The reason I’m calling this new book, “Health Food for the Soul” is because there are certainly a lot of studies that show how the human spirit affects the body. Pent up aggressions, grief and sorrow, anger, fear, guilt and regret can also cause physiological manifestations. Those negative emotions activate hormonal responses, autonomic nervous system response and a cascade of other effects too numerous to list.
I’m not talking about some “woo-woo” concept here with ethereal wings. Think about it. When you get angry, don’t you also feel it in your body? How about fear? The adrenaline starts pumping and the sympathetic nervous system is at least to some degree kicked into gear. When this is momentary or short-lived, your body can deal with it and your parasympathetic nervous system gets everything calmed down and back to normal.
But what if you are angry or fearful or depressed a majority of the time? Well, this is just not healthy for your body in so many ways. It can lead to adrenal fatigue and other hormonal deficiencies and imbalances, serious nutritional deficiencies, various autoimmune disorders and even disease. On top of all that, anger, depression or other similarly poor emotional states can lead to more problems such as substance abuse, addictions, self deprivation or even physical abuse that will not only take a toll on your body, but on those around you as well.
So the purpose of this book it to give you ways and means of not only uplifting yourself spiritually, but also positively affecting those around you.
I know there are no shortages of self-help books and philosophies out there. Believe me, I have done my share of studying in this zone. So what is different about this book? I’ll tell you. It’s a compilation of down to earth, simple, practical and easy steps that you can take to improve your disposition and uplift yourself into a healthier spiritual state. It doesn’t divine the spiritual secrets of the universe or answer any eternal questions about who we are or why we are here. It is simply some things you can do to generate more happiness in your life. That’s all. I don’t claim to have “the answers” to human suffering or the keys to ultimate spiritual freedom and abilities.
If you do some or all of the things covered in this book, it will help improve your outlook on life, improve your mood and lift you up to some degree. It won’t cure your bad back or solve all your problems. But it will help you to experience a little more happiness and that will have a good bearing on your health.
There are a lot of things that can adversely effect the way you feel, your moods, your general tone and your attitude toward yourself and others. Stress levels, oppression in your work or home environment, past failures, losses and much more. So what things can have a positive effect on those feelings? There are quite a few straight-forward things you can do to positively impact your own life or the lives of others.
Experiencing some sense of purpose, exploring some type of creativity, experiencing love from another or a pet, acts of kindness (giving and receiving), helping others and experiencing beauty in your environment are among some of the things that can have an uplifting impact.
Good feelings release endorphins in the body that lead to improved health – thus my new coined phrase “A Healthy Soul”, which most likely has a real connection to your overall long-term health.
One of my best tips
One simple little habit that you can develop can greatly help to experience more happiness and release more endorphins. It is what I can best describe as “savoring anything good”. All you need to do it to take an extra moment or two, anytime you experience anything good in your life, to savor that moment a bit longer.
Seeing a pretty sunset, a beautiful view, that first bite of a yummy dessert, a great steak, a fire on a cold night, a starry sky, a loved one, a beautiful baby, a hummingbird, someone appreciating you or being kind to you — anything good that you experience through any of your senses.
If you will just stop for a moment and savor it. Absorb it into your soul. Remember it. Feel gratitude for it. Focus on that sense and let it in to your mind.
Each time you do this, it has some healing effect. It’s like suave for your soul.
You will be surprised how there are good things in your life that you may not have noticed. The more you do this, the more healing you experience. But also, the number of good moments you experience seem to increase. It’s sort of like watering the flowers in your garden rather than watering the weeds. You get more flowers.
If you want to know more about this, I recommend a book by author Rick Hanson called, “Hardwiring Happiness”, which is where I first learned this tip.
When I first started working on this habit, it wasn’t easy for me. Most of the time I forgot to do it at all. But I did start doing it once and a while. Then gradually I began to like it. I could feel that bit of healing occurring. Little by little I did it more and more often and found it incredibly helpful. After a while it became a habit.
What you are experiencing are little moments of happiness. The more of these that you experience and the more you savor and appreciate them, the happier you are. Every moment helps.
Another Good Tip
I have a recommendation that I have found very helpful. It’s not particularly easy to do as when one is feeling low, it’s probably the last thing you might think of doing at the time. But if you can get yourself to do it, even in small doses, it will help. I think that the best thing you can do for your soul is to do something to help someone else. A selfless action to help another or to help improve someone or something in your community improves self worth and helps to lift your own spirit more than you may realize. Whether it’s helping another family member, neighbor or friend, rescuing an animal or volunteering for a worthwhile cause in your community, any action along this line will give you a lift. The more you do, the more lift you get yourself.
Everyone can do something to help another. Donating clothes, shoes or household items that you don’t use anymore has the added benefit of less clutter at home. Helping in any kind of community clean-ups has the added benefit of getting you out of the house and out of your head and putting your attention out in the environment – also very therapeutic. Any kind gesture to another, small or large, is good for the soul. Keep working at it and you may feel little twinges of happiness.
Good feelings release endorphins in the body that lead to improved health – thus my new coined phrase A Healthy Soul. It’s also just good karma.