I like to explain that the human body is not much different from your favorite tree.
To flourish, a tree needs sunlight, water and nutrients. A tree is also a shelter for many critters and other organisms. If a tree is losing leaves or appears ill, the tree doctor will ensure that the tree has just enough water — a tree may suffer if it is over- or under-watered. The tree doctor/gardener will ensure there is just the right amount of sunlight — too little or too much may prevent optimal growth. They will examine the soil and ensure there are nutrients in the soil. That soil needs to be replete with microorganisms as well as adequate vitamins and minerals. Brown dirt isn’t enough; the soil needs “plant food” as well. (check out the documentary movie “Biggest Little Farm” on Amazon Prime).
And to grow big and strong and not fall over, the tree needs just the right amount of wind — this wind acts as a stressor which reminds the tree to grow deep roots into the ground — not enough wind and the roots are too weak and shallow to permit the tree to reach its maximum potential. Too much wind and the tree may fall over and stop growing at all.
In summary, the tree needs to find just the right amount of energy: energy in the form of sun, food and water and nutrition AND just the right amount of stress/wind.
It also needs to live in harmony with all the organisms in the forest — the other plants, the animals AND microorganisms. Any deviation can stunt or hinder the tree’s growth and even cause its demise.
We humans are NO different than trees.
We need water — we need to stay hydrated. We are 60% water. Do you drink enough fluids throughout the day?
We need to adjust our hydration in different climates — if you move to LA where I live the climate is very dry and you need to increase your fluid intake.
Like trees, we need sunlight. We need “Vitamin Nature”. 120 minutes per week of nature lowers the incidence of anxiety and depression. Vitamin D is a critical nutrient for the immune system and so much more – we make vitamin D in response to sunlight. If you are taking vitamin D, some say it’s best to take it midday as that’s when our body’s absorption may be greatest, which happens to be the same time of day when the sun is strongest.
In addition, we can also see sunlight as a metaphor for a positive energy source. Sunlight is like a light switch that provides positive energy to our body. Some might call that Vitamin Pleasure or Vitamin P for short.
What can you do that gives you a boost of pleasure every day?
This is critical to your wellness and ability to reach maximal potential.
What do you do for self-care each and every day?
We need to move our bodies regularly. Sitting is the new smoking — we need to move. Not too much. Over-exercise can lead to overuse injuries, leaky gut, and obsessive compulsive behaviors and more. Under use, for example, couch potatoes, are too sedentary; this ushers in a host of chronic illnesses including obesity, diabetes, hypertension and more.
Just like the trees in our garden, we too need nutrients and food to flourish and reach our peak potential.
We need to feed our physical body or it won’t work. We need the calories yes, but food is so much more than calories. It is the energy source, the gas that keeps all the enzymes running and our organ systems running smoothly. We need to ensure that the food we put in our mouths has real nutrition — protein, fat and carbs as well as vitamins and minerals.
We also need to live in harmony with our critters — the organisms that share our physical space. Hence eating prebiotic foods (foods for the bacteria that live within us is key) and we need to constantly replenish our microbiome by eating probiotic foods and supplements – that are selected for our particular makeup, living style and environment.
And it’s best if we live in harmony with our neighbors as well — both human, animal and plants that share our environment/community.
And like trees — too much stress may lead to disease, but just the right amount of stress builds character, strength and resiliency. We need to learn how to sway with the wind and grow stronger from our setbacks.
Join me on Fridays for Flip Your Mindset! group Zoom coaching and explore tools to help us grow strong like the redwoods.