When I was still drinking I had a weekend routine that went something like this: drink all night Friday into the morning hours. Sleep until noon or later then get up and drink three or four cups of coffee. Sit on the couch all day watching television and eating cheeseburgers, French fries, burritos and milkshakes; the greasier the food the better. While stuffing my face, I would sit there feeling sorry for myself and wondering why my life wasn’t better than it should be. The world owed me a life better than this, damn it. Then around four o’clock I’d crack my first beer and start the cycle all over again. Suffice it to say, I gained a lot of weight and developed a number of health problems after a few years of this lifestyle.
Remember the old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”? It may seem quaint and silly, but there is some truth to this timeless proverb. What we put into our bodies each day, the food we consume has a direct impact on both our short-term and long-term health.
Which is healthier—eating fruits and vegetables every day or eating donuts and ice cream every day? I promise, if you live on nothing but donuts, ice cream and other junk food, no matter how delicious they might be in the moment, you’re going to suffer from serious health issues. But if you make a commitment to consume fresh, natural foods you will reap the benefits by nurturing a healthy body.
Just as we need to feed our body healthy food, we also need to feed our mind and spirit with positive energy. But what does good health mean? In my opinion, good health starts on the inside. Good health involves:
One of my favorite expressions is, “As within, so without.” How we feel on the inside will always affect how we feel and behave on the outside. Positive energy flows through us like clean, clear water, nourishing every aspect of our mind, spirit and soul.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the benefits of a positive attitude include:
One of the easiest ways to start is to replace resentment with gratitude. When we pray, we can simply list all the things we’re grateful for in our life. Or we can pray by giving thanks for the things we enjoy or find beautiful.
During the early days of my recovery from alcohol, I slowly began to recognize how much anger, fear and resentment had accumulated in me over the years. I was pissed off at the world and everyone in it. I chose to consume the poisonous junk food of anger and resentment rather than feed my body and mind with the nourishing benefits of hope and gratitude. I was rotting from the inside and it showed in my attitude and outlook on life. I didn’t want to address these issues because they were too painful to confront.
I made it a point to start praying for a better attitude and a willingness to appreciate what I had—not what I had lost. I began to incorporate hope and gratitude into my daily prayer. It wasn’t easy at first. I had been sick and angry for so long that I’d forgotten how to feel good.
It sounds ridiculous now, but at the time I couldn’t remember how it felt to be optimistic and excited about anything. I was buried in the depths of depression and fear and needed to find a way out of the hole I had dug.
Slowly, over time, my prayers began to take on a new shape and color. Every day I asked for a healthy body and mind. I listed all the things in my life that were good and I accepted any challenges I was facing instead of trying to bury them. Most importantly, I developed gratitude and rejected resentment in any form.
It is amazing how much this helped me recover. I started to feel better. I began to smile more. My sleep improved, my depression lifted, and I began to trust people more. I began the process of forgiving myself and others.
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