Make your life better in 2015

220115 blog postBeing fit and healthy is not just about being physically fit; it’s the whole package which encompasses both a healthy body and mind. Top athletes can only perform when they are in both peak physical and mental fitness. Committing to making changes to improve your overall health is really worthwhile; it’s easy to get stuck in a rut and it is invigorating pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to develop a new outlook and positive attitude. It’s amazing the difference it can make to your overall outlook.

Be positive
Easier said than done but the science says that the more positive you are the more positive and happy you will become. It’s like a positive snowball effect. The more positive experiences you introduce in to your life, the happier you become and the brighter your future seems. An article in the Huffington Post puts proof behind this theory that positivity breeds positivity. So, instead of saying ‘no’ for the sake of it, try saying ‘yes’; instead of saying ‘I can’t’ say ‘I can’. When you next feel yourself going in to rant mode, stop, gather your thoughts and think of an alternative way of approaching the situation.

Be more sociable
Whether it’s joining a sports club, meeting up with friends or watching a game of football at your local with a group of people, being sociable can make a massive difference to your life. Not only can it increase enjoyment through a feeling of comradery, it is even said to have positive health effects. The Scientific American published a paper last year about the physical implications in the brain of socialisation. So, instead of staying in on your own and watching a spot of tv, put yourself out of your comfort zone, join a team, meet new people and reap the benefits.

Meditate
It’s not all about sitting in your tie-dye tshirt and cut off shorts, people from all walks of life mediate. In fact there are some seriously successful people who carry out meditation as part of their daily routine including Rupert Murdoch, Oprah Winfrey and Kobe Bryant to name but a few. According to Psychology Today it decreases depression, anxiety and stress. It improves your social life, improves your self-control and has physical positive changes on the brain. For a quick-start guide to meditation, download the Headspace App. It teaches you how to meditate in a bite size format and can be taken with you anywhere.

Don’t beat yourself up
There’s no point in beating yourself up – if you’ve set yourself a goal and haven’t achieved it, set another. Instead of saying ‘should’ and feeling obliged to carry out an activity, say ‘could’ so you have the option of pursuing it and less disappointment if you don’t fulfil expectation. People often spend too much time punishing themselves for what they ‘failed’ to achieve, when they could brush it aside and try again without getting swept up in negativity.

Celebrate success
In the UK we are not very good at celebrating our successes, in fact we are often encouraged to do exactly the opposite and underplay our achievements. But why? Saying well done to yourself is great for morale and acknowledges achievement which will encourage you to achieve again. Each day you could write down a list of positive things you have achieved, no matter how big or small. This way you will build a positive collection of your achievements which you can look back on for inspiration when you are having ‘one of those days’.

Smile more!
You’ve probably heard it before, but if you smile more, you’ll feel great. Smiling releases endorphins and helps to reduce stress and anxiety. It’s contagious too – so if you are smiling, it’s likely people around you will too. This will come in handy when you are trying to be more sociable too. According to a European study smiling actually makes you more attractive and makes you look more easy going, empathetic and personable. So, turn that frown upside down!

Get more sleep
On to a more practical one now. Sleep. Sleep has numerous health benefits and is your body’s opportunity to restore itself to prepare for the next day. Improved memory, longer life expectancy, increased creativity, reduced stress and better concentration are just a few of the benefits associated with increased sleep. Studies have even shown athletes who increased their sleep to ten hours per night over a seven to eight week period actually improved their performance on the field. Give it a try – it’s an easy change to make and might take a little more planning than usual but you will literally feel the benefits over night.

Drink more water
Do you ever wake up and have that groggy feeling (even when you haven’t been out the night before!)? Chances are you are dehydrated. We are always told about the benefits, but in case you have forgotten water helps you to feel energised, it’s excellent for your metabolism (especially when it’s ice cold), it helps your body and mind to feel less stressed, it gives you great skin… The list goes on. So, instead of reaching for a calorie laden squash, juice or fizzy drink, grab yourself a glass of super cold water and improve your day.

Little changes, big difference.
Don’t see it as a sprint, more a marathon. You don’t need to make all the changes straight away to see the benefit. Pick a couple of changes and see how you go. You’ll be surprised at the difference. It’s not difficult to choose a smile over a frown and to say ‘yes’ to watching the football with your mates rather than watching it alone at home. So, try it and let us know how you get on.

What positive changes have you made and did they make a difference?

Posted in January 2015
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