Take Control: Five Steps to Improving Your Body and Mind
If you are reading this article, it’s likely that you have realized that you need to make changes in your life. Perhaps your days feel like nothing more than a hectic scramble from one activity to the next. It takes all of your effort to keep the elements of your life – work, family, economy, and health – at a functioning level. You may feel that you are just surviving, instead of thriving. While there are numerous factors affecting your mental and physical well-being over which you have no control, there are many that are within your command and, even more importantly, several ways to be better prepared to meet the unplanned events which can cause chaos in your life.
Establish a Routine
This is the first step to feeling like you have more control over your life. It may seem like an obvious idea, but consciously writing up a schedule will help you to not only make sure that you have an allocated time for essential tasks, but also help you to weed out activities that are unnecessary, not beneficial or for which you simply don’t have time. It helps to think of everything that you do as falling into the categories of ‘need to do’ and ‘want to do.’ Carefully evaluate what you feel falls into the first category to make sure it does not actually belong in the second.
Establishing a routine schedule will also help you to create healthy habits. Habits have an incredibly powerful influence over your life. Indeed, it’s said that over 40% your daily activities are shaped by habits, rather than by conscious decision-making. When dealing with any situation, moreover, it is important to remember that the brain reverts to habits at the exclusion of all other factors, even common sense.
Studies have shown that getting enough sleep, usually between 7-9 hours, is as important to your mental and physical well-being as eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly. Adequate sleep is crucial to, among many other things, brain function, weight control, physical performance, greater social and emotional intelligence and mental health. It’s especially vital for children, whose brain development may be negatively effected by a lack of sleep. If you want your family to thrive experience all the wonderful things life has to offer and maintain optimum health, you need to make sure that they are all getting enough sleep.
Feed Your Body and Mind
Everyone is aware of the importance of eating a balanced diet, in particular including a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. It’s also essential to limit consumption of sugary drinks, even those considered natural, and processed foods. The less a food looks like its original ingredients, the less likely it is that it is good for you.
In addition to this, it’s crucial to consider what you feed your mind. While it’s important to stay abreast of local and international news, constantly exposing yourself to the often distressing reports and images can be detrimental to your well-being. Consider limiting your news intake to once a day. Similarly, evaluate the other types of media you consume. Try to watch and read things that keep you feeling positive. Practicing meditation a few times a week can also help you be more aware of your thoughts and improve your focus.
Reserve Time for Being Outside
The numerous positive effects of regular physical activity are well known. Many people view exercise as something that can only occur in a gym. However, green spaces are one of the best places to exercise. Whether it is in a back yard, a local park or a forest, research has shown that spending just 20 minutes in these environments lowers stress and blood pressure levels and diminishes your risk of developing depression and other psychiatric disorders.
Remember, It’s All Connected
Finally, it’s important to remember that everything is connected. For example, if you don’t eat or sleep well, it’s difficult to exercise properly and vice versa. It is, therefore, crucial to be consistent when establishing healthy habits. If you follow these five tips, you will be on your way to optimizing your body and mind.