Happiness – paying attention to your body

Happiness – paying attention to your body

We are not our bodies, but we cannot exist without our bodies!

We can really struggle to find happiness if health problems interfere with our daily lives, and so we owe it to ourselves, whatever body we have, to try and keep it as healthy as possible.

Keeping our body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos – the trees, the clouds, everything.

Thich Nhat Hanh

We can keep our body healthy with physical movement and exercise. The topics of good nutrition, sleep, rest and relaxation will be covered in future blogs.

Probably the single most important thing that you can do for your health is to move. Whether it is to do yoga, dance, walk, garden, tai chi, run or swim, it doesn’t matter, as long as it is something that you enjoy. Also varying the type of movements and exercise that you do as much as you can will bring benefits to our bodies and our minds in countless ways.

Movement improves your health and good health improves your experience of life and enhances your chance of being happy. How do we keep the balance between healthy exercise and chronic over exercising which can be harmful to health? The key is in duration and frequency. The list of benefits to your health from exercise and movement is long but in summary it:

  • Profoundly improves the functioning of the immune system and encourages lymphatic flow.
  • Lowers stress levels as it reduces the levels of stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, that circulate in the body.
  • Reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and improves your thinking, learning and judgement skills.
  • Increases mood elevating brain chemicals helping you to deal with anxiety and depression.
  • Reduces your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and strengthens your bones and muscles.

A starting point is to listen to your body to try to identify movement that makes you feel good and to vary the type of movement.

If you enjoy yoga then you will know that there are many different styles that can appeal to you depending on how you are feeling and what your body needs. For example, there are energetic and strength building styles as well as more relaxing and restorative styles. Yoga will help you to connect to your body and your body sensations and limitations.

Here is a yoga class to help you put into practice these ideas.