- Quality of Life & Wellness
7 Steps to Health and Happiness
Staying Happy - Staying Healthy
Staying Healthy and Happy
Let's face it, life is not without challenges so the sooner that one is able to accept this journey of unexpected bumps and detours, the sooner that one can realize a healthier, happier more rewarding existence. Easier said than for done for most of us, however but there is a balance that one must find, where all the little puzzle pieces of life fall neatly into place and you can finally say that for the most part, you live a happy life, grateful for more simple yet under rated pleasures.
The path to this "place" does not usually come easy, it is not likely that someone will knock on your door anytime soon and hand you a map and the key to a fulfilling lifetime. It is usually a hard and steep climb to the top, or sometimes we have the tools and resources all along but just don't realize it until everything is painfully taken away, for whatever reason, and one hits their "rock bottom" forced to start all over climbing up the proverbial mountain, but this time, you own each step and you feel the pain because you want to get to the top at whatever cost.
Many of us have kicked our bad habits to curb, no longer taking things to extremes, desperately looking for healthier alternatives. Whether it's cigarettes, alcohol, drugs or food, saying good bye to these health zapping tormentors is never easy, especially if you have not replaced these habits with anything else. Call it a new beginning, if you like, but you must clean up your act by swapping your unhealthy tendencies with a healthy ones. Here are a few tips to jump start your new and improved lifestyle-
1~Move it! Exercise will be your salvation:
Don't take my word for it, try for yourself!. Whether you run, walk, ride your bike or work out at the gym or in your bedroom, there is actually more to it than staying fit and trim, although that is not bad for starters! For me it was more about having control - no longer a slave to things that made me feel bad physically, just because this was my life and I didn't feel like I had the strength or ability to change. I also felt guilty, which is a huge drain emotionally, so the justification process starts. Denial and all sorts of little tactics that allow one to continue participating in unhealthy behavior. All that precious energy is spent on disguising elements of your life instead of celebrating it, feeling good about the choices you are making. For sanity's sake, get those endorphins circulating and you will feel a natural high like none other. You will also look great too!
2~Don't Resist the Urge to Rest:
It is unfortunate that we sometimes associate naps with laziness, because these days, most of us are simply not able to get straight eight hours of sleep that we need at night. Instead of feeling frazzled and unproductive all day, take a well deserved time out. Grab your favorite pillow, cushy throw, cuddle up and catch up on some guilt free midday zzz's. It will seem like the greatest luxury in the world! When you emerge, you will feel refreshed, rejuvenated and will, not doubt, be more efficient at whatever it is you are trying to accomplish!
3~Make Exercise "Me" Time
Finding the time to exercise or sneak in some alone time is not always easy when you have kids or constant obligations at work. Solution: combine the two. It is easier to schedule exercise time for yourself, turn on some music and savor the time alone, doing yoga, stretching, exercising, meditating or whatever you enjoy doing. You have to get creative, make "me" time an essential part of your daily routine, and in the long run, you will find yourself in better spirits. Quality time not quantity is the important thing to remember. If you feel stressed and overwhelmed you are not going to savor that extra time with your kids or have the ability to showcase your efficiency at work.
4~Find a Creative Outlet
Some of us have a hobby already that we really enjoy, something that helps us to unwind and at the same time feel like we are creating something special. Or maybe there is something that you have always wanted to do but don't know how to get started. Take a class! Most community colleges have inexpensive adult education courses locally that have instruction on really fun things, like cooking, pottery, jewelry, yoga, photography, or why not write a novel? The last time I looked, I was amazed at some of the things that were available. Learning or trying something new not only builds your self esteem and confidence in yourself, it forces you to expand your horizons, meeting new people and doing something that could perhaps lead to a favorite past time. If you don't try you'll never know what could have been!
5~Cave to Cravings--Occasionally
Now that you have made the connection between diet, exercise and how you feel, primarily eating a healthy diet full of fresh fruit and veggies and lean proteins.....indulge every once in awhile! An occasional treat is not going to ruin life, however one thing that I noticed the last time I over indulged with a pint of ice cream is that I actually feel better when I eat better. I think the important thing with diet is balance. As long as you don't go to extremes, you won't feel deprived and different and at the same time, it won't through off your typically healthy diet regime.
In addition to running and walking, stay active and try new things like Pilate's, yoga, salsa dancing, anything to keep yourself interested and ward off boredom. You can alternate or you might just find a new way to stay fit and have fun at the same time.
7~Act as if
I used to look at people that smiled all the time and think that they must have a secret formula to happiness, a joy club that I wanted to be a part of but obviously did not understand. In reality, as I learned in time, every one has their own problems but that does not mean that you have to wear your worries like a victim badge. In fact, if you act as if you are happy even when you are not, you will attract positive energy and good things are more likely to happen in your life. I have found that so many times, the people who I thought had such an easy, charmed life were really survivors who overcame incredible obstacles, working very hard to succeed. If you act as if you are grateful for the life that you do have and focus on what you can do to make your life better, don't be surprised when happy happens! Health will not be far behind!