The term “Healthy lifestyle” sounds very interesting and inspirational. But are we really following it? Are we exactly aware of what healthy lifestyle means?
Today’s life is so stressful & busy; sometimes it is unmanageable to adopt healthy lifestyle. However, this is just an excuse! If you really care for your health and the people around you, it should be an important part your life without any excuse.
According to WHO, “healthy lifestyle is a way of living that lowers the risk of being seriously ill or dying early.” Meaning, you can avoid some serious diseases like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease & cancer with proper healthy lifestyle.
Healthy lifestyle is a practice that you should follow consistently throughout your life time, to observe its results and enjoy the actual perks of it.
So here, the key word is ‘consistency’ and where most of us fail. But ultimately considering our long term physical, mental and social wellbeing, we must adopt a healthy lifestyle and start acting upon it right away. It is never too late to act!
When the head of the family adopts a healthy living, he automatically becomes a role model for his entire family, especially the kids! And as a result, the kids will adopt the same healthy habits in the very early stages of their lives. And as you know, habits inculcated in childhood, make a long lasting impact.
So, without much ado, let’s get straight to the point and dive in to those habits. Here we are suggesting eight ways of healthy lifestyle that you should start following right away for better life.
Healthy and Balanced diet:
Balanced diet has right proportion of vitamins, minerals, nutrients in your daily meal that is required for your body to function properly.
Healthy diet is important for physical and mental health as well. Balanced diet can have 10% of fat, 25% protein, 25% fiber rich carbohydrate, 40% fruits and vegetables. Nutritional needs vary depending upon gender, weight, age and activity levels.
Generally, if we intake fewer calories than our body actually needs for energy, we will lose weight. If we intake more calories than we need, we put on weight. We often get conscious about our weight and here we make mistake of skipping breakfasts and meals. Never skip any meal. This will lower your metabolic rate. Always have heavy and healthy breakfast to keep you charged thorough out the day. You must never ever skip a breakfast!
Avoid saturated fats; they have negative impact on health. They are found in hard cheese, butter, meat products, and cream.
Unsaturated fats are good for health as they contain mono saturated & poly saturated fats and omega 3 fats, which are found in olive oil, sunflower oil, some oily fish (like sardines, salmon & mackerel). Try to include these in your meals instead of those having saturated fats.
Try to avoid deep frying cooking recipes, instated you can fry or roast using small amount of healthy oil.
Drink lots of water throughout the day, it will help to remove toxins from your body. It also regulates temperature of our body.
Homemade food is best food! Avoid eating out frequently. Healthy homemade food strengthens your immunity and boosts your energy. It also lowers your chances of catching food infections caused by unhealthy street and junk foods. Make a habit to carry your own home made food whenever you are away from home, as far as possible. Try to avoid eating out as far as possible, even if it very tempting sometimes.
Sugar calories are mainly associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart diseases. Sugary drinks & juices are the most harmful type of foods for our body. So as part of healthy diet avoid these drinks & excess sugary sweets.
Same thing could be said about the aerated or carbonated drinks. These should be the first things that you have to remove from your diet. Also, processed food is low in fiber, protein but high in unhealthy ingredients. Better to avoid them too!
Physical Exercise and Meditation:
Since our school days, we are told that exercise is good for our health, but as we grow older & get busy with our life, we forget these small things that have been taught.
Regular exercise makes a lot of difference in your life. It reduces the risk of major illness like heart disease, diabetes, cancer etc. up to 50% to 60%. In addition, regular exercise maintains physical fitness, boosts your self-esteem, improves your sleep quality, reduces stress, increase energy levels, improves skin health, and improves brain functions.
Regular exercise helps to manage proper weight & burn calories. It is recommended to get at least 150 minutes physical exercise of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity each week.
A number of studies have proved that regular exercise helps to fight with depression and stress management. Exercise can block your negative thoughts or distract you from daily stress and pressure.
Remember that exercise or physical activity should be fun and not burden, then only you will be able to enjoy it and its benefits. You can start it with walking, cycling, trekking etc. find out the way by which you and your body will enjoy exercise or activity.
Meditation is a training your mind to concentrate & redirect your thoughts. You can reduce the roots of stress & minimize its effects on your body by stress relieving technique like Meditation.
Your breathing habits can have big impact on emotions. Meditation is all about controlling your breathing habits, and thus in turn controlling your emotions like anxiety, anger, pain, depression etc. Meditating every day means learning correct breathing techniques to keep yourself clam in stressed and adverse situations.
Meditation has not only health benefits but also help your intuitions, your connection with inner-self.
You will not be perfect in practicing meditation from day one. You have to be consistent in doing it. Sometimes your focus may wander, it’s absolutely normal. Keep practicing. Your consistency makes it perfect & you will get its benefits.
You can learn these techniques easily from books and you tube videos, which are easily available and are very easy to understand and follow.
Positive Attitude for healthy lifestyle:
Positive attitude comes from Positive thinking & thoughts. Positive attitude means being optimistic in any situation & focusing on the good things happening.
Positive thinking is a way that you respond to unpleasant situation in life. Try to find out something good in negative situation. Look into it as an opportunity. Positive attitude will develop willingness to do new things. It will help you to see & identify new possibilities, overcoming obstacles in easier ways. It will increase productivity at work as well.
Positive outlook affect your body’s respond to illness. Researchers have proved the benefits of positive thinking on overall health & longevity. Some physical benefits may include:
- Lower chances of cardiac arrest or heart attack
- Right level of blood pressure
- Better stress management
- Stronger immunity
- Longer life span
- Stronger relationships
- Lower rate of depression.
So having positive attitude towards life can change mental & physical health. It is one of the most important yet unseen factor for healthy lifestyle that we never think about seriously. Say bye-bye to negativity (negative thoughts) for better life. This again, is a habit that doesn’t develop in a night. It needs to be practiced and inculcated.
