Steps to Health and Happiness
Resilience is our ability to recover when life happens. One path to resilience is gratitude—being thankful for all we have, the abundance in our lives.
Gratitude is also appreciating our life experiences. The highs, the lows, the blessings, the lessons, the setbacks, the comebacks, everything.
Expressing gratitude boosts optimism, enhances positive emotions, and increases self-esteem.
Where to start? Find three things to be grateful for each day. Write down why you are grateful for them. They need to be different every day.
Clean water, fresh air, food, clothing, shelter, morning coffee, the way the sun shone through the spider web on the bush, the smile of a child, how people have loved and supported you, how you recovered from setbacks—there is no limit, so go for it and see what you can find.
Drinking water promotes increased energy, clear thinking, smoother skin, weight loss, and even gets our internal organs working more efficiently. So how much water do you need?
The first step is to take your body weight in pounds and divide by three. That number is the minimum number of ounces of water to drink every day. If you’ve been drinking at least that much water consistently already, go ahead and increase your water to half your body weight in ounces.
The second step is to make a plan. Set your glass by the sink, fill your containers first thing in the morning, keep a running tally near your desk—whatever steps will set you up for success.
The third step is to drink your water throughout the day.
Do you ruminate about the past and or worry about the future?
It’s no wonder, because we have over 75,000 thoughts a day! But here’s the thing, most of those thoughts are complete crap!
Flow is all about living in the now. And that’s hard to do when we are ruminating about the past and/or worrying about the future.
One path to flow is doing more of what you love. When we are doing something we love, engaging with life, the mind is right here, right now. All those pesky thoughts don’t stand a chance!
Sleep is crucial to our health (and happiness).
Good sleep promotes enhanced immune functioning, increased energy and strength, weight loss, blood glucose regulation, better coordination and flexibility, and emotion regulation—just to name a few!
First, decide how much sleep you want to get. Aim for seven to nine hours. What time do you want to wake up? Back it up from there to determine your bedtime.
Second, create a bedtime routine to begin 30-60 minutes before bedtime. Your routine might include drinking sleepytime tea, using a meditation app to relax, wearing comfy jammies or socks, brushing your teeth, washing your face, etc.
Finally, create an environment that promotes sleep. For instance, make your bedroom your sanctuary, keep your room cool, dark, and quiet. Find comfortable bedding. And most importantly, no screens (phone, iPad, TV, etc.).
Connection is all about making time for relationships.
The quality of our relationships is actually the number one thing that contributes to our overall health and happiness!
We need people.
Each day choose at least one person to connect with. This can be a text, email, phone call, or meeting in person.
Our bodies need fuel. Good fuel. And all of the healthy ways to eat have one thing in common…No sugar.
When we kick sugar to the curb we experience better moods, a reduced risk of cancer, weight loss, clearer skin, a stronger immune system, and more energy.
So how do you kick sugar?
Eat real food, eliminate sugary drinks, drink water, get good sleep, eat more protein, more veggies, and check out intermittent fasting.
It’s time to break up with sugar.
The easiest way to spot sugar is to read labels. If any ingredient ends in “ose” (sucrose, lactose, fructose, etc.) or says “juice” or “syrup” and more obviously “sugar,” eliminate it from your diet.
It’s really best to eat as little prepared food from packages as possible as these conveniences tend to contain sugar.
Each day keep a food journal, writing down everything you eat. Yes, everything, even if it contains sugar.
See if you can improve each day.
Purpose is knowing who we are and how we fit into this world.
How do you impact the lives of others?
What do you stand for?
What is your gift to the world?
How will you live your one precious life?
Set a goal to use the prompts above to learn more about yourself. The ultimate goal is to incorporate your answers into your life to live your passion, really know who you are, and how you fit into this world.
Mobility is the ability to move freely and easily, with full range of motion. Mobility decreases our chances of injury, reduces pain, improves circulation, and improves the health of our joints and muscles.
Ways to increase mobility include: paying attention to our posture, gentle stretching, band work, restorative yoga, breath work, massage, Tai chi, slow walking, progressive muscle relaxation, and foam rolling, just to name a few.
Try increasing mobility a little bit at a time. Each day write down one thing you did for mobility and how you felt.
Potential is what you want to accomplish. From going to bed at the same time every night, to growing an amazing garden, to getting a PhD in psychoneuroimmunology—working toward something is gratifying.
Each day write down at least one goal to accomplish. If your goal needs more than a day, write down one act to move toward your goal.
Movement is moving our bodies—just like exercise. But exercise can sound like a bad word so I’m calling it movement.
Walking, running, swimming, bike riding, hiking, CrossFit, HIIT, skiing, kayaking, pickleball, the options are endless!
Find something that you love to do and do it. Or try something new!