I’m fascinated by the link between the way we live our daily lives and the health and Happiness we enjoy. There are choices that we make every day, some of which seem completely unrelated to our health and happiness, that dramatically impact the way you feel mentally and physically. Here are 4 ways to help improve the relationship between your happiness and your health.
1. TAKE ME TIME.
It is simple. Set aside an hour a day to do something you love. Meditate, sit down with a good book and a cup of tea, take a bath with soothing music, hit the gym and break a sweat… do what makes you happy. When you’re happy, you have likely noticed that you are more likely to stick to your healthy habits. On top of that, these habits, in turn, will engage the hormones and neurotransmitters that influence your happiness. When you are feeling down, you’re more likely to skip workouts, do some heavy-duty emotional overeating and have difficulty sleeping. Temporary stress often leads to suppressed appetite, while chronic stress has been found to increase appetite and food cravings, and that in turn leads to weight gain.
2. DON’T SPREAD YOURSELF TOO THIN
Its no secret that stress effects your health and well-being. A little stress is good to keep you going, too much stress will have lasting and dramatic effects on your life. To avoid feeling stressed or overwhelmed, set priorities and have realistic expectations for yourself. Downsize your to-do list – or even better – make a to-don’t list. While it’s important to be there for the people around you, the world won’t end if you say “no” to them and “yes” to yourself. People you care about and that care about you will understand when you say no. As my mother always said “You can’t fill a cup from an empty well.” Meaning that if you are overwhelmed and burned out you won’t be able to effectively help those that need you. Take time and prioritize your health and well-being.
3. INACTIVITY WILL DESTROY YOUR HAPPINESS
Have you ever noticed that the weekend you decided to stay in and just live the couch potato life and avoid all physical activity is also the weekend you can’t sleep at night and feel unaccomplished? Sitting around and just binging on Netflix will not only effect your physical health but will deteriorate your mental health and happiness as well. Add to that, more and more people have desk jobs that require minimal movement and you probably aren’t as active as you need to be. At work, take some 5 minute breaks to get up and walk around or get a desk that you can rise and stand at. When possible, walk to work, park as far as you can away from you office, or get off a stop early and walk the rest of the way in. You will be amazed at how just adding a little activity will increase your health and happiness.
4. GET OUT AND SMELL THE ROSES
For most of us, the most time we spend outside is when we walk from our house or office to our car. Exploring the world around you: that could be traveling to faraway lands or hiking through the woods in your area, provides a wide range of mental and physical benefits. For starters, the benefits of sunlight (and the negative effects of artificial light) are well-documented in research. We know that not being outdoors enough significantly decreases our Vitamin D intake.
At the end of the day, we all want to be happy. Happiness comes from so many things, but being healthy will help maintain your happiness and your happiness will help you remain healthy. Stay active, stay happy!