Written in the comfort of my own home. Sipping Kombucha and hanging with Lincoln (my pug)
I love exercise. It’s one of a few things I have to do everyday, even if it’s just an easy walk outside in the sunny CA sky. I have to do it because it puts my in a good mood. If I don’t do it I feel off some how.
Most of my exercise takes around 30-60 minutes. I just don’t have the attention span to do anymore than that (nor do I think it is worth it). I try to mix in as much variety into my fitness as possible. In any given week I have been known to do the following in order to stay healthy.
- Dance class
- Rock climb
- Surf (although I am terrible)
- Trampolining (check it out)
- Mountain bike
- Basketball league
- Or just a gingerly stroll around the block with the little guy
Long story short, I get bored pretty easily and this is what works for me to stay in shape and more importantly makes me happy.
But the other day I got to thinking. Exercise is just one part of the health equation. For me the definition of being healthy is so much more than that. What am I doing the other 23 hours of the day to promote wellness? How’s that for a teaser 🙂
MY DEFINITION OF HEALTH
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below on this. How do you define health? Think specifically about yourself right now. Be completely selfish.
I was asked this question at a seminar I was at a little over a year ago and at the time I couldn’t give an answer. My mind immediately went to the physical aspects of health like a lean muscular body, energy, a healthy nutrition plan, regular exercise, positive blood work, and strength.
However, as I thought about the question a little bit more I asked myself if I could truly consider myself a healthy individual if the rest of my life was out of whack?
I quickly came to the conclusion that I could not.
To me, being healthy does not relegate itself to the physical alone. There are social, mental, emotional, spiritual, and work related aspects that need to be addressed to be a completely healthy individual.
- If I am extremely fit, exercise daily, but am un-happy at work can I be healthy?
- If I am passionate and find purpose in the work that I do but am socially isolated and disconnected with people and in my relationships can I really be healthy?
So for me my definition of a healthy person would be someone whom is connected not only with themselves but others and the world around them. A person that can define why they get up everyday and do the things they do.
THE OTHER 23 HOURS
If you’re not currently exercising at least 3-4 days a week there are some great resources here on the site that you can take advantage of to help get you started.
If you are currently exercising regularly, awesome! You’re one step ahead of the game.
Exercise for me is my medicine.
It creates energy, builds strength both physical and mental, and provides me with happiness (it has even been said to be more powerful than Zoloft. 1) But what are you doing the other 23 hours of the day to become a healthy person? Are you taking care of all the other aspects in your life that contribute?
Feel free to disagree and actually, post to the comments if you think I may be missing something here:
1. Work: Are you doing work that excites you? I hate to even call it work. It has such a negative connotation to it. “I HAVE to go to work” I ‘ll often hear. Lets flip that and say I GET to go to work. Combining your strengths and passions into serving a cause bigger than yourself often leads to finding your purpose.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a positive psychologist and the author of one of my favorite book, Flow describes the work that you do needs to be not so hard that you easily give up but also not to easy that you get bored and don’t feel challenged.
In order to get to this place I feel it is necessary to look towards your natural talents. What are you good at? What do people ask you for advice about? What activities do you get energy from? Look to those instances where you were actually working your ass off but looked up at the clock and could not believe how the time just flew by. You were in the zone baby!
My mentor Brian Johnson often refers to work in this aspect. You want to move from a job to a career and eventually to a calling. What’s your calling?
2. The self or your mind: Having a great relationship with yourself is vitally important. I’m going to drop a personal nugget on you here so bare with me ok? I’ve always had a hard time connecting with myself. It took me a very long time to figure out what the hell I wanted in life, I was constantly in a state of confusion. It wasn’t until I started focusing on building an environment around myself that fostered the things that meant the most to me that I started to grow as a person.
It wasn’t until decided to organize my home, work place, and daily habits to emphasize my love for learning and wisdom, playfulness, an active lifestyle, mindfulness, and communication with others that I started to get a clear picture of who I wanted to be and in what direction I wanted to go with my life.
I filled my house with books, quotes written on giant white boards that cover my bedroom walls, I created a meditation space at home, I invested in myself by signing up for philosophy classes and fitness courses that were outside of what I was use to. This is how I worked on myself.
One great way to clear your head is to come up with a personal mission statement or your reason for being. What are you here to do? I know that’s a loaded questions but here are some questions that might help to clear your head.
