10 Effective Lifestyle Changes for a Happier & Healthier Life
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As most of our time is consumed by our jobs and other obligations, there isn’t much of it left for us to take care of ourselves. And, as we keep losing touch with what’s inside us, this lack of self-care can also take a toll on our bodies.
There’s a term used in psychology called “impact bias”, or our predisposition to overestimate the impact of future events in our current state. This tendency has been exploited commercially, as it projects the feeling of happiness away from the present moment, not as an inner state but as an external desirable outcome. When we get the type of relationship, job, or possessions that we want, then we are content.
Surely by now, we realized that as soon as we met one desire another one is automatically born, giving space to a bottomless cycle of needs and expectations that only place our “happiness” even further in the future and away from us.
We often try to achieve wellbeing in the most ineffective ways. On the bright side, there is scientific evidence suggesting that some habits, if kept regularly, can contribute to sustainable happiness. Among the most powerful tools to achieve this state are mindfulness, gratitude, generosity, as well as other nourishing rituals for the body and spirit.
If you want to make a positive turn in your life, then the following simple lifestyle changes will definitely help you achieve that:
In today’s fast-paced world with an increasingly competitive environment, people are suffering from high levels of stress, which is taking a toll on their lives. To counter this, it is important for you to be present and appreciate each moment.
Mindfulness is essentially the process of focusing your attention on the present moment, which has been found to be a key element in happiness.
When you practice mindfulness, you basically practice the art of creating space for yourself. This space allows you to calmly think, breathe, talk, and react. Increasing your capacity for mindfulness helps you savor the pleasures of life as they occur. The most crucial impact of being mindful in your life is that by focusing on here and now, you are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over the past.
There are several techniques to practice mindfulness, all of which lead to increased alertness and relaxation. You can sit silently and concentrate on a mantra or your own breathing, you can pay attention to any bodily sensations, accepting them and letting them pass, or allow yourself to make peace with all your emotions, positive and negative.
Being in the “now” and not “wishing to be elsewhere” can be challenging, indeed. But by pursuing your hobbies and sticking to some healthy habits, it becomes attainable. Traveling, attending a mindfulness retreat, or practicing meditation on a daily basis can have a great impact on your happiness.
But if you can’t do any of that just yet, stop for a few minutes daily and breath intentionally, just focus your attention on the air coming in and out of your lungs. This is a baby step towards developing a regular meditation practice.
Also, having a choice in how you react to people and situations around you, whether you accept them, change them, or simply turn away from them is priceless, since it gives you a certain feeling of liberation and mental strength. Embrace mindfulness rituals and return to them every day to keep your own inner peace and acceptance of the world.
Applying perspective to observe how we might take the circumstances and people in our lives for granted is a great tool to develop gratitude.
Focus on the precious things you have, such as your health, eyes, hands, family, friends, and life.
The place you came from, the time in history you live in, the social revolutions that have obtained the freedom that we experience in many places on earth. The variety of shops that prepare our food at a low cost anytime that we feel hungry but don’t want to cook, the artists that work for months writing, acting, studying so we can sit in the comfort of our homes and be entertained for a few hours watching a movie or reading a book. The electricity, running water, public transport, planes, kettles, washing machines, mobile phones, and the list goes on...
We have more luxury today than a king could only dream about a few centuries ago, without the need to do much. All of this was created for our comfort, and for that, we must be grateful.
To act generously is to have faith. Faith is the opposite of fear; it’s to believe that the best is yet to come despite having evidence. Faith is to believe in abundance as opposed to lack, and although most of us make associations with money or possessions, generosity goes beyond that.
Time, for instance, is one of the most precious things we can gift someone, including ourselves. Love can be given freely to anyone, in the form of a smile to a stranger, in forgiveness to the ones around us, by giving a few coins to someone in need, or to support a charity. People get richer when they share; that is the fascinating alchemy of generosity.
In yoga, giving is also known as Karma Yoga or the Yoga of Action. It purifies the heart by teaching to act selflessly, without expecting of gain or reward. By detaching from the fruits of our actions and offering them to a higher force, we learn to diminish the ego.
It’s close to impossible to finish a jog in the park and not feel better or to attend a yoga session and leave the class stressed out. You don’t need a fancy gym, expensive leggings, or a “tailored-body-type-signature-workout”. Just a pair of trainers and a walk around the block will be a great start.
Exercising is a fantastic way to enhance your feel-good hormones, and as you practice, you’ll be hooked on it.
