When you think of someone who is living a healthy life, what do you envision? A wealthy, happy-go-lucky, and charismatic figure like Tony Robbins? Maybe someone who is humble, kind, and collected like the Dalai Lama? Both are extreme examples, but healthy living doesn’t have to mean radically changing your life. There are simple ways you can improve your day-to-day life starting now.
In our fast-paced, 9-to-5 world, stress has become commonplace. From the morning rush to work deadlines, we’re activating our fight-or-flight mode on a daily basis. Stress can negatively impact your body, your mood, and your behavior, causing headaches, anxiety, and depression.
Meditation has been shown to decrease stress, increase relaxation, promote positivity, and manage pain. Taking five minutes a day to sit in a quiet space, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing can have a significant impact on your mind, mood, and health.
Learn more about the benefits of meditation and how you can start meditating today.
You are the culmination of your thoughts. Studies show that negative thinking has long-term consequences on your physical, mental, and social health.
Positive thinking begins with effort. Start your morning with positive affirmations. Take a breath before responding to rude people. Meditate once per day. Write down three things that you’re grateful for before going to sleep.
Perform Your Favorite Exercise
Hundreds of studies have confirmed the benefits of exercise: healthy weight management, stress reduction, feeling happier, and greater longevity are just a few.
Exercise does not mean you have to spend an hour in the weight room. The idea is to engage in activities you enjoy that also get your heart rate up and your muscles moving. Walk in the park, take your friends on a hike, go for a bike ride, or sign up for a fun adventure activity such as rock climbing or zip lining.
Organizing and tidying up your living space can improve your health in two key ways: First, it’s a stress reducer. Studies show that cluttered living and work spaces impact productivity and might increase stress levels. Second, cleaning your living space can remove harmful dust, dirt, and pollen, helping you breathe better and avoid illness.
Make Time for Yourself
You make appointments to see the doctor, to get your oil changed, and to renew your driver’s license (all annoying things); you need to do the same for your own relaxation time.
Schedule breaks during the week: visit a museum, take a yoga class, or do something that you enjoy and doesn’t cause stress. At least once a year, plan to travel more. It can be within your own state, or it can be in a distant country. Get out and have some fun in a new setting, and give yourself time to breathe.
Driven, work-obsessed people often sacrifice a social life for a career. Studies show that people who have fulfilling social lives with close friends and family are more likely to be happier and live longer.
Engage in more social events with current friends, and try to avoid repetitive social events. For example, instead of going to the same bar each week, try a new activity, such as an escape room or a painting class. Traveling can also help to extend your social circle as you meet people from around the world.
Watch Out for Toxic People
It’s important to be social, but if the people you’re hanging out with are toxic, being social will do nothing to improve your stress level, mindset, or overall health.
You are the company you keep; if you’re choosing to be around people who gossip, frame everything in a negative light, and insult you, you’re not doing your health any favors. Realize that it’s okay to distance yourself from toxic people, especially if you’ve already tried having a talk with them to address your concerns. Try surrounding yourself with positive people who have similar life and career goals.
Break Bad Habits
Bad habits can take many forms. Excessive drinking and smoking will ruin your health while procrastination will keep you from pursuing self-development or career advancement, setting the stage for unhealthy stress.
Begin to change your bad habits one at a time. Select the one that is the most hampering, and take the steps needed to cut it out of your life. Are you drinking alcohol several times per week? Save money, skip the bar, and replace it with a different, non-destructive activity. Do you get caught up in a movie marathon instead of studying for that certification? Cancel your subscription. It’s about small and steady changes.
Learn Something New
Studies suggest that if we don’t use the learning centers of our brains, they eventually become weaker, which could invite diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Challenge your brain and improve your health by learning something new. Pick up an instrument, take a dance class, or learn a new language. Were you once amazing at the guitar? Has your Spanish become rusty? Once a fan of brain-challenging activities, such as crosswords, sudokus, or word games? It’s not too late to pick them back up! You’ll get the same brain benefits as someone who is beginning to learn a new skill or activity.
Improve Your Nutrition
Your health starts with your nutrition. Studies have linked healthy eating habits with fewer incidents of illness, better cognitive performance, and greater longevity.
Instead of trying to overhaul your entire diet, make one or two small changes that you consistently apply to start eating healthy. Once these become habit, you can change one or two more minor foods in your diet. Do this until you’ve accomplished your goals.
Get Outside More
One of the easiest ways to improve your health is to get outside more. This could mean a walk around the neighborhood, a stroll in the park, or sitting on your porch. You’ll breathe fresh air and get more sunshine, which is essential for vitamin D production. Getting enough vitamin D will improve your hormone health, mood, and bone health.
Why not exercise outside in your local park? Try this park workout for beginners.
Make Little Changes
Remember: Becoming healthier isn’t about making radical changes; consistent little changes in your routine will produce big results. If you take on too much too soon, you’re more likely to become discouraged and quit. Select one or two of the activities mentioned above and focus only on those changes. Once that change has become a healthy habit, revisit the list, and select one or two more.
Which Healthy Living Tip Is Your Favorite?
Do you follow any of the tips above? What benefits have you experienced since incorporating one or more of these tips into your life? Let me know in the comments below.