CHOOSING HEALTH - how good health comes down to daily choices
We make choices every day, all day long. Little ones mostly, like what to wear, what to listen to on the way to work, what to make for dinner. Yet these daily choices are the ones that can make the biggest impact. As Louise Hay used to say, that the way you live your day is the way you live your life.
In terms of health and well being, it matters most what we do on a daily basis, rather than what we do occasionally. If we eat junk food every day, then do a week-long detox diet once every two months, that does not add up to good health. However, if we eat well most days, but every now and then allow ourselves the treat of a takeaway dinner, it probably won’t have any serious impact our health.
I believe that consistently making choices that support and nourish us is the key to maintaining a state of good health. This doesn’t just mean making good dietary choices either. Since your state of mind directly affects your body’s physiology, the things that you choose to watch, read, listen to, or even say, can have an effect.
For example: You might choose to read about violent true crime just before lights out. The disturbing nature of the book could trigger the body to produce adrenaline, which diminishes your ability to sleep peacefully and restoratively. If restorative sleep doesn’t happen, you may wake feeling tired the next morning. Perhaps it means you drink more coffee than usual to get through the day. This could mean you become dehydrated, which can make concentration more difficult, leading to feelings of fatigue... so you drink more coffee. Since caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline, and adrenaline keeps you awake and alert, maybe it affects your ability to drift off to sleep that night as well – and so the cycle continues. You can see how even one little choice can have a ripple effect.
Here’s the good news: the ripple effect works both ways. For example, if you choose to read a funny book just before lights out, the laughter can actually trigger the body to produce more melatonin, which helps us sleep. Therefore, you sleep deeply and restoratively, and wake refreshed. You might even skip the coffee you usually have at morning tea, since you’re already full of beans, and have a glass of water instead. Your body puts the water to good use, nourishing your cells and using it to flush the waste away. Even the cells of your brain are nourished, and your concentration improves. Your productivity increases, and you get all your work done and go home early. Sounds good, huh?
So the going home early part doesn’t apply to all of us, but you get my drift.
The choices we make have an effect on how we feel about ourselves too. If we choose to nourish ourselves, we say to ourselves that we are worth looking after. If we cook nutritious food for ourselves, book that regular massage, take time on the weekends to goof off with the kids – we are practicing self care. When we care for ourselves, we are happier and healthier. And as we talked about in my previous blog – self care is a daily practice. We care for ourselves by making the choice to care for ourselves, a thousand times a day.
This article is for information only. For further information, please consult your healthcare professional.
Weaver, Dr Libby. (2015). Exhausted to Energized. Auckland: Little Green Frog.