I’ve been thinking about the way things can change our bodies and lives. Here’s some of my (perhaps obvious) thoughts on the matter:
I figure that general health and wellness are a good place to start with. Little routines can make a huge difference on our lives, but they’ve got to be maintained. Things like even just walking every day, or avoiding too many sweets can have a small, but not insignificant effect on us (given our overall health permits it).
On the contrary, bad habits can have from mild, to major, lasting effects on us, too. In my case, I used to drink a couple alcoholic beverages every evening, and I found that it had an overall negative effect on my mood, thanks to my suffering from chronic depression. Sure, drinking them made me feel better temporarily, but afterward and into the next day I would feel more depressed than usual. This isn’t even taking into account how many empty calories it was.
It’s all about the trade-offs. I’ve heard having a glass of wine in the evening can be overall beneficial for some. Same goes for things like caffeine and sugar. Having a moderate amount of coffee throughout the day can really perk me up. On the contrary, too much caffeine can makes me irritable, jittery, and unfocused.
There’s also a darker side to these things. An alcohol habit, if left unchecked, can turn into full-blown alcoholism, which changes the way the human brain works by developing a psychological need for it. A sugar addiction can go from just being a way to feeling good for a bit, to making a person diabetic or horribly obese. Such things change the way a life has to be lived, and can be expensive.
For example, I heavily drank alcohol and ate a lot of desserts for a period of about six months. My behavioral struggles became even worse during that period, and I’ve gained enough weight that I can no longer push through hiking as easily. I used to be able to go all the way to the end of the local trails, but nowadays I struggle to make it halfway. On the other hand, my blood sugar has been more stable thanks to having a reserve of body fat. It’s all about balance.
Our decisions come with consequences, some of which are more permanent than others. I’ve known people who have abused prescription or illicit drugs, and ended up developing serious mental illness because of it.
I don’t feel it’s worth obsessing over these things, because that can be very unhealthy in and of itself, but it’s worth being mindful of what consequences our actions can take. A little bit of discipline can go a long way.