When it comes to health and happiness, the key is balance and allowing. In the West, health focus is mostly on the physical body, and even emotional issues are treated clinically. In contrast, Eastern philosophies on health focus include aspects of the body, mind, soul – the belief is that all aspects function in an interactive and complimentary fashion. To encompass both approaches, here are 10 tips that have helped me to establish a happy and healthy approach to life and that continue to expand into more.
Make yourself #1 in your life.
You must decide put yourself first. Why? Because you are the only one who can create the right balance of happy and healthy for you. If you are putting other people before you, then you are giving off a signal that you are not important and that it’s okay with you to be bypassed. If you want to change this, then you have to claim your own priority to you. When done in a harmonious way, this already will bring more balance to your life. And if you are a parent, this is an important message that you will be teaching your children. It’s a major step in loving yourself, to being able to show compassion and kindness to others. Don’t worry that you are being selfish as long as you are honest and sincere with yourself this is what is important. Arrogance and self-obsession stem from a lack of confidence, not from self-esteem.
Start where you are.
I have found when it comes to changing a pattern successfully and sustainably, it’s best to start where you are and make bite-sized adjustments. This helps you to stay present, dispel any feelings of overwhelm, and move forward steadily and keep focused on your desired target. As John Heywood said, ‘Rome was not built in a day.’ Give yourself permission if required, to take things slowly. Taking action is what is important.
Set your target.
What does happy and healthy look like for you? It’s really important to connect to the ‘essence’ of what these words mean to you. Not what someone else has told you. A great way to do this is to ask yourself, ‘what would my life look like when I am happy and healthy?’. Write these down, especially the way you will feel about yourself and your life. The great thing about setting a target and writing down your desired outcome, i.e. how you want to feel, is that this already prepares your brain for new input and finding corresponding stimuli. It’s also useful as a form of accountability, so you can see how you are progressing. Sometimes you have to look backwards to see just how far you have come.
Tailor your beliefs to suit you.
The beliefs you have are important, as they are the building blocks by which you function. I often work with clients who have passed through the medical or traditional systems and are still looking for solutions. They did not buy into the beliefs of others. They are choosing to do whatever it takes and find a way of being healthy that works for them. Even people with similar beliefs experience life differently. You experience life the way you do for the simple reason that you are unique and you. Only you are experiencing life in the specific way that you are doing it. Cultivate beliefs around being healthy and happy for you.
Eat when you are truly hungry.
Most things in our society today run to schedule. Whilst this may contribute to a smooth functioning, the human body has its own rhythm. Failure to heed this natural rhythm can lead to ill-health or feelings of dissatisfaction over time. The next time you feel hungry, try this first. Check in with my body and ask it, ‘are you hungry?’. Did you know that people often confuse thirst with hunger? Your body often requires water before it requires food, yet because we eat so routinely, we can override our biology. I always ask the one who knows – my body.
Honour your emotions.
Whatever emotions you are feeling, you are feeling them for a reason. Take the time to contemplate them and look for safe ways to express and manage them. I have found working with clients, that the biggest cause of disease comes from suppressed and repressed emotions. Hire a facilitator to support you in managing your emotions in a healthy and happy way. Your body will thank you for it.
Do things that make your body feel good.
Now if you are in a place of ill-health or feel depressed, this can seem a huge task. There are so many instructions from everywhere about everything that it’s easy to get confused and feel overwhelmed. Your body generally knows what it requires better than you do, although this is not what we have been taught. In fact, we have been taught to mistrust our bodies, which results in us always being caught on the wrong foot. Your body knows how it wants to move to feel good and how often, just as it knows when it needs to take a nap. Follow that!
Find happy and healthy people who inspire you.
Notice I say ‘that inspire you.’ This means individuals who have qualities that you would like to upload into your behaviour data bank. Remember making yourself #1? It’s important to have these kinds of role models in your life so that you are regularly stimulated and growing in ways that feel good to you. This will make it easier to stay energized and discerning when dealing with other people and situations that may be difficult.
Ask for help.
If you are struggling to achieve and experience your ideal of health or happiness, ask for help. Ask your higher guidance, that the right people show up in your life who have the information you require to take the next step for you. Then, trust and allow it to come to you and be ready to receive. Easy to say, perhaps not so easy to do – this is when having a coach or mentor comes in handy. I had to experience burn-out before I learned the lesson to ask for help and hand things over to the Universe at the end of each day. Don’t confuse independence with having to do everything yourself or on your own.
It’s not always easy to feel grateful, especially if you are down and having a hard time when it comes to lack of health or prosperity. Happiness can seem a long way off. I can remember times when writing my daily gratitude list when all I could manage was ‘I am grateful that I have the desire to be grateful even though it may be difficult in this moment.’ There is great wisdom in counting your blessings. Every day there are so many things that are simply taken for granted which are in reality the stuff of magic. Look for the magic, and it will appear.
The above list of tips to be a happy healthy you, is of course, far from complete.
Notice too that I have not mentioned food specifically because I believe that if you follow the above tips, what you eat will adjust itself automatically. These tips have been effective for me in my own personal growth. I have found by applying and following them, the possibility of more health and happiness appears in a myriad of ways and place without effort.
If you would like some active processes that will support you in establishing and/or improving your happy healthy ways, check out my Zen Body Awareness 7 Day Challenge.
Here’s to your abundant happiness and health!
– Trilby Johnson