Ten Elements of Good Health
you are a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual ecosystem
is important to understand that good physical health does
not exist independently of our thoughts, feelings, beliefs
and the lifestyle decisions we make. We each exist in
a personal and collective ecosystem where both internal
processes and external factors affect our bodies. No system
of health care, herbal or otherwise, can "cure" a
physical condition that exists within an ecosystem that
is out of balance.
Personal choice is the key to maintaining the health of our ecosystems. We
are the sum of the choices that we make every day. Moment to moment, we choose
what to think, what to eat and drink, who to be with, what to talk about, when
to exercise, how much sleep to get, and so forth. All of these choices may
seem insignificant when we make them one by one, but, added together, they
have a tremendous impact on our bodies. For example, going to a fast food place
occasionally does not have major health consequences. But when fast foods are
our main food supply, two things happen simultaneously: our bodies become overloaded
with fats, sodium and free radicals as well as becoming starved for fiber,
vitamins and minerals. Over a period of time, this type of diet leads to degenerative
diseases. It may take years, but it will happen. The bottom line is that each
choice we make either adds up to "health enhancing" or "health
Maintaining our ecosystem is a dynamic process that is a little bit like being
on a seesaw. As we move away from our center, our energy is sapped so that
we are more subject to extreme highs and lows. Conversely, the closer we move
toward our pivot point of balance, the less energy we need to expend to stay
healthy. The surplus energy that is created by being more balanced can then
be used for doing things in our lives that give us joy, happiness and contentment.
Our bodies can also utilize this energy for repairing themselves and maintaining
Actually, optimal health is incredibly simple to attain and maintain if one
is personally attentive to the ten elements of good health. By far, most of
us get sick because we neglect the basics. On top of that, our society has
taught us to be overly dependent on experts, pills and surgery to maintain
and take charge of our health. Many doctors also perpetuate this dependency
by not being alert to these ten essential elements of health.
The good news is that you don't need detailed scientific or medical knowledge
to take charge of your health. If you wish to optimize your health and increase
your resilience, or if you are confronted with a health problem, I suggest
examining how balanced you are in the following ten areas. What choices are
you making in these ten areas? Balancing these ten elements on a daily basis
leads to good health and helps keep you there.
1. Choice - Are you taking
personal responsibility for your life?
A critical step in the self-creation of a healthy body and a healthy life involves
taking responsibility for your actions. Taking personal responsibility for
your well being is such an important element that, by itself, it accounts for
40% of healing. At any given moment, we have choice. Exercising choice in healthy
ways is the key that unlocks the door to integrating and balancing all of the
other elements of healthy living discussed in the following pages.
2. Exercise -
Are you exercising regularly?
Exercise at least five times a week for one-half to three-quarters of an hour.
One of the best forms of exercise is walking because it is low impact, cardiovascular
and inexpensive! The importance of exercise cannot be overestimated, as it
is a critical element in maintaining your entire ecosystem.
3. Rest -
Are you getting enough rest and sleep?
Set aside some time every day just to do nothing except relax and breathe,
even if it is only for 15 minutes. Place a priority on getting enough restful
sleep. Sleep time before midnight is the most beneficial. Taking naps during
the day is also recommended.
4. Nutrition - Is your
diet fully supporting your body?
Eat whole foods and organic foods. Eat a variety of whole grains, vegetables
and fruits. Include at least one portion a day of any of the following green
leafy vegetables: Swiss and red chard, kale, collards, Brussels sprouts, parsley,
mustard greens, turnip greens, chicory greens, dandelion or beet greens, spinach,
cabbage, watercress, purslane, okra, broccoli, or any sprouts, including alfalfa,
sunflower and soybean. Vitamins and minerals are helpful in supplementing your
diet, even if you are eating organic foods. Take a full spectrum vitamin/mineral
supplement and a multi-herbal every day. Drink half an ounce of water per pound
of body weight a day to stay fully hydrated (about eight eight-ounce glasses
forget to take your herbs.
5. Nature - Do you spend
enough time outdoors?
Nothing can replace being in nature when it comes down to balancing yourself.
Devoting time daily to getting fresh air and sun is critical to the overall
health of your personal ecosystem. When you are out walking (see element 2),
consider doing so in a natural place, removed from traffic, power lines and
6. Creativity - Do you
have some sort of creative outlet that keeps you active physically and
A creative outlet can range from work to that hobby you never seem to have
time for. Working in moderation in an environment which you like is nurturing,
self-affirming and rewarding. Staying active and in contact with the rest of
the world is integral to good health.
7. Emotional balance -
Are you emotionally healthy?
Do you have anger, fear or grief that keeps you out of balance? There is nothing
wrong with having feelings. They give us valuable information about what we
may need to change in our lives to be happy. Emotional imbalance becomes an
issue when feelings are allowed to either create internal harm to the self
or external harm to others. If either of these extremes is true for you, take
measures to identify and balance your emotional patterns. Choose to cultivate
joy, love and a sense of humor to nourish your ecosystem.
8. Goals - Are you mentally
To thrive, everyone should have somethingwhether it's doing volunteer
work, spearheading a project, or working towards a goalthat demands brain
activity. We all need direction and a sense of purpose in life. Goals give
meaning to our lives.
9. Mutual support - Are
you giving and receiving love in your life?
Having a loving and accepting support system is critical to healing and staying
healthy. Humans, by their very nature, are dependent upon relationships. Giving
and getting support and love from your family, friends, or support group is
essential to good health.
10. Faith -
Do you regularly communicate with your Higher Self or your
A wise soul once said that we must feel connected to a higher power to feel
balanced and fulfilled in life. In keeping with your personal belief system,
make time daily for this aspect of yourself or for spiritual guidance to help
you in your daily life.
Herbs truly have the ability to assist you in making significant shifts in
both chronic and acute physical conditions. The success of herbs in supporting
your ecosystem, however, is dependent upon how balanced you are in these ten
essential areas. Is there anything missing in your life? What does your personal
ecosystem need? Remember that the choices you make daily give you the power
to shape your life!