My BIG Three Approach to Health and Happiness
I am “into” nutrition and fitness, it’s true. I talk about it. I write about it. I post about it. I coach people who want to figure out a way of eating and moving that is sustainable.
I wholeheartedly believe that reasonably good nutrition and daily movement are essential to overall health and happiness.
AND, of course, there’s more to whole health than nutrition and fitness. We have to take care of our WHOLE self for whole health—mind, body, and spirit.
Great things come in threes, right? Three is a magic number (a little shout-out to Schoolhouse Rock)!
What’s the secret to optimal health and happiness? Here’s my my BIG three philosophy on living your absolute best life…
Everything starts at the level of the mind. The interrelationship between your thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, assumptions, and interpretations creates your mindset.
Our outer world is a reflection of our inner world—we see what we believe. So being aware of our beliefs is crazy important. The cool thing is that we can train our mind just like we can train our bodies.
Most people do not do this and go through their lives with unexamined beliefs. Usually this doesn’t work out so well. If you go through life without training your body it becomes flabby and unhealthy. The same thing happens with an untrained mind.
If you accept all your thoughts and beliefs as true, without questioning them (that’s the training part), you are putting major limitations on yourself and your ability to achieve what you want in life.
Circumstances will challenge us, but nothing holds us back more than our own self-limiting thoughts and beliefs. We can change our mind with awareness and practice, and as Wayne Dyer observed, “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
Mindset is about our thoughts and beliefs, while lifestyle is about our choices and behaviors. Lifestyle has a much greater impact on our health (and happiness!) than genetics.
It’s easy to get trapped in the “it-runs-in-my-family” rut, but the reality is that if you behave differently and make different choices than others in your family you will most likely have a different outcome.
Here are some basic lifestyle choices that will set you up for good mental and physical health and an overall sense of well-being:
Move your body every day—avoid prolonged sitting as much as possible
Exercise regularly (ha, you knew this would make the list, right?) including both cardio and resistance training
Get adequate sleep
Eat vegetables with every meal and avoid highly processed foods as much as possible
Practice relaxation and stress-management activities such as meditation, journal writing, or yoga
Spend time with friends
#3 Compassionate Self-Care
Remember, my friend, you are a human being and therefore are perfectly imperfect and wholly loveable.
Give yourself a break. Don’t expect perfection. Be as gentle and kind with yourself as you would be with someone you love.
So many of us put ourselves dead-last on the priority list, this is not loving behavior. It may take practice, but it’s time to make taking care of YOU non-negotiable.
When any of these three pillars--mindset, lifestyle, self-care--is not given attention, our whole system becomes unbalanced. Like a tripod with uneven legs, we are not functioning at our best when we are off balance.
Of the three legs, we tend to be most aware of lifestyle—our choices and behaviors. Lifestyle may be the most tangible and easily observable of the three, but all are equally important.
Is one (or more) of your legs/fundamental needs being neglected? What are some ways that you can give it the attention it needs?