There’s more to life than eating and drinking, but living a healthy lifestyle is worth the sacrifice. As a young adult, I didn’t exactly understand what living healthy meant. I was a single mother of two small kids and working two full time jobs. I had a degree in Child and Family Studies from Syracuse University, so I understood that children needed balanced meals and physical activity in order to thrive. But it was my adult lifestyle that needed a health check. Too much stress can be just as deadly as eating mindlessly or drinking recklessly.

As I took inventory of my lifestyle, I started to see that a healthy lifestyle also included how I handled my emotional, spiritual, and psychological health as well. Now in my early forties, here is what I have learned about the benefits of living a health conscious lifestyle:

healthy lifestyle

Emotional health

I learned not to make every situation personal. Just because something has happened to me, doesn’t mean that it was about me. There are always backdrops and subplots to every story. I also came across a poem that hung as a poster on the wall in the room of my college dormitory. It was Desiderata written by Max Erhmann.

Spiritual health

I learned to trust my faith. I have always believed in someone higher than myself, but I didn’t always let my faith lead my path.

Psychological health

I decided on a personal mantra and it helped me to navigate through life’s unexpected situations. And instead of being comfortable with the information that I had already gathered about myself, I decided to challenge myself to learn new things. I would eventually go on to teach myself how to use a sewing machine, do needle crafts, and solve crossword puzzles.

As I started making these healthful lifestyle changes, I could see a change in my eating habits. This change encouraged me to look at myself differently in the mirror. I started dressing my body, instead of trying to constantly change it. I became more adventurous when buying and preparing produce, and that made eating them more enjoyable and satisfying. I could see and feel the positive results. I have found exercises that I like to do, and more importantly, that work for my body type. Making these small changes to my lifestyle has led to a more healthful and enjoyable life.