“LIVE WITH INTENTION. WALK TO THE EDGE. LISTEN HARD. PRACTICE WELLNESS. PLAY WITH ABANDON. LAUGH. CHOOSE WITH NO REGRET. DO WHAT YOU LOVE. LIVE AS IF THIS IS ALL THERE IS.”
– MARY ANNE RADMACHER, AMERICAN WRITER & ARTIST
Research has found a link between an upbeat mental state and improved health, including reduced risk for heart disease, lower blood pressure, healthier weight and a longer life. Having a positive outlook also has beneficial impacts on your health in terms of decreasing stress, improving sleep, and potentially improving immunity and resistance to colds.
How do you develop a positive outlook? As Radmacher suggests in the quote above, make sure you listen, practice, play, and laugh as you live your life. Don’t do things you will regret, and don’t spend time stressing about the past. If you do all of this and focus on the things you love, you will feel happier.
All easier said than done, right? Well, here are a few different methods to help you harness the power of good feelings for better mental and physical health:
Implement simple daily habits
Spend some time taking an inventory of simple habits that you can incorporate daily to help foster a sense of happiness and positivity to improve your overall health. Looking at my own list, I try to accomplish the following on a regular basis:
- Get in a training session well before the sun rises.
- Practice mindfulness by reading a daily meditation before I start my workday. These are quick one-page reads for each day of the year that help frame my mindset for the day ahead. Two of my current favorites include:
- Everyday Kindness – 365 Ways to A Peaceful Life
- The Daily Stoic – 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living
- Let my family know that I love and appreciate them.
- Stay well-fueled and hydrated throughout the day.
- Spend a few minutes outside in the sunshine and fresh air to get some vitamin D.
- Spend time learning by reading or listening to a podcast.
- Pray and express gratitude for the many blessings I have in my life.
- Get enough sleep.
Control what you can control
Many times, there are things that we cannot control in life, but we can control the way that we react to them. Think about the following list (taken from changetherapy.org) and make note of the things that you can control during your day:
- Your beliefs
- Your attitude
- Your thoughts
- Your perspective
- How honest you are
- Who your friends are
- What books you read
- How often you exercise
- The type of food you eat
- How many risks you take
- How you interpret situations
- How kind you are to others
- How kind you are to yourself
- How often you say “I love you”
- How often you say “thank you”
- How you express your feelings
- Whether or not you ask for help
- How often you practice gratitude
- How many times you smile today
- The amount of effort you put forth
- How you spend/invest your money
- How much time you spend worrying
- How often you think about your past
- Whether or not you judge other people
- Whether or not you try again after a setback
- How much you appreciate the things you have
Develop a positive mindset
To enhance your emotional wellness and develop a more positive mindset, try the following (list taken directly from the achievesolutions.net Emotional Wellness Toolkit) :
- Remember your good deeds. Give yourself credit for the good things you do for others each day.
- Forgive yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. Learn from what went wrong, but don’t dwell on it.
- Spend more time with your friends. Surround yourself with positive, healthy people.
- Explore your beliefs about the meaning and purpose of life. Think about how to guide your life by the principles that are important to you.
- Develop healthy physical habits. Healthy eating, physical activity, and regular sleep can improve your physical and mental health.
Good health is more than just eating well and exercising. You also have to prioritize your mental well-being. Try these methods to experience a healthier, more positive life.
Janine is an Implementation Manger with Vitality. She holds a B.S. in Exercise Science/Sport Management from Rutgers University, as well as many certifications within the fitness and nutrition industry. She loves being a spectator at her daughters’ athletic events, participating in water sport activities with her family, writing on sticky notes, over-consuming almond butter and taking hot yoga classes. For relaxation, she enjoys baking, taking naps in hammocks and listening to podcasts.