8 Ways To Maximize Your Happiness And Keep Burnout At Bay

by James Swanwick

Most of us love a cold beer or glass of wine with friends and family during downtime.

We like to stay up late, eat great food and catch up.

In moderation, it makes us feel good. It's part of our culture.

But what happens physically and mentally when you tweak just a few habits?

Here are some practical techniques to maximize happiness and keep burnout at bay:

1. Be grateful.

When waking up and before going to bed, I write down three things that I'm grateful for in my journal.

It takes five minutes.

It can be small things, something as simple as waking up in bed with a roof over my head and a fridge full of food.

Once I have that perspective, I know I've already won in the day.

2. Upgrade your sleep.

If you sleep six hours or less for two weeks, you'll have the same mental and physical performance as if you'd stayed up for 48 hours.

So dim the lights, avoid bright light from electronics two hours before bedtime and don't drink too much caffeine late in the day.

I also wear earplugs and an eye mask because a quiet, dark space is vital for good sleep.

3. Replace your normal habit with a new habit.

Before going to sleep, lay out your gym clothes at the foot of your bed.

When you wake up, immediately you'll see the shirt, shorts, shoes, socks, water bottle, headphones and towel.

Instinctively, you'll put them on.

Your chances of actually exercising are now 100 percent (or something like that).

4. Get off the grid.

We're normally reacting to daily events.

The average smartphone user checks his or her phone 110 times per day.

Use any downtime to keep your phone off. Early mornings are best.

Tell people you're in a location with no reception. Enjoy the tranquil moment.

5. Give back.

We're wired for social connection.

A study of healthcare facility workers found that those most connected with patients and coworkers had the most meaning.

So take someone's dog for a walk or play with their kids.

Visit an old folks' home, and have a conversation with someone. Ask the person about his or her life.

You'll make the person's day and feel amazing for it.

6. Hydrate more.

Drink mineral-rich water and add a pinch of Celtic sea salt.

You could even add a little honey, maple syrup or coconut water.

This will rehydrate the cells and flush toxins from the liver that accumulate from stress, alcohol and bad food.

7. Become an inflammation-busting machine.

A hectic lifestyle, erratic sleep and overtraining leads to an inflamed body.

Ibuprofen can damage your gastrointestinal tract, and curcumin – the active compound in turmeric – has near identical benefits.

So in your morning smoothie, add a little protein powder, frozen berries, spinach, chia seeds, curcumin and coconut water.

It's hydrating and full of antioxidants.

8. Take a break from alcohol.

A recent study by University College London found just one month without alcohol reduces blood pressure and improves cholesterol and insulin resistance.

The staff at the New Scientist also saw improved blood glucose balance, better sleep, concentration and an average weight loss of over 3 pounds.

I lost 15 pounds in 30 days after quitting drinking in 2010.

It transformed my health, finances, relationships and happiness.

I've since helped thousands of people do the same on the 30 Day No Alcohol Challenge.

One guy saw his hives disappear, and one woman now sleeps eight hours after years of sleeping four to five hours.

Research shows old neurological patterns and habits can be overridden.

By focussing on one “keystone habit”— not drinking — they've learned how to reprogram other routines in their lives.

Who's ready to get a whole lot happier?