It's 2017. The year of all things wellness. The health and fitness industry has begun to dominate our culture, our world and our lives. We're constantly bombarded by ways to "be healthier" or ways to look a certain way. The issue is, this has very little to do with actual health. It's about fitting into a perfected image of how society needs us to be, in order to be deemed healthy, fit, or even good enough. But is that the true meaning of wellness?

Health, in reality, is far more than the combination of eating healthily and working out. Health is about wellness, the well-being of not just our outside body, but our inside body and our minds. Wellness is about finding the connection between your body, mind and soul and one part is no more important than the other. 

So, you cannot call yourself healthy if you're eating perfectly rationed *chicken and veg* meals and running seven days a week. It's a start, no doubt, but there's so much more to being healthy. Are you sleeping enough? Are you drinking enough water? Are you letting yourself relax? Are you thinking positive thoughts? Are you treating yourself with love or hate?

Believe it or not, you have to be treating your mind well in order to be healthy, not just your body. You could have a healthy diet and a healthy workout regimen, but without healthy, positive, empowering thoughts toward yourself, your body will still be out of sync and unconnected to your mind. 

So how can you truly begin to live a healthy life? How do you exercise your mind and feed it clean, green thoughts, just as you do to your body? Well, there's plenty of ways.

Move & Eat Well Consistently 

Okay, it is about more than this, but working out and eating well is a foundational aspect of wellness. Yes, we have to move our bodies to be healthy, and we have to feed our bodies with nutritious, wholesome fuel so that they can sustain all our amazing daily activities.

It's essential that we treat our bodies well, especially when we're moving them and feeding them. You could be super happy and super body confident, and not move your body at all and eat like crap. But as you can guess, that's not healthy. And I PROMISE, if you feed your body unprocessed, healthy foods and move it in normal amounts, you will see improvements in your body, mind and morale that will make you feel even better. And all we're after is to feel healthier, am I right? 

Positive Thoughts

pizza, beer
Amylou McBride

I've said it before and I'll say it again. You could be eating all the vegetables, all the superfoods and working out consistently, but still never see results because you won't be happy. Happiness comes from a lot more than a good-looking bod, ladies. Happiness comes from contentment within yourself and appreciation for all that your body is as well as all of your other personal attributes.

Did you know that more than 80% of our thoughts are negative? Yeah, we're putting ourselves, our circumstances, and our lives down 80% of the time. That MUST change. Seriously. Instead of putting your body, your actions and your behaviors in a negative light, turn it around and put a positive spin on it. Or look into the mirror and say five things you like about yourself, appearances and personality traits. 

If you can change that percentage, one positive thought at a time, you can change your life, your body and your well-being, because that's what health is all about anyway. 

Give Yourself a Break

coffee, beer, pizza
Amylou McBride

Do you ever feel like your doing so much, with little to no result? You're eating your "healthy" meals, you're doing the perfect balance of cardio-weight training to "lose weight" while "toning up," but you never feel like you have bounds of energy like everyone promises?

I'll tell you why — you're doing too much. Over-exercising is a thing, and it's plaguing a lot more of us than you think. If you constantly feel tired, anxious, and sick, or you find that whether or not you've worked out dictates your entire day, or you get frustrated when other obligations interfere with your workout, not to mention a calorie-burned or eaten obsession, you could be over-doing it.

And when you over work your body without proper rest, you are for sure losing that mind-body connection that will benefit your health more than any diet and fitness regimen. Instead, take a little time out of your day to incorporate more self-care related activities such as taking a bath, reading, or socializing with your friends instead of a grueling gym workout! 

Adopt Mindfulness

cake, coffee, tea
Amylou McBride

This goes without saying, but you have to be mindful to have a healthy mind. It's more than positive thoughts and giving yourself rest days, it's about being aware of your body. That's where the connection happens.

Mindfulness is separating your thoughts from judgement and instead being objectively aware of your thoughts and emotions, allowing your mind to be less full of negative thoughts and instead focused on living in the present. My favorite way to be mindful is to tune into my breathing — if it's short and choppy, I know I am "off" and need to take a break, calm myself down, and breathe even more, adopting mindful breathing. It can also mean paying closer attention to how your body physically feels.

In our daily lives, our bodies and minds live completely different lives. But with mindfulness, we can connect them and once they are working as one, we are fully alive in the present, healthily. You can also live mindfully by just tuning into daily routines, movements and activities and doing them with purpose, to truly live in the moment.

Adopting mindfulness will improve your health and wellness in a number of ways—beyond creating that mind-body connection. It will increase productivity, help you make better decisions, and create unconditional happiness within you. That sounds a lot better than eating bland meals and slaving over the treadmill just to see improvements in the mirror. Health is about seeing improvements in your lifestyle and happiness.

This all may sound like craziness to you, or just another way to "meditate" or "find yourself" in an elusive and arbitrary way—and you're right. Practicing mindfulness and thinking positive thoughts are forms of meditation, but that's not all of it.

It's about creating positivity, happiness, and health within your mind. If your mind thinks positive thoughts, your body will respond positively. That's the healthy connection so many people are lacking these days. If you can tune in to how your mind responds to your body, and if you can realize that finding health is a whole lot more than diet and food and is more about listening to your body and feeding it positive thoughts, you can truly live a healthy lifestyle where you'll see more positive results than any short-term diet.