12 Healthy Shortcuts: Real World Advice for Living the Healthiest Life Possible
It seems as if people these days are dying at such an early age when they’re supposed to look forward to what life has got to offer for them.
Unfortunately, out of these early deaths, there are a number of them who are not quite happy with their life and opt for the easiest way out instead of facing and trying to tackle the problem – by committing suicide. The ones breathing are left to wonder “What prompted these people to commit suicide? Why were they living so unhappily?” Whatever the reasons are, one thing we know for sure is that these people to take their own lives, they do suffer from weak mental health.
And then, many think that mental health is just “all in the mind”. This is very wrong as physical well-being can play a role in promoting good mental health. Have you ever heard of “A happy, healthy body equals a healthy mind” or vice versa? There is also this famous line from Legally Blonde by Reese Witherspoon’s character who said “Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t kill other people. They just don’t”.
So now you know that you can be stronger mentally if you are physically fit. A balanced diet and the right exercise on a regular basis while ditching all the unnecessary culprits – cigars, alcohol, drugs – will do the trick.
With all that said, let’s take a test to where you stand in the health department:
• Do you get 8 hours of sleep every day?
• Do you drink enough water daily?
• Do you exercise regularly?
• Do you have a healthy diet?
• Do you find it easy to curb your bad habits of smoking/using/drinking too much?
• Are you willing to completely walk away from your bad habits?
If you answered “no” to any of the above questions, you’ll need to improve your health. A recent scientific study indicated that those who lack sleep or have too much (less than 8 hours or more than 8 hours a day) are at higher risk of getting a heart attack or heart failure than those who get the required 8 hours a day.
Then, when it comes to drinking enough water each day, just how much is enough? The ‘8 glasses per day’ rule no longer stands these days as suggested by researchers at University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth Medical School and several other institutions. Fluid is contained in the food we consume, so as long as our urine is not dark in colour and we do not feel thirsty, we are sufficiently hydrated.
Easy Tips You Will Love!
So, how else can you kick-start your life in the health lane? Follow these real-world advice which are easy to remember and easy to do:
Depending on how spiritual you are, praying really helps you to focus on your inner thoughts. Take it as a simple form of soul-searching as prayer empties your mind and calms your soul. If you prefer to meditate instead, do go ahead by all means. Speak to those knowledgeable on the subject matter as taking good care of your inner self is as important as taking care of your physical appearances. It is amazing how much prayer and meditation can help to ‘detox’ your mind and change your outlook on life.
Purge negative people from your life
Positive mental health is an important part of a healthy life. You don’t need ‘toxic’ people in your life. If you feel that a friend is overly critical or negative, let him/her go. You’ve got enough on your plate already without having your so-called friends adding salt to injury. The same goes if you have a colleague who is constantly ranting about traffic jams or her heavy workload. You don’t need these negativities in your life, so slowly distance yourself from the people whom you find are starting to affect your mood.
Purge negativity from yourself
Sometimes, the negativities do not come externally but exists from within. Eliminating negativity from yourself is harder to do than to get rid of ‘toxic’ people. It takes a lot of effort and tremendous perseverance because you yourself are now the ‘toxic’. Know your problem is with yourself. If you find that you take failure or loss hard, loosen up and tell yourself to acknowledge your accomplishments instead of focusing on your weaknesses. Similarly, if pessimism constantly pops up in your mind, get rid of those negative thoughts and think that life is too short to be always in worry. A lot of binge-eating happens too when one is unhappy, so by staying positive, you can cut out that unhealthy dependence on junk food for a short-lived feel-good moment.
Live your life with meaningful purpose
Life is good when it has a purpose or a meaning. Are you living a life of meaning? What is your purpose for living? Life is indeed meaningless if you don’t have a reason to live. Think of something that motivates you or create an event that you can countdown to attending. This way, you have something to look forward to when you wake up each morning. It could be just a gathering with old schoolmates or meeting a family member whom you have not seen for a long time. If you want to add even further meaning to life, you could get in touch with God, be kind to others or spread joy and happiness. Do things that will make you feel fulfilled spiritually.
