Working to get healthy shouldn’t be stressful. It doesn’t matter if you have a goal to eat a bit more in the veggie department, work on a more positive body image, relax more, or focus on your mental well-being, there are small changes that you can make that will add up quickly.
The key phrase in that last sentence is: small changes. You don’t have to decide to compete in an Ironman triathlon; instead, add a quarter of a mile to your daily jog. Instead of joining a zen monastery, start meditating for five minutes a day. Instead of completely overhauling your diet, start keeping a food journal. As the old proverb says, “It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” (Well, the internet says it’s an old proverb, anyway.)
Making small, positive changes does add up quickly. Here’s a quick look at a few of the changes you could start making today.
Getting healthier both in the mind and the body can be helped by getting a bit of assistance, such as that offered at the mental health treatment center, SBTreatment.com. Sometimes we have to deal with the things in our heads and get our minds right before we can affect any changes to our physical body. Also, that isn’t always something that you can do on your own. It’s good to know that help is available if needed.
If you have a smartphone, you can download one of several meditation apps; some of the most popular are Calm, Ten Percent Happier, Insight Timer, and Headspace. Most of these apps come with a free trial so you can see if you like their meditation style. If you don’t like the style of one app, try another. Meditating for a mere five minutes a day can help you manage stress, manage anger, increase tolerance, become more patient, cope with anxiety, sleep better, and become more present in your daily life. That’s a small change with a big impact.
Developing and maintaining good oral hygiene is critical, not just for your smile, but also for your overall health. Good dental health will battle against things like tartar and plaque buildup that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Additionally, oral health has been linked to conditions such as heart disease and stroke.
One small change most of us could benefit from is flossing. We know that we’re supposed to floss, but many of us don’t quite keep up with that little chore. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. The ADA says it doesn’t matter when you floss or whether you brush before or after you floss; they just want you to do a thorough job.
Enjoy Your Exercise
Or at the very least – find a way to hate exercising a little bit less. All of us can’t be fantastic swimmers or runners, so there’s no point in forcing yourself to do the things you don’t enjoy since you won’t stick to them anyway.
Instead, find something you don’t abhor and give it a chance for a few weeks. Try different things to learn what works for you – be it CrossFit, dance, yoga, or anything else.
More of us may have access to a pool than we realize, and swimming is a great form of enjoyable exercise. Check for a local YMCA or community pool. Swimming is praised for helping relieve stress, burning calories, and increasing energy levels, all while giving you a low-impact, full-body workout.
Track Your Food
No, this one won’t work for everyone, but if you track what you eat with a food journal or a fitness or food app, it really can help when it comes to controlling portion sizes. This one doesn’t even have anything to do with restricting your caloric intake! This works in the same way that keeping track of your spending can help you save money.
You can just utilize these things to ensure that you’re getting enough water or veggies and to see the number of calories you burn through on a daily basis. Also, if you struggle to get enough of one food group or another, this can be a superb way to track it.
If you still find yourself struggling to make improvements in your life, set smaller, more specific goals. If you want to start jogging four times a week, for example, start by setting a goal of jogging for 20 minutes each time. Is your goal a little more ambitious? When you see your goal is something like running a 5K instead of running a marathon or eating a bit less of the processed foods instead of losing 50 pounds, those can be easier to stick to. Those small, specific goals will soon add up to the bigger ones. There’s an acronym for goal-setting: S.M.A.R.T. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based.
Are you one of those people who check your emails or Facebook right after you wake up in the mornings? If you are, that can be a good thing. Try doing that while you’re walking in place or on the treadmill. You might be surprised to find how easy it is to get to 2,000 steps while you aren’t even thinking about it.
Audiobooks are another way to get exercise while doing something productive. Put a book on your headphones and go for a walk; you can do something positive for both your mental and physical health all at once!
When you get out of bed and look into the mirror, as opposed to having negative thoughts about yourself, try giving yourself a compliment or two. If you really think you have a nice smile, tell yourself. You don’t need to stick with your looks for the compliments either. Why not celebrate all of your good qualities and not just how you look?
Finally, keep in mind that you’re an individual, and as such, you’re unique. You have different needs from everyone else. Skip those self-improvement plans that are one size fits all and find whatever works for you and you’ll be happier and healthier in no time.