The key to optimal wellness lies much deeper than eating healthy and exercising. Caring for our body requires attention to the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual aspects of our being. In other words, optimal wellness is about connecting our heart, mind, body, and soul.
Connecting the heart is not only about taking care of the heart through proper nutrition and exercise to promote adequate circulation, it is about connecting to the heart’s intelligence. Research at the HeartMath Institute suggests that signals from the heart can change cognitive and emotional signals in the brain. Stress is a leading factor in the development of symptoms related to chronic illness. Learning to tap into the heart’s intelligence can dramatically improve cognitive ability and emotions during times of stress and chronic or life-limiting illness. The Heart-Focused Breathing technique can help create a sense of calm and balance, while reducing negative feelings associated with the day-to-day stress of world events, difficult relationships, work schedules, and general dis-ease.
The human brain is an amazing organ that serves as the body’s command center. The brain, composed of sections (lobes) that serve specialized functions, controls heart rate, breathing, thoughts, emotions, communication, and making decisions, to name a few. Brain research over recent years has shown that exposure to poor nutrition, stress, and environmental toxins (root causes) can harbor inflammation, hormone imbalances, and leaky gut, which in turn may lead to chronic and life-limiting brain ailments, such as depression, anxiety, and Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Addressing the root causes coupled with brain fitness (e.g., learning, physical exercise, memory practice, and nutrition) can dramatically improve brain health and wellness.
The human body is made up of 11 specialized systems (i.e., respiratory, digestive, nervous, skeletal, muscular, circulatory, endocrine, exocrine, lymphatic, renal, and reproductive), that work together to form our entire being. Our bodies also have basic physiological needs to survive, including air, water, food, and sleep, as noted in Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy. Physiological needs can be affected by the stress of environmental toxins, inadequate water intake, poor nutrition, and lack of sleep, and can dramatically affect the systems in the body. Before safety needs, such as health and well-being are achieved in the hierarchy, it is important to address matters that affect the physiological needs of the body.
The soul is the essence of our being, and that which expresses our highest level of consciousness. Our soul connects our physical being with our spiritual being. It is our higher self. Meditation transcends our physical consciousness and quiets our mind, while tapping into the still small voice within. Meditation is healing and leads to feelings of peace, love, and gratitude. Mindfulness, a form of meditation, is the process of bringing awareness or attention to experiences without judging them. Both mindfulness and meditation practices serve to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and negative emotions than can impact chronic or life-limiting illness. Mindfulness and meditation are good for the soul.
Making the Connection
Connecting heart, mind, body, and soul requires a commitment to integrating regular rituals and practices into your daily life. Heart-Focused Breathing, developed by the HeartMath Institute, helps make the connection between your heart and brain. Addressing the root causes inflammation, hormone imbalances, and leaky gut by eliminating toxins from our body can also lead to better brain health. While focusing on our basic physiological needs of our body, we require clean air, clean water, clean food, and proper sleep which leads to overall optimal wellness. Clean means free of toxins, chemicals, and substances that cause harm to our body. Finally, mindfulness and meditation help us connect to our higher self. Through that connection, our heart, mind, and body benefits as mindfulness and meditation reduce stress and bring about feelings of peace, love, and gratitude.