All of us want to be healthy and happy; these are universal desires. But when it comes to actively making changes to improve your life, many people fall short. Positive changes to your health and happiness often require significant sacrifice or investment – and some people just don’t have the discipline or focus to make those sacrifices or investments.
Fortunately, you don’t need to be rich, nor do you need to be a perfect specimen of self-control to make positive changes to your life. Some of the best ways to live healthier and happier are inexpensive (bordering on free) and can be done in just a few minutes a day.
Easy Ways to Live Healthier and Happier
These are some of the most straightforward and accessible ways that you can live healthier and happier:
- Avoid using illicit substances. Illicit substances like alcohol and tobacco may bring you temporary satisfaction or peace, but the long-term effects of using these substances heavily are terrifyingly destructive. You’re best off eliminating tobacco products altogether and reducing your alcohol consumption to just a few drinks per week (if you drink at all). You should also avoid using substances without approved medical use, like recreational drugs. These habits aren’t easy to end, but even small reductions in your intake can help you be healthier.
- Have vegetables with every meal. It’s hard to eat healthily, especially in today’s world of plentifully available junk food. But one easy step you can make to improve your nutrition is to have vegetables with every meal. Vegetables are packed with nutrients and are low in calories, so they can help you reduce your total intake while still feeling full – and give you all the nutrients you need to achieve balanced nutrition.
- Invest in a bidet. You could improve your life permanently by installing a bidet, and that’s not an exaggeration. Cleaning yourself with a bidet rather than toilet paper helps you get cleaner, allows you to save money on paper, and can even benefit the environment. As an added bonus, using a bidet means a lower risk of hemorrhoids and much more comfortable bowel movements.
- Spend time on your relationships. Your health isn’t just about your body; it’s also about your mind and your heart. That’s why it’s important for your health and happiness to spend more time on your relationships. Set aside quality time to spend with the people you love, and if there aren’t many people in your life, consider going to meetups and public locations so you can get to know more people.
- Practice mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation is the simple act of keeping your mind exclusively focused on the present moment; it’s tricky to get at first, but with practice, it becomes easier. If you can practice mindfulness even just a few minutes per day, you can easily reduce the stress in your life, contextualize your emotions, and possibly even improve your relationships with others.
- Exercise every day. At this point, we shouldn’t need to run down the list of benefits you get from physical exercise. Exercising vigorously for just 20 minutes per day is associated with a lower risk for a variety of diseases, a healthier weight, boosted mood, and even higher levels of productivity and life satisfaction. No matter how busy you are, it’s a good idea to make time for exercise.
- Spend time outdoors. While you’re at it, try to spend at least some time outdoors every day. If you go for a 20-minute jog around the neighborhood every day, you can kill two birds with one stone here. The fresh air is good for you, and spending time in nature can help you destress and relax.
- Drink plenty of water. Even a small drop in your hydration levels can lead to a drop in your physical and cognitive performance. If you’re not adequately hydrated, you’re not going to be yourself. Unfortunately, many of us fail to drink the recommended amount of water for us each day, partially because we rely on alternative beverages like coffee or soda. Make it a point to drink several glasses of water per day – and have water available to you at all times, so you never have an excuse for not drinking it.
- Practice gratitude. It may seem silly, but people who regularly and explicitly practice gratitude tend to be happier than their counterparts. No matter what your position in life is, you probably have much to be grateful for, such as your health, your job, your family members, or your friends. Always make it a point to remember those things and acknowledge them.
- Get enough sleep. The average adult needs at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Even if you have to cut other priorities from your schedule, you should make time to achieve this.
One Change at a Time
If you feel overwhelmed looking at this list, or if you’re stuck thinking about all the ways your life could be better, take a deep breath. You don’t need to completely change your life overnight. Instead, you can focus on making just one small change at a time. Even one new habit or new strategic change to your life can make a measurable impact on your future.