Most of us are at least somewhat invested in our health, but everyone has moments where they dismiss something that could be important or neglect some form of self-care. However, in order to protect our bodies and our future, we need to ditch those unhealthy mindsets that can harm our health, as innocent as they seem. We owe it to ourselves to give our mind and body the attention it deserves, even if it requires a little extra work.
“Health is like a relationship,” says Dr. Archelle Georgio, author of the upcoming Healthcare Choices: 5 Steps to Getting the Medical Care You Want and Need, over email. “You have to pay attention to it, and subtle issues need to be addressed before they escalate. Similarly, the body’s subtle, and sometimes silent, symptoms need to be addressed before evolving into serious irreversible issues.”
With so many other issues to worry about in life, it can be easy to forget about ourselves, but it’s time to make our health a priority. If you’re worried your attitude about your life, your medical care, or even your own body could be causing you harm, you might want to consider these 11 unhealthy mindsets to ditch when it comes to your health — it might do you some good!
Just because you don’t feel the consequences now don’t mean they won’t affect you later. “Life can feel like one big party when you’re young,” says health coach Jill Ginsberg over email. “Have fun. But don’t use it as an excuse to treat your body like total crap.”
It’s wonderful to like the way you look (props on that — that stuff’s hard!), but being healthy is more than just what’s happening on the outside. “Your body is counting on you to keep all of your internal systems and parts working well, too,” says Ginsberg. “That only happens if you eat healthy foods, exercise your body, manage your stress and get a tune-up every now and then.”
“It can definitely seem overwhelming trying to right the ship when you’ve already steered yourself so far off course,” says Ginsberg. But getting healthy is all about taking small steps forward, and many health issues can be reversed with some lifestyle modifications. “Start making one small positive change today and make it a habit,” says Ginsberg. “Then layer additional small behaviors changes on top.”
We all have the same number of hours in a day, and although life can get crazy, it’s important to prioritize your health – so you’ll have ample time in the future too. “There are lots of ways to reclaim some space in your day to make room for wellness,” says Ginsberg. “Plan ahead so you can manage your schedule more effectively and set aside chunks of time for taking care of yourself.”
“Some people go years without seeing a doctor because they feel healthy and believe that routine check ups are unnecessary,” Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, M.D., M.S. over email. “Regular check ups are key for our health maintenance. It is an opportunity for you to voice any health concerns you may have and obtain a complete medical evaluation. Your doctor may also order blood work and implement screening measures and preventive strategies to help you maintain good health.”
Most people tend to accept the way their mind works as set in stone, but we can work to change our attitude, and this can have a positive affect on both our physical and mental health. “Negative thoughts may negatively impact your overall health,” says Okeke-Igbokwe. Not only can a bad attitude lead to more stress and anxiety, but it can also increase your risk of other health issues such as dementia, heart disease, diabetes, and more, according to multiple studies.
Instead of putting things off and picking a future date to make any necessary changes, just start today. “What miraculous thing is going to happen Monday that couldn’t happen today or tomorrow?” says Celia Trotta, M.D., M.B.A. over email. “Also, if you make an error on Monday or soon after, you might try to wait until the following Monday to start again. I think its good to plan ahead, but don’t use a date as an excuse to procrastinate.”
No one deserves to suffer, and just because you have depression and anxiety doesn’t mean you should feel stuck with these feelings for the rest of your life. “Don’t neglect your emotional state, and seek treatment if you are suffering from mental health issues,” says Trotta. “Mental health is as important as physical health.”
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be pricey, especially if you avoid trendy foods and stick to the right stuff. “Fruits and veggies can be more expensive than processed food, but the good stuff comes packed with valuable vitamins and minerals, while anything processed has little to no nutritional value whatsoever,” says health coach Robyn Lanci over email. This can also help you save money on healthcare costs in the longterm. “To keep costs down, choose produce that’s on sale, buy what’s in season at the time, and skip the convenience cut options,” she says.
Sometimes, a weird symptom really is nothing, but in the off-chance that it is, it’s important you don’t ignore the signs. “If you notice a change in your health and begin to exhibit new symptoms you have never experienced before, do not wait things out,” says Okeke-Igbokwe. “Schedule an appointment to visit your doctor immediately.”
Many of us constantly have something on our plate, and we push through our insanely busy days even when we don’t feel well. However, this can have a detrimental effect on your health. “When you are grinding it out all the time, you are putting your body is a constant state of stress, and therefore, you don’t allow your body to slow down and heal itself and repair itself during the stages of rest,” says Dr. Katie Henry PT, DPT, HHC over email. Take time for yourself, and remember, you don’t have to do it all.
It takes time to shift your mindset, but once you do, taking care of your health becomes much easier.
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