Healthy Habits That Will Improve Your Overall Well-Being and Make You Feel Good PART II
Healthy living habits
16. Stop weighing yourself
This ties in with my earlier comments about calories (see No. 6). Some people – perhaps including yourself – are fixated on their weight. They weigh themselves every morning and every night. If they lose weight, they’re ecstatic. But if they gain weight, they can quickly sink into depression.
Now, please don’t get me wrong, you certainly should be aiming to have a healthy weight. However, this will be a natural consequence of eating healthily and exercising regularly.
17. Choose enjoyable exercise
You might be putting off exercising as you don’t like going to the gym or running in the cold weather. Instead, why not choose fun exercises like dancing, yoga or a team sport? When exercise is fun, you’ll have much more motivation to do it regularly.
18. Avoid over exercising
People who over exercise tend to age quicker than they should. Most things in life come down to balance, and exercise is no exception. Over exercising for months and years will deplete your body of its vital energy – leaving you drained and feeling out-of-sync.
19. Go to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual
In today’s age of Netflix and YouTube, it’s all too easy to find yourself watching just one more video. Pre-internet, you’d have probably gone to bed two or three hours earlier than you currently do. My suggestion? You have an alarm to wake you up in the morning. How about setting an alarm to notify you when it’s time to turn off the TV and get yourself to bed.
Sleep is a powerful restorative – so make you’re getting an adequate amount of it.
20. Turn off technology from time to time
Technology is a great thing. It enables me to type these words – and for you to read them. But let’s be honest, it’s all too easy to become addicted to our TVs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. The majority of people are staring at one of these devices for most of their morning, afternoon, evening and beyond. It’s a non-stop world of emails, SMS messages, news feeds, social media updates, etc.
My advice? Make sure you step out of this cycle of distraction by having regular breaks from your devices. For example, why not switch off all of your devices when you’re eating with your friends and family. Make conversation be your focus, instead of being absorbed by online stuff.
Healthy habits for a peaceful mind
21. Spend time in nature
Being outside has found to have a profound effect on your mental wellbeing mainly due to exposure to sunshine increasing your serotonin levels. Research has also found that spending even a short amount of time around nature boosts your mood. Imagine spending a day in a place like this:
22. Have something to look forward to
Being in a state of positive anticipation and expectancy can increase your happiness level according to study published in the Official Journal of the International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies. Planning something you enjoy and take comfort in, whether it’s a trip, a planned run, meeting friends or curling up with that book you’ve always wanted to read can keep you from dwelling on any negatives.
Meditation is probably the most talked about concept in the happiness camps and it has good reasons to be synonymous with good mental health. Studies have shown regular meditation practices reduce stress, anxiety and health issues. The main reason is it can help reduce overthinking and create a more mindful mindset. It can come in the form of just sitting quietly, yoga, prayer or purposeful breathing.
24. Move your body
Endorphins are the chemicals in the brain that basically reduce the perception of pain. When you move your bodies, these are released and essentially tell your brain that all is well. Even if it’s just getting up from your chair, dancing around when doing the housework or taking up a regular exercise routine, these actions can increase the feel-good chemicals and elevate your mood.
25. Learn something new
People who continue to learn into adulthood have greater overall wellbeing. This could be because the brain is constantly being refreshed and rewired but also the sense of achievement, optimism and distraction it creates. In other words, it gives you purpose and focus increasing the ability to cope with stress. So learn a new language, take up painting or enrol in a course you’ve always fancied doing to create more mental wellbeing.
26. Do something nice for someone
Kindness may be seen as just good manners but being genuinely kind towards others increases your own happiness as well as theirs. Positive social interactions, no matter how small they may seem, boosts your feel-good vibrations. Giving compliments with pure intentions, holding a door open or offering to pay for a stranger’s coffee will keep you feeling good for the rest of the day. Do this on a regular basis and you’ll keep your positive mindset topped up as well as creating happiness for someone else.
27. Re-evaluate toxic relationships
Sometimes people’s mental wellbeing declines because they get used to being around people who bring them down. This can damage their self-esteem and self-worth but they often don’t associate this with others. You are the sum total of the five people you’re around the most. Ask yourself are these five people supportive, kind and fun to be around? If not, it may be time to rethink your relationships.
28. Detox digitally
The dangers of too much social media is commonly said. The comparison game can cause you to feel deflated and like failures if we’re not living how others are currently living. This in itself is reason to have a period of detox from your phone or computer. The digital world, as much as it enhances our lives, can take away our present moments and allows us to miss what’s really going on around us. Detoxing will give you that sense of freedom of time to do other things that will boost your mental health.
