The Covington News - - HEALTH - MERRY PERRY news@cov­

I did not win the lot­tery, but I did find the pot of gold at the end of a rain­bow.

I found my pot of gold by learn­ing how to truly re­flect on the words ‘healthy liv­ing,’ and the new mean­ing in those words is chang­ing my life. For me, healthy liv­ing is much more than ex­er­cis­ing and eat­ing foods that I never tried be­fore — like cal­abac­i­tas, tar­ragon soup and ji­cama.

As I em­brace this new sea­son in my life, I am amazed and grate­ful to my higher power for al­low­ing me to ex­pe­ri­ence life’s ful­fill­ment like never be­fore.

There are so many pieces com­ing to­gether that are es­sen­tial to ful­fill­ing this life­time mis­sion, such as find­ing my sense of pur­pose, lov­ing my fam­ily, man­ag­ing my stress and con­tin­u­ing my suc­cess­ful ca­reer. Sim­ply put, I am now happy with my life. I can de­fine be­ing healthy as a com­mit­ment to pos­i­tive and healthy ac­tions and choices for my body, my mind and my spirit. I am also ac­tively min­i­miz­ing ev­ery­thing that brings neg­a­tive thoughts or feel­ings to my body or well-be­ing. I am say­ing ‘no’ to be­ing out of bal­ance and un­happy. You can do the same.

Do you know how frus­trat­ing it is to sit on a stool with un­even legs? No mat­ter how you sit, the stool wants to rock back and forth, back and forth, never find­ing a steady bal­ance. All your en­ergy and at­ten­tion is spent try­ing to just stay bal­anced.

A sta­ble and bal­anced stool is kind of like a holis­tic ap­proach to be­ing healthy. My jour­ney is about my whole per­son. I can­not sep­a­rate the phys­i­cal, men­tal, emo­tional and spir­i­tual as­pects of my life. Those have to be equal and bal­anced, like the legs of a com­fort­able stool.

My healthy trans­for­ma­tion did not hap­pen overnight. Your healthy change may not hap­pen overnight ei­ther. I know people who have had an ‘Aha’ mo­ment all at once — that is great! For me, the best way to go is to be prac­ti­cal and make in­ten­tional de­ci­sions slowly and steadily in small steps to reach the changes I want. I take it one day at a time.

I based my healthy change on in­for­ma­tion I learned from a health care pro­fes­sional, ed­u­cat­ing my­self about my health, and talk­ing with oth­ers who are ex­perts. Like you, I must ask my­self daily, “What am I go­ing to do with this in­for­ma­tion?” Ev­ery day, I must choose to make bet­ter choices to get bet­ter out­comes, or to not. Ev­ery day, now, I ask my­self why would I not choose to live health­ier — and I find I have no an­swer to that ques­tion. So I am choos­ing to live health­ier. You can, too.

As my jour­ney to healthy liv­ing continues, I am con­stantly ask­ing my­self “Is this prac­ti­cal and some­thing I can do for the rest of my life?” When I think about healthy eat­ing, my an­swer is, “Yes!” When I think about se­vere di­et­ing and try­ing to deny my­self the foods that I love, I say, “No!” That is a healthy re­sponse to a chal­lenge we all face ev­ery day.

For me, sim­ple and prac­ti­cal things en­hance my abil­ity to live healthy. Health­ier eat­ing choices and por­tion con­trol, ex­er­cise and walk­ing, get­ting a good night’s sleep, learn­ing to iden­tify and man­age sources of stress in my life and learn­ing how to suc­cess­fully cope with my sources of stress — those small steps make the dif­fer­ence for me. Just learn­ing how deep breath­ing can clear my mind and re­fresh my soul was a pow­er­ful mo­ment for me. You can, too.

As I go through my day, like you, I find dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ments — work, com­mu­nity, fam­ily, fi­nan­cial — that want to cause me stress. What I have learned is that I need to man­age my stress, not let my stress man­age me. That is not easy, but if I re­mem­ber to breathe, to pause and think be­fore re­act­ing, and to be mind­ful of my ac­tions, then I can man­age my stress and be health­ier and hap­pier. You can, too.

Ge­or­gette Brown is my 104-year-old grand­mother. Her most fa­mous quote and strong­est phi­los­o­phy for longevity is, “Yes­ter­day is gone. Can’t do noth­ing ’bout yes­ter­day. I ain’t go­ing to worry about yes­ter­day ‘cause it’s gone. To­day will take care of it­self. To­mor­row ain’t even here, so why worry ’bout to­mor­row?” You too can ap­ply my grand­mother’s phi­los­o­phy to your life. Try it!

We are suc­cess­ful if we can man­age to­day. So let’s live in that mo­ment. Ev­ery day, I pray to God to please grant me the abil­ity to find the seren­ity to ac­cept the things I can­not change, courage to change the things I can and the wis­dom to know the dif­fer­ence. I have come to the re­al­iza­tion that in this life there are some things I have no con­trol over. So, for me, my daily goal is to live health­ier by mak­ing bet­ter and more in­formed de­ci­sions. That is ab­so­lutely some­thing I have con­trol of. You can, too!

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