Loving Life

Life is a gift- we may not see it that we as we do not know otherwise. In life we can 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 each human being is unique, so are our experiences and outlooks.

We may not always have control over where we live and what we do with our lives, but we are uniquely created with the ability to exercise free will/freedom of choice. If this is the case, we can choose to love our lives to the best of our abilities, regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in. 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 others 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 have good self-esteem 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 based on inequality but based on 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 our relationships with 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 own 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:

  • it is about employing or using something whether mental or physical.

  • it concerns fulfilling an office, duty, or position.

  • activity that requires exertion.

  • a task which involves effort to maintain ability or increase skill.

  • a formal programme which includes a performance or other ceremonies before an audience.

This article will focus upon the physiological benefits of exercise, which is planned, structured, repetitive, and undertaken for the purpose of maintaining physical fitness. Regular exercise 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:

  1. It releases hormones which make us feel energetic.

  2. Aerobic exercise significantly lowers the blood pressure in individuals suffering from hypertension.

  3. It contributes to bone health and strength.

  4. It increases the levels of the beneficial cholesterol (HDL) in the body.

  5. It has a beneficial effect upon the management of diabetes as it increases the ability of muscle membranes in transporting glucose into muscle cells.

  6. It may decrease the risk of colon cancer.

  7. It has a rejuvenating effect upon our bodies as new/more efficient muscle cells are continuously being developed.

  8. It improves the quality of our lives, including mental health, reduction in stress, anxiety, and depression.

  9. It has been proven to improve communication in those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

  10. It improves brain health and agility

  11. It improves cardiac function, strengthening the heart and making it more efficient.

Aerobic exercise is the type of exercise, which is the most beneficial to the body, 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 undertaken as follows:

  • 15 minutes running

  • swimming laps for 20 minutes

  • raking leaves or active gardening for 30 minutes

  • brisk walking for 30 minutes

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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