wellness

Benefits of Activity & Exercise

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Staying Active

A closer look at why moving your body is important and what you can do to stay active

The benefits of exercise and being active

Being active helps you to stay healthy, happy and fit. You can enjoy the benefits of a healthy life in a way that is fun and suitable for your lifestyle. There are many different ways you can get active and finding the activity that suits you is an important first step.  You may enjoy walking, running, dancing, surfing, going to the gym, swimming, yoga, Pilates, hiking, playing a team sport or a number of other activities.

Whatever activity you choose, some of the benefits include:

  • Improving your strength, fitness, and confidence which can help you to achieve your goals in life

  • Enabling you to become involved in fun new activities

  • Increasing your energy, flexibility and mobility

  • Helping you to manage stress and anger

  • Increasing your self-esteem

  • Helping you sleep better at night

  • Improving metabolic rate which prevents weight gain and allows you to manage a healthy weight

  • Exercising can be a good way to clear your head if you have a lot on your mind

  • Playing a team sport or joining an exercise center can introduce you to new people

Suggestions for becoming active

Everyone has a different level of physical fitness and finding a pace that is right for you is important. Exercise doesn’t have to be painful; it can be fun and require minimal organization and money. If you have medical difficulties or are feeling pain when you exercise, it is a good idea to talk with your doctor about what type of activities are best for you.

Here are some suggestions that may help when you start exercising:

Start gradually. Try not to do too much too fast. As a general rule, you should be able to hold a conversation, but not be able to sing while you are exercising. Remember that any amount of exercise is beneficial. You could start by using the stairs instead of the escalator or going for a 5 - 10 minute walk. As being active becomes easier, you can increase the time and intensity of your activity. Try not to become discouraged if you find yourself becoming pretty sore after starting your workouts. The more you do it, the easier it’ll become and the less you’ll feel sore. Think of it as really putting the work in and use that as encouragement to keep going.

Make it social. It can be more inspiring, helpful and fun if you exercise with a friend.  Having someone else join you may increase your motivation and give you the opportunity to catch up socially. You could go for a walk, run, or swim together or you could join a group activity together.

Make it part of your routine. With the busy lives we lead, it is sometimes difficult to include exercise into our routine. A great way to start would be to set aside a time in the day for exercising, such as before or after dinner or before school or work. Other options include incorporating exercise into your daily life, like walking to school or work instead of catching the bus.

Make it fun. If you choose something you enjoy, being active and exercising can be a fun part of your day. You may want to kick a soccer ball with friends, play tennis, go dancing with a group, listen to music while walking or running or take the dog for a walk. Also, playing a team sport or joining a group activity will enable you to make new friends while still being active.

Where to go if you want to start to get active

Go to your local YMCA or YWCA. A YMCA or YWCA is a great place to go to work out or join a health or well-being program. Unlike a typical gym, the YMCA is catered towards activities and programs for young people and families. You could go just for a swim, take a class, and join a longer-term program or any number of other activities.

A gym. Even if you can’t afford going to the YMCA/YWCA, there are still fairly inexpensive options for gyms. Often times gyms can set you up with a personal trainer to help design a plan to meet your fitness goals and offer a variety of classes to learn from. If you’re intimidated by all the weights or machines, a personal trainer or gym employee can help explain how to use them safely. There are also videos online that show you how to have proper form when using free-weights like barbells, dumbbells, and kettle-bells, or when performing exercises on the machines.

Your local park. There is a good chance your local park has organized team sports.  Joining a community team could be a fun, casual way to exercise and play your favorite sport. If you are worried about your ability to play the sport, these sorts of teams are usual more relaxed than a school or college team. Parks also sometimes hold events such as tournaments, festivals, yoga lessons or other activities that could be a different way of exercising. Also, a park is always a great place to go for a jog, ride a bike, exercise alone or play a sport with your friends.

Your school. Many states require physical education in schools by law. Taking a physical education class at school is a great way to get your daily exercise and start forming healthy exercise habits early on. If physical education is not a requirement, you may want to take a class anyway, especially if you are too busy with schoolwork and external activities to exercise outside of school. Another great way to exercise in school or college is by joining a team. You can do something you love, make a new group of friends, and have fun all while increasing your health! At the college level, many universities have fitness and recreation centers with a ton of options for exercising. Stop by your college’s fitness center and check out everything you could do there!

