Authentic health, a true state of feeling good inside and out, is a journey…and one that’s definitely worth the trip. Don’t take a shortcut or try to superficially “lifehack” your way to feeling better. Deeper health is achieved through deep habit formation. The secrets to authentic health can be discovered within these six key health habits identified by Dr. Gus Vickery in his book, Authentic Health.
HABIT #1: MINDSET
Before you master nutrition…before you dive into exercise…you need to condition the most powerful organ in your body: the brain.
With the right mindset training, you can reverse negative thought patterns and establish courage and desire for a healthier you. A strategic mindset will move you away from unhealthy habits such as constant reliance on the “easy” fast food drive-through runs after work, or smartphone browsing in bed that ultimately robs you of a deeper, more restorative sleep.
HABIT #2: WILLPOWER
Everything you do is a habit, and you have the power to change each one. Developing self-control and understanding your own willpower are the two keys to unlock habit change. This will put you on the path to better health.
Willpower, also known as self control, allows us to take our “growth mindset” and act upon it. Your willpower is the key that will help you overcome your deepest, unique health challenges: anxiety, the desire to lose weight, depression, chronic illness, and more.
But your willpower needs the right environment in your brain to help you take action.
When we feel constantly stressed, that stress triggers our fight-or-flight response, which in turn inhibits the one area of our brain that we need the most: our higher mind. This is where our willpower lives and should be able to thrive, allowing us to make changes toward better health.
HABIT #3: STRESS MASTERY
Feeling stressed? Uncontrolled stress responses are destructive to your health and literally remove years from your life expectancy. Stress depletes your physical, mental and emotional health storage, leaving you vulnerable to chronic conditions and health consequences.
Corporations are currently making billions of dollars off your stress. They need you to stay stuck in an overstressed, overtired, fearful state of mind because this makes you susceptible to what they’re selling. You want to escape your stress–your state of discomfort–as quickly as possible, and they have the solution, right?
You’re not alone. You can take action to form a healthy, long-term foundation for stress mastery instead of constantly needing a quick fix.
HABIT #4: FOOD & NUTRITION
Good nutrition helps create the energy balance you need to optimize your body composition. Because your body and energy are influenced by your hormones and stress, you need to make food choices that support normal hormonal function.
When it comes to healthy, organic, or ethically-sourced foods and menus, society and corporate business models have built a food system that can be:
hard to understand on the label
touted as “one-size-fits-all”
There is no single food or nutrition plan that will be a ‘cure-all’ for your unique body system. That’s why we’re here to help with resources.
HABIT #5: MOVEMENT & EXERCISE
Movement is life. It heals and restores the body. Best of all, you don’t need a prescription to get the amazing health benefits your own body can give to you through physical movement.
Whether you want to stand at your desk, dance around in the kitchen, traditionally work out in a gym or exercise class, or chase your kids at the park, it’s time to move.
Our bodies are capable of achieving great health through sustainable movement and exercise–in fact, that’s exactly what they are designed for. Physical activity reduces stress, helps maintain a healthy weight, improves your mood, reduces pain and prevents chronic diseases.
Don’t let the word “exercise” trigger stress, defeat, or a flight response. Don’t let flashbacks of discomfort in a gym or shame from school days prevent you from enjoying the gift of your own abled body, its movement and ability to play, and the power it can give you to restore your health.
HABIT #6: SLEEP
Sleep is absolutely essential to your well-being. But don’t believe the myth that you simply need eight hours of sleep to be healthy. Both the quality and quantity of your sleep matter. Here you’ll find simple guidelines to help you become an expert sleeper.
Just as your body is designed to be active, sleep is required to properly rest and recover. It’s a non-negotiable habit of good health. Without it, your mind doesn’t work properly and you may suffer from poor memory function, exhaustion, mood swings, illness and more.
Sleep has become one of the primary reasons people visit the doctor, even though they may not realize it is what is causing their chronic illness. But in the rise of our technology age, being connected or “powered on” has become a higher priority than our downtime and sleep. We need to retrain our mindset to prioritize sleep and fix our personal environments so they foster a deep, restful sleep.