Pillars of Health: Inspirations in Hawaii
Who doesn't want to stay healthy and fit as they get older? People seek the proverbial "fountain of youth" from midlife onwards, as age is often accompanied by health problems.
As my personal goal is to enjoy the second half of my life in good health and fitness, to be there for others and to be able to do everything I enjoy, I used our sabbatical in Hawaii to revive my "healthy habits" and to delve into the literature on longevity and other new insights of holistic health.
One goal was to narrow down the wealth of information from existing and new knowledge to what was (for me) most important and to summarise it into practical, implementable steps.
The best knowledge in this regard is of no use if we cannot integrate it in our everyday lives and act on it.
Therefore my collection and the underlined links can serve as a suggestion to define your individual pillars of health:
1) MENTAL PILLAR:
a) Attention/Focus: the 3rd Huna principle (Makia) is: "Energy flows where attention goes". Thus, it is incredibly important for our lives to focus on what positive things we want to realize and not the negative things we don't want. It is a constant mental exercise to maintain a proactive focus on solutions and goals, instead of being drawn into a negative spiral of problems and worries. Focused attention influences our thinking and therefore our health.
b) Mental Fitness: keep trying new things, be flexible, learn, read, listen to audio books & podcasts
2) SPIRITUAL PILLAR:
a) Finding meaning in life: the centenarians on Okinawa call this "Ikigai" and practice fulfilling activities into old age.
b) Inner work: remembering that we are spiritual beings in a human body, connecting daily with our "source" (God, universe) through meditation & prayer: Loving Kindness Meditation; Heart Coherence Meditation, Love-Light Meditation and Shamanic Inner Garden work
3) EMOTIONAL PILLAR:
a) Being loving and kind to oneself and others or in Hawaiian, living in the Aloha spirit: Aloha means love and "the joyful sharing of life energy in the here and now"—we can support this with the meditations listed above or the daily "good deed" (Random Acts of Kindness)
b) Laughter & Fun: Laughter is healthy: it strengthens the immune system, relieves pain, positively influences blood pressure, blood sugar, inflammation markers and, above all, our psyche.
4) PHYSICAL PILLAR:
b) Exercise: Nordic walking, hiking, skiing, swimming, pilates, yoga, hula & salsa dancing
c) Healthy diet: fresh organic foods/Mediterranean diet, fruit, vegetables, fish (preferably free of toxic substances), organic meat, intermittent fasting to stimulate autophagy (self-cleansing of the body), pure drinking water
d) Supplements: important, as sometimes too few vital substances are absorbed through food, especially: vitamins D & C, zinc, magnesium, omega 3 fatty acids (algae oil), lithium orotate (as a trace element)
I only recently learned about the importance of omega 3 in the form of algae oil and lithium in trace element doses for a healthy brain through online interviews with Dr. Nehls (here is his paper translated into English)
5) SYSTEMIC PILLAR:
a) Community: another characteristic of the centenarians in the so-called "Blue Zones" is cohesion in families, circles of friends and other communities, teamwork and celebrating together
b) Connectedness with creation: we are connected on a spiritual level with everything that exists – it is important to be aware of this on a daily basis. I practise this as a "Blessing Walk": going for a walk or Nordic walking in gratitude, noticing everything that is around us (nature, the elements, people, animals, created things...), feeling the positive energy that this gratitude causes in us and then focusing this energy on people in our lives to whom we mentally send a "Blessing", i.e. a blessing, praise, good thoughts.
For the practical implementation of healthy habits, an online calendar and the simple alarm clock function on your smartphone can be very helpful for planning and reminders. Various health apps can also help us with this. The best way to plan is to think through a typical week and then use the calendar and alarm clock to set reminders for your healthy habits. Written goals and vision boards are also very helpful. More tips for achieving goals are described in the newsletter article from March 2020: "From wish to goal: how dreams come true"
I wish you a Merry Christmas with your loved ones and a
happy, healthy and successful New Year 2024!