You may not think it but health and design are quite similar. You may think that one has nothing to do with the other and rightfully so. They look different, act different and well it's not common to health the two talked about in parallel.
Design however, not unlike many areas of our life has structure, runs in patterns and uses defined principles. If you delve deeper than the painting on the wall or presentation in front of you, there lies a multitude of commonalities just waiting for you to discover.
So if the thought of another conversation on healthy eating and getting your gym membership back in order bores you to tears why not rethink your health in a language that may come easy to you?
Alignment creates a sharper, more ordered design. It tightens the design and eliminates the haphazard, messy effect which comes when items are placed randomly. Align your health in a way that creates ease and fluidity. Open up your journal and create an orderly daily schedule of your health activities. Look at the components you are working with - diet, exercise, relaxation time and then place them into your schedule where they create the least amount of friction. This eliminates the messiness of random bouts of health kicks. Also by setting your health activities away from things like work you are creating an orderly design that encourages effortless health.
Align your health each day in a way that creates order and the least amount of friction.
Balance provides stability and structure to a design. It doesn't matter if it is symmetrical or asymmetrical as long as it exists. Life happens and we can be temporarily thrown out of balance, we have little control over this. What matters is how we choose to come back to equilibrium. If you had one too many wines the night before you may want to eat a large liver loving salad the next day. If you are being too strict with your health and eating a paleo, raw, vegan, gluten free, dairy free diet then maybe it is time to relax and have a double bacon and egg roll.
Health is a balance between eating well, movement, rest and enjoying what you are passionate about and having fun.
Repetition strengthens a design by tying together individual elements. It helps to create association and consistency. Strengthen health by repetitively engaging in activities that make you feel better, stronger and more productive. Create familiarity through doing. This leads to habit formation and helps to the together the elements that create lasting health. Neural pathways in our brain develop (synapses) when actions or thoughts are repeated continuously. Making your own fresh food at home for the first time can seem a real chore, doing this for the tenth time seems effortless. Make good habit stick through repetition and your health will naturally follow suit.
Find the elements of your health that work to keep you balanced and that fit in with your daily schedule then repeat, repeat, repeat.
Contrast allows you to emphasize or highlight key elements within your design. Contrast is created when two elements are total opposites. Contrast your version of health against everyone else around you. Individualise how you view, enjoy and perceive health. If the contrast is low you are following the pack and personalising your health enough. If contrast is high you have created a style of health that sets you apart. High contrast health brings with it longevity and allows for repitition because it has been designed by you, to suit you and you actually enjoy it. Try altering a familiar recipe to make it uniquely you - it may be a favourite spice you add, mix up your exercise routine with dance or spend an hour basking in the sun on Saturday mornings inplace of sleeping in. It doesn't matter what you do as long as it comes from you.
Contrast your version of health against everyone else, make it as unique as you.
The use of white space can be very powerful in design. Empty space helps bring clarity to a message. Create space in your life to do what it is you most enjoy, this will lead to lower stress and better health. Clear out 30 minutes each day to do nothing or to draw, write, sing, it doesn’t matter. Encourage that white space. An abundance of elements, colour and lines can confuse a reader much like an abundance of meetings, app notifications, computer time and city life cause clutter.
Clear time from your schedule daily to create as much white space as you need.
Stop running into the same issues with your health by looking at your model in a stagnant, backward way. Rethink the elements that make up your health using reflections from design or from wherever your passion lies. You will be surprised at how often themes overlap and patterns arise.
Published in Kaleido Press July 2017.
Jennifer Ward Adv Dip Nat, Bcom Econ
Jennifer is a leading naturopath trained in herbal medicine, nutritional medicine and health coaching. Consultations available by appointment at www.jenniferwardnaturopath.com.au.
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