9 Things That Lead To A Healthier Life
- Don’t compare your inside to other people’s outside.
It’s so easy to look at your friend’s beautiful coastal contemporary home decor and the way her husband is always the one laughing the hardest at all of her jokes and find yourself spiraling down the rabbit hole of envy.
Or to watch your roommate go to yoga class 33 days in a row and look at yourself and think, “I’m a mess of a human being.”
It’s something I think we all know, but don’t acknowledge enough: the trivial day to day observations of someone else’s life are not a direct representation of their private internal struggles or even their passing thoughts and secret actions. I don’t know if my roommate eats a whole apple crisp every other day (I suspect she does). Or if my friend stays up all night because she’s in debt from buying all those gorgeous bobbles for her home. I DO know that I have an auto-immune disease; and all of the ways that my painful marriage and resulting divorce have affected my finances; and the countless other things that cause me shame and make my evaluation of my life less than perfect.
When it comes down to it, until we’re able to read minds, there’s no way to fairly compare ourselves to anyone else.
2. Count chemicals not calories.
My obsession with calories started in middle school and consumed every thought I had about food for the following seven or eight years. Half a year ago, I did a 28 day juicing program and was overwhelmingly, life changingly astonished by the improvement in my health. Because of the results, I became fascinated by what fuels our bodies. I used to completely ignore the suggestion that the food we eat really affects how our bodies function. Drinking coke zero to fill up my stomach all day and then treating myself to a couple of 256 calorie slices of cheesecake at night couldn’t actually be what was causing my migraines. Except it was (duh).
Once I started thinking of food like medicine, it allowed me start eating whenever I’m hungry, putting foods with only one ingredient in my mouth (I’m basically living off of nuts, eggs, fruits, and veggies), and finishing when I’m full. This released me from my obsession with calories.
By focusing on the amount of chemicals in your food instead of the amount of calories, you’re able to create a much healthier mind and body.
3. Minimize the gap between the person you know yourself to be (true self), and the person you present to the world (false self).
4. There’s no such thing as unconditional love (outside of the parent-child relationship).
I love ya Katy Perry, but you’re wrong on this one. Romantic love has to have conditions.
The obvious one is no physical abuse. But let me tell you a little secret: I hate to burst your romantic ideals but the feeling of love is not enough. And here’s another little tidbit: each individual gets to choose their own conditions. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for leaving a relationship that doesn’t meet your needs. It’s okay to require whatever it is that makes you feel fullfilled in a relationship—it can even be healthy to put conditions on love.
If my boyfriend yelled a lot, I wouldn’t be able to stay in the relationship. And if he couldn’t handle my superfluous anxiety, I wouldn’t fault him for getting out of the relationship.
While relationships are hard work, it’s important to be working towards something, and the factors that make it impossible to get to what you’re working towards should be your conditions.
5. People pleasing and poor self care are synonymous.
At first glance, people pleasing seems very altruistic. A people pleaser is usually one of the nicest and most helpful people you can know. They never say “no.” You can always count on them for a favor. In fact, they spend a great deal of time doing things for other people. Who wouldn’t want those around them to describe them this way? Sounds all nice and warm and fuzzy, doesn’t it?
Well, it isn’t.
Learning to listen to and focus on your own needs is essential for inner peace. From a very young age, my concern for what other people would think of me shaped me into a grade-A people pleaser.
The process of gaining self-confidence required me to let go of the desire to make everyone like me, which allowed me to let go of the compulsive need to people please.
6. Drink more water.
Our bodies are 60% water. In order to maintain the balance of our bodily fluids (the functions of which include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature) we have to drink a lot of it. Water energizes the muscles by expanding our electrolytes, helps our kidneys (which cleanse our body of toxins), and keeps the blood vessels in our heads functioning as they should.
When I stopped drinking diet pops and juices, and started exclusive drinking water and tea, I had more energy, fewer headaches, and an all around sunnier disposition.
7. Don’t give of yourself indiscriminately.
This one could technically fall under #5, but I think it’s important enough to be it’s own bullet point. We could all benefit from being more purposeful in every area of our lives. Being generous with your time, finances, and other resources is a beautiful thing, but I think generosity should require personal evaluation. Sometimes we need to take a moment to reflect and ask ourselves if we’re helping because we want someone to like us or think of us more fondly or really, for ANY reason other than that we want to brighten a person’s day/improve his/her life and genuinely don’t want to receive anything in return.
When you continually, flippantly do things for others, you deplete your own energy and it’s easy to become exhausted and resentful without even realizing why.
8. Don’t judge anyone. Like, ever.
Judgments don’t serve anyone. Not you. And certainly not the person you’re judging. I used to be the Supreme Court Judge of Morals. Until I was the defendant in a trial where I didn’t even get a chance to give my testimony before I was found guilty. After being on the receiving end of this kind of treatment, and realizing the limitless number of factors that contribute to the decisions people make, I stopped judging.
You don’t know why that man is homeless. Or the real reason that kid is a bully. Or why that woman won’t leave the house unless she’s perfectly made up. You don’t know all the reasons behind your friend’s divorce. You’re not living their life, with their particular set of past experiences, or their unique genetic makeup. Judging him/her is an unnecessary burden for both of you.
9. Feel your emotions but don’t act solely based on them.
One of the most life changing things I learned in therapy, is that whatever you’re feeling, you’re entitled to feel it. No one has the right to tell you that your feelings are wrong. If you’re pissed off because your boyfriend didn’t read your mind to magically know you were craving a chocolate bar and therefor didn’t surprise you by bringing you home a Crunchie, then you’re mad because your boyfriend didn’t read your mind to magically know you were craving a chocolate bar and therefor didn’t surprise you by bringing you home a Crunchie.
We can’t control our emotions, and trying to ignore them and act like they’ll go away only causes more problems. That being said, you’re NOT entitled to yell or punish your boyfriend because he didn’t read your mind to magically know you were craving a chocolate bar and therefor didn’t surprise you by bringing you home a Crunchie.
Letting our emotions dictate our actions is almost always a mistake. And so is ignoring our emotions.
Having the self-control and courage to work through our emotions without making decisions based on them absolutely leads to the healthiest life.
So there you have it. Go forth and live a happier, healthier life.