There's lots of information on how to form healthy habits and how to break and overcome bad habits. But we’re often left wondering what habits should we be practicing? It can be daunting trying to figure out how to replace bad habits with good habits. So, we’ve summarised our top 7 habits of healthy, happy people.
1. Make time for self-care.
Self-care is about consciously taking the time to do the things that support your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. The truth is, self-care looks different for everyone and we could write a book on it. But, we’ll leave you with this: carve out time in your daily, weekly or monthly schedule to focus on self-care. It could be as simple as going outside for a 10-minute walk to doing a Sudoku puzzle to meditating. Self-care typically falls under five broad categories – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, or social. Just be sure that whatever your self-care is, it always leaves you feeling refreshed and you’ll be well on your way to establishing habits for happiness.
2. Practice gratitude every day.
We tend to move through life on autopilot. From daily routines to work to driving – it’s rare for us to stop and smell the roses, as they say. So, habit number two of 7 habits of healthy, happy people is to stop and smell the roses. Each day, whether it be morning, afternoon, evening, take a moment to recognise and appreciate the good in your life. It may seem silly or odd at first, but it’s OK to be grateful for getting a parking spot when the shops were busy. Once you establish your gratitude practice it will shift to other areas of your life as well. For example, when things don’t necessarily go the way you planned. Be grateful that a door of opportunity has opened. Likewise, be grateful if it closes (this is typically an indication that something bigger and better is on the horizon!).
3. Start consistently exercising.
You knew it was coming and here it is. Yes, exercise is number three in our habits for happiness. Research has proven that exercise releases one of our “happy” hormones, endorphins. (The other “happy” hormones are serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin). Exercise also helps maintain a healthy balance of stress hormones in your body, helping to reduce the effects of anxiety and depression. So, break a sweat, but do what you enjoy. Exercise isn’t all weightlifting, pounding the pavement or cycling until your legs are about to fly off. You can make exercise fun and it can be something you enjoy doing. Love to dance? That’s exercise! Is a calm, more gentle approach more your flow? Try yoga. No matter what you decide to do, just do it and do it consistently. Find an exercise you love so much that it no longer feels like exercise, but instead an activity that you look forward to every day.
4. Get outdoors daily.
Of course, this habit can be combined with exercise, but it certainly deserves its own mention. Nature is a space we can use to clear our minds to recentre and balance. Even if it's just a five-minute walk around the block, use that time to get away from your troubles and worries. It’s often when we take a break from work or a problem, that we have a breakthrough about it. Nature is the ultimate breakthrough because it has a way of bringing you closer to your intuition. So, the trick to this habit for happiness is to not bring your troubles with you during your daily walk. Let them go. Even if you don’t have your breakthrough during your first few walks, being in nature will provide you with a sense of calm and peace so you can tap into your intuition.
5. Find your tribe.
In our 7n habits of healthy, happy people, we wanted to include commentary on the importance of finding community. We like to call it finding your tribe. It’s about finding a community with like-minded people so that you can freely be yourself. Throughout life, we're often in spaces where we can’t quite unleash our uniqueness in its fullest form. In your pursuit of happiness, that’s imperative because if you don’t have an opportunity to fully be yourself, then it’ll be difficult to achieve true happiness. There are a ton of organisations and groups that cover the gamut of interests, hobbies, and sports. So, find the group or organisation that speaks most to you.
6. Find a way to give back.
Self-less acts of charity have a way of invoking a sense of quiet peace and gratitude within us. With that in mind, find a way to give back. Whether it is monetarily or with your time, giving back without expecting anything in return (not even a thank you!) can do wonders for helping you achieve happiness.
Spirituality or religiosity can provide you with greater purpose, which helps alleviate the stress of feeling wayward or without purpose. This also helps with making you feel more connected within the world and to the world, alleviating feelings of separateness and isolation. Developing a spiritual practice can also help you with habit number five because it provides you with an instant community.
There you have it, our top seven habits of healthy, happy people. The habits we compiled cover a broad range of categories including mental, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual health. Here at Balanced Body Chiropractic we take a holistic approach to health and wellbeing. From our view, it is only natural that healthy habits should also follow a holistic approach to health and happiness.
To take this to the next level, consider creating your own personalised self-care plan. You can use the template provided above or make your own. Just be sure to implement it and stick with it. Self-care, as mentioned above, is broad and includes many of the habits listed in the articles within its framework. Alternatively, check out our article How to Set SMART Goals, which is another framework you can use to develop healthy habits.