They’re all over the place. Ads for products and activities that promise to make you look and feel younger, that offer happiness, health, weight loss and more. Worst of all, they’re advertised by models who look like they’re having way more fun and making way more money than you ever will.
Are these ads overwhelming? Probably. Will the products grant you the results that your heart desires? Probably not.
On the other hand, there are ways to be happier (and healthier) without breaking the bank or going after results that just aren’t right for you. These are methods that offer real and instant results without any secrets or shady methods. They’re all free, straightforward pieces of advice without any gimmicks
While it’s probably a given, eating right is a key method for improving one’s health. Eating right doesn’t mean limiting everything you’re eating or starving yourself. It’s not a fad diet that’s bound to fail, it’s a lifestyle.
Focus on what you’re eating, and the portions in which you’re eating them. Make your plate colorful…for every meal. By varying up colors, you’re adding a variety of nutrients (your rule of thumb should be 7 colors per dish). Fruits and veggies are a great way to accomplish this goal.
Look for lean, organic proteins without fillers, and food labels that you recognize all of the ingredients for. Think smart and make small changes. Your energy level will increase when you start eating the foods that are right for you, and you’ll feel better overall.
But, don’t forget to splurge. No one wants to be miserable. Allow yourself a dessert at a cookout or big event, or even just to celebrate the end of the week. But, remember: portion control matters.
Forget the Rat Race
Recently the FOMO trend has come to light. What is FOMO? It’s the “fear of missing out.” So often we take the time to focus on what the other people around us are doing, how much they’re making, the great parties they’re attending and the trips they’re taking, that we forget to focus on ourselves.
Think of activities that make you happy, take time for yourself, hop on a treadmill, do prancercise, or take the time to swim in a HydroWorx Thermal Plunge pool. Going through a regular fitness routine that you personally enjoy will produce endorphins that will make you happier, healthier and less stressed.
Make a conscious effort to forget about the rat race. Set goals for yourself. Think about the activities that make you happy and benefit your family, and go for them. Stop comparing yourself to others; it’s a no-win game that’s likely to leave you miserable. Instead, dream your own dreams and make them happen.
The sun and the vitamin D it provides make a big difference when it comes to happiness (and healthiness). Seasonal Affective Disorder and other mood disorders are marked by a lack of sunlight and outdoor exposure. Being cooped up means more than a lack of sun-time, it probably also means a lack of activity.
By taking the time to get outside, to eat on the deck, to go for a walk and more, you’re giving your body the break it needs from daily monotony and earning yourself some major mood-lifting benefits. Just don’t forget sunscreen!
Count Your Blessings
Stop what you’re doing and take the time to count your blessings and to write down things every day that you’re thankful for. Think about your family and the things in your life that you’re grateful for. By taking part in this activity, you’re forcing yourself to focus on the positives.
A lot of happiness or unhappiness is based around what you’re focusing on. By placing that focus on the positives, you’ll have no choice but to be happier. Yoga and Pilates are great meditation-style exercises to get both your mind and body at a healthy level.
Start today, think of three things you’re grateful for and write them in a journal. Each day, add to the list. When life starts to get to you or you’re not sure where to go next, pull the journal out and settle in. Happiness will be a natural side-effect.
Turn Off the Screen
TV time is all the time in most households. In fact, between televisions, work computers, laptops, tablets and smart phones, most of us are mobile for most of our waking hours (and probably have a cell phone next to our bed while we’re sleeping). But, it comes inherent with negative effects.
Screen time means your focus is on the screen. You’re constantly checking for messages, responding to business e-mails at all hours and are glued to one device or another non-stop. It’s draining and takes time away from being able to focus on other areas of life. Many families are starting to take sabbaticals from social media, email and television.
My husband and I just finished a one year sabbatical from having a television. We still watched the occasion tv show on Hulu but overall cut our screen time to less than a quarter than before. Not having a television forced us to become more active, especially since our gym as a cardio cinema that plays movies! We also started playing tennis and golf together.
Not only did it increase our physical time but also our relationship together grew stronger. We ate dinners together at the table. Instead of watching TV till it was bed time, we read and would discuss our books together.
If you’re looking for a way to increase your happiness, taking the time to invest in yourself, in your lifestyle and what’s important to you is critical. Follow these simple steps and you’ll notice benefits from the start. What are you waiting for?
BIO: Alicia Lawrence is a content coordinator for a tech company and writes for Examiner.com and AskMissA.com. Her husband is a personal trainer and as a family they make it a top priority to live healthy.