Healthy Habits for a Happy Life – Small Changes Make a Big Impact
A healthy lifestyle can help you feel happy, no matter your life circumstances. But it takes a lot of time and commitment to develop good habits.
Keep in mind that eating well and getting regular physical activity are lifelong behaviors. It’s normal to experience slip-ups, but it’s important to problem-solve and get back on track.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Unfortunately, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many people struggled to get a good night’s rest due to worries about the virus, staying home from work, or losing track of their normal daily routines.
During sleep, the brain removes toxic proteins that accumulate during the day as byproducts of neuronal activity, which is why it’s essential to get a good night’s rest every night. A lack of sleep can also impact cognition and mood, causing you to feel irritable and stressed. Happy people make it a priority to get enough sleep because they know how great they feel when they do and how bad they feel when they don’t.
Make sure to set a sleep schedule and stick to it, even on the weekends. This will help your body adjust to your bedtime so that you can fall asleep easily. Set a wind-down routine to help you relax, such as reading, writing, or listening to music before bed.
Exercise isn’t just for keeping you healthy; it’s a natural mood booster and can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety while improving self-esteem. If you don’t have the time or energy to hit the gym, you can still make physical activity a regular part of your daily routine by going for a walk, dancing around the house to your favorite song, or stretching in the middle of the day.
It might sound obvious, but regular physical activity makes you feel happier. Exercise can boost your mood by releasing brain chemicals, such as serotonin and dopamine, and improve your self-esteem. It also helps prevent depression and may be as effective as antidepressants for some people. Plus, it lowers your risk of heart disease and death from all causes.
Even if you’re not into sports or a gym rat, try taking a walk or joining a beginner’s yoga class. You’ll have a great chance to socialize and get your blood pumping. Plus, walking outdoors soaks your body in mood-lifting Vitamin D.
When the day gets tough, remind yourself why you made healthy habits, to begin with. It might be as simple as wanting the energy to play with your nieces and nephews or being able to carry your own groceries. This will help you stay on track when slip-ups occur, and it can be your motivation to solve roadblocks, such as bad weather or a busy schedule.
Happiness is different for everyone, and it’s important to find what works for you. Start by adding these healthy habits to your daily routine to see if they make a difference. Just remember, it takes time and consistency to create new habits—and they don’t need to be big changes all the time. The key is to stick with them for at least 30 days before judging their effectiveness.
3. Eat Healthy
When it comes to happiness and wellness, a healthy diet is key. A nutrient-dense diet that includes plenty of fruits and veggies, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats will give you the energy you need to get through your day.
In fact, a recent study found that people who eat eight servings of fruit and vegetables per day report greater life satisfaction than those who don’t, Live Science reports. Specific foods can even boost your mood, like bananas, which satisfy a sweet tooth and may help dispel PMS symptoms, or cocoa, which contains flavonoids that may promote feelings of contentment.
Changing your diet can feel daunting, but starting small and being consistent will make it easier to stick with new habits. Try adding one healthy eating habit at a time, and make it a priority by scheduling it into your day or writing it down on your to-do list.
Be sure to reward yourself for reaching milestones, but choose non-food rewards, such as new workout gear or a movie night with friends. This will keep you motivated to continue your healthy living routine, and problem-solve when roadblocks arise (like bad weather). Also, remember that eating healthfully and getting enough exercise are lifestyle changes, not quick fixes. Remind yourself why you started these changes — perhaps to have the energy to play with your nieces and nephews, or to be able to carry your own grocery bags!
4. Take Care of Yourself
While we all have different versions of happiness, there are a few key habits that can help you feel happy regardless of your situation. These habits can be as simple as reading every day or focusing on kindness and positivity.
It’s also important to take care of yourself physically. Try to get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, and eat a balanced diet. Try to avoid foods high in sugar, caffeine, and fat that can have a negative impact on your mood.
In addition, be sure to exercise regularly and find activities that bring you joy. Some examples include cooking, dancing, listening to music, calling friends, or a relaxing bath. If you struggle with depression, consider seeking professional help.
Finally, it’s important to stop comparing yourself to others. While it may be tempting to look at your friend’s picture on Facebook or see someone else doing better at work than you are, it can lead to feelings of discontent and low self-esteem.
It’s also a good idea to practice gratitude and try to stay positive. It’s also helpful to spend time with loved ones and remember the things that make you laugh. In addition, try to unplug your phone and social media at least once a day or set a reminder on your computer to turn it off an hour before bed.
5. Make Time for Friends and Family
Although everyone’s version of happiness is different, research shows that there are a few daily habits you can incorporate into your routine to improve your mood. You might be surprised at how small changes can make a big difference!
While it’s important to get enough sleep, exercise, and eat well to stay healthy and happy, making time for friends and family is also essential. Friendships can provide a sense of community and support, which may help you feel more resilient during stressful times. Spending time with loved ones can also help you cope with challenges, like a serious illness or job loss. Having a strong social network can also reduce stress and encourage you to avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as using alcohol, drugs, or smoking, in times of adversity.
In addition to spending quality time with friends and family, it’s also a good idea to connect with people who inspire you to be your best self. For example, if you enjoy a hobby such as painting or writing, consider joining an art class or journaling group where you can share your ideas with others.
It’s easy to think that finding happiness is out of reach as we navigate the pandemic and vaccination debate, but the truth is, it’s within reach. By incorporating healthy habits into your daily routine, you can create positive changes that will have a lasting impact on your happiness!
6. Take Care of Yourself
It’s important to remember that you have to take care of yourself in order to be able to take care of the people and things in your life. It’s like airplane safety advice — put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. This can mean getting plenty of sleep, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly, but it also includes activities such as taking deep breaths, practicing mindfulness, listening to music, and spending time in nature.
It can also be a good idea to try to find ways to have fun in your daily life, whether it’s playing a musical instrument, painting, dancing or just going out for drinks with friends. These things will help you feel happy and will also boost your mental health by relieving stress.
In addition, it’s important to remember that happiness is a process, and it takes time to develop new habits. Be patient and don’t give up! If you’re struggling to find happiness, it may be helpful to talk with a therapist or counselor.
It is a common belief that you must work long hours to be successful, but it’s important to make time for self-care. By following these simple habits, you can improve your physical and emotional well-being, which will ultimately benefit those around you. And who doesn’t want that? So go ahead and start implementing these healthy habits into your day-to-day routine!