Acknowledgements: This article was partially developed by youth and staff for us.ReachOut.com


Non-Traditional Medicine & Treatment

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Natural Remedies

A brief look at alternatives to “Western” medicine

What are non-traditional medicine and treatments?

There is a lot of debate about what should be included in non-traditional medicine and treatments. There are even many different names for this kind of medicine and treatment to go by—alternative medicine, homeopathic medicine, or you might hear the name complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). CAM is often the formal term used for it. These medicines and treatments can range from herbal supplements to chiropractic care, eating chicken soup for a cold, acupuncture or yoga. Basically, CAM covers everything that doesn’t fit into Western (also called “conventional”) medicine.

CAM is used and may be helpful for many ailments—both physical and mental—such as stress, colds, headaches, and even diseases like cancer.

Are non-traditional medicines or treatments an option for me?

Commonly, these non-traditional medicines or treatments can be used on their own or combined with Western or conventional medicines. However, the use of some non-traditional medicines is very controversial. Some medical doctors do not believe in their use and may discourage it. Others will only use or suggest them if it is proven to actually help people through research studies. The problem is that there aren’t many studies to check out whether non-traditional medicines or treatments work.

The best way to make an informed decision is to talk to your doctor about the type of treatment you are considering. You can also consult with an alternative medicine practitioner. You should never try non-traditional medicine or treatment without consultation. You should also tell your doctor about medications you are currently taking to make sure that the CAM treatment you might be considering wouldn’t have a dangerous reaction with your current medication.

You can also call the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Clearinghouse (1-888-644-6226). They provide publications and searches of the scientific literature on CAM, including topics such as “Selecting a CAM Practitioner” or “Are You Considering Using CAM?”, but they do not offer medical advice, treatment recommendations or referrals.

Information for this article was provided by:

Acknowledgement: This article was originally developed by youth and staff for us.ReachOut.com


Relaxation

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Relaxing

Have you given yourself enough time to relax lately? Take a closer look at what you can do to bring more relaxation into your life

Putting things in perspective

Relaxation is important. It’s easy to forget to make time for yourself when things get stressful. Sometimes you might get so preoccupied that days can go by without you doing anything for yourself.

Many forms of relaxation, like walking or sitting quietly, are very simple, easy to do and don’t cost a thing. Others, like yoga or meditation, require some training or discipline. That being said, you can easily find videos online that walk you through a meditation practice called Guided Meditation, or follow along to yoga routines posted online. Going fishing or playing sports can be a great way of relaxing too.

Put aside some time in the day and try out some of these relaxation techniques to see which ones work for you.

  • Go for a walk, taking the time to notice what is around you

  • Listen to some music you really like

  • Go fishing

  • Sit quietly in a park and look at the things around you

  • Play your favorite sport

  • Take a bath

  • Go to a movie or watch a DVD

  • Visit a friend

  • Be creative, express yourself

  • Go for a swim

  • Do a puzzle

  • Read a book

  • Learn yoga or meditation

Breathing techniques

When you’re anxious or stressed, your breathing can become quick and shallow, which reduces the amount of oxygen going to your organs. Learning how to breathe deeply can help reduce some of the physiological symptoms of anxiety.

To become aware of your breathing, place one hand on your upper chest and one on your stomach. Take a breath and let your stomach swell forward as you breathe in, and fall back gently as you breathe out. Try to get a steady rhythm going, take the same depth of breath each time to breathe. Your hand on your chest should have little or no movement.

When you feel comfortable with this technique, try to slow your breathing rate down by putting a short pause after you have exhaled and before you breathe in again.

Initially, it might feel as if you aren’t getting enough air in, but with regular practice this slower rate will soon start to feel comfortable.

It might help if you imagine that you’re blowing up a big balloon in your stomach when you breathe in and deflating it when you breathe out. This exercise helps you to breathe more deeply. When you are consistently taking deep breaths, it sends a message to the brain and body to calm down. Give it a try!

For more information

Acknowledgements: This article was originally developed by youth and staff for us.ReachOut.com


Developing Coping Strategies

 

Coping 101

A closer look at developing coping skills that work for you

 

How can I develop coping strategies?

In some situations, despite our best efforts, we still can’t fix the problems we find ourselves in. For example, if you didn’t get into your dream college it’s natural to feel upset and disappointed. It may trigger thoughts of not being good enough or asking yourself why that happened to you. If your dream college rejects you, don’t feel discouraged. You’re able to talk to your friends about what they’ve done when a college rejected them or you can talk to a school counselor to see what your other options are. If you spend all your time thinking about why you didn’t get in then you lose time looking at other colleges that you may like just as much as your dream college.

