Leading a healthy, happy life is something we all strive for, but what exactly does that mean?
I’m sure it means a little something different to all of us, but for me, it can be summed up in 20 quick tips and one short word: balance.
I probably don’t hit all of these every day—I’m only human, after all!—but I do my best to be compliant with as many of them as possible every day. Check them out and try adopting them for yourself!
How To Be Happier And Healthier
Having a vision and knowing what you want is the first step to being happier and healthier.
I’m a strong believer in a vision board. I have one that sits on my dresser. It’s one of the first things I see when I wake up and one of the last things I see before I go to bed. It’s a daily reminder of what my goals are and what I’m working towards. It keeps me motivated to keep on going!
2. Spring clean…your life.
Sometimes you have to spring clean not just your house, but your life. In order to live happier, you need to get rid of the negativity in your life.
This might even mean getting rid of the people in your life that don’t support you or try to bring you down. It’s your journey, and not everyone is meant to come along on it.
3. Do something every day that helps you grow as a person.
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine and stop trying new things and meeting new people. Continuing to grow and challenge yourself can be fun and rewarding.
Take up a new class, read a new book, or try a new restaurant. Break away from the same old, same old. You never know what fun new things are out there unless you try.
4. Start thinking positively.
Speaking of getting rid of the negative people in your life, don’t be one of them!
Life can be hard sometimes, yes—that is true for everyone. Dwelling on this, however, won’t make it any better. Change your mindset.
I was guilty of this for a long time. I always saw the negative in every situation, and I felt like the world was out to get me.
I don’t know exactly when my mindset changed—it was probably gradual over time. What I do know was that the more I started to appreciate all that I have and all that is good in my life, the happier I became, and the more things seemed to start moving in the right direction.
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. Even though it might be hard, find the silver lining.
5. Laugh a little.
Life really isn’t that serious. Crack a smile! Laugh a little. Don’t be afraid to be silly.
6. Make the hard choice.
Sometimes you have to make the hard choice: the choice that is going to lead to more unhappiness before it leads to happiness. Whether it’s staying in a bad relationship or continuing to work a job you don’t like, staying in a situation that is no longer the best situation for you will never bring you happiness.
I’m all for fighting to make a relationship work, and I’m definitely not saying quit your job with no prospect of another, but there comes a point where you know the relationship isn’t going to work, it’s not good for you to be in it; there comes a point where you know you won’t go any further in that particular job or that you can be doing something else that will make you more happy.
You have to take the leap of faith, jump into the unknown, and know that you will land on your feet. It won’t be easy at first, but if you’re going to be happier, isn’t it worth it?
7. Remember: you’re in charge of your own happiness.
All too often, we wait for someone or something to make us happy. Happiness comes from within: being happy with who you are, where you are. If your happiness is dependent on someone or something external, you give that person or thing the power to take away your happiness. That is no way to live.
8. Love life, every crazy minute of it.
Embrace all the ups and downs. No one is promised tomorrow, so you better start living for today.
9. Let it out.
Don’t bottle up your feelings; this is unhealthy. When you have something that you really need to work through, go to your friends and family for guidance. Processing your feelings is important to leading a healthy, happy life.
10. Give thanks.
Be thankful for what you do have instead of concentrating on what you don’t. Too often, we spend each day looking forward to tomorrow—to when we will have more. We say, “I’ll be happy when I have X.” Being thankful for what you already have in the present moment is key to being happy.
11. Treat your body well.
You only get one body, and it’s the only place you have to live. You can treat your body like a temple or like an old honkey tonk, but just know that what you do to it will reflect both outside and inside.
12. Get plenty of rest.
Your body needs time to relax, repair, and recover from the stresses of the day. Get a minimum of eight hours of beauty sleep a night.
13. Move more.
A body in motion stays in motion, a body at rest stays at rest. Our bodies are made to move! Get at least 30 minutes of exercise in a day. The endorphins will kick in, you will feel good, and you’ll look great!
14. Water: it’s good for you!
Drink a little more water and a little less soda, coffee, beer, and wine. You should be drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water a day—so a person that weights 200 pounds should be drinking at least 100 ounces of water a day.
15. Eat the rainbow.
Put down the Skittles—I didn’t say taste the rainbow! I said eat, as in eat your fruits and vegetables.
There are so many health benefits that come from eating your fruits and veggies: lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, better skin, less fat…I could go on, but you get the point.
16. Pay a visit to your doctor regularly
I know, I know—it’s our least favorite thing to do, but it’s important to keep up with your regular checkups. Get you teeth cleaned twice a year. Visit your general practitioner once a year to have blood work done and make sure everything is ok. Have your eyes checked. And ladies, that annual trip to the gyno is a must!
Think of your body like a car: you wouldn’t go years without changing the tires and the oil or checking under the hood, so why would you neglect your body?
Stress can reek havoc on your body. Take a few minutes each day to de-stress. Do yoga, meditate, go for a walk, stretch, or just sit quietly for five minutes. Take a few deep breaths. Whatever it takes for you to let go of the stress of the day, do it.
18. Cut out the crap.
Get rid of the processed food in your diet. Fake sugar, white flour, foods loaded with preservatives—these are all things that will pack on the pounds, leave you feeling tired and have you craving more.
Stick to lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and healthy carbohydrates and fats. The best way to do this is by shopping the outside aisles of your grocery store. The middle aisles are usually the boxed, bagged, and canned foods that you want to avoid.
19. Eat 5-6 small meals a day.
Eating smaller meals more often will keep your metabolism revved up and will keep you from overeating at any one meal. Both are beneficial to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.
20. Shop local.
When it comes to your fruits and veggies, fresh is best. Shopping at a local farmers market guarantees your fruits and veggies are fresh-picked which means they will contain the highest amount of nutrients. You might pay a little more, but you’re getting more from the food that you eat.
Healthy and happy go hand in hand: when you are healthy and treating your body well, you will be happy. When you are happy, you treat your body better. At the end of the day, life is all about balance. Exercise, eat healthy, get rest, but enjoy yourself now and then. Eat the cookie without feeling guilty, have a glass of wine with friends, stay up late enjoying a first date. Find the balance.
Autumn Calabrese is a celebrity fitness trainer, fitness specialist for ModernMom.com, national-level bikini competitor, and the creator of 21 Day Fix—the best-selling Beachbody® fitness program of 2014. Holding personal training certificates from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA), she knows exactly what her clients need to eat and how they need to work out to achieve their best results. She has appeared on the cover of Oxygen magazine; and her workouts have been featured in C magazine, LA Parent, The Palisadian-Post, and Daily Candy, as well as on TV shows like Home & Family.
Photo by Noelle Buske