7 Benefits of Healthy Living Beyond Being Healthy

Businesswoman Crossing ArmsSure, eating right and getting enough exercise will lessen your risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. And doing so is likely to help you live longer. But is that all?

For many people, lessening the risk of disease or living longer is a rather boring, un-spectacular motivation for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Because of habit, convenience, or laziness our lifestyle naturally deteriorates in an unhealthy direction. You can blame some of that on stress, media, environment, and more.

Understanding more of the “other” benefits of healthy living can help us find more of the motivation necessary to actually make those healthy lifestyle choices. Here are some of those benefits.

A healthy lifestyle will help you:

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The Journey From Being Squeezed to Thriving

Pressure GaugeWe don’t like being squeezed! Just the thought of it is uncomfortable. And yet it’s the only way we know what’s truly inside of us. (For the “Squeezed” story, see “What Changes You?”)

What happens when we get squeezed? Our first reaction is usually to cry something like, “That’s not fair!” “Why me?”

When some people get squeezed they become bitter, angry, and isolated. And other people take those times of being squeezed and leverage them into an opportunity for growth. What makes the difference? What is it that determines whether one’s heart becomes softened and matured, or hardened and brittle? (Yes, I do believe you can choose which outcome happens to you.)

A few of you shared bits of your own stories of being squeezed that I’ve included here.

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What Do You Want?

Anxious Young WomanIt’s one of the first questions I ask a patient who comes to see me: “What do you want us to accomplish together?” As a gynecologist and reproductive endocrinologist I might get answers such as, “To get pregnant,” or “get rid of this pain,” or “regulate my periods,” or “stop these hot flashes.” Of course there are plenty of other possible answers also.

So much frustration, misunderstanding, disappointment, and upset feelings can be avoided by getting this clear up front. Medically, I may or may not be able to help a patient get what they want, but it’s always the most important issue to address.

The same thing holds true in so many areas of life. Clarifying what you want dramatically increases your chance of getting it.

Even Jesus followed this when talking with people. He often asked something like, “What do you want me to do for you? (See Matt 20:32, Mark 10:36, John 5:6). Even God has a hard time satisfying us if we have no idea what we want!

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What God Will NOT Do For You

Ambulance at HospitalThere are a few things God will not do for you.

That sounds terrible! But it’s true.

Let me first assure you that I am a believer. I have experienced God doing some pretty awesome things for me and around me. I believe in miracles. I pray for them, and I know God hears and answers prayer.

But we human beings sometimes presume on God’s grace and think that will excuse our bad behavior. Just recently two different friends have been in the hospital for heart or blood pressure problems almost certainly caused by a very unhealthy lifestyle. Another wonders why God does not bring her a godly husband, while still playing around sexually with a drug addict. A preacher friend grieves over his daughter running away from home, but was never there when she needed him.

Al (my husband) has told many times how he would leave the doctor’s office after getting a chest X-ray, and celebrate the “no news is good news” result with another cigarette. (Thankfully he quit smoking some years ago now.)

Thankfully God does not treat us as we deserve. He offers us grace. But He does not always reverse the natural consequences of our behavior.

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No More Conversation!

ConversationTalking is good. Communication is even better. Having a good conversation warms the hearts of friends and improves understanding when people disagree.

But talk is cheap! I think I’ve heard it until I’m sick of the phrase: “Let’s start a conversation about this.”

Haven’t you heard this too? People are frustrated, upset, or unhappy about some state of affairs, and someone proposes to start a conversation.

Conversations abound about these areas:

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