When asked if they were happy with their life, only 33 percent of Americans said yes. Happiness is significantly impacted by health, both mental and physical.
How can you improve your health and thus become happier?
Changing a few habits in your daily routine can make a huge difference. These changes can range from your diet to activity level to your attitude.
Making small lifestyle changes doesn’t have to be difficult. Check out the following list of easy ways to be healthy and happy every day.
1. Practice Gratitude
The first step to becoming healthy and happy is to change your outlook. We often get overwhelmed by life’s stresses and struggles. We focus on the negative because that’s what we’re used to.
Challenge yourself to switch gears.
Focusing on the positive aspects of your life allows you to deal with the negatives. You can do this by practicing gratitude daily. Start by writing down three things your grateful for every morning.
Focusing on your blessings makes your issues seem less overwhelming. A positive outlook equips you to address your problem in an efficient way. This, in turn, improves your mental health.
2. Self Care
Practicing self-care can also improve your mental health.
It’s common for women to put their families and careers before their own needs. While it’s an honorable trait, not taking care of yourself first will lead to burn out. When you’re burnt out, you’re more likely to eat unhealthy food and think negative thoughts.
Address this problem by doing one thing each day that prioritizes your needs.
That could mean waking up 20 minutes earlier to read a book for leisure. It could mean hiring a babysitter once a week and going out with your friends. Or, it could be allowing yourself 5 extra minutes in the shower to zone out.
Practicing self-care will lead to a positive outlook on life and a sense of fulfillment.
3. Limit Processed Foods
We all know the importance of eating a clean and balanced diet. But, it seems like there are so many opinions and rules on what we should eat. How do you know which ones to follow?
The unanimous rule when it comes to healthy eating is cutting out processed foods as much as you can.
That includes fast food takeout, processed lunch meats, and more. It’s important to get in the habit of reading the ingredients label on our food. If you don’t understand what most of them are, it means that the item is too processed.
Opt for raw and natural foods instead. Fruits, vegetables, dairy, and organic meats are best. Shop the outside walls of the grocery store instead of the inner aisles.
4. Stretch Daily
As we age, our bodies become weaker and less agile. But, you can delay that process by keeping your muscles healthy.
Stretching every day is an easy way to keep your muscles strong and flexible. Maintaining your flexibility will allow a fuller range of motion as you age.
Our bodies need maintenance like anything else you value. If you don’t use it, you lose it. Even if you can’t go to the gym each day, stretching is an excellent first step.
5. Learn Something New
Like the rest of our body, our brains need stimulation to stay sharp. If you want to keep your memory and other brain functions working, you need to exercise it.
Some people enjoy doing brain teaser puzzles to challenge themselves. These are great because you can find them in phone app form which makes them convenient to do whenever you have time.
Another way to stimulate the brain is to finally get around to learning about that topic you’ve always wanted to. That could mean learning a new language. Or, it could be solving math problems.
Exercising your brain will keep it healthy and functioning longer.
We all carry around emotional baggage from our pasts. It can be hard not to let our baggage affect us daily. Unfortunately, this weight is preventing us from being happy.
Consider going to counseling or therapy to talk about your problems. It can be super beneficial to have an unbiased person listen without judgment. Then, they may have suggestions you’ve never thought of before.
Some people go once and feel better, others go to therapy often. Once your emotional turmoil gets resolved you can live healthier and happier.
7. Get Social
Human beings are social animals. We find comfort and support in our friends and family.
To improve your health and happiness, embrace your social life. Rather than focusing on the number of friends you have, focus on the quality. Having 2-3 helpful and supportive friends is better than 10 acquaintances.
When we share our journeys with others, we open ourselves up to learn. By trusting others with our emotions, we learn to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is the key to an authentic and fulfilling life.
8. Sweat it Out
You can’t have a list of healthy tips without including physical exercise. It’s too important for maintaining our health!
Getting active for 30 minutes each day can improve your physical and mental health. Exercise encourages the release of endorphins which boost your mood. It also builds strength in your muscles which allows them to function longer.
Consider joining a social workout group to make it more fun. For example, a weekly boot camp program or a running group. If you prefer to workout solo, incorporate HIIT exercises into your gym routine.
9. Hydrate More
Water improves your life, plain and simple. The benefits of drinking water are endless.
Besides allowing your organs to function, water improves your hair and skin. It helps regulate body temperature, removes toxins from our bodies, and aids in digestion.
To increase your water intake, consider placing labels on your water bottle. The labels can state how much water you’ve drunk as the level goes down. Refill the bottle 3-5 times a day depending on size.
10. Daily Body Checks
Sometimes we get so consumed in our busy lives that we don’t notice other problems. Think about the last time you noticed a new mole but couldn’t remember how long it had been there.
By doing a daily body check, you stay on top of new health concerns.
Start by laying down in your bed– it could be when you first wake up. Notice how each body part feels from your toes to your scalp. Then, stand in front of the mirror and assess your skin.
Early detection of many health concerns will allow you to treat them faster. In the case of cancers and other diseases, early detection can save your life.
Want More Ways to Be Healthy and Happy?
You don’t need to change every aspect of your life to become healthy and happy. Making small changes to your daily routine can be more than enough. The list above of ways to be healthy is a great place to start.
When working on improving your health, consider both physical and mental health. Both affect and impact each other.
For more tips on living a healthy and happy life, check out our blog.