December 8, 2022
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Commentary: Balance may help individuals achieve good health

Humans are complex creatures. We’ve been studied and prodded at to discover what we’re all about. So far, society has come a long way in determining how we function and what we need in order to sustain ourselves. However, we constantly undergo massive change. Consequently, we’re continually fed false claims on what we need to maintain a “healthy” lifestyle.

Mrinalini Iyengar

Health is much more than avoiding disease. It’s a compilation of different aspects — physical, mental, spiritual and emotional — that form a balanced individual. These aspects collaborate to dictate our actions and thought processes. They ultimately determine what foods we eat, how we react in conversations with people, how much we exercise each day and what we do to make ourselves happy.

Food labels say a lot: low fat, fewer calories, zero trans fat. Where is the cutoff point for adhering to phony facts and unrealistic goals? Common misconceptions include cutting out certain foods that may not benefit the body in the long run. It is imperative to understand what the body is capable of handling, but still consider that each and every one of us makes different food choices.

Cathy Saloff-Coste, a nutrition consultant for the college, talks at Wellness Wednesday on Sept. 28 in the Taughannock Falls Meeting Room.

Highly nutritious foods are more beneficial when taken in abundance, as compared to those that are processed and contain artificial sugars. But consuming smaller portions of certain foods may take the edge off eating calorie-filled or fatty snacks. Writing a list and setting realistic goals can help people maintain a balanced eating pattern. No one has to go on a diet. Fads in the diet industry come and go, but ultimately the individual chooses whether to alter his or her lifestyle for the better. Eating well means incorporating essential nutrients into a diet and balancing them with the occasional sinful ice cream or fried fish. People shouldn’t keep away from foods that are labeled “unhealthy,” but rather assess the situation with an open mind.

Unfortunately, our health takes a back seat when our minds are busy chattering and distracting us from what the heart is saying. Equilibrium between the mind and heart is necessary to clearly assess a situation. When I realize that I’m overthinking a situation, I close my eyes and breathe deeply. I acknowledge any recurring thoughts or upsetting images and let them go. Usually, this brings me back down to earth. It’s helpful for people to acknowledge their insecurities and doubts that cross their mind. It helps rid themselves of unhealthy thought patterns.

We experience a wide array of emotions each day. Cross-cultural communication may be supported or hindered by these emotions and individuals perceive and express emotion differently. Though cultural barriers exist, it is imperative for all beings to experience every emotion the human body is capable of undergoing and to communicate that with the rest of the world.

Depression and anger are usually frowned upon because they do not contribute to a “positive” lifestyle. But it’s unhealthy to deny yourself the right to experience these sentiments. I firmly believe in allowing myself to undergo the multitude of emotions that are out there. I thrive in anger and sadness — it makes me feel human.

Balanced health is equivalent to a happy life in my book. When you are truly at ease with yourself, you become content with your surroundings. Taking a holistic approach to finding good health may be the answer.

Mrinalini Iyengar is a sophomore health science major. Email her at