Quick start guide.
Below are small actions that can be incorporated into your daily life that will make a big difference if done consistently. Start with focusing on one practice that you think will have the largest impact. Do that action every day for two weeks. Once you have established it as a habit, pick another action to practice and do the same. Try to narrow your focus to one thing at a time. This will increase the odds that you will follow through with it every day.
Focus on your breathing in stressful situations
Breathwork is the simplest way to start practicing mindfulness. Try it now by taking three deep breaths (4 seconds inhale, 4 seconds exhale). Use this animation to guide you further.
Five-minute daily journal
Setting your intentions is a great way to start the day. Focus on the positive things in your life, such as what you are grateful for. This is an effective technique for changing the framework of your thinking, which tends to lean towards rumination and negative thought patterns.
There are some outstanding apps that provide guided meditations that make getting started with meditation easier than ever. Focus on daily consistency instead of duration of each session. A few minutes a day goes a long way.
Manage stress and think clearer by practicing mindfulness.
Start small, be consistent
Forget about the hour-long gym workouts. The best thing for a beginner to do is to increase your physical activity by a small amount, on a week by week basis. By focusing on consistency, you will get in the habit of moving a little bit more every day. Read more here.
Find something enjoyable
The gym is not the only way to add more movement into your life. Starting with something fun is a much easier way to ensure you are moving enough. Many of these activities involve interacting with other people, adding an important social component that is essential for well-being.
How we think about exercise and movement makes a big difference on whether we are able to be consistent with our exercise practices. Stop thinking about it as just a weight loss mechanism and start thinking about it as one of the most important things we can do for mental and physical health. The moment you do that is when it becomes much easier to follow through on getting more daily movement.
Movement is not just a weight loss mechanism. It is essential for mental and physical health.
Eating slower has shown to provide a myriad of benefits. You also eat a little bit less each meal by doing so. One way to practice this is to put your utensils down or take a deep breath after each bite.
The less processed the food, the better
People who eat ultra-processed diets tend to eat 500 more calories a day. Yikes! The main paradigm to be operating under when making healthy food decisions is consistently choosing less processed options over more processed ones. Most food is processed to some degree (it is all on a spectrum), but keeping this principle in mind will make it easier for you to make the better food choice.
Maintain a healthy food environment
Any chips, crackers or cookies you have in your home environment will be eaten. You can guarantee that. Change your environment to ensure you are making better food choices. Some tips: Always make a list before going t the grocery store so you don't impulse buy. Don't go to the grocery store hungry. And stick to the outer isles where there aren't as many processed foods.
Eating healthy lets you look and feel your best.
Maintain a sleep routine
Don't leave it up to your whims on when you decide to go to bed each night. Instead, make sure you have a routine. Start your routine 30 minutes before you plan to fall asleep. Have a bedtime each night and also a time you wake up each morning. Practicing this is the most effective way to ensure consistency in your days.
Optimize your sleeping environment
Maintain a cool, dark sleeping environment. Put your electronics away at least 30 minutes before you plan to fall asleep. The blue light has a major negative effect on your ability to fall and stay asleep.
Limit caffeine and alcohol intake
Both negatively affect sleep quality. Most people do well by stopping caffeine consumption 8 house before bed. For alcohol, try and have your last drink three hours before bed. Anything more than 1 drink a night for women and 2 drinks for men is going to have a negative impact.
Sleep is the foundation that makes everything else possible, and often the most neglected.