The Secret Sauce of a Happier, Healthier Lifestyle




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We all try to strive for as healthy and happy a lifestyle as possible. But make no mistake about it, when you’re living in the modern world and trying to keep up with the massive amount of change that occurs in everyone’s lives, it can be tough to figure out what you should put your focus on. Money is necessary, of course, but chasing the bucks won’t necessarily be good for health or personal life - and there are many other wonderful things in life that you should be focusing on instead. So, if you are struggling with finding the path to happiness, take a look at the following simple ideas - they will help you find meaning, health, and get you on the road to a more fulfilling, long-lasting life.




Appreciate what you have


There’s nothing wrong with aspiration - it pushes people to excel, after all. But living an aspirational lifestyle can often mean you end up forgetting the benefits of what you have already. It’s OK to have lists of goals and aims, but you should also spend some time looking around you and being thankful for what you have, too. Yes, you might not be in the perfect job role right now, but maybe you have a wonderful family supporting you. Sure, your home could be a little on the small side, but perhaps your cheap home loan or rental payments allow you to have nice vacations, or free up cash to pay for your children’s out of school activities. There are pluses and minuses to every situation, and it’s important to check your material aspirations every now and again - spend more time focusing on the things you have, rather than worrying about the things you don’t.


Be kind


Kindness costs nothing, and can actually improve your health. Studies on volunteers have shown that helping other people can improve the sense of well-being, improve your emotional resilience, and lower your stress levels. So, the next time you are feeling worried about your current status or situation, remember that no matter how bad things are, there will always be someone worse off than you. And, remember that being kind will help you feel a lot better in more ways than one. Kindness can contribute to combat your anxiety, and it’s good for the heart and soul. There is some evidence that being kind can even help you live longer and prevent illness.


Walk for 30 minutes every day


We all know that exercise is important, but you don’t have to spend a fortune on monthly gym memberships to see results. All you need is your legs and thirty minutes every day, and you will see a vast improvement in your happiness and health. Walking briskly for a half hour on a daily basis is an excellent aerobic activity for the body, and also brilliant for the brain. Not only are people who walk everywhere less likely to suffer from chronic diseases, but they are also less liable to have problems with anxiety and negative mood swings. Not only that, but you will also give yourself the opportunity to actually observe the world around you, which you can’t possibly do when driving. All those sights, sounds, and smells can help you feel at one with your local environment, and tune in to the seasons.




Resistance is not futile


While a simple walk every day will help you feel good, you should also be doing regular strength training. Building up strength is important in this day and age, especially if you spend all day sitting down behind a computer at work. If you aren’t doing things like pushups, squats, and situps on a regular basis, your muscles will weaken, meaning you are more likely to start putting on weight and increasing your chances of getting injured. Again, you don’t have to spend a fortune on a gym membership. You can make use of bodyweight exercises for no money at all, and invest in some cheap dumbbells and a medicine ball for the cost of a week’s worth of Starbucks coffee.


Night, night, sleep tight


Wake up in the morning after a good night’s sleep, and you will feel like you can conquer any challenge. Everyone has a different optimum amount of sleep they need, but most people will fall somewhere between seven and eight hours. Also, it’s worth remembering that it isn’t just the amount of sleep you have, it’s also your sleep routine that is important. When you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day - even at weekends - you’ll find that your health and feeling of well-being will improve dramatically. So, why not go to bed a half hour early, instead of staying up as late as possible? Turn off your screens a little earlier than usual, and read a book or newspaper instead - it will help you settle your brain and start preparing it for a good night's shut eye. If you want to lead a healthy lifestyle and live to a ripe old age, sleep is critical in helping you refresh, recharge, and reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases.


Self education


Don’t believe the old saying about old dogs and new tricks - learning and educating yourself can help you stay healthy and happy long into your old age. According to researchers, continuing education is one of the biggest variables connected with improved health and lifespan outcomes. Learning new things will give you better cognitive function as you get older, gives you more chance of earning higher wages, and also helps you suffer from far less stress than those who stop their educations. So, if you are asking yourself ‘should I earn a masters degree,’ or ‘shall I invest in learning the piano,’ the answer is, without a doubt, ‘yes.’ It will help you become creative, age healthily, and avoid chronic health conditions.




Everybody loves the sunshine


Of course, it’s important that you protect yourself from harmful rays - but you also need to get outside and experience the sun. Sunlight helps your body produce Vitamin D, which has a vast array of benefits for your mind and body. People with high levels of Vitamin D tend to have reduced risks of cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and osteoporosis. They are also more likely to have a better immune system than people who lock themselves indoors all the time. As long as you are exposing frequently (time recommendation depends on your skin type), and making sure you never burn, being in the sun can contribute to optimal health. Please note that this is a controversial subject, with some doctors saying that some sun exposure is okay and other doctors saying that it's not okay. Some doctors feel it's safer to get Vitamin D from a supplement. If you are high risk for skin cancer, it's best to talk to your own doctor about it. It’s also worth pointing out that people often experience darkened moods in the winter - and this can often be due to lack of sunlight. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real thing, and many people suffer from it. Again, all it takes to avoid the adverse effects of SAD is to make sure you are seeing enough daylight, or even use a sunlight simulating device if you don’t have time.


Primal, mindful eating


Humans evolved eating very specific foods, so it makes sense that we try to consume as much of this type of diet as possible. Try to avoid ‘modern’ foods that contain processed products and preservatives, as they are unnatural. Instead, stick to a solid diet of vegetables, nuts, seeds, meat, fish, and eggs. You will find that it is much easier to keep weight off, and it also contributes to protecting yourself against diabetes and heart disease. There is a lot of dietary misinformation out there, but once you know about this ‘primal’ way of eating, you will be able to make better dietary decisions than before. Also, be aware of what you are eating at any given time. ‘Mindful’ eating is a practice that ensures you are eating with no distractions and being aware of every mouthful. You will start to learn when you are full, and even start to chew your food properly, so it is easier for your body to digest.


Hydration


Be honest - how much water do you drink on a daily basis? An alarming number of people spend their lives dehydrated, without actually realizing it. Given that the human body is two-thirds water, you can see how important hydration actually is for a healthy lifestyle. Water is a life giver, pure and simple, and you should aim to drink the correct amount each day. The old saying is to drink at least eight glasses every day - more when it is hot. A newer way to think about it is to divide your weight in half and drink that many ounces. For example, if you weigh 130 lbs., you should aim for 65 ounces, which is actually slightly over 8 glasses. You will find that drinking water helps you with your vitality, productivity, mental alertness, and a whole lot more besides.


Feel the love


Finally, the more focus you put on developing and nurturing your close relationships, the happier you will be - it is that simple. Humans are social creatures, and whether it’s with a partner, child, friend, or even just work colleagues, having profound and emotionally satisfying relationships with others is an important part of life. You need someone to talk to about the deeper things in your lives, and the relationships you develop over the years can even help you live longer.


What makes you happy and healthy in life? Let everyone know your thoughts in the comments section below!



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2 comments:

  1. Money cannot buy happiness but it can make life less stressful, we need to chose to see the good and positive and I feel we need to chose happiness over being a miserable sod. I like to exercise each day and I like to see and spend time with my family who I not only love I happen to like

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    Replies
    1. Yes, you are definitely an inspiration when it comes to working out, Jo-Anne. And definitely right about choosing happiness! Thanks for stopping by!

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