Use Major Transitions To Advance Your Fitness and Health
Embrace New Healthy Habits, Create A Happy Life
Guest post by Jennifer Scott
Major life transitions can be intimidating for many people. Change tends to be difficult, and that is especially the case when facing something like a big move or ending a stressful relationship. However, transitions like these can be the ideal time to evaluate what unhealthy habits you have formed and focus on building new habits to create a foundation for a healthier life.
Watch for cues tied to bad habits and set goals to create new habits
As Gretchen Ruben’s site points out, a major life transition can provide the perfect opportunity to walk away from bad habits and embrace positive ones. Habits tend to be tied to cues and when you shift your environment, you can get away from those cues connected to bad habits. At the same time, a big change like a move may take you away from cues related to positive habits as well, so awareness is key.
In a situation like a move, consider the bad habits you need to work on and set some goals geared toward the positive habits you want to embrace in their place. If you have a habit of snacking mindlessly on sweets or junk food, for example, toss those items out as you move and don’t even put the candy dishes or cookie jar out in the new kitchen. Zen Habits suggests that picking one small habit at a time to focus on is key to success.
Start small and slow with new positive habits
People commonly try to overhaul too many things at once when it comes to ditching bad habits and forming new ones. It is easy to bite off too much at once and many tend to expect immediate gratification and success. As a result, people can find themselves battling depression or other mental health issues when things don’t go according to plan.
Instead, when you pick one specific goal to focus on, you are setting the stage for success. Even something as simple as adding vegetables to dinner alongside what you already typically eat or making pizza or other restaurant favorites at home instead of ordering out can have a big impact.
Add in exercise as you adjust to your new life
Use a major life transition like moving to propel you into action when it comes to getting regular physical activity. Moderate exercise is key to improving both your physical and mental health and the University of Minnesota notes that it is one of the best ways available to reduce depression.
The American Heart Association suggests that one great way to break a bad habit and form a positive one in relation to your health is to turn off the television and exercise instead. As you build up small positive changes, you will start to feel better and tackle bigger changes that will help you transition to your new life more easily.
Meditation and mindfulness improve clarity and focus
Mindfulness can be an essential technique to practice as you head into a major life transition and aim to build a happier, more positive life. Huffington Post suggests that mindful meditation can lower stress levels and help to provide clarity in your life. Once you embrace meditation, you will find that you are better able to focus and it provides awareness and regulation of your emotions.
As Gaiam suggests, those new to meditation can start with just a few minutes at a time, building up to longer periods as you go. You can start simply by sitting comfortably, closing your eyes, breathing naturally, and focusing solely on your breathing. Building mindfulness and awareness during a major life transition will boost your resilience to stress and help you to build a new, positive life.
Big life transitions can be opportune times to evaluate your habits and tweak things for the better. Set small goals geared toward improving your physical and mental fitness and incorporate exercise and mindfulness exercises like meditation to build your strength and reduce your stress. Issues like depression and addiction can arise when major life transitions take place without careful strategizing, but embracing new positive habits can pave the way to building a healthy and happy life.
Jennifer Scott runs SpiritFinder.org to provide information for people with mental illness.