Steps To Becoming Healthier and Happier

Most people feel that there is some aspect of their life that they’d like to improve. It could be health or fitness, their work/life balance, or to improve relationships. Improving one’s life could be making small changes, or it could involve making big life decisions. If you feel as though there is something in your life that is holding you back from being the person you want to be, these steps to becoming healthier and happier will point you in the right direction.
Make a plan
Take some time to sit and really think about the different aspects of your life and what you need to improve on to help you become healthier and happier. It might help write it down and divide under headings of ‘home,’ ‘work,’ ‘personal,’ and ‘health.’ Sometimes drawing a mind map or spider diagram works better to help you sort through the different aspects of what you want to work on. By listing the factors you want to improve, it creates a clear message to yourself that you need to take action.
Eat Well
Eating a healthy diet of fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains and healthy protein and fats is key to a healthy body. We all know we should eat healthily, but often life seems to get in the way, and ordering takeaway food instead of having a home cooked meal is an easier option. It is okay to let yourself have a treat now and then, but try to ensure that the main part of your diet is healthy.
You can encourage yourself to eat healthy by not buying sweet treats or potato chips when you go to the grocery store to do your weekly shop. Find alternatives instead such as dried fruits and nuts to snack on. It is also easier to eat healthily if you make meal plans for the week ahead, so you know exactly what to buy when you go shopping.
Make a healthy diet one of your top priorities, and you will soon notice the benefits it brings to your life.
Stay Hydrated

Water keeps all our cell our bodies working as well as they can. When we are hydrated, we concentrate better; we feel fuller so are less likely to snack between meals, and it puts a spring in our step! Get your eight glasses of water in per day, and more if you are exercising. Always try to keep a bottle of water with you when you are out and about, so you can sip it as you go.
Water is not the only source of hydration. Other drinks such as milk, teas and fruit juices also add to your liquid intake. You can also increase your hydration by eating foods that have a high liquid content, such as watermelon and cucumber, or soups and broths.

Exercise regularly
Exercise plays a key role in our health and well-being, and doing it regularly flushes the body of toxins, helps us feel relaxed and releases happy chemicals, such as endorphins and serotonin, in our brains that make us feel good.
You don’t necessarily have to take up sports such as running or join a gym to take part in exercise. The way to make exercise easy is to find something you enjoy doing. This might be swimming, cycling or going for brisk walks with a friend. It might also be a dance class or Pilates. However, you decide to exercise, try to aim for 30 minutes of activity per day. Just taking 30 minutes to fit in some exercise will bring significant benefits to your health.
You might think that you can’t find the time to exercise, but there are ways you can include it in your everyday routine. If you drive to work, you could park further away so you can fit in a walk, you can dance yourself through your housework and work up a sweat, or you might get a stationary exercise bike and power your way through an episode of your favorite program. There is always a way to fit in some activity during your day, even if you are unable to go out to do so.
Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep is key to enjoying a healthier and happier life. During sleep, your body repairs itself and both mental and physical energy are replenished. Sleep helps you to feel relaxed during your waking hours, which helps to keep blood pressure under control. Sleep can also help you to maintain your weight by keeping the hormones that control appetite and hunger at a steady level. If you are learning something new, then sleep helps you to retain information, so can make you smarter too!
When you don’t get enough sleep, you might have noticed that your mood is lower, you are more easily irritated and find it hard to concentrate. Imagine if you regularly had a low amount of, or poor quality, sleep. The accumulative effects can have serious health consequences such as having chronic stress due to higher levels of stress hormones and a low immune system, where you are more susceptible to picking up a range of illnesses that you would otherwise be able to fend off.
If you think you lack in sleep, choose a time that you should go to bed by and stick to it! Poor sleep might be caused by other factors, such as an uncomfortable mattress or a snoring partner. Get a new mattress every few years, ask your partner to try to stop snoring aids, perhaps; whatever it takes to help you get the sleep you need. Put yourself first, as you are in charge of your health.
Reduce Stress
Stress is something we have to cope with to some degree, but there are things you can do to lessen the effect it has on your health. Chronic stress can lead to elevated levels of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, and cause health issues such as weight gain, depression, and anxiety.
When faced with ongoing stress in life, some people might develop unhealthy ways of coping, such as smoking or using alcohol. This can become the crutch on which people rely on, and can also be addictive. It also has the added effect of actually making you feel more stressed and worried because you know that it is harmful to health. Rather than becoming dependent on chemical factors to reduce stress, try to find other ways of doing so.
Reduce stress in your life by changing the things that you can to make life easier. You could try some relaxation techniques such as controlled breathing to help you get your stress under control. Exercises such as meditation and mindfulness can help shift your focus to the bigger picture, rather than dwelling on the things that are causing your stress.
Controlling the effects of stress is about developing emotional robustness and having a positive outlook, and that is something that you can continue to work on and grow.
Get Help
Sometimes in life, there are struggles that we just cannot cope with alone. If you suffer from a mental illness such as anxiety or depression, then getting the advice of a doctor can help you look at the different option for treatment. Some people find it hard to seek help, especially if they feel there is a stigma attached to mental health issues. If you know anyone who is suffering from a mental health issue, broach the subject gently and encourage them to get them help they need.
Addiction is another affliction that might require more than just the willpower of one person alone. Addiction can come in many forms, and all types have a significant effect on quality of life. If you have an addiction of any kind, such as alcohol or drugs, then again, a doctor’s advice is a good place to start. They will recommend a course of action for you to follow, such as opiate rehab, counseling or joining a support group.
Another reason where you might need extra support from professional services is if you are unsafe at home. If you feel stuck in an abusive relationship, and feel that you and other people in your home are in danger, then it is vital you make contact with a local refuge or helpline. Often the smallest steps can seem the hardest to take, but it will change your life for the better.

Becoming healthier and happier is something that most people want to do, and no matter what is going on in our lives there are steps we can all take to improve. All it requires is some dedicated effort and commitment to the cause! When you make an effort to look after yourself, you get the added bonus of having improved self-esteem too. That is because taking the time to focus on yourself builds your sense of self-worth. So, make a start today, make a plan and decide what the first thing is you will focus on to become a healthier and happier person.

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