If you can, exercise every day instead of just a few times a week. Movement is life. Research has shown that exercising daily increases life span, lowers the risk of diseases, improves bone density and of course, promotes weight loss. Physical activity is actually easy to do; you don’t have to jungle trek or go hiking but simply choose to walk if you are going somewhere close by or climb the stairs instead of taking the lift. Join some aerobics classes or take up a sport of your liking, be it tennis, swimming or rock climbing. Any activity that keeps you up and about is great for getting blood rushing through your veins.
Eat more fruits
Fruits are a plethora of vitamins and minerals. Do you know that oranges offer more health benefits than Vitamin C pills? Taking in synthetic supplements are not the same as consuming the foods direct from nature. Why take a chemically-synthesised drug when you can savour the sweetness and juiciness of the fruits, along with their fibre which aids your digestion? Fill your plate with these 10 most nutritious fruits: watermelon, apricots, avocado, apple, cantaloupe, grapefruit, kiwi, guava, papaya and strawberries.
Eat more veggies
Just like fruits, vegetables are important for the well-being of our health. Experts suggest that we should have 5-9 servings of fruits/vegetables but unfortunately, most people don’t even get 5 servings per day! Some of the best veggies include kidney beans, black beans, asparagus, long beans, French beans, sprouts, button mushrooms and carrots. Baby carrots and celery sticks are great as snacks at the office but if raw veggies aren’t your fancy, stir-fry them for lunch or dinner.
Cut down on processed food
Processed foods undergo so many processes until most nutritional value is lost. Furthermore, the preservatives, colouring and flavouring added are bad for our health. Many processed foods contain a high amount of salt too, which leads to higher blood pressure and heart disease. In general, most food in the supermarkets are processed. The longer the list of ingredients is on the label, the more processes the food item has undergone. So although nuggets and drummets are convenient to serve to fussy kids, cut them out from your menu as your children won’t benefit from eating any of those.
Avoid trigger foods/binge eating
Trigger foods are food which causes you to binge like crazy after eating them. Everyone’s trigger food is different; some people could be dying for donuts and pastries while the others crave for chips and French fries. Common favourites are candy, chocolate, confectionery, chips, cookies or anything with a high level of refined sugar, salt, fat or flour. While these food undoubtedly taste heavenly good, they cause an imbalance in blood sugar, hence triggering one to eat even more and more. Identify what are your trigger foods and practise moderation.
Breathe in and out deeply
Oxygen is a vital source of life. Of course you know how to breathe but are you breathing the right way? Most of us don’t breathe properly – we take only shallow breaths and use only 1/3 of our lung capacity. Athletes are coached proper breathing techniques to get their best performance. A full breath is defined as one when your lungs are completely filled, your abdomen expands and there is minimum movement in your shoulders. Also, remember that your brain needs sufficient amount of oxygen for it to function at its best capacity, so breathe well and breathe right.
Improve your posture
Good posture improves your breathing and makes you look smarter, more confident and more attractive. Remember the art of body language? That’s what we are talking about. Among the five key benefits from maintaining a good posture include a lower risk of health complications such as slipped disc, back aches, back pain, pressure inside your chest and poor blood circulation, improved self-confidence, better self-image, facilitated breathing and an increase in concentration and thinking ability.
Get outdoors more often
If you have a regular 9-5 job, chances are that you spend most of your time holed up in the office. It is even worse if you stay late at the office or bring work home. On the weekends, you’re probably busy with errands and housework. Make it a point to go for a run at least once a week. Get some sunlight doing something fun in the sun with friends. Go out and have a change in environment. Let out the tension within by singing your lungs out at the karaoke bar. You will find your heart and mind feeling ‘lighter’ after each of those sessions.
Our body is our temple. We must take good care of it in order to enjoy life to the fullest. Life is beautiful but short, so you don’t want to spend what little time you have on earth in bed with unnecessary health problems. Your vital organs may be working well today but that might not be the case tomorrow, so take proper care of your body and don’t wait for tomorrow to be healthy.