Dr Suman Bharali
(MD, Ayurvedic Medicine, email@example.com)
In one of the saint Kabir's Dohas, it is said that "everybody remembers God during distressed times but nobody does it during happy times. If people remember God during good times there will not be bad times." The same is applicable for our health as well. People engage in all sorts of activities and pleasures but don't think about their health much. Most of the people are having wrong lifestyle and have developed many bad habits knowingly or unknowingly. Nowadays people know a lot about what is good and what is bad for the body and mind. Yet, they lack discipline and will power to avoid bad habits and instill good ones. Instantaneous pleasures, addictions and comfort grips quickly and strongly. For a healthy, happy and harmonious life one has to be aware of one's body, mind, soul, society and environment. To achieve success in any field or win a game one has to do consistent hard training, bear some pain and sacrifice some luxuries of life. Nobody likes the process, but everybody wants the result. But to get some blessing we have to do some penance first. Harder the battle is, the greater the victory will be. In order to have a fit body, sound mind and joyful soul one has to take some conscious self-care every day.
Every day after finishing necessary duties, one should give some to self to relax, repair, recharge, regenerate, recover, rejuvenate and reflect. A person might be too busy, have a lot of responsibilities and unfinished tasks. Amidst all the chaos giving some time to self is very much important. Too much attachment suffocates a person. So, some time in isolation and detachment from all bondages, desires and ego is essential. If a person is physically and mentally fit, then he or she can do the works properly, take care of others and enjoy life. If one is diseased, tired, burnt out, low in energy and motivation, then life will be felt like burden.
In the journey of life, our body is like the chariot; our soul is the passenger and our mind is like the horses pulling it. To move in right direction and complete the journey of life our mind and body need to be in good condition. So, everybody should give their body top priority. The longer and healthier one lives, the more he or she can contribute to world, society, family and loved ones. Every life is precious and has tremendous potential. Only clear vision and efficient execution is needed. If one can concentrate all their energies in right direction and remain persistent, they can do wonders in any field. But most people are blinded by the illusions of the material world. They keep running day and night to collect as much as they can, whether it is money, fame, power or greatness. They see the world through the spectacles of illusions and information fed to the mind.
One should take a pause every now and then to come out of the trap of illusions. They should keep aside the superficial layers of false ego such as name, fame, power, knowledge, achievements, wealth etc., and think about what will really matter at the end of life. When all the superficial coverings of ego are dropped, one realizes who they are and see one's pure form. Then they will find that they are nothing but the pure consciousness which is witnessing everything. From doer they will become observer. All other persons will also be seen as pure souls. When everybody will be seen as pure souls there will be no bias based on wealth, power, intelligence, beauty, age, gender, etc. Then their actions and words will not have negative impact as these are done due to their ignorance, ego and by the influence of illusions of the material world. Everything will be felt like a dream or a play. There will be nothing to be serious about and life will not remain an emergency. All the restlessness, anxiety, fear, guilt, grief, anger or hatred will diminish. As howsoever pleasant or unpleasant the dream is, it will be over one day for all sooner or later. One need not have to win in each and every game, but should participate and enjoy all of it. Everyone should utilize their lifetime completely and properly.
The soul is not affected by anything and is immortal. It is an observer which witnesses all that is happening in and around us. It is our mind which makes us take decisions and actions. The actions can be right or wrong, constructive or destructive, pious or sinful. The mind is influenced by the information fed to it through our sense organs or the memories of past experiences. It is also influenced by our environment and the consciousness of other people we interact with. Therefore, we should be conscious about what we are feeding to our mind.
By changing our perspective, we can see everything from a different angle. The same world which we felt evil, hopeless and unlivable will turn into kind, loving, caring, full of opportunities and full of life. We can see our duties and responsibilities as bondage and think we are enslaved or we can see it as an opportunity to serve humanity in our own way. We should be grateful that we got the chance to serve somebody or have something to do which will be helpful for other human being or the world. Our perspective determines how we feel about ourselves and others.
We should be grateful that God has given us a body and take care of it as divine gift. Engaging in day-to-day activities and responsibilities we often ignore our body. We can't find some time for ourselves within a day to observe our body to find out what is happening in it. We ignore the signs of its sufferings and needs. It draws our attention only when a part of it fails to function properly or there is some discomfort or disease. When there is some infection in a nail or a hair follicle and there is severe pain then one understands these little and negligible parts of the body. Similarly, when there is some discomfort or disease in an organ or some part of the body, then one become aware of it and start taking care of it. Sometimes it's too late and the damage has already happened.
Therefore, one should find out some time for self on a daily basis. During this period, one should detach from everything and sit peacefully to observe own body and mind. During this time, one should observe each part of the body keenly. One should become each major organ within the body and different systems to find out whether it is healthy and properly functional. If we take care of our body regularly, we can avoid many diseases and accidents unexpectedly. With a healthy body and mind, we can perform our duties efficiently and take care of others better.
