There are two camps in the healthy/happy living arena: those who incorporate healthy habits in order to stay alive, and those who incorporate healthy habits to feel alive.

I’m guessing you know which camp I really love and which I really don’t.

From the outside the two camps do some of the same stuff, but trust me, they’re very different camps.

Very different.

And, here are the differences.

The Staying Alive Camp.

This is the camp that eats better and exercises in an attempt to lose weight, avoid cancer, avoid heart disease, and avoid, well, death for as long as possible.

This camp gets mired in detail. This camp reads diet book after diet book, self-help book after self-help book, attends wellness retreat after wellness retreat. This camp counts calories and grams, monitors heart rate and pace, and in general keeps impeccable health-related data.

This camp walks into restaurants with extensive lists of things they can and can’t have.

This camp lets perfection get in the way of great.

This camp expends enormous amounts of mental energy and time avoiding pain, struggle and conflict. This camp works hard to avoid stress. This camp depends heavily on safe spaces and surrounds themselves primarily with people who agree with them.

This camp’s mission is to stay alive.

To outsiders, this camp doesn’t look fun, and in fact, looks restrictive and militant.

The Feeling Alive Camp.

This is the camp that eats better and exercises in an attempt to feel happy, vibrant and strong.

While this camp is aware of unhealthy weight, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, they see avoiding these as a mere side effect of being happy, vibrant, and strong.

A side effect.

And this camp moves.

I mean they move. They run, jump, swim, bike, dance, skate, play, explore.

This camp doesn’t waste any precious time on calorie counting or fitness data.

This camp is too busy putting their healthy habits to good use.

While this camp doesn’t like pain, sickness and conflict, they understand that being too focused on avoiding them adds significant stress to their lives. The very stress that would make this camp feel less happy, vibrant and strong.

In fact, this camp invites the struggle inherent in eating better, moving, creating, socializing (like, actually socializing). This camp understands that without struggle, there’s no ‘earning it.’ In fact, this camp understands that feeling alive has roots in the struggle itself.

This camp focuses on being strong enough to not need safe spaces, and is secure and confident enough to be around different points of view.

This camp doesn’t waste precious time engaging in social media’s futile and vitriolic back and forths.

This camp always works to improve, paying no mind to perfection.

This camp’s mission is to feel alive.

To outsiders, this camp looks awesome. Outsiders want a piece of this camp.


In other words…

Both camps may be eating lots of celery and running lots of miles, but for VERY different reasons and with VERY different outcomes.

Pay attention to what camp you’re in.

And…don’t let guru types lure you to the Staying Alive Camp with scare tactics.

It’s 100% up to you to keep that from happening.

It’s 100% up to you to feel alive.

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