When things don’t go as planned, there are other alternative routes to take. These routes become easier to identify once you find the right coping strategy. If you’ve tried a number of problem-solving strategies and none of them have worked, it might be time to focus on developing skills to help you cope with your problem.

Coping strategies can help you learn to accept situations that are beyond your control and find ways to help you feel better even if the problem still exists. When you develop coping strategies, you’re able to build resilience. You’re able to see things in a better perspective and you’ll feel much better about how you handled a certain situation. Being able to cope with things makes you a stronger person.

To develop coping strategies, try taking the following actions:

  • Challenge negative self-talk. Try and focus more on positives about yourself rather than the negatives. The less you bring yourself down, the better you feel about yourself. Check out our article here for more information.

  • Talk to people who can support you.  Opening up, whether it’s to a best friend, a close family member, or a counselor, can be helpful. They may offer a new perspective or just a comforting response to help you through. If you feel uncomfortable talking to someone in person, you can also call a helpline anonymously. There is always someone there to listen to you.

  • Relax. Breath. A little relief can go a long way towards helping you reflect on your situation and what can you do for yourself. You may want to try deep breaths, a long walk or something else that you find soothing.

  • Distract yourself. Try not to spend all your time and energy thinking about your problem. Keep yourself occupied. Keeping busy can help lift your mood and may even offer opportunities to channel your emotions into positive outlets.

  • Get involved. Make time for enjoyable activities so that you don’t focus exclusively on your problem. Volunteering in areas that interest you may also help.

Different coping strategies

There are numerous ways we can use coping skills to deal with the circumstances and emotional states we find ourselves in. Sometimes our emotions are so intense that relaxing in the moment is out of the question. In order to come to a centered place, we need to get out of our minds and bring ourselves to the present moment. When we are grounded, we are more capable of handling our emotions in an effective way.

Some ways of doing this are through tapping into the five senses. To practice these mindfully, absorb your attention into everything you do. If you’re eating, notice the textures, the different flavors, and the temperature of the food. Really try to be with the moment as much as possible. If you find your mind wandering off, be gentle with yourself and come back to the present moment. It can take a lot of practice to be fully present, so go easy on yourself.

Coping strategies through the five senses:

  • Touch. Wrap yourself in a soft blanket, walk in the grass with bare feet, hold a warm mug of tea, hold your best friend’s hand, explore nearby textures, notice the feeling of your clothes on your skin and the quality it holds (heavy, soft, scratchy, loose, etc)

  • Sight. Notice the textures around you, name the colors you see, look at photos you’ve taken when you were at peace or happy, identify plants or animals on a walk

  • Hearing. Listen to all the small sounds happening around you, hear your breath as you breathe in deeply, try to identify all the instruments used in some soft music, listen to a guided meditation

  • Taste. Notice the texture of the food or drink, identify the different flavors, let food melt in your mouth as you explore its qualities, drink something refreshing

  • Smell. Enjoy the different scents of your environment, try to figure out the different smells you come across, light a candle or incense

Once you find yourself in a space where you’re capable of relaxing and soothing yourself, explore using your current strengths or talents as a form of self-care. If you’re unsure what that might be for you, try thinking of things that make you feel fully absorbed, perhaps losing track of time from how involved you are with this activity. This sensation is called “being in flow”. You’re partaking in something that naturally speaks to you and allows you to transform your feelings by channeling them into something that makes you feel good. If you’re having a hard time thinking of what that might look like for you, try exploring some of the possibilities below.

Coping skills for self-care & relaxation:

  • Yoga

  • Journaling

  • Listening to your favorite music (or songs you can sing along to)

  • Taking a hot bath or shower

  • Going on a walk

  • Putting yourself out in nature

  • Meditating

  • Self-massage

  • Reading a book

  • Studying something that interests you

  • Painting or drawing

  • Having someone play with your hair

Our feelings often act as a sort of internal communication with ourselves. Pay attention to the feelings you have, but don’t become absorbed by them. They’re trying to tell us something about ourselves. Maybe it means we need to set better boundaries for ourselves, or perhaps, telling us how much we care. Although it’s important we sit with our feelings at times, it’s equally important to let those feelings pass and move on. This isn’t the same as avoiding our problems—it’s creating space to let things go.

