Are you looking for the quick-and-easy guide to living a happy life? You might expect me to say that it doesn’t exist. But you’d be wrong... Actually, the steps you need to take to live a happy and healthy life are simple. They’re simple enough to put into this short guide. So why isn’t everyone happy and healthy already?
Because it’s not easy. The concepts are simple to understand, but they are difficult to practice. Still, we should all try to live by the principles that will encourage a happy and healthy life. Because with a little effort, we’ll get closer every day.
Release your expectations
Expectations are at the root of most of our problems. They may seem quite innocent at first. Maybe you’re looking forward to a promotion or some free time. No one can fault you for that, right? Well, the problems come in when reality doesn’t meet your expectations.
What happens if you don’t get that promotion? You’re left with feelings of disappointment. You may even feel like you’re not good enough. And if you don’t get the free time you expected, you’re likely to get angry about it.
Think about a scenario where you weren’t expecting something that you got. It’s an amazing feeling because it’s completely unexpected. You didn’t waste mental energy thinking about its potential beforehand. Releasing expectations is so much easier said than done, but the results are worthwhile. You’ll be happier in your relationships, career, and life in general.
Focus on health over weight
You’re probably used to looking at the number on a scale, but that doesn’t tell you much about your health or body fat. Although it’s not a perfect system, focus on BMI (body mass index) instead. BMI will give you a rough estimate of your body fat, which will tell you whether you’re in a healthy range.
If you’re not in a healthy range, start cutting calories and drinking more water. There have been many fad diets introduced throughout the years, but the principles of losing weight remain the same. Eat fewer calories than you typically burn in a day. And if you’re at a healthy weight, you can continue eating the way you have been (just focusing on healthy choices).
Cut bad habits
Do you have any habits that may be detracting from your life?
Think about that glass of wine or beer you have every night before bed. Not only could that keep you from getting a good night’s rest, but it can also lead to more significant issues. Alcoholism is a major issue that will drain the happiness from your life. And if you think that’s an issue you’re having, consider treatment right away.
But the truth is that you can start experiencing issues from alcohol long before alcoholism takes hold. Alcohol can deplete your body of key nutrients. It’s also a toxic nervous system depressant. And while we’re on the topic of bad habits, drop others like smoking cigarettes and drinking energy drinks.
Eat whole foods
If you can commit to a diet of whole foods, you’ll be doing better than most. And although “whole foods” has become a trendy buzz word, it’s not as easy as it sounds in today’s convenience-food society. Even food manufacturers have jumped on the whole foods bandwagon, labeling processed foods as containing “whole food” ingredients.
And while it may be true that the ingredients are real food, anything in a package is still processed. It may be made from whole food, but it is not in itself a whole food. Try to stick to fruits, veggies, whole grains and, lean meats. Food that comes from nature is the best for your health.
You don’t have to become a cross-fit champion or a fitness model to maintain good health. All you really need is about 30-minutes of aerobic activity every day to keep your health on track. This is especially important if you work at a job where you sit all day.
If you aren’t exercising now, find a way to make it part of your routine. It helps to do something you enjoy, like basketball, yoga or dancing. When you exercise, you release feel-good chemicals in your brain. It’s like an instant boost of happiness.
You may not believe it, but anyone can be happy. Still, it’s a process that involves self-care and quite a bit of self-discipline.