Sleep Is An Essential Of Life—The Role Of Sleep In LifeSleep is the condition under which the brain generates nerve energy with which to conduct body activities. The deeper the stage of sleep into which the body enters, the more efficiently can nerve energy be generated. There are five stages of sleep if we include the R.E.M stage, popularly called the dream stage, when there are rapid eye movements. Other stages are named after the brain wave frequency. The threshold stage of sleep is the alpha stage and the deepest stage is delta wave sleep.
As nerve or vital energy is the spark of vitality for vigorous activity and high level function generally, adequate sleep is very essential to well-being.
Food Is An Essential Of Life—The Role Of Food In HealthSeveral later articles are devoted to the subject of food. We will not, therefore, treat it extensively here.
In no other area of life practices are our transgressions against ourselves so great as in the food we ingest. Consequently, most diseases of humanity arise largely because of eating wrong foods.
Food supplies us with essential nutrients other than the three inorganic ones we need. Even water, an inorganic food, can normally be obtained in quantities needed from a proper diet.
All our food should be eaten raw as nature delivers it to us. All heating of foods destroys vital nutrients. Suffice it to say that nature did not equip humans or any other animals with stoves.
Exercise And Activity Are Essential To Well-BeingHumans live to function and functioning is the very essence of life. That which is not used is abused. Human faculties were developed for use. Disuse results in atrophy and loss of function. Without exercise, well-being ceases.
Abilities, intelligence and every aspect of well-being are greatly enhanced by exercise. Almost every account of exercise speaks of its marvelous benefits to the body. Activities should be daily indulged that bring all the body’s some 700 muscles into play.
Rest And Relaxation Are Essential To HealthIn present-day society there are many tensions and stress-producing situations. Relaxation, which also involves rest, should be indulged two to four times daily for periods of from 15 to 30 minutes. The body recoups under rest and relaxation.
If eyes are bleary or the eyelids heavy, relaxation for a few minutes with the eyes closed will accomplish wonders. A nap is even better, for little revitalizes the body as well as sleep.
Sleep should be obtained daily to the extent that sleepiness dictates, whether this be as little as six hours or as much as ten hours. The healthier an individual, the less sleep required (to a point). As a concomitant to sleep the body obtains rest. Rest enables the body to catch up on its eliminative activities and to resupply its stores of body starch (glycogen) for the following day’s energy needs.
While sleep regenerates a fund of nerve energy, rest enables the body to restock physical stores as well as to “clean house.” Relaxation relieves tension buildup. A period of vigorous exercise followed by relaxation will perform even more dramatic results.
Sunshine Is An Essential Of HealthWhile it is known that vitamin D is created through the agency of sunshine and ergosterol in the cutaneous tissues, little else is known of the benefits of sunlight. Of late it has been discovered that natural light from the sun is of immense benefit in vision compared to vision debility under unnatural light.
Sunlight has a very important impact on the quality of sleep, the reproduction and may lead to diseases such as rickets, anemia, tuberculosis, dermatological, insomnia, hypertension, infertility, etc.
Recreation And Play Are Health EssentialsJust as the body is rejuvenated by rest, sleep, relaxation, fasting and other healthful measures, it is also kept young by constructive games, hobbies and participation sports.
Americans are more likely to dissipate themselves during leisure hours than participate in body and character building activities. The pursuit of sex in an overstimulated society is of a debilitating nature. Watching TV for the most part amounts to adult babysitting.
There are many Americans who swim, run, play ball, enjoy hobbies, participate in drama, attend cultural events, hike, participate in sports, garden, master musical instruments, compete in games that require strength and so on. Unfortunately they are a minority. Most Americans are inclined to spectator rather than participant activities. Even many of the participant activities such as drinking, carousing, etc. are destructive of human faculties.
Recreation and play can further the development of humans. In the fresh air and sunshine we can participate in numerous games of play, sports and exercise that are truly healthful and that promote well-being. Unfortunately, most of our people seek out sensuosity for its sake and suffer as a result.
They bring suffering and inconvenience upon those who make better use of themselves too, for, in society, acknowledge it or not, we are our brother’s keeper more than we realize.
