We are constantly seeking ways to improve our lives. Whether it’s our physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual health, there always seems to be an aspect that feels out of balance.
We buy books by authors like Brené Brown and Michael Hyatt who have spent their entire careers dedicated to researching ways to enhance our lives. We watch TedTalks online and join virtual seminars to guide us towards finding a healthier balance, yet we still find ourselves feeling burnt out or overwhelmed.
Sometimes it all comes down to certain lifestyle habits we might want to change or remove entirely that could make all the difference. Here are four lifestyle changes you might want to consider to help provide a clearer state of mind and improve your life.
1. Limit Your Screen Time Before Bed
How many times have you found yourself scrolling through your phone or checking your emails right before you go to sleep? Turns out, the blue light from your screen inhibits you from getting a proper night of rest. The light limits the amount of melatonin your body takes in. This is the chemical that sends your body into various, necessary cycles of sleep.
Most of us know that sleeping is important to allow our bodies to heal and repair themselves. Simply removing your eyes from the screen at least thirty minutes prior to when you go to bed can make a significant improvement for your sleep patterns.
A study shared by BPS Research Digest stated that sleep affects the way we handle and cope with negative emotions.
If we’re unable to manage our emotions throughout the day, it becomes significantly more difficult to get through our daily tasks. Other parts of our lives will be impacted like a domino effect. Try charging your phone in another room or setting it to “Do Not Disturb” before you go to bed.
2. Ask For Help
Our ego tends to inhibit us from asking for any kind of extra help. Perhaps we are too prideful or don’t want to be a burden to others. Science, however, begs to differ. A study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies showed that volunteering or helping others decreased levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Giving back promotes confidence and gives a sense of accomplishment that contributes to our happiness. So if you are on the fence about asking for help, remember that people actually want to help you. People in our lives find joy in being able to serve the ones they love.
3. Learn Something New
The power of education and learning a new skill has been proven to increase happiness and overall physical health. It actually releases a chemical called dopamine. This is a neurotransmitter that your body creates for your nervous system. It helps to reduce stress and acts as your brain’s “reward system.” This is similar to a feeling you get when you get a promotion at work or are listening to some good music.
Taking online courses, such as through an accredited CEU virtual school like lastminuteceus.com, can provide an affordable way to grow through learning. Plus, there is no added stress since you can learn at your own pace from anywhere around the world, given you have internet access.
4. Spend Less Money and Spend More Time with People
Money is not the object of happiness. You can spend as much as you want, but still, there will still be a void that won’t be filled by material possessions. Having genuine relationships can dramatically improve our overall happiness. A report from The Therman Study showed that people who have larger social circles end up living longer than those who don’t.
However, with the busy lives that many of us have, it’s hard to build and maintain those relationships. Unfortunately, that time won’t magically appear. Our job, in order to help us live a healthier and more balanced life, is to make the time we need for the things that will improve our lives.
5. Change Up Your Diet
By the end of a long day, it might be hard to find the energy to conjure up a healthy meal. And if you’ve seen any of the nutritional documentaries on Netflix, you probably are aware of some of the negative impacts certain foods can have not only on your physical health, but on your mental health as well.
Excess caffeine in the form of too much coffee, soda, or alcohol can put you in a bad mood. They have simple sugars that get absorbed into your bloodstream. It impacts your energy levels, metabolism, and even your emotional state. This doesn’t only apply to beverages. Foods like bagels or processed meat have various additives that can cause your emotions to crash.
If you are short on time and unable to figure out how to get dinner ready for the family without stopping through a fast-food restaurant, there are meal prepping services available that could help.
HelloFresh, for example, will mail prepped and ready healthy meals right to your home. All you’ll have to do is assemble them and set them on the table, saving you time and money.
6. Fake Laugh Until You Really Laugh
The brain can easily distinguish the difference between a fake laugh and a real laugh. The prefrontal cortex ignites when we hear someone trying to force a laugh from one of your not-so-funny jokes. But what if you could trick yourself into laughing?
Fake laughing, just like faking a smile, can actually fool yourself into a genuine, honest laugh. A smile or a laugh, whether it’s fake or not, produces a chemical reaction in the brain that releases dopamine and serotonin. So the expression “fake it ‘till you make it” really isn’t that far off. Eventually, your body will produce a genuine laugh and smile that can even improve your immune system.
We aren’t immediately wired to seek out happiness and understand what it means to have balance. This is why we have to set time aside to reflect on what is happening in our lives that we can change in order to make it happen. Remember, we are in control of our happiness.