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Your Health Is A Valuable Asset

Updated: Jul 25, 2021

Don't we all want a healthy lifestyle that leads us to happiness, satisfaction and reduces our chances of getting diseases? When we are young, we should take care of our body so that when we are old, our body can take care of us. See a healthy lifestyle as an investment for your future.

If you are part of the group who wants to change your lifestyle, this chapter's for you. I will focus on how our mind needs to be kept healthy as well, not only the body. What you feed your mind is just as important as what you feed your body. Another thing to be discussed is how my religion (Islam) plays a role in encouraging a healthy lifestyle. Last, I will reveal how you can avoid having setbacks whenever you try to start a new habit of attempting to live a happier and healthier life.

Healthy Lifestyle Starts on the Inside

If our mental health does not feel good on a specific day, do you still have the energy and drive for leg day? Our actions to form a healthy lifestyle heavily depend on what's occurring on the inside. We all strive to live a healthy lifestyle, but which steps do we take to start the journey?

When we think about what a healthy lifestyle is, our mind automatically wanders to running on a treadmill in a gym and eating salads. No! Living a healthy lifestyle is so much more than that. A healthy lifestyle comprises focusing on the health of the physical body and keeping the brain and mind healthy. It is not just about taking care of your body, we should also take care of our mental health. A healthy lifestyle starts on the inside!

Instead of scrolling on social media in your free time, decrease screen time and read physical books. Did you know that using social media to relax , does not make you relax? Your brain is still processing information and your eyes are affected negatively by the blue light of your electronic device, causing mental exhaustion. Choose a healthier manner to relax, such as reading, writing or drawing. This allows the brain to make new connections because it is being stimulated by learning new information. Besides learning new information by reading, what I strongly recommended is that you learn a new skill. This keeps the mind healthy. No matter your age, try a new skill you have always wanted to master. Also, practicing meditation for a few minutes can have a beneficial influence on multiple aspects of your life.

The Impact of Exercise on Our Happiness

Do you plan on losing or gaining weight? We all have a specific picture in our mind of how our ideal body should look like. Identifying what you want to achieve will help to get the ball on the roll. You may take tiny steps towards achieving your goal, but all those steps will eventually lead you to your destination. Be patient with yourself and start small. Same as eating one slice of pizza won't add fat immediately but over time of continuing the behavior you will gain weight. Don't expect to see progress within one week of trying a new habit. Have you noticed how people who go to the gym have a level of confidence you can see in their face and walk? This attitude took time to form. Exercising frequently benefits not only the body but also provides happiness and confidence. It helps with insecurities and loving the body you have created.

Taking care of your health by exercising decreases the chances of developing heart problems, diabetes, cancer, obesity and getting strokes. It also improves the quality of your sleep and sexual health, increases longevity, and maintains blood sugar and insulin levels. Except for having a healthy impact on your body’s health, it also holds a vast amount of benefits for our mental health. When we engage in exercising activities, it allows the brain to release hormones which makes the happy chemical and makes us feel calmer. We can also use it as a coping mechanism for stress and decrease the vulnerability of developing major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders. Exercise boosts your mood!

Exercise has short-term benefits such as the ones mentioned above about mood changes and so forth but it also has long-term benefits. The more you exercise over longer time periods, it helps the brain to form new connections between neurons in the hippocampus which helps with memory, learning and emotions. This results in being emotionally stable and being able to regulate emotions easily. Exercises such as running, cycling and swimming are most beneficial for increasing our happiness.

With life constantly getting in the way and we continue living an unbalanced life, it is quite hard to stay committed to a healthy lifestyle. We live demanding lifestyles, from trying to make deadlines to fulfilling all the roles assigned to you, such as being a sibling, mother, father, friend, etc. Our life may feel like there are so many things happening where you don't have time to create a healthy daily routine, but it is possible.

If you live a busy life that does not allow you to add a time slot for one new healthy habit, try doing:

Choose the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator.

Park your car further from the entrance.

Buy water instead of soda/coffee.

Unclench your jaw and adjust your posture.

Get eight hours of sleep.

Add a simple exercise in your routine.

Always eat breakfast.

Explore and experiment with health snacks.

Add lettuce to your meals.

Get some sunshine.

A healthy lifestyle is a choice we make and embed in our daily routine. Following a healthy lifestyle makes not only your body stronger and healthier but also changes the structure of the brain to have a healthier mind and to think healthy thoughts. If our mental health is intact, we have a more positive outlook on life and have a drive to want better things for ourselves. A healthy body starts with a healthy mindset. We must learn to always be our own top priority and take care of ourselves by living a healthy lifestyle. Our habits are an essential part of our health.

