We often don’t appreciate how well our body works until it doesn’t.
“I used to be in better shape” were words spoken regularly in the chronic pain and MOVE (weight management) classes I taught at VA. Every Veteran had a time in life when he or she felt physically fit. Many Veterans still carry a photo of themselves in their dress uniform as a reminder of those younger, healthier days.
Injuries, inflammation, the passage of time, and lifestyle choices change our bodies. How we think of our bodies can affect how we feel about ourselves overall. It is a human trait to focus on problems, so we think about our sore knees, aching back and shortness of breath. We may feel we are “breaking down.”
But when was the last time you marveled at your body and expressed gratitude for it? Consider just a few facts:
- The average heart beats 3 million times in a person’s lifetime, and pumps almost 800,000 gallons of blood a year.
- There are a trillion nerves powering your memory.
- Your eyes can differentiate between 2.3 to 7.5 million different colors.
- If all the DNA in your body was uncoiled, it would stretch 10 billion miles (from Earth to Pluto… and back!)
Your body is miraculous and takes care of you in ways you aren’t aware of, don’t pay attention to, and never consider. Today, spend a few minutes thanking your body for all it does—and continues to do—for you. And if you know some ways to take better care of your body—eating healthful foods, doing some light activity, getting a good night’s sleep, spending a few minutes relaxing— there is no time like the present to start. Your body will thank you for it.
We invite you to spend fifteen minutes with Christiane Wolf as she guides us through a loving kindness practice:
More on Whole Health
Each of us has the power to impact our well-being. Whole Health offers the skills and support you need to make the changes you want. The Circle of Health can get you started with self-care resources to support taking better care of your body: https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTH/circle-of-health/index.asp
Here are some other links that offer resources to help you appreciate and take care of your amazing body:
Be Physically Active: https://www.prevention.va.gov/Healthy_Living/Be_Physically_Active.asp
Moving the Body: https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTH/circle-of-health/moving-body.asp
Marc Castellani, Ph.D., NBC-HWC, is the whole health clinical education coordinator for the VHA Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation.