Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The ESSENCE of Health

X marks the spot. A goal not too far away...

Education, Stress management, Spirituality, Environment, Nutrition, Connectedness and Exercise.

The E.S.S.E.N.C.E. model. A nice summary of what is needed to be a healthy person. I am content with my Education and my living Environment. But I am still trying to tackle the other five issues.

My Nutrition has improved greatly since the course began. My resolve to understand why I was underweight led me to measure calories. Eventually, I discovered that I had an unusually high level of postprandial anorexia. As opposed to anorexia nervosa (eating less trying to lose weight), I ate whenever and whatever I wanted. But I felt "full" too quickly and as a result, I was effectively starving myself each day ever so slightly - I never really noticed. I've upped my calorie intake to about 2500-3000Cal a day. Along with meat, cheese and eggs, I take lots of fruits and leafy greens on top of healthy servings of oats, wheat biscuits and milk. I have never felt better.

Connectiveness is a sticky subject for me. I dont really 'click' with groups of people. I enjoy my individuality and try to maintain good relations with those around me. Although there are some days where I believe I do not socially interact enough. I realize that on those days, I tend to be more anxious and less focused/mindful. I also find falling asleep at night more difficult. So yes, connectiveness is really essential to a person's wellbeing. Perhaps being socially in touch with others lets my subconscious self know that everything is good and well. As a result, stress hormone levels decrease and it's easier to fall asleep. The number of those relatively 'socially isolated' days has been decreasing and I take that as a positive sign that my policies on social interaction are working - despite not hanging around with a regular group of people ('clicking').

Exercise wise, I was totally incompetent back home in Malaysia. I tried going to the gym but found it boring. Didnt exercise much other than the occasional swim or game of badminton. Now in university, in the absence of distractions (sat TV, PS2, Xbox, Gaming PC), I have a much much healthier lifestyle. I have trained to a point where I can swim at medium speed, freestyle, non-stop for 50 laps (2.5km)! My weekly exercise schedule begins on Mondays (30 laps, 1.5km) and Wednesdays (50 laps, 2.5km). When I started, I could barely do 10 laps without having to have a break. I hope to push my endurance to 5km/100laps by the end of the year. On friday night, I play badminton from 7pm-10.30pm. On Sunday afternoon, I play badminton from 2pm-6pm. I've been trying to improve my kinesthetic knowledge as well. Dance classes at Monash dancesport every tuesday afternoon followed by Olli's dance class at the halls at night. Plan to go for another one on Monday night if I have the time.

I feel that i've very recently acquired my mature sense of Spirituality. To be at peace with the world and to understand the why of me. It came as my thoughts matured. It coincided with the time I turned 21 and came to be independent abroad. I will no doubt progress further Spiritually as years pass by. While reason and rationality gives answers to the question of 'how', spirituality gives answers to the question of 'why'. Spirituality soothes the soul and offers temporary relief to a soul filled with a sense of longing.

If my purpose in life were to be with her, then in future we shall be together.
If not, we shall be apart.
Either way, I wish her well and I hope we both find happiness,
wherever fate leads us...
I pray she gets to where her heart desires...

Finally, I have got to deal with my stress better. If i let it get to me, I lose sleep. If i lose sleep, i cannot focus in lectures. If I cannot understand my lecture or if im overwhelmed with work, I get stressed. It's a vicious cycle. Conclusion: I have to be on top of my work all the time. Starting to get the hang of it. To familiarize myself with my work. It's not about rote learning and it's not purely based on understanding concepts either. It's about familiarity and exposure. How each piece of information integrates itself with my conscious thoughts and rational processes. I've got my first anatomy practical tomorrow. I cant wait. Tonight, I shall consult the oracle on things I have to know in order to understand my lectures better. She is an elderly lady I call Aunt Wikipedia.

Im finding the MBBS course at Monash surprisingly progressive. The ESSENCE model was part of the health enhancement program for first year MBBS students. We are also taught of mind-body interactions and how feelings (yes, feelings and emotions) can quite literally make a person physically ill. But more on that later...


  1. saudara tentu ingat pepatah yang diwarisi daripada nenek moyang kita: tepuk sebelah tangan tidak akan berbunyi.

  2. benar...

    saudara di Malaysia, dari wilayah persekutuan, pengguna Internet Explorer, merenung monitor 19" (1280x1024) sambil membaca luahan hati saya - di alam siber - buat kali kedua.

    Siapakah anda?