Everyone wants to experience health and happiness in life. And while there are many approaches for getting there, a common thread is always present: a solid foundation is essential. When you invest in the right foundational steps, you reap the benefits.
The following seven steps will provide you with a solid foundation for becoming a healthier, happier version of yourself, by showing you how to take care of yourself inside and out. There's nothing extreme; you can work every one of these steps into your life no matter what your starting place is.
So go ahead and start taking steps to become a healthier, happier you.
1. Make peace with the past.
Are issues from the past weighing you down in the present? Do you spend much of your time reliving past events? Do you find yourself feeling angry, resentful, guilty, or depressed because of things that happened long ago? It’s impossible to flourish with good health in the present when the past is draining you, distracting you, and holding you back.
Take whatever steps are necessary to make peace with the past. For some people, practices like journaling and yoga can facilitate the process of letting go and shifting into a more peaceful state of mind. For others, self-help books, online resources, or counselling are helpful. Some people find the answer through a spiritual path.
Whatever approach you choose, the work you put in will pay off in ways beyond what you could ever imagine, by releasing you to live more freely and fully.
2. Keep learning and growing by exposing yourself to new things.
There are still many people who believe learning is largely restricted to childhood and youth, and that the adult brain has limited growth potential. but modern research has shown this isn't the case at all. The adult brain can adapt to new inputs, process new information, and form new neural connections at any age. All that’s required is exposure to new things, and the willingness to put in the time and effort.
How do you go about exposing yourself to something new? The possibilities are endless. You might:
Whatever you choose, the excitement and freshness of exposing yourself to something new will provide some healthy stimulation for your brain.
3. Get your body moving.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a hardcore gym rat, or you head out for a walk around the block, or you do some exercises in the privacy of your living-room. What matters is that you get your body moving. With that said, think about how your body functions and aim to provide it with movement it can most benefit from:
Find something that feels good to you and make it part of your lifestyle. You’ll feel better, you’ll look better, you’ll sleep better, and you’ll age better.
4. Get enough quality sleep on a consistent basis.
It's often overlooked, but getting quality sleep on a consistent basis is essential for your health and well-being. A lack of quality sleep does serious harm over time. Physically, your body misses out on all the repair work that takes place during the hours when you’re asleep. This makes you more vulnerable to illness and disease. Lack of sleep can also linked to an increased appetite, leading to overeating and weight gain.
Not getting enough sleep also impacts your mental and emotional health. Mentally, you’re not as sharp when you’re sleep-deprived. Your concentration suffers and your memory is compromised. Emotionally, you’ll find it harder to maintain a stable, balanced mood when you’re tired. You’ll also be less equipped to deal with stress and more prone to over-reacting to daily annoyances.
How do you know you’re getting quality sleep? You stay asleep for the entire night, and you wake up feeling rested and refreshed.
5. Get outside and spend time in nature.
There’s something about being out in nature that’s incredibly therapeutic. It calms the mind and soothes the soul. It’s both relaxing and invigorating.
Your body needs fresh air and sunshine for optimal health. Make a point of getting outside and spending time in nature whenever you can. It could be a weekend away at the cottage, a day spent hiking, or a few hours out on the water. Even if all you can manage is a few minutes spent in a nearby park, you’ll still benefit from getting outside and taking in some greenery.
6. Stay connected with people.
Close, meaningful bonds with people are crucial for you to be healthy. Loneliness triggers the stress response, and with it, the release of stress hormones. When this becomes a chronic state, it has detrimental effects throughout your entire body. This is the reason why loneliness puts you at greater risk for multiple conditions, from heart disease to Alzheimer’s disease.
Relationships change over time, so staying connected with people requires thought, planning, and effort. If you’re building new connections, be prepared that those close meaningful bonds will likely take time to develop. But whether you’re nurturing old connections or building new ones, it’s a crucial step in maintaining optimal health.
7. Make vegetables a regular part of your diet.
Can’t leave veggies out of the picture! Vegetables are packed with a variety of nutrients, so they support a wide range of bodily functions. You have plenty to choose from, so if there’s something you don’t like, don’t force yourself to eat it. Instead, find those vegetables you do like.
Be sure to work some leafy greens into the mix. Think spinach, kale, bok choy, arugula, and collard greens. Find your favourite cooking method: a light steaming, a stir-fry with other ingredients, or tossed into soups and stews.
Image Credits by Gabriela Piwowarska from Pixabay
Tips for achieving optimal wellness, inside and out.