5 Habits to Ditch If You Want to Be Healthy & Happy
“A sad soul can kill you quicker than a germ.”
These are the words of John Steinbeck, who understood the yin and yang of health and happiness. They compliment and create each other. To be healthy, you must cultivate happiness. To be happy, you must nurture your health.
Our bookstores and libraries are overflowing with guides, advice, and research on how to achieve this holistic well-being. But just as important is understanding the behaviors that jeopardize our goal.
Here are five habits that derail your health and happiness.
1. COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS
The grass always seems greener on the other side, until, after great effort and sacrifice, you get there, only to discover that it’s a synthetic lawn.
Think of the long list of celebrities we’ve seen with wealth, fame, adulation, power, and privilege.
Then we come to learn of their struggles with anxiety, depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, disease, or to see them take their own lives at a young age.
Keeping up with the Kardashians is not all it’s cracked up to be.
In fact, it’s keeping you back. You feel defeated and unhappy in the neverending quest to measure up. You can fall into debt as you attempt to buy the same designer and luxury items you see on your idol’s Instagram or reality show.
And you waste your valuable time and energy on a futile race, instead of devoting your power and resources to your own desires and needs.
Stop comparing yourself to others. You have no idea how happy or how miserable they are in private. And why compare your beginning to their middle or end?
If you must compare, then compete with yourself. Do a little better today than yesterday. You are your best measuring stick.
2. BEING YOUR OWN WORST CRITIC
When was the last time you gave a compliment - to yourself? “Well done. Good job. You’re doing your best. Keep going.” Have you said these words to yourself lately?
So often, we do the opposite. We pull ourselves down when we fall short, or make a mistake. “You’re so stupid! How could you? You’ll never succeed!”
Imagine saying these words every day to someone you love. How dispirited, defeated, and embarrassed they would feel! Constant criticism and berating would make it even harder for them to pull themselves up and progress.
But this is what you do to yourself when you become your own worst critic. You make achieving your goals a joyless, uphill battle. Don’t.
Just as you would gently encourage and support a loved one, to give them motivation, inspiration, and courage, so too should you be with yourself.
When you become aware you are engaging in negative self-talk, stop. Take a breath. And say something positive and encouraging to yourself instead.
Your body, mind, and heart hear every word you think. So fill your words with self-compassion, encouragement, and joy.
3. MISTAKING POSSESSIONS FOR PROSPERITY
“Money doesn’t buy happiness” isn’t just a trite saying. Scientific studies confirm the boost you get from gaining wealth and material possessions soon fades. Once you’ve earned enough to be secure and comfortable, you receive little to no increase in happiness by accumulating more money.
That superyacht you’re eying might make you look cool on social media, but it doesn’t guarantee you’ll feel any better about your life or yourself.
And you’ll miss out on so many priceless moments with family and friends while you’re killing yourself working hard to buy it. At the end, you might not even be able to enjoy it, having sacrificed your health and your youth in the effort.
“So many people spend their health gaining wealth, and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health.”
This is a sage observation from A.J. Reb Materi on the dangers of mistaking possessions for prosperity.
In addition, the elderly and the dying often report that relationships and experiences brought them the most joy in life - not the size of their bank account.
Take care of your financial security, by all means. But invest in relationships as well. Spend money on experiences rather than on possessions. Savor each moment. They will not come again.
Time, well-being, family, and friends are your most precious commodities and the keys to true prosperity.
4. BINGE-WATCHING `TILL THE WEE HOURS
We’ve all experienced the pleasure, and the danger, of binge-watching our favorite TV series on Netflix or cable.
When I discovered The Wire, it was almost a week before I got back to going to bed at a decent time, since I stayed up every night devouring the first season.
So believe me, I understand the temptation. But it’s also one of the worst moves you can make for your health and well-being.
Medical researchers report that poor sleep is far more dangerous than we realize. It can kill.
Sleep deprivation increases your risk of heart and kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. It strains the body and depletes your supply of mood-enhancing, stress-relieving minerals and nutrients like magnesium.
Ever spent the day in a brain fog, grumpy, moody, and fatigued? This is the result of your all-nighters, along with anxiety and depression.
You can also blame your inability to concentrate and your diminished cognitive function on a lack of quality sleep. Crucial repair of your heart, brain, and blood vessels occurs during sleep.
So as much as you want to know how the story ends, switch off the TV. Those emails and work assignments will be there tomorrow.
Go to bed. You’ll feel better, live longer, and have more energy to attain your goals.
5. SELF-MEDICATING INSTEAD OF SELF-CARING
In sad and stressful times, we try to soothe our wounds and find a sense of comfort and security. But not all coping methods are sound.
When quarantines were first introduced as Covid-19 became a global pandemic, alcohol purchases hit the roof.
Self-medicating might give you a buzz and help kill the time, but it also damages your health and your relationships. Whether it’s with alcohol, drugs, comfort food, TV, social media, overindulging only makes you want to throw up at the end.
The negative consequences also take a long time to undo.
Healthy coping methods, on the other hand, not only help you survive the tough times, but they allow you to thrive. This is the moment to go all-in on self-care.
Feed your heart and soul with uplifting music, meditation, and literature.
Feed your body with nutrients that replenish your energy.
Soothe your body with gentle movement, massage, yoga, rest, and sleep.
Indulge to your heart’s content, in everything positive, uplifting, healthy, and empowering.
So, which of these habits do you need to ditch? Start small, but start today. And sign up to YogiAlicia.com for more wellness tips and healing online events.
Want an audio version you can take with you? Click HERE for the audio article.
BE PART OF MY INNER CIRCLE.
JOIN THE YOCIALICIA.COM COMMUNITY TO STAY CONNECTED, RECEIVE SPECIAL OFFERS & DISCOUNTS.
YOU'LL ALSO GET IMMEDIATE ACCESS TO YOUR FREE GIFT.