Have you ever noticed how much better (i.e. healthier, more productive, peaceful, happier) you feel when you develop certain habits and routines in your daily life? Life is a series of ever-changing events. It can be busy, even chaotic. It can also be stressful. When we’re able to counteract the chaos by implementing habits and routines, we thrive on the consistency. While it might be fun and feel good to occasionally be spontaneous, we humans are wired for structure and normalcy in life. When either of these things are absent, we feel stressed, anxious and less satisfied. Studies show that there are certain habits in life that can help lift us out of a rut and improve our emotional, mental and physical well-being.
Adequate hydration should be one of your die-hard habits in life
As mentioned in this article, chronic dehydration is a modern plague that has disastrous effects on human health. The problem is that most people who are chronically dehydrated don’t realize it. Drinking water should always be one of your most consistently-practiced habits in life. I used to be chronically dehydrated and sometimes (especially during winter) slip back into my old (bad) habits. It doesn’t take long for chronic dehydration to have adverse health effects.
Not only should drinking adequate amounts of water be part of your daily habits in life, you should take your first drink within 15 to 30 minutes of rising in the morning. If you really want to boost your energy and immune system health, add freshly-squeezed lemon to your water. Or, you can toss lemons (with or without rind) into your blender, then pour into ice cube trays and use the cubes to flavor water throughout the day. This system provides basic calculation measures to determine how much water you should drink per day. I would venture to guess that, even if this change of habit is the only one of the five that you implement, you’ll notice positive changes in your overall health and well-being.
Make sure to incorporate ‘whole body movements’ into your daily habits in life
In addition to chronic dehydration, a sedentary lifestyle will (not can, but WILL) wreak havoc on your health and well-being. It’s just a matter of time. It’s okay if going to the gym is simply not your thing, although weight training is a valuable tool for strengthening and toning muscle. What’s most important, however, is that you spend ample amounts of time moving your whole body. Whether that comes in the form of stretching, yoga, dancing, running or taking brisk walks with wide strides and big arm movements, you need to get up and move!
Taking time out of your day for whole body movement has many benefits. For one thing, it provides a respite from mundane tasks and daily stress. If you can spend your whole body movement time outdoors, it’s even better! Stepping away from your computer, cell phone or to-do list helps engage your senses, especially if you’re outdoors. Incorporating whole body movements into your daily habits in life ensures that you’re getting exercise. If you add deep breathing, it will also improve lung capacity and boost brain health. Counteract the devastating effects of a sedentary lifestyle by developing habits in life that include whole body movements in your daily routine.
Reading is essential for cognitive health
I’ve always been an avid reader, a love instilled in me by my parents. When people say they hate to read, I have a hard time understanding that. Even if you fall into that category, you might want to try developing the habit of reading for at least 30 minutes to an hour each day. Think of all the other things in life that you don’t necessarily ‘like’ to do but do them anyway because you know it’s good for you. Reading keeps your mind active. It also helps improve writing skills. Reading is a key to learning new things, and learning new things (especially if it’s a foreign language) helps renew and rewire the brain (Think: Avoid dementia!).
Habits in life should include quiet time for prayer or meditation
When I was young, my father and I would discuss how age seems to influence the way people feel about silence. He would tell me that “silence is golden,” and I would tell him that it was “deafening” to me. I’m at the age now that he was then, and, just as he’d predicted, I’ve swung over to his way of thinking! Both children and adults can benefit from implementing the habit of setting time aside, at least several times per week but, preferably, daily, for silence, prayer and meditation. As a Christian, I believe that praying is the lifting of a mind and heart to connect with God. I personally have always found it easier to “feel” God’s presence in silence or with minimal man-made noise.
If your initial reaction to the suggestion that you take time out of every day for silence, prayer or meditation is that you don’t have time, then you should consider making some changes in your life. Even if you’re a person who thrives on work, excitement, challenge and non-stop activity, your overall mental, emotional and physical health can benefit from habits in life that include spending time being still and silent.
Set goals on a daily basis
Years ago, I was working in the online speaking circuit giving virtual seminars to inspire, encourage and support homeschooling parents throughout the world. I would often tell moms and dads that planners are valuable tools, as long as we don’t become enslaved by them. Whether you use a planner or a small notepad or simply make a mental note, it’s good to develop the habit of setting goals and priorities for each day. My mother, age 92, still writes a short list before going to bed every night of things she wants to accomplish the following day. She’s an amazing woman.
The key to setting goals on a daily basis is balance. Make sure you’re not biting off more than you can chew, which will ultimately cause frustration and stress and will be counterproductive. Instead, before you go to bed at night or when you begin a new day, take a few moments to decide three to five things you’d like to accomplish that day. Set achievable goals, even if one of them is to perform a task or duty that’s part of a long-term goal. Having a plan in mind promotes productivity and a sense of purpose. This, in turn, creates a sense of well-being and overall positive and healthy attitude.
Implement these 5 habits in life to improve emotional, mental and physical health
Here’s a recap of the recommendations in this post for habits in life that can not only help you avoid ill-health but can increase peace-of-mind and an overall sense of joy and satisfaction, as well:
- Drink more water
- Engage in whole body movement
- Spend time in silence, prayer or meditation
- Begin each day with a plan (even if the plan includes taking a day off to be spontaneous!)
Making small changes in our daily habits in life can have a beneficial outcome in our immediate and long-term health. What habits help you stay healthy emotionally, mentally and physically?