Increased well-being of mind and body does not have to require extremely expensive yoga classes, expensive vitamin supplements or prohibitive vacations to spas and dream destinations.
Here are some simple steps you can take in your daily life that can help you feel more calm, comfortable, healthy and happy:
1. Fill your house with plants
Plants around the house have been shown to help reduce stress levels and enhance happiness. They don’t have to be expensive plants. Better yet, ask your friends for cuttings.
How? At a basic level, plants make it easier for you to breathe by increasing the oxygen level in your home: they absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. Also, some plants help purify the air, filtering out harmful chemicals. And of course, the colors of the flowers and the leaves of the plants can brighten a room and our own mood.
2. Stay hydrated
We are made of water: this liquid makes up 55% of the body of an adult woman and 60% of that of a man. We need it to function, so it will come as no surprise that staying hydrated can improve our health, raise our energy levels, and improve our ability to concentrate.
Drinking enough water throughout the day is one of the best things you can do for your body and mind.If you are one of those who does not want to drink a lot of water, try adding a touch of natural flavor with a lemon wedge, a cucumber slice or a little ginger. And if you forget to drink water, there are applications that remind you with a notification on your cell phone.
3. Take care of the order of your house
The state of our home has a huge impact on our mood, how well we sleep, and our energy levels. An orderly and harmonious house helps the well-being of the mind. You can start in the bedroom: open the windows to let in fresh air, let in so much natural light, and tidy up the cupboards and the space under the bed.
If you want to take it to the next level you can flip through a book on the ancient Chinese tradition of feng shui, which literally means air-water. Feng shui holds that health and well-being can be promoted by examining how the life force, called “qi,” flows through a space. Even if you do not feel the “qi” you will end up with a more orderly and better distributed house.
4. Reconsider the color of the walls
The color of the walls in your home can have a huge impact on your mood. What if you change the color of a wall in your living room? Green, which represents nature, can promote balance, harmony and relaxation. Blue is a calming color, so it can work in a bedroom. Avoid red, which can contribute to faster breathing, linked to a racing heart and hypertension.
5. Listen to the song of the birds
It may sound anecdotal, but recent research by academics at King’s College London showed that listening to birdsong can enhance our sense of well-being for several hours. If you don’t have birds around, try listening to a recording.
The researchers asked the volunteers to record their mood on an app as they walked through the urban landscape. The results showed that exposure to birdsong, trees, and the sky had a positive impact that was present several hours later.
“Short-term exposure to nature has a measurable beneficial impact on our mental well-being,” according to Dr. Andrea Mechelli, from the University’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience. If you don’t have birds on hand, try listening to a nature recording with good headphones while imagining a walk in the mountains.
6. Laugh more
A good laugh can release physical tension from our muscles, improve blood circulation, and trigger the release of nitric oxide, which boosts the immune system. Aim for at least one laugh a day. And if you can, more! A good laugh can also lower stress hormones and release endorphins, the feel-good chemical that acts as a natural pain reliever.
So it’s true: laughter can be the best medicine, and there are indeed laughter therapies to improve mental health. Spend time with friends who make you laugh, go out to see comedy, or, if you’re not feeling very social, you can watch online videos of cats on skateboards and the like.
7. Approach work with a Scandinavian mindset
The Scandinavian countries – Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland – always rank among the happiest in the world. And they seem to have some great tricks up their sleeve to promote happiness and well-being at work.
Who wouldn’t love a coffee and muffin break? It sure helps ease tension in the office. One of them, Swedish, is the habit known as fika, which consists of a daily coffee break and cake – preferably homemade – with co-workers. Apparently, the fika is practically a mandatory ritual at work. Why don’t you suggest the same to your boss? After all, a happy team is a productive team.
8. Sleep more
Rest is as important to our mental and physical health as diet or exercise. Sleeping is worth it … make the effort to rest. Lack of rest can contribute to a weakened immune system, higher levels of stress hormones, anxiety, and depression. At the same time, it is while we sleep that our body repairs itself.
So strive to sleep better: take care of your bedroom to be pleasant and quiet, avoid eating heavy meals very late, reduce caffeine in the second half of the day and disconnect from the screens before sleeping: the blue light of the cell phone or the tablet can make you wonder.