Healthy distractions:

  • Writing poetry, short stories, fan-fiction, or exploring creative writing prompts

  • Playing or learning an instrument

  • Doing something creative like painting, sculpting, woodworking, or building things

  • Working out

  • Playing video games

  • Watching a movie

  • Calling a friend

  • Watching funny videos online

  • Browsing wholesome content on social media

  • Experimenting with makeup

  • Learning a new language

  • Cleaning up your room

  • Taking care of your pets or plants

  • Cooking a nice meal

Practice acceptance

When you’re faced with a difficult situation, an important question to ask is: “What’s the best thing I can do to resolve this problem?” If there’s anything you can do, it’s important to work through the options one step at a time. Writing out your options and then weighing them with a pros and cons list may be a helpful way of narrowing down the best resolution. However, sometimes you might find yourself in a situation that you can’t change, no matter how much you would like things to be different.

There’s not much you can do about your height, your age, most of your physical features or the family you were born into. There are also things that have happened in the past that you can’t change. What has happened has happened, and we can’t change the past, but you can still change the way you deal with a situation in the future.

The best way to deal with situations you can’t change is to practice acceptance. This means accepting the way things are without insisting that they should be different, and deciding to get on with life in spite of the situation. Accepting how things are or happened and letting go of the attachment you have to more favorable outcomes will reduce the amount of suffering you put on yourself. Sometimes, accepting things as they are and removing expectations (from yourself AND others) can remove the pressure for things to be perfect or to always go well, and can better allow you to heal.

Coping Strategies and Resolutions

Is there a situation that you don’t like? If you can change it, try working through the eight steps in the Problem Solving article to find a solution to your problem. If not, see how you feel after trying to accept the situation. What can you say to yourself to accept the situation? What sorts of things can you do to get on with your life in a positive way, in spite of the problem?

Remember that problems are a normal part of life, and that we usually feel better when we do something to resolve them rather than just dwell on them. But, if you can’t solve the problem, it’s helpful to change the way you think about it. Practice acceptance and move on with life in a positive way.

 

Information for this article was provided by:

  • Taking Charge! A Guide for Teenagers: Practical Ways to Overcome Stress, Hassles and Upsetting Emotions by Dr. Sarah Edelman and Louise Rémond, Foundation for Life Sciences (2005)


Acknowledgements: This article was partially developed by youth and staff for us.ReachOut.com


Happiness

 

Don’t worry, be happy

A closer look at becoming happier in your daily life

 

What is happiness?

Happiness can mean different things to different people. For example, for one person, it may mean being in a relationship, whereas for someone else, it could mean feeling like you have the ability to handle whatever life throws at you.

While you might think that there are certain things that make you happy (or could make you happy if you had them), research has shown that there are certain common traits among happy people—and they aren’t necessarily what you might think.

What makes happy people happy?

You might think that happy people have lots of money, are physically attractive, have great jobs, or own the latest gadgets. Or, you might just think happy people are plain lucky and are born that way.

Research suggests, however, that there are a number of variables that make a far greater contribution to happiness than external and more superficial factors.

That doesn’t mean that if you have a lot of money you won’t be happy, or that having a lot of money is bad, it just means that other factors are more important in determining happiness. In fact, a strong positive relationship between job status, income, and wealth and happiness only exists for those who live below the poverty line or who are unemployed.

What distinguishes happy people is that they have a different attitude—a different way of thinking about things and doing things. They interpret the world in a different way, and go about their lives in a different way.

Why is happiness important?

This might seem obvious. (Why wouldn’t you want to be happy?!) But the implications are greater than you might think. Happier people are generally healthier people—not only mentally, but also physically. Happiness is actually something that is really important, and that you might want to increase if you can.

The “happiness equation”

It has been suggested that there are several factors that contribute toward happiness. This is an ”equation for happiness,” suggested by psychologist Dr. Martin Seligman:

H = S + C + V

H = Happiness

S = Set range (genetics: about 50%)

C = Circumstances (8-15%)

V = Voluntary Control (past, present, future)

This looks very scientific, and is actually based on research findings, but it can be explained quite simply:

Set range/genetics. There is some evidence to support that people are born with a certain “set-point” of happiness, which is determined by our genes. This is supposed to change only slightly, if at all, as we get older. Our genetic predisposition to happiness contributes around 50% to our level of happiness.

So if something dramatic happens—for example, you win the lottery or break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend—within a year or so (depending on the situation), your happiness level will return to its set point.

