Like bad habits, even good habits are contagious. We, the people learn from examples. Being healthy is as much a psychological process, as it is a physical one. If you create an environment of health consciousness, it is bound to spread and envelope everyone around you.
Just living a healthy lifestyle on your own is not enough. You have to influence and make a healthy society, and a healthy country around you. We are all connected and we influence each other intrinsically. If you are a healthy person living in a toxic environment the toxicity is going to come back to you one way or other and affect you adversely.
In this article we are going to discuss, how to be healthy and influence all around you to do the same.
1. Never say never. Negativity is a dead end. We always have alternatives, and we should always be on the look-out for them. Ask questions. Offer solutions. Indulge other people. Invite them to try new things. Simple things, such as asking someone to try a new kind of baked chips instead of grilled ones, or encouraging them to take the stairs with you instead of escalators. Inclusiveness breeds participation!
2. Participation brings us to our next point i.e. refocusing attention. People always gravitate towards the usual and the sundry. Engage them into choosing a better option. A healthier food item, or a new workout! Be subtle about it; one should not look like one is forcing their choices on others. Start with the little things and practice will take care of the rest.
3. Sharing is caring; and caring brings trust. Share your salad with your friend. It will inculcate in them the habit of eating a salad. Sharing food can help a group of people regularize their eating habits. Same with workout; make a workout routine for 2-3 people, that way it will never get boring or too much for anyone. People work better in teams, and that is true for health too.
4. We have discussed this point in (increase your appetite!) blog before. The size of your utensil subconsciously decides how much food you are eating. If you are given a bigger bowl, and a bigger spoon you will eat more ice-cream, and vice versa. You can optimize what you’re eating with this trick. If you want to gain, and thus you have to eat more, increase your plate size; your spoon size. Slowly and steadily you will start to eat more. If you are trying to control your diet, reduce the size of utensils and then you eat less. Illusions also play a big factor. We often drink more with a smaller wider glass than a taller narrow glass, but the optical illusion makes us feel that we have drunk less.
5. If you are trying to control your diet, then being in the vicinity of food is not going to help much. If it is there, it will be eaten. One of the features of the modern lifestyle is watching something (e.g. – movie, TV show) while we eat. This makes you eat more, which is alright if you are trying to gain; but not always because you are not watching what you are eating and you tend to binge at inappropriate times, which then adversely affects your metabolism. There is always a gap between when we are actually “full’’ and when we “know” we are full! Use this to your advantage. If you are trying to control your diet, start with small portions, you will eat less and you will be in control.
6. The last point states if it is seen it will be eaten. We can use that psychology into cleverly optimize our own diet and that of everyone around us. For example, the front of your fridge, which is easily accessible should be stocked only with healthy items like yogurt and fruits and vegetable. Hide the sodas and full fat chocolates behind these. And, you will find out that people are filling themselves with yogurt and fruit before they even got a chance to think about chocolates.
7. People remember what they see again and again and it begins to subtly affect their habits. Information is the cleverest way of subtle manipulation, to make people want what they want. Bring up topics of health while you are talking. Show people visuals. For example, if you take your friend to a park or make them regularly pass by a gym where people are exercising, it will put a suggestion in their psyche and inadvertently they will start following some of those what they hear and talk about and see.
8. Small changes lead to big shifts. You will find out that making small changes in environments around you or inculcating small habits can go a long way in shaping up overall belief systems of people. Make a difference. Do good. Be good.