Admit it: you know that healthy habits are crucial to a healthy lifestyle, but for many of us, the conventional rules are too hard to follow. After all, cutting out sugar completely, going to bed at 10:00 p.m. when you’re usually up till 1:00 a.m., and eliminating smartphone use for an entire day are three habits that – while ultimately beneficial – can intimidate us before we even begin. A better strategy is taking small steps toward the lifestyle you want – and, one of the best ways to do so is by implementing these simple habits, which will boost your mental well-being in a manageable and meaningful way.
Stretch for 10 minutes each morning.
Ever feel tension when you wake up in the morning? After sleeping in one or two positions for 7 to 8 hours straight, it’s not hard to imagine why your body feels a little tense in the morning. Aside from helping your body get ready for the day ahead, gentle stretches conducted first thing in the morning can put you in a peaceful mindset that lasts all day. Try creating a 10-minute playlist full of soothing music to help you stay motivated while you gently stretch your arms, core, and legs.
Try 4-4-4 breathing.
It’s no secret that deep breathing exercises are one of the most mindful activities out there. Requiring full concentration and zero distractions, deep breathing is even regarded by Western medicine as a way to decrease stress, elevate mood, and deliver crucial oxygen to our entire bodies, for overall well-being. Yet, simply sitting still and breathing can feel awkward at first, so get started with 4-4-4 breathing. Breathe in for four counts, hold the breath for four counts, and exhale for four counts.
Commit to reading 10 pages of a book each day.
Depending on what’s on your nightstand, the act of reading can provide either total escapism or helpful advice designed to enhance your life. Ultimately, according to a therapist, speaker, and author Lauren Cook, “reading is...a form of mindfulness...[since] it requires our full attention and forces us to be present.” Luckily, you don’t have to devour one book per week to feel the effects. Read 10 pages per day of a real book – not a newspaper or magazine – and you’ll feel your confidence and curiosity expand.
Tidy up your apartment for just 5 minutes per day.
While there’s something to be said for a mega spring cleaning session, you might be surprised to find that cleaning up for just five minutes every day can go a long way in making your home a happier and healthier place to spend your time. Taking a few minutes to run a load of laundry, put away the dishes, or wipe down countertops will empower you to tackle other tasks on your to-do list, and will also make you feel more accomplished, organized, and in control.
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