You can have more to show for your birthday than cake crumbs and burnt candles. Let each annual celebration serve as a trigger to develop habits that contribute to a longer and healthier life. Take a look at these suggestions to help you get started.
Habits to Enhance Your Mental Health
- Let go of expectations. While many events may be beyond your control, you can decide how to respond to them. Welcome whatever comes your way and use your experiences to learn and grow.
- Give generously. Focusing on others brings more happiness into your life. Share your time, expertise, and possessions.
- Practice forgiveness. Take a load off your mind by giving up any grudges or resentments. Wish others well even when you disagree with their actions. Show compassion for yourself as well.
- Develop a hobby. Put your leisure time to good use. Learn how to play a musical instrument or speak a foreign language.
- Communicate directly. Express your true thoughts openly and tactfully. Offer constructive feedback. Ask for what you want and need. Your courage will help others to do the same.
- Deepen your relationships. Concentrate on the quality of your relationships. Make time for family dinners and meaningful conversations with old friends. Pick one acquaintance you want to know better and invite them to lunch.
- Look on the bright side. List the things you are grateful for, and start each day by giving thanks for your blessings. When you’re feeling challenged, think of what you have to gain.
- Meditate and pray. Take care of your spiritual side. Follow your faith tradition or invent rituals that are meaningful for you.
Habits to Enhance Your Physical Health
- Exercise regularly. Keep your body strong and limber. Aim to work out for at least a half hour three days a week. Find a variety of activities you enjoy so you’ll stay motivated.
- Move around. Build more physical activity into common tasks. Stand up when you talk on the phone. Climb the stairs instead of riding the elevator.
- Sit up straight. Good posture requires no extra time out of your busy schedule. Straighten your back, lift your head, and lower your shoulders. You’ll instantly feel more alert, and protect yourself from back pain.
- Sleep well. Your body needs good quality sleep and rest to keep running efficiently. Go to bed and wake up on a consistent schedule.
- Eat a balanced diet. Stock up on nourishing whole foods. Fill your plate with fresh vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Cut back on processed foods that are full of sugar and empty calories.
- Apply sunscreen. Put on your sunscreen year round instead of saving it just for summer. Reapply it if you’ve been sweating or swimming.
- See your doctor. Ask your physician what lifestyle changes would have the greatest impact for you. Maybe you want to quit smoking or lose weight. Maybe you want to manage your diabetes or reduce your risk for osteoporosis.
- Manage stress. Stress affects our bodies as well as our emotions. Chronic stress can lead to inflammation which is associated with many conditions, from headaches to heart disease. Find effective ways to relax, like listening to classical music or playing with your dog.
Look forward to growing older. Stop counting your grey hairs and start counting how many positive changes you can make to your daily routines. Turn each birthday into an opportunity to enhance your mental and physical well-being.