Emotional Health Matters Too
Many of us know that diet and exercise are important to the health of our eyes, as there is so much information about them in the macular world. We know that we should eat well and exercise, but are those things, alone, enough to keep our eyes as healthy as possible? The simple answer is no, not really.
I am in no way saying that our diets and exercise routines aren’t where we should focus our energy in regards to our eye health. We should. Our eyes would struggle to function even more than they already do without us taking care of our bodies through diet and exercise. I’m just saying that those things, alone, are not enough.
I’m here today to talk about other...just as important...healthy things we can all do for our ‘whole self’ to help preserve our vision.
In my opinion, there are three kinds of ‘healthy’: healthy bodies, healthy minds, and healthy souls. Healthy minds and souls are our emotional health. When discussing all three combined, I refer to them as our ‘overall health,’ ‘entire health,’ or ‘whole-body health.’ You see, our eyes cannot be as healthy as we want them to be without this overall health. Let me explain.
Having healthy bodies, I believe, is where most of us on any health journey focus our attention. We try to eat better and exercise more. This is an amazing way to take care of our bodies and eyes. But, what many of us don’t realize is that none of those things mean as much as we hope without minds and souls that are healthy as well.
Our brains are busy all...day...long. They do things for us we don’t even realize they’re doing. Blinking eyes, beating hearts, breathing and digestion? Automatic brain functions. If our minds are busy focusing on stressors like anxiety or depression, they have less ability to focus on other things...important things...like processing nutrients properly.
Besides diet and exercise, there are many simple things we can do to take care of our emotional health. Trying to get a full night’s rest, for example, can really boost our overall health. In fact, many of my articles that center around healthier lifestyles, eating healthier foods, and exercise also include information about emotional health.
This is because an anxious body (fill in the blank with any other mental health struggle) is a sick body. When we feel anxious (again replace with any other mental health struggle), we feel sick and our bodies are struggling on where to focus healing.
Feelings that center around stress and anxiety are actually a healthy response from our bodies. Our brains are telling us, “Hey! Something is wrong! Do something about it, please. Now.” But, where we often lack as emotional human beings, is the HOW.
Here are a few examples of things I do, personally, to keep my mind healthy. I go to therapy weekly for counseling. Listening to music is a must for me as a form of therapy. Singing and dancing does wonders for my mental health (and my physical health as well). I use essential oils for aromatherapy, and I meditate.
Emotional support animal
Eli, my naked cat (really!) moved in with our family at the beginning of the year as an emotional support animal in our home. Boy, is he a magical healer! If you are an animal lover like I am, I highly recommend an emotional support animal. I also research. A lot. Knowledge is a superpower when battling a disease. I write and try to heal by providing information and helping others.
Find what works for you
Quick tip: Just because these things work well for my mental health does not mean they will all help you in the same ways. Experiment! Play around and see what works for you. What brings you joy and a sense of peace? Do more of that.
Taking care of healthy minds
Doing more things that help you feel calm and well is how you take care of your mental health so that your body can take care of your eyes. People who take care of their mental health allow themselves to be happier. In other words, they have healthy souls. This brings me to my next point.
When thinking about healthy souls, we can ask ourselves, am I happy? Do I have an overall sense of security, peace, and joy? This is so very important, Friends. Especially when dealing with something really difficult like a diagnosis of macular degeneration. This diagnosis has a tendency to bring on feelings of being scared, hopeless, worried, and just plain sad.
When we feel scared, hopeless, worried, and just plain sad...we lack the aspiration that it takes to get up and do everything we can to get better. Sadness and worry take away our ability to want to get up and exercise. It also causes eating patterns that are unhealthy. Unhealthy souls trick us into feeling like we want to eat an entire gallon of ice cream for dinner...or just not eat at all.
Give your eyes a fighting chance
On my personal macular degeneration health journey, I’ve tried a lot of ‘new’ things to help keep myself (and my eyes) as healthy as possible. I am a firm believer that overall health means better eye health, so I try to do as much for my ‘whole self’ as I can. My main goal for all of this is to give my eyes a fighting chance to keep seeing for me, for all of the rest of my days.
What do you do for your emotional health in order to help give your eyes a fighting chance? I’d love to hear in the comments!
Love your entire self,
Is diet a big part of your MD journey?