Our lives are made up of habits, and it is up to us to dictate which ones we establish. Keep reading to discover how to build healthy habits for life.
Healthy habits and productivity don’t just fall out of the sky into one’s lap. One has to build them up, bit by bit, and build oneself up through them. It is not an overnight affair, nor does it take a genius to figure them out. Studies have proven time and again that the key to lifelong success is not good genes or intelligence but rather a slow, methodical effort that one puts in day in and day out.
How To Build Healthy Habits For Life and Live Longer
If you’re wondering which healthy habits will help you achieve lifelong success and productivity and how to build them, fret not. Today, we will go through the top 8 habits that will bring out your inner beast and how you can go about building them. So, let’s dive straight into the deep end.
1. Stay on the Move
‘We are made to move,' explains Bill Nurge, an exercise physiologist in Idaho. Movement is a necessary precondition for healthy bones, muscles, and for maintaining muscle and bone density. As soon as we stop moving, our body becomes stiff – we lose muscle mass, balance, body density, and motion range. This can have disastrous consequences, which we may not realize at first but are already leading us into a downward spiral.
One doesn’t have to be a fitness junkie or a professional athlete to develop this healthy habit for life. All it takes is movement, no matter how small you start off with. In fact, starting small is advisable, especially if you’ve been on the couch for too long. Your body is in inertia, but that can change with the smallest movements done regularly.
Mother Nature loves variety. Our bodies are flexible enough to move in various ways, and our exercise regimen should be reflecting that. The more varied your movements are, the fitter you will be. Bring in different modalities that get you moving in different ways and from a variety of angles.
Revisit the days of your youth in the jungle gym. There’s pushing, pulling, twisting, bending, and much more that forces you to move in different directions. But, you don’t have to go back to the jungle gym for that. Sports, swimming, being in the gym, running, or even walking are all things that you could consider to get your body moving again.
2. Eat Nutritious Food
Eat well – We’ve all heard it a million times. Diet and nutrition are paramount. But, many people want to sacrifice their chocolate shakes and chicken nuggets to get healthy. This is one healthy habit of starting, which will have a ripple effect on everything you do.
No, we’re not talking about going hungry or following some latest fad diet. All you have to do is break the unhealthy habit of reaching for junk whenever your stomach grumbles. Simply switch to choosing nutrient-dense foods consistently. Yes, that is all there is to it.
Here, too, the magic is in variety. Since different foods contain different nutrients, you don’t have to subject yourself to eating the same thing every day. Start with the building blocks: vegetables. That should make up the majority of your diet.
In addition to that, focus on high-quality protein and healthy fats. Avoid consuming sugar and trans-fat, and moderate your intake of caffeine and alcohol. The bottom line is this: what you eat can have lasting consequences and this is one healthy habit everyone should have for good lifelong health.
3. Keep Your Brain Active
The previous habit segues well into this: brain health. Maintaining cognitive function will not only increase your productivity, but it will also improve the quality of your life. Both the previous points, of movement and eating well, tie in well to brain function. Good diet and movement naturally increase cognitive function.
But, you do need to challenge your brain time and time again to keep it sharp. It is like any machine; it has to be well oiled and maintained. No, you don’t have to enroll yourself in a chess-learning class, although it would be good if you did. The simplest way to stay vibrant even in an aging body is to remain socially active.
Social inactivity is the bane of cognitive development. Social life, on the other hand, reduces the decline in cognitive functions. Humans are social creatures, and any social activity doesn't just help us feel good and connected but also stimulates cognitive function. This is one easily sustainable healthy habit that requires no extra effort than to get together with your family and your peers.
4. Stay Connected
This point is an off-shoot of the previous one, for its importance cannot be overlooked. Building a community and staying in touch with people is the lynchpin of our emotional and spiritual health. Take it out, and our body and brain start decaying from the inside. Having a community and staying connected with them is one of the most important things that you can do for yourself. The sense of belonging that one feels in a community makes us feel a part of something bigger than us.
Our need to connect does vary – extroverts may need more than introverts. It doesn't have to do with any metric, but rather about your connection's depth and authenticity. It can be in big groups such as a church, a sports team, a club, or in one-on-one activities like taking a walk or sharing a meal. The important thing is to find that sense of community. The methods do not matter; what matters is gratitude for others.
