How to achieve optimal health? So many health experts, so many health solutions.
Health information and solutions appear infinite.
If you start reading or researching, you may disappear for days, weeks or maybe for months. And it is likely you will resurface still confused about where to start.
What is it you need to know before you jump in?
Read on for clear and simple insights into what appears to be our modern-day holy grail – our desire for optimal health.
What is optimal health?
Let’s look at a few definitions of optimal health:
- Optimal health is a level of health where your body’s natural defense mechanisms can function optimally.
- Is the ability to achieve balance in key areas of your health including emotional, physical, spiritual, intellectual and social health.
- It is when an individual person’s physical, emotional and mental health abilities are functioning at their best.
And there are lots more definitions. What I think is clear is that there are key themes in defining optimal health, including:
- Achieving balance between the key facets of your life.
- Understanding it is much more than what you eat, how much you exercise and how you sleep.
- It will support and promote quality of living in your day-to-day life.
- It will enable you to better manage or redress the impacts of stress and busyness common in modern-day life.
- It infers a level of health resilience that will protect or reduce your risk of poor health.
- It is as much as have a sense of wellbeing, having meaning in life as performing well at work, going to the movies with friends or playing with your kids on the weekend.
So what are the benefits? I believe optimal health can mean:
- More energy
- Better sleep
- Improved ability to deal with stress
- Feeling less anxious
- Being pain-free
- Being able to move more freely
- Better relationships.
- Discovering a new meaning in life.
- Having more vitality
- More effectively managing symptoms of a health condition
- Being able to fall pregnant
- Feeling well rested.
- Being able to switch off from busyness.
- Enjoying your time with friends or family.
- And I could go on and on and on!
The definition can encompass one of, some or all of the above benefits. It depends on your current health, what areas of your health you would like to improve and how you would like to review your progress toward improved health.
Why health is a journey not a destination?
I often say to my clients that health is a journey. I know, it sounds like an expression from a John Sands card. Sorry I cannot do much about that. :-))
If you can accept it is a journey, you will understand:
- The starting point of a health journey will differ for each person.
- Where someone is on their journey will also differ.
- The steps people take on their journey will differ.
- What someone seeks from their journey will differ.
- Your journey will ebb and flow.
And you will also understand:
- You will need to define what optimal health means to you, your own personal definition.
- Changing your health will be a journey of self-discovery, awareness and understanding.
- That your journey will sometimes be fun, inspiring and rewarding but also challenging and confronting.
- That your definition of optimal health may likely change and evolve over time.
- That your ability to be patient, forgiving and laugh at yourself will be as important as being committed, determined and focussed.
- That although you may desire a quick fix or an instant solution, optimal health will take time to achieve.
Why no such thing as perfect health?
There is no such thing as perfect optimal health.
Our health is the sum of our daily choices and habits. To maintain health change you need to continue to make healthier choices and adopt healthier habits consistently over time. This requires you to be pragmatic and practical.
Striving for perfection, not being practical and pragmatic brings an increased risk of being restrictive, manifesting feelings of guilt, failure or not being able to do enough and setting unrealistic expectations of what can be achieved over a period of time.
Optimal health is about balance. Achieving or maintaining balance requires an ongoing process of adjustment, recalibration and adapting to what is going on in life and hence your health.
I wish you good health.