We all know the basic commandments for living a healthy life: Thou shall eat mainly fruits and vegetables, thou will move daily, stay hydrated and get an adequate amount of sleep, etc.
None of us are completely new to these healthy-living guidelines.
But, with our lives becoming increasingly hectic, it seems these simple ideals are no longer enough to help us achieve happy, healthy lives. Nowadays, there’s a bit more to it than "eating less and moving more."
As personal trainer and fitness guru, Michelle Bridges has commented:
"You can Google good exercise concepts and you can Google good nutrition, but until you've worked out what's going on in your head, and all the self-sabotage techniques and all the blame games and the victim mentalities, then you're going nowhere."
As the world we live in changes, it’s only fitting that the recipe for a healthier lifestyle will change, too.
But, spoiler alert: There is no magic formula to suit everyone. Which leads us to our first practice:
1. Find what works for you.
Everybody and every "body" is different. Stop trying to follow a low-carb, no-carb, fat-free diet if it’s only going to be a matter of time before you fall off the wagon in a spectacular and highly self-loathing fashion.
Diets are not one-size fits all. What works for one person may not work for another, and that’s okay!
Between clean eating, paleo, macro counting, veganism, gluten free, Atkins and about a million other “lifestyles,” there are plenty of options for finding what works for you.
Instead of being overwhelmed by it all, why not just explore the options?
If one route doesn’t work, simply try another. Why not try combining two?
Really, there are no rules except the ones we place on ourselves.
It’s important to remember that when it comes to “healthy” (both looking and feeling), it is different for everyone.
Don’t get boxed-in by the lifestyle labels, just find what works for you and embrace it.
2. Get in touch with your mind.
Mindfulness: You may have heard this buzzword doing its rounds.
It’s one of the latest forms of meditation, which has been proven to enhance a person's general well-being and psychological health.
We, as humans, live in a state of worry. We worry about what happened yesterday, what’s happening now and what may happen tomorrow.
Ironically, the majority of scenarios we stress over never eventuate. That’s a lot of good energy wasted leaving us anxious, highly-strung and emotionally drained.
Don’t let the hippyish label or the use of the word "psychological" turn you off.
Mindfulness is fairly simple, and at its most basic description is a practice centered around learning to be in the moment.
Practicing mindfulness is about training yourself to observe without criticism, and is a way of helping us experience life as it happens.
Like anything, the more you practice it, the easier it will become.
The list of benefits are long, and mindfulness is thought to relieve stress, improve sleep, manage anxiety and help with self-acceptance.
3. Rise like the sun.
Getting up earlier is a good idea in theory, but it’s not always so easy to do and continue doing.
It is worth it though, as early risers are thought to have higher energy levels, improved moods and better workout habits.
A surprising study has also revealed individuals who are exposed to morning light earlier tend to have lower BMIs than those who don’t.
Healthy weight is just one benefit. The most obvious advantage is that you’ll have more time in the day to achieve your goals or to simply get through your "to do" list.
Being able to do more and feeling a sense of achievement is a key to optimal living.
Why not try waking up at 6 am for the next month and see how you feel.
Remember it takes 21 days to break a cycle, so you’ll need to wake up earlier more than once for it to start feeling good, rather than a punishment.
4. Utilize technology.
In today’s modern world, we are often told to put down our iPhones and step away from technology.
There’s no denying the majority of us are unhealthily codependent on all things electronic.
So, why not turn an unhealthy obsession into something positive?
There are many apps available that not only work your body, but your mind, too.
You can be talked, step-by-step, through a yoga class from the comfort of your living room, find healthy and nutritious recipes with the press of a button or even learn a different language.
It’s not all Facebook, fitspo, Twitter and Instagram. In moderation and used the right way, technology can be a great tool to stimulate your mind and connect you with similar people.
Feeling as if we are understood and part of group is a major component of our personal happiness.