The good news about life is that you can get healthier and find happiness no matter where you were born or who you were born to. However, one thing to realize is that your happiness and health are dependent on a combination of your entire being, including your physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral health.
These ten ways to get healthier and happier will work for you if you tackle one idea at a time giving yourself time to adjust to the changes you make.
Accept Yourself Just the Way You Are
You’ve probably heard someone tell you to accept yourself just the way you are while also telling you that you need to change something. This isn’t contrary advice, even though at first glance, it feels like it is.
The truth is, it’s okay to want to improve yourself, but don’t try to be someone you are not. If you genuinely do not like something, but you tried it, you may never like it or never be that good at it, and even if you get good at it, you may still dislike doing it.
Further, even if you love something, it may not be right for you. Some skills are genetically based, and while you can always practice and improve, you may never get to a level you need to be to make it a career or more than a hobby.
For example, not everyone can be a cross country runner because not everyone has the right body type to do this exercise regularly. If you didn’t know that, tried doing it, and ended up with painful shin splints or other conditions, you might start to feel bad about yourself if you didn’t realize that not everyone has the right body type due to genetics to run like this.
Accepting yourself for who you are doesn’t mean you never learn, grow, and improve. It just means that you accept the challenges and privileges you’ve been given by your parents and the community you happen to live in and seek to work with what you have, and what you have is perfect just the way it is.
Spend More Time with Friends and Less Time with Electronics
Even if you believe you’re an introvert, the truth is, all human beings need the connection they get one-on-one with other people. It’s tempting to do all your socializing through electronics, but it’s not that healthy.
Excessive amounts of screen time, more than a couple of hours a day, is shown to increase problems with every aspect of your life. For example, people who spend too much time on electronics tend to have fewer satisfying relationships, end up overweight, and often feel disconnected from the society they live in.
The other problem is that electronics, whether television or a smartphone or another device with lights or notifications or blue light, can interfere with your sleeping patterns when kept in your bedroom.
If you can eliminate electronics from your room, or at least turn them off at night, you’ll sleep better, lower your anxiety. If you also get out and spend more time with your friends and less time with the electronics, you’ll be healthier overall.
Suppose you do need to use electronics and social media to socialize due to an illness or other situation, as long as you’re using it to connect with others and not avoid others. In that case, it can be very helpful. Still, if you have issues sleeping at night and taking care of your needs, consider eliminating electronics other than predefined times for predefined reasons.
Be Proud of Your Effort, Not the Outcome
Every single human alive makes mistakes. No person on this earth is perfect. Sadly, it’s not unusual for adults to focus too much on outcomes and not enough on the hard work put into the effort.
The old saying, “… if you come in second, you’re last …” is very harmful and hurtful for this reason.
Second place is an amazing accomplishment and should be celebrated too. Even last place should be celebrated if you stuck to something and gave it your all.
The truth is that the most important thing is what you are doing and the work you’re putting in. If you can focus on the actions you’re taking without judging the outcome, you’ll feel much more satisfied in life.
The reason you’ll feel better focusing on effort and praising yourself for your endeavor is that you’re likely like a lot of people – you judge yourself too harshly. Expecting perfection when it simply does not exist is an exercise in futility.
This idea can be summed up by comparing being proud of your effort to going on a road trip. Of course, the road trip has a destination, but the road trip is also enjoyable, but you need to take the time to focus on it instead of the destination. So likewise, when you focus on your journey, you will get so much more out of all your efforts, even if everything does not turn out the way you thought it would.
The Glass is Half Full
Scientistic and psychological researchers know that people who have an optimistic mindset over a pessimistic mindset, even when things are hard, end up reporting more happiness, success, and even boosted physical health.
The thing that often thwarts even adults when it comes to developing an optimistic, glass half full mindset, as opposed to the idea that the glass is half empty, is that they think they have to be positive all the time. But if you pay attention to the words, both statements are true.
