Michael Mantell by Michael Mantell

couple runningWouldn’t it be great to have a step-by-step toolkit that came with all of the supplies needed to live a healthy life? And wouldn’t it be grand if we didn’t have to be the responsible for our own health, wellness and lifestyle?

Well, I’m going to help you unwrap that user-friendly toolkit right here. Only problem is, you are going to have to actually be responsible for using it. Think of yourself as the pilot of your plane and your healthcare provider as ground control. It’s a change, I know, but it’s healthier to begin thinking to create the type of lifestyle that promotes your healthy life. Ready to take off?

Let’s unpack the 7-step toolkit that’s needed to live healthy. Hmmm, maybe the mindset, the actual toolkit, is interwoven in the word we strive for in our lives: HEALTHY.

Healthy choices – It’s your most important asset, your health. It’s time to recognize that the way you organize your daily life, how you fill your time and spaces, what you have in the pantry, the refrigerator, on the bookshelves and in your medicine cabinet—all either promote your ability to make wise choices, or they do not. Do an inventory of your surroundings and ask yourself if the items help you make wise choices to promote your health, or not. Who owns your health? You do!

Eat wisely – It’s difficult to put premium fuel in your car if the gas station only has low octane gas. How about your home and place of work? Are you ready to eat a healthy, balanced diet of foods that include protein, dairy, veggies, grains and fruits? Unless you choose to surround yourself with these products, you’ll be running on the wrong fuel.

Activity – When do you pack your gym bag? Those who pack it the night before they need it are more likely to use it the next day. It’s the same thing with filling your world with buddies who will keep you accountable. Come to think of it, it’s the same with the music you have snaking out of your ears – download the free app Rock My Run from iTunes and you’ll be ready to pick the thump you need to increase your activity.

Life’s little goals – Ever try to leap tall buildings in a single bound? Unless you are Superman (and if you are, and you are reading this, PLEASE LET US KNOW!!!), you can’t do it. You need little, consistent, daily changes to arrive at your larger destiny, but with SMARTER goals. That means goals that are specific, measureable, attainable, realistic, time-bound, enthusiastically set and come with a reward at the end.

True thinking – The link is what you think when it comes to taking care of yourself and living healthy—both physically and emotionally. Make sure the rules you are living by, your beliefs that create your right and left turns in life, are true, helpful, inspiring, necessary and kind. Hey, that spells THINK!

Healthcare – First of all, it’s genuinely better to take a walk than a pill. But we can increase our longevity by recognizing that we have to own our own healthcare, partnering with our physician along the way. Yearly routine exams, regular monitoring of blood pressure, cholesterol, lipids, age-appropriate screenings and blood labs are a common part of normal healthcare and prevention. With the right prevention, you won’t have to treat a disease. And remember the observation of Walter Bortzs, II, M.D.: “We live too short and die too long.” This doesn’t have to be the case if we are health literate. Far too many die of health illiteracy.

Yes I can positivity – Did you know there are two forms of wellbeing that are associated with healthy physical and emotional living, reduced stress and depression? “Hedonic” are life’s simple pleasurable experiences; and “eudemonic” are those pleasures that come from meaning and larger purpose beyond self-gratification. The former are “empty calories,” while eudemonic pleasures are derived from seeing the positive in all of life, finding the meaning in daily interactions with others, being connected to others and living according to “EWOP” (everything works out perfectly). These pleasures offer, by far, a  bigger bang for the happiness buck, and go a long way toward preventing and assisting recovery from life’s ills.

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