesn’t matter how you ‘scream’- the point is to have an outlet for difficult feelings that not only moves them out of your head, but also out of your body.

 

Thing One and Thing Two

Just like Dr. Seuss’ fictional characters, these two essential steps of good health collaborate and spur one another on. When we make movement and ‘screaming’ a priority in our life, we will see results.

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Here's my disclaimer: I'm here to let you know that you alone are responsible for what you do with the information found in this website. What I offer is information, not medical advice. I'm not a registered dietician. I'm not a nurse. I'm not (technically) a therapist, although I've been trained as one. I've also been trained as a health educator and a minister. I've got several degrees that make me a bonafide smarty-pants, but whatever information, tools, and ideas I share with you are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. I do hope that you will help yourself to anything you find useful and that feels safe for you. Because while I may not be a doctor/ lawyer/ nurse/ whatever, I do know some stuff and I am here to help.