In a recent Gallup-Healthways analysis on worker health for the New York Times it was revealed that, on average, entrepreneurs eat healthier foods and exercise more than their traditionally employed counterparts. However, they also have more stress and are less likely to have health insurance or go to the dentist. Over all, it may not be the healthiest career move.
The study showed that entrepreneurs’ primary advantage is having a good diet. Maybe it’s the freedom of schedule and some flexibility that is awarded to entrepreneurs that allows them to wisely choose meals and snacks. Business owners spend more time at the gym per week than regularly employed workers. However, they are also likely to develop what is known as a “martyr complex,” which is the phenomenon in which entrepreneurs don’t feel like they are working hard enough unless they are stretched to the brink.
Entrepreneurs have been shown to be more optimistic about their futures and more likely to experience joy and intellectual stimulation throughout the day. These are important factors to a person’s health, but business owners tip the scales back by investing all of their self worth in the company, which can lead to sadness, stress, and worry, and the study showed that this is exactly what is happening.
Over all, entrepreneurs are less likely to be diagnosed with high cholesterol and high blood pressure, but that’s about it. Given the pros and cons, entrepreneurs don’t live particularly more or less healthily than traditionally employed people, but there are a few things you can do to tip the scales in your favor, to fully capitalize on your would-be healthy lifestyle, if it wasn’t for that pesky stress.
Carve out some quiet time every morning to simply reflect. This can be called meditation, but that word tends to scare people off. Try to still your mind or create a happy place and go there. That way you are starting the day off in a good place instead of trying to get there in the middle of the daily maelstrom.
The Crib, an emergency youth shelter in Chicago, does what they call “gratitudes” before serving the nightly meal. About six or seven of the youth volunteer to express what they are grateful for before everyone can line up for dinner. This changes the mood of the entire room from carrying whatever happened that day to focusing on the little blessings people overlook. Take this lesson with you and every morning before you get out of bed, as soon as you open your eyes, list five things that you are grateful for. This can be anything from the programmable start function on your coffee to a new contract that you landed - whatever it is that puts a smile on your face.
You may be in a foul mood or simply stressed to the max, but that is no reason not to smile. The old adage says “fake it until you make it,” and that is truest with smiling. Smiling in the office and to people on the street actually has a positive effect. A person can actually feel greater joy and lifted spirits by smiling, even if it’s fake, and changes the chemistry in your brain.
You probably don’t think about your breathing much because it is an automatic process, but doing it wrong (and yes, you can do it wrong) can mean the difference between stress and relief. Deep breathing in which you fill your belly and increase your oxygen intake has many health benefits, including stress relief. There are tools to help you, or you can choose to take a yoga class that focuses on pranayama (deep, yogi breathing).
Posted By Svetlana Binshtok