Check out these simple ways that you can improve your day to day health both mentally and physically.
Keep a gratitude journal
A gratitude journal, especially if completed in the morning, allows you to put into perspective what matters. If you live out of appreciation and gratitude, you will find the little stressors or annoyances in life do not bother you as much. Keeping a gratitude journal has shown to provide physical benefits too; being caught up in stressors and negative thoughts instead of being grateful causes physical fatigue. Another option is to write down what you’re grateful for on small notes and keep them in a jar to view at the end of the year, or when you are having a bad day. This practice might be hard at first, but as it becomes part of your routine you will find you always have something to be grateful for and this will help you to keep life in perspective during tough times!
Take more walks
Walking has been proven to be a powerful mood booster that also burns calories. It has low impact on the joints and does not stimulate a high stress response on the body. This is perfect for an after meal activity to lessen the blood sugar response and an opportunity to bond with family or friends. American Physiological Society’s Journal of Applied Physiology states that a two minute walk every 20 minutes can have a positive impact upon your cardiovascular system function, metabolism and reproductive system. It is easy to fit in more walking into your schedule: park farther from your office door, take the stairs, walk during a lunch break, take a business call walking in the park, or schedule a walk to catch up with a good friend.
Eat smaller meals throughout the day
Eating smaller portions throughout the day helps your body function more efficiently because it lowers the load on your system. This allows you to keep energy up, decrease bloating and reduce cravings. You will also find that eating whole foods satiates you and keeps you full; when you are not eating processed foods you are no longer consuming the addictive chemicals that manufacturers put in their food items to keep you coming back for more.
Eat a fiber and protein rich breakfast
Eating a satiating breakfast can keep you full and energized until lunchtime or even longer. Fiber helps keep you full and slows down the digestive process, which causes your blood sugar to remain stable. Protein is also more satiating than the simple carbohydrates found in bagels and sugary cereals. Making a healthy choice in the morning will kick off your day the right way. Ever heard the term “If you have a green smoothie for breakfast, you’ll make “”green smoothie decisions” all day? The psychology behind it is if your first choice is a healthy one, you’ll want to keep rolling with that momentum instead of saying “I already had pancakes and don’t feel great, one healthy meal won’t matter”. A great starter idea: ½ cup rolled oats topped with Greek yogurt, flax seeds, and raspberries (can substitute with other berries).
Call up an old friend
Striking up a great conversation with someone who is important to you can help you connect back to what matters. When you are stressed or sad, just ask yourself if you have connected with someone or if you have shared a meaningful moment with someone you care about during the dat. You can facilitate this by calling up a friend and engaging in his or her life. It truly is therapeutic to speak to another human being.
Being outside in nature can give you positive effects in just 5 minutes. Immersing yourself in the outdoors has shown to boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, reduce stress, improve mood, increase ability to focus, recover from illness, increase energy levels and improve sleep.
Drink more water
Recent research has recommended 15 cups for the average male and 11 cups for the average female. Another way to determine how much water you need is to divide your bodyweight in half and drink that many ounces per day (that means 80 ounces if you are 160 lbs). These numbers may seem like a lot, but this is including the water from your food. Keep in mind that caffeinated or alcohol drinks decrease this number as they increase urination and therefore the amount of water you are losing. You should also drink even more of this if you are exercising strenuously or out in the heat. If drinking this much plain water is difficult, try drinking seltzer water for a carbonated twist or adding lime, cucumber or lemon for flavor.
Fit in a workout
Most people skip workouts because they think they just don’t have the time, but it comes down to making health a priority and simply making it happen. You would be surprised how many less important things you manage to find time for. Doing even a simple 20 minute workout can make a difference and it is better than no workout at all. This can be a run through your neighborhood or simple body weight exercises that do not require a gym such as squats, push-ups and jumping rope.
Stop negative self talk
Do you find yourself using words like fat or stupid when talking about yourself? If you do, STOP IT! These kinds of words are bad for your self esteem when you should be working on a positive self image. If it is something you would never say to a loved one, don’t say it to yourself. It is fine to want to make changes such as losing weight or getting more organized, but happiness and health should be your motivation, not negative self-talk. Instead of focusing on negative things or the things you don’t like about yourself, focus on the positive, and how proud you are of yourself for working on the things you want to change.
Sign up for a fun experience
Signing up for an event such as a class, mud race, hiking trip or anything else you are interested in allows you to come together with old friends, or make new ones. You’ll look forward to it weeks before the event as it is a new experience that involves something exciting! Planning for an event, preparing for it, sticking to that and accomplishing a goal you set weeks ahead of time gives you the confidence that you can stick to your commitments.
Do you have any other great tips? Let us know in the comments!