Emotional Well-Being: The Foundation of Health
At Paleo f(x)™, we explore many areas of health. On the medical front, we will discuss hormonal regulation and disease prevention. And of course, we'll discuss nutrition, sleep, movement, exercise, and so much more.
How does one prioritize all this information? By starting with the often overlooked foundation of health: emotional well-being.
Last year was a tough year for me. It took the loss of both of my parents to open me to the core, and to realize that emotional well-being is the base of true health. I learned that in my ongoing journey in the health and fitness business, it wasn’t my strength and conditioning, my diet, my sleep, or even my hormones that were going to bring me to truly sustainable health. It was my underlying emotional health that would lay the groundwork for everything else.
A useful definition of emotional well-being is offered by the Mental Health Foundation:
[Emotional well-being is] a positive sense of well-being which enables an individual to be able to function in society and meet the ordinary demands of everyday life; people in good mental health have the ability to recover effectively from illness, change or misfortune.
If you are attending Paleo f(x)™, you can most likely deal with the “ordinary demands of everyday life” as well. But we all experience stress, and it is anything but “ordinary". When stress triggers our sensitivities or core wounds, we feel awful. We can’t sleep, we tend to make poor food choices, and attempt to exercise the blues away. We might be helping ourselves by eating well, sleeping well, and training, but to attain emotional well-being, we need to open the attic doors and take a hard look at lifetime issues.
This doesn’t mean we all have emotional "problems." But just like training our bodies, we must tend to our emotions proactively to be able to identify what is in us that makes us who we are, because who we are defines why we do what we do. When we have a better understanding of ourselves, then all of the other factors of health will fall into place more easily. Sleep will improve, our eating habits will become clearer, and we will no longer beat ourselves up at the gym. Taking care of our emotional selves is truly the most important component of total health.
This approach is not about being “happy", or getting out of “depression.” I feel both of those terms are overused. It's about learning to find our true form, allowing us to deal with the big hurdles in life. It should not take losing a parent to get us ahead of the curve. My advice is to be proactive and to work toward improving and maintaining emotional well-being right now.
Eva T.’s Emotional Maintenance Strategy
Therapy. If you can, get the help of a counselor and/or therapist if possible at least at least every 90 days.
Connection. Spend time with friends! Reach out to the people you truly care about.
Creativity. Be creative, discover (or re-discover) a practice that engages your mind.
Self Love. Give to yourself.
Appreciate nature. Choose activities that get you outdoors so you can appreciate the natural world.
I've employed all of these strategies in the past year. This is what I've done for myself:
I've made it a point to see a therapist at least twice a month.
Appreciated the outdoors through riding my bike, walking, surfing and flying airplanes.
Rediscovered my creative side through painting and creative projects around my home.
I've gone out of my way to experience personal contact, and shown gratitude for my dearest friends.
Created a financial account specifically for self care: massages, travel, bucket list items, etc.
My realization is that periodic counseling and/or therapy may be the best deterrence of disease in our society. We are bombarded with stimuli and our body has to expend a lot of energy to deal with that. Having a pro at hand to give you the tools to deal with the realities of life will help prioritize the information you acquire at Paleo f(x)™. This way, you can implement your knowledge with greater success and make yourself a healthier person.