Body: Learning to Love Life

   Life is a gift- we may not see it that way as we do not know otherwise. In life we have the opportunity to build relationships, learn, grow and contribute to our society. We may not always have material wealth, we may experience pain, illness and hardship but life gives us the opportunity to think, feel, interact and use our senses to some degree or another- that constitutes living. As long as we are different, the life experience of one person will always be relative to that of another- therefore our experiences as individuals will always be unique.

The beauty of human existence is that we are all exceptional yet interdependent, glinting facets on this vast mosaic of planet earth. We may not always have control over where we live and what we do with our lives, but we will always have a free will/freedom of choice. If that is the case then we can choose to love our lives regardless of our circumstances. This attitude to life is described by one popular writer which is to “bloom where you are planted”. Integral to the philosophy of blooming where we are planted”, are the following aspects which I will address in turn:
1) How we see our lives;
2) How we live our lives

How We See Our Lives

Our attitude to life is critical a sense of purpose, meaning and value in our lives. One writer describes it as “the point of view from which we integrate all of our relationships” How we see ourselves in relation to our relations will therefore determine what we do with our lives- the breadth and depth of our influence, reach and impact on others. For example if we think we have little value, it will be something that we transmit through our thought patterns, words and actions. It may also make us feel fearful and intimidated by others who we consider to be better than us. Conversely if we feel confident and esteemed then that will colour the view of our lives: rather than see people always as better, cleverer, more superior or above us, even if they are seen to have intellectual and material advantages, they may just seem different. We may measure ourselves against others on the basis of inequality but on the basis of equity as equal but different.

Critical features that influence the way we see are lives are: thought patterns, Self esteem, view of others and belief in a higher power.

Our thought patterns influence how we appreciate ourselves in relation to the world we live in are impacted upon by significant others such as parents, siblings, teachers and significant others. Through these relationships we learn to gather information about others, our environment and gain a sense of safety or danger, trust or mistrust.

Psychologists suggest that self esteem is developed by the age of 3. If we are unable to value ourselves, we will lack the motivation to take care of our mind, body and spirit and ultimately the purpose of our lives within the grand scheme of things. Placing a disproportionate sense of worth upon ourselves may also have a detrimental effect upon ourselves and others- furnishing us with unrealistic expectations and making us arrogant and proud.

The way we value others will also have an impact upon us and our relationships and provide clues about the way we see ourselves. If we are constantly critical of others, it may be an indication of our won low self worth and a need to put others down in order to gain some temporary sense of satisfaction.

Belief in a higher power can contribute to a sense of meaning and purpose in life enabling us to place ourselves within our vast cosmos. Without purpose and meaning in life, it is hard to see the value in life itself or in other people and perhaps such an outlook can render it worthless.

How We Live Our Lives

When we think about exercise we may think about the physical kind such as attending the gym, running, playing sports, swimming etc. Exercise however, has a broader definition:
For the purpose of this discussion, I will focus upon the physiological benefits of exercise which is planned, structured, repetitive and undertaken for the purpose of maintaining physical fitness. Regular exercise is has role in prevention of ill health and maintenance of health and wellbeing of which there are 3 types:
  1. Aerobic or endurance
  2. Flexibility or stretching
  3. Strength-building
Exercise has the following benefits:
Aerobic exercise is the type of exercise which is considered to be the most beneficial to the body as a whole, due to the positive effect it has on the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems. It is suggested that fitness can be maintained if regular moderate exercise is undertake as follows:
Walking is exercise which has the widest appeal because it is convenient, inexpensive and can be done at any time without requiring any special equipment. It stimulates the release of endorphins and uses a wide range of muscles in the body. It is recommended that 30 minutes of walking, preferably daily will contribute greatly to adult physical and emotional wellbeing.

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