The 10 key to a healthy lifestyle are:

Think positively

Exercise daily

Eat Healthy

Work hard

Stay strong

Worry less

Dance more

Love often

Be happy

Spirituality driven

Religion and Living a Healthy Lifestyle

First, we will start with how Islam encourages its followers to live a healthy lifestyle. In Islam there are guidelines on how an Islamic individual should live their lives. I embed these guidelines in who I am as a person because religion is a big part of me. Some guidelines refer to not drinking alcohol, smoking, gambling and forbids eating pork. There are also certain ways to clean our teeth, and a specific way to wash somebody parts, for example, the hands, face and feet, five times a day before prayer. Other hygiene practices include cutting nails, grooming the moustache and shaving pubic hair.

Overeating or eating until you feel stuffed best avoided. Islamic teachings want their people to eat a healthy breakfast that will fill their stomach and encourage a light meal for supper. The Prophet (peace be upon him) of Islam shared guidelines that involve tips for good eating habits, keeping the body active and doing exercise as well as how to maintain good mental health by believing in Islam.

Tips from the Prophet (peace be upon him) (What Islam Teaches About Healthy Lifestyle?, n.d.):

Foods suggested by the Prophet (peace be upon him)

Oat and barley breads




Fruits (particularly grapes and pomegranate)

Olives and figs


Physical exercise

The Prophet (peace be upon him) encourages staying active and keeping the body fit.


Fasting has multiple benefits. Islam practises fasting for a month (30 days) where they skip meals during the day. When the sun rises they fast, and when the sunsets they eat again until the next sunrise. Islam encourages light meals, keeping it simple and eating in moderation.

We should break fast while eating dates and drinking water/juice.

Eat slowly.

Consume a moderate portion of food.

Small bites and chew food thoroughly.

Say Bismillah before eating and say Alhamdulillah once you are full.

Lifestyle Tips to Avoid Setbacks

You may have tried some healthy lifestyle strategies and experienced a setback. Setbacks are a normal part of starting a new routine. Tests and challenges comes naturally when you want to adopt habits that are not familiar. Our brains need time to adjust.

Work on repeating the habit until it becomes an automatic part of your routine. Habits are hard to build and take time in which we need to have the discipline and perseverance to keep on until we succeed.

Here is a plan to help you succeed:

Know yourself.

Create a plan.

Try your best to follow your plan.

Envision the future.

Do not be hard on yourself.

First, you have to know yourself to a certain extent where you will identify behaviors that cause the setback to occur every time. Recognise your current habits that do not allow you to succeed, such as roaming on social media until you fall asleep or drinking coffee before bedtime. Look at patterns in your behaviour that make you lose self-control and give into things that break the plan of working on forming a habit. Know your weaknesses and strengths, try to avoid the weaknesses and focus on your strengths. This will help you form the habit you desire.

Second, create a plan that you can start by doing small steps that will lead to mastering your chosen habit. The plan you created should include what you think you need to master the habit. Look at ways that will support your choice of forming this habit and avoid temptations. Inform the people you spend the most time with about your plans so that they are aware of your decision, so that they do not add temptations and know how to support you. Support from the surrounding people is important in forming a habit. They can either be a good or a bad influence on your journey to form the habit. When creating the plan, prepare for future challenges that might come along and disturb your plan. In the first step, you need to analyse yourself well to recognize where you are self-sabotaging. This will help in planning properly to fight against future challenges.

Third, challenges will come along and you will get tempted. Some days you will not have the willpower to put in effort to form the habit but that is okay, it is all part of the process. Keep a journal in which you can write about your experience, emotions, and your progress. Here you need to use your level of self-control to hang on when it feels like you are falling. Keep persevering and continue your plan because you will achieve your goal by having the attitude of not giving up.

The fourth step requires you to envision what life would be like if you adopted the habit and mastered it. Imagine what life would look like, imagine what it would feel like, imagine how much it will change you for the better. Think about the reward and how this will change and attract things you have always wanted. Envisioning your goal will often help you feel motivated and goal driven because sometimes we are more focused on seeing results immediately and feel less motivated when things take too long to occur for us. The key is to have patience.

The last step encourages you to be kind to yourself on your journey. Do not be hard on yourself on the days you feel you are failing, or feel you want to give up, or feel as if developing the habit is pointless. Remember why you started. On such days, do some introspection and find the things that cause you to feel less motivated and discouraged, and work on removing those things. When the body and brain are not working together to help you on a specific day, listen to the body and give it a break. If the plan you created does not work for you and negatively affects your mental health, experiment with new strategies until you find one that benefits and suits your lifestyle well.

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