Circumstances. There’s also some evidence to suggest that the circumstance we live in influence our level of happiness. You don’t always have a lot of control over your circumstances—for example, we can’t all live in mansions and drive new cars. Evidence suggests, however, that this accounts for only about 8% to 15% of our happiness, which really isn’t that much.

Voluntary control. This third factor is the most important factor in the equation, because you can control it, and in the process control your happiness. It includes all aspects of your life over which you have a relatively high degree of control, including your thoughts and actions. This includes the way you choose to think about and act on the past, present, and future, and seems to have a significant impact on how happy you are—it could be up to 42%!

  • Past. When thinking about the past, people who are happier pay attention to what was good about the past, rather than focusing on the unhappy times. They are grateful, forgiving, and don’t believe that the past will determine what happens in the future. For more information on gratitude, for the past, check out the Gratitude, forgiveness and their influence on your happiness fact sheet.

  • Future. When it comes to thinking about the future, happy people are flexibly optimistic. What this means is that they are optimistic (in a realistic sense) about how their future is going to be, but if it doesn’t turn out that way, they know it’s not going to be the end of the world either.

  • Present. The way you think about and act in the present is also essential in determining how happy you are. This might include actions like taking pleasure in life and your surroundings, building and being in meaningful relationships, and the way we react to things in life, good and bad.

You do have control over your happiness

You can see from this equation that you do have some control over your happiness. Even though a certain proportion of your happiness is beyond your control, and is determined by genetics and by circumstances (which you can only control to a certain extent), you can increase your happiness level by focusing on those areas in your life that you can control.

You might choose to control your attitude, the way you interpret situations and the way you think about yourself. If you think about it, and the fact that it could be accountable for around 40% of your happiness, this could make a big difference in your life.

But does aiming to be happy mean you can’t be sad?

Not at all. In fact, going through times where you’re sad can sometimes make that happiness all the brighter.

Sadness is a part of life, and sometimes it’s even possible to feel happy and sad about something. For example, you might be happy to move out of home, but sad that you won’t see your family or pets as much any more.

You might even wonder whether it’s possible, or O.K. to be happy, when there is so much suffering and injustice in the world. Happiness is natural, and it’s possible to be compassionate and caring, and in tune with the sadness of the world, while still experiencing happiness in your life. This awareness might even prompt you to act in a way to help improve the situation of others—an action that might actually increase your happiness.

Working on happiness

Happiness is something that means different things to different people, but overall it seems that it’s the way we choose to think about ourselves, our place in the world, and how we act in that world, that differentiates the happy people from the less happy people.

Happiness is something that you actually have voluntary control over and can work on in your daily life. Not only that, but it can contribute to a large proportion of your happiness, as seen in the equation. It’s up to you.

Information for this article was provided by:

Acknowledgements: This article was originally developed by youth and staff for us.ReachOut.com

 
 

Eating Well & Feeling Healthy

Making healthy eating choices

A closer look at some guidelines to follow when it comes to eating well

If you’ve ever found yourself confused by what it means to eat well, you’re not alone. For many, this is a sensitive area that often brings up issues related to weight, body image and self-esteem. Conflicting media messages around health and food can also raise a lot of questions around what to eat. This fact sheet is intended to help you better understand the connection between eating well and your physical and mental health.

If you or someone you know struggles with eating issues, you may also want to read our fact sheet on overcoming an eating disorder and the steps you can take towards recovery.

Why eat well?

Eating well plays an important role in determining how healthy you feel both physically and mentally. How you eat can make a huge impact on how you feel on a daily basis, influencing your emotional well-being, social support system, stress levels, and self-esteem.

Many people believe that all the chemicals playing into our mood originate in the brain, but it was found that about 90% of your serotonin is produced in your gut! Serotonin is a chemical that influences your mood, sleep, memory, learning, appetite and digestion. It’s easy to see why it’s so important to give your body the nourishment it needs.

Eating well provides you with the fuel you need for physical and mental energy. By providing yourself with the necessary vitamins, minerals, and nutrients; you enhance your immune function, stress response, and mood.

What does it mean to eat well?

Eating well is not about following a set of rules, but rather about learning what your body needs. It has two components: “what you eat” and “how you eat”.

When it comes to “what you eat”, ask yourself:

  • Am I meeting my nutritional needs by eating a variety of vegetables and fruits; whole grains; legumes (beans), seeds, and nuts; healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, or flax seed; and healthy sources of protein like fish or lentils?

