The words heal and healing get thrown around a bit, especially after an awful tragedy is played out on our TV screens. But what does healing and the healing process mean? Let’s consult the Google Dictionary.
1. Become sound or healthy again. (When discussing health, here is my working definition: A state of optimal physical, mental, and social well-being—not merely the absence of disease.1)
Generally, I’d say the first is physical, and the second is mental, but there is a crossover between the two. The physical is seen as a cut on your hand, being overweight, or something internal like cancer. The sound part may mean sane or insane, but I’m unsure. The distress or anguish is something like the loss of a loved one or something terrible that happened to you that plays like an endless loop in your head.
Some you will take meds for, some will heal with time, and some scars never heal, and you (hopefully) better deal with it through the passing of time or therapy. Although being healthy and being ill seem like two opposite ends of the spectrum, they are not. For instance, someone may be seemingly fine and in good health, but during a regular check-up, the doctor discovers cancer.
Something as serious as cancer takes time to develop and doesn’t appear overnight. And this happens when the person thinks nothing is wrong with them. As I said, it is a blurred line, and the same could be said for mental illness.
Let’s dive into this complex topic as simply as possible so you can be more aware of outside forces affecting your health and fitness.
Healing For Better………
Besides shredding my lower back, my health has been decent throughout my adult life. But occasionally, the lower back haunts me like Casper The Friendly Ghost. Usually, this happens when there is other stuff going on. Here’s an example.
When going through the stress of moving, starting a small business, and people questioning my motives, I didn’t handle it so well. In fact, I lost my temper several times, which led to me seeking therapy to get myself under control. During this time, my lower back would go out repeatedly in the gym and with everyday stuff that I’ve done millions of times.
I felt my mental state was affecting my physical state.
It’s been no coincidence since I’ve learned to control my temper; the incidents with my back are virtually non-existent. Have you noticed a distressed mental state affecting your physical one? Although some discount the mind-body connection (hello, medical profession), your thoughts and feelings DO affect your physical state. Agree or disagree, I would love to hear your thoughts and feelings on this subject in the comments below.
Healing Your Relationship With……..
As a personal trainer, I have trained clients with less-than-stellar relationships with food and exercise. Some treat food as a reward, like a dog who behaves themselves to get a treat. Others deal with the stresses of their day with food and alcohol, while others think exercise is a punishment for all the calories they ate the night before.
This is not a criticism but an observation, and I’m not putting myself above the fray because I have done all of those things. Not only have I done them, but I continue to do them. The only difference now is that I realize I do these things because I constantly stop and check in to see what’s happening inside my head.
Big props go to my coach friend Josh Hillis, who encourages this behavior. Please do yourself a favor, watch the video, and give him a follow. He is a sharp guy.
The trick here is to realize the type of behaviors you have with food, alcohol, and exercise and to try to minimize it to keep you on the straight and narrow. I remind myself I am not a dog; exercise is a reward, not punishment, and I find ways to better deal with life’s daily stressors. It’s a work in progress, but continuing these thoughts and actions improves my health and fitness.
Trauma And Healing
Trauma and its effect on your health, mental and physical, is a vast subject and something I know little about. But I do know that trauma can have a significant influence on your ability to stay healthy and fit and all of your relationships. The following explanation of trauma comes from the fantastic book The Myth Of Normal by Gabor Maté, which I have read.
“Trauma is not what happens to you. Trauma is what happens inside you due to what happened to you. “Trauma is not the event that inflicted the wound. So, the trauma is not the sexual abuse; the trauma is not the war.”
Dr. Mate breaks this up into little T trauma and big T trauma. Little T things are bullying, rejection, job loss, or a pet. Big T trauma refers to incidents of war, violence, disaster, sexual assault, or abuse.
If you believe in the mind-body connection as I do when the mind is scarred with big or little T trauma, it is not only a health issue but, for some, a life and death-issue. Both types of trauma can have a significant hold on your mental health, which obviously affects your physical health. I’m far less than qualified to talk about it, but in my experience, talk therapy helps.
If you (try to) heal the mind, the body can only follow.
Many factors outside the physical and sometimes outside of your control affect a person’s ability to be healthy and fit. This blog has merely scratched the surface of the role of healing on your health and fitness. However, healing and recognizing issues that affect your physical and mental health go a long way toward better health and wellness.