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What is Deep Health?

Often in the world of fitness and health there is an emphasis on working out and food. And whilst moving our bodies and what we choose to eat of course does have an effect on our health, in my mind it's just not so simple.


After all, you are not just a body.


When I coach clients, it's often widening their perspective to this bigger picture. Our health - and our lives - comprise so much more than just what we eat and how we move. This is why I use the word 'holistic' to describe what I do, as it encompasses and holds space for the true messiness that is in everyday life, how we create meaning, the people in our lives, the patterns of thinking and behaviours we hold, the vision we have for ourselves and more.


It's not worth pursuing one sphere at the expense of the other. One of the more common examples of this that I encounter is in the 'dieting mindset' (I must eat less to achieve what I want) - perhaps, but not at the cost of your relationship with food, your emotional well-being, the social role that food has in your life and your stress levels!


So here are the 6 aspects of deep health for you to consider today:


1. Relational


This describes how you connect to other people: having people in your life that you feel you can be yourself with, truly express yourself and share and support each other. This can be your friends, family, loved ones, children, but also the quality of the more minor communications you have with the shop keeper, bus driver etc. Relational health is about feeling seen and connected to others.


2. Existential


I have written on this one before, as I think it is an area of health that currently might be much neglected in peoples' lives. Existential health is feeling a meaning and a purpose to life: a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Existential health is also about feeling connected to ourselves - something that many, many, many of us have lost along the way in our attempts to survive what life throws at us.


3. Mental


Mental health, in this context, refers to a mind that can be focused, alert, competent, thoughtful, reflective, as well as learning, creating. solving problems and remembering. To me, mental health is also cultivating the relationship we have to our thoughts so that we have a healthy sense of self, without it swaying around in reaction to our emotions, external events or relationships.


4. Emotional


I think this is linked to mental health, and in many ways I think it's different to separate them. When we have emotional health we are able to feel and process a wide range of emotions, express them appropriately and see them in perspective. Emotional health is also how we respond to ourselves, and extending to ourselves love, kindness and acceptance.


5. Physical


Physical health is feeling vibrant, energized and thriving, and being able to perform and function well. This is incredibly difficult if the other areas of your health are under attack! It can be about what exercise we do, but is also how we live and look after the body we are in in every moment of the day as well. Not just our bodies, but our minds, our emotions and our lives are movement also.


6. Environmental


Environmental health means your everyday surroundings support your well-being; this includes the systems and countries we live in too (which of course and so sadly, is not true in many places and systems). Whilst some systems take longer to change, we are able to influence our immediate surroundings and can set them up in ways that promote the other aspects of deep health.


So I encourage you now: take a look at all the categories above and have a think about where you are with each one. Does one stand our as perhaps needing attention more than the others?


There's no right or wrong place to start.


Small changes in just one area can be EVERYTHING and you'll find you might cycle between seasons of needing to pay more attention to one area compared to others.


So pick an area.

Identify a small step.

Begin.


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