Your body is programmed to wake up, make coffee and go to work at a certain time. It’s mastered your routines and both your good habits and bad habits. Know that your body can be taught to crave what’s good for it, allowing healthier habits into your life.
Anyone can integrate new, healthy habits into daily life. There will be challenges along the way. Old, unhealthy habits will threaten your progress, but it’s only a matter of teaching your body to crave the good things in life. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Train your palette to prefer healthy food.
Think your junk food cravings are unbeatable? Got that afternoon urge to grab chips from the vending machine at work?
Stop the cravings before they start. Give your brain an opportunity to learn a new habit by introducing healthy and filling foods before the cravings kick in. When you start picturing the taste of a snack, your metabolic system reacts, and real hunger sets in.
Beat the cravings by choosing good-tasting, healthy foods that digest less quickly. Drink more water. Do not leave long periods between meals. This weakens the connection between the tastes of unhealthy snacks and the triggering of addiction centers in the brain, according to one study from Tufts University. A regular intake of healthy food, in smaller meals, doesn’t give cravings a chance.
This is similar to how addiction centers are triggered for smoking and other drug use. When these links in the brain are disturbed, healthy connections may not be formed properly. If you’ve had an unhealthy habit for several years, it can affect your body’s ability to learn healthy habits in the future. So, if this is the case, be patient with yourself.
Motivate your body to crave exercise.
When you get home from work, is your default mode couch potato? When you push yourself hard all day, it makes sense that your body will crash.
It’s about balance. Remember to take appropriate breaks at work. Get up and walk around to avoid crashing later. Variance will help you to focus and lessen stress.
When you crash, your body is ready to rest, and there’s no way you’re going to exercise once you’re in couch potato mode. Exercise gives your body the ability to respond to stress in a healthier way, and associates happiness with working out. Exercise may help prevent depression, by increasing serotonin and norepinephrine, which serves to reduce stressors. Use exercise as a motivation to get a boost in stress-relief and a healthy body.
Overcome insomnia and get good sleep.
Can’t seem to get a good night’s sleep? You need at least eight hours of sleep a night. Chronic sleep deprivation may mean that you have a sleep disorder. There are a few things that you can try first to get restful sleep.
There are a number of factors that influence your ability to get a good night’s sleep. Consider the following tips to conquer sleep deprivation:
- Use your bedroom for sleep only, and limit the use of technology an hour before bed.
- Use lower lighting in your bedroom.
- Watch the caffeine: Avoid coffee after mid-afternoon, as its stimulating properties will keep you awake after your bedtime. For some, caffeine acts as a depressant, increasing sleepiness. Know your body.
- Regulate the temperature. Add a fan or increase the temperature to your preference.
- Keep your bedtime and wake-up-times consistent, even on the weekend.
- Sleep without your pets. Pets may keep you awake with late night activity in your bedroom.
- Write down your worries before bed, to free your mind from stress.
- Choose a winding down routine before bed, such as meditating, listening to soft music or reading a chapter of a book.
Often, a series of sleepless nights is due to a deviation in routine and other factors, such as stress or distraction. Establish a routine, and replace the habits that hinder your ability to get a restful sleep.
Conquer anxiety and become more productive.
Do you view your anxiety over competing projects as limiting? What if your anxiety could be a booster for productivity, instead?
What are your anxieties and how are they triggered? Seek to understand your anxiety rather than letting it get you caught up in flight mode by freaking out.
Use your anxiety to your advantage when it comes to getting work done. If the anxiety is around something you can’t control, focus on that. If you imagine all the vivid ways something can go wrong, take small steps to fix the situation. Keep expectations and goals low, and take it all one step at a time.
When you become anxious, you’re really excited over possibility. So, use that to your advantage. Refocus anxiety into excitement and action. Let the adrenaline rush move you into every step, and watch others see your rushed speech as inspiration in action.
Teaching your body to crave the good things in life is a matter of perspective and practice. When your body is used to doing an activity a certain way, especially for years, it will take a while to adjust your routine.
So, cut yourself some slack. Take it one step a time, and trust that you are able to teach your body healthier ways of being.
About the Author
Kacey Mya Bradley is a lifestyle blogger for “The Drifter Collective.” Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations, cultures, and styles, while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.