Being healthy is a full-time job that requires commitment, hard work, and steadfast dedication. Being healthy encompasses every facet of health, including physical health, emotional health, mental health, and overall health.
Being healthy is key to making sure your body is running as smoothly and efficiently as it can. Making the decision to live healthy is an important one and a decision that can indeed affect your life in monumental ways.
Being Healthy Is Not Just about Food
Surprisingly, being healthy is not about being on a diet or working out until you cannot move. Being healthy means incorporating practices in your life that improve your overall well-being. Diet is definitely a factor of maintaining overall health, but it is not the factor.
Being healthy means regularly seeing your doctor. It means taking long walks and appreciating nature. It means reaching out to friends and family to make sure they are okay and you doing the same. It means practicing activities that improve your happiness and mood levels.
Exercise Is Hugely Beneficial to Health
Although it is not the most important facet of being healthy, exercise is indeed a huge factor and has unlimited number of benefits. Exercise is seen as a crucial component to the health of people of all ages and is said to promote happiness, brain function and overall wellness in people who partake in it regularly.
Exercise is known to reduce risks of heart diseases, certain cancers, reduce stress, among tons of other amazing benefits. Not to mention, it helps you look and feel your very best.
Which is what we are all aiming to do, correct? So, what are some of the top benefits of regular exercise?
Top benefits of exercise include weight maintenance, reducing stress and boosting self-confidence and self-image. Manage and reduce your stress levels by exercising daily and making it a point to sweat once a day.
How does exercise manage stress levels? Exercise excites your endorphins, the feel-good neurotransmitters of your brain. Exercise is also known to improve your mood by increasing self-confidence, promoting relaxing and lowering the symptoms related to depression and anxiety, all of which are stress reducers.
It is no secret that daily exercise coupled with a healthy diet is the main key to losing unwanted weight.
The correct amount and type of exercise varies greatly from person to person and depends on your overall health and any conditions you might have, so please consult a medical professional before taking the advice in this list.
A Healthy Diet Maintains Overall Health
Yes, this might sound obvious, but making sure you are eating a healthy diet is key in maintaining your overall health and well-being. It is imperative to make sure you are ingesting enough vitamins, minerals, protein and other nutrients to keep your body operating effectively.
Checking with your doctor can be a big help when it comes to deciding the best diet for you. You might be deficient in magnesium or calcium and need to incorporate foods that include more of the two.
You may need less protein and therefore need to eat less meat or fish. Some of us need extra omega fatty acids or extra potassium. Your healthcare provider can help in determining if something is in excess or deficiency by running routine blood tests.
Harms and Risks of Added Sugars
Cutting out excess sugars and processed foods is huge if you are aiming to live a healthier lifestyle. Sugar can be found in the strangest of places such as milk, peanut butter and marinara sauce.
According to Health Line, in the United States, added sugars make up 17% of the total calorie intake of adults and up to 14% of the added sugar intake for children. Scientists and food experts believe that added sugars are directly linked to diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases.
Added sugar causes weight gains and is especially common in sodas, juices and sweetened beverages. Excessive high fructose corn syrup that is found in a majority of processed foods can lead your body to resist leptin. Leptin is an important hormone that regulates your hunger and notifies your body of when to stop eating.
Added sugars are also known to be linked to heart disease and high sugar diets have been associated with a higher risk of obtaining heart disease. High sugar diets possibly lead to obesity, inflammation and high triglyceride, blood sugar and blood pressure levels, which are all risk factors associated with disease of the heart.
Did you know that one sixteen-ounce sugary drink a day could put you well over the daily-recommended limit for sugar intake. This includes sodas, artificially flavored juices and other sugary beverages such as sweet tea.
There really are no benefits of added sugars and processed sweeteners. As food science and the art of nutrition grows, so does the number of investigations that links added sugars to the top deadly illnesses and diseases in the United States.
Mindfulness Practice Can Go a Long Way
Of course, being healthy has to do a lot with exercise and diet but it has just as much to do with mental and emotional health. Making sure you are keeping yourself mentally fortified and your stress levels down are key in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
According to Mindful, mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we are doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what is going on around us. It is a word that is thrown around to frequently these days, without people knowing what it actually encompasses.
Acquiring a mindfulness practice can be greatly beneficial to reduce stress, decrease anxiety, treat depression, increase body satisfaction, and improve cognitive brain function. More and more studies are surfacing proving the benefits of mindful living and meditation.
It is always a good day to begin incorporating mindfulness practices into your daily life. Mindfulness can be as simple as taking a walk and paying attention to the flowers or houses you see along the way.
It can also mean simply letting your judgments roll by without attaching to them or solidifying them. Mindfulness is known to increase joyful feelings such as kindness, calmness and patience. Over time, mindfulness can help you become a more playful, present and joyful person.
Mindfulness can look like mindful eating, mindful walking, mindful listening or general mindful living. Mindfulness has literally been around for thousands of years, so there is definitely logic and benefits from this ancient practice of simply paying attention to what is.
Mindfulness lowers stress by actually decreasing levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Mindfulness practices are linked to increasing neuron receptors in the brain that can possibly protect against mental illnesses.
The Power of Positive Thinking
Yes, it is true. Positive thinking and gratitude practices are definitely ways of being healthy. Positive thinkers use something called the optimistic explanatory style, which is the way people explain events or something that happened.
Say that you are telling your mom a story about how someone on the bus was lost and spent an hour trying to figure out the correct bus route, holding up everyone on the bus. A person with an optimistic explanatory style would tell the story differently than someone with a pessimistic explanatory style.
Someone with an optimistic style might explain how the person was lost and confused and the bus driver and people on the bus were very patient and understanding to help the person who needed extra attention finding their way home.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, someone with a pessimistic explanatory outlook might talk about how rude the person was to make everyone on the bus late because they were stupid and could not figure out the correct bus route.
You can see in this simple example, how a positive thinking frame can create more positive outcomes. The Mayo Clinic links positive thinking to a wide range of health benefits including a longer life span, reduced stress levels, lower rates of depression, better stress management and coping skills, increased physical well-being, and better psychological health, just to name a few.
An easy way to start thinking more positively is to pay attention to your inner dialogue with yourself. Negative self-talk can be detrimental to a person’s mental health and created unwanted stress and conflict in your life.
Avoid negative self-talk and when it does happen, do not judge or criticize yourself. Creating new patterns of self-talk is a lifelong practice and one that does not come simply. It can be fun to cultivate optimism by incorporating humor and fun into the practice of changing your self-talk.
Do What Is Best for You
The key to being healthy is as cliché as making yourself happy. If something or someone in your life is no longer serving you, ask yourself if the juice is worth the squeeze.
It is no easy task to cut the toxic habits and people out of your life, but it will make you healthier and happier in the long run.