These daily habits to live a happier and healthier life aren’t so hard to implement. It’s about practice, mindfulness, consistency, and the RIGHT habits, of course.
It would be great if we were automatically born being happy and healthy, like our body knew how to breathe or sleep without us even trying.
Sadly, this is not the case, and we have to learn how to create habits that are physically and emotionally supportive.
Happiness doesn’t come easy for most of us. We think that external things like having a smoking hot body or financial success are going to bring it to us, but they rarely do when we actually have them.
If they did, we wouldn’t see so many rich and famous people go down the dark road of suicide and drug addiction.
We’re all looking for something more. Something deeper than the surface level.
Even being super healthy doesn’t always bring a sense of joy, but studies do show that there is a link between happiness and health. The happier you are, the healthier you tend to be.
If you’re ready to make changes in your life to make it brighter and more blissful, here are 10 daily habits that are going to help.
1. Nourish Your Soul by Eating Healthy
You know that a healthy diet is good for your body, but what you eat also has a lot to do with whether you’re a happy camper or just a plain grouch. Noshing on comfort food like pasta or sweets might make you feel warm and fuzzy for a little bit, but it can have an adverse effect on your mood later.
In fact, diet is so important to your emotional well-being that there is even a field of medicine called nutritional psychiatry that’s devoted to studying and healing mental illness with food.
There are so many studies about this that researchers had to compile them all into one meta-analysis to get the big picture.
They found that people who eat diets high in processed meat, sugar, refined grains, dairy, and carbs like potatoes are at an increased risk for depression. People who have diets with oodles of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and lean meats are generally happier and have less risk of depression. (1)
Show yourself a little love and put the donut down. You deserve more happiness than the ten minutes of joy you receive from a sugary treat.
2. Become More Flexible with Yoga
Yoga isn’t just for a slim, strong, flexible figure that fills out yoga pants oh-so-nicely. Science shows that a regular yoga practice can make you happier.
A study published in the International Journal of Yoga found that “yoga leads to an inhibition of the sympathetic area of the hypothalamus,” which causes the fight and flight response that makes us anxious. (2)
We tap into our nervous systems while we’re doing yoga, and it’s not some exercise-induced high. It actually changes us on a cellular level.
The mind-body connection that yoga creates is good for the soul.
Try this video below by Yoga by Adrienne:
3. Start a Gratitude Practice
Appreciation for the things and people in our life always makes us feel better, and there is plenty of science to back that statement up. In one study, keeping a daily gratitude journal caused a 15% increase in participant’s optimism. (3)
What’s interesting about this, is that people who wrote in their journal weekly instead of daily only saw a 5% improvement. It appears that practicing gratitude daily really makes a difference!
Writing all the things you’re grateful for five minutes a day is going to improve your attitude and help you appreciate what you DO have, instead of what you don’t.
This can have an impact on how optimistic you are, and how happy you are in your relationships with others. On top of that, it’s good for your health because it reduces stress.
4. Try Active Listening
When we have healthy interactions and communications with others, we’re generally happier. When we feel heard, we feel good about things, and when we have good listening skills, it’s easier to get where people are coming from.
Active listening is one of the cornerstones of healthy communication in relationships. We fully engage with the person we’re speaking with, and we allow our brain to hear the whole message that they’re trying to get across.
A 2015 study of 400 students found that the healthier the communication style of a participant, the happier they reported being. They found it easier to have good relationships and felt closer to the people in their life. (4)
5. Practice Earthing or Spend Some Time in Nature
Earthing isn’t a thing right now for no reason. Hanging out in nature and digging your toes into the earth really can enhance your mood.
Electrophysiologist Dr. Gaetan Chevalier tested the mood of 40 people before having half of them ground themselves by hanging out in nature, taking off their shoes, and wiggling their tootsies in the grass.
They all lounged around in recliners for an hour after, so everyone reported feeling pretty chill, but the participants who grounded first felt more positive than the ones who didn’t.
You don’t have to dig your toes in the sand to feel good, though. Just spending time in nature is a real stress reliever. Sunshine, fresh air, and the beauty of natural surroundings will help you feel relaxed and at peace.
6. Practice Mindfulness
Many of us sleepwalk through the day without really paying attention to what we’re doing. We’re on autopilot.
How many times have you caught yourself looking at your phone while taking a walk, working out, or eating? Most of us are disconnected from what’s happening both inside and outside of ourselves.
When we practice mindfulness, we become aware of things on an entirely different level. We experience life rather than aimlessly wandering through it without connecting to anything, which can have a huge effect on our happiness and well-being.
Try putting down the phone and focusing on what you’re doing, what it feels like physically to be where you are right now, and what you’re thinking.
Make it a practice to do this for five minutes a day and see what happens.
7. Nurture Yourself
This world can be stressful and flat-out toxic, which is why giving yourself a little love is so important. Most of us are burned out and exhausted from the daily grind, and it is not good for our health and happiness.
Good self-care isn’t the only thing you need to keep yourself from going postal. A study done in Connecticut shows that if you don’t add nourishing love into the mix, self-care really doesn’t do a lot. (6)
Nurturing yourself is an art form that consists of doing things like speaking to yourself in a loving manner, setting healthy boundaries, and showering yourself with kindness. Add that to a healthy self-care routine and you are going to see a BIG difference in your life.
8. Become a Hugger
If you’re an introvert who shies away from friendly hugging, you might want to rethink your policy on that. Giving someone a hug isn’t just emotionally yummy; it can actually help you stay healthy.
Studies show that when you get a hug or spend time snuggling with someone you really like, your brain increases its production of oxytocin, which is called the “bonding hormone.”
If the thought of giving someone a hug every day still feels cringe-worthy, massages also increase oxytocin.
9. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
A scroll down your social media news feed can either make you feel really smug about how your life is going or like the biggest loser on the planet. Neither one of these attitudes is going to give you any happiness.
Defining your self-worth based on the triumphs or tribulations of other people keeps you focused on the external things that rarely bring joy. A little comparison isn’t a bad thing, but obsessing over what someone else has that you don’t is unhealthy.
Social media is a big problem when it comes to creating a happy life for yourself. Science shows that the more time you spend scrolling your news feed, the lower your self-esteem, body image, and less happy you are. (8)
People who decide to leave social media are generally happier and feel better about themselves after they close their accounts.
10. Meditate for at Least 5 Minutes a Day
We know you’ve probably heard it a million times, but meditation really can help you live a happier and healthier life! It does so many amazing things for your body and your brain.
Meditation has been scientifically proven time and time again to decrease stress, depression, anxiety, blood pressure, pain, and illness, and increases calm, the ability to concentrate, self- awareness, and happiness.
It can put you on the fast-track to joy and good health in no time, so what are you still reading for? Go sit!