10 Habits That Will Make You a Healthier and Happier Person
Posted By Macey Farnsworth on March 7th, 2017
Being the best possible version of ‘you’ can be super intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. A lot of people see living an optimally healthy lifestyle as a challenge or a chore, and it can be. Don’t look at other people’s successes and tell yourself that you could never achieve those things. If you want to have six-pack abs or quit smoking, don’t look at people who have done it like they’re superhumans. They thought the same as you when they first started. All it takes is hard work and dedication.
Here’s how you can get started today.
Before we jump into the real list, we’ve got one nugget of knowledge for you that’s going to help you more than anything else, no matter how you decide to start trying to change yourself for the better.
People try to change habits all the time. Come New Year’s, they say that they’ll get back into shape, start eating better and so on, but what actually happens? They immediately go all-in and burnout by April. Most people fail at accomplishing what they want to achieve by going all-in too early instead of starting small. We’re used to the way things are, so naturally, we’re going to resist change at first. Only after a few days, weeks or—depending on the person—even months will we finally settle into those lifestyle changes. Let yourself off easy and don’t kick yourself for not hitting your 100 pushup goal in the first week. Respect yourself and know what you reasonably can and, more importantly, can’t do.
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There’s a high correlation between speed of eating and a person’s weight. Chowing down your food faster causes you to eat more than it would normally take before you felt full. To combat this, make an event of eating and turn off all distractions, electronic and otherwise, to peacefully enjoy your meal.
Simple and effective. We all hate exercise at first, but it does make you feel better if you’re dedicated; if you keep at it long enough, you’ll eventually become one of those “crazy” people that loves it. Exercise greatly boosts your self-esteem and body image, which shouldn't be surprising. But what is surprising are the massive benefits you’ll reap from a healthy, happy state of mind and confidence in yourself.
Get Eight Hours of Sleep
For one reason or another, too many people think that they don’t need nearly as much sleep as they actually do. Long-term research studies have shown time-and-again that people who sleep less than eight hours every night are likely to die younger than those who got more. But lazy bed dwellers shouldn't hear this and get excited; the same study showed that people who slept more than nine hours a night faced the same likelihood of an earlier death. So set that alarm to get yourself between seven to eight hours a night. Sweet dreams!
Cook Your Own Meals
Cooking is a great skill to have for your relationships, health, and overall everyday life. Also, what you’re likely to whip up will have significantly fewer calories and more nutrients than eating out. You get to customize your meal for how hungry you are or how much you “should” eat. Plus, you get to save a ton of money spending one or two nights cooking all of your meals for the week. Grocery stores are practically giving away fruit and vegetables for you to eat healthily, not to mention buying canned goods is a great way to stock up on healthy eats. The internet is chock full of thousands of different ways that you can eat healthy for less than $40 a month.
Lay Off the Sugar
Studies have shown that those who drink sugary drinks like soda are much more likely to suffer from obesity and heart problems. Not to mention that consuming sugar switches your body to be temporarily fueled by it, which results in that all-too-familiar crash once the energy is gone. What most people don’t know is that the crash stays with you longer than you think and impacts your body’s performance well into the next day. This leaves you worse off than you’d be if you hadn’t taken that swig.
Get Out More
We as humans come from nature, and we have a whole lot to gain from going back to visit every once in awhile. Even close proximity works wonders; people that live close to small forests or parks were reported to be much less likely to suffer from anxiety, autoimmune disorders, digestive problems and more, not to mention the loads of mental health benefits from stepping away from bustling modern life. And let’s face it: nature is pretty cool.
Drink More Water
There’s a reason that water keeps us alive: it’s pretty beneficial. Not only does consistently drinking water regenerate your body, hydrate your skin and keep your immune system healthy, but water has also been linked to keeping your kidneys from overworking themselves and cause kidney stones. It also helps keep your digestive system working properly as a natural probiotic. Protip: to feel great all day, set an alarm every three hours to remind you to drink water. You’ll start noticing the difference immediately.
It’s hard to say why, but we’re naturally inclined to feel happy when we smile, even when it’s fake. Forcing a smile has even been found to reduce cortisol levels in your brain. The same rings true when seeing someone else smiling. So you’re not just doing yourself a favor when you're smiling; you’re helping the rest of the world out, too.
Believe in Yourself
Taking action to live a happier and healthier life can be daunting at first, but it’s important to remember that it’s difficult for everybody in the beginning, so don’t feel discouraged. Start small and set realistic goals for yourself. You aren’t going to change overnight, although you can change a lot for the better next year with a little perseverance.