- If money was of no concern what would you do?
- If you were guaranteed you could not fail what would you do?
- Picture yourself at Starbucks with the 100-year-old you. What would you want that 100-year-old version of you to say about how you lived your life?
3. Relationships: This is always been my biggest weakness. I’ve always been a strong and independent person. I believe I am capable of anything and everything and can do it all on my own and don’t need anyone. A real blessing and a curse. It has often caused me to isolate myself from others and not fully allow myself to open up and be vulnerable. It wasn’t until recently that my girlfriend and I decided to part ways that I began to understand just how important positive relationships are.
One very important thing to remember is that the people in your life; family, friends, significant others, and even pets choose to be a part of your life. They can choose to walk away at any moment. They don’t have to love you if they don’t want to. Being grateful for their choice goes a long way. Make sure to remind them just how important they are.
So lets take a look at our friends and family members right now. Commit to upgrading your relationships with them, learning from them, challenging each other, and even taking opportunities to seek new relationships in which you and that person have a chance to help each other grow.
You may find that some of your current relationships don’t make much sense anymore and that’s ok. Who in your life gives you energy, motivates you, encourages and challenges you? It’s time to spend more time with them. Can you do the same for anyone?
4. The physical: Outside of exercising consistently are you eating real food and eliminating the processed junk out there. I got an email from a friend a few months ago that was in Turkey I believe. She mentioned that to find processed, boxed, or packaged junk was nearly impossible. As she walked around town everyone was active, high energy, and in great shape. Emphasized more real food by focusing in on nutrient dense vegetables, grass-fed meat, and healthy fats like coconut oil. If you need some help there are some great resources on this site about understanding your carbohydrates, becoming your own diet detective, and some of the road blocks you may be facing in implementing a nutrition plan.
Outside of eating right sleep is a huge factor when it comes to your health. I use to think that rest was for suckas! That was until I quickly realized how miserable I felt, how unproductive I was, and how moody I got. Sleep deprivation affects your hormones which in-turn controls many facets of your body, from digestion to cognitive ability. Here’s how to hibernate like a bear.
5. Money, Money, Money: This is such a big one for a lot of us. It may be the one thing that creates so much anxiety and angst. It contributes highly to failed marriages, relationships and friendships, and happiness. The most important thing I have learned about managing my finances over the last few years goes something like this.
Save mindlessly and spend thoughtfully
It’s much easier for me to control how much I spend as opposed to how much I make. When I took a good hard look at how I was spending my money every day I realized how much I was wasting. Did I really need a cup of coffee everyday? Did I need to have a gym membership, did I really need all those cable channels, did I really need those new pair of shoes?
Spend a month tracking your expenses every day for a month. Just take out a pen and notebook pad and jot down everything you spend on. It is alarming. I found out I was wasting about $800 a month. YIKES! If you need any help with this shoot me an email.
Lastly, if you have not already done so I would suggest setting up an automatic savings plan with your bank or financial institute. Every week or so just have it transfer from your checking to your savings. This seems so simple but yet I never had it set up until about a year ago. It is the only way I will save. Otherwise I’m dropping green on some crazy adventure and will never see that money again.
SOME QUICK HITS AND A ROUND UP
This will be different for everyone so it’s important to experiment for yourself with regards to what makes you healthy.
- meditating everyday
- putting time in to my faith/beliefs and spirituality (not religion, there is a difference)
- spending smart
- being with nature and in sunlight
- hanging with happy people and investing in meaningful conversations DAILY
- exercise and slowing down everything from eating to thinking have contributed most to my overall health and well-being over the last year.
- What does being healthy mean to you and do you currently see yourself as a healthy person?
Any advice you would like to share about developing health? Please comment below
PS: If you liked this post please share it with a friends. It would make my day 🙂
1. Babyak M, Blumenthal JA, Herman S, Khatri P, Doraiswamy M, Moore K, Craighead WE, Baldewicz TT, Krishnan KR. Exercise for major depression. Psychosom Med. 2000 Sep-Oct;62(5):633-8.
2. Blumenthal JA, Babyak MA, Doraiswamy PM, Watkins L, Hoffman BM. Psychosom Med. 2007 Sep-Oct;69(7):587-96.
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