I am a self-avowed “foodie.” When given a choice between eating out and eating at home, I choose the latter, without reservation. (Get it? Without reservation!?!) I am a huge proponent of the power of nutrient-dense, organic food to heal the body and prevent disease. I am also big on movement. Resistance and cardio training keep the muscles strong and the mind sharp.
There is more to maintaining good health than a healthy diet and exercise, however. We are the most complex animals on earth. Maybe that’s why our wellness isn’t contingent on these two things alone. For vibrant health, we must attend to our spirit/mind/emotions—what I call the “x” factors that impact our wellbeing. To nourish this part of us, we need to do things that fill us, lift us up, bring contentment or make us feel vibrant and alive.
Consider for a moment what does this for you. What nurtures your “x” factors and how you can incorporate more of that into your life? Here are a few ideas, gleaned from my summer experiences, to get you thinking about how to impact/up your “x” factors on the regular.
Gina and I, pre-plunge, celebrating our fortitude in advance....
Look for adventure – Unique experiences can thrill and fill us! At a recent health conference in Austin, I took two side trips with this in mind. One evening, some friends and I went to the Congress Street bridge to watch the bat migration. They are so tiny and flit by so quickly that it takes some effort to see them, but when you do, it’s wondrous! Another afternoon, I took a literal plunge into some cold springs outside of the city. My friend taught me some rapid breathing techniques to help my body prep for the shock. We looked ridiculous doing it, but we didn’t care. And when we finally jumped in, my body was still shocked, but I was also jubilant and exhilarated.
Get grounded with faith & hope – When in Zimbabwe last month, I had plenty of adventure, as well. There were marvels at every turn: zebras by the side of the road, a blood moon rising over Lake Kariba, and rhinos that I got to feed! But I was also impressed with the constancy of my friends there in the midst of challenges they face in their country on a daily basis. One phenomenon is the random police stops every few miles or so. Officers do spontaneous inspections of vehicles to make sure, among other things, that all the car lights are functional, the fire extinguisher is available and recently inspected, the hazard triangles are handy, and the spare tire is just the right size. I kid you not. As you might imagine, these checks inevitably create tension between the police and the general population. Our friends admitted that they are sometimes anxious when stopped, and that they are occasionally unfairly fined. And yet, I witnessed a peace in them that their circumstances couldn’t touch. It was clear that they had faith in something bigger than their government and hope that the difficulties would one day dissipate. Their faith and hope weren’t just wishful thinking but anchored on a bedrock of Christian belief and promises in the Bible--that God was in control and that their current trials were temporary.
Live with purpose - A mentor and long-time friend of our family’s, Scott Dimock, recently passed away. He had diabetes and struggled with multiple health issues for many years. As a matter of fact, when Scott was 25 years old and he and his wife married, the doctors told them that they’d be lucky if they got some 20 years together. Scott died at the age of 75. He defied the doctors' expectations. What kept Scott going? He had dreams bigger than himself. He cared for and mentored teenagers through Young Life and La Vida (Young Life’s wilderness program) for decades. And he established the SE White House/DC Dream Center to fan the flames of kids’ hopes and dreams, as well. Scott had a reason to wake up every morning.
Invest in relationships – I got to connect with my friend, Hilary Boynton, when I interviewed her for a podcast in Topanga Canyon, California. Hilary has five children and a full life. Yet she took the time to buy me a gift and write me a note which she handed to me before the event began. That gesture, on top of the fact that she carved time out of her busy schedule—in the midst of a family move, no less—moved me. Hilary knows how to nurture the “x” factors in her life better than most, in my opinion. As a matter of fact, that was one of the topics of our “Simple & fearless healthy living” discussion.
Do any of the ideas I listed strike you? What do you do to boost your “x” factors? You can listen to the podcast episode "Simple & fearless healthy living" here. It might bring some fresh inspiration that you can apply to your own life, on how to lift your spirit, mind and emotions. And please comment below with what you do (or want to start doing) so that we can all be encouraged and motivated anew to build up these "x" factors.
Hilda Labrada Gore is the host and producer of the Wise Traditions podcast. She is a health coach and fitness professional, the Director of Communications, and the DC Metro Regional Director for Body & Soul. She lives in D.C. with her husband and children, their cat, Mia, and their dog, Summer.