How I learned to live healthy

In the year 2004, I was obese, out of shape, and stressed. I knew that if I kept on this way, I was going to have a heart attack or other serious illness. I felt absolutely terrible, and it was an effort to live a normal life.

My first attempt to get better was with hard exercise. I had been a couch potato for a number of years, and this did not work out so well. If I had kept pushing in this way, I knew it was going to cause more problems and not provide the improvements I was looking for.

I then changed course, and I tried to do just a little bit that was good for me every day. I started to gradually change how I ate, and I started walking and working out at home. If anything cased pain or stress, I would go more slowly the next day.

The other part of my program was to improve my breathing. I had known for years that my breathing was not right, but I could never fix it. I breathed as if I was stress twenty four hours a day. To improve my breathing, I had to keep my focus on my breath or I would go right back to the stressful breathing. Overtime, my breathing started to improve and this focus work produced an unexpected side effect. I started to relax and become happier.

To stay focused on my breath, I had to develop awareness of when I lost my focus. As soon as I saw that I had lost my focus, I would let go of what took me away and come back to my breath. This awareness helped me see what my mind was up to, and how I could let go of my thoughts and return to the breath. Focus and awareness has also helped with my depression and worry. As each year passes, the stress continues to be less and less of an issue.

With the success I have had, I knew I wanted to share what I found with others. The Relaxation Exercises section of the website includes eleven different exercises. Most of you will think they are so simple they will be of no use. They are extremely simple, but they made a life changing impact in my life. I have no way of predicting whether they will be as helpful to you as they were to me. The only way to find out is to give them a try. They won’t be helpful by just reading them; they have to be practiced. The good thing is that they can be done in your spare time in one to two minute intervals. Who knows they might help you as they have helped me, and they are freely available on this website.

My Story

My name is William Taylor, and I am in my late fifties. Up until ten years ago, I was a poster boy for stressful living. I hope no one follows in my past footsteps, but maybe I can share what I learned in those forty years of hard living.

I was good at hiding my problems. On the surface, I was a friendly, normal guy. What most people did not know is that I suffered from depression, stress, and anxiety. This negativity caused me and those close to me to suffer. 

If I had only known 40 years ago what I know now, I could have prevented most of the suffering that I caused myself. What helped me are simple stress reduction techniques, and I would like to share these freely on this website. They are simple breathing, focus, and awareness exercises that can be done in just a few minutes each time.

I was born in a family that had a lot of stress. We all loved each other, but there were many problems. Since the earliest time that I can remember, I suffered from anxiety, worry, and fear. This stress continued through my teenage and adult years.

When I was in my early 20’s, I developed serious depression. In the first few years, I would have extreme mood swings. For periods of time, I would feel that I could do anything, and I was completely unreasonable in my thinking. Then all of a sudden, I would go into deep depression, and could barely leave the house. When I was in these deep depressions, I could not let go of worry, negativity, and a sense of hopelessness. After a few years, the deep mood swings went away, but I continued to deal with off and on again depression. Sometimes it was mild and other times I had difficulty maintaining a normal life.

In my mid-20’s a family member, whom I loved and respected, tried to ruin my life. This person spread lies about me to other family members. It was a complete shock to me, and I could not understand why they were doing it. This sent our whole family into crisis, and it made everyone choose sides. I could not understand how some of the family members could believe the untruths this person was spreading about me. It turned into an absolute mess that continued for many years after.

For over twenty years, I could not forgive this person. I was engulfed in hatred and anger. I changed from a person who had trust in most everyone, to one who trusted few. My outlook on mankind became negative, and I found myself seeing the worst in myself and everyone else. I recalled and replayed this situation most every day for years and years, and could not let it go.

These powerful moments in my life caused me continual suffering from significant stress, frustration, and anger. I could see everything bad about myself and those around me. I had grown into a negative, hateful, and nasty person, and I was unable to find a way to change.

I tried many different options over the years, such as religion, doctors, self-help, and everything else that I could find. I did not like how I was, and I wanted to change. Unfortunately nothing eased my suffering until I found simple breathing exercises that helped me learn to let go of the stress I was holding onto.

I learned these simple exercises back in 2004, and they have taught me many ways to let go of stress. What surprised me is that these exercises are helpful to well-adjusted happy people as well as negative stressful people like myself. People close to me noticed the change and began asking what I was doing. I shared the simple breathing focus exercises, and many have had good success.