The positive attitude is developed slowly with a right direction provided by your mentors, seniors, tutors, spiritual gurus, self-help books, motivational videos and speeches and of course being surrounded by people who already has mastered that art.
Quit Tobacco Immediately:
We all know how bad smoking & chewing tobacco is, and how hard it is to quit. Tobacco contains nicotine which is addictive. Quitting smoking requires serious lifelong commitment to yourself!
Quitting smoking at any age has its benefits. But it takes 15 long years to see you completely out of danger in regards to health issues caused by nicotine.
You are not just helping yourself, but also people around you & your family from health risks associated with passive smoking.
Tobacco causes or contributes on a large scale to cancer risk and heart diseases. It also leads to earlier death. So quitting smoking is must for healthy lifestyle and living. Even though it is a challenge, the benefits on physical and mental health are worth it!
You can seek medical help to get rid of this habit. And you can always go to your good friends and your family to seek help to quit nicotine addiction in any form. They will be more than happy to help you to get rid of it.
Avoid Consuming Excessive Alcohol:
Many people drink alcohol to relax & socialize. And many others directly out of addiction. Alcohol consumption in moderate quantity with proper exercise and diet could be a part of healthy lifestyle.
But each person is different, so its effects also vary from person to person. Some people can control their alcohol consumption, others may find it difficult. If you and your loved ones are experiencing the ill-effects of alcohol, then it’s time to get rid of it with right help from professionals.
Alcohol affects the immune system, keeping person more at risk of developing infections and diseases. Damages caused by excessive drinking to your internal organs, go unseen most of the times. So could be dangerous to ignore warning signs of excessive alcoholism. Sometime the harmful effects are not recognized until they make big health complications.
Alcohol is mostly metabolized in the liver, so it is at higher risk of damage. Excessive drinking can lead to the serious chronicle problems, high blood pressure, digestive problems, cancer, memory problems, mental health which includes depression, anxiety, poor work performance, social behavioral problems, and family problems.
By controlling alcohol consumption, you are not only helping yourself, but you are improving your social, financial, mental and behavioral well-being.
Getting Enough Sleep:
Seven to nine hours of sleep is recommended for adults. It will be enough to maintain physical & mental energy throughout the day. Getting early in bed considering by today’s norms i.e. at least by 10 pm/10.30 pm is good for the short term and long term health & overall well-being.
“Sleep early—Get up early” this habit plays vital role in your healthy lifestyle. It almost cuts down health issues up to 50%. Good sleep can improve your concentration, productivity & performance and other brain functions.
Poor sleep leads to increase in weight, also increases risk of heart attack and stroke. Good sleep helps your body to heal itself of fatigues caused by stress and other harmful exposures.
So, as a part of healthy life style a sound sleep is equally important as healthy diet & regular exercise.
Maintain Mental Health:
Physical fitness helps our body to stay strong & mental fitness helps us to achieve and sustain a state of good mental health. It helps you enjoy life & cope up with day to day problems.
People who are mentally healthy, have the ability to deal with stress & bounce back from adversity. Mentally & emotionally resilient people remain focused, flexible & productive in bad times as well as good times.
According to WHO, Mental health is “a state of wellbeing in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope up with normal stress of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make contribution to his or her community.”
It is very important to identify the early warning signs of mental illness. They could be:
- Feeling helpless or hopeless
- Sleeping problems or abnormal eating
- Decrease in energy
- Confused thinking
- Excessive fear and worries
- Extreme mood swings
- Trouble in understanding
- Excessive anger or violence
- Self-harm or suicidal thinking
- Problems with alcohol & drug use.
If you have any signs of mental health issues, you should not hesitate to seek some medical help or professional help. Most of these illnesses do not cure on their own and if they go untreated, they may get worse over the time.
You can maintain mental health by proper diet, regular exercise, doing meditation & Yoga to reduce stress, take some time to laugh, surround yourself with positive people, set some realistic goals, entertain yourself by reading, art, music, dancing, solving puzzle, have proper hours of sleep, and avoid toxic habits and products. In addition, most importantly avoid toxic and negative people. I think these are very simple things that we can do easily in our daily life to avoid further complications.
Learn To Manage Stress:
Stress is an evident part of lifestyle today. From children to adults face stress, only intensity differs from person to person. Human body is designed to sustain stress to some levels & react to it.
Working under pressure in some cases could be beneficial for your productivity and performance. But working continuously under pressure or stress creates health problems like increase in blood pressure, heart problems, sleeping disorders, blood sugar levels, etc.
Learning to manage stress in your life yourself is a necessary skill to have today to live and lead a better life. It is an art to overcome or tackle stress. Also to realize when it is becoming a problem for you & identifying the underlying causes of it is equally important. We can follow some simple tips to manage stress in a better way.
- Talking to friends, loved ones or close colleagues at work about your feelings can help you manage stress.
- Try to review your priorities at work place and in personal life. Check for the things that need your urgent attention and also identify the things which could be done later with some ease. See if you could delegate some tasks to someone else to reduce your workloads. Do not try to do all things at once and all by yourself! You can follow this principal at your work place and in your personal life equally and effectively.
- Spending time with family & friends is a great way to relive stress. Building supportive relationships and a network of good friends is a nice idea to have a stress free life over a long time. These human resources will prove as your best medicines in your troubled times. So invest in better relationships.
- Physical exercise & activities can provide excellent initial approach to manage stress.
- If you feel continuously under pressure or mental stress, do not hesitate to take professional help or support in managing it effectively.
In short, you have to learn yourself over a period, to manage your stress. You can read some self-help books, listen to relevant speeches, seek medical help in critical situations to manage it in a better way and have a good happy and healthy life.