Life doesn’t just happen to us, we have to make life happen. Sometimes it’s wonderful and you don’t have a care in the world, and other times it can be easy to get overwhelmed and stressed by our day-to-day lives. If you are looking for ways to improve quality of life for you or your loved ones, check out these tips:
Get Enough Sleep
Too many people forsake getting enough sleep each night in order to have more time to do the things they need to do. Unfortunately this is a huge mistake. Not only does sleep deprivation cause impaired cognitive function and memory problems, but not getting enough sleep causes negative changes in mood. People who don’t get enough sleep are more irritable, negative, and less resistant to stress. We all have stress, but people who report not getting enough sleep also report reacting negatively to the stressors that life throws at them.
The amount of sleep an adult needs will depend on the person, while some people need to get more sleep than others most research indicates that you need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night to be well-rested and ready to take on the world. However, it’s not always about the amount of sleep, the quality of your rest plays a key part in how rested you feel the next day. Improve sleep quality by investing in a mattress that suits your needs, disconnecting from your phone before bed, turn alarm clock away from you, and stick to a consistent sleep schedule.
Meditation has been shown to have multiple positive health benefits. You can start experiencing these benefits by meditating as little as 20 minutes a day. Even if that’s quite a stretch for you, meditating for 5-10 minutes to start can have wonderful effects. Meditation has been shown to alleviate depression and anxiety, improve concentration, reduce stress and even increase gray matter in the areas of the brain that correspond with regulating emotions.
Engage With Nature
Being outside and engaging with nature has a positive impact on mood, lowers stress, and increases creativity. In one study, it was shown that simply walking in a forest as opposed to walking in an urban center decreased heart rate, and walkers reported less anxiety and better moods. In another study, those participants who spent three days in nature performed 50% better on creative tasks than those who weren’t exposed in nature. Take the time to engage with nature, even if it’s as simple as a walk in your local park.
Exercise not only improves your physical well being, but it has a large impact on your mental well being, as well. Studies have shown that moderate exercise can be just as effective as an antidepressant in treating mild depression. Exercise also reduces stress and anxiety and improves cognitive function that are all key in leading an overall healthy lifestyle. The benefits of exercise can be felt by something as simple as walking 30 minutes daily. In fact, you could take a walking meditation outside and squeeze in 3 of these 8 tips!
When you socialize with your friends or close family members, the nucleus accumbens, a major reward system in the brain is activated, giving you a rush of dopamine. Social isolation can be toxic, and people who are lonely have higher mortality rates than those with an active social life.
Being present involves not ruminating on past experiences or projecting your thoughts into the future, but rather focusing on what is happening now. Thinking about the future and obsessing about what is to come only does harm and robs you of the peace of the moment you’re living in. When you live in the future or the past, you are focused on situations that are ultimately unchangeable. Be present and accept this moment for what it is, a present!
Set a Realistic Goal and Achieve It
Setting a goal and seeing it through to fruition can boost your self esteem and well being. It’s important to set a realistic goal that you can achieve and take baby steps toward achieving it. Setting too lofty a goal and failing to meet it can demotivate and harm your self esteem, even halting or back tracking progress you’ve made.
Focusing on what your life is lacking, rather than what you do have, is one surefire way to end up miserable. In one study, students that kept a gratitude journal for 10 weeks reported feeling more positive and more optimistic about the future. Reaping the benefits of gratitude is as easy as writing down one thing you are thankful for each day.
Don’t try to implement all of these tips at once, or you will end up feeling even more overwhelmed. Instead, try implementing 2 per week until you’re practicing all 8. These simple tips will help improve quality of life for you and your loved ones and help you appreciate the life you are living.