Habits are those things we do regularly without thinking. These patterns are set up and reinforced in the brain through repetition, day after day.
Feeding the dog, getting the mail, driving home from work—these are all patterns that become engrained so we can accomplish daily tasks (and get rewarded) without engaging the brain in decision-making.
How your brain works
When you do something pleasant—like eat something delicious—your body actually releases chemicals that go to your brain, carrying a message of pleasure or reward.
Eating unhealthily can literally be habit-forming. We are much more likely to repeat the behavior to get the pleasant reward again—because overly sweet, fat-laden processed foods send these powerful chemical messages to the brain.
Habits are set in motion by triggers or specific "happenings" we experience in our lives:
• We arrive at a familiar intersection - and we automatically turn left.
• We come home from work - and instinctively reach into the mailbox.
• The dog is waiting by his bowl - and we unconsciously reach to get his food out of the cabinet.
• We sit down for the big game on Sunday - and the chips and dips appear whether we're hungry or not.
Our proactive choices form our habits and our habits determine our health. View this quick motivational video for more thoughts on the power of one choice http://www.onechoicemovie.com/.
Small simple things you do every day can either lead you toward disease, or toward optimal well-being and longevity. Your proactive choices create healthy habits and these habits support your goals—one choice at a time!
Changing your choices and habits, step by step:
1. Incorporate choices that support Optimal Health into your daily routine.
2. Make yourself aware of your daily choices that do not support health—without using negative self-talk or blame.
3. Break the habit of nutritional pollution and give your body and brain a break by eating healthy and nutritious meals and snacks.
4. Think long term—make choices now that support health now and in the future.
5. Create a microenvironment of health by decreasing your exposure to potential triggers.
Let's make healthier choices this week and keep climbing to the top of Extraordinary Health Mountain!