Three simple daily tasks to live a happier life

With the hustle of the world today, it is so easy to get lost in the busyness of everyday life. Unfortunately, the busier we are, the less we actually pay attention to ourselves, our health, and enjoying the world around us.   Below are three simple tasks to incorporate into your day to be happier, healthier and more satisfied.

 

1. Movement:

We all know that exercise is important and good for us. But, do you have any idea why it is so important? Exercise can help every part of your body. It helps to reduce stress, regulate moods, and it can even decrease symptoms of depression by increasing endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are the hormones in the brain that are associated with happy and positive thoughts. So, exercise will not just help you feel happier in the moment, exercise can actually help you be happier in general. Many people think incorporating an exercise program into their daily lives means spending countless hours sweating away at the gym, but ain’t nobody got time for that!

Although getting in a good sweat on a regular basis is also important, according to the Mayo Clinic simple daily changes to your activity level can increase positivity in all aspects of your life, some that may even surprise you.

  • Increase your mood, self-confidence & self-esteem: Exercise builds muscle, reduces weight, and increases endorphins and other “happy” chemicals in the brain. Put these things together and they all add up to higher self-esteem, a boost in self-confidence, and overall better moods.
  • Increase your energy level: Adding more movement to your day can improve your muscle strength and endurance level. Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues, which helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently.  The more cardiovascular endurance your body has, the more energy you will have. So, take the stairs or park in the last row because any extra movement in your day will help!
  • Better Sleep: Exercising on a regular basis can even help you fall asleep faster and sleep deeper. Just don’t exercise right before bed!
  • Better sex life (woo hoo!): Better sleep + increase in confidence + more energy= better sex life!   Did you also know that regular exercise may even enhance arousal in women, and decrease the likelihood of erectile dysfunction in men? Now, if that’s not enough to go get you moving, I don’t know what is!

 

2. Mindfulness:

Mindfulness is a fancy word for being focused and present in the moment.  We spend so much of our time thinking about what is going to happen next, all the “what if’s” that could happen, and being plugged in that oftentimes we forget to actually live in the moment. Believe it or not, scrolling through your Facebook feed, taking selfies, or texting with your best friend is not living in the moment. Mindfulness does not necessarily mean sitting cross-legged and chanting ‘Om’ repeatedly, but it does mean giving full attention to your current thoughts and your breath.  It means actually being in and feeling, the moment.  Even Pitbull once sang  “I just want to feel this moment.” I’m pretty sure he was talking about meditation! By now we have all heard of the numerous benefits of mindfulness like reducing stress and alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression.  A study done by a neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School found that daily meditation can literally change your brain. Here are some of the awesome benefits of a daily mindfulness practice.

  • Increase your body satisfaction: A study conducted by researchers Ellen R. Albertson, Kristin D. Neff and Karen E. Dill-Shackleford found that women who participated in self-compassion meditation made great gains in their overall body appreciate and self-compassion.  This is something I think all women could use!
  • Helps to manage symptoms of illness: Although not a replacement for traditional medical treatment, meditation has been found to decrease symptoms of certain medical conditions, especially conditions worsened by stress. Some of these conditions include depression, tension headaches, and sleep issues.
  • Better sex life (whomp, there it is again!): Because all of the other amazing benefits of meditation, you will be less stressed, have more confidence, feel happier, be more focused and, in turn, have more (and maybe even better) sex!!

 

3. Gratitude:

The idea of gratitude is very simple, it is taking the time to reflect and feel thankful for things in your life. These things don’t have to be things at all, they can be people, moments, experiences, objects, accomplishments, the night sky, the morning sun, laughing with friends, an amazing glass of wine, anything!  The positive benefits that come with practicing gratitude are endless!

  • You feel more satisfied in life: Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami conducted a study that had participants write down things they were grateful for throughout the week, and another group write down their irritations. At the end of the study, the gratitude group reported feeling more optimistic and better about their lives. They also exercised more and had fewer trips to the doctor than the irritated group!
  • You are happier: Having an attitude of gratitude allows people to be grateful and appreciate what they already have, and less focused on what don’t. Gratitude generates positive emotions like contentment, joy, and love, which can override negative emotions like anxiety.
  • Better sex life (come on, you knew this was coming!): You remember that feeling you first had with your partner? That feeling where you couldn’t wait to rip each other’s clothes off every time you saw each other? For most couples bills, work, kids, maintaining a household, and a general feeling of taking each other for granted often replaces the feeling of I want you naked right now. Taking time each day to write down your feelings of gratitude for your partner is an excellent way to start getting those feelings back. Think about the things that you love about your partner, ways you are still attracted to them, and ways you are highly appreciative of them. Daily focus on these positive traits will have you hot and heavy again in no time!

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