We live in a time where books, magazine articles, blogs, and commercials about healthy living are readily available. And most people desire the experience of health, because who wouldn’t want to feel good? However, as readily available as healthy living information is, we are equally bombarded by fast food commercials and junk food advertisements in stores, encouraging us to buy and eat more. While we might WANT to live a healthy lifestyle, it is easier said than done, especially in a sedentary culture.
So, how do we walk the talk? One of the first steps to living a healthy lifestyle is understanding that truly holistic health is an approach to life, rather than a focus on specific parts of the body or the type of juice you drink. The interplay of our environment, mental habits, emotions, relationships, food, rest, and movement all determine our health.
Often, making the leap from unhealthy to healthy habits can seem daunting. Therefore, because meditation heals the body and mind at a cellular level, it is a crucial part of adopting a healthy lifestyle and moving into health-supporting behaviors.
So take the first step to a new lifestyle by incorporating the following steps into your routine:
#1 Healthy Food
How often does my meal have fresh, unprocessed, whole food items? Do I normally eat more/less than my body requires?
Food is a primary important source of energy for the body, and eating both the right amount and the right type of food at the right time can go a long way in determining health. In a fast-paced culture, it is easy to go for the most convenient options. However, convenience often means that we end up eating food that is heavily processed and filled with preservatives and added sugar.
While there are a myriad of diet styles, from Microbiotic to Vegan, the ultimate diet is plant-based and filled with organic, fresh vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
Often, with regular meditation, making healthy lifestyle decisions becomes easy. Many meditators and yogis naturally gravitate towards a whole foods diet, as quality of food affects the quality of meditation. If you are a junk-food prisoner, start meditating and experience an effortless shift to a healthy diet!
#2 Quality Sleep
Do I feel tired when I wake up in the morning even after a long sleep? How many hours do I normally sleep a night?
Along with a sufficient amounts of sleep (7-9 hours per night), quality of sleep is an important factor that contributes to overall health. We all know that sleep is important. However, sleep deprivation is an increasingly problematic epidemic.
When we sleep, the body repairs itself, and every part of the body undergoes healing, including the heart, blood vessels, brain, and muscles.
If you have difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep, one of the best remedies is meditation. A major cause of disturbed sleep is stress, and stress hormones are reduced with a regular meditation practice. As a result, the mind and body relax and sleep is deeper and more restful.
#3 Get Moving
How often do I feel physically and mentally tired? How often do I exercise and move throughout the day.
One common misconception about living a healthy lifestyle is the belief that exercising for an hour at the gym is enough movement to counteract a mostly sedentary day. In reality, frequent movement keeps not only the body but also the mind healthy: giving the body breaks to move removes stress from the entire system.
If you work at a desk, set a movement alarm every hour. Stretching for even five minutes can make a world of difference on your energy levels, along with your productivity!
Many who meditate regularly experience that meditation naturally keeps them more active and happy during the day. Even when feeling tired, low, or overwhelmed, just a few minutes of meditation can recharge your system and provide extra energy.
#4 Give Yourself Time to Unwind
How much time each day do I spend in activities that I truly enjoy and that relax me?
Have you noticed that your productivity increases when you give your mind and body a chance to relax? Often, we are so busy that we feel we have no time to relax or rest. However, one of the best ways to unwind is with meditation, and it requires only 20 minutes! Meditation boosts cognitive function and relaxes the body by reducing muscle tension and calming the nervous system. While it might sound counterintuitive, taking more time to relax results in greater productivity! Believe it or not, meditation leads to greater work efficiency, allowing you to accomplish tasks faster and leaving more time for leisure.
Along with meditation, be sure to make time for other activities and hobbies that bring you joy and relaxation, such as reading a book, making art, listening to music, or playing with your children and pets.
#5 Joy at work
Every morning, do I really look forward to the day at work, or do I think, ‘Oh God, another day”?
Fulfilment in our work is a key to living a healthy lifestyle. When we feel satisfied with our work life, levels of self-worth and happiness increase. By contrast, an unfulfilling job can lead to poor health due to increased stress in the mind and body. Evaluate your work life and identify areas that bring you joy and areas that cause undue stress. Even if you do not plan on changing careers, by focusing our efforts on the areas that bring satisfaction and employ your natural skills, you can increase fulfilment.
One other key way to increase work satisfaction is with meditation. Meditation improves focus, focus improves efficiency, efficiency improves output and productivity, and improved output increases job satisfaction. It’s simple!
#6 Social Health
How many friends do I have? What kind of relationship do I share with them? Do my friends support my health or encourage unhealthy activities?
While not always considered in allopathic medicine, social health is an important component of overall health. Because humans are social animals, the company we keep can have a strong influence on decision-making, especially related to lifestyle choices. By surrounding ourselves with people who support healthy lifestyle decisions, maintaining new behaviors becomes easy. Also, surrounding ourselves with positive relationships that uplift rather than fill our lives with negativity and drama is key to maintaining mental health and well-being.
So, how can we have an uplifting and positive social circle? While it might sound hokey, but meditating increases positive vibrations, and often meditators find themselves naturally gravitating away from people and situations that bring down that positivity.
Meditation makes us sensitive towards others, and it allows us to be more empathetic and compassionate. Meditation also improves our ability to communicate and express ourselves. When these qualities are enhanced, we are better able to bond with others and cultivate healthy relationships.
#7 Strengthen The Immune System
How often do you fall sick?
Maintaining a healthy immune system is one of the primary ways to experience overall health and well-being, as when we feel vigorous and healthy, mentally bright, physically strong, and emotionally balanced. The above tips all support improved immunity, especially food, exercise, and quality sleep.
If you talk to long-time meditators and yogis, chances are you will hear them say that they rarely get sick. And it’s no surprise, as meditation improves immunity and quickens the process of healing. Stress increases cortisol in the body, taxes the adrenal glands, strains the circulatory system, and is a primary cause of illness. Meditation, on the other hand, reduces stress in the physical body and mind.
- Meditate twice a day for optimal results
- For a sustained practice, learn how to properly meditation from a Sahaj Samadhi teacher near you
- For those yet to learn meditation from a teacher, take advantage of free online meditations from the Art of Living
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