Article by: Jane Sandwood, Freelance Writer
When you think of a healthy lifestyle, chances are you think about cutting calories and finally dusting off your gym membership. But no healthy lifestyle choice will be good for you if it doesn’t make you happy, such as if it’s too restrictive. It’s time for nourishment, not punishment! You need to focus on connecting your body and mind, with your lifestyle choices and beneficial holistic therapies. Here are 6 simple steps to be healthier, which could even add 14 years to your life.
#1: Get Your Hands On The Right Food
It’s really easy to fall into a bad eating habit, choosing processed and unhealthy foods that don’t nourish your body. Making the change to healthier foods isn’t about cutting out the delicious snacks you love, but having a more balanced approach to food. It’s about being more mindful about what you eat so that you give your body what it needs, instead of just eating for the sake of it or to deal with uncomfortable feelings.
- Be smarter about your treats, such as by trading sugar for honey, and reaching for yogurt instead of cream. These small changes will still make you feel satisfied, but without the extra fat and calories.
- Add more fresh produce to your eating plan. It might seem difficult at first, but small changes go a long way to achieving your goal. For instance, adding a fruit or vegetable to every meal will mean that you’ll easily consume three or four servings of fresh foods by the end of the day. This is also a smart way to replace unhealthy or processed food options.
#2: Lower Your Stress
Stress is linked to many diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes. Although you can’t completely eliminate stress from your life, you can find ways to better manage it. It helps to write down your stress in a journal, talk to a supportive friend, and try to see the bigger picture. Chances are, what you’re worrying about now won’t matter in five years. To keep stress at bay, regularly book massages. When a therapist touches your body at certain points, it encourages blood flow circulation and drains your lymphatic system of toxins. A massage with bamboo and jade stones symbolise energy, life energy and strength in the Far East. Pressure placed on the body from bamboo canes melt away stress in the muscles, while jade stones encourage the body’s elimination of harmful toxins, helping you feel rejuvenated – physically and mentally.
(Video Introduction for: Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapy at chi yu)
#3: Start Moving
Exercise is important to stay healthy. Research has found that it can boost your health in many ways, such as keeping your heart healthy because it reduces blood pressure. But if you don’t enjoy the exercise you’re doing, it can make the experience stressful and unpleasant. Choose an exercise that you really enjoy, such as dancing, going on bike rides, or walking, and then get a workout partner who will help to keep your sessions fun as well as motivate you.
It might also help you to get a fitness tracker. A study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that people who used fitness trackers increased how active they were by almost 40 minutes every week. Fitness trackers can keep you motivated because when you see your progress, you’ll be inspired to do more.
#4: Quit Your Bad Habits
What are your bad habits? Do you drink too much or smoke? You might depend on these bad habits, such as reaching for cigarettes when stressed, but such bad vices don’t help you for longer than a few moments. Meanwhile, their negative effects can last a lifetime, such as the various health conditions that can arise from smoking. Replace bad habits with more positive activities, such as visiting an art gallery after work instead of going to the pub for a drink. It takes 66 days to create a habit, which is just over two months, so stick with it and you’ll find yourself feeling better and living a more positive life.
To help you on your new path, consider acupuncture. It’s been used in Asia for thousands of years and promotes the flow of the body’s energy known as “chi.” Acupuncture can reduce withdrawal symptoms when combined with conventional treatment, easing cravings, anxiety, and tiredness.
(Video Introduction for: Acupuncture at chi yu)
#5: Create A Healthy Work-Life Balance
You can’t work all the time –not only will you be stressed, but you’ll miss out on the chance to enjoy yourself. There are many things you can do to encourage a healthier balance between work and life.
- Think about what you’re grateful for every day, as this will make you more appreciative of your life and boost mindfulness. If you’re always trying to achieve more and more, you’ll miss out on what you’re already blessed with.
- Give as much of your time as you can to others. The bonus of volunteering is that it gives you a sense of purpose, reminding you of what’s really important in life.
- Remember that charity starts at home, though, so be available to your loved ones. Having a support system is an important part of life as it helps you better meander obstacles and challenges.
- Focus on hobbies that make you happy. It’s too easy to forget about our inner children, and yet experiencing simple delight in fun activities is what we should nurture in our lives because it helps us to remember not to take life too seriously all the time and live in the present.
#6: Check Your Mood
Life can be busy and noisy, so it’s important to take time every day to relax in a quiet place. Here, you can be alone with your thoughts and feelings, and “check in” with yourself about where you’re headed and what you want out of life. Notice any negative feelings that come up, like jealousy or depression, and see what is happening in your life to make you feel them. Remember, it’s not what you feel but what you do with those feelings that matter. Use them positively and you’ll live a healthier and more harmonious life. For instance, if you’re feeling jealous, perhaps it’s a sign that you want more out of your life. It can therefore be a motivation to help you live the life that makes you happiest.
Essential oils are also capable of banishing negative energy, and Holistic Aromatherapy uses them to flood the body and mind with harmony. Essential oils are life essences from plants that have powerful chemicals to ease stress. Massage and inhalation help the body absorb essential oils so that they can influence your emotions, helping you find greater balance and peace.
(Video Introduction for: Oriental Aromatherapy at chi yu)
When your life is in harmony, you’re happier and healthier. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to how you’re living, from what foods you eat to making time for holistic treatments that balance your energy. When you do this, you’ll make better choices that lead to greater spiritual, mental, and physical health.