Intentionality is Important to Your Health. Here Are 3 Reasons Why
Intentionality is Important to Your Health. Here Are 3 Reasons Why
Life is only getting busier and busier. Luckily, there’s a way to manage it all, feel better, and keep your cup overflowing.
The quotes about intentionality are endless…
“The busier you are, the more intentional you must be.”
“Intentional living is the art of making our own choices before others’ choices make us.”
“Show up in every single moment like you’re meant to be there.”
Living an intentional life is important, and even more so in a world brimming with distractions 24/7.
Not only is it a necessary practice for your health, but it’s also a necessary practice for the health of your relationships, spirituality, and wellbeing.
In this article, you’ll decipher fads from facts when it comes to being intentional, along with science-backed evidence about how to live a life on purpose.
What Does It Mean to Be Intentional?Let’s take a look at the morning routine of two different people…
Jane’s morning routine looks a little something like this: Jane wakes up at six o’clock, brushes her teeth, and does her 10-minute breathwork practice. This breathwork relieves the anxiety she woke up with and clears her mind for the day ahead. She then makes herself a cup of steaming hot rooibos tea and journals about how she’s feeling, and how she wants to feel that day (setting her day’s intentions, if you will). If her body is feeling up to it, Jane goes to the gym where she works out and stretches for 30 minutes. This increases her blood flow to the brain and stimulates her serotonin hormone, making her feel happy and energized. Then she heads home, takes a shower, and begins her workday—feeling strong, refreshed, and invigorated for life.
Now there’s Pam: Pam wakes up in a frenzy. She slept through her alarm clock and is running late for work. She hurriedly jumps out of bed, slaps on makeup, pours coffee in a to-go cup, and rushes out the door. She has no time to think, set intentions for her day, or dedicate the much-needed self-care time she desperately craves.
Now let us ask you a question…
Who do you think had a better day? Jane or Pam?
You see, I’m sure we’ve all had mornings that looked like Janes’ and mornings that looked like Pams’. But we all know that Jane’s morning ritual is the more intentional, sustainable way to go.
Being intentional with your time—especially when you’re busy—is like medicine to the soul. It puts things in perspective, realigns your priorities, and keeps your cup overflowing.
3 Reasons Why Being Intentional Is Important to Your Health
Giving intention to your actions is a sure-fire way to relieve stress, feel better, and find enjoyment in each day.
Here are 3 reasons why being intentional is important to your health...
1.Gives You Permission
Being intentional with your time and energy gives you permission to say no.
Here’s the secret to gaining more time in your jam-packed day: Say no more than you say yes.
The one thing you will never get back is time. If hosting Thanksgiving or picking up that extra shift at work isn’t a full-body yes, then it’s a no.
Saying no is not a bad thing. It simply shows that you care about yourself, your time, and your energy.
One 2015 study revealed that participants associated unintentional actions with bad outcomes for all persons involved and linked intentional actions with positive outcomes—especially for the main person involved (1).
So, the more times you give yourself permission to say no, the easier it will be (and the better you will feel).
2. Relieves Stress
A third of Americans rate their stress as extreme (2).
Negative life events. Chronic work stress. Concerning health issues. These are just a few of the things ailing hundreds of millions of Americans today.
Research is showing that stress is linked to several mental and physical health conditions including cardiovascular disease, chronic pain, and anxiety, among others (3).
Out of 185,983 correspondents that responded to a survey, 67% of them admitted to having not taken any steps to control or reduce the stress in their life. This reveals something very important: People don’t know how to relieve stress (3).
One of the best ways to relieve stress is by being intentional about who’s in your social circle. For instance, do you have someone who is a classic pessimist—they are always finding something to nag about, complain about, or gossip about?
Rethink your social circle. Be intentional about who you spend your time with. As Jim Rohn—author, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker—once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
3. Puts Things in Perspective
Intentionality and mindfulness are the wing women of putting things in perspective.
A 2010 study analyzed 16 patients with social anxiety disorder. Each of them underwent a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) that included breath-focused attention and distraction-focused attention (4).
Out of the 14 who completed the neuroimaging assessments, every single person showed improvement in anxiety and depression symptoms and self-esteem. During the breath-focused attention exercise, negative emotions decreased, amygdala activity was reduced, and brain regions involving attention increased.
When you wake up feeling more anxious or on edge, practice mindfulness by doing a breathwork exercise.
We have a whole array of videos that focus on the breath. Head here to reduce your stress and increase your intentionality.
The Bottom Line
As Henry David Thoreau once said, “It’s not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”
What do you want to be busy with? What’s important to you—reading, exercising, cooking, playing games with the family, taking classes at your community college to keep expanding your knowledge? What can you add to (or replace in) your day that will energize you rather than deplete you?
Get clear on what’s most important to you, carve out intentional time to do those things, and say no to any event, matter, or Netflix show that will take away from your intentional time.
As always, be sure to consult a health care professional before adding anything new to your diet, supplement, or exercise regimen. NativePath and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any diseases. All NativePath material is presented for educational purposes only.
- Investigating conceptions of intentional action by analyzing participant generated scenarios
- Does the Perception that Stress Affects Health Matter? The Association with Health and Mortality
- Life Stress and Health: A Review of Conceptual Issues and Recent Findings
- Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on Emotion Regulation in Social Anxiety Disorder