5 Tips for Living a Healthier, Happier Life

Oct 23, 2020

5 Tips for Living a Healthier, Happier Life

As humans, the path of least resistance is usually the most appealing. 

As humans, the path of least resistance is usually the most appealing. That’s why there are so many companies out there offering quick, as-seen-on-TV solutions to healthy living—whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

The modern guide to achieving a healthy, happy lifestyle presents a vicious cycle that tears us down rather than building us up.

BKS Iyengar portrait

To quote yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar:

Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind, and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open.”

It’s difficult to develop in any of those areas without acknowledging all three. With that in mind, take a step back from the digital hellscape of inadequacy marketing with these 5 tips to living a healthier, happier life.

1. Make Daily Improvements

Work, consume, sleep, repeat. We’ve all experienced ruts in our lives and the first step to breaking unproductive habits can be a small one. Set realistic goals and accept the fact that change comes slowly. There are exceptions to every rule, but in most cases, worthwhile results are going to take time.

Want to lose weight? Trade an episode of your nightly Netflix binge for a 30-minute walk outside.

Try a new dinner recipe with a friend or loved one, and resist the urge to use DoorDash for the third time this week.

Distractions can be great, but everyone needs a dopamine detox now and then. Whatever it is, pick a fun, achievable goal that will add value to your life. Something you can work on every day, even if only for a few minutes.

walking down paved path

2. Keep An Open Mind

By adulthood, many of us will have crafted our own unique lens through which we see the world. This lens is tempered with assumptions and cut from the influences that raised us. Keeping that lens firmly in place may have its benefits, but it can prevent us from seeing from other perspectives.

Dropping the lens and actively working to engage in empathetic conversation can be great for our mental health, even if we disagree with what’s being said. It’s in our nature to socialize (off-screen), and being open to new ways of thinking without bias or assumptions encourages more productive dialogue.

If we all kept an open mind, fewer people would take offense and lash out at seemingly harmless ideas. The world needs a little less anger and a lot more empathy.

3. Practice Gratitude

Practicing gratitude can have a powerful impact in your daily life. It’s easy to want what you don’t have, but the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. If you take a moment to acknowledge and appreciate what you do have, you might be surprised to find the grass you’re standing on is plenty green as it is.

This can be difficult, especially in the age of social media, where we’re constantly exposed to a highlight reel of perfect moments. But hey, here’s a secret: no one is perfect.

man hugging older man

And practicing gratitude isn’t just about dulling your desires and settling for a suboptimal existence. There’s a fair bit of research that suggests taking a moment each day to practice gratitude can improve aspects of your health, both mentally and physically. An increase in positivity and a slight perspective shift can change everything.

Starting a gratitude journal is an easy first step. Take time each day to write down a few things you’re grateful for. This is for your eyes only, and can be as simple as being grateful for a roof over your head or the weather that day.

It might feel silly at first, but it’s a simple act that can have profound effects with consistent practice.

4. Perform Acts of Service

Think about the last time you did something for someone without worrying about how it would affect you. How did you feel?

Chances are you felt pretty good. There’s a tangible reason for this, and it has to do with human evolution. Our well-being thrives when we’re engaged in pro-social behavior. This behavior reinforces our sense of relatedness to others and helps us to meet our most basic psychological needs.

There’s neural evidence from fMRI studies that show a link between generosity and happiness in the brain. Donating money to charitable causes or performing acts of service activate internal reward systems. We’re wired to cooperate with our fellow human beings.

This positive social behavior can help us regulate our emotions, decrease feelings of depression, and improve overall emotional health. Plus, you’re helping someone else at the same time. That’s a win-win all around.

5. Everything in Moderation

We mention the word “balance” a lot, especially when it comes to CBD. Life is a balancing act. There’s a sweet spot where food, supplements, and activities reach peak beneficial levels before plummeting into negative consequences.

Our modern culture worships the pursuit of excess in many forms. We’re conditioned to want more, and our brain chemistry reinforces that drive. In a way, we’re running on outdated neural software that evolved during a time when resources were scarce. Or at least, not nearly as plentiful.

A post on Psychology Today takes a deeper look at the importance of moderation in all things. Overindulgence and abstinence are two sides of a double-edged sword, and they can both be harmful.

The best way to strive for moderation is by being mindful of your actions. Consider consequences, avoid extremes, and seek variety (we hear it’s the spice of life).

rocks balancing other rocks

A Holistic Approach

The path toward living a healthier, happier life goes best with a holistic approach to mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Keep these 5 tips in mind as you go about your daily life, and consider sharing them with someone who might need a little encouragement.