Past couple years I’ve read, practiced and experienced with ways of achieving a more positive and fulfilling lifestyle. I cannot tell you all of these points will work for everyone, but I can tell you these are all a step towards a healthier lifestyle. So.. if part of you feels incomplete with a sense of emptiness, or if you’re constantly upset, complaining a lot, out of energy… then you may want to assess your daily habits. There are various other things.. but here are 7 tips that have really changed the quality of my days!
Exercise more: So much has been written on this… so let me phrase in a perspective you may not have been exposed to yet: humans have been naturally very active beings from early days. Hunters and gatherers would spend weeks at a time searching for food and shelter. Now, with technology driving society, many of us are trapped in non-active lifestyles. The reason exercise is deemed so crucial both mentally and physically is because it’s a primitive human need that once came naturally. Now we have to make time and go out of our ways to squeeze in exercise. So remember, just like drinking water and eating, exerting energy is a primitive human need… go out and move your body!
Meditate more:5 minutes 2x a day, before sleep and when you wake up. Sit with your back against your bedhead, legs half way folded…close your eyes and take deep breaths. Don’t think about anything, just feel. Thoughts will rush in, but don’t entertain them. Concentrate on your breathing – it helps to focus. This will calm you down; bring your attention and energy inwards. Imagine you are opening your arms, hugging all the free-flowing energy, collecting it back into your body… fueling your body. This is especially important at night – our energy is spread loose with all the day’s activities and problems still rushing through your unconscious. Instead of taking medications to sleep better (an external solution), meditate (an internal solution). Over time, you will develop a thick layer of peace and tranquility. Your sleep will improve.
Vent more: … in an objective and evaluative manner. Don’t vent via complaints, irritations, blaming, pointing fingers. That form of venting leads to inner frustration, stress and most importantly, no solution. Instead, vent by looking at the issue objectively. Use your analytical thinking, not your emotions. Ask yourself… what is the problem? Why is there a problem? How have I reacted to it? What can I do to overcome it? The different forms of venting include writing, thinking on your own and talking to a friend. Be careful when venting via a friend because it’s an easy way to trigger emotional venting, leading to a spiral of frustration. Writing is a good therapeutic way to vent because there is no one on the other side of the paper to feed your emotional frustration; you’re forced to think critically and not emotionally. Do not bottle up issues inside, it will lead to numerous issues. Be mentally free. Venting is like cleaning your trash bin on your computer.. clean your mind up of any unnecessary bs filing up your time/energy
Eat healthier: By no means am I a nutrition expert, but from personal experience I couldn’t stress enough the benefits of healthy eating. I don’t need to list out what “healthy” means, there are enough articles on the Internet that will do the job. What I can tell you is, eliminating crap from your diet and replacing it with nutritionally-rich foods will increase your energy levels tremendously. Really. It’s not BS. Also, I recommend you do not become dependent on caffeine for your daily energy. Your body goes through natural cycles of energy levels… when your body is tired, it is telling you to rest. Don’t constantly over-ride the cycle with caffeine. It is unnatural and once your cycle is completely offset it will become counterproductive.
Read more physical books: Your eyes will thank you for giving them a rest from screens and your mind will thank you for feeding it knowledge. Reading books also improves your attention span and patience. I personally have a preference for “self-help” books (a poor label, implying these books are only for people who need help. I call them self-improvement books).
Embrace nature:every chance you get, go out and engage with nature. nature has a healing power, it reminds us that our personal issues are insignificant in the vastness of our planet, it calms us down, it has meditational power, it takes us back to our childhood... the benefits are endless. just walking on grass barefeet has been proven to have health benefits (as shown here). Nature is free, so use it to free yourself from self-induced stress and worries!
Rest more: I only learnt the importance of rest when I moved to the US and lived in a metropolitan area. Your body needs rest as much as it needs exercise. However, that doesn’t mean you should be in bed for as long as you can or take naps any chance you get. It means to develop a natural and consistent 6-8 hour sleeping cycle, depending on your lifestyle.
For me, at the end of the day it’s about finding a balance. You should aim to achieve a balanced lifestyle between physical and mental health.. professional and personal relationships.. and play and work time. Everything should be in moderation.. but of course, no one is perfect and every day is a new day for all of us to work towards getting better!
Lauren, Johnny and I hiking up a hill in the Southwest of Ireland