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How Our Physical Health Affects Our Emotional Well-Being

By Mormon.org
Family playing basketball outside

A Happy Body Contributes to a Happy Spirit

We’ve all heard the old adage “If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.” In other words, when you’re comfortable and content in your body, it’s easier to focus on life and living. Our physical health is closely connected to our emotional well-being. Contracting a simple cold is often enough to help us appreciate the gift of daily health. A wise and truthful Catalan proverb states, “From the bitterness of disease, man learns the sweetness of health.”

Small Victories

Sometimes we feel stuck in our bodies. We know we don’t feel as well as we could. We struggle to make changes and despair at our inconsistencies. These feelings can be overcome by starting small. Remember, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” (Lao Tzu). By focusing 95 percent of your attention on the steps and 5 percent on the destination, you’ll avoid being overwhelmed, experience the sweetness of success, and enjoy the journey.

You can feel better in your body each day by focusing on the little things. Even tiny successes boost mood and confidence—which naturally contributes to emotional well-being. Change isn’t easy. Mark Twain captured the humor in the challenge when he said, “The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.” Humor aside, Twain fails to cite the joyful benefits that accompany self-discipline. Over time, exercise does begin to feel good, eating healthily becomes a preference, and an afternoon catnap can become a saving grace.

Balance

A soul experiences more happiness in a balanced body—a body that eats healthy, gets exercise, receives rest when it’s tired, and is recharged regularly with meditation or prayer. If you’re lacking in any or all of these areas, you can now see with more clarity what your personal journey will look like—but remember that the destination gets 5 percent of your attention—only because you have to know where you’re going. Give the rest of your attention and energy to the first step.

Your first step could be similar to any of the following: fitting one more hour of sleep somewhere in your daily 24, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, giving yourself permission to sit quietly and be alone with your thoughts for 15 minutes today, trading sweets for fruit, or drinking water instead of your usual beverage. Your first step could be anything that helps you feel more in control. Before taking a second step, take time to perfect the first one. Before you know it, you’ll look up from the steps you’ve taken and discover you’ve made exceptional progress on your journey to better health and being happy in your body.

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