Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. --Philippians 4:8-9
What is Lifestyle?
Lifestyle is an overall means of living. It includes habits, attitudes, moral standards, economics, and personal tastes. It may not be something we even think about unless we are triggered to effect a change. But we should make wise and conscious choices if we desire to grow into our best selves.
We begin life with the lifestyle chosen by our parents; however, as we grow and mature, we start to develop our own habits, attitudes, and tastes. Our adult lifestyle may stem from our parents practice, or it may be a conscious effort to branch out and away from the lifestyle in which we were raised.
What is a Healthy Lifestyle?
A healthy lifestyle, then, is habits, attitudes, moral standards, economics, and personal tastes that promote healthy minds and bodies. When we are healthy in mind and body, we can flourish in relationships and finances. A positive attitude and a penchant for personal growth are the seeds of a healthy lifestyle.
My own personal growth in lifestyle choices grew out of my introduction to essential oils. Not only was I educated about essential oils, but I learned how environment impacts our health. I explored different avenues of natural healing, choosing those that aligned with my worldview and practiced incorporating them into daily living.
How Does Science Help?
There is a wealth of knowledge available. Over the last several decades, we’ve learned about substances and practices that impact our bodies and environment. Science has determined hazards from smoking, stress, toxic chemicals, food additives, lack of exercise, and lack of sleep.
We now understand that we can make intentional choices to improve our health and longevity. That means deliberate examination of our current lifestyle and change where it is warranted. Though we cannot change everything that affects us, the changes we do make will lead to building a good lifestyle.
What Affects Lifestyle?
Since lifestyle is defined as habits, attitudes, moral standards, economics, and personal tastes, let’s examine some of these.
Personal Taste in Food
You may find it silly for me to address personal taste, since it is your taste we are talking about. But personal taste is affected by the people we associate with and by things we are willing to try. And they can change over time.
For example, as a child, I disliked most vegetables. As a teen, I discovered that there is a dramatic difference between canned vegetables from the grocery store and freshly prepared vegetables from a garden.
I also discovered that the vegetables I was offered as a child were but a small selection of the wealth of choices available. Of course, there weren’t as many options in grocery stores when I was growing up. Today, we can find things grown all over the world.
I was introduced to fresh vegetables when I met my husband, whose family had a large garden and put up their own vegetables annually. I’ll never forget my first experience with butternut squash. I was in love.
My personal taste of vegetables changed because of exposure. Sometimes, we need to be willing to try new things to broaden or adjust our taste. We may need to try something multiple times before our palate adjusts. But if we persist, we may find new food choices that are healthier options than some of our current choices.
Adjusting our taste isn’t just about food. It extends to other area of our lives.
Lifestyle is impacted by economics, both personal and national. Economics impact physical health by affecting our nutritional needs and our fitness options.
The amount of our food budget impacts what we can purchase. We may want to buy everything organic or grow all our own produce, but that may not be realistic. On a national level, we are impacted by supply/demand and prices that are beyond our control.
But we can control the choices we make with what we have. A simple rule is to shop the outside circle of a grocery store. This is where you will find fresh produce, meats, dairy, and other major food groups. Avoid center aisles, which are filled with processed food containing chemicals and excessive amounts of sugar.
Economics also affect whether we can afford benefits, like a gym membership, a personal trainer, or a pricey exercise machine for a home gym. Those may be out of reach. But there are plenty of free or inexpensive options for staying fit—walking, biking, stretch bands, light weights, and free online classes.
The best thing we can do is educate ourselves, choose options that work for our current situation, and begin to make minor changes where we can. We can also set goals to improve our overall financial health.
Moral standards will impact your health. Addictive habits of overeating or eating unhealthy foods, excessive drinking, and promiscuity all carry health consequences. The Bible cautions us to live wisely.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, on account of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.(Romans 12:1)
Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags. (Proverbs 23:20-21)
Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a man can commit is outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)
Attitude has a lot to do with health. You may believe that you have no control over your attitude, but you do. Other people’s behaviors may affect how you feel, but your reaction or attitude toward dealing with that feeling is all yours. When you feel anger or sadness, your health quotient decreases because your vibration is lowered.
