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Make These 17 Health Goals Into Daily Habits for Better Overall Wellness

Make These 17 Health Goals Into Daily Habits for Better Overall Wellness

Every day, we set goals to improve our overall wellness. But what if you could take those health goals you’re setting and transcend them into daily habits?

If you’ve envisioned yourself happier, healthier, and more energized, I’ve put together concrete steps you can take to get there.

The Importance of Setting Health Goals

Goals vary between big and small, achievable and maybe far-fetched. When setting goals, it’s important to do so in such a way that allows you to obtain them and naturally weave them into your daily life.

To create new habits, it can take up to sixty days to make them stick. I’ve noticed that when I try to accomplish huge goals, my efforts to turn them into daily rituals or routines doesn’t manifest the way I’d hoped.

Wellness takes practice. It means different things to different people. Being healthy means being peaceful, serene and joyful in your thoughts and mind–how you respond to events in this wacky world we live in and in your life.

Optimal health should always be your desired outcome. However, life can get in the way of making your health goals habitual.

Recently, I’d endured a major loss in my family and I definitely felt my health slip throughout these stages of grief. I found it a challenge to function day-to-day, finish tasks, and wound up isolating myself more. The work that I love doing became not so enjoyable because I couldn’t give myself the chance to grieve or process the loss. I kept piling on work to avoid feeling and couldn’t keep up with eating well, exercising and lost nights of sleep.

I am somebody who can’t afford to lose sleep nor am I somebody who can over-jam my schedule. I am someone who needs to keep up with those good habits for the sake of my heart, mind, and physical health. I believe this is relative for everybody.

When you’re stressed or emotionally distressed, your heart is one of the first organs in your body that will feel the pain and react.

Life will throw those unexpected curve balls at you, so it’s critical to sustain those habits. Turn your quest for balance and good health into actionable steps that slowly become routines.

17 Health Goals That Will Transform Your Life

Don’t attempt to force habits. It’s OK if it takes a while to really get in the groove and adjust. So, here are the seventeen health goals that you can make into habits to become your healthiest self.

1. Develop Your Morning Routine

How you start your day matters tremendously. The way you greet a morning determines what mood you’ll be in that entire day.

If you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, rush to get dressed, shove something in your mouth and hustle to work, you’ll most likely feel rattled.

A morning routine will help you ease into your day and start off on the right foot. If you’ve had a health goal to have more time in the mornings, start in fifteen minute increments. Wake up a fifteen minutes earlier each day until you’re happy with the time.

More time in the mornings means more time and attention to work obligations and people you care most about.

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Here’re 30 Morning Routines to Help You Start Afresh.

2. Develop Your Evening Routine

An evening routine can consist of reading, Yoga, cleaning and organizing, or doing an exercise.

Winding down is critical for mental health management. Come 7:00 or 7:30 P.M., that’s when you might want to start allowing your brain and mind to relax.

Your evening routine can entail anything that promotes peace and serenity. If something relaxes you and gets you prepared for bed, do that.

To make a health goal into a habit, set a time to stop working. The time I quit working is at 5:30 P.M. I cook dinner and after, my evening routine begins.

Need a little more advice? This guide can help:

The Ultimate Night Routine Guide: Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

3. Walk for Thirty Minutes a Day

At a recent medical conference I’d attended, I learned about meditative walking. The sound of your shoes hitting the ground intervenes in troublesome thoughts. Feeling planted on the pavement anchors your mental and emotional state, keeps you stable.

I walk a couple times a day for my heart health–in the early afternoon and evening to activate my heart rate.

Inactivity is dangerous for anyone, with or without heart disease. A regular routine of walking will decrease stress and increase a peace in the mind.

4. Incorporate More Greens on Your Plate

Over the last couple of years, I created a rule for my plate:

Always have something green included.

Greens, especially dark leafy greens, have a broad array of benefits from healthier skin, vision, and energy to stronger kidneys and organs.

I’d noticed significant improvement in my overall well-being when I incorporated something green even in my breakfast.

Clean eating will lessen all kinds of aggravating symptoms. This is something you’ll want to do over time.

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Start off slow by adding greens to your dinner or lunch plate. Any kind of dietary change takes time, some effort and planning. But it’s all worthwhile.

5. Use Aroma Therapy for Stress Management

Essential oils truly are essential to wellness. In times of stress, I will dip a cotton ball into lavender oil, chamomile or eucalyptus and tie it in a tea bag.

Throughout the day, when I’m feeling flustered or rushed, I slow down and breathe in the oils. I’d feel drastic changes to my mental and emotional state and refreshed.

Aroma therapy has been used for thousands of years as tools for healing. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try different ways of using essential oils throughout the day or at night.

6. Engage in Nature Therapy

There are a variety of nature therapies you can do to lower your stress and anxiety. I recently learned about tree therapy from an international blogger. I tried it over the summer and am still doing it.

It’s originally a Japanese practice called, ‘Forest Bathing’ and it’s radically improved health in people. All you do is surround yourself with trees. The concept is to be free from obligations, effort, and doing.

Don’t hike or count your steps. Just be present. Focus on all five of your senses. It’s revitalizing and energy restoring. Try doing this for ten minutes a day and see how you feel.

