A habit is a strong mechanism that can greatly improve the overall quality of our lives. Some say that a 21-day period is enough to acquire a new habit and stick to it. However, it is sometimes easy to get lost in hundreds of productivity techniques and life hacks on your way to excellence.
We at Bright Side believe that a long journey starts with small steps. So we’ve created a list of important habits that you may have heard of before and some that are sure to come as a surprise.
1. Don’t neglect the water rule.
You’ve probably heard of the great importance of water for your body and you’ve most likely tried to get the recommended daily amount many times. The first glass of water that you drink the moment after you open your eyes in the morning provides your body with a kickstart and an energy boost.
In the morning, your body is dehydrated after 6-8 hours of sleep which leads to feeling fatigued. Being tired is not what we want to feel after a good night’s sleep that is supposed to make us feel energetic. So please, don’t neglect this first step. A good way to remember to drink some water first thing in the morning is to put the glass right next to the bed.
2. Change your coffee routine
Let us say a few words in favor of this divine but debatable substance. First, forget about Mocaccinos. It won’t bring you anything but pure pleasure which is great, but we’re aiming high. Which means we need health benefits and not just blood sugar. Second, go for an Americano. Coffee and cocoa beans are very useful for our brain. They have antioxidants responsible for prolonging youth and caffeine that develops memory function, boosts reaction speed, and helps neurons work faster.
So, if you still think that a freshly brewed cup of coffee and a piece of dark chocolate are a guilty pleasure, we’ve got good news. Just make sure to remember that all is good in moderation. Cut back on sweet stuff full of syrups, whipped cream, and artificial coloring today and go for a clean and healthy treat.
3. Do first things first.
More often than not we’re faced with a long to-do list. Don’t worry, there’s a way to battle frustration. Brian Tracy, a famous productivity coach, suggests to “Eat That Frog” – do the most important or even the worst thing in the very morning. The main benefit of such an action is a kind of psychological reward that we give ourselves when performing something we don’t actually want to do.
You eat that frog, eliminate the key obstacle, and get a powerful impulse to continue with your day. The ability to raise your productivity levels by doing what’s really important yet unpleasant or hard can bring your work and life to new heights.
4. Add purple to your greens.
We highly recommend including this colorful vegetable in your meals. Beetroot and beetroot juice are rich in B vitamins and antioxidants. They help with concentration, brain vessels, blood supply, and oxygen levels as a result. And they’re inexpensive and can be found in almost every grocery store.
There’s a fantastic recipe for a vitamin-packed salad full of spinach and rocket leaves, oven-baked or boiled beetroot cut in pretty big cubes, walnuts (pine nuts or any of your choice) and some goat’s cheese. You can use with avocado, olive, or sesame oil and a splash of apple vinegar for the dressing. But there are many other ways to start eating it too. For example:
- Raw – cut into small cubes or slice up and splash some lemon juice on top.
- Oven-baked – cover a whole beetroot in foil and bake until soft or slice it and make some crisps as a healthy alternative to popcorn or chips.
- Juice – make sure to mix it with something like carrot or celery to improve the taste.
5. Smile whenever you can.
Scientists have been able to ascertain that a human fetus starts smiling in its mother’s womb. Unfortunately, many of us lose this ability as we get older. In his TED talk, “The power of smiling,” Ron Gutman said that child smiles 400 times a day on average, while just a third of adults smile more than 20 times a day.
The theory of interconnection between a person’s emotional state and their facial expression says that our mood and well-being improve when we smile, even if this smile is artificial. Smiling affects the production of endorphins in our brains. And blood then transfers them through the whole body. Scientists believe that such “joy moderators” can seriously lessen physical pain and emotional discomfort.
6. Get more vitamin D.
Research shows that different kinds of depression, seasonal affective disorders, and insomnia can be a direct consequence of the lack of vitamin D. It starts to actively produce when our skin gets a portion of sunlight. And when our eyes see the sun, our bodies start producing serotonin – the happiness hormone.
