Fitness of the Mind
Meditation, an exercise recommended for everyone, but especially those of us with hectic, stressful lifestyles, is defined as an engagement in contemplation, especially of a spiritual or devotional nature. Meditation has been shown to relieve stress, and promote overall good health, by simply reflecting upon our day, and finding happiness within ourselves. This and other mind exercises help us to keep our mind fit, and functioning at top performance levels
Our spirituality and meditation practices are the tools we have available to keep our mind as fit as we keep our bodies. The mind is a complicated and versatile machine, but it can become overwhelmed and unable to function correctly, if we don’t take the time to keep it cared for.
Our mind has varying levels of operation, known as brainwaves. As we pass through the different stages of our day, we enter various stages of brain wave activity. The brain uses this tool as one way to allow us time to rest our busy mind, and cope with all the pieces of information we’ve received, a way to kind of “mind file” for the day.
When we don’t give adequate time for these processes, or we simply don’t get enough rest, our mind cannot maintain its state of fitness, just like our bodies aren’t capable of fitness if there is no chance to rest and replenish.
Modern alternative medicine and holistic healers believe in the power of the energy that flows through our bodies; this energy radiates from our mind as well. It is believed to be the chief from of transportation for our body’s nervous system to carry out communication.
Breathing techniques, music, aromas, and candle therapy are all ways we utilize the opportunities to reflect on our day, allow our mind to rest and replenish itself for further use. But are these methods keeping us mentally fit? Yes, but they don’t work alone. The absorption of new information, new opportunities to learn, and creative play provide our mind the stimulus it needs in order to stay fit and functioning.
The onset of many age-related mental disorders occurs because we haven’t taken the time to keep our mind youthful, and involved in new learning. Learning new things forces our mind to form new neural pathways. We need those neural pathways for the transmission of information from the body to the mind, or with our ability to form new memories. If we don’t exercise the mind, we lose the fitness.
We must remember over the course of our daily routine, to make time to maintain mental fitness, as we strive to maintain physical fitness. The nice thing about the whole process is that, as we go about accomplishing these tasks, quite often the opportunities for preservation and care are interchangeable. We can help to quite our mind as we take our twenty minute walk. Or we have the opportunity to build muscle strength as we meditate.
Often just the opportunity to listen to music will allow our mind the chance it needs to relax and regroup. It’s not always the most formal of occasions that we find an available chance to reflect and listen to that inner voice. It can be in the middle of the day, with the wind blowing through your hair, and the radio turned up really loud!
Fitness of the Body
Bodily fitness is being able to deal with and handle the daily stresses of life, good physical and mental health, especially when maintained by proper diet, exercise, and habits. Nutrition refers to the nurturing of our body, in our ability to keep it healthy and functioning as it is supposed to do. Our ability to provide the body with all the necessary food, vitamins, and minerals so that we continue to thrive in our daily life processes is a part of overall fitness. Fitness refers to the condition of good physical, mental, and spiritual health.
Fitness of the body occurs when all the body processes, physical and mental are functioning as the peak levels. What does it take to achieve complete body fitness? It requires more than simply taking a trip to the gym, or a walk in the park.
Many factors come into play when we consider our body’s fitness. The daily intake of food, vitamins, and water are absolute necessities, and most often the items thought about. What about the conditioning of our body to deal with life each day?
Does our physical exercise have anything to do with the fitness of our body? Absolutely. For one condition without regard to the other, is not a complete whole. The body includes all of our physical processes, our mind, and our physical being as a whole. When we give thought to the fitness of the body, most often we contemplate our physical condition as it applies to our cardiovascular needs and our weight. But our bodies are much more than heart and a nice figure. What about all of our other organs? Are they fit? How do we maintain a fitness of the entirety? Daily physical exercise that benefits the body as a whole, taking time to rest and restore what has been depleted from our body over the course of the day, and making sure that we adequately supply our entire body with the nutrition necessary for healthy function.
If we use our resources wisely and educate ourselves about the things our body needs to maintain fitness, over the course of our life, it isn’t a difficult thing to attain. But you cannot abuse your body for years, and then hope for immediate results in trying to attain overall fitness. It didn’t become unfit overnight, and it won’t become fit again that quickly.
Proper attention to the physical needs of each part of your body results in the fitness of the whole. Every part of your physical body exists to work in unison with another part of the body. Two hands are necessary for optimal functioning of the limbs, two feet, two eyes, etc. The physical body is designed to work better than any machine invented to date. It is more complex and powerful than any piece of equipment we have on the market. It takes more abuse than believable, and continues to operate, even without the daily requirements being met, for several days. It is a fascinating machine, as machines go. But it is an even more fascinating subject, when we choose to care for our bodies as the temples they really are. They house our mind and soul, and when the body is fit, it does its job tremendously well.
Fitness of the Spirit
Fitness of the spirit refers to our ability to cope with the everyday stresses and strains of living our life. Quite often, the ability to cope overwhelms us, and if we don’t give sufficient time to the fitness of the spirit, or soul, we lose our ability to function properly.
Today, the evidence of that inability exists in the form of anxiety attacks. The attacks can range from extremely mild to unbelievably severe. What is happening to us when we experience anxiety attacks? Our system goes into a form of shock. I refer to as a sort of “soul shock”; nothing is physically wrong that should cause us to become ill, and nothing is wrong mentally that should cause us to experience the panic; it is within our spirit that we have lost control.
This loss of control can be momentary, or it can last for years. The most debilitating part of the process is the inability to function even in the most usual of routines. Short trips to the grocery store become impossible, because of the panic they create within the person.
Having experienced these panic attacks for a brief period of time, I can attest to their reality. It is a frightening event that only serves to add to the panic. The person experiencing these attacks feels as if they have lost control over their ability to function. They cannot meet deadlines; they aren’t able to provide for their family, there are a host of reasons that cause us to come to the place of loss of control.
I believe the hectic pace of life in this 21st century only serves to enhance the need to give our spirit, our soul, our inner voice a chance to be heard. We drown out any opportunity to connect with ourselves during the course of our day, because we schedule everything, multi-task everything, and leave no down time for a conversation with our self. It’s impossible to listen to your inner needs, if you’re talking on the phone, listening to the radio, or interacting with your children.
At the same time this era has taken from us any chance meeting of our spiritual needs, it has also provided more opportunity for planned downtime. We have audio, video, and even massage clinics that offer us the chance to slow down and connect with our inner self. Never before has there been so much available to help us help ourselves. What is the hold up? The biggest detriment is our lack of discipline and devotion to our own health and well-being. What we tend to forget during this age of super-human feats, is that the only way to sustain the super-human person, is to keep that person, all aspects of that person, well.
Fitness comes through concentrated effort, discipline, and devotion, to our body, mind and soul. The fitness of our spirit or soul affects all other parts of our person, as evidenced in the presence of panic attacks, mental breakdowns, and the inability to cope. The need to attend to our fitness needs should be added to our daily “to do” list, so that we schedule in enough time for ourselves!
This is just a good read by OHO