7. Inhale Fresh Air Fifteen Minutes a Day

Fresh air opens the lungs, the heart and the mind. It’s a collaborative process with yourself and nature.

Sometimes I’ll sit with my eyes closed in a safe place and breathe in the pine-scented air. I made this a daily habit now because being outside is emotionally and mentally healing.

A benefit of breathing in fresh air is it sharpens your mind and restores your energy, digestive system, and improves blood flow.

8. Try This Simple Diaphragmatic Breathing Technique for Anxiety

A diaphragmatic breathing technique I learned has allowed me to tackle anxiety the second it comes on, thus aiding in cognitive functioning.

If you’re anxious or overly stressed all the time, your system will operate as if you’re always in fight or flight. Deep breathing slows all the systems in your body down. It clears your mind of troubled or worrisome thoughts.

Try this:

Inhale through your nose four times and exhale, making a sound as you breathe out. Repeat it four times and be wowed by the results. You’ll feel much calmer.

9. Devote 10 Minutes of Stretching in Your Day

Stretching is needed to strengthen, repair, and grow muscles. Every day, I use the Styrofoam roller which you can buy on Amazon or even eBay. I’d never thought Styrofoam would cost so much but it’s worth every penny.

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Before and after I work out, I use it and then stretch. I do a fifteen-minute routine right at home on my living room floor.

As someone with chronic pain, I’ve noticed drastic improvement when I focus on increasing flexibility.

Stretching also fosters movement. A long day at work calls for time to decompress and release the stress of your day.

You can also try these simple stretches to relax your body and mind.

10. Take Naps

Within the last couple of years, managers of corporations and other companies have been allowing their employees to take naps in the middle of the day.

A nap will revitalize your physical energy and mind; and refresh your eyes and focus.

Since I’ve added naps to my daily regimen, my productivity increased by seventy percent. Naps are a great way to give yourself the break it needs.

11. Organize Your Home or Work Space for 15 Minutes

Fifteen minutes of cleaning will save you so much time.

Did your old routine used to consist of abandoning those chores during the week only to be slammed with them come Saturday and Sunday? Have you found yourself canceling plans with friends because life feels like such a mess in your home? It’s not a good place to be.

Fifteen minutes of cleaning a night (or morning, whichever works best) will add time to your life. Your home should be your oasis. A clean place is vital for stress management.

12. Morning Pages

You can really do this in the morning or night. Dump your thoughts on paper before you start a work day.

After I’d read the book, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, I tried her morning pages activity. It’s a form of letting go of that added weight that life gives us: career, hobbies, kids, family, worries, burdens, you name it. This technique of free-writing your thoughts should move you away from fear and back to your creative or hard-working self, the one who is fearless in their pursuits.

After I did the morning pages, I wrote a novel in a month and felt extremely accomplished. This type of writing is freeing and will release you from the burdens you feel holds you back.

13. Schedule Moments of Silence

Just ten minutes of silence can have profound impacts on your mental health.

I used to be somebody who needed something to make me happy, something to make me feel OK another day. I basically needed things in my life to be happening or I’d feel insecure.

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When I started penciling in moments of silence, I got to the root cause of why that got so out of control, the need and desire to always be seeking something. These moments of silence should give your mind pause, a break from tedious thoughts.

For me, doing this has improved my depression and anxiety astoundingly.

14. Include Writing in Your Morning or Evening Routine

I know this relates to the morning pages but not exactly. This you can do in three to five minutes. I’d been talking about this method of writing for years and it’s finally catching on (yes, I started this).

Try logging what you accomplished each day and what you need to do the next. Create a comprehensive outline showcasing how much you’ve achieved and what else needs attention. You’ll be amazed when you realize how much you’ve done in a day and hopefully will stop being so hard on yourself.

I am very hard on myself, unnecessarily so, and it’s unhealthy for the heart and mind. This approach to writing saved me in a lot of ways.

15. Wake up at a Set Time Each Morning

If you wake up at 7:00 in the morning, always wake up at 7:00 in the morning. A set sleep schedule will keep your circadian rhythm the same, which you want. Then, you’ll be able to predict those dips and rises in alertness each day.

If you have dietary restrictions or want to start eating healthy, keeping your sleep pattern steady and the same will make healthy eating easier.

16. Establish an Invigorating Skin-Care Routine

Whether you’re a man or a woman, have some kind of skin-care routine or time to wash those impurities away.

A regimen promotes anti-aging and will make you feel and look good. Morning and night, try something simple and effective to help you either wind down or wake up.

17. Dry Brushing

The benefits of dry brushing are amazing. If you struggle with anxiety and stress chronically, dry brushing is the way to relax. It’s perfect for increasing circulation, blood flow, and positive energy.

Recent studies show that dry brushing is also beneficial for the nerves. The action of dry brushing eliminates dead skin cells and promotes healing.

Bottom Line

A lot is in that list but bottom line: incorporating even the smallest goals and making them habits will transform your health in some way. You can pick and choose which best suit your needs but I do just about all of these daily now. If you’ve fallen off the wellness wagon, try doing a few of these regularly. Turning health goals into habits will transform your well-being in ways you’d never imagined and you’ll feel unstoppable.

Featured photo credit: morgan sarkissian via unsplash.com

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Tessa Koller

Author, Motivational Public Speaker and Artist

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

More Health Tips

Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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