When it comes to improving your health and your happiness, my advice: Start small.
If you can find just two minutes a day here and there, you can start making small changes to put you on the right path to living a happier, healthier life.
You don’t have to overhaul your entire diet and lifestyle overnight on your quest to living a healthier lifestyle.
Throwing away everything deemed unhealthy from the cupboards and signing up to a boot camp on day one is not always the best way to go about it.
In fact, this is actually often counter-productive because of the stress and pressures it puts on your body, both mentally and physically.
Instead, you can embark upon the journey towards a happier, healthier lifestyle simply by incorporating any or all of these 9 healthy habits into your life today.
They don’t take up hours of your time, nor do they squeeze your wallet dry, but they do have incredible health returns!
No. 1 – CONSCIOUS BREATHING
A lot of people don’t realise the importance of their breath and how different emotions can affect it, and ultimately how you feel as a result.
Emotional stresses in life can be difficult to cope with, and if you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed or anxious because of work, famiy/friend issues, financial problems, you name it; it can all take a toll on your health.
When you start to feel your anxiety elevate, take the following two minutes to focus on your breathing.
Re-establishing normal breathing can really help to regulate your breath and help you combat the feelings of stress and anxiety, whilst also restoring your energy and focus.
Simply breathe in through the nose for a count of five, hold that inhale for a couple more seconds and then exhale gently for a count of five.
Different people find different techniques work for them.
Perhaps counting slowly from 1 to 5 – holding – and counting from 1 to 5 works. Others like visionary techniques. If you’re that person, try this:
Imagine there’s a balloon that is filling your entire pelvis and causing it to stretch out in all directions. Hold that inhale for a moment, and when you exhale, contract all the muscles in and up the spine as you exhale for a count of five.
Another option is ‘breathing in light’.
Imagine with every count of your breath to 5 there’s a light bulb inside your belly that gets brighter with each breath in. As you breathe out the light fades.
Repeat any of the above tecniques 10 times and do this whenever you feel anxious or stressed.
No. 2 – SET AN INTENTION
Instead of waking up and immediately reaching for your phone, scrolling through social media or replying to emails, try setting an intention for the day.
You can start simply. Before eating, set an intention to eat mindfully. Before working out, connect to your intention. Ask yourself, “What are you aiming to achieve?”
Maybe you want to pass that exam or interview – start your day with a positive intention that you will succeed.
Having an intention can really help focus your mind on a specific goal, achievement or direction.
When you want to change something in your life; break from old habits or start some new ones, you must have a strong intention to do so. The power of intention is a powerful thing.
“The power of intention is the power to manifest, to create, to live a life of unlimited abundance, and to attract into your life the right people at the right moments.” – Wayne Dyer; author of “The Power of Intention.”
No. 3 – EXPRESS GRATITUDE
I touched on this briefly in my previous post 10 Ways to Look and Feel Amazing Naturally
Following on from this I encourage you to express your gratitude and positive feelings. Both go hand in hand to helping you change your life for the better.
Instead of drowning yourself in a sea of negative feelings, worries and complaints, take a step back and focus on what you’re grateful for.
Numerous studies have been undertaken on the effects of daily gratitude practice on the mind, body and spirit, which you’ll be pleased to hear, gave very positive results.
There are many ways in which you can express gratitude, from spending just 2 minutes a day writing down what you’re grateful for each morning or evening before going to bed.
Maybe jotting some positive thoughts or experiences you had that day in a journal.
Perhaps writing a letter or note to a friend, or giving them a call to express how grateful you are to have them in your life.
Positivity breeds positivity 🙂
No. 4 – AFFIRMATIONS
Affirmations are a statement said with confidence about a perceived truth. An affirmation can work for many because it has the ability to program your mind into believing the stated concept.
Affirmations can be a powerful tool to help you to change your mood, state of mind and manifest the changes you desire in your life. They can help motivate you, keep your mind focused on a goal, change the way you think and behave, and even make you feel positive, energetic and active.
For 2 minutes a day, try writing down some positive affirmations to help you develop a more positive perception of yourself and your life. Say these to yourself first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and anytime you feel you need to hear it during the day.