However, the difference is, if you can train your mind to think about what’s in your glass instead of what’s missing, you will feel happier and more satisfied with your life. This is not about faking it until you make it or anything like that. It’s more about being realistic about working with what you have right now at this very moment.
· Start Noticing When Good Stuff Happens – Every time you notice something that makes you happy or someone you love happy, remember it.
· Believe You Can Make Good Things Happen – Understand that within your life, you have power over yourself, not others, know that you can make good things happen because you are powerful.
· Be Helpful and Considerate – The kinder you can be to others, and the more helpful you can be for others, the better you’ll feel about your situation. So volunteer at a food bank, animal shelter, or anywhere you’re able a few times a week to make someone’s life better.
· Stop Blaming Yourself or Others When Stuff Doesn’t Go as Planned – Even if you’re really good at goal setting, sometimes outside forces are in control and not you. Sometimes things don’t go right, and it’s perfectly normal and okay and does not mean everything is wrong or bad.
· When Good Things Happen Celebrate – Whether you experience something amazing or someone else you care about does, take the time to celebrate and give credit where credit is due, including yourself.
· Understand That Setbacks and Change Are Normal – You may have heard the saying before that “life is like a rollercoaster.” No one ever gets what they want every time. Sometimes things seem to go backward, but this is all normal. Life is not a straight line to the end. Thankfully it’s a full journey that sometimes is fun and sometimes is terrifying.
· Keep a Gratitude Journal – To focus your mind on the positive in it and become more optimistic, keep a paper gratitude journal. Keep it by your bedside, and right before you shut your eyes write down three positive things that you’re thankful for that happened today.
If this thought process is not natural for you, it’s okay because you can learn to be more optimistic by focusing on the facts and what you have control over. After all, when you know that scientifically it’s proven that people who are more optimistic experience fewer strokes, sleep better at night, and live longer, more content lives, it makes sense to figure out how to accomplish being more optimistic.
Practice Self-Discipline and Delayed Gratification
One of the biggest things you can do for yourself in terms of following a path to reach a goal is to learn to practice more self-discipline. When you practice self-discipline and delay experiencing what you want, you’ll learn how good delayed gratification can be for you in the long term.
For example, if you love eating chocolate cake, you can eat it. But if you eat it all the time, three meals and two snacks a day, it will not taste as good as you think, and not only that, you’ll start to feel pretty bad, and you’ll likely get sick. It may take a bit to convince yourself that you can practice self-discipline and say no to daily chocolate cake, but you can.
Take the time to educate yourself about nutrition and allow yourself to enjoy chocolate cake rarely and as a special treat. Delaying your gratification until a special day for your favorite dessert will not only help you stay healthier because there is no nutritional value in a slice of chocolate cake at all but delaying gratification, in this case, will also help you maintain your enjoyment of chocolate cake.
The same can be said for anything you like to do. If, for example, you enjoy playing video games, it’s tempting to play them all the time just because you like them. However, if you start playing them all the time, you won’t enjoy other things or even discover other talents and activities that you like doing in life.
Study the information about living a sedentary life void of human contact that often accompanies the stereotypical idea of a gamer. You can quickly see that this is not a good choice for you. But the good news is, you can still be a gamer. There are many examples of expert gamers being successful in the world. You need to delay your gaming gratification for specific times, which will increase your enjoyment of the games because you won’t be giving up anything else such as friends, family, physical activity, and so forth to enjoy the game.
Take Control of Your Emotions
Having emotions is one of the things that make you a human. The thing that you may not realize is that you are the one in control of your emotions. Your thoughts control your emotions. When you are mindful of your thoughts and take charge of them, you can manage your emotions.
· Accept Your Feelings – The feelings you have are just part of you. You don’t have to express every feeling you feel in public, though. Instead, you can feel the emotions, accept them, and divert them into something useful.
· Practice Mindfulness – One way to become more mindful is to take time out of every day to focus on what’s happening right now. You can do this by learning and practicing meditation. Meditation is simply learning how to be in the here and now without worrying about the past or the future.
