Monday, April 4, 2011

The Four Essentials for Developing Healthy Habits For Life

One of the first steps in creating healthy habits is to take an objective look at our present lifestyle as it relate to diet, exercise, sleep, and our overall outlook.  These four elements comprise a basic foundation that can lead to optimum health or to dis-ease, depending on the habits we have developed over time.  If we look clearly at our present choices and match them against how holistic health is defined, it becomes easier to see what needs to be changed and what needs to be more clearly encouraged.

Reducing Toxins
Because we are constantly exposed to toxins, be it through our foods, the environment, or through stress, one of the most essential ingredients in beginning   a healthy regimen is to reduce toxic intake.  Learning to identify harmful additives is the first step in determining which foods are healthful and which are not. Reading food labels carefully and choosing natural products is essential if we want to make substantial changes in our diet. Consuming fresh organic produce as often as possible, making our local health food store our grocery-shopping destination, and steering clear of foods containing GMO modified products is a great way to begin. Choosing recipes that require steaming, lightly sautéing, baking, and broiling instead of frying will also ensure a more conscious health practice.  Additionally, reducing toxic elements in the home is essential for a healthful lifestyle.  This means using Green household cleaning products and buying allergy and toxic-free materials instead of those that contain harmful chemicals.  A little bit of research into these areas can keep us informed of the latest green products on the market as well as how to make our own.

Exercising daily, whether it is lifting weights, engaging in aerobic exercise, enjoying a favorite active sport, or joining a yoga, martial arts, or dance class are excellent ways to strengthen and tone our muscles and organs. Additionally, these types of activities help to reduce toxic waste through our perspiration.  Physical exercise is also a great way to reduce stress, which in turn eliminates toxins.

Quality Sleep
Getting a healthful dose of quality sleep each night is essential for a solid and enduring health practice.  Try to get to bed at the same time each night.  Focus on deep, rhythmic breathing to release the tensions of the day and drink a cup of soothing tea such as chamomile before retiring to ensure a restful and uninterrupted sleep.

A Positive Outlook
Focusing on a positive outlook is one of the key factors in a healthful lifestyle.  Staying in the present is one way to keep centered and clear.  There are many practices that help keep the mind free of stress such as meditation and breathing exercises.  Finding  a suitable practice and incorporating its teachings whenever we feel tension helps us to stay on track.  Optimism is cumulative and is one of the most important elements in creating and maintaining healthy habits that will endure.

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