Vitamin D in the blood is very important for our body’s ability to resist both physical and mental diseases. But not all of us are lucky to live in areas with sufficient sunlight outdoors. That’s why it is crucial to help our bodies and to make sure to get enough of this vitamin. Consult a doctor and start getting your daily dose of sunshine to help your body be as happy as possible.
7. Train your brain.
It’s the same as with bodies – the more we train our brains, the better they work. Brain fitness, which is also called cognitive training, is based on the idea that new tasks and challenges develop the brain. Our minds, memory capacity, attention abilities, concentration, and thinking speed can all be enhanced through regular training. Logical thinking and learning skills will also benefit.
While performing this action, you should follow some simple rules. Change the tasks often to make your brain meet the unknown. Set time limits and try to follow them. Learn new things and look for new subjects to learn about. Forget about the calculator. Soon enough, you’ll see how 20 minutes a day have a huge influence on your cognitive functions.
8. Don’t forget about your posture.
Maintaining good posture while sitting is crucial to good health. Nature designed human beings to run, walk, and search for food all day long. That’s what our ancestors did. And this is why sitting in one position for 8 hours a day isn’t the most natural of our actions. It can lead to blood congestion in the lower part of your body, which results in leg swelling. The muscular corset of the spine becomes wobbly and its complex areas just stop working.
To avoid all that, get used to taking short breaks from time to time – walk around, do some stretching, and give your body some work to do. And remember the right posture. Get a good ergonomic desk chair, adjust it until your legs are parallel to the ground. Make sure your knees are even with your hips. Put your feet flat on the floor and don’t cross your legs when sitting. Distribute your body weight equally, place your arms on the desk and start working productively.
9. Scan your thoughts.
Negativity is practically everywhere. Our social spaces are full of upsetting events, negative experiences, and nagging thoughts. But we can (and should) be the masters of our own minds and the scanners of everything that comes into our heads.
Whenever you get a thought, scan it to see whether it’s useful and positive or worthless. Negative thinking is a waste of our intellectual potential.
10. Experience aromatherapy.
Imagine the smell of a fresh cinnamon apple pie on a beautiful Sunday morning. A pleasant feeling indeed. And there are lots of other smells that can serve multiple purposes – from cheering you up before a work presentation or leaving you relaxed after a long day in the office. Japanese scientists discovered that patchouli and rose oils reduce the nervous system activity by 40%, while peppermint or grapefruit oils activate it by 1.5-2 times.
The industry of aromatic oils is huge now so it’s possible to find essential aroma oils of good quality and for a fair price. Do a little research on which smells provide you with the effect you need and invest in an aroma lamp for your house and work.
11. Relax your body.
Massages can be different. Long-lasting or quick, done for medical purposes, or to help you relax. or pleasure purposes. Whatever the reason you decide to get a massage, know that it will do wonders for your well-being. It can relieve stress and tension, help with eye fatigue and headaches, and decrease blood pressure.
It also provides amazing relaxation and will help you get better sleep. According to scientists, physiotherapy that includes a massage reduces the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in the blood by 31%. And if you suffer from constant difficulties when going to sleep, give a light relaxing massage before bed a try. The participants of one experiment claimed they slept 36 minutes longer after just 3 minutes of such a massage before drifting to sleep.
12. Sleep tight.
There are several factors responsible for a good night’s sleep. The room has to be aired in advance. The curtains should be closed because melatonin, the sleep hormone, only produces in complete darkness. Silence is, of course, welcomed too. But what’s most important is your sleeping position. Lying on your stomach is not recommended by doctors. It puts the chest under great pressure and puts too much strain on the shoulders and the neck muscles.
Sleeping on your back is one of the best positions, especially if you have back problems. But the key is to choose the right pillow – one that will relieve neck tension. Sleeping on your side is also a good option, but bend your knees and try putting a pillow between them for deeper relaxation.
These tips were intended to help you keep both your body healthy and your mind sharp. We hope that you’ll be able to take advantage of this advice in your everyday life and see the difference in your overall well-being.