  • What about enjoying dessert from time to time and taking pleasure in the social aspect of eating and meals?

When it comes to “how we eat”, think about:

  • Trying to have a flexible approach to eating that doesn’t cut out food groups or label foods “good” or “bad”

  • Using your sense of hunger and fullness as a guide to what and when to eat

What are the benefits of eating well?

Eating well can strengthen the positive relationship between our body image and food. How and what we eat often reflects how we treat our bodies more generally and if we learn to eat well (i.e. intuitively and without rigid restrictions), we may also start feeling better toward our bodies.

When we treat our bodies respectfully by listening to and meeting cues of hunger and fullness, we are not only eating well—we are practicing self-respect and self-care. When we refrain from restricting certain food groups and practice a flexible approach towards food, we are practicing self-compassion, which in turn can increase positive body image.

Tips for eating well

Your eating patterns, like any behavior, take time to change. If you have struggled in the past with eating, it’s natural to have questions or feel nervous. Being patient and kind to yourself as you try to make changes is a key part of the process.

Here are some ideas that might help you in eating well:

Dieting vs Lifestyle Changes: Dieting is an approach to eating that prioritizes making rules for what, how, and when you can eat. It doesn’t alleviate the origins of the eating issues and research has found that many people will regain the weight they’ve lost on a diet because it was not a sustainable change. Many diets will lead you to ignoring your body’s signs of hunger and fullness, which decreases our understanding and awareness of our bodies. Shift your mindset from going on a diet to making a new lifestyle choice that includes making healthier choices about what you eat. In practice, it is better to make adjustments to your diet and eating habits slowly, so as to not overwhelm yourself and will help you create long-lasting changes you can stick to.

Practice intuitive eating: Eating intuitively is the idea that you should “eat when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re full”. Mixed messages from peers and the media, past eating habits, and previous dieting practices might make it difficult to identify and respond to inner body cues, making it difficult to distinguish between physical and emotional feelings. Some of the principles of intuitive eating include: rejecting the diet mentality, honoring your hunger, making peace with food, challenging ideas of “bad” foods, and respecting fullness. It also includes differentiating between physical hunger and the urge to use food to cope with stress, loss, lack of control, or anxiety. For more on intuitive eating, click here.

Be mindful: Intuitive eating is based in learning to be in tune with your body so that you can accurately detect sensations of hunger and fullness--and differentiate these from emotional feelings. One way to do this is “eating mindfully” or paying intentional, non-judgmental attention to the experience of eating and drinking. It might seem strange to pay attention to the taste, colors, textures, and flavors of our food, but this attention, combined with mindfulness regarding the way we think about food and the way eating affects our mood and emotions, allows a greater awareness of body cues and eating patterns. It can also be an effective grounding tool that keeps you present with your body.

Start small: You may want to change certain eating habits like eating past the point of fullness, ignoring or not noticing hunger, or not paying attention when you eat. Lasting change happens from many small changes made over time. So, as you make efforts to change, try to start small and simple. If you’re working on paying attention to hunger, experiment with carrying snacks with you so you can eat when you feel yourself becoming hungry. Or if you’re experimenting with noticing fullness, eat slowly and wait in between additional helpings. Give yourself time to notice how full you’re actually feeling, perhaps drinking some water as you wait.

Taking an interest in what you eat: Taking part in planning what you eat and cooking your own food is a great way to connect to the experience of eating and self-care. As we become aware of the food we eat, where it comes from, and how it’s grown, this awareness can motivate us to make healthy choices. Planning, cooking, and other forms of preparing our meals (doing the dishes!) are all places you can practice mindfulness.

Self-compassion: Give yourself permission to eat and respect your body.  Make food choices that honor your health and taste buds—and be committed to learning what it is that makes you feel well! Remember that your worth is not dependent on what you eat and that you don’t have to eat a “perfect” diet to be healthy. Eating well is about your relationship to your body and food choices through balance, flexibility, ease, and enjoyment. Progress, intention, and mindfulness matter more than the illusion of perfection.

Get support: If you’re finding it challenging to make changes, you may find it helpful to talk to your medical doctor, a dietitian, or a nutritionist. With support and resources, you can develop a realistic plan for eating well and being healthy.

Information in this article was provided by:

For more information on health eating habits, check out the nutrition website provided by the US Department of Agriculture.


Acknowledgements: This article was partially developed by youth and staff for us.ReachOut.com