[Chris Brown- Personal Trainer, Health Coach]
If you are anything like me, it is the time of year when we take time to reflect on the year that has past,and take time to consider our goals and intentions for the coming year.
Below you will find a list of seven healthy habits that are often overlooked, and that means they probably aren’t on your New Year’s Resolutions list. In my experience adopting at least some of these habits is the difference between a year well lived and enjoyed or not.
- Have a vision, mission or goal that is bigger than you!
Working towards something that is bigger than just you helps you to lead a happier more fulfilled life, its what lets you bounce out of bed each morning. It lets you connect with your reason for being on the planet, and gives you a greater sense of purpose than just floating aimlessly through life. As humans, we like to seek meaning in the things we do, and having a goal that is beneficial to both yourself and others, brings meaning to your thoughts and actions each day. For some a mission might be a statement as simple as “raise happy, healthy, children” (the statement was simple. The task, not so much!), for others it might be a little harder to work out.
Try this: Imagine what your life would look life in the future if it was perfect in every way. This might be 1 year, 5 years or 10 years ahead, it doesn’t matter. Write out on a blank page your imaginings in clear detail covering every area of life health, relationships, career, family, financial, spiritual and social. Now you have your end point, get busy setting goals and objectives that will take you closer to your ideal life.
- Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness “a mental state achieved by focussing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations”. In short, being mindful is being present right here, right now. Becoming mindful reduces stress and anxiety and increases feelings of calmness, clarity and contentment. It has even been shown to improve work, sporting and academic performance!
Try this: Take 10-30 minutes of your day to sit quietly and just be present with yourself. A great way to begin is to simply become aware of your breath and let all other sensations float gently around you without giving them a second thought.
If you are having trouble cultivating mindfulness, book an appointment with Chris or Leesa to help you focus and calm your mind.
- Engage in Your Spiritual Beliefs
If you already have a spiritual practice, that’s great! If not, take some time to create or discover one. The benefits of having a deep spiritual belief include; a greater sense of purpose, self knowledge and connectedness with the universe or something bigger than just yourself. Generally, people who feel that their life has meaning are happier and healthier than those who don’t. You may find yourself enjoying the mystery of life just that little more too.
A spiritual practice can be through organised religion, or it could be as simple as developing a meditation habit or spending some time each day connecting with nature. The only requirement is that it resonates with you.
- Get Unplugged
How many hours a day do you spend attached to a technological device? This includes work and personal computers and phones, televisions, iPads etc.
According to a TIME mobility poll 84% of 5000 people surveyed couldn’t go a single day without their mobile device, and 25% of those admit to checking their device at least every 30 minutes.
According to Allianz, most australians spend 6.3 hours/day sitting at work (and usually at a computer). All this will definitely be having an effect on your health!
Benefits of unplugging include:
- gives your brain a chance to rest & recuperate. Constantly checking your phone and email means you are never mentally away from the office, and never gives your brain any down time.
- you will spend more quality time with family and friends. It is amazing how your relationships will improve when you don’t have half your attention on your news feed all night.
- enhances creativity.
- you are more likely to engage in physical activity, eat and sleep better
Try this: Turn off all your devices for at least one hour before bed time to improve the quality of your sleep. Wait until after breakfast to check emails in the morning. Have designated household “unplugged” times (after 8pm each evening or all day Sunday for example) to reconnect with family. One of the founders of Sass & Bide does this every night with her young family. Maybe you could breakout that old Scrabble or Chess set.
- Share some time in real conversation
When was the last time you sent an email or a text or a Facebook message to accomplish what could have been done in a face to face conversation? The more “social” we get, the worse we seem to become at the creating real human connections (that deep down we all crave, and look for on social media).
Try this: the next time you are out to dinner, get everyone to put their phones in the middle of the table, and the first person to check theirs before the end of the meal, pays the bill (emergency phone calls from babysitters not included).
We have all heard the saying “laughter is the best medicine” – turns out its true! Laughing can bring all of these benefits:
- lowers blood pressure,
- reduces stress hormone levels,
- a fun (and light) ab workout,
- improves cardiac health,
- boosts immunity,
- triggers the release of endorphins,
- produces a general sense of well being
Ready to laugh? Try this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RP4abiHdQpc
- Be Flexible
Do you stress out when things don’t go exactly to plan? Learning to be flexible, and not sweating the small stuff can go a long way to reducing your stress levels. Keeping an open mind (which you probably weren’t if unscheduled events or unplanned interruptions cause stress on a regular basis) is key to learning new things, growing and meeting new people! And you never know what sort of adventure you might have the next time you accidentally make a wrong turn while driving (I sometimes do this deliberately….)
Flexibility is also of paramount importance in your pursuit of any goal or dream. Life presents us with many obstacles along our path to a destination, fortunately life also present us with lots of paths to the same destination! Learn to let go of my way or the highway thinking and be flexible in your approach to achieving your goals, who knows, you may get there faster by having more fun!
So there you have it, 7 important but often overlooked habits that could help you live a Healthier, Happier and more fulfilling life.
Have Questions? Chris, our Health and Lifestyle coach is here with answers, ready to help you implement easy and healthy changes to improve Your Life!