In a hedonistic society that has tried to replace happiness with instant gratification, it’s worth remembering the formula: short-term discomfort (discipline) equals long-term pleasure. While short-term pleasure equals long-term pain.
» READ MORE: Why Should You Go on a Yoga & Meditation Retreat?
Take care of your body
A healthy mind resides in a healthy body. It is not just a cliché but a fact of life as well. Mind, body, and soul work in tandem and their effective collaboration results in a happier and healthier person. A healthy body plays a vital role in uplifting your mood, which in turn is crucial in lifting you out of depression.
To take care of your body, you don’t have to go through heavy workout sessions or run marathons. There are simple things that you can do to boost your wellbeing – take regular morning walks, practice yoga, drink more water, eat healthily, unplug from technology, and get enough sleep.
Be aware and take note of which healthy activities lift your mood, and make an effort to do them more often.
No matter how successful you want to be professionally, you have to make sure you don’t lose your health while reaching your goals. Caring for your mind and body has to come first, before anything else. In order to maintain good physical and mental health, you should make sure your meals are healthy and balanced and be physically active.
Choosing seasonal food that’s rich in nutrients and freshly from scratch is a great place to start. Practicing yoga, tai chi, hiking, or cycling in the countryside can do wonders for both your body and mind since one cannot be fully healthy without the other.
Use your mornings wisely
Reaching for your phone the moment you open your eyes in the morning is rarely a good idea. Reading emails, news, and checking your social media accounts for the latest gossip throws you right in the middle of other people’s problems, worries, and needs, which can cause panic and stress.
So, instead of grabbing your phone, tablet, or laptop, use these early morning hours to relax and gather positive energy for the rest of your day. Having a healthy breakfast, listening to calming music, or simply having a peaceful and loving conversation with your partner, can help set the right tone for the day ahead.
» READ MORE: 5 Tips for Making the Most of Your Morning Routine
Genuinely connect with people
Striking a good relationship with others and connecting with them sincerely is one of the most important factors for achieving happiness. It is a fact that people with stronger relationships are happier, healthier and have longer lives as compared to those who don’t.
People usually lose touch with their friends and family because they get caught up with work and other priorities.
Therefore, make time for people who matter to you and celebrate meaningful occasions and holidays. A close relationship with friends and family is a strong basis for love and support in your life, which in turn may help to elevate your feelings of self-worth and sense of belonging.
Choose to stay positive & believe in yourself
Being able to stay positive during adversities is a rare but rewarding quality. Many studies have shown that optimistic people are physically and psychologically healthier than pessimists. It is simple reasoning – positive thinking leads to a positive attitude, which in turn helps you live a longer, happier, and healthier life.
Staying positive boosts your motivation, which helps you achieve your goals quicker and easier. As a matter of fact, in the absence of a positive attitude, your mind tends to wander until it finds a threat. Furthermore, having an unwavering belief in yourself and your abilities boosts your self-esteem. Believing that you are a valuable person (cause you are) and have something to offer (cause you do).
Find your “why”
Motivation is essentially an urge stemming out of internal or external factors, which makes you continually interested and committed to achieving your goal. Experts believe that motivation is a form of behavior and impulse to react towards challenging situations.
Each and every one of us has his or her unique goals. But the more pertinent thing is to figure out why we have these goals.
Knowing your “why” is the first step to becoming motivated to create a life you enjoy living. To find your motivation, you first need to have a vision, which acts like a compass and helps you figure out which direction to take.
Cherish your alone time
Being around other people can lift your spirits, ease your worries and make your problems seem smaller. However, you should also be able to be alone and enjoy it.
You can use your alone time to read a good book, to have a cup of coffee or tea, and just observe your own thoughts. Have a bubble bath, light some scented candles, and play the music you like. Even if you only watch a film or take an afternoon nap, being alone should never be a bad thing, but rather an awesome opportunity to create new rituals to check in with yourself.
You can start to be happier right now by applying the tips above. And remember:
- You have all you need and even more. Give thanks for these blessings!
- Buying more things will only reinforce the part of your brain that is never satisfied.
- Your physiology determines largely how you feel. Eat well, sleep well, exercise, slow down, and breathe deeply for a few minutes.
- Love people and use objects.
- Value experiences over things; it's money well invested.
- Give love, time, money, or anything you can. Scientific studies suggest that it’s a shortcut to happiness.
- When you feel like your thoughts are winding you up, focus on your breathing patterns. You’ll alter your nervous system in as little as 3 minutes.
Need more inspiration? Kick start your self-love journey with an invigorating meditation and life coaching retreat!