Published on April 14th, 2023
You know the recipe to a healthier lifestyle: Quit bad habits and start good ones. But if you’ve ever taken a stab at improving your fitness, you know that it’s not always that easy.
What doesn’t help is that you are often fed misinformation about your health on social media and TV. So how do you know what tips you will truly see results from? Which routines are worth trying to establish?
Some healthy lifestyle habits, like eating a nutritious diet and getting regular exercise, are pretty obvious. However, there are other arguably less apparent ways to improve your health through lifestyle changes. To improve your well-being, consider adopting these five science-backed practices.
1. Incorporate Proper Nutrients Into Your Diet
Vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber, along with healthy fats and carbs, are critical to your health. Proper nutrients are essential for your daily functions, as they help give you energy and regulate processes in your body.
They also fight infection, build muscle, and improve heart health. Water is also considered a basic nutrient — so don’t forget your daily eight glasses.
You can get the nutrients you need in a variety of ways. You might change your diet to incorporate more leafy greens, lean proteins, and whole grains. You can also invest in the right supplements.
Super greens powder has become an increasingly popular way to get your required vitamins and minerals in one glass.
2. Practice Gratitude Daily
When individuals express gratitude, their brains release dopamine and serotonin, two so-called feel-good chemicals. These hormones affect the emotions, which can lead people to immediately feel happier.
Practicing gratitude can also have physical health benefits as well, helping to alleviate pain and increase immunity. It can even enable you to better deal with adversity and build stronger relationships.
There are many ways to build a gratitude practice. If you’re unsure where to start, it can be as simple as starting your morning by thinking of three things you’re grateful for.
A gratitude journal can be a useful place to write down things you’re thankful for and reflect on them later. You can also take your gratitude acknowledgment a step further and practice mindful gratitude through meditation.
3. Catch Some Quality Z’s
Good-quality shuteye has many health benefits, both physical and mental. Getting the right amount of sleep is linked to improving your immune system, productivity, and heart health.
It’s also been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and maximize athletic performance. It can even help improve relationships, as lack of sleep can lead to emotional dysregulation and a reduced ability to empathize.
Improving your sleep habits can begin with going back to the basics: a standard bedtime. Consistently going to bed at the same time each night encourages your body to get into a routine.
It’s also important to limit screen time about 30 minutes to an hour before bed. Incorporating exercise during the day and limiting caffeine in the afternoon are also good ways to promote high-quality rest.
4. Spend Time In Nature
Being outside in nature is relaxing, and there’s a scientific reason why. When you spend time with Mother Earth, it reduces your cortisol levels, muscle tension, and blood pressure.
It also exposes you to more vitamin D, which can help lower your risk of experiencing depression symptoms. Not to mention, it’s a natural way to incorporate more exercise into your daily routine and get your heart rate up.
Increasing your outdoors time can be as easy as taking a walk or jog around your neighborhood. You can also find nearby hiking trails or parks to spend time at.
If living in a cold climate makes it harder to get outside, you can get vitamin D through supplements. While it doesn’t fully have the same impact, it can still work to improve your mood and immunity.
5. Don’t Neglect Your Social Ties
The strength of your social circle can directly impact your mental and physical health. Connecting with friends, family, and loved ones can improve your mood, heart health, and ability to recover from illnesses.
In fact, it’s said that loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Social isolation can increase your risk of chronic diseases and mental health conditions.
To truly reap the benefits of connections, it’s best to interact face-to-face rather than through the phone. However, technology can be useful for leading to those in-person hangouts.
If you’re looking to expand your circle, go online to find groups related to your hobbies or volunteer opportunities. Even small interactions, such as engaging with fellow volunteers or co-workers, can increase your social health.
The Bottom Line
Quitting bad habits and incorporating new healthy ones won’t happen overnight. It’s important to start with habits that speak to your specific needs to improve your quality of life.
Whether it’s a trip to the grocery for a new supplement or reaching out to a friend, you can take small steps forward. When done consistently, these small first steps can lead to long-lasting positive changes.
Remember, it takes an average of two months to build a habit, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up. Love yourself through the process and don’t give up on your goals.
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