Exercise, sleep and healthy eating have long been considered the building blocks of good health. But we may need to add more elements to this triad.
Traditionally, any interest in the body beyond that as a functioning machine has been considered nonconformist. When it breaks down, they mend it up with plasters, elixirs and capsules, send it on its way. The focus on mental and emotional health is relatively recent; however, the approach remains the same, prescribing pills to replenish neurotransmitters, or numb an excess of nerves. Of course, we should be treated with medications if we are ill and require them. But emotional health exists on a spectrum — perhaps it's not major depression but a sickness of spirit, an ennui, or loneliness. Left unchecked, it can spiral into something deeper. Just as we can ameliorate the risk of high blood pressure or diabetes with conscious eating and physical activity, we may be able to prevent depression by cultivating interests and creating human connections.
Modern life can be an endless drudgery, drawing away as much productivity as possible, belittling, expecting perfection — leaving one hollow and burnt out. We forget what brings us joy, and the things that invigorate have fallen by the way side. But the body doesn't exist as a distinct entity from the mind. And as the consciousness ruminates on the lack of substance, it creates a spiral of mental and physical descent.
But the body doesn't exist as a distinct entity from the mind. And as the consciousness ruminates on the lack of substance, it creates a spiral of mental and physical descent.
Isolation, drudgery and boredom have to be identified and cast out. We are social creatures, so we are sensitive to those around us. We are creative creatures, and are sensitive to beauty. The vis vitae seeks safe spaces with positive experiences and if deprived, it slinks into a dark place. Not everyone is lucky enough to have an exciting, inspiring environment at the work place or at home. So we must seek it outside, perhaps in other people, or activity, or music, or words, or color.