Being stressed out, not sleeping, eating garbage, watching too much TV, and not working out, used to be my life. I wanted to be happy, but I was looking for it in the wrong places, unable to sustain that lifestyle of happiness we’ve always envisioned for ourselves, but has often felt just slightly out of reach.
Being happy feels good, so if we all want to be happy, how do we get there?
Is it a goal to reach, or a process? A destination, a journey, or both?
There are a lot of happiness merchants out there with grand and simple ideas on the subject; centuries-worth of recipes being peddled about. Some may work, and other methods may redefine the happiness you were searching for in the first place. I personally don’t have all the answers, but I’ve got a pretty cool list, and if you love lists like us, this one’s a keeper. As in go ahead, use a slice of a tree and print it out as a reminder, because the stuff I’m about to share with you really works, and even crazier you probably already know this stuff! I went through an intense Yoga Teacher Training where I discovered the power of these ten SIMPLE steps we can take every day to make sure we’re feeling happy and healthy, yoga totally optional.
10 Healthy Habits to Improve your Life:
1. Have GratitudeKeep track of what matters most.
Stress and chaos can cause us to drift away from feeling like ourselves. Remember what’s most important to you by being thankful for it. Take a quick moment to write down in a little notebook five, ten or if you’re truly #blessed, 20 things that you are grateful for. Keep the journal in your nightstand. Make it part of your routine so when you wake up and your mind starts racing, you can gather your thoughts and harness anxiety into positive energy. Or do it right before bed, helping it set your intentions for some nice dreams. Or if you’re already the note-taking type in your day-to-day- just write a quick gratitude list on whatever you’re already scribbling on. Reflect on all of the things in your life you’re grateful for.
2. ForgiveJust say no, to holding grudges.
It doesn’t matter how wronged you think you were, that feeling of self-righteousness will only ultimately weigh you down. The more you hold onto that anger, the more you could alter your entire mindset into operating from a negative realm. Take whatever steps you can to forgive others and yourself. You can recognize the anger, sadness, and unhappiness but LET IT GO. Choose forgiveness as a path to your own happiness... so you can grow from your past and prepare yourself for the future.
3. Be presentTake a breath right now.
Feel that present moment. Where are you and how do you feel? It is so easy to dwell on the past and worry about the future. Living in the present is really HARD and many people struggle with it. First, try to live in the present moment for five minutes and then gradually increase to twenty minutes a day. Aim to increase the amount of time you spend actively in the present moment each day. This means during dinner put the phone DOWN and talk to your friends or loved ones by fully engaging in the conversation or even if it’s just a quiet moment. To borrow from the spiritual leader Ram Dass, BE HERE NOW. While cooking or working out, listening to music, taking an art class, and especially for everyone’s safety, while driving. Stay focused on where you are by breathing and taking the neverending moment all in. There will be time enough to reflect on the past while we try not to worry about the future.
4. ExerciseBreak a sweat every day and you’ll sweat a lot less when you’re not working out.
Get it? If you literally sweat more, you will figuratively sweat less. Have you ever noticed how different you feel before and after working out? The stress melts away. Your physical and mental health have a symbiotic relationship. Working out is obviously good for you but you don’t need to take a HIIT class 7 days a week to make sure you’re exercising. Go for a jog, ride a bike, take a class like zumba or hot yoga or simply go for a brisk walk. Just move. Your body will feel more energized to keep going throughout the day, or it’s a cue to soon rest if you work out in the evening. Regardless of the time you dedicate to exercising, find ways that work for you and remember to have fun by trying new exercises or switching up your playlist.
5. Eat HealthyEat one healthier food today than you did yesterday.
Remember what your mom always said, eat more fruits and vegetables. It’s true. Despite all of the ways healthy eating has evolved since we grew up, the simple truths remain. Good foods will keep you healthy. Avoid processed and foods with lots of sugars to boost your mood and overall happiness. Make a conscious decision to eat something healthier today than you did yesterday and before long you’ll be making the balanced meals that properly fuel us. It was this way I was able to change from a dieting mindset to a lifestyle mindset and go fully vegan. I feel better than ever for doing it but going vegan is a huge leap, so starting slowly is the best way to go. Instead of changing your eating habits by dieting for a short period of time, make the conscious effort to make healthy eating a part of who you are.
6. Make plansCall your family and friends often.
Spending time with loved ones is hugely important, because you deserve to surround yourself with the whom you love and people that support you. At the same time, letting go of any toxic people from your inner circle is also equally important. Make time for those deserving of it. Surround yourself with people that are like-minded, and this will have a positive impact on your life. Checking in with family and friends can provide genuine motivation and give you more of that drive to push forward. Boost your happiness by hitting the reset button by connecting with the people who know you the best.
7. Sleep 8 hoursGo to bed each night on time.
Too often, sleep is the essential that many will sacrifice, because let’s face it, there really aren’t enough hours in the day. But here’s the tricky thing... if you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t be as focused, productive and feeling good during those hours anyway. So getting a restful night of quality, uninterrupted sleep allows you to make the most of those other 16 hours of the day. Want to stop feeling sluggish? Get some sleep!. Give yourself a bedtime routine and very soon Eventually, your body will wake up without an alarm and feel more refreshed. Also, going to bed and waking up at the same time also helps your beauty sleep, and maintains your circadian rhythm, or your internal clock. Putting your phone away thirty minutes prior to bedtime is essential to improving the quality of your sleep, as the blue light that emits from your phone can make it harder to fall asleep.
8. ReadEvery single day (or night.)
Never stop learning and expanding your mind. Education and knowledge lead to happiness. Building an understanding of our world and gaining empathy for others should continue long after we graduate. Make it a habit of reading every single night for 20-30 minutes, or 1 hour. I started reading every night before bed and it’s helped relax my mind by focusing it on something else besides the daily stresses of the day. Ideally read in printed form because the light from our phones can keep our minds from shutting off.
9. Drink WaterStay hydrated, pee often.
Sounds silly, because it’s so simple but water is the key ingredient to all of life. So keep it flowing to your body. You need it! Your body is 83% water, so don’t let yourself dry out. Start your day with a big glass of water after going 8 hours without it. Because you got enough sleep, remember? And for an extra boost, squeeze some lemon juice into the water for additional health benefits and flavor. And if you want to reach the next level of water drinking, try substituting caffeine and alcohol with some good old fashioned H20 and you might like how you feel in the moment as well as the next day.
10. Practice Self-CareAll work and no play...is not good for anyone.
Now that you’ve done the little things to help yourself be happier, it’s important to treat yourself. All of the above steps fall into the category of self-care but when you feel you’re making progress, reward yourself for your progress. Self-care can consist of applying a face mask, implementing a beauty routine, or purchasing a new clothing item or accessory. Get yourself a few fun masks to wear after a long day and you will feel better right away! Find healthy ways to help yourself unwind. I love purchasing comfy and stylish clothes at Rezort as part of my self-care routine.
It’s probably not going to happen all at once. For me, it took some time and effort to really feel happy each day, but after integrating these ten habits into my daily routine, my life gradually became a little brighter and more cheerful. Small changes can have large impacts on your life later on. Take the time now to change something for the good. It’s simple... feeling good, feels good.