Buddhism for most is considered a mental practice, a state of mind and attitude. For the most part this is true but we cannot forget about the vehicle of the mind – our bodies.
You can be happy even when you’re suffering from illness or bad health, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the aspects of your health that are in your control. Exercise and sleep are particularly important when it comes to happiness. Exercise isn’t just good for the body. It also has a powerful effect on mental well-being. People who exercise regularly are happier across the board. Plus, they’re also less stressed, angry, anxious, and depressed.
It doesn’t really matter what kind of exercise you do, so long as you do it regularly. For best results, aim for an hour of exercise at least five days a week. If you find something you enjoy, you’ll be more likely to stick to it. So don’t think you’re limited to going to the gym or lacing up jogging shoes. Find something that suits your lifestyle and preferences. It could be taking a dance class, shooting hoops, walking in nature, joining a community sports league, playing tennis, running with your dog, swimming laps at the pool, hiking, biking, or doing yoga in the park. If you’re having trouble thinking of activities you enjoy, think back to when you were a kid. What sports or games did you like to play?
We must also remember that a body in motion requires rest. Getting quality sleep every night directly affects your happiness, vitality, and emotional stability during the day. When you’re sleep deprived, you’re much more susceptible to stress. It’s harder to be productive, think creatively, and make wise decisions. How much sleep do you need? According to sleep scientists, the average person needs at least 7.5 – 9 hours each night.
I have always considered exercising much like the concept of flow – Flow happens when you’re actively engaged in something that is intrinsically rewarding and challenging yet still attainable. Anything that completely captivates you and engages your full attention can be a flow activity so get to flowing my friends!
Peace and Love, Jim
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