You can build healthy habits by consistently making choices that are good for your health and overall wellbeing. It’s not easy, but it’s also not impossible to commit to it. But before you can make better choices to change your lifestyle, it is crucial to first understand and distinguish between healthy and unhealthy habits. Learn more about healthy habits and effects here.
What is the Criteria for a Healthy Lifestyle?
Multiple studies suggest that a healthy lifestyle can be broken down into 5 areas or components. They are defined as follows:
No to Smoking
Smoking has never proven to be healthy. It goes without saying that not smoking is the best option. Smoker who would like to quit can engage in intervention programs or independently find a solution to quit the vice altogether.
Reduced Alcohol Intake
Unlike smoking, moderate alcohol intake is acceptable, with sources being preferably wine. Moderate intake for adult women averages at around 5 to 15 grams per day, while adult men are recommended to have 5 to 30 grams per day. It is worth noting, however, that excessive consumption is unhealthy by all means, and the threshold for moderate intake is affected by external factors such as ethnicity, age, current medication, and more.
Increased Level of Physical Activity
With differences between each individual, physical activity corresponding to one’s needs is imperative to improving one’s overall quality of life. Setting a fitness goal and reaching them is achievable when incorporated with other healthy habits.
A Balanced Diet
The definition of a “healthy diet” differs from person to person. However, it is proven that fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and sources of healthy fats such as fatty fish, eggs, cheese, etc., generally comprise a healthy diet. Whie loading up on good nutrients, avoid unhealthy foods such as processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, and foods high in sodium and sugar. This includes avoiding food like SPAM, fast food, candy, and other unhealthy snacks.
Maintaining Ideal Body Weight
Being underweight and overweight makes one prone. Thus, striving for ideal body weight can keep you healthy.
The right body weight is defined and measured as one’s body mass index (BMI). On average, normal or healthy weight is measured between 18.5 – 24.9.
Individuals on a personal and social level have a more positive outlook and feel when they are able to maintain their personal hygiene, through activities like taking a shower and wearing clean clothes. This is because the body generally functions better when it is clean and working properly, which we will go into detail in the following sections. Good personal hygiene covers cleaning your skin, mouth and teeth, hair, ears, hands and feet, and nails.
Steps toward Cultivating Healthy Habits
Cultivating healthy habits are beneficial once individuals fully understand healthy habits and effects. In order to help, we take a look at the steps needed to cultivate healthy habits through the changing of behavior and by the breaking of bad habits.
The following steps can be considered:
Cues are also known as triggers. When it comes to vices and bad habits in general, a circumstance, event or feeling, or basically anything can act as a cue to prompt someone to perpetuate his or her bad habits.
For example, A working man can encounter a cue through stress at the office, prompting him to smoke. This is the first and most crucial step as solutions cannot be implemented if the problem cannot be identified.
Once the cues have been identified, they can be consciously and premeditatedly thrown off track. This can be implemented, for example, by moving the location of objects that trigger bad habits or are the bad habits per se. In the previous example, this can be done by moving one’s pack of cigarettes away.
Research suggests that replacing bad behavior with a good one is better than stopping bad behavior itself alone or abruptly. This is evidenced by the psychological effect of good behavior interfering with the bad.
Healthy habits and effects are naturally different from bad habits, thus the incorporation of a good habit that conflicts with a bad one sends mixed signals to one’s brain.
Since the brain is trained by the repetition of behavior that is easy and simple to replicate, the observation is true of the opposite. New behaviors are naturally hard to adapt to and incorporate because of the behavior of the brain’s basal ganglia. Thus, simplifying new good habits are easier to integrate into your daily routine.
The reason why habits are formed is due to their ability to satisfy short-term impulses. The nature of short-term desires, however, often lead to long-term consequences. Alcohol and drug abuse, for example, is the long-term consequence for short-term impulses. If a long-term plan for one’s overall health is set and is taken seriously, issues like this may be avoided.
The cornerstone to any successful change in behavior is persistence. Consciously changing the way you behave every day is not an easy task, and at times, it will be so easy to revert to one’s bad habits. Persistence and commitment eventually make matters easier as time goes by. Conscious efforts to change behavior eventually turn into habits and become second nature.
In conclusion, healthy habits are much easier to maintain if they are attained at an early age, this may be achieved with the help of a suitable environment and influential factors such as parents, relatives, and friends, that help promote healthy habits and effects.
On the other hand, it is also easy to develop bad habits at an early stage, the most important factor is to determine which is good and bad, and which is to be implemented into your life.
Learn more about Healthy Habits here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.