Does Reading About Wellness Make You Healthier?
If you’ve ever wondered if you can feel better after sitting on your laptop reading the news, then I have great news for you. My curiosity started a couple of days after I felt myself in a slump, my term for a micro-depression. I looked at my mornings, saw my laundry pile overflowing, and knew that I needed to start my day off with a new, healthy habit. Scientific studies have shown again and again that people’s unconscious minds can be subtly cued to think and act certain ways. I wanted to try to subtly cue myself to be extra healthy at the beginning of my day. For variety’s sake, I decided to read about health & wellness online every morning for a week. Here are the results:
1. A Major Mood Boost
There are studies that link the benefit of reading and health. Reading information that invited me to feel great mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually was a very uplifting way to start the day. It primed me for thinking and acting in more healthy ways. Overall my mood felt primed for positivity.
2. No More OITNB
The sixth season of “Orange Is The New Black” came out during the week of my health & wellness morning reading. Having been a fan since season 1, I received an email from Netflix reminding me that the next season had come out and dutifully started watching that night. The weird thing is that I couldn’t watch the show anymore. When I watched the season 5 recap, I felt like I was ingesting unhealthy information. It was as though my cultural intake had become purified and I craved healthy, positive information over drama. Don’t get me wrong, I still think it’s an incredibly smart show, I just can’t partake anymore. With wellness on my mind, I knew I needed to have boundaries with the sorts of information I took in during my day.
3. Better Choices Throughout My Day
It’s hard to grab a soda with lunch when you spent the entire morning reading about the medical benefits of drinking warm lemon honey water, kombucha, large quantities of water, or ginger tea. The morning reading about health benefits via certain foods and certain lifestyle choices literally inspired me to make those choices more often throughout my day. During my week spent reading about health & wellness, I effectively cut sugar out of my diet and exercised twice as often as I usually do.
4. Mental Clarity
I used to read the news every morning. Replacing reading the news with reading about health & wellness helped my mind get clearer. It slowed me down. I’d think about my breath while reading about it, I’d meditate for a couple minutes after reading about it, I’d carve out time in the morning to make a smoothie.
When I read about the world news first thing, I do. not. feel. healthy. I then have to talk myself off the ledge, something like “ok, put down the NYTimes and start to get ready.” I took reading something that made me agitated and replaced it with reading something that had a calming effect on me first thing in the morning. From there, my mind felt clearer. I had more space.
5. Better Skin
I’m not sure exactly what the cause of the glowing skin was. It could have been a result of #1 (mood boost) or #3 (better choices) or a combo of the two. I read a lot about the importance of using all natural make-up and effectively skipped using my brand name (non-natural) tinted moisturizer every day. Instead, I opted for a replacement of sunscreen and a natural highlighter. Regardless, clear skin wasn’t something I was anticipating as a result of consistently reading about health & wellness online. I’LL TAKE IT.
Reading about wellness every morning was a proactive way to prime my day for living my best life. The term wellness came about via the 1961 book, "High Level Wellness" by Halburt L. Dunn. It expanded the current view of health from being preventative into being a proactive pursuit. According to Dunn, “high-level wellness [is] an integrated method of functioning, which is oriented toward maximizing the potential of which the individual is capable.”
Being proactive about wellness is a practice for me rather than a given. Reading wellness articles is one of my first positive habits that I've started and consistently stuck with. I think I'm going to have to keep it up...If you want to get in on reading about health & wellness, I highly recommend checking out mindbodygreen's website. It feels good.