Living a healthy and fulfilled life is one of the best decisions you can make. The benefits of doing so are innumerable. However, it can be difficult to know where to start.
There are so many little things that you can do to improve your life that it can be overwhelming when you want to make changes. However, there are a number of things that are easy to fix and will make a big difference to your overall wellbeing.
You don’t need to make major changes to your lifestyle either. Getting more sleep, for example, is as simple as going to bed earlier. While eating healthier could mean more fruit and veg and less fast food.
These are all easy changes you can make tomorrow or even today! It was Aristotle who said that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” If you are not examining how you can make changes to your lifestyle that benefit physically and mentally, then what are you doing.
You cannot put a price on your life. A healthy body is the single most important possession we can own. After all, if you don’t make your health a priority, sooner or later, it will become a priority!
1. Sleep Better
Sleep is one of the most underrated parts of your health. There is a commonly used phrase which refers to ignorance regarding sleep.
“You can sleep when you are dead.”
The irony in this statement is that if you follow it, you will be dead sooner than you think! Sleep is a vital part of our lives, it is when we repair the damage we have done to our bodies during the day.
You should be aiming for between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Seven hours is the absolute minimum you should be getting. Lack of sleep has been linked to diseases such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
As well as that lack of quality sleep affects your cognitive abilities. You will experience brain fog, which affects your decision making, while you can get down and need to sleep during the day.
There is no getting around the fact that sleep is a fundamental part of being healthy. There is a reason we need to sleep each night. Improving your quality of sleep is one of the easiest fixes you can make towards living a healthier life.
2. Eat Less Rubbish
What you put into your body is vitally important. You wouldn’t put the wrong type of fuel into your car, so why would put the wrong type of food into your body.
We have evolved over thousands of years to eat certain types of food. However, modern living has replaced those dietary standards with something else entirely.
These foods may taste nice for a while, but they serve no nutritional benefit. You are prioritising instant gratification over long-term wellbeing. This is a long-term recipe for disaster.
What we eat on a daily basis affects us more than we realise. Eating a healthy diet can help you to maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of suffering from chronic diseases.
If you want to lead a healthy life, getting your diet in order is a critical step you need to make!
3. Exercise More
Our bodies were designed to move, modern life has made us ever more sedentary. This is a serious problem that needs addressing. Our ancestors did not sit in offices for 8 hours a day, they were out hunting and gathering to ensure their survival.
Your body is a tool, it needs to be used or it will deteriorate. You don’t have to go to the gym every day or run until you collapse, but you do need to do some form of daily movement.
The more exercise you do, the more you will notice the benefits. Not only will you look better, but you will feel better too. By exercising you are reducing your risk of major illnesses such as diabetes, stroke and cancer by up to 45% while reducing your risk of early death by up to 30%!
Exercise is one of the best ways you can reduce anxiety and stress that are becoming ever more prevalent in our modern day lives. It is one of the best and cheapest ways to combat this problem.
If you’re not already exercising, you should seriously consider adding it to your daily routine. It’s what our bodies were built to do, modern life has just got in the way of letting us do it!
4. Reduce Stress
As I mentioned before, modern life is becoming ever more stressful. We have multiple apps and TV programmes competing for our attention. We live in a busy and noisy world that shows no sign of slowing down.
It can be hard to find time to yourself and relax every once in a while. However, it is vitally important that you do.
Life is too short to spend the majority of it stressed and anxious. We thrive when we are relaxed and have minimal stress in our lives. A little stress is necessary to keep us in check, but too much is not good for our wellbeing.
Reading less news has caused my stress to decrease. I didn’t need to know about events occurring on the other side of the world, with headlines that were only designed to wind me up and make me stressed.
Cutting the news out of my life made a huge difference!
Analyse what causes you stress in your life and see if there is a way you can reduce that stress, and if possible, eliminate it.
5. Reduce your meat intake
This may be a controversial point for some people, but there is a reason behind its inclusion on this list. The rate at which we eat meat at the moment is unsustainable. The amount of land that is cleared to raise cattle and the sheer amount of water used to facilitate is incredible and not in a good way!
Not only is eating meat bad for the environment, but it’s not much better for your body either. Processed meats such as ham, salami and bacon as Group 1 carcinogen’s by the World Health Organisation. This means there is strong evidence to suggest these meats cause cancer.
That is without mentioning the food standards that are present in some countries when it comes to handling meat. In the US for example, chicken is washed with chlorine at the end of its production to disinfect it. While this may seem ok, it does not encourage good hygiene standards before the chicken reaches the end of the line.
The over-availability of meat is not good for our bodies. Before supermarkets, meat was a delicacy, a treat, now it is a commodity, with everyone able to buy it at the supermarket. This is at odds with our ancestors, who weren’t used to eating meat at the rate that we do today.
By reducing your meat intake, not only are you benefitting the environment but your body too.
6. Step out of your comfort zone
This last one is a bit different from the other pieces of advice, I have given, but I feel it is just as important. It is all too easy to get stuck in a rut and do the same things over and over again.
While there are benefits to a routine, if that routine is not beneficial it can be to your detriment. Stepping out of your comfort zone every once in a while and challenging yourself to do something different or scary is good.
By doing this you are proving to yourself that you are bound by any self-imposed limitations. This is fantastic for your mental health. It is easy to develop complexes and fears that are borne out of irrationality.
Challenging these concepts is essential if you want to progress. The thing about complexes and fears are that they become smaller the closer you get to them.
The confidence you feel once you do something you were once scared of is immeasurable. It may seem scary, but once you have done it and left your comfort zone behind, you’ll be full of confidence and wondering why you were so scared in the first place!