Emotional And Mental Well-Being Are Necessary To HealthWhile emotional and mental well-being are born of the physical conditions of the body already cited, they are also vitally dependent upon other influences. While emotional and mental well-being are dependent on physical well-being, physical well-being is also dependent upon emotional and mental well-being.
Our division of humans into a multitude of entities (physical, mental, emotional, etc.) is erroneous. Rather, we are a unitary organism with many aspects to our being. Nonetheless, we use these categorizations for the sake of convenience in communication.
“Feeling like a million” is an emotional and mental condition which is the exhibition and expression of the well-being of our tout ensemble or our faculties in toto. Just as nutrition is dependent upon the condition of all body faculties, so, too, are all body faculties dependent upon nutritive repleteness.
Assurance Of Life And Its Means Is Necessary To HealthHumans are creatures of providence almost the whole world over. Equatorial peoples have no need of providing for the future as have northern peoples but are, nevertheless, provident in many ways. On the other hand, northern peoples are often overly provident. They provide against needs, both real and imagined. This has made many northern peoples acquisitive at the expense of humaneness. Of course acquisitiveness in itself is not the sole evil but is a contributing factor to valuing possessions over fellow beings.
Our basic needs are food and shelter and the productive facilities for making them. We have yet other needs which we strive to satisfy plus many pursuits that engender yet other wants.
Ours is a society of abundance. Within the capabilities of our means of production is a surfeit of goods and services beyond our capacity to use and consume them. Our distribution system is not compatible with our productive capacities, hence there are gross inequities in the amount of the goods and necessities various of the world’s peoples receive. Some are almost totally deprived by circumstances attendant upon these inequities while others are surfeited beyond any possible need.
These inequities give rise to anxieties, worries and concerns that seriously impair health. Even many in what would be considered good circumstances are assailed by fears that they will not be able to maintain their circumstances. Qualms, fears and concerns about loss of the requisites of life are a drain upon the mental and emotional well-being of a majority of people. Worry is a disease of our society.
In tropical climes we see tribes and groups of people living “hand-to-mouth” among plenitude. They always have the needs of life at hand. They are carefree, happy and playful. They do not work much, for their style of life does not require much.
The farther north we travel, the more humans become provident and acquisitive until we reach such a harsh environment that almost all endeavors are directed at providing the basic needs of life and little more.
Pleasant Environment Is Necessary To Well-BeingHumans fare better in environments in which the needs of life are abundant. However, these needs are varied within the context of our culture.
Environment means the total context of our setting. It includes not only our homes, grounds, climate, geography, etc. but also our family, neighbors, associates, acquaintances and, indeed, everything and everyone that makes up the social and economic atmosphere in which we live.
Humans are naturally aesthetic and love beauty in everything. Beauty in environment is essential, not only in the physical surroundings, but also in the persons who people it. Happy people beget happiness in the lives of those whom they touch.
Our social environment is far more important than our physical environment. Humans always dream of better physical environments but achieve happiness primarily within the context of their social circle regardless of climate and geography. Inasmuch as human industry creates special environments for living that are pleasing, we can live rather happily while insulated from the harshness and sparseness of clime and geography.
Thus it can be seen that the environment of most concern relates to the social circle in which we situate ourselves
Creative Useful Work And Its Role In LifeNaturally and normally humans have within them certain qualities that we regard as virtues. All are naturally imbued to perform those labors that are productive of their needs. This is readily seen in tribal societies. Within complex societies where we lose sight of the products of our productive efforts-where we have been instilled with ambitions to consume without corresponding opportunities to produce, we tend to parasitism upon the productive efforts of others.
Unfortunately, our society legalizes parasitism upon the economic body. That is one of the characteristics of our society that begets inequities that breed crime, ugliness, poverty and other life-sapping features.
Work which we can directly relate to fulfilling a need is most deeply satisfying. If it calls upon our innermost resources and abilities, it is even more satisfying and fulfilling. People most happy and contented are those who have created lovely homes with gardens, orchards and beautiful flowerbeds and grounds.
When our creative urges are elicited, we humans can create wonders, not only for our enjoyment and welfare, but also for the pleasure of those with whom we are associated.
Self-Mastery Is Necessary To Best Well-BeingSelf-mastery means self-control. It means keeping passional influences within the bounds of propriety. Intelligently guided responses to situations and yearnings that may arise within our vitiated society—a society with inhumane and unhealthful values—is essential to our welfare. Unbridled pursuits in any direction, especially those that have been commercially tied to our appetencies for food, sex and sensualism are usually exhausting of our precious resources, further pervert and vitiate us and beget conditions of disease and suffering.
The joys of self-mastery are unknown to most. Most of our people are apt to act unthinkingly in response to impulse and an aroused appetency for some sensual delight.
Gregariousness Is An Element Of HealthHumans are social creatures. To achieve our highest level of happiness and well-being, we must belong to a group or circle. We must be in association with others in some manner. Sheer aloneness or being forsaken is deadly to well-being. Even the mental giants amongst us suffer. There are very few Robinson Crusoes.
Our requirement is for associates with whom we can identify. In this day of specialization we tend to restrict ourselves to circles that run along cultural, occupational or special interests. In rural areas neighbors are the basis for associations even though occupations may be different. In large cities cultural pursuits and special interests may be the basis for associations and, more so, occupational lines.
While people can survive rather well alone if they develop some consuming hobby or pursuit, most people are not capable of this within today’s society.
Lack of social life in any form can be a detriment to welfare. Likewise, people of dour dispositions can adversely affect those with whom they associate. It may be a case of “not what’s wrong with you but who’s wrong with you.”
Motivation: Having Purposes Or Causes To ServeFew humans are content with feelings that the world will not be a better place for their having been in it. Most of us are imbued with urges to improve and excel. Most humans strive to better both themselves and their environment. Failure to cultivate goals leaves an individual indifferent and most likely a useless drone in life and society, neither good for self or society. People without ambition and objectives are usually dullards and dissipators.
In observing others whom we serve, it is wise to assess their drives and ambitions. If they lack these, the will to live may also be lacking. People who consult others in health matters have a will to live but may not be sufficiently endowed with aims in life to make living a challenge.
Needless to say, the healthiest and happiest people amongst us are those who are striving to fulfill ambitions and meet life’s challenges.
Just as you may be motivated by an urge to help others and receive reward and recognition for it, others are motivated by any of a multitude of objectives. A great artist may thrive on recognition and appreciation while a ditch digger may have pride not only in his service but in some hobby or other constructive activity.
Without purpose in life there is little drive to live it. We Life Scientists hold that life is sacred and should be imbued with meaningfulness.
Expression Of Natural Instincts Relative To HealthThis is rather broad territory. While we have instincts to survive and thrive, there is also the instinct to procreate our kind. This instinct must be given voice if we are to realize the utmost well-being. While self-discipline can normally control the mating instinct so that it does not exceed its need, it must, nevertheless, have adequate expression. Few there are amongst us who can sublimate an excessive primal urge to more constructive pursuits.
Next to our transgressions in food indulgence stands our collective dissipation in pursuit of sexuality. Most of this amounts, not to satiation of actual need for sexual expression, but satiety of a sexual appetite aroused and stimulated in a society gone awry. Our society regards sexual sensuousness and indulgence as an end in itself and it is stimulated to overindulgence because of dietary and other factors that represent life-threatening factors. The body responds to these life-threatening factors by bringing to the fore and emphasizing survival mechanisms, the act of reproduction being one of the foremost.
Basically, the instinct to reproduction is for one purpose only—the perpetuation of the species. In animals the sexual act occurs only during that time when the female ova are ripe for impregnation. Only in humans has the instinct been perverted and then only within the context of certain societies, ours being among them.
There are many among us who feel inadequate because they cannot enjoy mating as often as they would like. The urge may be for excessive indulgence or it may spring from inadequacy. In any event, the role of unsatisfactory sexual relationships in disease and poor health must be recognized. A return to health always restores sexuality but, in the face of overindulgence, it is not possible to restore health.
Aestethic Well-BeingWhy should a fruit-laden orchard of aromatic fragrance be so lovely and beautiful? Why should a dry barren rocky gulch present such an inhospitable and ugly facade?
Anything that promotes life and its values is appreciated, treasured and deemed beautiful. Anything that is untenable and harmful to life is looked upon as ugly with but few exceptions.
