Words by Jacquelyn Salvador
Many of us feel like we’re spinning too many plates these days, and it takes a big toll on our health and happiness. We feel run down and overwhelmed, and with the pressure to be more and more “involved,” it’s not all that surprising.
Amid the busy-ness and chaos, though, there are some simple things we can do to boost our health and happiness, and better prepare us to handle all those responsibilities and roles. Here are a few simple but powerful ways we can improve our habits in various areas of life.
Make an effort to connect with people more (and more meaningfully)
In our hyper-connected world, we have the impression of being "connected" all the time, but this over-connection to social media actually masks the fact that many of us lack deep, meaningful connection. Instead of doling out copious likes for everything that flashes on our screens, we'll find a lot more fulfilment, happiness, and meaning by making an intentional effort to reach out to friends and even to interact more meaningfully with people we don't necessarily know.
It could be writing a letter, picking up the phone, scheduling a coffee date, or just striking up conversation while waiting in line at the bank; they seem minor, but they can make all the difference in our mental health and happiness.
Do something that ignites passion
"Doing what you love" doesn't need to be your full time career, but when you something you truly enjoy, it can transform your mood, your relationships, and your health, giving you something to look forward even when life gets you down.
Maybe you already have an idea of what you enjoy doing, and if so, now's the time to dive in and enjoy more of it. Otherwise, try exploring local clubs and sites like Meetup.com to see what groups and activities are available in your area -- you'll find plenty of ideas, plus a sense of community to go along with them.
Spread goodness, help others
Doing altruistic acts helps more than just the recipient; studies show that the giver also gains a great sense of meaning and happiness. It can even inspire and encourage people around you, giving everyone a much-needed boost in the goodness of humanity. That happiness is something you'll carry around with you well after the act itself, putting a spring in yourself and creating a virtuous cycle of action.
Maybe it starts with something simple like buying a hot coffee for someone on the street, or you could check out altruistic sites like Kiva which allows you to help people change their lives for the better via microlending. Each of us have our own capacity to help others -- why not make the world a bit brighter?
Take care of your mind
We all know we should stay active, eat plenty of vegetables, and get adequate sleep, but compared to physical health, mental health is more often neglected. That has insidious effects on our overall well being, and we might not even realise it because we're so used to the patterns our brains have always followed.
To start improving mental health, try a simple meditation app like Insight Timer or Headspace or Calm to clear out cluttering (and sometimes toxic) thoughts, and maybe enrol yourself in an activity like yoga or tai chi, to start building the mindfulness muscle that will guide you toward better overall mental health.
Small changes, Big results
These tips might seem simple, but don’t underestimate their ability to make a difference in your life. They each contribute to a better sense of personal well-being, which can help to create positive change that expands in every direction of life.
These various areas of life all interact with each other, and if you make just small positive changes in each of them, you’re certain to see major positive overall results. When it comes to taking action for our health and happiness, the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts.
Find more simple but powerful tips on living a healthier, more balanced life in 360 Living: practical guidance for a balanced life (free ebook on Kindle Unlimited and free audiobook for new users on Audible).
Author of 360 Living: Practical guidance for a balanced life, Jacquelyn is a tireless seeker of personal betterment, and she's on a personal mission to help others find their own best version of life. Her own (ongoing) journey of personal happiness started out with years of chasing the perfect approach to "the good life," but she eventually realised she was anything but happy, so she packed life into a backpack and hit the road to find it for herself on a backpacking adventure around Europe. Along the way, she teamed up with the Authentic Happiness Project to help others on their own journey of personal happiness (backpacking optional) through an empowering combination of inspiration, learning, and personal reflection.
Jacquelyn lives and works as a yoga instructor with Affordable Yoga & Fitness in Paris, France, helping others find better health and happiness through mindful movement. She shares her adventures in the art of living a good life on Instagram at @jj_moves.