We’re all looking for the same things: peace of mind, health, happiness, and contentment. And probably a little more wisdom wouldn’t hurt either.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed from the barrage of self-improvement messages from health and wellness experts, such as “sculpt those six-pack abs,” “overhaul your diet,” or “get a new attitude.”
While some (but certainly not all) of this advice can be sound and helpful, let’s not forget some of the very simple steps we can take on a daily basis to have better physical and mental health and greater overall wellness. All of the strategies below are backed by extensive scientific evidence, so rest assured they aren’t just fads or plain tomfoolery.
As you read these, please resist the urge to say “Oh yeah, I already know that.” The better questions to ask yourself are: “Am I using these strategies?” “If not, why not?” “If not now, when?”
Here are 10 simple things we need to “get” right now to improve our overall health and wellness:
1) Get outside
Exposure to the outdoors lets you appreciate the beauty of nature, boosts Vitamin D production, can improve your mood and may reduce seasonal depression. While you are out, remember to wear sunscreen and avoid excessive sun exposure to reduce your risk of skin cancer.
2) Get moving
While we haven’t yet seen a news headline saying “Man Killed By Couch,” it’s definitely in your best interest to get off the sofa and have some regular physical activity. Start slow and don’t overdo it, but add some movement or exercise to your daily routine. Even three 10-minute periods of activity each day can have positive health benefits. Thirty minutes a day, four to five times per week is even better.
3) Get good nutrition
By now we all should know that a steady diet of pizza and ice cream won’t cut it. While many diets are unhealthy and aren’t effective in the long run, the basic premise of eating a lower-fat, lower-calorie diet rich in fruits and vegetables holds up as a healthy approach. Also remember to drink plenty of water to make sure your body stays adequately hydrated.
4) Get a good night’s sleep
Sound, restful sleep is almost like a magic elixir for better health, as it can help stave off weight gain, reduce pain, improve your mood, and boost your immune system. Use basic “sleep hygiene” tips such as keeping to a regular sleep schedule, reducing caffeine use in the evening, keeping your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool, and not going to bed unless you are sleepy.
5) Get connected with others
Having supportive friends and family is good for you in more ways than you may realize. Social support reduces isolation, provides a sense of security, and improves feelings of self-worth. People with a strong support system are also less vulnerable to ill health and premature death and cope better with bereavement, job loss, illness and other stressors.
6) Get a little solitude
Just as being with others is important, so is some regularly scheduled alone time. Recharge your batteries through meditation, reflection, prayer, yoga, or other mindfulness-based techniques. You can also use your private time for journaling, creativity, and other hobbies or interests which bring you enjoyment and satisfaction.
7) Get a few laughs
There’s nothing like a good belly laugh to help you feel better. There are many documented health benefits of laughter, including lower blood pressure, increased immune response, reduced stress hormones, muscle relaxation, improved mood and pain reduction. So watch a favorite sitcom and let the laughs roll.
8) Get some gratitude
Be thankful for the people and things in your life that bring you joy, fulfillment and love. Keep a gratitude journal in which you regularly write down the things you are grateful for. This can help you feel happier, maintain perspective, and learn to more fully appreciate what really matters.
9) Get into learning
Lifelong learning is good for you on many levels. You can expand your knowledge, keep your mind active, or just improve your odds of winning trivia contests. Reading is great, but remember that audiobooks and podcasts open the door to learning while commuting, traveling, exercising, or waiting for an appointment.
10) Get more positive
Is your glass half empty or half full? It’s well established that a positive point of view is good for you in many different ways. Optimists tend to be happier, healthier, live longer, have more satisfying relationships, and are more successful in work, school and athletics. Not naturally optimistic? It’s a learnable skill with some regular practice.
Here’s a question: Which of these 10 simple things can you “get” right now to feel better? Leave a comment. Also please consider subscribing to my blog and feel free to follow me on Twitter, “like” my Facebook page, or connect on LinkedIn. Thanks!