Natural health and self-care are the foundation of a life of harmonious coexistence.
I’ve been talking about coexistence a lot recently because I think it’s so crucial for us, both individually and socially. So many of our issues center around being able to embrace coexistence with ourselves and each other more than any other value.
What we’re really embracing is the disinterested balance of nature, which tends toward harmony without judgment. This is a characteristic of nature that we, as part of nature, already have.
Unfortunately, many of us place artificial conditions and limitations on this harmony, thinking we can only have it at certain times with certain people. Sometimes, we even adopt limitations without realizing it; it’s just what everyone is doing. These limitations restrict our bodies’ natural ability to heal and maintain themselves and our minds’ natural capacity for equanimity and to find creative solutions. Instead of defaulting to a mindset of love, compassion, gratitude, and forgiveness, we may get stuck under the umbrella of pettiness, jealousy, fear, and even hatred.
We can maintain a natural balance within ourselves through healthy habits and consistent self-care. The habits recommended by many experts—eating well, sleeping well, exercising regularly, managing stress, nurturing relationships, and visiting nature—all foster mental and physical health and resilience.
I would also like to share four types of mind-body practices with you that support our natural healing power and capacity for coexistence.
- Focused Breathing: Breathing is a fundamental part of our existence, yet we often take it for granted. This simple act, when done consciously, can help regulate our stress response, restore balance to our nervous system, and support our body’s natural healing abilities. Taking just three to four deep, relaxed breaths can bring the calm needed for our bodies to work better.
- Gut Health Exercises: Beyond digestion, the gut plays a crucial role in producing essential neurohormones like dopamine and serotonin, which affect our mood and happiness. At the same time, around 80 percent of our bodies’ immune system is hard at work inside the gut, thanks to the diverse community of microbes. Besides eating healthy foods and less food in general, we can help maintain the health of our gut with simple exercises such as abdominal tapping, intestinal exercise, and belly massage.
Abdominal Tapping: Rhythmically tap your lower abdomen with your palms or lightly clenched fists.
Intestinal Exercise: Repeatedly pull your belly in as much as possible and then release it. Start with 20–30 repetitions and gradually work up to 100 at a time. Repeat this and abdominal tapping three 3 times a day.
Belly Massage: Press your palms gently into your abdomen in a spiral from the outer edges to the center.
- Mindful Eating: Eating naturally produced food can help keep us freer from toxins while getting us the nutrients we need. Sourcing food locally reduces the impact on the planet. It’s also important to be mindful as we eat. Paying attention to our body as we eat can help us stop eating when we’re full and recognize foods that our bodies do not want at that moment. Eating with a joyful and grateful mindset–without stress or judgment–prevents us from ingesting mental toxins and lets the food we eat have the healthiest impact on our body.
- Energy Meditation: In East Asia’s spiritual and philosophical traditions, it’s believed that the mind and energy are two fundamental elements of the world, and they work together to bring about all changes. By developing the ability to sense energy through meditation, we gain a new level of understanding of our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. We also develop the power of our minds and the ability to direct energy to where it’s needed in our bodies, to other people, and to our goals.
The path to harmonious coexistence begins with taking care of ourselves naturally. By focusing on simple practices that enhance our body’s natural healing abilities, we become more resilient, both physically and mentally. And in doing so, we not only improve our own lives but also contribute to the well-being of the entire planet. In a world full of unexpected challenges, embracing natural health and self-care is the key to a brighter and more harmonious future for all.
Learn more ways to embrace coexistence in my books, The Art of Coexistence: How You and I Can Save the World and A New Humanity: Embracing Our Responsibility for the Earth.
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