Healthy Living Tips

Find or develop a healthy living program that is comfortable and one that you can modify as your body changes. There is no one right program that will fit everyone. If you have not exercised in a while, walking is a good first start. When you are driving here and there with errands, park your car a little farther out each time. At work, spend one of your breaks going for a short walk or add an after dinner walk each day. Take one flight of stairs slowly instead of riding the elevator. Start off gradually, do it every day, and build slowly.

When you go grocery shopping, start reading labels of foods similar to those you normally buy. Give the healthier products a try. They may taste as good as, or even better than, your old favorites. Reading labels puts you in control of your food choices. You will find yourself feeling good about what you are eating and, eventually, you will be eating less prepackaged foods and more whole foods. Remember slow and gradual changes give your mind and body time to adjust, making them easier. When the changes feel good, you are more likely to keep them.
 
Eliminate two foods from your house that have little or no nutritional value. Drink more water throughout the day. Buy more fruits and vegetables, and eat these as your daily snacks. Keep in mind, less is better. Do not go overboard making too many changes at once, or you will find it hard to continue.

Gradually add more healthy changes. Keep it simple, easy, and comfortable. The trick is to keep it comfortable and enjoyable, so that you can develop a program you can do each and every day. If you enjoy the experience and are receiving benefits, keep doing them. If they are not helping, let them go. Frequently add more to your program. Make small changes each month so that the program stays fresh, changes as you change, and is enjoyable and doable. There is no right or wrong way. Do some every day and before you know it you will have better health, more energy, less stress, and more happiness.

If a particular change is too hard, let it go for a while and try another option. Listen to your body, and tailor a plan that works for you. When you become stronger, go back and try them again. Changes that were once difficult will be considerably easier.

If you can develop a program that you enjoy and gets results, you’ll be more willing to make it part of your life. Healthy living can be fun and must be pleasurable to continue for a lifetime. Above all, enjoy what you are doing.

Diet and Exercise Plan

Over time, many of us become overweight and out of shape. The years go by and the pounds just keep adding on. Somewhere along the way we may decide to improve our health. We could start by reducing our calories, going on a low carb diet, or picking one of the many other diet programs that are available today. We might also add a workout through jogging, going to the gym, or exercising at home.
 
Many of us will exercise hard and find a diet that provides quick results. We will become leaner and fit and the pounds will come off. It may be hard and difficult, but we will find a way to do it. After a few months or maybe even a year, the effort required will become too much and we will find other ways to feel better. We might start eating a little more here and there or find reasons not to exercise as much. After a few months, the weight may start coming back. Unfortunately, some of us will gain back more weight than we lost. This is a common story for those of us who try to improve our health quickly. It is so hard that the results, however good, are just not worth the effort.

When I first started improving my health, I was not aware that I was pushing hard. I just thought that it was the way to go, and boy was I wrong. I soon realized that I had to find a different program, or it was going to kill me. My new approach had to be comfortable, and one that I could enjoy doing for the long term. My new method was to slow down, relax, and learn to be aware of how I was feeling. If I found myself stressed, in pain, or tired, I made it easier. I also learned to relax through breathing and focus exercises. I took the approach that improving my health was a marathon and not a sprint.

If you are working a program now and it is stressful and hard, try finding a way to make it easier. Develop awareness and understanding on what is causing the stress and difficulties. Continue to make improvements every day while modifying your routine so that it is comfortable. You will find that over time you will become stronger and stronger, and the exercises and healthy habits you found hard in the past are now easy and comfortable.

If you are starting out, find a healthy living program that is easy to do and can be modified as your body changes. There is no one program that will fit everyone. If you have not exercised in a while, start with less than what you think you need to do, and as you become comfortable increase your activity slowly. If you are trying to lose weight, make the changes slowly without putting undue stress on yourself. Simple changes do make a difference, and you will feel comfortable while becoming healthy.
 
Ask yourself simple questions throughout the day. Do I feel good, or is my body full of aches and pains? Am I tired or alert? Am I struggling with hunger? Am I gaining or losing weight? If there are problems, ask yourself what happened differently today, yesterday, or earlier in the week. Was my workout too hard? Did I have problems sleeping? Did I eat something different? Did I drink adequate water? Was it an extremely stressful day or week?

Simple awareness can help you understand how you are doing. If you are uncomfortable, stressed, or hurting, maybe it would be better to slightly change what you are doing. If you can make it easier, you are likely to stay with it longer.