We tend to travel through the day with a million things buzzing around in our brains. Things to do, things to remember, things we’re worried about. These are generally stressful or negative things — or neutral at best.
Practicing gratitude is an easy way to consciously channel some positivity from within. It’s easy — just grab a pen and paper, or your note-taking app on your smartphone, and write down three to five things that you are thankful for today.
It could be something very specific, like the way you got recognized at work for doing a good job on that presentation. Or it could be general, like the fact that your children are healthy and safe. Or the fact that you have so much healthy food in the fridge.
These things might seem silly, but it’s important to remember that not everyone has what you have. We all have so much that is worth feeling grateful for!
Studies show that writing down a few things you’re thankful for each day goes a long way toward the overall feeling of happiness. Practicing gratitude is one of the easiest ways to increase the satisfaction you feel with life. It’s a great way to remind yourself of the good things in life, and the big picture, rather than getting wrapped up in the small stresses and obstacles of the day.
As soon as you wake up in the morning, take a few minutes to step outside, breathe the fresh air, and soak in some sun. Even if it’s winter and you have to bundle up — exposing your eyes to natural light outdoors cues your brain to feel alert, alive and productive.
If you can, expose your skin (at least face and arms) to sunlight for 20 minutes a day around midday. This is great for your immunity and vitamin D levels!
Get your heart pumping
We know that everyone harps on about exercise, but this isn’t another refrain about going to the gym. We’re talking about just a couple of minutes here and there to get your blood and lymph fluid coursing through your body.
Do 20 jumping jacks in the bathroom, or get down and do a 30-second plank, or run up the stairs. This is a great way to oxygenate the brain and tissues, and relieve built-up stress, too. Try to build in at least four sessions of increased heart rate (even briefly) per day.
Connecting with other people is vital for emotional well-being. Try sitting down for a cup of tea with a colleague, or even getting back on the phone! Email and text messaging is too impersonal. Hearing your friend or loved one’s voice will warm your heart and give you a moment to treasure all day long!
You don’t have to be a monk on a hilltop to meditate. This really just comes down to taking a quiet moment to yourself to clear your mind.
Legs up before bed
Again, this is a very simple practice, but a powerful one. Before going to bed, simply sit down, scooch your bum up to the wall and lie down with your legs straight up. This pose does wonders for any tension in the pelvis, lower back, neck and shoulders. It also prevents blood clots and varicose veins in the legs. You will immediately breathe deeper and sleep easier after having done this for five minutes each night