Putting Happiness into a Healthy Lifestyle
This post is written by Holly Ashby, a writer interested in wellbeing who works for Will Williams Meditation, who provide courses on Vedic meditation.
The internet has empowered people to talk about their relationship with health and self-image like never before. Individual bloggers now get to discuss, from personal experience, the challenges and rewards of leading a healthy lifestyle, tracking their progress in real time. This new, subjective approach to health has radically changed the rhetoric around the subject, focusing on ideas around self-care and wellbeing.
Conversations about health can still be saturated with a tone of judgement, dissatisfaction and shame. Sometimes “health and fitness” has nothing to do with actual health, and everything to do with being thin at all costs, a goal for which people are told they should sacrifice their peace of mind. However, as people have begun sharing their experiences of leading a healthy lifestyle, it’s become increasingly clear that a sense of self confidence is much more conducive to long-term health than one of guilt and anxiety.
This means that the old, negative approach is slowly being eclipsed by a much more positive one. People were given the idea that they had to put their life, and happiness, on hold until they lost weight, at which point they could begin living again. This often sabotaged their health goals, as the stress and unhappiness that comes with putting this kind of pressure on yourself can lead to yo-yo dieting, bad habits and a terrible self-image.
Hitting back against this damaging attitude, wellbeing became about feeling brilliant, rather than struggling under a sense of obligation. By putting happiness at the forefront of a healthy lifestyle, weight loss and fitness follow more naturally, no longer feeling like a constant uphill battle that requires endless vigilance over your own behaviour. By following the sentiments below, you can make sure that happiness is a key part of your healthy living goals.
Just because you want to change doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be happy now.
If you want to lose weight, get a bit more toned, or simply feel better, make sure you enjoy the process as well as the results. Being unhealthy may make you feel a bit discontent, which is a good motivator to change, but that shouldn’t stop you enjoying the here and now, regardless of your current weight or level of fitness. Self-worth isn’t something that you need to earn, but something you should take for granted.
Remember to exercise your mind as well as your body.
Meditation is a great way to support yourself when you want to become healthier. Lots of overeating and bad habits are down to the stress we feel in our lives, as we look for ways to cope. When our stress response is activated regularly, by everyday pressures such as rushing to work, deadlines and family life, it can stop us thinking clearly and making the best decisions for ourselves.
Meditation makes you calmer, allowing you to break out of these negative thought patterns. It also reduces stress hormones, such as cortisol, which increases appetite, as well as improving your focus and productivity. By helping you become more contented, focused and clear headed, meditation can help you be happy as well as healthy.
Treating yourself is part of good self-care.
Forcing yourself into an entirely puritanical lifestyle rarely ends well, as you begin to feel resentful about the things you are missing out on. It can also be a form of self-punishment, a way of making your life difficult because you feel that you don’t deserve happiness as you are. Treating yourself occasionally is an important part of being healthy, and constant self-denial could well be counterproductive to your goals.
Ultimately, you can’t be truly healthy without also being happy, and by prioritizing your mental wellbeing along with your physical health you can make leading a healthy lifestyle something that comes easily to you.