Healthy body, healthy mind

I often think about the body and mind are two separate things, in dualism theory that the mental and the physical are different kinds of things. However, there is no contraction between reading and exercising. Instead, fitness can develop my bodies and minds as one. My health affects my mindset, my mindset affects my health at the same time. My thoughts constantly affect my breathing, muscles, immune system, heartbeat etc, which return the favour by impacting my thinking. My body and mind form a complex inter-dependent system, it’s not possible to completely isolate any part of the system from the rest. Get a healthier body, allows me to get a healthier mind. My goal is to develop fitness through bodies and minds together. Nowadays I have been sitting in front of a computer all day to think and work, which could lead to health issues and depression. Physiology training would give a positive impact on my thoughts. Exercise biologically release natural hormones to regulate my moods.

I would like to be healthier because health is the prerequisite to achieve other goals. Without health, it would be difficult to focus and achieve better results in life. I would need to develop a habit to go exercise more frequently after finishing work, either go running or swimming for an hour. This regular exercises habit can help regulate my emotions and have a clear mind to make higher quality decisions. The amount of time to invest in exercise is worth it as the return would be higher productivity and improving the performance of my brain as well. Also, I am what I eat, so having a healthy diet with essential nutritions could keep my energy level high without feeling burn out and exhausted. As I am getting older, I can feel my body metabolism slow down and body shape starts to change with a bigger tummy, it is also important for me to maintain a better body shape as well. Besides, I would like to be mentally healthy to deal with different challenges in life and having a good relationship with other people.

Mentally healthy is the prerequisite to be a leader. It is difficult to describe leadership sometimes as the word represents a couple of merits, such as being capable, stepping up and being a role model with leading by example. It would be easier to describe what a lack of leadership would look like, and the result would be terrible for society. Especially during the crisis, like the unfortunate situation in Hong Kong, lack of leadership has disastrous consequences. Those who are in the government leadership position are not capable, but those who are capable are not taking over. Those who have the power is not exercising their power for the people and serving the community, instead, they are taking advantage of the power for his or her benefit. They should step down instead of staying in their leadership position by taking feedback from society. Because their power should be coming from the endorsement of the people instead of being assigned by someone who makes a poor judgement. Great leaders bring prosperity to society.

Mentally healthy makes me more curious. In stressful situations, I tend to have a close mindset, limit my options, stop learning new things and try to reduce distractions. Instead, I should keep an open mind, listen to different kind of interesting topics, learn from different kind of experiences and try out different things. Those new learning may not come up with an immediate effect and be useful right away, but after some time and looking back, I would be able to connect the dots and realised my experience could surprisingly contribute to my innovations. Therefore stay curious about the world and other people, I could explore and get out of my comfort zone to understand better from other people’s perspectives. It is life long learning even after leaving school. And the best way to start is to start with interesting questions that could trigger my curiosity to dive deeper into the topics. The more I learn, the more I realise I don’t know and it could lead to other discoveries. Stay curious.

Mentally healthy gives me a positive mindset. I don’t respond to the world as it is. I act by my mental map of the world. I experience and respond to the world around me primarily through the perceptions created by my five sense. It is my mindset determine how I behave and that give those behaviours meaning, not reality itself. It is generally not reality that limits me or empowers me, but rather my mindset about reality. Therefore I would have a better chance of getting what I want by keep looking at the positive side of reality, this is a better approach than attempting to change the world to make things positive. My positive mindset is made of my collection of experiences, attitudes and beliefs. I tend to filter negative experience to fit my perceptions and beliefs. Even though terrible things happened everyday and life is suffering, I remain optimistic and believe in things would tend to become better eventually and I can make an effort to try to look at the positive side of everything.

As a result of a healthier body and mind, I would be able to build and contribute to the community. People skills are required for me to serve and contribute to the community. In my education system, exams focus on my hard skills such as how to do programming, how to design a system and how to calculate on the balance sheet. However, once I leave school, I would be confronted by others and different kinds of challenges. The person at the desk opposite to me may disagree with me, privately hate me or toxically pursue his or her secret agenda to hurt others for a selfish reason. He or she may give me constructive feedback or polite criticism which I would need to deal with. He or she may pretend to be a friend but betray to take credits for my best efforts. Different teams may work in a silo and never communicate. Some people may keep quiet and never speak up to raise their questions or concerns. Therefore soft skills as a human are important, such that I could better handle a different kind of relationships to better serve the community and contribution with an impact.

Exercise could lead to my self-actualisation. The highest performance comes not when I am bored or in a state of utter panic, but when I am feeling slightly over-challenged. That’s when the brain releases just the right amount of noradrenaline to keep me at my best. Also during the process to achieve something, I could have fun and my brain release dopamine. Without fun, peak performance is practically impossible. Self-actualisation requires me to regulate my stress level as well, as prolonged high levels of cortisol in the bloodstream lead to depression and burnout. Physical exercise regulates the release of hormones with the maintenance of mental health. Evidence now indicates that exercise can be used to alter the course of both depression and anxiety. The more stress I perceived, the more anxious I become with a fight or flight response. Instead, by better control of my brain with better reasoning, problem-solving and thinking abstractly, I would have a high chance to realise my potentially and fully develop my abilities.

By Victor Leung

Experience in software development, consulting services and technical product management. Understanding of business and technology with an MBA in Finance and a Master degree in Computer Science. AWS Certified Solution Architect with experience in building products from scratch and serving as a charismatic leader.

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