How I Dramatically Improved My Health With These 7 Helpful Habits
I was just having a conversation the other day with a colleague of mine about how I haven’t really been sick at all since I started working for myself over ten years ago.
I remember when I still worked for a university how all of us in my office would always catch something whenever the students would return from winter break.
Students would bring all kinds of stuff back from all over the country.
The last time I was really sick, aside from an unfortunate bout of food poisoning and my complications from last year’s eye surgery, was in January 2008 when I still worked at the university and got strep throat not once, but twice that month.
Since leaving the university to take my part-time business full-time, I’ve been able set my own rules and my own schedule. This has allowed me the time and flexibility to develop some healthy habits.
Now, at age 44, I’m the healthiest I’ve probably ever been before in my entire life in every way: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
So, when I saw the question posed on Quora that asked…
…“What are the habits you adopted that made you a healthier person?”…
…I decided to share the habits I’ve adopted.
Hopefully they’ll spark some ideas of your own for helpful habits to give you improved health in your life.
Helpful Habit #1: Morning prayer and meditation.
Before I even get out of bed each morning I start the day with spiritual reading and prayer/meditation.
This has grown my spiritual life in so many ways.
I have much more peace throughout my day despite any chaos going on around me.
Helpful Habit #2: Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.
Before I started working for myself, I hardly ever ate breakfast. Ever.
In fact, much to my mother’s frustration and dismay, I didn’t even eat breakfast when I was a child.
If I did, it was usually something made up of unhealthy carbs.
As a result, I was hungry for lunch by 10:30am and by the time I made it to lunch, I would gorge myself on whatever was available the quickest.
This was never a good idea. Especially when working in higher education.
Every college career center I ever worked for was always located in the same building as the cafeteria where you could pay one price and eat as much as you want from any and all of the different food stations.
Now, following my prayer and meditation time, I always make time for a hearty breakfast that includes at least 30 grams of protein.
The large amount of protein keeps me from getting hungry sooner and less often throughout the day, helping me focus on the things I need to get accomplished each day.
Helpful Habit #3: Super foods = super health!
I always try to eat as many “super foods” each day as I can.
According to Highbrow, “super foods” are those foods found in nature that contain more nutrition than any other foods. They are typically best for you when they’re uncooked and when eaten with other super foods.
The ten top super foods are: avocados, blueberries, broccoli, eggs, garlic, honey, lentils, quinoa, spinach, and walnuts.
Because of the hearty breakfast I eat each morning, I’m able to incorporate at least four of the above super foods in just that one meal.
Helpful Habit #4: I watch what I drink.
When I was 16 years old I gave up soft drinks.
Now I would likely get sick if I drank a soft drink since my body’s not used to all the bad stuff found in soft drinks.
Instead, I drink water and sometimes add electrolyte tablets to that water which don’t have all the sugar found in sports drinks.
This was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made regarding my health.
And now, just in the past ten years, I’ve also started drinking green tea loaded with antioxidants and gave up alcoholic beverages except for special occasions.
Helpful Habit #5: Exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise.
Several years ago I took up stand up paddle boarding which has become one of my biggest passions.
I love it so much because it’s fun and it gets me out on the water which I also love.
The health benefits of stand up paddling have been numerous.
It has made me physically healthier because it works my core and numerous other muscles in my body. I also get a good dose of vitamin D when I’m out on the water under the sun (but I make sure to wear sunscreen!).
Stand up paddling has also helped me mentally because when I’m paddling I forget about all my problems during those few hours. I feel de-stressed by all the nature surrounding me. Afterwards I have the same feeling I get after a relaxing massage.
Finally, it’s helped me spiritually because I’ve learned so much about God’s Word through the spiritual parallels I discover from paddling. I’ve even written about this in my second book, SUP: Spiritual Understanding & Prayer on a Stand Up Paddleboard.
I encourage everyone to find a form of exercise that’s so much fun for them it doesn’t feel like exercise.
Helpful Habit #6: The importance of having a personal mission statement.
One of the most mentally and emotionally healthy things I’ve ever done is create a personal mission statement.
My mission statement: “To boldly pursue my passions and purpose, and to teach, encourage, and inspire others to do the same, resulting in lives overflowing with joy, peace, and fulfillment.”
Having a personal mission statement helps me make life choices and set goals that support my mission statement.
This has helped me establish healthy boundaries and stay focused on what I want to accomplish in life.
Check out my article A Simple Way to Make Big Decisions on how I used my mission statement to make a difficult life decision in 2016.
Helpful Habit #7: Everything in moderation.
Finally, I allow myself many of the things I enjoy in moderation.
As a reward for doing all of the above, I reward myself with some of my favorite things like chocolate chip cookies, time with friends, a good book, and an occasional trip to the beach.
So what are some of helpful habits you’ve adopted that have made you healthier?
How have they worked for you personally?
Please share so we can all gain more and different ideas on how to become and stay healthy!