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15 Simple Things You Can Do To Be Happier And Healthier That You Never Realized

15 Simple Things You Can Do To Be Happier And Healthier That You Never Realized

I hate being miserable. Sometimes life can get the best of me and it can be challenging. I am human, after all. When you are exhausted, overwhelmed, and stressed, the last thing you need is someone telling you what you should be doing. So instead, let’s keep it simple.  Here are 15 simple things you can do to just feel better about yourself.

1. Get Enough Sleep

We’ve all heard that you need to get enough sleep, which is about 8 hours. Sometimes we are so busy that it’s hard to get the right amount of sleep. Here are some tips on how to prepare yourself for a better night’s sleep. To start off, try just adding one extra hour of sleep at night. Even that can make a big difference.

2. Read Books That Inspire You

I love to escape in a good book. It takes my mind off of the what’s happening in my own life and it’s just good to read! We often don’t read just for the fun of it. Here is a list of books you may want to read.

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3. Limit Sugar Intake

There is plenty of scientific evidence that too much sugar is bad for you. You are gaining weight and it is negatively affecting your immune system. In fact, we’ve been hearing that since we were kids! Don’t go extreme here, but try and cut out one sugary item to start.

4. Exercise

Get moving! Do something you really enjoy or just take a 30 minute walk. Studies show that even moderate levels of exercise can boost your health. Start with something small and simple. Let’s get those endorphins flowing and feel good about ourselves! (Okay, maybe a little too Richard Simmonsesque.)

5. Limit Caffeine

Okay, I enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning and sometimes I drink one in the early afternoon. However, if you drink too much caffeine, I suggest scaling it back a little. If you want to know if you are drinking too much caffeine, check out this article from the Mayo Clinic.

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6. Turn Off Electronic Devices at Night

After a certain time, I like to be electronic free. I know it’s tempting to fall asleep to the television or read e-mails late at night, but studies show that it can really affect your quality of sleep. As we wind down the day, we don’t need to activate our senses. Try setting a time an hour before bed where you completely cut off electronics.

7. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Most of us like to connect with our friends on social networks, because it’s a good way to keep up with them. However, studies show there is also something else going on. Sites like Facebook and Twitter allow people to showcase the best parts of their lives. After viewing a lot of people and how happy they appear to be, it can actually cause one to feel worse about themselves. It’s an illusion. Social media is great, but just keep this in mind next time you are scrolling through your feed.

8. Try Turmeric

Turmeric is an Indian spice that is used in cooking but also has some powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. There is even evidence that it can be just as beneficial as anti-depressants, without all the side effects. You can buy supplements or try to incorporate turmeric more into your cooking.

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9. Take Deep Breaths

Take a big, deep belly breath. You know, the kind that fills you up and can feel your chest and stomach expand. This is the easiest way to slow down and recharge yourself. Take more deep breaths throughout the day. There are many obvious and not so obvious benefits to deep breathing.

10. Practice Gratitude

This is one way to connect to something bigger than yourself. You don’t have to practice a certain religion, but it’s important to practice gratitude. When we are grateful for what we have, it puts everything else in perspective. It helps us worry less about what we won’t have in the future, because we have enough right now. Here is a great list to help you get started.

11. Laugh, a lot

Do more things in life that make you laugh. Watch more comedy, make a co-worker smile, act silly. Laughter is so essential to both mental and physical health. I always feel better after I laugh (except when I laugh so hard my stomach hurts)! Laughter is also simply healthy for you.

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12. Help someone in need

This is the one of my favorite ways to feel better about myself. It may sound counter-intuitive, but it makes you feel so much better. Help someone else without any expectation of anything in return. The best part is that you actually will get something even bigger in return – a sense of purpose. There are many ways in which volunteerism can make you happier and healthier.

13. Exercise Your Brain

Do more things that make your brain sweat. Play chess, solve crosswords, or join Lumosity. Any any age, it’s important to challenge your mind to problem solve. When real problems arise, your brain is better equipped to take on the task at hand. There are many benefits to exercising the brain.

14. Drink Plenty of Water

Like other health tips, the specific amount of water seems to always change. Drink eight glasses, no wait, now it’s too much! Just drink enough water that is right for you. The idea here is to replace sugary drinks with more water. If you like carbonation, try seltzer water with no sodium. Water is an important asset to how our body functions and can even help with weight loss.

15. Reach Out to Others

Sometimes life can be so overwhelming that we feel like we are all alone. The more you connect with other people on a deeper level, you realize that you aren’t the only one struggling with life’s challenges. I encourage you to connect with more people who you trust. As humans, we thrive on community and positive social connections. Pick just one person to reconnect with or meet someone new. It will make you feel better.

There are many ways in which we can feel happier and healthier. There is also no perfect way to do this. I encourage you to do more of what works best for you. Try just changing one thing for the better in your life. Maybe it’s getting one extra hour of sleep. Maybe it’s taking a couple more deep breaths.  These are simple ways that we can bring more abundance to life, without feeling like we are adding more things to our to-do list.

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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