In keeping with this, it would seem that all creatures have standards of beauty. But the greatest capacity for appreciation of beauty is inherent in those creatures that have the greatest capacity for life. We proclaim ourselves undisputed aesthetes among all in the animal kingdom. This is not necessarily true. Almost everything in nature has great beauty. Dolphins (porpoises), whales and other creatures have a very high order of intelligence and likewise appreciate beauty.
That which is fit for food is beautiful to us as it is available to us in nature. That which is poisonous and unfit for food usually has no aesthetic appeal. For purposes of food we do not ascribe beauty to a squirrel. Yet the squirrel fascinates as a lovable and beautiful creature. A peacock is a beautiful and lovely bird. We admire it for its great beauty. Yet it is difficult for us to visualize ourselves breaking its neck, stripping it of feathers and eating it as natural as meat-eaters do—skin, bone, flesh and guts, all raw and uncooked. We can’t do that. The picture is an ugly one. It is in discord with our welfare.
The human sense of beauty is, as far as we know, unparalleled. The visual and sonic arts have been highly cultivated. The development of art has been constructive, healthful and ennobling for humankind.
Everyone has an aesthetic sense —everyone has a sense of beauty. This is a saving grace, for it is an inroad to inspiring and motivating people. Almost everyone appreciates beauty in themselves most of all! Life Science as a way of life will restore health. Simultaneous with rejuvenation, much beauty is restored.
About This Survey Of Life’s EssentialsThe list of the essentials of life presented here is not complete. These are some of the salient ones. Also, some aspects of life’s essentials presented may be somewhat redundant, for some imply others presented.
But, as you will have noted, the needs of life are simple! Nothing is complicated about it. It seems self-evident that these are the essential means for a happy and healthy life. We can see that the science of health does not come from so-called scientific laboratories but, instead, proceeds from the lap of nature.
As Life Scientists or Hygienists we maintain that these requisites were developed in our sojourn in nature and that, just because we have exceeded natures’s provisions with our own industry, we have not exempted ourselves from need of these basic essentials.
Read more on Perfect Health Part II
Gemma's commentsThere are numerous essential factors to life, and it is often impossible to meet them all in our hasty lives, consequently, enjoying perfect health is like a utopia. However, knowing what the most important factors are, we can try to prioritize by decreasing efforts on those factors that have a lower impact and eliminating those that are harmful.
Apart from those already mentioned ones by the Science of Life, I would highlight some other aspects that I also consider very important:
- Love: giving and receiving love is one of the essential elements of human life as well as for all living things. Integrative nutrition refers to it as Vitamin L (Love).
- Spiritual life: the influence of a person’s faith on their health is scientifically proven. Not only is it important to have a moral and ethical code, we also need to nourish our spirit in order for it not to become ill; exactly the same way that the body is fed with food, water, sun and air; and the mind needs intellectual stimulation, the spirit needs food that depends on each person's religion. I would call it Vitamin S (Spiritual).
- Amusement and play. For example, many people are "workaholics" and although it is not ideal for their health, these people feel fully realized and happy in their work and do not enjoy leisure time. Many people fall ill when they reach their retirement age.
- Providence and a safe life. In our society, many people live from paycheck to paycheck and do not even arrive to the end of the month, always living on credit, and some others are poor, and by no means are they unhappy or sick. It is true that the security of having some money saved up is very important, and that losing one’s job, going bankrupt or losing one’s house in a natural disaster causes a depression to most people that severely affects their health. But these cases can be considered as accidents in life, traumatic situations. For those people who have lived most of their lives in insecurity, providence is not essential for life.
- Aesthetics. There’s no doubt about the healing power of beauty: art, music, poetry, a beautiful landscape… But it’s also true that many people on our planet live in inhospitable places, in suburban polluted cities, in ugly shacks in dirty places; and they are still happy and healthy. Some people are not graced with beauty or have been disfigured by an accident, and even though they might not be happy with their appearance, they do live happily. It is important to accept ourselves as we are, with the physical and mental qualities we were born with. As everyone knows nowadays, and even if it is so difficult to accept and implement, what really matters is not someone’s appearance, but what is inside. That is where health resides; possessing a certain beauty is not as important as accepting and valuing the graces which we have been blessed with. When this does not happen, some aesthetics related diseases may appear, such as anorexia, bulimia, depression, cosmetic surgery, etc.