Do you ever fantasize about going to bed one night and then waking up a slimmer, happier, and more efficient version of yourself? If so, then you are not alone. The fact of the matter is that we all secretly want to snap our fingers and skip all the troubles and turmoil which accompany the switch to a more wholesome way of living. Although it sounds rather impossible, the good news is that you don’t have to completely turn your world around in order to achieve actual results. In fact, here are the 5 simple changes to make for a healthier life as of today:
It’s common knowledge that what you eat heavily influences how healthy and slim you are – but have you ever thought about how your eating habits influence your general wellbeing?
Nowadays, most people tend to just gulp down their meals or snacks in order to save up on time during hectic work days or while watching some sort of entertainment at the end of a long day, for example. But, as ‘innocent’ and common as this activity might seem, its long-lasting results are nothing short of a disservice to your dieting, exercising, and healthy living endeavors alike.
Believe it or not, chewing more slowly on food is one of the easiest, yet most advantageous things you could be doing to improve your lifestyle. The most obvious benefit is that the enzymes and probiotics (‘good’ or beneficial bacteria) present in your saliva get to jumpstart the digestive process. In turn, properly decomposed food will result in a higher intake of nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, and fiber within the stomach and intestines. These beneficial substances will then have a nourishing and antioxidant effect at a cellular level, leaving you’re healthier and happier with each thoughtful bite you chew. Experts, therefore, recommend chewing on soft foods (vegetables, fruit) 5-10 times and tougher foods (meats, hard vegetables) 25-30 times before swallowing.
Secondly, taking your time with chewing can actually help you eat less over time. You see, munching more mindfully on your meals enables your brain to ‘catch up’ with what you are doing and subsequently suppress any appetite spikes you might otherwise be experiencing. In other words, eating slowly tricks your mind into believing it’s full without the need of massive food quantities.
Getting to enjoy the flavor and texture of your food also means that your fatty and sugary cravings can be satiated with healthier choices, leading to fewer pounds on the scale and fewer health problems in the future (such as those caused by obesity, high cholesterol, etc.).
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to consider sleep a commodity rather than a necessity for your day-to-day wellness. Feeling tired throughout the week, having dark circles under your eyes or experiencing mood changes more frequently is one of the first signs of an unhealthy lifestyle.
The repercussions of an irregular sleeping schedule extend way beyond your energy and focus levels into your general health over long periods of time. This occurs in light of the fact that sleeping is the particular segment of your circadian cycle (day-night alternation) when your body gets the opportunity to ‘recharge’ both physically and psychologically. Therefore, this is the time slot when your wounds heal better, your neurological connections and memories are processed correctly, your nutrient intake is properly distributed throughout the organism, your hormonal activity stays balanced, etc. The consequences of a good night’s sleep are thus improved weight management, elevated concentration throughout the day, and a generally heightened mood regulation.
Getting the right amount of sleep each night can be a difficult task at the beginning, but learning a few tricks could substantially improve the quality and duration of your rest. So, while technology might be present everywhere during your waking hours, try to minimize your exposure to it 1-2 hours before going o bed. The blue light emitted by laptops and phone screens reduces the amount of melatonin produced by your body, therefore affecting the way you end up sleeping in a negative manner.
Your bedroom also influences your sleeping patterns, so make sure your mattress and pillow(s) are suitable for your health requirements and preferences alike. Avoid heavy meals in the evening and go for a cup of warm milk or chamomile tea if you have trouble falling asleep. Speaking of which, you should also talk to a professional if your occasional ‘bad’ night turns into chronic insomnia because this condition could potentially lead to cardiovascular problems, high blood pressure, and even diabetes in the future.
Admittedly, ‘positive thinking’ has been turned into a cliché by people who have transformed this saying into their default answer for any health issue you might be experiencing. But there is actually more to this idea than the motivational quotes you find posted on the internet.
There is no exaggeration in saying that your brain is the powerhouse controlling the way in which you walk, how you feel, and pretty much everything in between. It then makes sense to pay extra attention to the psychological aspect of your life in order to ameliorate your general health. Afflictions like depression and anxiety are well-known to have a detrimental impact on a person’s regular lifestyle in terms of eating and sleeping patterns, mood stability, energy levels, etc.
