Poor health is not something that just happens to you, it's the result of the lifestyle you live: the food you eat, the air you breathe, the water you drink, the work you do, the friends you keep, your attitude about life and more. Yet no matter what your present health situation is, you can improve it. Here are 9 lifestyle changes that can lead to better health:
- Eat Healthier Food. Out of 2.1 million deaths a year in the United States, 1.6 million are related to poor nutrition. And more than 200 known diseases are transmitted through food contaminated by viruses, bacteria, parasites, toxins, metals, etc., causing up to 81 million illnesses and up to 9000 deaths each year. Improve your diet by making better food choices and buying healthier, fresher seasonal food and by eating more frequent, smaller meals rather than fewer large meals. A good motto to follow is: If it grows, eat it. Increase fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, dried beans, seeds, brown rice, and whole-grain products. Eliminate partially or fully hydrogenated oils and all processed food. Keep sugary foods to a minimum or eliminate altogether (pies, cakes, cookies, ice cream, candy, etc.). But don't deprive yourself of foods you love because no amount of the wrong food will satisfy that craving, and you will over-eat trying to satisfy it. Learn to eat a small amount to satiate the craving.
- Drink Lots of Pure Water. Lack of water (dehydration) is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue; 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Plus 45 million Americans drink water contaminated with lead, heavy metals, radiation, parasites, cycts and bacteria. Drinking lots of clean purified water is imperative to your health. In fact, drinking 5 or more glasses of clean water a day can reduce your risk of colon cancer by 45%, breast cancer by 79% and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers. Buy a high quality water purifier that removes chlorine, lead and heavy metals, E. coli, cysts (including Giardia and Cryptosporidian), VOCs (THMs, herbicides and pesticides), odors and sediment to produce safe, healthy water, and then carry a bottle of the purified water wherever you go. And don't forget to filter harmful chlorine from your shower and bath water, so you don't breathe the toxic fumes.
- Breathe Clean Air. Indoor air can be 2 to 10 times more hazardous than outdoor air, and, as a result, billions of dollars are spent annually for medication to help Americans breathe or cure their respiratory illnesses. And according to the EPA, 20% of all employees have a major illness related to indoor air pollution such as allergies, asthma, autoimmune disease, etc. The World Health Organization estimates that 40% of all buildings pose a serious health hazard due to indoor air pollution. The solution is to get outside more, open windows to let fresh air in and clean your indoor air with a high quality UV-oxidizer combination air purifier that destroys a broad range of harmful pollutants, such as mold spores, viruses, bacteria, VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), chemical gases and fumes off gassing from new carpets, furniture and construction, odors, pollen and more, and leaves the air clean and energized.
- Exercise More. Physical inactivity doubles the chances of developing heart disease and increases the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. Even moderate exercise such as a brisk walk for 30 minutes most days helps control weight, cuts stress, anxiety and depression, maintains full functioning, improves circulation and oxygenates your cells. Find ways to walk more, like parking farther from the door or using stairs instead of an escalator or elevator, or find other physical activities, like gardening, raking leaves, dancing, etc. Take frequent breaks to stretch various parts of your body to relieve tense, tight, tired or sore muscles and to remain flexible. Keep your body flexible and strong and it will serve you well for a long time.
- Do Work You Love. Career unhappiness can lead to discouragement, self-doubt, feelings of inadequacy, hopelessness and depression, lowered morale, negative attitude, weaker motivation, lack of commitment to the job and reduced productivity, all of which cause stress that impairs the immune system and leads to diminished health. If you are unhappy with the work you do, take a deeper look into your work situation to discover the cause of your feelings of unrest or unhappiness and to determine if it can be fixed before you decide to jump ship. If it can't, take some time to identify what you really want to do because if you're going to switch jobs or professions, at least move to or toward the type of work that really gets your juices flowing. If you decide to leave your current position, don't leave for the wrong reasons or in the wrong way.
- Spend Time with Good Friends. Friends can make the difference between whether you succeed or fail just in the way they support you. If you consistently feel exhausted or stressed-out after spending time with a friend, assess if that friendship is worth diminishing your health. A good way to tell whether a person is a real friend or not is to look at the ways they have enhanced your life. If they are loving and supportive of you, even if they disagree, they are a true friend. Choose friends who accept you as you are and support you in the changes you want to make for yourself.
- Think Better Thoughts. Negative thoughts cause stress, which impairs your immune system, tenses muscles and changes metabolism and fat circulation. Recognize when you are in a bad mood so you can take action to shift your energy. Remind yourself that there are always different ways to look at something and see if you can look at your situation through different eyes. Talking things out with someone you trust has a way of lifting stress and opening your eyes to a better way. Letting go of things you can't change and finding a way to move on goes a long way toward easing stress. Create a positive experiences journal, documenting all the good things that have happened in your life and all the things for which you are grateful. Then, if you find yourself feel low, read your journal to remind yourself of everything that went right instead of dwelling on things that may appear to be going wrong.
- Make Better Choices. Each choice you make in every moment of each day leads to a future outcome. Unfortunately, most people make choices for all the wrong reasons, and when things don't turn out the way they expected, they get angry, upset or blameful. An example is taking a job because of the money, without considering what you must do or who you must do it with to earn that money. Although you may have the money you wanted, working in a job you don't enjoy will cause significant stress, which will alter your attitude and performance, diminish your productivity, and eventually cause your health to deteriorate, so all your hard earned money will be spent on remedies and doctors to make you well. So before making a choice, ask yourself, "Does it feel like the 'right' thing to do?" Before you act on a decision, decide to feel good about your choice regardless of the outcome, and then you will feel better about your choice no matter how things turn out.
- Give Love Freely. Love reduces stress hormones and strengthens immune response leading to greater resistance to infections and disease. Focusing on what you love acts as an antidote to unpleasant experiences during the day. Love makes you happy, and happy people are healthier and live longer, so spend more time focusing on what and who you love, and on finding more people and things to love.