If you’re reading this well past your bedtime, we urge you to return to it after you’ve had a good night’s sleep. Sleep is one of the integral facets of health and habit building. All that you do in the daytime gets processed, strengthened, and optimized.
During sleep, the body regenerates, maintains hormonal balance, and benefits psychological, physiological, and emotional health. This is when the brain performs ‘housekeeping’ tasks by integrating new information, organizing long-term memory, and generating new nerve cells.
Six to eight hours of sleep every night is what is espoused by most neurologists.
But somehow, a lot of us find ourselves deprived of sleep every night, which has extreme health and mental consequences, to say nothing of the immune system.
If you want to super-charge your life, a good night’s sleep should be on the top of your list. Forming a healthy habit such as this doesn’t take much, just some thought for your sleep and your dreams.
- Create a sleep schedule and follow it religiously.
- Maintain a healthy habit daily of keeping your room dark, quiet, and free of electronic interruptions.
- For hours leading up to bedtime, avoid anything that has the potential of interfering with your sleep. This includes alcohol, big meals, work, exercise, caffeine, nicotine, and your smartphone.
*More tips on how to get a good night of sleep here.
6. Manage Stress
Stress is inevitable. Small doses of it in the short-term can even improve the cognitive and immune system. But, long-term stress plunges you into the opposite deep end. It compromises sleep, physical health, and emotional well-being.
There’s no way to get away from it, but there’s always a way to manage it better. The key to do it is to adapt to stress. There are a variety of things that you can do to ensure that your will to adapt remains alive.
Mild stress can be checked by things that calm us. These include deep breathing, yoga, meditation, and some stretching. Physical activation of the body does more than just to keep your body adaptive – it also manages stress. The benefits of healthy habits such as these cannot be overstated as these break down the stress hormones in our body and lead us back to focus and felicity.
Discover some natural remedies for stress and anxiety here.
Laughter is the best medicine for the broken-hearted as well as for the shell-shocked. It is not just about fun and games; it is about your whole health. Emotional regulation, reduction of stress, and an immunity boost – all this and much more lies on the other end of a simple ‘Knock, Knock’ joke.
In fact, it is so effective that even when the joke falls flat, or there is no impulse for laughter, it still gets you up. The best part is that it is contagious and connects people. Find ways to fill your world with laughter and your spirits, and your mood will start soaring instantly.
8. Have Gratitude
Powerful moments of gratitude overwhelm us and are like a catharsis that washes the dirt away from the mind. Such a feeling cannot be taken in a pill, nor can it be simulated in the laboratory. It is all within us, and all it takes is a simple ‘thank-you' to the things you are grateful for.
Gratitude is a sense of appreciation for the things that you have in your life and your life itself. Healthy habit(s) such as this require nothing material from you. You don’t have to get a gift to feel it. It is a simple habit that can be cultivated in the quietness of your mind.
Grateful people are many times happier, healthier, less stressed out, and much more satisfied with their lives than others. Studies have confirmed this on account of the endorphin rush that one gets when one is deeply appreciative of the things in one’s life. One can either write down about such things or simply count one’s blessings in silence. However, one chooses to do it; the point is to develop a healthy habit of it.
Conclusion – How to Build Healthy Habits For Life
These are some of the healthy habits that one can take up, bit by bit, and transform one’s life for the better. A healthy habit is key to wellness, and these habits are easy to maintain for the entirety of one’s life. An unhealthy habit isn’t broken by thinking about it; it is done so by substituting it with the healthy habits that enrich our lives and make us a longer, healthier, and more fulfilling life.
We hope you enjoyed this article and appreciate you taking the time out to learn about how you can choose to better your life.
Which of these healthy habits are you instilling in your life, and which ones have you already established? Do let us know in the comment section below and share this article with someone you know will benefit from. Until next time, stay healthy and stay safe.
Author’s bio: Thomas Nemel is a fitness junkie, car lover, and enthusiastic copywriter. He also loves writing articles about healthy living to inspire people to become a better version of themselves.