12 Steps to a Healtiher You!
Human beings are uniquely complex and multi-dimensional, so it’s important to look at health from a holistic, biopsychosocial perspective, in that our internal and external environments either enhance our health or adversely affect it. Like a key fitting into the right lock, “disease” genes may become expressed under certain prolonged lifestyle and environmental conditions. Healthy lifestyle choices need to be consciously cultivated on a daily basis, until our healthy lifestyle choices become our healthy lifestyle habits. Like a domino effect, healthy lifestyle choices build on each other, just like unhealthy lifestyle choices do. For example, when we start working out and feeling better, we may start eating healthier and we may smoke less, or stop smoking altogether. Whatever your reasons are for choosing to live a healthier life, whether it’s having more energy or lowering your blood pressure, this post contains a general overview of steps to achieving a healthier you! If you find implementing healthy lifestyle choices difficult at first, add one easier change at a time until it becomes integrated into your life, and then move onto the next change as you build momentum. Weight yourself, take measurements and photos, set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) goals, document your journey in a journal or a vlog, and reward yourself once a goal is attained. Most importantly, don’t give up! You deserve to be your best version of yourself! By the way, let us know how you are progressing, so we can motivate and inspire each other, okay?
1. Positive Attitude: Eliminate toxic relationships from your life and focus on cultivating positive relationships. Limit negative social media and television programming. Consciously replace a negative thought with a positive thought. Forgive and “let go” of past hurts. If you need to talk to a therapist to help you with this, please do. Thoughts and words are things so choose them wisely. Watch positivity grow in your life as you nurture it daily!
2. Exercise: Keeps us healthy and strong, prevents injury, and stimulates the production of feel good hormones like endorphins. Whether it’s participating in a yoga class, cycling to work, or walking after dinner, exercise keeps our “Qi/Chi” or life force flowing rather than stagnating. Stretching within 15 minutes before physical activity prevents injury, and stretching after physical activity prevents muscle stiffness and soreness. Some resistance and cardiovascular training should be included each week, alternating muscle groups by switching workouts. Remember not to overdo it, as you will run the risk of injury. Meet with a certified trainer who can put you on a fitness regimen that’s right for you! How Often to Workout?
3. Nutritional Plan for Optimal Metabolism: Eat mostly fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and organic foods. Reduce or eliminate refined sugars, refined carbohydrates, hydrogenated oils, trans fats, preservatives, processed foods and chemicals (i.e.: smoking). Learn to read labels and choose foods with fewer ingredients in them that are whole, natural, and have minimal processing. Choose healthier ways of preparing foods like steaming and baking instead of pan-frying or deep-frying. Plan and prepare healthy meals ahead of time, to help keep you on track. Visit a registered dietitian or a nutritionist who can put you on an individualized program. Healthy Eating
4. Vitamins & Supplements: Your health care provider can put you on an individualized plan, although Omega 3 fatty acids, probiotics, and a quality multivitamin are good to start with. Be wary of over-supplementation as obtaining nutrients from fresh, minimally prepared food is preferable. Omega 3 Health Benefits
5. Water: Studies say to consume 2-3 liters of fluids per day, although ones’ fluid needs will vary, depending on how active you are, where you live, your health, age, etc. Lack of water or other fluids leads to dehydration, which can drain your energy and make you feel fatigued. Beware of extra calories consumed with beverages other than water, as many contain sugar, sodium, and caffeine. Better Beverage Choices
6. Adequate Sleep: Many factors affect how much sleep one needs such as age, genetics, and pregnancy, although 7-8 hours is recommended for most adults. Quality of sleep is important for overall health, wellness, and stress management. Lack of sleep increases one’s irritability, risk for injury, obesity, heart disease, and lowers one’s immune system response.
7. Balancing Hormones/Managing Stress: Stress has become known as the “Black Plague of the 21st Century.” If not appropriately managed, stress can actually kill you! In today’s world, we also experience the effects of xenoestrogens (chemicals) in our environment, which can wreak havoc on (male and female) hormones. If you don’t feel like yourself, you feel depressed, overwhelmed and fatigued, then see a qualified health care provider for a check up. Adequate sleep, meditation, yoga, exercise, and a healthy diet can also help you manage stress and stress hormones. If possible, adjust your lifestyle and obligations to allow for stress reduction and healing.
8. Friendship & Family Contact: Human beings are wired for socialization, but remember #1 and surround yourself with positive people who love and support you. When in the presence of negative folks, send them loving, compassionate vibes or remain pleasantly neutral.
9. Meditation/Prayer: This is quiet time, if only for 5-10 minutes upon waking or just before sleep. This daily practice helps you connect to the divine, authentic nature within. It opens the heart chakra/energy center increasing one’s appreciation for life, while cultivating present moment awareness. This can also be a quiet, restful time not only for practicing daily gratitude, but also for creative visualization and purposeful thought.
10. Life Long Learning: Increases one’s employability, diversifies skills and knowledge and enhances personal fulfillment. Whether it’s a hobby you’ve always wanted to take up or a college degree that you’ve always wanted to earn. If the desire is inside of you, there is a reason for this, so take the necessary steps and MAKE IT HAPPEN!
11. Connect with Nature: In today’s fast-paced world, it has become essential to take a periodic “time out” whether to a yoga retreat, a day at the beach, or for a weekend of camping. Opening up one’s consciousness to the beauty of nature allows for inspiration to flow and for divine connection to ensue. It’s during these restful, re-charging interludes that I may write in my journal about goals and things for which I'm grateful.
12. Think Globally, Act Locally: Use one’s life purpose for teaching, serving, and creating a better life for oneself and others. If you are not able to do this in your paid work, you can always volunteer at the local food bank or become a big sister or brother. REMEMBER to do that which inspires you! Know that you are a strand in the web of life and that each strand has an effect on the web. Each and every person can absolutely make a difference, especially when we come together and unite toward a common good!
Disclaimer: The advice in this post is meant to serve as a resource for readers seeking ideas about how they might experience improved health and wellness. Before attempting any of the above suggestions, it is recommended to check-in with a qualified medical professional. The views and/or presentation do not and shall not be considered as a professional advice. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. Furthermore, the above viewpoints and opinions may not represent the views or values of the USBG National Charity Foudnation.