“The key to having a healthy life is having a healthy mind.” – Richard Davidson
Different Types of “Health”
Being healthy encompasses a lot of different areas of one’s life. There is physical health, which involves how one takes care of one’s body both inside and outside.
Another type of health is mental health, which entails one’s psychological and mental status and well-being. Some people think of health as being sick or being well, and if one is sick then they are not healthy, and if an individual is not sick then they must be healthy.
This is a simplified way of thinking of health and living a healthy lifestyle, as there is much more that can go into being healthy and living a healthy lifestyle besides avoiding illness. In fact, some people who live a healthy lifestyle may still get ill and may experience a variety of illnesses or disorders. The reverse is also true, those who do not live a healthy lifestyle and embrace unhealthy habits may not experience any illness at all.
Obviously, it is recommended to attempt to live a healthy lifestyle regardless of what the outcome may be as this will set one up for the likelihood of avoiding sickness or disease. However, this is not to say there are no ramifications or consequences that accompany leading a healthy lifestyle. One such consequence of attempting to live a healthy lifestyle is the stress that can be involved with such a lifestyle.
One such stress from living a healthy lifestyle is the pressure that comes with it. It can be extremely challenging and difficult to lead a healthy lifestyle in this day in age. In modern-day society, there are numerous things that are unhealthy and can pull one from living a healthy life. These elements can be easy to slip into and there is often pressure from outside forces to get one to slip from living healthy to living unhealthy. Such pressures can come from mundane things like advertisements and the media.
Other pressures can be in the form of peer pressure, where family, friends, colleagues, and other individuals may try to pressure you into doing something unhealthy. This may be amplified when you are the only person trying to make a healthy choice in life and others may feel guilty or jealous and attempt to get you to break from the healthy choice you are trying to make.
Guilt and Shame
Related to the pressure of leading a healthy lifestyle are guilt and shame. These emotions often come from pressure – but the pressure of a different sort. This pressure –unlike what was mentioned previously, where the pressure comes from others – is self-inflicted pressure.
Oftentimes, when trying to live a healthy lifestyle, one might place pressure on oneself to make perfect choices and not make any unhealthy decisions. If one makes an unhealthy choice (which is easy to do and is often a matter of when and not if), then it is easy for guilt and shame to set in for not living up to the pressure and expectations one has set out for themselves.
Because the society we live in has so many means of living in an unhealthy manner, it can be difficult (and sometimes impossible) to find healthy options. A great example of this is food and drink. If an individual is trying to not eat unhealthy foods and drinks but goes to an event – whether it be a party, concert, ball game, or even a formal event such as a conference or ceremony, they will be at the mercy of who is serving the food and beverages.
Oftentimes, there will not be many healthy options, or, possibly none at all. In this case, the choice is to either eat or drink something unhealthy or not eat or drink at all. Other times, there may be healthy options that the individual does not like or want (such as a food or drink that they do not enjoy), and then they are faced with the choice of partaking in something they do not like just for the sake of being healthy. All of this can cause individual distress and leads to the stress of attempting to live a healthy lifestyle.
Define What “Healthy” Means to YOU
Living a healthy lifestyle can help reduce stress and can help one live a happy, productive life. However, there are times when leading a healthy lifestyle can also lead to stress. This stress can come from pressure, guilt, or shame when one does not make healthy choices, and lacks options to live healthily.
In today’s society, it can be difficult to live a healthy life consistently without making unhealthy choices from time to time. In these times it is important to have ways to combat the possible guilt and stress that can accompany these choices. It is important to have ways to combat the pressures that can come with being healthy and to be kind to oneself when one breaks from being healthy at times.
Altogether, it is good to have balance and to try to live as healthy as one can and to understand that there are times that it is difficult, if not impossible to ALWAYS make healthy choices. Most importantly, figure out what “healthy” means to you as this will be the most sustainable way to lead and maintain a balanced lifestyle.
At Clarity Clinic, we have highly trained staff who specialize in psychotherapy and psychiatry services. To learn more about how we can support your mental health, call Clarity Clinic at (312) 815-9660 or schedule an appointment today.