Healthy Living

By Gangadharan Variyar –

Am able to recollect a number of quotes and proverbs about health. The most oft quoted is “Health is Wealth.”

Absolute truth! Taking care of your health is as or even more important than taking care of your wealth.

It is a fact that preferences and habits differ among individuals and the factors that contribute to your preferences and habits are the society you live in, your upbringing, the geography of your domicile etc. The most deciding factor is your mental make-up, which is unique to each individual. An individual lives according to his/her own preferences and form habits. Healthy living can be achieved without compromising any of your preferences or habits. The trick would be to choose the best of those preferences and habits, add a good dose of established practices and lead a lifestyle that is ideal and healthy.

Sentience is what separates humans from other forms of life on earth. By saying that, the allusion is, being human we should use that awareness to achieve the best in our life. Am fully aware that Utopia is an impossibility, the reason for elaborating on the personal preferences and mental make up in the earlier paragraph. The emphasis is on healthy living, the reason and the means to it.

While surfing internet, I came across the definition of health in Wikipedia. It stated that quote: At the creation of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948, Health was defined as being a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. unquote. That means health is not just absence of physical ill health but a complete state of well-being. We are aware that mental and social well-being is dependent on external factors and may not be fully in our control. Where as, physical health (barring hereditary, degenerative or malignant maladies) is.

Healthy living does not involve Herculean effort but just basic attentiveness and precautions. Food habits, hygiene, physical exercise and rest, if properly taken care of, will go a long way in maintaining physical health and a comfortable living. I have observed that hygiene is a frequent lapse that lead to a number of maladies. Washing your hands before eating, physical cleanliness, clean clothes etc. will help in keeping many infectious diseases away. Diet, though mostly dependent on your upbringing and social background, can be adjusted to provide optimum nourishment without compromising taste and preferences. Taste can be acquired. I personally relish bitter gourd preparations, which is an acquired taste.

Physical activity is another deficiency in our sedentary life styles. If not a constitutional morning walk, we can find opportunities in our daily life to exercise. Dusting your apartment will provide some physical exercise and keep the place clean. Walking up the stairs instead of using the elevator will save electricity and reduce your carbon footprint (a pun! but a fact)

The last but not the least, rest. A must do for recharging our batteries. It goes without saying that sleep is the best form of rest and if possible, with least help from sleep inducing substances. A fully loaded slumber will not provide the rest your body needs. It does not help you recharge your mental batteries. An early dinner, a good walk and a glass of hot milk would do the trick for people with minor sleeping problems. This may not be a cure for insomnia but can be of help to some extent.

Mental and social well-being is also important, but as I stated earlier, they are mostly dependent on external factors. Avoiding aggression, for example – road rage, can contribute to your mental as well as society’s well-being. We also have some proven methods to better mental health. Practicing meditation, prayer, yoga etc. can really help. Religions were founded or have evolved for the social and mental well-being of the human kind.

Author: Gangadharan Variyar
email: gangadharan_venoor@yahoo.co.in

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