Though I'm a teenager, and most teenagers my age do not care at all or worrry about their health, good health has always been something I strive for. But being healthy can become overwhelmingly difficult to achieve when you live in a society with surroundings that are pretty much all completely unhealthy. At times it seemed impossible to achieve truly good health. There can be so many things it seems you have to achieve to be healthy. Eat this many fruits and vegetables per day, excersize this many times for this long, meditate, do yoga, drink eight glasses of water, ignore unhealthy temptations, walk your dogs, etc., and on top of all this, make sure you always do things that are good for the environment... Oh, and try and fit this all in into your already extremely crazy, busy life.
After reading a book called The Willpower Instinct, I found real motivation and energy to having a healthy, happier life. (I reccomend the book to all people because I really can't summarize the whole thing and can't grant you with the motivation I recieved from it just by describing the after affects that I had from it.) And after completing the book, I got some ideas from it and combined it with my own creativity and found something that works for me to minimizing the overwhelming sense of being healthy, making into into an organized shedule, reminders, and check off list, and keeping track of my success everyday. This is it:
1. I wrote out all the healthy things I would like accomplished in a schedule type format, starting with the things I would like done in the morning until night in order. (Do not include things that you already do, such as cooking, cleaning or eating, etc. Just write things you would like to accomplish.) For example some things for me were, -take a cold shower, -drink a cup of tea, -meditate, -do stretches/yoga, -do a quick clean up of my room, -water my plants, -read, write, or draw, - go on a jog, -walk my dogs, -do a stress relief exccersize, -take vitamins
I did much more things but this is just an idea of what it looked like.
2. I went through and numbered all of the things that I chose.
3. I drew a calender of the next 30 days. (I chose thirty days because after thirty days of doing something, it becomes a habit. Then I would no longer need to keep track of the things that I'm doing, because it's automatic.) Then I put an "out of 28" on each day. *blank /28
(I had twenty eight things that I would like to accomplish through out the day that I normally don't get done.) Then I taped it on the inside of my bedroom door, along with the list of all the things I want accomplished, so everytime I left I would be reminded of it.
4. Everyday, I would write out on a notepad the numbers 1-28, with the date at the beginning, with room to put either an "0", for not completing the thing cordinated with the number that day, or a check mark if I did complete it. As I completed the things on my list, I went through and checked them off. If I didn't complete them, I put a zero.
5. At the end of the day I would count up how many checkmarks I got and on the calander would put the total number of check marks out of 28.
The reality of health that I've discovered is that being healthy is a lot more simple than we make it out to be. For example, though meditating for five minutes might sound like a lot when you're constantly on your feet doing something, once you just set aside time to do it through out the day or if you do it whenever you have five minutes to spare, you begin almost immediately feeling the benifits from it. And you begin realizing that you actually have more time to spare than you thought. That half hour you spend on the computer checking Facebook or watching a television show? It could be spent instead going on a jog or meditating or doing yoga. You might feel like this is depleting your "relaxation time", which you most certainly don't get enough of. Yoga sounds like hardwork. Meditation requires too much focus. But wait... once you start doing it you realize, yoga feels good! Meditation is so relaxing. You're idea of relaxation and hardwork begins to shift. Jogging becomes less tedious and you realize that it doesn't make you tired, instead it fills you with energy, makes you sleep better, and (this is proven) it can even serve as an antidepressent! Being healthy becomes something you WANT rather than something you know you need but is seemingly unconvenient.
Also, as you try out my method, I want you to be utterly focused on POSITIVE thinking rather than negative. If one day you get only *6/28 things done, think to yourself, "Well damn, a week ago I wouldn't have even got six of those things done!" Instead of "Damn, look at all of the things I didn't accomplish." Because if you think negativily it will discourage you from continuing doing the things you want done. These things will feel tedious at the beginning, and you might not get even close to a perfect score everyday, but hey! At least you're finally starting to do the things that you never had time for before.
2 simple excersizes that have benefited me greatly
1. 5 minute meditation
- Sit still and comfortably in a quiet place. Ignore any natural impulses like scratching an itch.
- Focus on your breath. Repeat the words "inhale" and "exhale" as you breathe.
- Your mind will wander. When you notice it wandering, bring it back to the words.
- As you get deeper into the repetitation of the words and the feeling of simply breathing, stop repeating the words. Just focus on the feeling of breathing, the sound of your breath, the way your belly and chest feels. If this makes your mind wander too much, bring it back to the labels "Inhale" and "Exhale".
*Meditation not only helps you focus throughout the day, relaxes you and energizes you, but it also increases the blood flow to your prefrontal cortex increases your willpower.
2. Relieving stress by shortening your breath
- First count how many breaths you normally take in one minute.
- Try to get your breaths down to four per minute. This is one breath every 15 seconds.
- Do not hold your breath, this increases stress.
- If you cannot get it down to this little amount of breaths, that's fine, just keep practicing and doing as short amount of breaths per minute as possible.
- Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. When you breathe out through your breath shape your mouth as if you are blowing into a straw. This helps you breathe out slower and gets more air out of your lungs making a deeper breath possible. Count by mississippi's. One mississippi, two mississippi, three mississippi, etc.
*If you do this for five to ten minutes per day, which doesn't have to be all at once, just through out the day, you not only relieve stress but are more likely to handle future stress better.
As a last note, I hope you realize that you don't have to be precise when being healthy. You don't have to excersize for an hour, or read for an hour, or meditate for ten minutes, etc. There is no "best way to be healthy". Just do as much as your willing to do and capable of doing. This way you will actually do it because you wont feel as much pressure to fill a quota. It will become more reasonable and adaptable to your life. Doing some of a healthy excersize is better than doing none. Just remember that.
And if this technique of becoming more healthy and making it into a habit doesn't work for you or if I didn't explain it throughly enough, I hope you at least just check out the book The Willpower Instinct so you can create your own motivation and technique.
Happiness and hope and good health to all,