· Get More Exercise – Moving more is always a good idea for most people. You need about an hour a day of vigorous physical activity to deal with your emotions and stay healthy.
· Sleep Enough – You need somewhere between 8 and 10 hours of sleep every single night. Even once you’re an adult, you’ll still need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep to maintain your health and to have more control over your emotions.
· Do Something Creative – Coloring, cooking, writing, painting, or anything that makes you unleash your creativity is a great way to deal with your emotions as they come. Your work doesn’t have to be worthy for a museum. It just needs to be enjoyable and relaxing for you.
· Get Into Nature – All humans need to get into nature at least a few times a week, if not daily. So anytime you can put your feet on the earth and enjoy technology-free nature, you should do it.
Taking control of your emotions requires that you recognize the emotions you’re feeling, seek to understand what, when, why, and how of the feelings you’re experiencing, and talk to someone about them. Sometimes this requires the ability to pause, consider the situation, and maybe even get help from someone with experience.
Set One Goal at a Time
Once you realize how much control you really have over yourself to be happier and healthier in life, it can be overwhelming. However, as you accept your true power over your own life, it’s important to be realistic and set only one goal at a time and work on achieving your goals, one at a time.
Learn the SMART goal method for setting your goals:
· Specific – As you develop a goal, describe it very specifically. For example, if you want to start getting up an hour earlier each day, you should state exactly what time that is and how you’re going to accomplish it.
“Starting on November 1st, I will go to bed at 9 PM and start getting up at 5 AM each day, including weekends. I’ll make sure this happens by organizing each day so that I’m done with all tasks, including eating dinner, doing homework, playing with friends, and completing my nighttime ritual of brushing my teeth, washing my face, and taking my vitamins.”
· Measurable – As you see, by the above example, using numbers makes what you’re doing easy to track and check to see if you’re doing it.
· Attainable – The other thing to check is whether the goals you’ve set are doable. If you cannot go to bed or get up when stated due to something you have no control over, you need to remake your goal statement. It needs to be something you really can accomplish.
· Realistic – The other thing is that you have to know who you are and understand yourself as you make a goal. If you currently get up at noon every day, it’ll be hard to change to 5 AM suddenly. Start slower and work your way up.
· Timely – Setting a date to begin any new goal or plan is essential and setting an end date if it needs one. For example, if you’re making a goal to run a mile a day, and you currently do no running, you’ll want to work your way up realistically to a certain time frame that you set based on your research and knowing it can be done.
Too many projects and goals at one time can cause a lot of anxiety and stress – plus you’re only one person with 24 hours a day in which 10 hours needs to be for sleep, an hour needs to be for exercise, and time needs to be set aside for eating, spending time with friends, family, and other things. So instead, work on developing your goals properly and then seeing them to fruition, one at a time.
Help Others Who Need It
Volunteering and helping others is one of the easiest ways to improve your physical and mental health and outlook on life. Amazing benefits happen inside your body and your brain when you seek to be kind and helpful to others, which results in feeling good.
· Your Help Is Contagious – When you sign up to help people or demonstrate your helpful nature in front of others, everyone around you will become more helpful. Kindness always rubs off. Just try smiling around others and see what happens.
· Your Own Issues Will Seem Less Daunting – It’s easy to get wound up in our own problems, and it’s fine to deal with them, of course, but often helping others shows you how fortunate you really are, and it’s easier to feel grateful and realize how much you do have.
· You’ll Feel More Positive About Life – Studies show that people who help others feel more positive about everything in life. For example, they feel happier, and they are more optimistic. What’s more, being positive makes you take better care of yourself, making you healthier.
· Helping Makes You Feel Important – Being able to help others will give you a sense of purpose that you need throughout your life. Even young people can help others, and it feels great. So whether you mow the lawn of your elderly neighbor or help your mom in the house more, it feels great, and you’ll feel needed because you are.