I am worthy
I am enough
I am letting happiness manifest in my life
I deserve to be happy right now
The healing energy of health is filling every cell of my body
Day by day my health is improving
I really encourage you to do your research into some techniques and ways to cultivate the best affirmations for you personally. Your mind is a very powerful thing, and so learning how to use it in a positive and loving way will certainly enhance your life.
No. 5 – CHEW SLOWLY
You may have heard the saying “you are what you eat”, but it doesn’t end there. It’s also how you eat that matters.
You can eat all the kale, all the superfoods and every nutritious food under the sun, but if you don’t chew your food properly, you’ll not reap the benefits.
Chewing slowly allows the salivary enzymes enough time to break down and liquefy food so that your digestive organs do not have to expend too much energy trying to manage large unbroken particles.
It also helps break large food particles down into smaller particles, allowing for easy digestion and absorption of nutrients from food in the intestines. Remember – your stomach doesn’t have teeth!
Here’s where mindful eating comes in.
Try setting an intention to cultivate more mindful eating.
Really take the time to look at and smell your food. Savour each mouthful and chew it.
You will find that eating in a more relaxed state of mind will not only aid digestion, but you’ll likely consume less food because you’re giving your body time to let you know you’re full.
No. 6 – HYDRATE
You’ve heard me say it before, and you’ll hear it many more times I’m sure. Hydration, hydration, hydration!
Hydration is so important, so grab a refillable bottle, or jug or a glass and fill it with water and a slice or 2 of lemon and leave it by the bed. First thing in the morning take a swig or 20.
Sipping a glass of lemon water first thing in the morning not only helps you rehydrate, it also aids in detoxification, gives you a boost of vitamin C and preps your digestive system for brekki.
And during the day don’t forget to take 2 minutes here and there to top up your fluids, whether it be from water, green juice or herbal teas to keep your hydration levels tip top.
No. 7 – DRY BRUSH YOUR SKIN
Just 2 minutes before you hop in the shower is all you need to help take care of your body’s largest organ – your skin.
So what is it?
Dry brushing is exactly what it sounds like. You quite simply brush your skin in circular motions, starting at your feet and moving up your body, brushing towards your heart with a dry brush on dry skin before showering.
This natural technique helps to stimulate the lymphatic system, improve circulation, sloth off dry and dead skin cells and give you a lovely healthy glow.
Using a dry, natural bristle brush with a long handle (so you can reach all areas of your body) start at your feet and gently brush in gentle circular upward motions, then longer smoother strokes toward your heart. This should take you 2 -3 minutes two to three days a week.
No. 8 – TAKE MOVEMENT BREAKS
Human bodies are designed for movement, and the reality is that a one hour session at the gym 3-4 times a week verses 8 hours a day 5 days a week sitting in a chair all day is not going to balance one another out.
The answer: movement breaks.
More movement all throughout the day is highly advantageous for your body and your brain.
For every hour of sitting, aim for at least 2 minutes of mobility exercises.
Check out my previous blog here on 10 easy and effective office friendly yoga poses that you can introduce into your day to give those aches and pains the slip.
Any kind of mobility exercise is a good step forward to helping you ward off stiffness, aid in circulation and help boost your energy levels. Go for a walk in the hallway, do some squats in the bathroom or staff room. Wherever you can squeeze in some movement, do it. The plus side it also helps increase focus and productivity.
No. 9 -TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES AND GET EARTHING
I may sound like a new age hippy here, but I don’t care – earthing is the way forward my friends.
And I don’t doubt you’ll get on board this thought once I remind you of how good it feels to walk bare foot across a sandy beach.
Or how about the feeling on the souls of your feet when you pull off those socks and shoes during your lunch hour and place them on the grass at your local green?
Did I mention the sensation of paddling at the water’s edge or sinking your toes into the wet sand?
Told you you’d get on board!
Earthing, or walking or standing barefoot on the ground, sounds simple enough, but how often are you actually barefoot outside?
Give it a go for just 2 minutes a day or as often as you can. You’ll notice the benefits to your mood instantly.
Improving your health can seem daunting, but it can also be as simply as making some small, two-minute changes to your daily routine.
While these changes may not give you a rippled 6 pack or drop your cholesterol levels overnight, they can certainly help to put you on the right path to achieving these goals and living a healthier and happier life.
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*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention
Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication