Most people have trouble when it comes to formulating a plan for improving their health simply because they don’t know where to start…
Perhaps you can begin with a magic supplement or superfood that promises to erase anything and everything that ails you?
Then when that doesn’t work, take up meditation or yoga?
Maybe your doctor can prescribe a pill to get you back to your old self?
The truth is, you can start yourself on the road to good health and happiness simply by reading and incorporating the following 4 tips into your life.
Don’t worry, none of the advice on this page requires that you buy expensive pills, machines or gadgets, or that you schedule pricey consultations with over-priced doctors and self-improvement gurus.
1. Stay Away From Refined Foods
Refined foods containing processed sugars and starches, preservatives, and fats which definitely aren’t good for your mood or overall health. Depending on what source you choose to believe; Americans eat anywhere from 100 – 150 pounds of sugar each year. The main dietary culprit is different for everyone. Twinkies, pies, cakes, chips, granola bars, cereal, bread, soda, sweetened alcoholic beverages, etc.
Be very conscious of the starchy foods you’re eating too. Submarine sandwiches have over 60g of sugar in a 6” and that’s just what the bun contains without any sauces being added! A Big Mac from McDonalds has over 40g! These excess sugars cause your body to produce more of the stress hormone called cortisol, which is needed to help process sugar. Too much cortisol in the blood stresses your mind and body and leads to mood disorders like anxiety and depression.
Read the labels of the foods you want to eat: Take the listed carbohydrates and subtract from it the listed fiber content on the package, the number you’re left with is how much sugar you’re consuming (a healthy meal or snack will have less than 25g of total sugar.)
We need the healthy Omega-3 and natural mono and polyunsaturated fats found in whole foods like fish, eggs, nuts, avocados, olives, coconut and several other natural whole foods. However, many of the fats that the modern American eats come from unhealthy vegetable oils found in fast food joints and ready made pre-packaged foods. See this slideshow for a list of foods with healthy fats you should be eating.
You are what you eat and eating better will make you feel better!
2. Be Light Aware
Changing the spectrum and intensity of the lighting that you surround yourself is crucial to changing both your physical and mental health.
Many of us work indoors for 8 or more hours per day, then immediately go to another building like home or the gym afterward. The trouble is, few people are getting outside during the crucial midday sunlight hours, when the sun offers us the perfect health-giving UV rays needed for our mitochondria to produce the vitamin D we all need. Ten minutes of midday sun exposure while wearing a t-shirt is all most of us need to get the vitamin D we need.
Next comes the lighting in our home and office. Fluorescent bulbs have become all the rage in the last ten years for their energy-saving benefits. In fact, the US government is set to outlaw the sale and distribution of old incandescent bulbs in the next two years! Incandescents offer bright, unfiltered UV light whereas flouros, even full spectrum flouros, offer dull filtered light.
Why does this matter, you ask?
Our brain releases the happy, wake-me-up hormone called serotonin when exposed to bright red spectrum “daylight” such as that found in natural sunlight and full spectrum incandescent lighting.
The brain is also programmed to release melatonin; the calm down go-to-sleep hormones in low level “night time” blue spectrum lighting conditions. This is how our body’s biological clock works, and why so many Americans who work indoors with modern flouro lighting find that they’re yawning long before their first morning coffee break.
Change the light in your life and change your life! (learn more)
Also consider installing a “blue light filter” app on your smartphones, tablets and PC’s. And purchase and use a pair of blue light filtering glasses when staring at a computer screen all day or spending time indoors around energy-zapping flouro lights.
3. Ditch the Drugs
Includes drugs of all kinds including over-the-counter and prescription stimulants, depressants, and illegal drugs of all kinds.
Most of us don’t need a lecture on the dangers of illegal drugs. Nor does anyone need to hear about how prescription drugs like pain killers and mood enhancers aren’t really doing your body and brain any favors in the long run.
Just know that aside from the increased strain on your liver, kidneys and heart that we all know about, even an innocent drug like caffeine can cause permanent addiction.
An alcoholic is an alcoholic for life; regardless of whether they quit eventually or not. The same is true for any drug you learn to depend on, and dependance on substances that change our physiology and mood. Addiction leads to depression and the temptation to indulge can creep into your life anytime and disrupt it.
Ditch your drug addictions and you’ll live a healthier, happier life!
4. Remove Negative People From Your Life
You’ve now learned that removing bad foods, lighting, and substances can change your life for the better. Now it’s time to talk about the people we surround ourselves with.
There’s an old saying that you’ll often hear tossed around by optimists and motivational speakers all over: “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” Many people credit entrepreneur and motivator Jim Rohn for uttering the phrase originally.
Negativity can be brought on in several ways from the people we spend the most time with: pessimism, resentment, anger, hostility, regret. We can’t avoid negativity all the time, but keep in mind that there are probably people in your life who always have a dark cloud hovering directly overhead wherever they go:
• The naysayer who craps all over your goals and ideas.
• The bitter friend or relative that just can’t be cheered up, regardless of your tireless efforts.
• Mr. or Mrs. Angry, who’s always blaming their circumstances for their failures, unhappiness and poor health.
• The smart-alec who just loves to toss insults and mean-spirited comments at everyone they can, every chance they get.
Do you know any of these types of negative people?
Do you consider them a friend or someone who simply cannot be eliminated from your life?
These people drag down your goodwill and cheer. They can also impact the level of success you achieve in life. Last, negative people cause negative thoughts, which cause stress and lead to bad physical and mental health (source).
Get rid of the “Negative Nancy’s” and “Grumpy Gus’s” in your life and your health will improve overnight!