“Mens Sana in Corpore Sano”


I absolutely believe in the famous Latin quotation: “mens sana in corpore sano” (a healthy mind in a healthy body).

Without being obsessive, I have – over the past few months – tried to make some small daily changes to my life to ensure that indeed I do have a healthy mind in a healthy body.

Over time, I have realised something which seems quite obvious, but that I had to experiment on myself to realise how important it is: physical activity makes me feel happier. Once I overcome the laziness of getting out, maybe in the cold, wind or rain, I know that a 30-minutes run with my favourite music will make me smile and give me lots of positive energy. I usually run about 2-3 times a week, and, after running, I do some other exercises that I choose depending on what I feel like doing. I have in the past tried sticking to a more rigid training schedule, but I found that it absolutely does not work for me. My studies and work are stressful enough and full of strict deadlines, that I cannot take the pressure of self-imposing extra-duties on myself in my spare time.

My philosophy during my workouts is that I do what I feel like doing. I push myself only to the extent that I will always stick to 30 minutes running, no matter whether one day I go a bit more slowly or interrupt the running with brisk walking a few too many times and do an overall workout of about one hour. I don’t care, I know it’s still healthy and making me feel better. I don’t care what people may say or think. This is only about me. I don’t set goals for running, because I am not doing it to become a marathon runner or a model. I just want to feel healthy and happy! This approach has actually made me fitter, I have lost some weight and I feel happier with my body.  I have also definitely improved my resistance over the months, but in a way which was not planned methodically and therefore has felt like less of an effort.

I can say that I have achieved my 2011 goal of taking up running, which is something I feel very proud of. You can read about my 2011 resolution here: I did not follow the Couch to 5 K NHS programme for long, because I didn’t like the music. However, it inspired me and it helped me to understand how to run so now I do a similar workout to my own music which I update often to make sure I don’t get bored! Also, I have had a couple of long breaks from running due to colds, flu or simply ridiculous amounts of workload. But overall I can say I’ve been sticking to the plan!

My other philosophy of healthy mind in a healthy body is that I aim to go to bed as early as possible, at the latest by midnight. I have stopped studying late at night and I try my very best not to study after dinner. This is not because I have no more work to do, but because I can see that when I spend the night over my books, I feel unwell and I don’t sleep properly. I end up having a bad night and the following day not being at my best for more studying. Clearly, I am not the only one to believe this and it is scientifically proven that sleep is the best way to recharge your body. My best advocacy performances have been after a good night sleep and less hours of preparation. So I will try to stick to this and, before my exam on Friday, I will make sure I go to bed and sleep really well.

I once saw this book cover in a shop window and thought it was such a great title I had to take a picture to remember it:

“Riposarsi è giusto” means that ” It is Right to Rest”. I have actually just Googled the author’s name and discovered that the original title of the book is “The Power of Rest”.  I have also found out that Matthew Edlund is a doctor and writes a blog on WordPress with very interesting and thought-provoking articles: http://www.therestdoctor.com/, definitely recommended! I have not read the book, by the way, but thought the title reflected the topic of this post.

Now, I’d better stick to my plan and go to bed!

Goodnight!

Happy Old Year and Happy New Year


Tonight will not only only be the end of a hard year, but the end of a great year where I feel I have achieved a lot of goals.

 

You can listen to this beautiful new song by the Green Children (Can You Find Your Way) while reading this post: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1E3129B7BAA70A09&feature=plcp

Overall, 2011 has been extremely positive for me, and I hope it has been the same for you. I will not go on and on about individual goals achieved, because the main one is that I have realised how lucky I am to be who I am, to have the life I have and to be in the position I am right now. I think I can say that my goal for next year is to continue feeling like this: satisfied with myself. While setting future goals definitely helps get through hard times and is a strong encouragement to progress and improve one-self, I think that the most important thing is to be happy now. Don’t postpone the enjoyment of your life until you reach a further goal or until you have completed something. Enjoy every minute of it.

Even while home for the past two weeks, while dreading the following weeks of tough exams at Law School, I decided I would enjoy my time back home to go skiing in the sun, to spend quality time with my family. No matter how much work I had, I set it aside to do what I really wanted to do each day. It was important for me, because, afterall, I am not going to see my family again for a few months and I am not going to ski again this year (probably).

Obviously this applies to people who, like me, have a tendency to over-work or be over-critical about themselves and aim to reach constantly higher and higher goals. While this can be good from a professional or academic point of view, in the long-run, it harms one’s own balance and happiness. So I have learnt to enjoy every minute of my life now. I don’t always succeed and I often forget to do this, but I aim to try harder because what’s the point in not enjoying life as it happens??

So, right now, I am looking back at the pictures from the past weeks of skiing and mountains and thinking about how special this Winter has been for me, no matter how well I will do in my next exams and job applications.

Here are some of my favourite pictures of this magical 2011 winter:

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I wish you a very happy new year.

I wish you to feel satisfied and positive about the year that’s coming to an end.

I hope you can start this new year, 2012, with a positive attitude to make yourself and people around you happy.

Finally, as a Jewish saying I was recently told recites: If the new year will not be great, do not worry, because the following one will surely be!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Special thoughts to people who are sick and I wish them to get well very soon.