An Argument for Good Health
“Life is short, just have the cookie!” I cannot tell you how many times I have heard some variation of this phrase. And these people have a point; it is important to maximize the amount of joy you experience in life. But is this really the way to do it? People so readily equate being healthy with boredom, monotony, and routine, and we convince ourselves that by staying up late, eating nachos, drinking too much, skipping the gym for a movie, we are “living the good life.” But a closer examination suggests that this lifestyle may not be all it’s cracked up to be. These instances usually lead to fleeting moments of pleasure, but tend to be followed by lingering feelings of mediocrity and regret. What we forget is that the action (or inaction) we take regarding our health not only affects that particular moment but also our general well-being.
Personally, feeling great when I’m indulging in brownies or chili cheese fries or staying up half the night with friends just doesn’t cut it. I want to feel good when I get out of bed in the morning, when I’m waiting in line at the dining hall, when I’m walking to class, sitting in lecture, studying, working, you name it. I don’t want to experience that midday slump, or view the week ahead as something I have to “get through” in order to reach the weekend. I don’t want that feeling of lethargy, of my clothes feeling tighter, of needing to press the snooze button over and over again, to become a regular occurrence. Oftentimes, we don’t even realize how lousy we feel because it has become a norm we are used to. Imagine how much better our lives would be if we were energized all the time? What if we woke up on a Monday feeling refreshed and inspired for the week ahead, instead of paying the consequences for an overly indulgent weekend?
This is entirely possible, but it requires a teeny bit of sacrifice. Now, I’m not saying you should forgo all of life’s temptations, stop going out with friends, and do everything that health articles tell you to. Please, by all means, do not do that. But do consider how you can change things up, and how that might impact your daily life. After all, this is the only body you’ve got, so treat it well! Make a genuine effort to sleep better, eat real food, move more, etc. Sometimes basic routines are necessary to leave more time for fun. It doesn’t have to be perfect; balance is key.
And it doesn’t even have to be boring! Detest treadmills? Hit the pool with some friends. Find salads too depressing? Have a mango. They’re delicious! Can’t ditch your inner night owl? Take naps to get those eight hours. You don’t have to conform to popular stereotypes of good health. Be creative! Also, come up with some ground rules that you simply will not compromise: for example, making time to do yoga three times a week, no matter how many midterms you have, or staying out all night no more than once a week. Making something a rule will make denying temptation so much easier.
Establishing new habits and forgoing counterproductive ones is a challenge, but the payoffs are well worth it. You only live once, so why wouldn’t you want to spend it feeling amazing as often as possible? A lot of people greatly underestimate how much good health can improve your quality of life in all areas. You’ll feel so great that you won’t want to return to your old ways. And this is exactly why 9 out of 10 times I will pass on that cookie, because life is too short to waste time feeling sleep deprived, sluggish, or burnt out, and I think that we all deserve better.
Article by Brynn Kron
Feature Image Source: Financial Tribune