The Art of Inner Beauty (2015)
Chapter 3: Good Health and Inner Beauty
I’d love to concentrate on my inner beauty and self-worth, but I’m too busy dealing with all my health issues. Just thinking about them makes my depression worse and my stress level soar.
Are you one of those people who have a multitude of health problems or even stubborn minor problems that you feel prevent you from concentrating on your inner worth?
Go ahead, you can admit it. You’re among friends. If more people were honest with themselves, they could probably name any other number of minor or major health problems that stymie their self esteem and in turn their inner beauty.
If you’re plagued by even one health concern that you feel is blocking the improvement of your inner beauty, it’s time to take control of the situation. You probably agree but where do you start.
Simple changes at first. That’s the best way. But don’t take my word for it, why not embark on an “experimental” health program to see if it helps improve your inner beauty and empower yourself to treat yourself better.
Start an exercise program
This sounds overwhelming, especially if you’ve been inactive for any length of time. It really isn’t, though. Simply start with one small step to test the results. It’s a proven fact that the best way to start any major change in your life is through small, incremental steps. Don’t listen to that voice inside you or even well-meaning friends that you have to start with a gigantic, exercise program combining all sorts of techniques.
Many medical experts recommend beginning simply by walking. It may initially sound like a highly ineffective and inefficient method, but don’t allow appearances to deceive you. The American Heart Association lists the following benefits of walking 30 minutes a day, three times a week:
- Lowers the risk of you developing coronary heart disease
- Improves your blood pressure
- Normalizes your blood sugar levels
- Helps you lose weight or maintains a healthy weight
- Reduces your risk of developing obesity.
- Improves your mental well being
What’s especially intriguing is the healing effect walking has on depression. This is of special interest to those who are trying to boost their inner beauty. It’s hard to focus on your good characteristics when you’re depressed.
A recent study performed in Australia reveals that walking actually improves the quality of life for many middle-aged depressed women. In fact, just about any form of moderate exercise can help. If walking doesn’t appeal to you, try golf, aerobics classes, swimming – try even line dancing.
Those individuals who walked or performed other moderate exercise approximately 200 minutes every week, felt emotionally better, and socialized more. They didn’t feel limited by their depression.
The marvelous aspect of this study is that the effects lasted up to three years of these activities.
In other studies, many conducted in the United States even credit walking with being a more effective treatment for depression than prescription drugs. Think about this. It’s difficult to keep your mind on developing your inner beauty when you’re depressed. In fact that’s probably the most opportune time for negative thinking to attack you. You’re more vulnerable to accept these thoughts as gospel. You also probably have less energy to try to fight them. You merely accept them as given facts.
If you believe your inner beauty can shine more brightly with any exercise program, even one as simple as a walking regime, be sure to consult with your health-care provider before you begin.
Meditation and Inner Beauty
You may be wondering exactly how these two concepts are even connected. But if you think about it you’ll understand that ideally, the two may, indeed, be intimately so. You now know that inner beauty is not only something that you can’t get through clothing or make up or through any other external source. The source of your own self worth, your self esteem doesn’t depend on anything going on in the physical, material world around you. It depends solely on yourself.
In fact, it comes from a deeper understand of yourself and a deeper knowing of what kinds of activities, words and acts of kindness and compassion you require not only from others but from yourself as well. Hopefully, you’re still working with your list of your good characteristics that are non-dependent on your looks.
That’s exactly why meditation has been so popular of late. It’s an excellent way to get to know yourself better. When you settle into a quiet room with no outside noises and no distractions, then you can go deep within yourself in order not only to find inner guidance, but that inner beauty you may doubt you even have.
Meditation also provides the perfect opportunity to take that list of boundary items and take this concept one step further. You’d be surprised at how many individuals meditate on a daily basis and, in fact, find it calming. They also discover that through this technique they can make peace with themselves. Isn’t that what inner beauty is about? Making peace with yourself?
Meditation, perhaps more than any activity, can help you find and enhance your inner beauty. Interested in building a meditation but don’t know where to start? You could buy books on the topic or borrow a few from the library. You could even take a class.
But if you’ve never meditated before and are curious about its effects, you could also start right now. Simply go to a quiet room, close the door and ensure you won’t be interrupted. If you have an alarm on your smart phone, set it for five minutes. This is the goal of your first meditation session. If you don’t reach it, don’t worry.
Sit comfortably, preferably in a chair with your feet flat on the floor, You may, however, feel more comfortably by sitting on the floor in a cross-legged position. Now close your eyes and begin to relax your body.
Now, you try to clear your mind of all thoughts. You try to empty your mind so you can discover the real you – your inner beauty – inside. Every time a thought enters your brain, simply and gently tell it to leave. This is especially true of your negative thoughts. Don’t allow thinking to occur that tells you that you’re not beautiful on the inside, that you’re not a person worthy of self esteem.