Everything in the universe has a vibration. High vibrations are healthy. Low vibrations are not. When you are ill, your vibration is lower. Emotions, like anger, sadness, jealousy, or insecurity decrease your vibration. Positive emotions like joy, contentment, enthusiasm, or belief increase your vibration is higher.
It’s okay to feel anger or sadness or any emotion. But it’s not okay to dwell there. It’s important to find ways to change our feelings and attitudes if we are stuck in a negative feeling zone. There are ways to increase your vibration—sing, dance, to something you love, talk to a friend. The sooner you get out of your negative zone, the better your health will be.
How Do We Build a Good Lifestyle?
Key areas to building a healthy lifestyle are building good habits, building self-awareness, and safe environmental practices. You can read more about growing into lifestyle changes in my book, Set Your Mind: Finding Wellness Through Intention.
Build Healthy Habits
We often think of healthy habits as exercising and eating nutritious food. But healthy habits encompass all areas of life. Our body, soul, and mind are all involved. Our relationship to God, our mindset, attitude, and self-image, our relationships with family and friends, and even our financial health are all connected personal wellness.
Spiritual Connection – Good habits start with a connection to God. Inviting Him into your goals and health practice is key. Stay connected through Bible study, prayer, and church attendance.
Emotional Connection – We are better together. We need love and acceptance to be emotionally healthy. Find time for family, friends, and fun. Build community.
Positive Mindset – Emotions can derail you. Seek ways to stay in a positive mindset. Read encouraging books. Listen to encouraging podcasts. Hang out with people who build you up, who inspire and challenge you to be a better you. Practice positive affirmation. Quote God’s promises over your life. Commit to seeking a cheerful outlook in all circumstances. Practice gratitude.
Healthy Eating Habits – This, I believe, is one of the most difficult areas to change. We grab foods we love, foods that provide comfort, foods that relieve boredom. Begin with minor changes and be patient with yourself.
Physical Fitness – Get up. Move. Sitting is bad for you. Find an exercise practice that you like and begin. Consider walking, yoga, an exercise ball, stretch bands, dancing, swimming. Change it up. Keep at it until you find what works for you.
Financial Fitness – Having a healthy attitude toward finances includes living within our means, saving for the future, and getting guidance from financial professionals. It is a good idea to have a strong relationship with a reputable financial advisor.
Self-awareness can help you with your attitude adjustments. We hang on to lies about ourselves. Our thoughts tell us we can’t do something or it’s too hard to change. Not true. You can. Explore personality assessments. Take a test. Find out more about yourself. It may help you get past a roadblock.
Spiritual health can be helpful is this area, too. When we run into roadblocks, we can use applicable scriptures to help change unhealthy thoughts, renew our minds, and claim victory over challenges. God is always available to help.
Safe Environmental Practices
Eliminate toxins in your environment as much as possible.
- Choose safe, non-toxic cleaning products. Cleaning products impact the respiratory system. They can also leave residue on dishes.
- Choose safe, non-toxic personal care products. Everything that goes on your skin is absorbed into your body.
- Read labels on everything. Educate yourself about ingredients to be avoided.
What Else Can Support a Healthy Lifestyle?
Any practice or product that boosts your immune system, relieves stress, or provides enjoyment will have a positive affect on your wellness.
- Sleep – Get at least eight hours of sleep every night.
- Fun – Take time to do something you enjoy.
- Fellowship – Gather with family and friends regularly. Celebrate milestones.
- Essential Oils – Essential oils help raise your vibration. They support healthy body systems.
- Vitamins and Supplements – Help nourish our bodies and provide what we lack from our regular diet. Vitamin D is especially helpful to mood and attitude. Read labels on vitamins/supplements, too.
- Regular Checkups – See your healthcare professional annually.
- Limit screen time – Take breaks from your screen whenever possible. Even taking your eyes off your screen and staring into space for one minute can help relief fatigue.
If you’ve never given a lot of thought to the connection between lifestyle and longevity, do not be overwhelmed. Knowledge is the first step to change. You don’t have a timeline. When I began, I was amazed at how many changes I had made within a year. It doesn’t have to be scary. Take it at your own pace but do begin. Start today to build the healthy habits you need to be the best you can be and enjoy the life you deserve.