29. Sleep more
Sleep often gets ignored when we’re living busy lives but that’s no excuse. Getting adequate sleep is paramount to an optimum healthy mind. Sleep deprivation causes mood swings, irritability, health issues and all-round disfunction that affects how we think and causes us to react negatively to things happening in our daily lives. More sleep equates to a sense of peace and motivation through your day instead of stress and anxiety.
30. Do things by yourself
Low self-worth or self-esteem can cause people to believe that they can’t do things by themselves. The need to always have someone to do things with can create a sense of neediness and lack of self-love. Going off and doing things by yourself builds confidence and a sense of freedom.
Don’t be afraid to be alone and make time for yourself; it’s a wonderful way to really reflect on yourself and have a breather away from others.
31. Express gratitude
Gratitude has been found to increase happiness and reduce stress creating a more positive mindset. People often get caught up on what didn’t go well in their day even if the majority of what happened was positive. A good habit to start is to think through your day and note everything that was great – from the straight-forward commute to work, a smile from a stranger, the delicious food you had for lunch or a text from your friend.
32. Sit and stand up straight
Body language is tightly connected to our mindset. When you slouch, it subconsciously creates the overall feeling of hostility, sluggishness, and negativity. When we sit or stand up straight it creates the feeling of power and confidence.
33. Find something to laugh about
Laughter is powerful as it reduces stress levels, improves mood and even short-term memory. Laughing together with someone is probably the best kind of laughter but just watching a funny TV show or even laughing by yourself can do the trick.
34. Write things down
Writing things down is very powerful because in the act of writing, the brain processes what’s being written down more slowly and so it becomes a kind of therapy. It can help you process emotions and identify difficult areas or limiting beliefs that continuous overthinking makes worse. Writing down goals and dreams can bring about a positive boost and making lists of past achievements can help show you successes in your life.
35. Spend time with your pet
Any loving animal can increase your feelings of positivity in small and meaningful ways. They decrease loneliness, get you active, create loving bonds, keep you present in the moment and give you purpose.
36. Change your routine
While routine can keep us comfortable, it also creates a sense of mundane life and can result in depression. Making just small changes in your routine can trick the brain into thinking you’re doing something completely different. It could be taking a different route to work, walking instead of taking the bus, going somewhere different for lunch or getting up slightly earlier in the morning. Changing things up creates variety and opens you up to different experiences and opportunities.
37. Explore your city or town
Being a tourist in your own town or city is not something people tend to consider. Pretend you’re visiting for the first time – what neighbourhoods would you visit? Where would you eat? Doing this can help you appreciate where you live and gain a different perspective to a familiar place which helps open up the mind.
38. Practice forgiveness
Forgiveness can be a hard concept for many. But a lot of our angst is caused by our inability to let things go and move on. This doesn’t mean condoning what someone has done but just dropping the negativity around it and moving forward. Studies have shown that forgiveness protects against stress and forgiving yourself is important too in order to release any baggage and self-hate and create a happy life.
39. Connect with someone
As social beings, we thrive on connection. When you’re feeling depressed, the last thing you want to do is talk or reach out to others. Keep in mind that talking to people, even just short conversations with friends or in support groups, can repair your sense of disconnection immensely. Relationships with others builds a sense of belonging and self-worth so make time to connect with someone.
40. Spend a day being mindful
This is a great way to examine how you move through your day. How does your breakfast taste? How do your legs feel when you’re walking? Where did the ingredients for your lunch come from? What emotions are you feeling in each moment?
Don’t judge yourself but just be in each moment. Bringing your mind to the present moment can help reduce depression in the process.
41. Consider a more positive perspective
A negative mindset creates a negative life. If you’re in this category of seeing the glass as always being half empty maybe question why you think this way. It could simply stem from beliefs you’ve picked up but understand there is always a choice in how you see things.
Choose to consider a different, more positive perspective next time. Doing this regularly will slowly help change the way you look at the world around you.
42. Stop taking photos of everything
While it’s great to take photos for keepsakes, spending too much time taking the photo rather than enjoying the moment can decrease our happiness. Psychologist Maryanne Garry of the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zeal has found taking endless photos “manipulates both our memories and subjective interpretations of lived experiences,” meaning we end up remembering less and don’t fully appreciate the moment.
43. Smile (even if it’s fake)
Genuine smiles portray our inner happy feelings but research has found even fake smiling tricks the brain into thinking we’re happy.[ So even if you’re in a quiet room by yourself, smile and you’ll notice overtime, it creates a sense of mental wellbeing.
44. Do something that’s out of your comfort zone
One of the main reasons people can become depressed is their need to stay comfortable. Blame this on the brain; it’s doing all it can to stop you from doing something fearful because it’s a survival mechanism – if you’re comfortable then you’re safe.
Breaking out of comfort zones is never as scary as your brain imagines it to be and it creates confidence, wellbeing and opens up new and exciting possibilities.[The result? Better mental health.
COTINUES IN PART III