Food and fitness are crucial tools in becoming healthy and happy, but they are not the only activities that matter for overall wellness. Your thoughts and how you interact with others are also super-important in the journey towards the BEST.YOU.EVER
Below, I’ve listed the top nine activities and commitments that keep me happy — don’t worry, they still include delicious food and lots of Physique 57. Try incorporating these simple practices into your life, and you’ll be surprised by how much happier you feel!
Start Each Day With a Grateful Heart
When you’re always chasing that next big goal, it can be easy to forget all the great people and things you have in your life. Stop for a moment each day to count your blessings.
It’s a simple thing to do, but being consciously grateful can have a tremendous effect on your mental health. Science has shown taking time to reflect upon things you are thankful for can improve many aspects of your life, including:
- Physical health — Making a conscious effort to be grateful can help boost your immune system, improve your heart health and lower your blood pressure.
- Mental health — Stress can a take a serious toll on your mental health. Actively feeling gratitude can help ease the symptoms of depression and improve your levels of happiness.
- Your relationships — Gratitude helps us take stock of the relationships that really matter in our lives. If you act on your gratitude, you are showing the people you care about just how much they mean. Your relationships are more likely to flourish when you maintain them. Gratitude can even help you change your daily attitude and form new relationships.
- Sleep — Sleep is a huge factor in health and happiness. If you aren’t getting enough sleep or quality sleep, you are going to struggle throughout your waking hours. Gratitude helps get a deeper, more restful sleep. Sleep also helps you be more receptive to positivity. A study of sleep-deprived college students found the subjects remembered 81 percent of negative words, but just 31 percent of positive words.
- Self-esteem — If you are grateful for what you have, you can eliminate a lot of time spent comparing yourself to others. When you are satisfied with your own life, you tend to have healthier levels of self-esteem.
Consume Foods and Drinks That Nourish the Body and Soul
When you are wondering how to be the healthiest person you can be, what you eat is a great place to start. It’s really important to nourish your body from the inside out. Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the best ways to be happy. Eating healthy is one of the key components to a healthy lifestyle, which translates into more energy and a lower risk of health problems like obesity or heart disease. A recent study even found adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet can even make you happier.
Committing to a healthy diet doesn’t mean you have to take the joy out of eating. Keep in mind a few tips for eating healthy without sacrificing everything you love about food and drink.
- Manage your portions.
- Eat a wide range of different food types.
- Always remember to eat whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
- Limit your intake of trans fats and added sugar.
- Enjoy indulgences like sweets and alcohol in moderation.
- Drink lots of water!
Once you start focusing on healthy eating and drinking, you will be surprised how much room you have to experiment and find dishes you love. Some of my favorite recipes are sweet potato and white bean soup, zoodles with lentil Bolognese, warming apple cider and my special super immune-boosting soup.
Learn to Love Your Skin
Your skin deserves some daily care and pampering. First things first, always remember to protect your skin from the sun. Wear hats, and always use sunscreen. Too much sun can damage and prematurely age your skin, and put you at greater risk for skin cancer. Healthy lifestyle choices like sticking to a healthy diet, not smoking and managing your stress levels are also great ways to help keep your skin looking great.
While you can make those healthy choices every day, you can show your skin a little extra love. Try a refreshing face mask. Pick out an indulgent body lotion. Choose a product — one without harsh chemicals or abrasive materials — that will help you feel more beautiful in your own luminous skin.
I swear by a special skin routine, and I’m going to let you in on my secret. Every morning before I get in the shower, I dry-brush my skin, starting on my hands and feet and brushing toward my heart. Dry-brushing has been practiced by ancient civilizations all over the world and benefits your lymphatic system, increases blood flow and makes your skin look beautiful by exfoliating and reducing cellulite. Remember to use a soft-bristle brush, so you don’t irritate your skin.
Think Positive Thoughts
It turns out the eternal optimist has a lot of advantages in life. Positive thinking helps you take on life’s challenges with a smile on your face, and it can help you stay healthier in the long run. One study found optimistic women have a significantly lower risk for several different leading causes of death, such as:
- Infection — 52 percent lower risk
- Stroke — 39 percent lower risk
- Heart disease — 38 percent lower risk
- Respiratory disease — 38 percent lower risk
- Cancer — 16 percent lower risk
Positive thoughts may or may not come naturally to you, but they can be a learned habit. Start each day with one positive thought. Each time you feel a wave of negative thoughts crowd in, stop. Take a moment to think of one positive thought to counterbalance those. The more you work on positivity, the more it becomes a part of the fabric of your everyday life and outlook.
The mind is a very powerful tool. Create positive visions for your life, partner and work. Then, watch your dreams be drawn to you.
Surround Yourself With People Who Lift You Higher
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said you are a collection of your five closest friends, and I believe it! A strong circle of friends who bring out the best in you is crucial to being the best you and loving yourself for it.
