Want to feel better and leave old habits behind? It’s not as hard as it might sound. There are lots of little things that you can incorporate in your daily life to feel comfortable in your own skin and live a healthier life. Try meditation, start hugging more or be grateful for something every day. Start today and make it a habit before you ring in the new year.
1. A 7-second hug
A hug triggers the release of oxytocin – also known as the love hormone – which is responsible for trust and positive relationships, and it also lowers stress and anxiety. Don’t rush it, though – it takes at least seven seconds before the feel-good factor kicks in.
2. Go without
Learning to go without our favorite things from time to time can teach us to appreciate what we have and give us a sense of freedom, especially when those things are gone. Consider fasting for a few days, giving up alcohol or coffee for a month, or the big one: disconnecting from your devices for a fixed time each week.
3. Giving is better than receiving
The more you give, the more you have. Giving (our time, friendship, money, love, skills, help...) is a sure way to improve our well-being – after all, a generous heart is a happy heart. Giving also inspires more giving, making the world a better place, one kind gesture at a time.
4. Adopt a pet
A pet is a wonderful companion, but did you know that having animals in our lives is also good for our mental and physical well-being? Petting your pup and cuddling your kitty can result in lower blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease and a decrease in the stress hormone cortisol. Pets in the workplace are a great idea as they are good stress relievers and even encourage productivity.
5. Learn something new
Learning a new skill – something you choose for yourself – can be challenging and even stressful at first, but the sense of accomplishment that comes from trying something different can lead to more happiness and well-being in the longer term. Success and expertise are not mandatory – sometimes it’s just fun to step outside of our comfort zone.
6. Watch what you eat
The presence of the chemical serotonin in our brain is thought to have a strong effect on our moods. A serotonin deficiency can cause depression, anxiety, insomnia and more. But eating the following serotonin-rich foods - bananas, pineapples, kiwis, plums, tomatoes, spinach and walnuts – has a positive effect on the brain, which can help you get your groove back.
7. Go for a walk and get out of your head
Feeling cranky? Studies have shown that even a short walk can cheer us up, as well as having an impact on our health. Getting on the move gets our endorphins (our body’s happy chemicals) flowing; it increases blood flow to the brain, so we’re mentally sharper; it gives us time to think, which can result in creative solutions, away from distractions; and it lowers stress and burns calories. So go on, get out there.
8. Count your blessings
Did you know that gratitude has health benefits? According to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology, writing in a gratitude journal each day can actually help us sleep better. Making a point of being consciously aware of the good things in our lives means less worry and more positivity at bedtime, which of course means we’re able to have longer, more restful sleep.
9. Try meditation
Discover the beautiful power of meditation. Follow the guided meditations on our Rituals app and invite some inner peace into your daily life. You can decide how long you want your practice to last: 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes.