The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.

–Buddha

No matter how many struggles you’ve faced in your past, you can start living a happier, more healthy life this very moment by practicing a few simple healthy habits (and breaking a few unhealthy ones). Very quickly, unbelievable new strength and energy will flood your body once you embrace a healthier lifestyle. Here are 15 ways to start.

Stop smoking.

A major research study found that not smoking, eating healthy, drinking in moderation and exercising can add 14 years to your life. Sorry, but there’s no such thing as a healthy smoker.

Get some sleep.

According to the book Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation, people who suffer from lack of sleep and sleep disorders are less productive, spend more money on health care and have an increased likelihood of accidents compared to healthy people. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep per night.

Get a pet.

Animals are therapeutic and they have amazing benefits for your health. Even if you don’t own a pet, playing with a friend’s can brighten your day.

Relax.

Your life is busy. So take a little time to relax every day. It can make a world of difference for your health. Unwind with some yoga or meditation, both of which have major health benefits.

Break a sweat.

Exercise is also good for your mind and body … but can be a total burden when you don’t feel like working out. Here’s the solution: find something you love doing. Whether it’s lifting weights, walking, swimming, playing tennis, or doing yoga, make exercise fun and you’re much more likely to stick with it.

Go outside.

Spending time outside is a proven way to live a healthier life. Nature is therapeutic, so go outside and enjoy it for at least a few minutes each day.

Eat real food.

70 percent of our calories come from processed food, which is a leading cause of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Eat stuff that comes from nature instead and you’ll live a healthier, longer life.

Read a book.

Words have immense power. Reading will inspire you, motivate you and give your mind a break from life’s many distractions. And you’ll learn something new with every book you read.

Get a plant.

Putting a plant in your home or office can improve your air quality and brighten up your room (and sometimes your mood too).

Have a drink.

Having one or two drinks per day can decrease your odds of getting heart disease and certain types of cancer. Don’t overdo it though–having more than two drinks has the opposite effect.

Enjoy some time in the sauna or hot tub.

Saunas and hot tubs can help you relax after a hard day. Limit your time in them to 15-20 minutes though.

Spend time with friends and family.

There’s perhaps no greater way to improve your happiness than by spending quality time with the people you love most.

Learn a new skill.

Whether you have an interest in woodworking, knitting, yoga, writing or something else, you’re never too old to pursue a new passion.

Make sweet love.

One study found that orgasms may have brain benefits because they increase blood flow to all parts of your brain. Sounds to me like a good reason to spend some more quality time with your significant other.

Spend time alone.

Being alone with your thoughts is essential for rebooting your brain, doing some deep thinking and reflecting on your life. Psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter says “In today’s constantly connected world, finding solitude has become a lost art.”

Take at least a few minutes each day to yourself to just breathe, think and be in the moment.

Featured photo credit: emɹә via flickr.com

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