The Next Six StepsNov 14, 2023
Can you guess what defines healthy living?
Yes, it's exercising, eating fruits & vegetables, and quitting smoking, but more importantly it's a life filled with happy interactions, devoid of chronic stress, and driven by a higher purpose.
Here are the remaining six steps that you can take to make sure that you are living your healthiest:
- Have happy interactions with family & friends - A growing body of scientific research is proving that happy relationships literally change the biochemistry of your brain for the better, while loneliness raises your risk of problems like high blood pressure, depression, and even an early death. Good times with friends and family help pump up feelings of joy, boost immunity, lower your risk of heart trouble and can even extend your life.
- Cut most of the saturated fat from your diet - The goal is to keep saturated fat at just 7% of the calories you eat. That's about 15 grams a day or 135 calories. Saturated fats come in most packaged, processed foods, as well as fast foods, fatty meats and full fat dairy. Try to buy only the leanest beef, stay away from chicken skin, use oils such as extra virgin olive oil. And while coconut oil does have some saturated fats, it is also loaded with a host of other health benefits.
- Get treated for depression - depression isn't a bad mood. It's a common, serious illness that puts your health in danger. It's known that one of the hardest things about depression is trying to believe that you can feel better. But that belief should be your goal. Try to be patient when looking for help, but have high expectations, and be persistent.
- Tame chronic stress - The body is quite adept to dealing with short-term stress. But living with chronic stress is another story altogether, one with surprising health complications. It ratchets up levels of cortisol and other stress hormones and leaves them set on "high" for days, weeks, months (or years) on end. The result can be tension headaches, sleepless nights, disrupted digestion and higher blood sugar levels. Take some time to admit to yourself what is really stressing you. Once you identify what it is, you can start addressing it. Ask for help when you need it. Find friends, family, or even acquaintances who are willing to help with small tasks. Learn and practice relaxing. This can be hard if you are used to doing everything yourself. Try formal meditation or find a yoga class, both of which are great at relieving tension and stress.
- Frequently pray, meditate or focus on a higher sense of purpose - studies show that faith, prayer, a strong core belief system, and the support of a friendly faith based community can cut stress, boost immunity, improve your odds of recovering from illness, and even reduce chronic pain. Reconnect with your faith based community, express yourself through music or art, lose yourself in nature, or give back. Volunteering is a great way to give back and restore your faith in yourself and others.
- Create a healthy home - clear the air in your home. Doing this helps prevent allergy & asthma attacks; bronchitis; lung cancer; and nervous system, developmental, and reproductive disorders. You can do this by dusting often, test your house for radon, which is a radioactive gas that is odorless. Minimize mold by keeping your home dry, and test your water and install a water filter.
There you have it. The final six steps to living a healthy life. I'd love to hear which ones you incorporated into your healthy lifestyle. You can always reach me at [email protected]
Remember to...Take Care of You!
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