Do you believe in working smarter, not harder? Obviously it’s the smart thing to do, right? Abraham Lincoln once said if he had six hours to chop down a tree, he’d spend the first five hours sharpening the axe. In other words, he would invest time upfront to make the actual work go much faster. You can do the same thing in your life by investing in your health. If you’ll spend time being healthier, you’ll be able to do everything else better.

When I work out, I sleep better. I wake up refreshed; I’m in a great state of mind and ready to tackle the day’s challenges. At the end of the day, I don’t feel so exhausted. In fact, I still have enough energy left over to hit the gym and start the cycle all over again. When I take care of my body, my body takes care of me.

Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness. —Edward Stanley, Earl of Derby

Find time to be healthy! Being healthier:

• Gives you more energy

• Makes you more productive

• Helps you focus on your work

• Keeps you emotionally balanced (think of how you act when you’re tired)

• Keeps you from getting sick as often

• Extends your life (on average, by 7.8 years)

• Puts things in perspective. (Problems don’t seem so bad after a good night’s sleep.)

• Helps you manage stress

• Helps you get more out of life and have more fun!

When you exercise, your body releases endorphins— hormones which naturally make you feel better. Sure, physical activity wears you out, but endorphins are the reward your body gives itself. Endorphins lower your stress, raise your energy, and improve your mood. You need to have a healthy body just as you need to have a healthy attitude. They’re both the foundation on which you build everything else. If you have bad health, it’s a lot harder to do everything else, isn’t it? Think about the effects of being unhealthy. You have less energy, so you don’t feel like accomplishing as much. If you never get enough sleep, you’re always operating at a sub-optimal level. If you don’t get the nutrition you need, you won’t stay healthy.

When you think about it, it’s a no-brainer. It’s just smart to make healthy choices. Have I always made healthy choices, even after being enrolled in a sports medicine program? No. I’ve made some not-so-healthy decisions— some that were even out of character at the time I made them. But at some point, I realized what I was doing, and I made a decision to distance myself from those choices. I’m too focused on my goals and I respect my body too much. I know where I’m going, and I know I need a healthy body to get me there. Make your health a priority. See a doctor; get a trainer; get on an exercise regimen and stick to it!

I read an article in USA Today in which a psychology professor was talking about how high levels of psychological well-being benefit your health. The researcher said there is evidence that a positive attitude isn’t only a state of mind— it also affects what physically happens in your brain and body. In fact, some researchers are now saying that having a positive mental attitude is one of the very best things you can do for your health!

“Being in a good frame of mind helps keep one in the picture of health.” – Author unknown

It makes sense when you think about it. Your body responds to your emotions. For me, public speaking is something I love to do; for others, the very thought makes their heart beat faster.

When you’re afraid, your body reacts with the “fight or flight” instinct. Your body doesn’t know it’s not a life or death situation—all it knows is that it’s getting bad signals from the brain, and so it gets your body ready for action. If you’re constantly in a state of panic, your body will stay tense and keyed up. It’s like running your car at full throttle—a little bit is okay, but you can’t keep it up forever. We’re just not built for that.

But you can change. If you’re in a relaxed frame of mind, your body can relax. If you go to sleep without anxiety, you rest better. If you don’t live in a state of fear all the time, your body can focus on healing itself instead of staying tensed for a fight.

Also, start making small changes in other places in your life. Start skipping a fast food run and grab something healthy instead. Order the tuna steak instead of the beef steak. Go ahead and park in the middle of the parking lot instead of circling it three times looking for a space up front. (You’ll spend about the same amount of time.) You have time to eat healthier. You have time to exercise. You have time to make better choices about your body. Stop making excuses and just do it! The bottom line is this:

Once you decide to be healthier, a positive attitude is the best place to start!

“Remember that it is up to you to choose everyday to Get off Your Attitude and to create a positive lifestyle for yourself and others.” Ryan C. Lowe

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