There is always someone out there who has a worse situation than you do that needs your help. Whether it’s a friend, relative, or stranger, helping others will increase your contentment about your own life.
Become More Active
Moving every single day keeps your mind and body at their optimum. Of course, it’s fine to rest when needed but participating in sports, outdoor activities, exercise, and play is very important. In fact, studies show that young people like you need at least one hour of daily vigorous physical activity to maintain top-notch health.
· Get Medical Advice -- If you want to become more physically active, ask your parents to take you to the doctor to get a physical. This is important if you’ve never been very physically active to ensure you are healthy enough.
· Don’t Worry There Are Options -- A physical doesn’t cost that much, even if you don’t have insurance. You can usually go to a local chiropractor for a physical for less than $50.00. Even if your family has no insurance, if you get a school physical each year, that’s a good time to ask the doctor about the type of activities that you can do.
· Choose The Right Activities -- Based on your circumstances in life, you need to pick an easy activity for you to do without too much assistance from others, including your folks. That way, you can fully control the movement you do regularly and not rely on busy parents to make it happen. If your parents can help more, you will have more freedom of choice in your activities.
· Make a Commitment – When you choose a physical activity to participate in, give it enough time to find out if you enjoy it before giving up. For example, you may think you’ll love rollerblading or rowing a boat, but you have no idea until you try. As you learn new things giving it at least a season to find out if it’s for you is important.
· Mix It Up – You don’t actually have to join a team or do anything formal to add exercise to your day. Instead, you can mix it up and do a lot on your own, right from the comfort of your own home.
Let science guide your choices. For example, if you know that according to studies, you need at least an hour of vigorous movement each day, even if all you do is get up from your game and go for a run in your neighborhood, it’ll still work just as well as joining a baseball team will work for you. The important part is doing the activities for an hour a day to get the health benefits.
Surround Yourself with Positive People
If you ever start noticing you feel bad about yourself or less happy around certain people in your life, it could be due to their negativity. So if you don’t feel good being around certain people, you should try to stay away from them when you can and focus on surrounding yourself with positive people.
· Learn What’s Important for You – Learning your own principles, morals, and values is an important part of picking better people to surround yourself with. For example, if you value timeliness, you don’t want to hang around with people who don’t because you’ll always be stressed out about being on time.
· Know Your Boundaries – It’s imperative that you respect your own needs, emotions, thoughts, and ideas and that the people you surround yourself with do too. This doesn’t mean they just say yes to everything but that they hold you to your own statements and goals too.
· Demonstrate The Behavior You Like – The best thing you have going for yourself when meeting and being with others is yourself. So be who you want to be and showcase the behavior that you like and respect first.
· Be Open to Change – As you age, it’ll become more apparent that sometimes people are only meant to be in your life for a season. So even if you were friends with Jeffery since first grade, if Jeffery has a vastly different moral code than you developed, it’s okay to end the friendship but still remember the good times.
· Limit Your Exposure to Negative Media – If you want to be around positivity, you also need to be positive. One way to become more positive is to let go of negative media, including trolling with friends on TikTok if it makes you feel stressed out or adds to your negativity.
· Know The Type of People You Want to Meet – One way to meet more positive people is to write down the characteristic of the type of people you want to meet in your life from a spouse to a best friend, teachers, and mentors. Knowing the kind of person that you need around makes finding them easier if defined.
When you know what type of people you want and need to surround yourself with, the people who make you feel important and loved, and whom you like to make feel good too, that value similar things as you do, you’re naturally going to be happier and healthier than you were before this point in your life.
Taking care of yourself ensuring that you follow your doctor’s orders regarding your health, getting vaccines, eating a healthy diet, sleeping well, moving more, learning for life, and more will ensure that you have a happy and healthy life. Remember, ultimately, you are the person who is in control of your life, including your own thoughts, and there are certain things you can do to increase your chances of success if you understand the information and data behind it.