The Art of Total Relaxation:
Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual

It may seem as if the only people who can reach this most serene state of being exist in religious or spiritual communities that are dedicated to keeping separate from worldly experiences. The rest of us must deal with the noise of the world—both the good and the bad—every day of the year!

Nevertheless, in this article I will hopefully convince you that certain must-do habits can improve your daily well-being and longevity. These practices can help you reap the rewards that we all hope for when our working lives come to a close (of course, barring some freak accident or act of nature). Please read on to learn how you can develop these priceless habits and start attaining a state of physical, emotional, and spiritual balance while on your earthly journey.

Admission: The Recognition of Your Unhealthy Lifestyle

I’m certain that many of us still don’t realize that “we are what we eat.” And because of this, many of us refuse to recognize that the excessive intake of sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oils, and other lifeless, unhealthy foods is an abuse of the natural law. Every day, people line up in their cars to get lunch or dinner from fast food drive-thus, only to consume what I would describe as the most egregious insult to the human body.

Yes, I said the most egregious insult to the human body! Remember, your body cannot be truly relaxed without whole, healthy foods that contain all of the God-given vitamins and minerals we need. Add to the lack of a good diet the lack of proper sleep—which so many people think is of no great importance—accompanied by sleeping aids such as melatonin (a dangerous hormone that is available over the counter) and even medically prescribed sleeping pills! Last but certainly not least, add on top of all of this a lack of exercise that would help maintain proper circulation and muscle tone.

In my humble opinion, living this way, day in and day out, is the reason for rising rates of heart attacks, diabetes, and other disorders. To treat these conditions, we are prescribed highly dangerous drugs in an attempt to offset our failure to nourish our precious bodies and allow them to function as they were intended. If we don’t achieve these goals, we will look and feel like an old dishrag at the end of our working lives!

Some Healthy and Relaxing Foods

Once you decide that you would, in fact, like to be relaxed, you need to learn how to cook! Yikes, did I just say that you need to learn how to cook (at least to some degree)? Yes, I did, but the good news is that making a nice pot of soup in your slow cooker is almost effortlessly easy.

Baking is another super way let the oven make you a great beef roast, a crispy chicken, or a nice pork chop. Add to these meals some fresh, nourishing steamed veggies or a mixed green salad with onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, shredded carrots, or whatever else you like—and yes, you will be well-nourished. A quick online search of the words “cooking for beginners” will serve up tons of books, cooking classes, and YouTube videos.

With so many tools available, there is simply no excuse to not plan at least one good meal a day, and, most importantly, to learn about foods that restore. Allow me to detail the benefits of my two favorite restoring whole foods that I consume daily:

  1. Organic eggs. These are a truly power-packed food that offer jaw-dropping benefits for your eyes and brain, among many others.
  1. Raw milk. The website OrganicFacts.net outlines many of the benefits associated with raw milk. As they explain: “Raw milk is packed with key nutrients that are beneficial to the body, including probiotics, raw fats, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, carotenoids, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and iron, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid, vitamin K and a number of digestive enzymes.” See this state by state raw milk finder created by A Campaign for Raw Milk.

There are many other foods that promote relaxation. Look at this list of the top ten foods for maximum relaxation from the website Health Fitness Revolution. These great alternatives to ready-made junk meals will not only help you relax but also make your mouth water. Also be sure to visit the Weston A. Price Foundation to see their recipes of the week.

How Do I Relax Emotionally?

Glad you asked. Emotional relaxation is possibly one of easiest things to do. Yet—perhaps like many of you—I have wasted a great deal of my time on a syndrome called “Yeah, but what if?” Consciously or unconsciously, many of us participate in this dastardly act of self-abuse! I even wrote about this very issue in my blog post titled “Closing Out the Year (and How to Be Worry-Free Next Year.” Do you constantly mull over every decision or act while thinking “Yeah, but what?” If so, this blog post will offer you a refreshing path to becoming emotionally balanced as you learn how to make good decisions for the rest of your life. I promise.

Why Do I Need a Spiritual Component in My Life?

Rather than write on this subject yet again, I encourage you to read my blog post “Are Health Issues Real or Imagined? Mysteries of the Body and Mind.”

In it, I discuss the book Religion and Health by James J. Walsh. He wrote about how soldiers who had been broken, mentally and emotionally, during WWII were unable to heal from their experiences despite all the rehabilitation they were afforded. It was only by way of a spiritual awakening that they became whole again. I quote from the blog post:

“When Dr. Walsh determined that the disorders reported by these broken soldiers was not a real medical issue after resorting to counseling and other methods, he found that if the soldier was able to return to his religious faith and/or embrace God’s healing power as the antidote to his imaginary problems, his mental state was profoundly affected to the positive.

“I too abandoned my childhood faith. But later in life, in the midst of many horrific experiences, I found my way back. And I too experienced a type of out-of-body experience that, in my humble opinion, effected an immediate 180-degree turn in my life, and solutions abounded.

“Too long a story to detail here, but as I see it, the idea is that religion and turning to God, as we understand Him, can lead us to providential energies and graces that we simply do not understand. Yes, they are there for us if we can come to believe. Possibly for the first time, I came to realize that I needed a remedy not available from any earthly power. I hope that if you are in any mental distress, you can also turn to God.”

Afterthoughts from the Traditional Cook

“A brand new me?”

Someone just took a photo of yours,
A view you would never otherwise see,
A view through their lens,
A view you’ve seen others in,
A view you’d instantly fall in love with.

How must the person taking the photo feel?
No one’s taking theirs,
A selfless act of kindness it seems,
Or are there some impish desires brewing underneath?
Or just silent expectations of plain reciprocity?

Whatever it may,
You’ve made it your identity,
You’re now the person in the photograph, not what you actually see,
The image on the reel is real,
How do you like this brand new me?
Paul Welkin

Disclaimer from Maria Atwood, CNHP: I am a Certified Natural Health Professional (CNHP) not a medical doctor. I do not diagnose, prescribe for, treat, or claim to prevent, mitigate, or cure any human diseases. Please see your medical doctor or health practitioner prior to following any recommendations I make in my blog posts or on my website.

Images from iStock/g-stockstudio (main), debbiehelbing (man comforting soldier), Peerayot (milk and eggs). 

Maria Atwood, CNHP

Maria Atwood is a semiretired Certified Natural Health Professional and Weston A. Price Chapter Leader in Colorado Springs, CO. Visit her website at TraditionalCook.com. Also check out Maria’s Cook Your Way to Wellness DVD (also available as an e-learning course) and be sure to follow her Tips from the Traditional Cook blog.
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