As simple as this sounds, clearing you mind of all thoughts is a difficult process. Don’t even believe for a moment that you’re going to sweep all thoughts. You’ll soon learn, through meditation, just how beautiful and precious your life is – just as you are.
If you become interested in meditation, you can always gain more guidance from it and experiment with the varieties of the activity from mindfulness to guided imagery. In this constantly busy and noisy world, spending quiet, quality time with yourself is priceless.
Just as a side note, you’ll also be increasing your overall physical health as well. Study after scientific study has revealed that those individuals who meditate are at reduced risk for developing a long list of degenerative diseases, from arthritis to cancer to heart disease and diabetes.
We’ve already mentioned that any activity that can maintain or improve your health can also enhance your sense of inner beauty. Why not give meditation a try?
Physical health and inner beauty, so you’ve been shown, go hand in hand. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to have one without the other. And there’s no better way to improve your physical health than by eating well.
Ah! You may be thinking right now, “But I do eat an excellent diet.” Do you? “Well, as can be expected considering the frenetic pace of my life. Between the requirements of my job and the demands of my family obligations, I do the best I can.”
This is what most of us think. And perhaps if you scan what you eat daily, you do. What would happen, though, if you really scrutinized your diet? Most individuals who have done this have been shocked. They’ve discovered that their diets aren’t nearly as healthy as they initially believed.
For starters, just ask yourself how much sugar you eat in a day. In addition to any you may put in your coffee or tea in the morning, what about those quick sodas you pick up, those so-called healthy juices you drink as well as that fast food dinner you gulp down from one errand to the next?
And when you do eat sugar, notice how you feel about yourself? Is there a difference in your thoughts toward your self worth when you eat sugar? Many individuals use food as a way to make themselves feel better. How many times on a television show have you seen a character run to the refrigerator to grab a quart of ice cream when they are emotionally depressed?
What follows that initial comforting activity is a long period of regret because he or she succumbed to the temptation of not only overeating, but eating the wrong kind of foods. Then we all know what happens next. Your feelings of self-worth and by extension your belief in your inner beauty plummet.
Even without these occasional binge periods of eating – and we all have our trigger points which set us off on a binge -- If you were to seriously keep track, you’d discover you’re eating far more of less-than-healthy foods than you originally thought.
Where to Start? Better Eating Habits
The first step to developing a better diet, whether you simply want to feel better about yourself, lose weight or even gain weight, is a commitment to eliminating processed and packaged foods. There’s really no way any health practitioner or public health official can even attempt to justify these foods have any merit.
Yes, they are convenient. Yes, they are the backbone of the “Standard American Diet.” But that doesn’t necessarily make them healthy. Take a good look at that phrase, standard American diet. Its initials spell the word “sad.” That’s what many public health officials believe. It’s sad that it doesn’t provide Americans with a sufficient amount of vitamins and other nutrients. It’s sad that many of the ingredients found in these processed and packaged foods contain additives that can even destroy your health.
Tossing such foods out of your kitchen is the first step in improving your diet and building your inner beauty. But it’s just the beginning. Your next step is to replace them with healthy, wholesome foods. Start with fresh or frozen fruits or vegetables. Sure, at first you’ll miss your old diet, and you may not appreciate the inherent taste of vegetables, but soon, you’ll discover that you’re feeling much better.
If you’re seriously considering this approach to enhancing inner beauty, you may want to start with what’s called an elimination diet. There is plenty of information on this concept on the web. Your doctor can also help you if you think you might like to try it.
Essentially, this diet eliminates all processed and packaged foods as well as well as sugary drinks and simple carbohydrates like potato chips. This is the approach that many doctors suggest to their patients with attention deficient disorder in order to determine if the health issue stems from diet. One of the consequences you may discover (because many people do) is how clear your thinking becomes after a very short time on this diet.
You may want to remain on this segment of the diet for two to four weeks before slowly replacing certain foods one at a time to discover how your body and your mind react to what you’ve added. You’ll probably discover at least one food that affects how you view your self-worth and assess your inner beauty. Knowing this, you now can steer clear of it.
If you decide to do this, you’re well on your way to discovering the diet that’s perfect for you. One sure way to begin your perfect diet is by including an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. Most public health officials now acknowledge that a minimum of five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables are necessary in order to maintain your health. Many doctors will also tell you to steer clear of white, refined breads. Before you begin any new dietary program, be sure to consult with your health care provider.
Now that you know that a healthy body does indeed, promote inner beauty, you may find you have a more urgent reason to improve your health. Once you begin to realize your body is suffering from less aches and pains and you eating a diet that gives you more energy and lifting your depression, you’ll discover the fog that hid your inner beauty is now lifting.