One of the most important things I have learned in my functional and holistic training is the idea of primary food. This is food that does not go in your mouth. I share with my clients that you can eat all the kale and blueberries you want, but if you hate your job for example, food will not “fix” the problem. In fact you can have the perfect diet for you, but if you are dissatisfied and unfulfilled at work, in your relationships, have no spiritual practice, and don’t move your body, you will be unhealthy and unhappy too much of the time.
Most of us could use some serious work in one or more of these areas, and don’t realize just how much power they have over our ability to truly thrive. Maybe you have the movement part down. You feel fit, have great energy, are confident in your body, etc., but are not happy with your relationships (partner, or anyone else you spend time around). Or you have a great career, and enjoy a deeply loving connection with your partner, but do not move your body in the right ways, and have no consistent spiritual practice.
These voids severely limit what I like to refer to as “background peace”. How much noise is in the background of your life? Do you feel heavy? Stressed out? Have existential angst? Always think about the past and future? Worry too much? You get my drift. The list goes on and on and on.
In the past I used to think diet and exercise were all that mattered…now I know better. Over the last couple years I have focused intently on these four areas in my own life with wonderful results. I have changed teaching positions at the school where I work, I have began to learn to move my body in different ways, and I have developed a consistent meditation practice. I’m also working on the relationships in my life. I cant begin to describe how much this has helped to increase my background peace, and reduce the “noise” in my head.
Its a constant work in progress, but a priority of mine and something I help my clients to focus on in their own lives. Its also a balancing act, but balance is required. It may never be perfect but there cannot be any gaping holes in your primary food or your happiness will suffer, a lot. An unfulfilling career is one of the biggest contributors to unhappiness. This is also the area most people ignore the longest, many their entire lives. All the money in the world wont help much if you hate your boss, and/or what you do is meaningless for example.
According to a non-profit New York based research group, 52.3% of people in the United States are unhappy at work. This number indicates that millions of people everyday drag themselves into work. What kind of toll is this taking on their health? Stress like this is constantly being linked to all kinds of diseases. That’s right, you can literally make yourself sick, even die, because you opted to not make a change, or actively manage your stress. Is it worth it in the end to spend everyday doing something you don’t want to just to pay the bills?
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Bart Thurman, FDN-P, INHC
Break-Free, Own Your Health