Ask a hundred people what healthy living means and you’ll get about a hundred and twenty different answers. Does it mean gluten-free? What about fat-free? What about vegan? Paleo? It’s enough to drive a person completely crazy.
But don’t give up! There is one absolutely fabulous definition of “healthy lifestyle” that needs to be shared over and over again. Are you ready?
A healthy lifestyle is one in which you maximize your physical and emotional well-being in order to reduce your risk of disease and increase your level of happiness.
The great news is that this definition of healthy lifestyle means that you can choose the things that work best for you, your lifestyle, your religious beliefs and your budget. If you love eating meat, following a paleo diet might work well for you. If you don’t like meat, then going vegan might work best for you.
Yes, a healthy lifestyle means taking care of yourself with diet and exercise. But it’s so much more than that. Let’s look at some other ways to increase your overall level of health.
1. Being a great friend and having great friends
We all need connections with other human beings. Studies show that without healthy social contact, we become paranoid, angry, depressed and devolve into animalistic behaviors. Great friends will lift you up and make you feel better about yourself. And by supporting others, you are giving the gift of supporting their healthy lifestyle.
2. Make physical activity a priority
Before the advent of cars, televisions and computer, humans were much more physically active. We grew our own food, walked where we wanted to go, took care of livestock, washed clothes by hand and pretty much did everything the hard way. It sounds like a hard lifestyle, but we didn’t have the health problems we face today. Even if you work at a desk all day long, try to find ways to get up and walk around every hour or start doing something that keeps you active during the evenings. If we don’t take care of our body, it will begin to waste away.
3. Learn as much as you can
Studies show that those individuals who work to keep their mental acumen sharp are less likely to suffer from depression and dementia in their later years. Keep your mind sharp by doing puzzles, taking classes or exploring the world around you.
4. Become spiritual
This could mean everything from religion to yoga to philosophizing. The point of honing your spirituality is to provide yourself with an inner sense of peace and direction in your life. Sometimes people find spirituality in organized religion. Others find spirituality in artistic creativity. Whatever works for you is what you should pursue.
5. Make yourself a priority
This is a hard one for many people. We are sometimes so accustomed to taking care of everyone else – our bosses, our spouses, our children and our parents, that our own needs take a back seat. You need to take time for yourself. Your physical body is important and requires your time and investment. Your emotions are important and require your time and investment. You are worth it.