5 ways to be your best you

#mybestme http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-image31247237#res6850678


Everyone’s ‘best me’ is different, but there are things we can all do to improve our chances of success and happiness. Most of the things that lead to success, however we each define that for ourselves, rely on our own commitment and attitude. Luck has little to do with it.

And nobody else can be responsible for our happiness – we have to pursue our own goals and dreams to live the kind of life we aspire to, even if that means leaving old habits behind.

Here are five things we can all do better to become #mybestme.

1. Eat well

Eating well doesn’t necessarily mean dieting and taking the joy out of good food – one of life’s great pleasures. It’s being more conscious about what you’re eating and why.

Brian M Shelley MD wrote for The Centre for Mindful Eating magazine that the term ‘weight loss’ concentrates feelings of loss and deprivation and may not be the most psychologically helpful way to think about food.

“By adopting a more mindful approach to eating, we can make more of what is in front of us, and more fully enjoy the food that we do choose to eat”, Brian wrote.

Top tips for eating more mindfully
– Don’t multi-task while you’re eating – always sit and savour your food
– Snack on nuts and seeds if you get hungry mid morning
– Get out in the sunshine and fresh air if you feel the need for a mid afternoon sugar hit
– Save sweet treats, junk food and alcohol for the weekends or special occasions
– Find something else to occupy your mind when you’re bored or stressed (see number 4 below)

2. Get enough sleep

Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Benefits of getting enough sleep include reduced stress, improved mood, ability to concentrate, better coordination and maintenance of a healthy weight.

Top tips from the Sleep Health Foundation
– Have a regular bed time and wake up at the same time each morning
– Don’t spend more than 9 hours in bed
– Don’t nap during the day
– Keep electronic devices out of the bedroom
– Wind down and relax before getting into bed

3. Exercise regularly

The Department of Health has found that more than half of all Australian adults are not active enough.

Moving more and sitting less decreases the risk of a number of medical conditions, prevents unhealthy weight gain, strengthens muscles and bones and is good for mental health as well.

Top tips from the Department of Health
– Doing any exercise is better than doing none
– Try to do one thing every day that gets you up and moving
– Each week aim to do at least 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity or 1.25 to 2.5 hours of vigorous intensity physical activity, or a mix of the two
– Break up long periods of sitting
– Walk or cycle on short trips rather than driving

4. Improve your mind

Researchers of degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and Huntington’s disease have found that how active and engaged the brain is can have a significant impact on how well it ages.

This relates not only to education and training, but any experience that challenges you and causes you to learn something new.

Neuroscientist and blogger Sarah McKay PhD advises the human brain continues to develop connections, or synapses, throughout a lifetime. She recommends staying mentally, socially and physically active to keep building these connections, and the neuroplasticity of the brain.

“Mental activity should be regular, reasonably complex, and varied – doing the odd crossword or sudoku puzzle is not enough. Your mental activity should involve learning something new”, Sarah wrote.

Ideas for improving your mind:
– Sign up for a training course, either online or a group in your local area
– Plan a trip and learn about the local history, language and culture
– Deliberately put yourself in situations where you are likely to meet new people and hear different points of view
– Seek out new experiences that are outside your comfort zone
– Read widely from a variety of different sources and authors

5. Be kind to others

Christine Carter PhD, author and director at the Greater Good Science Centre, writes there is an “undeniable connection between happiness and generosity” demonstrated in much of the research on happiness.

“Happiness tends to follow meaning.

“Meaningful activities generate positive emotions and deepen social connections, both of which increase our satisfaction with life”, Christine wrote.

She advises that pursuing happiness for others, rather than ourselves, is the key to leading a joyful life.

Action for Happiness is a movement for positive social change. The website has a lot of information and tips for living a happier life, including a list of 40 acts of kindness.

Kind things you can do:
– Choose a cause you are passionate about and work towards making a difference in some small way
– Volunteer your time helping out a local charity
– Pay more compliments and smile more often
– Stop yourself, and others if you can, from participating in gossipy conversations about other people, both in person and online
– Ask how someone is and really listen to their response

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#mybestme pledge

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