Although serious mental illnesses should be treated with the help of a doctor or psychologist, you can ameliorate milder symptoms of mental distress by making a few changes in your living regime. For instance, cut down on stress by learning how to better organize your time, so as to both accomplish your tasks and leave room for relaxation as well. If necessary, take a break from social media for a while, since the pressure to be ‘perfect’ in the virtual world is becoming an increasing source of psychological troubles for modern individuals. Yoga, meditation, and keeping a journal can also help you manage your inner thoughts more effectively while maintaining a wholesome eating and exercising regime ensures that your body is getting all the support it needs for a balanced mental life. In addition, your relationships with your family, friends, and romantic partner dictate in part your self-esteem and how optimistic your thoughts are, so be sure to keep these ‘healthy’ as well.
It might not seem like it, but your outlook on things is important because, over time, it can end up influencing the chemical makeup of your neurological system and determine certain aspects of both your physical and mental state of wellness – it’s up to you whether this influence is a positive or negative one after all.
As previously mentioned, physical exercise holds a crucial position in the economy of your general wellbeing. The prospect of starting a workout regime can be daunting – especially if you are not a particularly dynamic individual in the first place – but keep in mind that the advantages of making this activity a regular habit definitely outweigh the initial struggle you might go through.
The benefits of exercising are numerous and diverse, the most obvious being better weight management, boosted energy, and reduced chances of developing diseases of all sorts (cardiovascular problems, diabetes, cancer, etc.). Moreover, physical activities help reduce stress and mental pressure by releasing ‘feel good’ hormones like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. In turn, these hormones act as natural antidepressants by elevating your mood, improving your concentration abilities, and enhancing your productivity.
The good news is that you don’t even have to get into more strenuous exercises such as cardio or spending hours on end on the treadmill to see a change in your everyday life. For example, cycling, yoga or plain walking can have the same positive influence on your body and mind. Even so, the key to improving your lifestyle is that of consistency in your exercising routine. So, no matter what you choose to do, keep on doing it all throughout the week – Saturday and Sunday included. With time, you will start to notice that your own body will ‘demand’ physical exercise as a source of mental and bodily balance.
To make sure you don’t give up after just a few days, start your workout regime slowly and then build up on that routine later on by either increasing your exercising time or its intensity. Get a friend or a family member to join you in this quest towards a healthier lifestyle in order to boost your motivation as well. Additionally, keep your workouts planned for the mornings or early noon, since intense physical exercise in the evening can interfere negatively with your sleeping schedule.
It is safe to say that we – whether as individuals or as a society – have a tendency to overcomplicate things in all aspects of life. From school and work to relationships and inner thoughts, everything seems to be under some sort of constant pressure because we want to be things like ‘thinner’, ‘smarter’, and generally ‘better’ – but most often not in the right way.
You see, constantly comparing your journey with that of others will not only leave you wanting to accomplish unattainable goals, but it will also stand in the way of your personal progress. This applies to anything from weight loss to career achievements, aspects which ultimately reflect onto your mental and physical wellness in equal part. And, as we have seen, both your body and your mind play essential roles in your overall health and happiness, meaning that you should strive to protect them as much as possible.
Nobody is more capable of positively changing your life than yourself – and it’s not even that hard either! For instance, if you are worried that your body does not look a certain way, then take a moment to think whether you actually believe that to be true or if it is a standard imposed by the media you are focusing on. Strive to be healthier and more content with your figure for your own self-esteem, not because you worry about what others are thinking or saying. The goal of each day should be to become better than you were yesterday, with the aforementioned consistency in exercising, dietary regime, and even thinking to be crucial towards this personal progress.
Friends and family can constitute a wonderful support system in this sense, while a well-structured schedule can really ease your way into an improved sense of living. Keep yourself informed on topics like healthy foods and meditation techniques, set social media aside when needed, and concentrate on your own journey.
Undoubtedly, you will gradually become more self-confident and healthy as you learn what works for your body and mind, as well as what should be changed in your day-to-day life for optimal results.