World Health Day: Mindful living key factor in building a bridge between humans, planetary health

Dr Karthiyayini MahadevanUpdated: Thursday, April 07, 2022, 05:49 PM IST
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Our planetary well-being and our well-being are closely connected. Nature plays a major role in maintaining the ecosystem. /Representative image | Oleh_Slobodeniuk

Earth, as a living space for life, has a physical body, life body, mental body and individuality. Physical body is represented by the soil with the minerals and trace elements, life body with the process involving beginning and transformation of one life form to the other, mental body as the harmonious interaction between the life forms and the individuality with the right kind of resources conducive to sustain life in this planet. Likewise human beings also have a physical form which has a structure held by skeletal frame and muscles, life body with all the physiological process, mental body with the emotional balance and the individuality with the personality as who one is.

Ecosystem is maintained through a harmonious process with the interconnections of life on earth. Similarly, within the human being, internal milieu is maintained in homeostasis through the interconnecting organ systems. Our planetary well-being and our well-being are closely connected. Nature plays a major role in maintaining the ecosystem. All living being except humans, abide by the laws of nature. Humans as the pinnacle of the food chain need to respect and honour these laws.

A way to do this is to understand the circadian rhythm and lead a lifestyle incorporating this rhythm. Eating in the right time, which is having an early dinner close to the sunset brings in improvement in the quality of sleep and thereby on waking up, a clear mind to perceive. Clear thoughts connecting to the world in the most sensitive way will reduce the insensitivity towards the environment and contribute towards a healthy environment. This is a human contribution out of free will towards the harmony of the ecosystem. Mindful living and understanding of human responsibility towards planetary health will empower human health.

What exists in the macrocosm is the same as the microcosm. In the macrocosm of the universe, the Earth is a unique planet as it sustains all life forms. Likewise, in the microcosm, at the cellular level, each cell has its unique contribution to the human body.

Just like the stars create stardust, cells in their degeneration and regeneration sustain life through homeostasis. There is a need to maintain a balance between the polarities of life and death in the macro and microcosm.

This balance is well-maintained in nature if it is not disturbed by human invasion. Flora and fauna abide by the laws of nature whereas a human being has his free will to do what he/she wants. In human beings, health is sustained and regulated through the harmony of cellular functions.

Nature has engraved its footprint in human organ systems through circadian rhythm. Organs function differently with respect to this rhythm. By understanding this rhythm and regulating our lifestyle, human beings can improve organ functionality, thereby sustaining their vitality. Planetary well-being and human well-being are closely connected. Nature plays a major role in maintaining the ecosystem. All living beings except humans, abide by the laws of nature. Humans, who are at the top of the food chain, need to respect and honour these laws.

One such way to touch base with the circadian rhythm is to regulate mealtime. Eating major meals between sunrise and sunset facilitates proper digestion and nutrient supply to organs. An early dinner helps in improving the quality of sleep. This in turn helps one to have a clear mind when they wake up, thereby improving work efficiency for the day. This also sensitises a person towards one’s own body and the environment.

Being sensitive draws one’s awareness to be mindful in activities. This mindful living gives a possibility of optimally utilising the Earth’s resources and keeping wastage to a bare minimum. Human health and planetary health complement each other. If human beings with their mindfulness use resources wisely and support the planet, nature will complement through the balance in changing seasons and bring forth the right kind of flora and fauna, supplying the needs of human life.

For the sustainability of the ecosystem, we need:

1. Energy availability

2. Nutrient availability

3. Recycling of wastes

If the ecosystem’s health is sustained, then human health is supported with the warmth and love of the planet. There will be a surplus of resources offered by the nature.

Living a conscious life and having responsibility towards planetary health will in turn empower human health.

(Dr Karthiyayini Mahadevan is Head – Wellness and Wellbeing at Columbia Pacific Communities)

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