Everyone wants to be happy and enjoy good health, but when it comes to putting in the work required to achieve these goals, many people fall short because they don’t have a plan in place. It can be difficult to envision long term success while dealing with the short term stresses in life that can often sidetrack us from our goals.
Good health and happiness require a balance in life that doesn’t tip towards over zealous behavior but also doesn’t tip towards lack of action. The following seven habits are easy ways to create a life of good health and happiness.
1. Meditate Daily
What do you envision when you think of meditation? Do you envision a guru sitting cross-legged on a mountain top and hear a monotone humming sound? That’s how many people view meditation, but the truth is that is just one type of meditation.
Merriam-Webster defines meditate in two ways: “1) to engage in contemplation or reflection, and 2) to engage in mental exercise (as concentration on one's breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness”. While the latter is typically how meditation is viewed, the first definition provides many opportunities for meditation.
Contemplation and reflection are key. Many find that belief in a higher power and meditation on these things is a centering force in life. For Christians, contemplating scripture and prayer are fulfilling means of meditation. Meditation keeps the soul focused on a greater purpose.
2. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
The benefits of adequate sleep are innumerable. In our go-go-go culture, it’s easy to try to add more work into a day by subtracting from our sleep time. This is a recipe for disaster for both health and happiness. We simply need rest to function well.
We can set ourselves up for success by forming a nightly routine that helps us wind down. Read a book, drink a cup of tea, take a warm bath, or even spend time meditating. The truth is, we can function better mentally and physically after a good night’s sleep.
3. Eat a Balanced Diet
Your diet is up to you and while some may choose to eliminate certain food groups, it’s generally a good method to make sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, healthy grains, protein, and drink lots of water. Find what works for you. Adding in a variety of super foods will also help to maintain good health and can be helpful while trying to lose weight.
However, as we have already discussed, good health and happiness come down to balance. Sometimes a little indulgence is what the soul needs. Occasionally enjoy a decadent dessert, a favorite treat, or enjoy a piece of cake at a birthday party while celebrating with friends and family. A healthy life can also include occasional indulgences.
4. Keep an Organized Home
A messy house can result in a scattered brain and an organized home can result in a focused mind. The environment we live in affects us. When the house is a mess we often feel out of control, but the ability to keep the home clutter free can lead to a feeling of control over our environment and in turn we will feel more in control of our lives.
5. Foster Relationships
There’s no doubt about it, maintaining happy and healthy relationships takes work. But it’s well worth the time and effort when we reap the reward of having a dedicated spouse, loving friends, and adoring children.
Success and monetary rewards are all good, but will never be as satisfying as the important things in life, such as faith and family. Foster your relationships with others and with a higher power for true happiness.
6. Spend Time Outdoors
Spending time in nature is healing for the mind and important for emotional health. Looking at a bright blue sky and feeling the warmth of the sun can make us happy almost immediately. Make sure to wear sunscreen!
Turn off the electronics and disconnect from the fast pace of life and enjoy relaxing amongst the quietness of nature. It will transform the mind into a place of peace. Even better, spend time outdoors with friends and family for an added benefit. Take a moment to slow down and smell the roses, literally.
7. Be Active
Simply move more. Find an enjoyable sport or activity and do it. Find a wearable fitness device that inspires activity, such as a Fitbit. The important thing is consistency and that’s also one of the hardest parts.
Even just going to the zoo with your family and spending the day walking around is great for health and happiness. Park farther away from the store requiring you walk farther. Train for a 5K. Walk, run, spin, or jump. Carry in your heavy groceries for added strength training. Do what you can when you can. Just keep moving.
Tell me what you think is the most important habit for health and happiness. I look forward to your responses!