Friendships can be hard to maintain when you are a busy adult, but that doesn’t mean those relationships become any less important. Friends are the people who laugh with you and help pick you up when you are down. You might see some friends multiple times a week, or you might have to rely on long-distance video chats. If you want that person in your life, you can always find the time to maintain the relationship.
Do not be afraid to make new friends. Talk to your coworkers. Start a hobby that exposes you to new people. When you find people who fit into your social life and help lift you higher, you will wonder why you were ever afraid to go out and find that kind of friendship.
Let Go of All Toxic Relationships
Up to 89 percent of people have some kind of toxic relationship in their lives. That figure may seem shockingly high, but remember, a toxic relationship does not have to be a romantic one. The toxic relationship in your life can be with a friend, a coworker or even a family member.
First, take a step back and try to identify any toxic relationships in your life. Some of the key signs of this kind of unhealthy connection include:
- Discomfort or fear — Do you find yourself worrying about the next time you will see someone? Do you feel like you have to be careful not to upset this person? If you feel like someone in your life has controlling or upsetting behavior that constantly puts you on edge, your relationship with this person is likely toxic.
- Constant arguments — Disagreements in any relationship — romantic or otherwise — are inevitable, but arguing should never be the primary interaction with someone you consider an important part of your life. If you are constantly fighting with someone, consider if there is a way to change the relationship, or simply tell yourself it is alright to let this person go.
- Lack of communication — Do you feel like you can’t talk to someone in your life? Communication is a core part of any relationship. When you can’t share your thoughts with someone, or they refuse to share with you, the relationship is going to struggle.
- Resentment — Resentment is a powerful emotion that can sour any relationship. If you feel that emotion building up and directed at someone in particular, consider changing that relationship or letting it go entirely. Likewise, if someone constantly resents you, consider moving on from that relationship.
Negativity will only weigh you down. Once you let go of the toxicity in your life, you will notice how much better you will start to feel. Remember, you deserve the best.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Social media can be so much fun, but it can also be a trap for comparing yourself to others. Everyone is posting pictures of their latest vacation, their perfect significant other and wild nights out with their friends. Remind yourself those pictures never tell the whole story. People might have had to work long hours for months to go on that vacation. No one has a perfect significant other. That night out with friends might be the first one someone has had in months.
Whether you find yourself making comparisons to the people you see on social media or people you regularly see in person, stop. Making those comparisons is unproductive and can be downright unhealthy. No two people are alike. When you compare yourself to someone else, the playing field is extremely uneven. The two of you are living in different circumstances with different strengths and weaknesses.
Instead of measuring your success against someone else’s, set personal goals and work to achieve them. When we stop comparing ourselves to others, we are more open to being grateful for what we have and proud of what we have achieved.
We are our own harshest critic, but you have the power to do something about that. Focus on your strengths and embrace your imperfections. There is no one else on this planet exactly like you — you are one of a kind!
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
Your comfort zone is the place you feel the safest and the most at ease, but it’s also a place where you can get stuck. If you never step outside that zone, you shut yourself away from new experiences and challenges. When you push yourself to try something new, you can surprise yourself with just how capable you are.
Start small. Try a new type of food. Push yourself to try a new type of exercise. As you regularly work small steps outside of your comfort zone, you can build toward something bigger. Maybe you can take that solo trip you have always dreamed about, but were too afraid to take. Maybe you will run a marathon. The more you try, the more you find you can do.
Of course, pushing yourself too hard can be a bad thing. Find the right balance that helps expose you to new things in a way that builds your confidence and expands the boundaries of your comfort zone. When you accomplish something you never thought you could do, it gives you more confidence in all areas of your life. Try doing four days in a row of Physique 57. Notice how it makes you feel like you can take on the world.
Forgiveness is easier said than done, especially when it comes to ourselves. We make mistakes and spend countless hours berating ourselves for them. This habit does little to help us become happy, but it is a hard one to break. Here are few ways you can try to make forgiving yourself a little easier.
- Leave the past in the past — Regrets are a part of life, but it dwelling on what has happened in the past does not help us in the present. Acknowledge that you made a mistake, and then start looking forward instead of backward.
- Realize mistakes are inevitable — When we make mistakes, we replay everything leading up to it over and over in our heads. How could we have avoided that error? We probably have a lot of different answers to that question, but the real answer? Not all mistakes can be avoided. No matter how careful we are, we will slip up. Know mistakes happen, acknowledge them and move on with your life.
- Learn from your mistakes — Instead of obsessing about a mistake, treat it as a learning experience. Even though you made a mistake, you learned something from it. You know how to avoid that same mistake in the future. When you learn something, a mistake is worth making.
It’s important not to be too hard on yourself. Everyone makes mistakes, and that’s OK. Just make sure to learn from your missteps and apply the lessons later on.
Healthy life choices and happiness go hand in hand. Try out these tips to see what works for you. Remember, you are responsible for your own happiness!