The majority of us aspire to live long, peaceful, prosperous, and stable lives. Unfortunately, in our quest for achievement, we often sacrifice our wellbeing, and as a result, we end up with illnesses and disabilities that we could have prevented.
That does not have to be the case. Although many of us lead stressful, challenging lives, we can build routines that will help us live healthier and more productive lives with a bit of tweaking here and there.
There’s no scarcity of advice on how to live a balanced lifestyle—one book we saw recommended 107 healthy habits! We won’t go into detail, but we’ve identified the most common nine healthy behaviors that everyone should be able to incorporate into their daily/weekly routine.
1. Do some exercise
Regular exercise aids in weight management, bone, muscle, and joint health and lowers our risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. Lack of physical activity is responsible for approximately 260,000 deaths in the United States each year.
Many fitness experts recommend 30 minutes of exercise 5-6 days a week, with one day off to relax and heal. It doesn’t have to be a heart-pounding, iron-man-style workout. Even something as easy as a 30-minute brisk walk will improve your health and add years to your life.
Taking the stairs at work, going for a 10-15 minute walk at lunch, or getting a tiny pedalling system at your desk can all help. The most important thing is to find an activity that you enjoy rather than one that is a chore.
2. Yoga will help you become more flexible
Yoga isn’t just for a lean, sturdy, and flexible body that looks great in yoga pants. A daily yoga practice will make you happier, according to science.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Yoga, “yoga induces an inhibition of the sympathetic region of the hypothalamus,” which causes the anxiety-inducing fight-or-flight response. (1)
When we practice yoga, we connect with our nervous systems in a way that isn’t stimulated by exercise. On a cellular level, it has an impact on us.
Yoga’s mind-body relation is beneficial to one’s soul.
3. Maintain a balanced diet during the day
Eating more berries and nuts and avoiding sugary beverages and sweets are good ways to maintain a balanced diet. The American Heart Association suggests eating fish twice a week at mealtime. Fatty fish (mackerel, salmon, herring, sardines, and albacore tuna) are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which lower the risk of heart disease.
Don’t forget to keep track of your portions. If you want to live up to 100 years eat more fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre, and eat less high-calorie foods high in sugar and fats.
And remember to chew your food! To get the most digestible type, several nutritionists recommend chewing each mouthful 20-30 times. According to reports, chewing slowly decreases calorie consumption by about 10%, partially because it takes your stomach about 20 minutes to inform your brain that it’s complete.
Finally, a word of advice about a healthy eating habit: Artificial sweeteners should be avoided. Artificial sweeteners can be linked to an increased risk of obesity, long-term weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, according to a 10-year study reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal by Gold Bee researchers. (2)
“Most people who consume artificial sweeteners do so in the expectation that these items will help them prevent weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease,” said Dr. Meghan Azad, chief author of the CMAJ report. Multiple reports, however, demonstrate the inverse relationship.
4. Drink plenty of water
Water is essential for every cell, tissue, and organ in our bodies, so having the right amount is crucial. Traditionally, we’ve been advised that we need eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day, a number that has never been proven medically. Perhaps a better metric is to drink enough water to urinate once every 2-4 hours and have light-coloured urine.
Many devices, ranging from “smart bottles” to various free applications, are readily available to help you grow and maintain this habit.
5. Learn to hug – Hugs make you happy
If you’re an introvert who avoids friendly hugs, you may want to reconsider your stance. Hugging someone isn’t just good for the soul; it’s also good for your wellbeing.
According to studies, when you get a hug or spend time snuggling with someone you care for, the brain produces more oxytocin, also known as the “bonding hormone.”
Oxytocin lowers blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol. (3)
If the idea of hugging someone every day makes you cringe, massages also boost oxytocin levels.
6. Get some rest
Sleep is vital for our health. The brain wipes away the residue of the day’s work as we sleep, as well as resetting and repairing nerve networks so that they can function properly when we wake up.
We’re all familiar with the most common side effects of not getting enough sleep: drowsiness, nausea, loss of concentration, and forgetfulness. However, the impact of sleep deprivation can extend well beyond the well-known and can have long-term implications for your brain.
According to a recent Italian study, chronic sleep deprivation can cause the brain to begin damaging itself.
Italian researchers worked with mice, some of whom were given unrestricted sleep while others were subjected to intense sleep deprivation.
The researchers then looked at glial cells’ behaviour, which serves as caregivers for the brain, sweeping out unnecessary brain cell connectors (a type of brain junk) to keep it running smoothly.
They discovered that glial cells were even more active in sleep-deprived mice, and it’s likely that this hyper-sweeping/destructive behaviour contributes to Alzheimer’s and other brain disorders.
Adopt the habit of having a good 7-9 hours of sleep to prevent this possible danger. Keep your bedtime routine free of TV, screens, and other electronics if you’re having trouble sleeping, and give your brain some actual downtime.
7. Eat a healthy diet
You may know that eating a balanced diet is good for your body, but what you eat also determines whether you’re a happy camper or just a plain grouch. Although eating comfort foods like pasta or candy can make you feel warm and fuzzy for a short time, it can have a negative impact on your mood in the long run.
Diet is so important to your emotional well-being that a branch of medicine called nutritional psychiatry focuses on researching and treating mental illness through food.
Since there are so many studies on the topic, researchers had to combine them all into one meta-analysis to get a clear picture.
People who consume diets rich in processed meat, sugar, refined grains, dairy, and carbohydrates like potatoes have a higher risk of depression, according to the researchers. People who eat a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and lean meats are healthier and less likely to suffer from depression.
Put the donut down and show yourself some love. You are entitled to more satisfaction than the ten minutes of pleasure provided by a sugary treat.
8. Develop a mindfulness practice
Many of us go through the day sleepwalking, not paying attention to what we’re doing. We’ve gone into autopilot mode.
How many times have you found yourself staring at your phone while walking, exercising, or eating? The majority of us are unaware of what is going on both inside and outside of ourselves.
We become conscious of problems on a whole new level as we practice mindfulness. Instead of aimlessly going through life without relating to something, we feel it, which can have a significant impact on our happiness and well-being.
Consider putting the phone down and concentrate on what you’re doing, how it feels to be where you are right now, and what you’re thinking.
Make a habit of doing this for five minutes every day and see what happens.
9. Set a goal for yourself
We all get stuck in ruts, doing the same stuff day after day, but taking on challenges keeps both the body and mind agile. Don’t be embarrassed if you’re not an expert. Bear in mind that every expert was once a novice.
Learn to paint and explore your inner Van Gogh.
Why not try learning a foreign language? Members of the local library are likely to have access to free language services. There are also several free online language learning applications available, such as Duolingo.
Have you never had the ability to learn to play a musical instrument? For less than $30, you can get a harmonica and some instructional CDs. You’ll soon amaze your friends with the songs you can play if you practice for 30 minutes or so every day (excellent relaxation therapy).
As previously said, the list of healthy lifestyle habits is practically infinite. We believe that following these recommendations will help you live a healthier life, but you must be true to yourself. Find the good habits that work for you, whether they are from us or by others, and stick to them!