Meditation

From Wellness to Wonderfulness: 7 Ways to Elevate Your Healthy Habits

MM08LegSwingsBack.jpg
 

You’ve got this: You eat deliciously and nutritiously. You move regularly. You prioritize fun. Your doctor has practically named you patient of the year. You are the picture of wellness.

But you’re greedy–in a good way. You want to feel even better. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you’re wondering: Do you have the time to add anything more to your schedule? Would doing more actually bring diminishing returns?

Maybe you need to rethink this.

I’m here to tell you it doesn’t take more time to go from wellness to wonderfulness. It just takes a different way of doing what you’ve already put in place. Elevating your practices is the name of the game.

 

Elevating your health and wellness practices

You eat 6-10 servings of vegetables daily.  Eat seasonal and local. 

Produce from industrial-scale agribusinesses suffer from “’reliable declines’ in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C over the past half century’ (and that’s only the nutrients they’ve studied).When you buy seasonal and local, you’re getting vegetables and fruit grown in healthy soil. Since they’re not sitting for long periods in a truck or storage facility, they stay nutrient-dense, too.

 

You drink lots of water during the day.  Don’t drink it out of plastic bottles.

Not only do they require a lot of fossil fuels to make and ship around the world, but the bisphenol-A (BPA) they’re made of is a known endocrine-disruptor (meaning it interferes with your hormones). As it leaks into the water, BPA mimics estrogen and “can alter the behavior of more than 200 genes, which control the growth and repair of nearly every organ and tissue in the body [source: Environmental Working Group].” BPA is also an obesogen, meaning it *helps* your body hold onto weight.

 

You move regularly.  Move before you eat.

You may think you need to burn off those calories you just consumed, so a postprandial walk is the way to go. That’s not a bad thing, but if you really want to ramp up your body’s fat-burning capabilities (which is better than just burning calories), exercise when you’re in a fasted state. Part of the effect is due to an increase in insulin-sensitivity–that’s the healthy kind of sensitivity you want. Please be aware that this practice works best if you’re already used to burning fat for energy (which you are if you follow The Wonderfulness Program).

 

You take a walk most days.  Get out around 9 or 10.

When people are exposed to sunlight or very bright artificial light in the morning, their nocturnal melatonin production occurs sooner, and they enter into sleep more easily at night.” Leaving your sunglasses off for 10-15 minutes enhances the effects of the full-spectrum sunlight. Remember: better sleep = better mood and energy, which leads me to…

 

You regularly get 7-9 hours of sleep.  Minimize light exposure at night. 

You may think it’s not affecting your sleep, but studies show different. Not only does light (particularly in the blue spectrum your devices give off) suppress melatonin production and affect your circadian rhythms, it impacts metabolic function, too. In other words, the light from your TV can be affecting your waistline as much as the sitting around to watch it does.

 

You have a daily meditation practice.  Bring your practice to your life.

If you think that someone’s “enlightened,” watch them as they drive through crazy-making rush hour traffic. It’s fairly easy to sit on a pillow in our happy place for 10 minutes every morning, but to take that kind of equanimity out into the world requires mindfulness. The wonderful thing about it? Every moment offers practice. Besides being good for you, this mindful lifestyle “leads to a heartfelt, warm, and altruistic expansion of energy out to the world, rather than a retreat from it.”

 

You enjoy fun pursuits regularly.  Expand your comfort zone. 

There’s great pleasure to be had in the tried and true, but if you really want to boost your cognitive function and improve your mood, try something new. “If you want to keep your brain agile, you’re going to have to hone in on parts of the brain that you use less frequently…And this new task has to be so challenging that you’ll feel mentally and physically exhausted after practicing the task because you’re forcing your brain to work in ways it’s unaccustomed to. This is the only way you’ll actually grow new neurons strong enough to connect with existing neurons, forming new pathways.”

 

Want even more ideas? Sign up for my weekly Sunday Wonderfulness newsletter delivered right to your inbox! It's full of fabulous ways your can elevate your wellness.

 

Wishing you wonderfulness!