The human body is an elaborate and complex machine, involving a number of different systems all working carefully in sync with one another. It is this complexity that makes the topic of ‘overall well-being’ slightly challenging to define. Not only must one focus on their physical health, ensuring that their body is operating in optimal condition, but we must also consider our mental, emotional and spiritual health – all factors that work together in order to create a single, unified being.
You will come across many blogs and articles that discuss the specifics, for example, what steps can you take to improve your heart health, or how can you tweak your daily habits to promote better digestive health, but there is a bigger overall picture to consider. In order to lead a happy, healthy life you need to discover the necessary balance of all factors in your life. This is a tall order, and certainly isn’t going to happen overnight! However, you can start taking steps today to improve your health and direct your life onto a beneficial path.
Improve your overall health and wellness today with these 9 important tips:
#1 – Proper Nutrition
The first thing you should consider if you are looking to improve your overall health and well being is the fuel that you are putting into your system. Eating a balanced diet including all the necessary vitamins and minerals that your body requires will set you up to be successful in all other efforts to focus on your health. Include a variety of different fruits and vegetables, trying to eat something from each of the different ‘colors of the rainbow’, for example, ‘green foods’ may include spinach or asparagus, while ‘orange foods’ includes carrots.
#2 – Physical Activity
Once you have your nutrition in order, it is time to focus on the next biggest overall topic – your level of physical activity. While you don’t have to go running a marathon tomorrow or make plans to scale Mount Everest, adding some physical activity to your daily routine will help you to feel more energized, burn more calories, reduce stress, boost your immune system, improve flexibility and increase lean body mass. This may include going for a walk, riding your bike, or taking part in a local fitness class.
#3 – Hydration
Many people overlook the importance of ensuring that you are properly hydrated. Ensuring that you are getting the right level of hydration each day will help to carry nutrients to your cells, prevent constipation, flush bacteria from your bladder and promote and maintain the optimal function of your body including your muscles, brain, and heart. Due to a lack of knowledge regarding the importance of this topic, many Americans don’t get enough fluids dealing, instead, with the side effects of dehydration. Experts recommend a minimum of 30 to 50 ounces of fluid daily for a healthy individual.
#4 – Skin Care
The largest organ in your body, your skin serves a very important purpose as the organ that comes in contact with the world around you. It acts as a shield, keeping harmful microbes out while keeping the bodily fluids contained. It not only helps to keep you protected from sickness or infection but also work to prevent damage to your muscles, bones and internal organs. Considering all of that, wouldn’t it make sense to prioritize its care? Protect your skin by keeping yourself properly hydrated, using a moisturizer immediately after bathing, eating yellow and orange fruits to increase your vitamin A levels and taking a vitamin E supplement.
#5 – Pay Attention to Your Mental Health
The topic of mental health is one that is often disregarded or avoided due to a stigma that has been built up over the years. Unfortunately, not only does this avoidance prevent many Americans from acknowledging the steps they can take to promote good mental health, it also prevents many who need it from seeking help. Don’t downplay the importance of focusing on your mental health. Take steps to reduce and manage your stress, surround yourself with uplifting and supportive people, quiet your mind through meditation and mindfulness, and, most importantly, don’t hesitate to seek help if and when you require it. If you are dealing with mental illness you can recover and lead a happy, healthy life, but only if you take the steps to steer your life in that direction.
#6 – Laugh a Little
Would you believe that something as simple as laughter can actually have some incredible benefits for your overall health and well-being? Well, believe it! Researchers Dr. Lee Berk and Dr. Stanley Tan at the Loma Linda University in California shed some light on these benefits, revealing that laughter can lower your blood pressure, reduce stress, work your abs, improve cardiac health, boost your immune system and more! So, don’t hold back on having a little fun and allowing yourself to get a good laugh in from time to time!
#7 – Give Yourself Down Time
In our fast-paced, high-stress world this may sound like an impossible demand, but it is important that you schedule some downtime into your daily routine. You may not have the flexibility to take off on a weekend getaway, but even taking a 30 min ‘time-out’ off from work, responsibilities and the stress of daily life is important for your mental health. You need to the chance to mentally recuperate, but you won’t have this opportunity if you don’t create it!
#8 – Exercise Your Brain
Most people can understand and acknowledge the benefits of exercising your body, such as abdominal exercises or weight lifting, but few consider the fact that you can also exercise your brain. If left to succumb to the signs of aging, your brain will slowly lose its cognitive abilities, which can ultimately lead to conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. Instead, take steps to keep your brain active and engaged. This may include reading regularly, learning a new language, crossword and word search puzzles, brain teasers or learning to play a musical instrument.
#9 – Practice Gratitude
It can be easy to find yourself caught up in all the reasons that each of us has to be upset or feel down about our lives – focusing our attention on our weaknesses, flaws or mistakes that we have made. Doing so, however, is only going to welcome negative energy into our lives, further tearing us down. Rather than finding ourselves caught up in the negativity, shift your focus and thinking to look at the positive aspects of your life. Take some time each and every day to consider the reasons you have to truly be grateful and appreciative. The longer you do this, the more natural it will become. In time you can retrain your mind to focus on the positive.