Staying healthy and happy: 7 crucial practices

Only have 2 mins? See our evidence-based living guide (INFOGRAPHIC)

1. Sleep at least 7.5 hours every night

You are not lazy because you get sufficient sleep – you are smart. If you are sleep deprived, you eat app. 385 calories extra in a day (with 6-7 hours of sleep). Reduce bedroom light, remove all technology from the room, go to bed at the same time every day, try to have your bedroom temperature slightly colder than the rest of your home (Walker, 2017).

2. Eat more fruit and vegetables We are what we eat, and if you eat crap you will feel…crap. Your plate should be a canvas for a rainbow of various colors. Think black and beige from rye bread, pasta and rice. Purple, orange, green and red from vegetables, fruits and hummus. White and brown from seeds, nuts and legumes. As a rule of thumb, the more intense a colour of the vegetable and fruit, the greater amount of antioxidants (Greger, 2015).

3. Move your body You are a mammal, you are designed to move. Instead of focusing of 1 hour of strenuous exercise every day, replace with 10,000 steps throughout the day. We are biologically wired to move throughout the day and our brains will reward us with a dose of dopamine – “the happiness-feeling” – when we move sufficiently.

4. Find your tribe You are the sum of the 5 people closest to you. Do you look up to your friends, and do the conversations you have spark creativity, happiness and fulfillment for you? If not, you need to find people that share your values and belief system. Look outside your office environment, think about things you love spending time on, and search for communities that nurture your interests.

5. Play every day A 4-year old laughs app. 300 times every day. Adults laugh 15-18 times per day. Enjoy life and feed your inner child. Dance to your favourite 80’s playlist, sing in the shower, swim in the ocean.
What makes you smile is an effortless and life-affirming activity to you.

6. Get up 20 mins earlier every day Begin your mornings with an activity you choose, it will change your perspective on life. Set an alarm 20 mins earlier than usual and choose how you wanna spend those precious 20 mins on yourself. A brief meditation? A brisk walk outside? A cup of coffee while looking out your window? Beginning your day with you is a practice and a catalyser for growth. It will turn into a self-fulfilling cycle and help you prioritise your own needs and aspirations.

7. Do things that make you happy, and do more of them If you are too busy to do the things you love, you need to restructure. Don’t know what you love? Start doing practice no 6 and you will find out. You are the captain of your life, and you have the power to set the direction and speed for your life.

References:

The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest (2008), National Geographic Books, Dan Buettner
The China study (2016): The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-Term Health, revised and expanded edition, Benbella books, T. Colin Campbell & Thomas M. Campbell
How not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease (2015), Flatironbooks, Dr. Michael Greger
Why we Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams (2017), Scribner, Matthew Walker
The Inner Spirit of Laughter: 5 Secrets from The Laughing Guru (2013), Ebury Press India, Madan Kataria

Published by Louise

I'm a happy, usually smiling and very cuious girl.

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