What’s your first thought when you hear someone talk about how your physical health affects you? How much weight you need to lose? Or why you can’t ever seem to lose (or gain) another pant size?
Or maybe you feel fear as you watch your parents age with health difficulties and you think your future might hold the same struggles they have or even worse?
Maybe you don’t even think of your physical health at all because you’re too busy taking care of everyone else in your family. It just seems too selfish to take time for yourself.
My image of physical health has been distorted by all these issues over the years. But I have come to see that taking care of ourselves physically is more than just a weight issue or an attempt to diminish some fear.
Our physical health affects all our well-being. It’s an important step in achieving wholeness as a person because our physical health affects every aspect of who we are.
Friend, this is not a vanity issue. We’re not talking about being healthy so you can look like a supermodel. Nor is it something to feel guilty about. Please take the guilt off the table!!! You have permission to do what it takes to be healthy!!!
Let’s look at some ways our physical health might affect all our well-being. I’d love for you to see how it can affect you mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Physical Health Affects Our Mental Health
We know the importance of thinking soundly. Being able to retrieve memories and specific words to hold an intelligent conversation is quite useful for us, isn’t it? When we read something we know is important, we want to be able to comprehend its message and remember it later.
And we certainly want to be able to focus on what is true and right and good, not letting our minds go off in tangents and dark ruts and paths of twisted, convoluted thoughts.
How does taking care of our physical health help us in this area?
Let’s start by looking at sleep. In this article from Web MD, it states that lack of sleep can affect your concentration, your attention, and your ability to solve problems. It dulls your memory and makes you forgetful.
And look at this fact from that same article:
Yikes! How we view events and “interpret” them is so important to us as believers in our interaction with others. I don’t want lack of sleep to affect my perceptions or judgments.
We also know there’s been numerous studies done on how Omega 3 fatty acids help our brain health. Without the right amount, and especially the right ratio of Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s, the brain can struggle with the way it remembers and performs.
Even the amount of water we drink makes a difference in our mental health:
Yikes again! Okay, so I’m even more convicted of drinking more water! This is one I really struggle with. But I want to avoid all those mental symptoms of dehydration so I can be clearly focused, stable, and alert.
Physical Health Affects Our Emotional Health
Let’s just first say that emotions really are a good thing. At times in our lives as women, they can seem out to destroy us, can’t they? But we’ve been given emotions so we can experience life in all its beauty and richness. We know how much meaning we find in life when we can experience it through our emotions in positive, life-giving ways.
So how does taking care of our bodies help us deal with our emotions in healthy ways?
There’s been some research lately that shows the condition of our gut actually has great influence over our brain and the emotions that result. An interesting article about anxiety and the condition of the gut can be found here.
Chris Kresser says in this article that if your gut has dysfunctional conditions, these conditions can affect the brain in creating inflammation which can then lead to a variety of issues such as anxiety, depression, and other mental and emotional disorders.
Science is beginning to show us that how we take care of our digestive system can actually have an affect on our emotions and our thinking.
Our blood sugar levels can also affect our emotions. When a large quantity of simple carbs like white bread, sweets, or pasta are consumed, the blood sugar can go up dramatically, and then likewise, drop dramatically. If blood sugar drops too low, you can feel very anxious, irritable, or depressed. (Here’s an article to read about this.) White sugar itself is not your friend when it comes to health of any kind.
And let’s don’t forget exercise. Exercise does wonders for keeping our emotions on an even keel. Look at these findings:
When my emotions are stable, I find it’s easier to be far less focused on myself and have a greater capacity to focus on others. Taking care of my physical health really helps in this area.
Physical Health Can Affect Our Spiritual Health
One of my greatest desires is to connect with God. I bet you have that desire, too. Don’t you want to be able to read His word and be able to concentrate so you can have greater understanding?
Don’t you want to be able to hear His voice rather than having a million crazy thoughts running through your head because you just can’t focus? Isn’t feeling His peace better than having to wrangle feelings of anxiety or worry or fear?
Being kind to our bodies is truly important for our spirits. We just can’t separate ourselves into compartments. We are made of spirit, soul, and body. And what we do to our bodies is going to affect our soul (the mind and emotions and will) and it’s going to affect our spirit, the part of us that connects with God and makes us who we really are.
I believe you want wholeness as much as I do. We want to be connected with God in our inmost being, not fragmented and disjointed, right? Being able to think clearly helps us recognize the truth. When our minds are uncluttered, we can begin to filter out all the lies and latch on to all that lines up with His word and His ways.
Being at peace can help us tremendously in our sense of safety in His presence. As a result, we can find ourselves growing in our trust of Him and can find it more desirable to get to know Him.
And if we feel good physically, we just have more motivation and energy overall. We have the strength to want to spend more time with God and do what He’s called us to do. It also gives us the boost in desire to spend time with others to develop meaningful relationships with them.
I hope you can see the importance of your physical health and how it can affect all your well-being. Taking responsibility for your physical health really can make a huge impact on your mental, emotional, and spiritual health as well.
One Last But Very Important Note:
Please hear me, dear friend. I am NOT saying that if you get yourself in terrific physical health, you will be healed and set free from any and all issues. We are complex beings, and there are many, MANY reasons for our emotions and our mental capacities and our spiritual condition to be off-kilter.
Conditions such as depression, anxiety, and others can be very serious and very complicated, and I don’t want to dismiss that. Please, please get help if you need it!!!
And please don’t let anyone tell you if you struggle with these issues that you just need to quote some Scripture verses and set your mind on Jesus and everything will be alright. It’s never that simplistic.
What I want you to hear is that looking at how we treat our bodies should be one of the first steps in dealing with anything else that keeps us from being all that God created us to be.
I’m here to give you permission to take care of yourself!! It’s not just okay to take care of yourself – it’s really vital in order for you to live victoriously in this life. I want to encourage you to be proactive. You don’t have to feel like you are a victim because of whatever issues you are facing.
You are not a victim! You are a daughter of the Most High God!! Rise up and be willing to take charge of your physical health. Do what you can to make a difference.
If you are struggling with any issues, whether it’s anxiety or brain fog or depression or chronic pain, I encourage you to take an inventory of your physical health first.
I know it’s not easy. For some of you, these issues may be all-consuming.
But every step you take toward your physical health will be a step toward wholeness in every area of your life. And you are worth it!!
Taking those steps toward health with you,
Let’s encourage each other in this area. Would you leave a comment and tell us one thing you’re thinking about doing to help your body? It would be very easy for us to point out all the wrong things about our bodies, but let’s keep this positive. Focus on what you can do to be a well-oiled machine!
DISCLAIMER – All content on this blog is intended for educational purposes only. No statements (or inferences)that I make, including links to other sites, should be viewed as my claim for a cure, treatment, or prevention of any disease or as a substitute for professional health care. Please, please if you have a serious condition, see your doctor, functional medicine practitioner, or a trained counselor for help.