by Dr. Christopher Park // photo by Lindsay Pace Daffron
We all want to be healthy and live a full life. But what is health?
You might have a strong body and deadlift 500 lbs, but if you’re lonely, are you healthy? You can have the perfect Instagram pictures, but if you’ve alienated your friends due to isolation and apathy, are you healthy? You can get your blood pressure controlled and blood sugar regulated, bu
t if you struggle with uncontrolled sadness, are you healthy? You can be attractive, young, and have a successful business, but if you’re addicted to prescription pain pills, are you healthy?
So, for me, I think the definition of health is different than just how your body is functioning. I think the definition of health is balance.
To be free from drugs, anxiety, depression, and disease. This is the goal. To be happy. To have strong relationships. To love and to be loved. This is the goal. Balance is the goal. It’s the balance of body, mind, and spirit.
Here’s 5 Ways to Make 2020 Your Healthiest Year Yet
You knew we’d have to start here, didn’t you? The dreaded “D” word.
Most people look at diet as a type of penance for previous wrongs. You ate chocolate cake yesterday, so today you’d better skip on sweets. It becomes a love/hate relationship. You want to eat what you want to eat, but you immediately feel guilty. Or maybe you gave up on guilt and gave in to gluttony. Hey, no judgment here – but I think there’s a better way to look at the food we eat.
Instead of thinking about what to cut out, think about what to put in. What do you need to eat to feel good, have energy, keep your body fat low and your strength high? Food is the fuel that will help you accomplish your goals. But, of course, this assumes you have goals. Something you’re pursuing. Something you want to accomplish.
Instead of trying to lose 15 pound, eat to run a 5k, or lower your blood pressure, or improve your blood glucose levels. What you’ll find is that your appearance, confidence, and strength will all improve, and you’ll be more motivated to stick with it because your diet becomes performance based. I think that’s a win-win.
2) Do Something Big
Instead of resolutions this year, focus on having resolve. Resolve is a firm determination to do something. And I say aim high. Maybe this is the year you take your grandkids to the Smoky Mountains, and you want to be able to walk some trails with them. If that’s the case, get to training. Maybe this is the year you finally run that half marathon you’ve been thinking about. Maybe this is the year you sign up for fitness kickboxing classes, or learn to speak Spanish, or take a welding class. Whatever it is you decide to do, go after it. Don’t be afraid of failure, because, trust me, you’re going to fail and that’s okay. Because when you fail, you learn to get back up and keep fighting.
3) Minimize your junk. Maximize your potential.
Reduce stress and clutter in your life; add fulfillment and joy. Clean out your closets and start getting rid of old junk you never wear or use. Give them to someone who can use them, or chunk it in the garbage.
Clear up your schedule. Stop adding things to your day that are not helpful to your ultimate goals. It’s okay to say “no” every now and then. This is your life. Carve out what you want and need.
As you start to get healthier, you’ll probably be able to reduce some of your medicines (with your doctor’s approval, of course). Which in turn will reduce your monthly costs. It’s almost as if you’re getting paid to take care of yourself.
Prayer and meditation is often overlooked. I find that most people look at prayer as only a means of asking God for things. But prayer can also be extremely powerful when used to speak thanks. Make a list of the things you’re grateful for, and then say a prayer of thanks over these people, things, situations, etc.
Sit in a quiet space and breathe deeply, in and out. Try to clear your mind and focus on your breathing. Imagine the family that’s in your house. Now, see a warm light move over them. Feel your gratitude swell inside you and give thanks to God for all He’s done.
If you’re going through something difficult, such as cancer, the death of a loved one, depression, etc., then you probably feel overwhelmed. A prayer of gratitude for what you have can go a long way to making you feel better. And, in my opinion, is more helpful than praying for whatever it is you’re struggling with to just go away.
5) This goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway: The first step to getting out of a hole is to stop digging.
If you’re adding poisonous toxins to your body, then you’re not going to be healthy. Stop smoking. Stop drinking alcohol. Stop watching pornography. Stop mindlessly looking at your phone. Stop ignoring healthy relationships. Stop gossiping. Stop binge shopping. Stop cutting corners at work.
Instead, start exercising daily. Start praying daily. Start writing down ideas daily. Start eating healthy foods daily. Start spending more time with the people you love daily.
Alright guys and gals, these were just a few of my favorite tips for living a healthy life and making 2020 your best year ever. I hope it was helpful.
Good luck and Godspeed.