My health-writing career apparently started at age 4, when I posted lists of healthy foods on the family fridge. The pay wasn’t so good. No matter—I’d realized a deep-seated belief that healthier is happier. I’d also discovered my interest in helping make it easier for people to make the most of life.
I’ve found the first step to any kind of growth is awareness. I believe one of the most powerful things we can do for ourselves is to notice what energizes us and what drains us. But in a fast-paced world full of confusing, conflicting messages about health and happiness, it can be hard to hear what our bodies and inner voices are trying to tell us.
Outside information and resources have often helped me get back to what I believe is already inside me—and inside everyone: the knowledge of what’s truly beneficial. Distilling complex information into something useful became my professional focus; after graduating with a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, I went on to write for newspapers, magazines and websites. My personal and professional interests intersected when I started writing about health and wellness for the Mayo Clinic, the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Experience Life magazine.
My own experiences, combined with the knowledge I’ve gained researching and reporting, have led me to believe several things.
1. Complete health has many components: food, sleep, movement, body care products, home environment, balance and spirit. Together, they support all the levels of well-being: body, mind, spirit and energy.
2. The aspects of good health connect and overlap. That means every helpful step we take in one area of health creates a positive feedback loop and propels us toward further growth. The healthier we are, the healthier we keep getting. And it gets easier and faster as we progress.
For example, people who write down what they’re thankful for on a daily basis become more likely to exercise. People who exercise regularly sleep better. People who sleep better have more energy to exercise and make better choices about food. Healthy food, sleep and exercise all improve mood. A positive mood energizes people to create more of what they want in life. And so on.
3. The roots of true health and lasting joy are simple, unchanging and intuitive.
The same basic principles of good health apply to all the different types of health. For instance, staying closer to nature is better. Man-made chemicals—whether they’re in our food, mattresses or soap—often cause trouble for our health.
Additionally, people thrive when they follow the rhythms of nature and alternate between cycles of activity and rest, growth and integration. This is true whether you’re talking about intervals in an exercise program, carving out a dedicated time to sleep at night or managing your daily schedule so you have downtime to reflect and recharge.
4. The same healthy choices help prevent or improve numerous diseases and conditions. And the same unhealthy choices increase our risk. Although genetics and other uncontrollable factors certainly play a role, there’s still a lot we can do for our well-being.
For example, eating well, getting adequate sleep and reducing chemical exposure all help maintain a healthy body weight. And protect against cancer. And boost fertility. And lower blood pressure. And improve mental health. And so on.
5. Good health care is like good gardening—if you really want to eliminate a weed, you need to get at the roots. And if you want your flowers to blossom, you need to be aware of the environment in which you’re planting them. If we fail to address the root cause of a health issue and instead focus only on treating, masking or covering up its symptoms, the problem is bound to pop up again. It’s like trying to get dandelions out of your yard by chopping off the flowers on top—a short-term “solution” at best. And, just like a good gardener knows a plant needs the right soil, sun and water to thrive, our thoughtful choices regarding food, movement, sleep, body care products, home environment, balance and spirit help us to be at our best.
6. True health benefits all the dimensions of being human—body, mind and spirit. Healthy is happy. And happy is healthy.
Health has nothing to do with counting calories and depriving yourself of tasty food. Nor is it about trudging along for a certain number of minutes on a treadmill. Rather, true health is about eating foods that energize you. It’s about moving your body in a way that helps you feel good and allows you to keep doing the things you want to do. True health is rejuvenating, fulfilling and joyful.
I decided to create a resource that connects the dots, provides practical ways to grow and reveals the basic, unifying principles of wellness. I wanted to make it clear why everyday choices matter and make it easy to take action. I hope this website and these books will do just that.
Wherever you are is the entry point.Kabir
1. Be empowered, not overwhelmed. Free, not worried. Inspired, not guilty. This information is here to serve you. A lot of things are outside our control, including experiences and choices from the past—so let them go. Focus on what is in your sphere of influence, given your current circumstances. Being well informed can give you momentum to take action as you’re ready and able.
2. Trust yourself. As you decide what healthy changes to make, take the step you feel like taking instead of the step you think you should take. Deep down, you’ll know where to begin and what will serve you best right now. If a particular topic piques your interest or a certain action seems energizing, go there and do that. If you follow your intuition, you’re more likely to get on the right path sooner and to be motivated about progressing.
3. Take small steps. Or, in some cases, go big! Just take your next right step. Nobody’s perfect, and you don’t have to change everything at once. For many people, it’s best to set reasonable goals and take things one step at a time. But you might be a person who does better making sweeping changes with deep focus and intent. If your circumstances allow it, go for it. You know yourself best, so do what you sense to be the most effective strategy for you.
4. Remember that the healthier you are, the easier it is to listen to your body. When we’re polluting or draining ourselves in any sense, our bodies can’t communicate with us as well. But every step you take toward better health further clears your whole being: body, mind, spirit and energy. With every degree of improvement, you become more in tune with yourself.
5. As in all things, balance is essential. Our focus naturally evolves throughout different periods and stages of life. What you’re able to cultivate and what you need to compromise on are different as an adolescent, a student, a parent of a newborn and a grandparent. Consider what you’re able to do for your health and happiness given your current circumstances and work on that.
6. Use support as you wish. Reach out to kindred spirits who can support your ongoing journey toward higher levels of well-being. Find experts and health practitioners who can help you continually go deeper. Tell supportive family and friends about your aspirations.
Regarding the Take Care website, books, e-books, blog and all related content:
The Take Care content contains my opinions and ideas. Although I work hard to be correct and current, I make no guarantees the information, opinions or statements are accurate or up to date. I’m continually learning, and health information constantly evolves. One expert’s views might be different than another’s. I welcome comments, suggestions and corrections.
My intent is to offer general information to help people who are interested in making healthier choices and living more consciously. These materials are offered and sold with the understanding that I am not providing personal health advice. The reader should consult with a health professional before incorporating suggestions, whether direct or implied, from this content. The reader should not rely on this information as an alternative to seeking help from a medical professional, nor should the reader delay seeking medical attention as a result of information here.
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