People who look after themselves and who take pride in their personal hygiene and grooming, without being obsessive, give a message to others that they like and respect themselves. The more you behave in a certain way, the more you will feel that way.
So to be healthier and to feel healthier, start to do what healthier people do. The most important lifestyle factors for a long and healthy life are: healthy eating, exercise, no smoking and moderate alcohol consumption.
To be both healthier and happier you need to achieve a balance between satisfying work, leisure time, and good-quality rest and sleep. If you feel a rumbling discontent with your life, stand back and see if the balance is right. Determine what activities stimulate each of your five senses – sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell, and make you feel good. This can give you immediate, daily access to lots of activities that can stimulate your own opiate system to make you feel immediately healthier and happier. In this way you can have regular time-out for pleasure throughout the busiest days.
Stress is your reaction to emotional or physical changes in your life. But changes can be good or bad. If you had no stress in your life, you would be very bored, and in fact under-stimulation could be stressful itself. Athletes talk about being “in the zone”, where the demands and level of stress they create in their bodies is at optimal level for peak performance. The same can happen with our everyday lives. It’s important to believe and understand that not all stress is bad, and that good stressors can make us happy and healthy.
Placebos are a fascinating phenomenon that illustrates how the mind and body influence each other. A placebo can be anything that a patient believes will relieve their symptoms or even induce symptoms. Our beliefs influence what we feel about health and disease. Our feeling depends on the meaning that we attach to what happens to us. In everyday life the meaning you attach to illness will also affect how sick you feel and can influence the length of your recovery and ultimate prognosis.
You don’t have to be afraid of unhappiness or uncontrolled feelings. Rather you need to realize how useful they can be. Before you run away from those feelings, you may stop and ask yourself where the feelings are coming from. This can get you to stop, re-assess the situation, change your thinking and behavior, and act in a way that is more constructive. Discomfort is a message telling you something is wrong in your life or with your way of handling things that happen. If you blindly run away from discomfort, you can never feel contentment or peace of mind because you never confront what is going wrong.
You will be healthier if you behave as healthy people do. Those people who work, who socialize, who are involved with family life and who are needed by others stay healthier longer. Focusing on what you can do rather than on what you can’t do, and doing it.