This is the most important habit of healthy people. You can do all of the others, but if you’re having fast food for all 3 meals every day and vending machine snacks in between, you’re still going to put on a lot of body fat and fill your body with nasty chemicals that can eventually lead to cancer, organ failure, etc…. The key here is not to think about “dieting.” Think instead about a healthy lifestyle. It’s ok to have a candy bar or a cupcake every now and then, but for the most part you should be eating whole, organic foods. Veggies should be raw or steamed. Watch out for certain words like “zero calories, low fat, or sugar free.” These phrases all translate to “chemical shit storm.” The chemicals used to replace the fats and sugars are chemicals that usually can’t even be found in nature and your body is incapable of processing them. Whatever diet you choose as part of your healthy lifestyle, make sure it doesn’t feel like a punishment. You should enjoy the food you eat, so find some good recipes and start planning your meals and get cooking!
This can be as simple as going for a walk or an intense 2 hour long crossfit workout. Whatever you decide to do for your exercise, make sure you are including all of the basic elements: warm up, mobility work, strength training, cardiovascular training, stretching. Including each of these will help you move better, feel better, and live better.
Drink plenty of water.
Not coffee, not tea, not soda. Yes these all have water in them, but they are also loaded with sugar and salt, which both make your body need even more water, and they contain caffeine which is a diuretic and makes you get rid of excess water. A good rule of thumb is 1 ounce for every 2 pounds of body weight. If you weigh 180 pounds, you should drink 90 ounces per day.
Get enough sleep.
The amount of sleep you need is different for everyone. Some people thrive on 4 hours, others need 9 or 10. Figure out how much sleep you need for optimum performance (not just physical, but work performance, family life, etc…) and make sure you get that much sleep every night. Personally, I can thrive on about 4 hours of sleep at night if I get a 20 – 30 minute nap in the afternoon. If I don’t get the nap, I need 6-7 hours at night. Just find what is best for you and do it.
Do a sudoku puzzle, word search, or crossword puzzle. Work on that Rubik’s cube you’ve been trying to solve for years. Exercises for the brain are good for the entire nervous system. I like words and linguistics, so one of my favorites is taking normal phrases from daily life and trying to make alliterations out of them – where every word starts with the same letter. An example would be “thinking about my crazy kids” can become “ruminating on my rambunctious rugrats” or “contemplating my cantankerous children.” The possibilities here are endless.
Do things you enjoy. Find a hobby. Humans are some of the only animals that stop playing as we mature. Is it natural to stop? No. We stop playing because of a social construct that teaches us that “play is for children” and “adults have to be mature and responsible.” There have been numerous studies outlining the benefits of play and I’m not going to go into all of them here – you can do your own research if you don’t believe me. Play is downright good for you. It lets you express yourself freely, enhances creativity, and just helps you feel better.
By socialize, I don’t mean go to the bar and get wasted. I just mean hang out with your friends. Your friends can help you figure out how to deal with problems you may be facing or can just provide some relaxing distraction from the problems. Either way, socializing can help you feel better and provides release of some neurotransmitters that actually has a positive effect of helping the body deal more effectively with stress.