Most of us think of health as the absence of illness or disease. We’re healthy when we’re physically well and feeling fit, unhealthy when we get sick or experience physical discomfort. But there’s much more to health than this. True health is a state of total wellness and positivity that can only be achieved only when the body, mind, and senses work in harmony.

In order to achieve this harmony, we must make the right choices—the kind of choices that reward us physically, mentally and emotionally. This isn’t always easy. Outside influences and inner urges often deter us from making good decisions when it comes to health. The good news: A basic understanding of the senses and the consciousness that governs them can help us to choose health each and every day.

Understanding Your Senses

We are equipped with five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. These senses are the connection between our inner selves to the outside world. Sensory information is perceived and interpreted by our consciousness as part of a sophisticated ‘guidance system.’ This system—the five senses the consciousness that governs them—are known as the Six TouchPoints.

It is our conscious minds, and not the sense organs, that tell us whether a sensory experience is pleasant or unpleasant. For example, The scent of a rose, in and of itself, is neither good nor bad. It is a consciousness that interprets the fragrance as pleasing.

Whether it’s the smell of a rose, the sound of a melody or the feel of a caress, pleasant sensations cause our brains produce healthful neurochemicals. These healthful neurochemicals encourage us to carry on—to smell another rose. On the other hand, when we perceive something to be unpleasant or even painful, our brains produce harmful neurochemicals. These act as a deterrent. The sensation that follows the touch of a fingertip to the hot burner of a stove, for example, is usually enough to convince us not to touch the burner again.

Following this logic, one might assume that the way to achieve true health is to simply follow our senses, pursuing pleasure and avoiding pain. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. As all-too-human beings living in the modern world, our senses are often deceived, our minds confused. We are manipulated and susceptible to urges. Fast food is inarguably unhealthy, but it has been engineered to appeal to us. Alcohol is a toxin, but many people crave it.

Recalibrate Your Senses With Mindful Breathing

So in order to ‘recalibrate’ the senses, we must cultivate an awareness of the Six TouchPoints. Out of this awareness grows the willpower required to make healthy, life-affirming choices, even when those choices are not the most satisfying in the moment.

This awareness begins with the breath, our most fundamental connection to the universe, and the basis of powerful techniques as diverse as ancient eastern meditation and modern western biofeedback.

The simple, calming act of observing the breath—the steady rise and fall of it—allows us to see the distractions of the outside world and our chattering minds as exactly that—distractions. Once we acknowledge these distractions, their power over us is weakened. A minute of mindful breathing is often all it takes for an unhealthy urge to pass and for us to realize our best course of action. We are thus released from distraction into a state of fundamental clarity, a state of truth.

The State of Truth

When we exist in this state of truth, we become free to act in our own best interests, and in the best interests of our families, our communities and our planet. This positive and practical approach to the senses, mind, and breath, can teach us to invite health and happiness into our lives in entirely new ways.

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