When you think of what it means to be healthy, you might think of avoiding sugary snacks, eating leafy greens, and going to the gym. While that’s all great — exercising regularly and eating more green vegetables is something we should all strive for — it’s not the only way to be healthy.
In fact, how healthy you feel inside is just as, if not more important than, how your body looks on the outside. When you’re able to step into your own personal “zone of genius,” as we like to call it, you’ll find that you not only feel better inside and out, but you’ll also become a better person in society overall.
Let’s talk about 5 ways having a healthy body can improve your life in different areas.
When you’re stressed, your body produces more of the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to weight gain, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, poor concentration and memory, and other problems. It can also cause you to have a short fuse with others.
On the flip side, exercising alleviates stress, helping you stay calm in stressful situations and avoid negative health consequences. When you’re calmer, you’re less likely to react to others negatively and keep a cool head in the face of challenges.
2. A healthy body makes you more likely to be kind and thoughtful toward others.
Because they’re less stressed, people who are in good health both physically and mentally tend to be kinder to others. In turn, they feel happier overall.
The reason may lie in the science: According to Cedars-Sinai, the feeling of well-being that you feel after doing something kind for others is linked to brain chemicals. Acts of kindness release hormones such as oxytocin and dopamine that boost your mood.
The stress-relieving and mood-boosting benefits of being healthy enable people to be more optimistic, too. Moreover, Mayo Clinic notes the health benefits of positive thinking, such as:
- A longer life span
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Better coping skills in the face of stress and challenges
- Reduced rates of depression, pain, and even risk of death from diseases
- Greater psychological and physical well-being
Bottom line: When you are fit, you feel more optimistic. And when you feel optimistic, you tend to spread positivity to others.
Staying active helps people maintain or lose weight while reducing the risk of certain diseases, including heart disease, cancers, stroke, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and diabetes, Harvard researchers note.
Combined, these benefits make a person a healthier, more productive member of society than those with sedentary lifestyles. When you’re healthy and happy, you’re less likely to call out sick from work or have to see a doctor, much less experience life-threatening illness or disease.
When you’re in shape physically and mentally, you feel like you can do anything you set your mind to, whether it’s climbing a mountain or pursuing a new career with passion. Being healthy also makes it easier for others to approach you because they know you’ll respond with kindness and positivity.
Being healthy doesn’t just help you stay alive and improve your quality of life. It also helps you become a better person. No matter who you are or where you’re going, living with good health is a great way to get into your own zone of genius — and stay there.