So, how to reset your lifestyle? Are you at the top of your career? Have you completed everything you set out to do? Yes! But... you're still feeling like your life isn't working out. This is the time to push the reset button on your life and start working on something new and stop patterns of behaviour that aren't contributing to your happiness.
How Lifestyle Impacts Your Overall Health
You might be surprised when you learn just how complex health is and how much your lifestyle affects it. It can be impacted by factors such as age, genetics, employment, living conditions, and education. However, your chosen lifestyle and various behavioural factors can also have a detrimental effect.
Behavioural and Social Issues
As you may imagine, there are multiple things you can choose to partake in that negatively impact your health. What are these we hear you ask? They can include:
- Smoking — boosts the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease
- Alcohol — boosts the risk of cancer, obesity, and cardiovascular disease
- Promiscuous sexual acts
- Drug taking — risks of HIV, HCV, HBV, and serious mental health issues
Most of the 'activities' listed above have well-known unhealthy side effects, yet people still choose to partake in them — addiction is an extremely difficult thing to overcome, but that is a separate topic.
However, the one that may be lesser known is 'promiscuous sexual acts'. By this, we mean unsafe sex that can cause sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies — this definitely will not increase your chances of a happier life.
Aside from the above social choices, there are lifestyle choices that you may find yourself living by that have a huge impact on you, including:
- Activity level
- Diet choices
- Stress levels
You may have heard of a 'sedentary lifestyle', this simply refers to someone who does not do regular physical exercise and therefore has an increased risk of obesity, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, mental health problems, type 2 diabetes, and even a shorter lifespan.
Poor diet choices can lead to heightened risks of:
- tooth decay
- high cholesterol
- type 2 diabetes
- heart disease
- certain cancers
- high blood pressure
- eating disorders
If you have been making less-than-nutritious food choices, you may be starting to experience some of these already. Don't panic, we are going to work on this by deciding to choose healthy food for your lifestyle change.
Stress levels can come from all walks of life — personal relationship pressures, work stressors and home life, to name a few.
Unfortunately, unnecessarily high stress can cause problems like:
- skin conditions
- heart conditions
- high blood pressure
Healthy Food and Lifestyle
Now you know all the impacts of an unhealthy lifestyle, but, how to start living a healthy life is the question.
Begin with the food, as this is one of the biggest reasons why people have unfulfilling lives.
Benefits of Eating Well
Physical Benefits of Healthy Eating
The physical benefits of eating well are astounding which is why it's the number one factor that you should consider when resetting your lifestyle.
Positive impacts include:
- weight loss
- diabetes prevention or management
- stroke prevention
- heart health
- strong bones (including teeth)
- gut health
- better sleep
Mental Benefits of Healthy Eating
Of course, making healthy food choices isn't just helpful for your physical self, it will also benefit your mental state by:
- improving your mood
- helping you manage anxiety and depression
- improving cognitive function and memory
- preventing anxiety and depression from surfacing in the first place
- helping you to think clearly
- giving you an energy boost
If all of these don't answer you are 'why is it important to have a healthy diet?' question, then we don't know know what will!
Exercise and Happiness
Even a little bit of exercise can greatly boost your happiness! You don't have to turn into a gym buff to feel these effects — research states that just 10 minutes a day, once a week is enough to have you feeling more cheerful.
If you are wanting to see physical changes from your workouts, however, you will need to participate in more regular routines. Again, remember to not feel as though you have to spend countless hours per week in the gym. Experts recommend 150 minutes of light to moderate exercise every week or 75 minutes of high impact regimes.
Mindfulness is all about being completely in the present moment.
It involves being aware of your environment, thoughts, feelings and physical sensations through a non-judgemental perspective, just acknowledging everything as it comes and goes. You don't try to stop anything, you simply notice it.
Acceptance also comes into this. When we have a thought, we will not judge it. The trick is to understand that there is absolutely no 'wrong' or 'right' way to feel or think at any moment.
With this practice, we are not going over past 'failures', behaviours, thoughts or feelings, it is all about the right here and now.
Laughing Can Help You Live Longer
10-15 minutes of that belly-filling, all-consuming laughter can burn over 50 calories — result! However, more importantly, laughing makes you live longer.
Some researchers say that laughter gives the body a light workout, so in this sense, it's clear why laughing can help us increase our life span. Not only this, but it will also increase the oxygen in our blood as it makes us breathe faster and raises our pulse.
This may all sound great but, they sure feel like big changes! Not to worry, just read on.
Small Changes = Long Term Commitment
Implementing small changes, slowly into your daily life is exactly how to stay committed to a healthy life. This isn't a race and it certainly isn't a 'go big or go home' affair! Take your time, you will get there.
Start tiny — try walking to work to increase activity level, have an apple for your snack instead of a chocolate bar or laugh a little harder at someone's bad office joke. You will start to see a positive change even at this stage.
Doing it this way, changing one behaviour at a time, will ensure you give yourself the best chance at success because it will not feel overwhelming.
Aside from the examples that we have already given to you, you might like to try:
- practising gratitude (this is quite a big one, every day note down a couple of things you are grateful for)
- keeping a wellness journal
- walking on your lunch break
- saying positive affirmations in the morning (tell yourself positive things in the mirror before you go to work)
- finding healthy alternatives for your favourite junk foods
There are far more little changes that will help you reset your life and begin your journey but there is plenty to get you started with here!
By now, you should know how to reset your lifestyle! Here is a quick overview of the main points so you can refer back to this when and if it's needed:
- Start small
- Make healthy food choices
- Exercise regularly
- Practice mindfulness
- Practice gratitude