Your health can be influenced, positively or negatively, through the lifestyle choices you make everyday. Today people are generally more informed about health issues, than 30 years ago. Changes made in the way you live, no matter how small, will lead to a healthier and longer life. Sometimes drastic changes are difficult to sustain therefore followed for a short time only. Health choices are choices you make for life!
Today we have access to better food, sanitation and healthcare services, which have caused people today to live longer by almost 20 years compared to 30 or more years ago. Having a healthy lifestyle comes down to two factors – chance or choice. The chance factors are those you cannot change such as your genetic makeup. The choice factors are those that you can change and improve such as alcohol consumption, smoking, exercise routine and dealing with day-to-day stress. Occasional overindulgences won’t damage your health irreparably, but your body will need time to repair afterwards. Having a balanced approach to a healthy lifestyle is important. Make changes to your life gradually over a period of time. An example is to substitute a cooked breakfast with a healthier alternative such as a bowl of yogurt and muesli. The same is advised for exercise. Look at activities you enjoy, that will fit into your daily routine and that you can afford. The secret is to increase the amount of exercise gradually.
Healthy habits are best started from childhood, instead of then usual bad ones that are picked up then too. One of the most effective ways to influence your children is through example. If you spend too much time in front of the television, sitting and eating high fat or sugary foods, then the chances of your children doing the same are high instead of playing and exercising their bodies outside. It all goes back to balance, a little television viewing in the evening is fine as long as there has been more active play earlier in the day. Unfortunately, bad habits are easy to incorporate into our lifestyles, but changing these habits will become much more difficult later on. Educating your children on health damaging issues from an early age can have a positive effect in their lives later on, by helping them to make healthier choices, such as smoking cigarettes. Positive health influences vary from promoting healthy diets to organizing quality family time together. Bike rides in the woods or fishing on the lake are examples of time spent together as a family, which will set a pattern for later in life.
Keeping our lives uncomplicated, happy and harmonious can sometimes be very difficult. Studies have revealed that positive thinking can help us to deal more effectively with daily stress and be beneficial overall to our emotional and physical health. Therefore it can be hugely beneficial both psychologically and physically to integrate positive thinking into every aspect of your life.
A few basic guidelines to follow:
o Make an effort to be positive and encourage yourself and others instead of being negative and critical.
o Keep perspective in a crisis and if necessary see them as a solvable problem.
o Focus on the good things in your life.
o Try calming techniques such as taking deep breaths or visualizing tranquil scenes when faced with a stressful situation.
Health information today is comprehensive and accessible. If your doctor suspects a certain condition, find out all can about it, through the Internet or visiting your local library. The more information you have the easier it will be to make any decisions with your doctor. You will also feel more confident to ask further questions.
Information and knowledge is power – with it you can choose a healthier lifestyle through the smallest changes.