Don’t We All Want to Live Healthy and Happy?
It is often easier said than done, and many struggle to do so due to many different reasons.
Today’s fast-paced lifestyle often simply doesn’t make it easy on us to take a step back and think what is truly healthy for our bodies, minds and souls.
At Vita Talalay, we have come up with our very own 4 pillars which we believe will answer to the question on how to live a healthy lifestyle.
The 4 pillars are food, mood exercise and sleep. Each pillar contributes to improving your life in its own way.
There are many different healthy lifestyles that people can follow. After all, we are all unique and have different individual needs.
Now, before we dive into our 4 pillars, let us first explain what we mean by physical and mental health.
What is Mental Health and Why Is It So Important?
Mental health includes your emotional, social and psychological well-being.
It affects how you think, act and feel in your everyday life. In addition, it also helps determine how you make choices, relate to others and deal with stress.
Important to understand is that there is a big difference between poor mental health and mental illness.
While they are often used interchangeably, they mean two very different things.
A person that is sad due to an unfortunate circumstance doesn’t mean that they are mentally ill – and vice-versa.
Taking care of your mental health is important throughout all stages of your life, from childhood, to your teens, and all the way through to adulthood. In fact, poor mental health can lead to physical health problems in the long-run.
Studies have shown that there is a direct link between poor mental health and type 2 diabetes, strokes, and heart disease.
The same thing applies the other way around: poor physical health increases the chance for mental illnesses over time. This is why it is a good idea to adopt a few of our healthy lifestyle pillars, as they will aid you in taking care of yourself.
Today, people live longer than they have ever done, making it increasingly important to take care of our overall health.
What is physical health and why is it so important?
Maintaining and monitoring your physical health is extremely important to help improve your overall well-being.
Think of your physical health as being the vehicle, and your mental health as the driver. Only of both of them are in perfect order will they be able to get to their destination safely.
If the breaks don’t work properly or the driver doesn’t know how to operate the vehicle, then there’s a good chance they won’t be going anywhere. This is especially true for those who are already considered to be high-risk individuals.
Maintaining good physical activity comes with many health benefits, and will also have a significant positive impact on your mental health.
It is proven to reduce the risk of developing several diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.
As mentioned earlier, physical health conditions may even contribute to mental health issues. That is why it is always important to have a good idea of how healthy you are. In fact, one can only live a truly healthy lifestyle if they exercise regularly.
This makes sure that your vehicle is always freshly oiled and ready to take on any journey you need to take in your daily life.
The 4 pillars
Pillar #1 Food – Eat Well
Food is one of the most important things you need to consider when wanting to live a healthy lifestyle.
Many of us mistake the fact that we solely need food to live – it goes much further than that.
Do you know the saying “You are what you eat”? There’s a lot of truth to it.
Of course we need food to live. However, we also need the nutrients and properties that give us the energy to take on life’s daily challenges successfully.
Going back to our car metaphor: food is the fuel that we put into the car.
Putting the wrong food into our engine will leave permanent damage over time. However, putting clean, high grade gas will allow us to travel for many miles.
The optimal diet is one that is balanced. It should incorporate many different types and colors of foods.
Try to avoid as many processed or packaged meals as possible as well as animal/ animal-derived foods.
Instead, go for fresh fruits and vegetables, pack some carbs in there like potatoes or rice, and finally have some proteins to top it all off.
Tips For Eating Well
- Drink enough water
- Select your foods wisely
- Read product labels
- Replace artificial sugars with fruits
- Incorporate fiber to your diet
- Choose your fats correctly
- Add some color to your plate
- Don’t fully ban unhealthy foods, just strongly moderate them
Pillar #2 Mood – Feel Well
Your mood dictates how you go about your day.
At best, you should find yourself being full of energy, feeling happy and ready to take on life’s daily challenges every single day.
However, the reality of it is that it is almost impossible to do. We all have our bad days.
The key is to have significantly more good days than bad – and this is what this healthy lifestyle pillar is all about.
Your mood affects your life in many aspects. For example, having a heated argument will immediately raise your blood pressure significantly.
In fact, these effects may even stay over longer periods of time. Some arguments are so tough that we think about them weeks later and they still have a strong physiological effect on us.
The more you are aware of your moods, the better you will be able to manage your lifestyle choices and make more informed health decisions.
In addition, you will also be able to avoid or even prevent triggers which activate negative moods.
In turn, you will work towards a better quality of life.
Tips For Feeling Well
- Surround yourself with positive energy
- Make sure your environment is a positive one
- Meditate or help clear your mind in whatever way you see fit
- Cuddle someone: physical contact with another person can decrease stress
- Remember to take some time off sometimes and simply enjoy life
- Challenge yourself and take care of yourself at all times
- Ask for help if you need it – we all do at some point
- Connect with others
- Always rest and refresh
Pillar #3 Exercise – Move Well
Exercising regularly is one of the best things you can do to improve your quality of life.
In fact, it comes with benefits to both your physical and mental well-being.
At best, make sure to do so during the day and avoid exercising vigorously during the evening.
Exercise can help prevent you to maintain weight loss or from gaining weight altogether. This is because when you move, you burn calories. The more intense the activity is, the more calories you burn.
Being active boosts your high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which is the “good” version of it.
In addition, it also decreases unhealthy triglycerides, allowing your blood to flow better and ultimately decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Doing sports will also stimulate numerous brain chemicals which will boost your mood and make you more relaxed.
Moving on a regular basis delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues, helping your cardiovascular system to work more efficiently.
And finally, exercising can actually be enjoyable – it’s not merely “work”. Sports can be a social activity where you can meet friends and challenge each other.
Tips For Moving Well
- Exercise regularly, at least 30 minutes 2-3 times a week
- Do so during the day and avoid heavy exercise in the evenings
- Try to make it a social event
- There’s no perfect sport – pick one that you enjoy the most
- Remember to take rest days
- Enjoy the endorphins that just make you feel good as you work out
- Try to clear your mind as you work out – it’s a good way to decompress
Pillar #4 Sleep – Rest Well
It is one of the most important pillars, and one where you will feel an immediate effect if you haven’t taken care of this pillar before.
While it is a key factor to living a healthy lifestyle, it is also one that is most often forgotten or neglected.
For most adults, 7 hours of sleep will do the trick. However, we do recommend aiming for around 8 hours instead. Insufficient amount of sleep can lead to serious health issues. Some studies have shown that sleep deprivation leaves people vulnerable to attention lapses, delayed reactions, mood shifts, and reduced cognition.
This is very dangerous, as your brain and body struggle due to lack of sleep, you may not be fully aware of how badly they need some sleep.
In addition, poor sleep hygiene has also been linked to a higher risk of many different medical conditions.
This includes obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, strokes, heart disease, poor mental health, and even an early death.
If you are unable to keep up with the 8 hours each night, we highly recommend you to take a nap during the day. This will allow you to catch up on some much needed sleep and you will thank yourself for it in the long-run.
Tips For Sleeping Well
- Keep a regular sleep-wake schedule and be consistent
- Make sure your sleep environment is cozy, dark, relaxing and has a comfortable temperature
- Refrain from using any electronical devices when you’re in bed
- Avoid large meals before bed
- Refrain from or limit alcohol, caffeine and nicotine before bed
- Have the right mattress, topper and/or pillow
How to Adopt a Healthier Lifestyle
Making many changes in one’s life is never that easy. However, doing them step by step is a way to do so over time.
There is no need for you to immediately turn your life around. For example, you could add a pillar to your daily routine every month.
Once the newly added pillar becomes a habit and part of your routine, add the next one into the mix.
Within a few months, you will be a completely new person.