One should eat at the proper time according to need of the body. Avoid junk food, too much oily or spicy food, stale or rotten things and use less of packaged or preserved food. One should eat in proper amount and a balanced diet which would provide all vitamins, minerals, trace elements, dietary fibers, carbohydrates, essential fats and proteins. We should eat food of all tastes such as sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, astringent in adequate quantity. Freshly cooked food is always good. Different varieties of fresh and juicy fruits and vegetables should be eaten regularly. White sugar, salt, refined flour and refined oil etc., should be avoided or used less. Occasional and calculated fasting is also beneficial. By following such food habits our gastrointestinal tract will remain healthy and the body will get proper nutrition and function well. And our mind will be calm and clear.
If one remains conscious about the fluid and electrolyte requirements of the body, we can save it from imbalance. The kidney and urinary system will function properly and the intracellular and extracellular homeostasis will be maintained. We should be aware of dehydration following diarrhoea, vomiting, excessive sweating, after burn and blood loss. Then take proper supplements as required. Some simple ways to rehydrate the body is to take coconut water, lemonade, oral rehydration solution etc. Sugarcane juice and other fruit juices provide instant energy, cleanse thirst, provide fluid and nutrients and cleanse the urinary system. Persons with hypertension should not take too much salt and persons with diabetes should not take sugar or sweet items. If the dehydration is more, then proper medical consultation and supervision is necessary.
To keep the heart and vascular system in good condition we should do some aerobic or cardio exercises. Running, walking, jogging, skipping, swimming, dancing, martial arts etc,. are some common exercises which increase the heart rate and enhances the blood circulation throughout the body. When every cell and every organ of the body will get adequate supply of blood they will function at optimal level. Nutrients and oxygen will be supplied, utilized and by products will be liberated out of the body properly. Exercise also utilizes stored carbohydrate and fats in the body. Thus, it helps in reducing obesity, hyper lipidemia and atherosclerosis, which are major risk factors for ischemic heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and brain stroke. When the body metabolism will be in equilibrium, other metabolic diseases will also be checked, such as hypothyroidism, poly cystic ovarian disease, etc. Nowadays, lifestyle disorders and diseases are common and are taking a lot of lives or lower the quality of life. It is because we ignore our body in day-to-day life. If we don't take out little time for exercise daily, soon we have to take out time for treatment of diseases. We all know that prevention is better than cure. So, in our good days also we should take care of our body regularly.
To keep the brain and nervous system in healthy state, timely and adequate sleep is most important. An adult should sleep around 8 hours daily. During sleep our body repairs and regenerates; different hormones, enzymes and biochemicals are produced and secreted in the body. All these maintain the homeostasis within the body. After good sleep our whole body and sense organs are refreshed and recharged; our efficiency and concentration increases. The mind becomes relaxed, peaceful and we attain clarity. Our immunity is boosted and regulated. Thus, different psychosomatic and auto immune diseases can be controlled.
We should keep the body externally and internally clean. We should bathe regularly to keep the skin, sebaceous glands, hair etc., clean. We should keep different orifices of the body clean, which are ears, nostrils, eyes, mouth, urinary and reproductive parts and anus.
For proper functional respiratory system, we need fresh air with adequate oxygen. We should go out and walk in the nature for some time regularly. We should take deep breaths, filling our lungs to maximum capacity with fresh air and release out the by-product gases and toxins. When every cell of the body and every organ get adequate supply of oxygen they function properly. It saves the organs from hypoxia and degeneration. Thus, fresh air acts as an antioxidant. Breathing rhythmically and roaming in open space also helps in balancing our emotions. If we confine ourselves in artificial closed environments in our home, office or vehicles always, we will feel suffocated and constricted. In closed or crowded places air gets impure, dust and germs get accumulated. So, spending some time regularly in an open environment is essential. The rooms should be cleaned and arranged regularly.
Proper ventilation and sunlight is also necessary to keep it clean. Daily dose of morning sunlight is essential for the body as it helps in formation of vitamin D in the body. Nowadays, a lot of people suffer from vitamin D deficiency because it is not readily available in our foods and people don't take sunrays adequately. Pranayamas are also beneficial in proper functioning of the lungs and the respiratory muscles. Cellular oxidation and energy production is enhanced when oxygen supply is adequate. The body becomes fresh, energetic and active. The mind becomes calm, sense organs get sharper and intellect is enhanced.
Life should not lived as an emergency. We should relax and savor its different flavours. Adventures, sports, music, art and crafts, hobbies, entertainment, travelling, spending time with friends and family all makes the life more vibrant. It fills us with life energy and enthusiasm to live and flourish. We should keep moving ahead in life always. Gradually we will recognize our talents and find a purpose to dedicate our lives to. Such a life will be satisfactory and complete.