21 Apr Seasonal Wellness: What Can Spring Teach Us?
(n): to renew; repair
to bring back to former strength;
to rebuild; to heal or cure; to amend; to reclaim
True knowledge of health and healing is scattered everywhere, among cultures throughout the world. Ancient wisdom teaches us that natural health is more than taking steps to avoid illness. The greatest natural medicine comes from our own life choices, which includes learning to live in harmony with nature itself. As the Earth makes its journey back toward the Sun, ushering us into a new season, what then can nature teach us about wellness?
Science has determined that many of today’s most prevalent diseases have stress as a common precursor. Stress, we now know, weakens the immune system, making it difficult for the body to protect itself from outside invaders like bacteria and viruses. Continued exposure to physical or psychological stress can trigger the release of hormones that cause inflammation, harden blood vessels and create imbalance in the body. Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, often brought on by stress, are the result of an immune system that fails to recognize healthy cells as healthy. Instead, the immune system attacks its own healthy cells, treating them as foreign invaders. Thankfully, for all we know about the dangers of chronic stress we also know what we can do to prevent it. Nutrition and lifestyle modifications are proven methods for preventing the occurence or worsening of stress related diseases. Rethinking how we think about health is a natural first step.
Spring is the lesson of restoration and resilience. The harsh, cold winds of winter are over and dormancy has come to an end. Soil softens, trees sprout new limbs, rain falls from the clouds offering needed oxygen for new growth and life survival. Creatures that add to our planet’s unique biodiversity are born. Earth awakens and begins its renewal and repair. Only through nature’s exquisite rest in winter can can we count on the promise of new buds and blossoms in spring.
Restoration and resilience are critical to our physical health and mental well-being. Resilience isn’t about how well we endure life’s stress but how well we recharge so that the process of renewal can begin. Selecting healthy whole grains and antioxidant rich foods supports the body’s ability to generate new, healthy cells and recognize dangerous invaders. Adequate sleep improves mental recall and the concentration we need in order to be productive during the day. Like the trees sprouting new branches, adequate time for play and creativity activates release of the brain’s pleasure chemicals dopamine and serotonin while also generating new learning pathways in the brain. These simple practices are the tools of restoration that help keep the complex human brain and body functioning at its most optimal level.
Spring is our opportunity to begin again; to create new habits and redefine how we envision health. It is an opportunity to get outdoors for extended periods of time; to reconnect with nature—our greatest teacher on balance, harmony, and healing. Spring is an opportunity to blend the best ancient wisdom about natural healing traditions with the newest scientific evidence and proof that those traditions do in fact work. Spring is our opportunity to eat, drink, play and live in harmony with the Earth, which is the quintessential definition of wellness.
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