You and I know that we live in a high-tech world. We cope with problems, stress, and uncertainty on a daily basis. Even if your workplace, your home, and your neighborhood seem pretty safe and secure, just look at the plight of the wider world around us!
To cope with everything ultramodern, it helps to remember that we each have a body that has changed little since caveman times. To stay alert, smart, and healthy we must meet our bodies’ basic needs, which are low tech indeed.
Our bodies sustain and support our brains. It makes sense, then, to nurture and nourish the physical plant. The good news is that when you meet all or most of your body’s needs, it responds by enhancing your sense of well-being. You feel and look energized, optimistic, calm and relaxed. Your interpersonal relationships will improve, and so will your performance in all areas of your life.
To see how healthy you are, rate yourself on each of the following nine dimensions. Yes is worth one point. No is worth zero points.
1. I get aerobic exercise 45 minutes or more four or five days per week
2. I get strength training several days a week (or I use a personal trainer for half an hour once a week and lift weights twice a week)
3. I sit for no more than an hour at a time without getting up and moving around
4. I engage in several forms of vigorous leisure activity each week
II. Nutrition & diet
5. I eat vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes daily
6. I avoid sugar and processed foods
7. I restrict my intake of dairy, alcohol, and caffeine
8. I eat meat only occasionally
9. I take vitamin supplements
III. Time spent in nature
10. I spend time walking in nature most weeks
11. I enjoy camping or gardening and get regular exercise outdoors
12. I observe birds and other wildlife
13. I live in harmony with the natural world
14. I am in regular contact with immediate family
15. I am in regular contact with extended family
16. I have close friends I’ve known for years
17. I have acquaintances from different areas of my life
18. I meet new people regularly
19. I socialize with people alone and in groups
20. I engage in creative expression
21. I sometimes enjoy doing nothing
22. I enjoy trying new things just for fun
23. I do fun things with others and also when I am alone
24. I approach life with a sense of humor
VI. Relaxation & stress management
25. I meditate
26. I exercise to combat stress
27. I get enough sleep
28. I am kind to myself and my body
29. I balance work and play
30. I get support from other people
VII. Religion & spiritual life
31. I participate in a faith-based community
32. I believe in a higher power
33. I know what my values are, and I try to live by them
34. I believe that I am part of something larger
35. I forgive myself for my mistakes
36. I forgive others for their mistakes
VIII. Contribution & voluntary service
37. I volunteer my time for worthy causes
38. I share my skills with others
39. I try to make the world a better place
40. I mentor others who are younger or less experienced
IX. Life challenge
41. I view obstacles in my life as challenges
42. I set goals, review them daily, and strive to reach them
43. I have a life challenge that forces me to keep learning new things
A score of 35-43 is excellent. A score of 25-34 is good and should suggest some areas where you can do further work. If you score below 25, consider the possibility that accumulated stress and imbalances are contributing to your dissatisfaction, if any, with the quality of your life.
Because our lives change over time, and because we mature and age, we need to recalibrate ourselves constantly to stay healthy. It is never too late to start. Given the chance, your body and your mind will dazzle you with their strength, resilience, and capacity for growth.
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