In fact, it's been estimated that more than 90% of health problems that bring people into the doctor's office are stress-related! But while virtually all of us could benefit from adding healthy habits to our lifestyle, it's harder to begin a new habit than it seems, especially when you're already over scheduled and overstressed! The following steps can help you begin to walk down a new path.
1. Get Outside. Oxygen is the most important nutrient the body needs. Now that spring is arriving, get outside and get moving. Walking is a great way to get in shape as well as relieve stress.
2. Get enough sleep. People who sleep fewer than seven hours a night are nearly three times as likely to get a cold than people who average eight or more hours of sleep, a study shows.
3. Keep it in moderation. Moderation is a good thing when it comes to our lives. Many people over indulge particularly in food consumption.
4. Build your self esteem. Self esteem is tied to many areas of our lives. How you feel about yourself determines how well you take care of yourself. Dr. Alan Zimmerman has a quote that I love that reads "if you truly love yourself, in a non-arrogant way, than you will never expose your mind or body to negative things." Constant negative thoughts or situations will slowly erode your sense of self worth. Strive hard to consistently fill your life with positive reinforcements.
5. Spend time with those you love. As I have begun to write on a larger scale the critics and the supporters have gotten louder. Instead of spending time justifying my work to the critics, I go play with my kids. Find excuses to spend more time with your spouse or kids. Never put work before your family, you will regret it later.
6. Put yourself first. Men sometimes do this too well, but women don't do this enough. Mothers particularly do a lot around the house, they clean, cook and coordinate multiple activities. Moms rarely put their lives first. Here's the principle I teach; when you fly on a plane the stewardess makes a statement that "if you have kids, and the cabin loses pressure, make sure you put on your oxygen mask first." Obviously this is so don't pass out and be no help to anyone. Moms should think this way more often when it comes to their health. If a mother does not take the time to "put herself first" the entire family will suffer later.
7. Turn off the TV. 7pm to 11pm is considered "prime time." Use this time wisely, it can be time to read, or read to the kids, take a walk or work on a project you have been putting off. Television is a huge waste of time. Time is a huge issue to address if you want balance in your life.
8. Stay away from processed foods. Many processed foods are made with trans fats, saturated fats, and large amounts of sodium and sugar. These types of foods should be avoided, or at least eaten sparingly.
9. Drink plenty of water. It's generally not a good idea to use thirst alone as a guide for when to drink. By the time you become thirsty, it's possible to already be slightly dehydrated. Use glass when possible and keep a bottle close at all times. Water consumption varies depending on exercise, illness or temperature. The rule of thumb is at least 64oz. a day.
We are creatures of habit. Sometimes the habits we create can cause more harm than good. The trick to making a lasting change is to understand that in order to change a bad habit, you have to replace it with a good habit. People often ask me how I became successful in the five-year period of time while many of the people I knew did not. The answer is simple: The things I found to be easy to do, they found to be easy not to do. Don't let neglect stack up on you. Neglect is like an infection, it will keep getting worse. You can start now by spending some quality time with your family.
Dr. Wegmann is the co-founder of TheNewWellness.com one of the fastest growing health websites in the world.