Essential Elements Series: Element Six- Connections

This article is the seventh and final in a series of posts exploring the Essential Six Elements of Whole Health, the core of our health philosophy and the foundation for our work with our nutritional therapy clients.

Learn more about the Essential Elements and find the rest of the series here.

The Connections Element includes the fostering of social relationships, nurturing your spiritual side and adopting a conscious cultural mindset.

We all know that it’s important to have a good social support system.

To have a group of people that you can interact with, that encourage you and are there for you in good times and in bad. As we discussed in Essential Element Five: Thoughts & Emotions, it’s important that we have purpose in our lives.

Being a good friend is one way to find purpose and feel useful.

Sometimes it’s easy to be surrounded by friends. You may live in the same place where you grew up and have a large support system. You may find community through your work, your church or by way of a hobby.

However, sometimes, especially in our modern world full of demands, overbooked schedules, the trend of living far from family and increasing short social interaction, it’s during the times when you most need a support system that you realize yours isn’t quite as strong as you’d prefer.

It’s important to focus on building a strong system and there are several ways to go about this.

While online social interaction has been criticized for negatively impacting face-to-face social skills, online relationships can be a huge source of support. Especially in instances of living away from family and friends, keeping in touch online can make a huge impact on the relationship.

If you have interests that are not exactly mainstream, like alternative health or real food nutrition for example, meeting others online can really help you learn, exchange ideas and resources and give you much needed support while you try different things.

In the same way that we need personal support and interaction, we also need to nurture our spiritual side.

This means different things to different people, so the methods used to do this will vary widely. Some people may go to a church or study religious texts while others prefer a more private, internal approach.

Some may pray or meditate while others find connection to the Divine in serving others. However you choose to practice, and whatever your beliefs, growing your spiritual side is very beneficial to your health.

We’ve talked about our connections on a personal level- interacting with others and our spiritual selves- but I think another connection is extremely important. It’s the connection to our world family.

We all live on this planet and we all deserve to have the same rights.

Aside from just a general agreement with this belief, it’s important that we adopt a conscious cultural mindset. Part of that includes becoming a conscious consumer. The topic of consumerism is a big one, but one glaring issue is that there is not a level playing field.

Some industries (and companies within the industry) have inappropriately burdened third world countries: depleting natural resources, polluting, exploiting the population for cheap labor and influencing the law making process to benefit their own interests rather than the best interests of the country and its citizens.

Opting for organic, fair trade goods can help to alleviate some of these issues. Organic goods pollute less and are not genetically modified. Fair trade ensures that the workers were paid a fair wage for their work.

You can also simplify and purchase only what you need. Avoiding unnecessary purchases (and the accumulation of “stuff”) helps not only to thwart some of this abuse, but also serves you well in regards to health, finances, emotions and stress.

Having a conscious cultural mindset also means that you are aware of what is going on in your own culture.

Are there things going on which you do not support? Is there perhaps a situation where corporate interests have overtaken our personal freedoms and left our own people without the most basic of necessities? Are the ways of the industrial and commercial food industry, the pharmaceutical industry, large corporations and the media serving you? Are they acting in line with your values?

If not, OPT OUT.

Stop supporting them.

You vote every day with your dollars and THREE times a day with your fork, so if you don’t like what’s going on, change it.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the problems in our society and feel like we can’t make a difference, but believe me, we can. We just have to change what’s going on with us and our family, at our own table, in our own home.

Then we can share our success with our friends and our community. From there it’s like ripples in a pond.

Start with you, the rest will follow.

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