The word “habit” has many connotations, yet the image it conjures up is one of a slow-growing plant that seems almost out-of-control and uncontrollable. We try with our best efforts to control what we do in life, but sometimes even the most painstakingly planned decisions can become habits that are hard to break.
Creating a habit, it turns out, is really quite simple Whether it is a good habit or a bad one.
In a book written in 1982, Charles Duhigg discussed the concept of habit formation as it related to finance. Drawing on scientific research and psychological theory, he noted that when a behavior is repeated many times, the behavior gets easier and easier to perform over time. With enough repetition, it eventually becomes automatic—a habit.
But what repetitive actions are healthy enough to be warranted as a “healthy habit”? Here are some of our top suggestions including ones that are suited for workplace wellness.
We all know the feeling of finishing a workout and feeling better than we did before starting, but that is just the beginning of what exercise offers us. It’s a great outlet for stress, and it helps keep our bodies strong and fit. If possible, try to start your day with some exercise—even if it’s just a short walk or jog around the building.
Health Benefit: Regular exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight, and can help reduce your risk of developing many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, and osteoporosis.
2. Drink Water
Even though it may seem that drinking water is a habit we should all have in common, many of us don’t drink enough water every day. Drinking plenty of water is important for overall wellness because it helps keep our blood pressure low.
Health Benefit: We know that dehydration can lead to dizziness and fainting. It can also lead to a loss of energy and a buildup of toxins in our system. Drink plenty of water every day. In a sense, drinking a lot of water can help boost your energy levels so you have more power to exercise, and focus on building healthy habits that you’ll take with you all your life.
3. Eat Slowly
There is a direct correlation between eating slowly and not feeling as hungry later on. It takes 20 minutes for the stomach to signal to the brain once it’s had enough food. If you eat too quickly, your stomach will never get the message that it is full, and you’ll have trouble stopping yourself from overeating.
Health Benefit: This healthy habit can help improve your digestion and give you more energy so that you can exercise more often.
4. Take a Lunch Break
Although most of us are aware that taking an hour’s break to recharge is healthy, many of us don’t do it enough. Taking a break helps the body and mind and can lead to increased productivity. Health experts recommend eating lunch no less than five hours before going to sleep.
Health Benefit: Remember this one when you are struggling with that afternoon lull in energy. Your body will thank you for paying attention to what it’s asking for.
5. Take Regular Breaks
Taking breaks can also include getting outside for a few minutes for some fresh air or sunshine. Not only does this make you feel better, but it helps increase your energy levels.
Health Benefit: Not only will you increase your energy level, but you’ll improve your memory as well. If you live in a place with poor air quality, taking breaks outside will help alleviate the problems associated with being indoors too much.
6. Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is a known fact that we all need, but most of us lack the time to do so. A full night’s rest is vital to our health, and having that extra energy in the morning can help boost our productivity. If you are not a morning person, consider waking up 15 minutes earlier. The less tired you are when you wake up, the more energy you will have during your day.
Health Benefit: Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, memory loss, and diabetes.
7. Focus on Your Vision
Try to create a vision board of all the things you have accomplished in your life that you are proud of. Repeat these words over and over again until they become part of your daily routine.
Health Benefit: This can be an effective way to stay motivated and keep yourself on track to reach your goals.
8. Stop and Smell the Flowers
Some scents like lavender or lemon can also make your skin feel refreshed and help you relax. Taking a few deep breaths in a particularly relaxing scented environment is an effective way to ease stress. Furthermore, you can also incorporate this into your skincare by choosing lightly scented products.
Health Benefit: Many studies have shown that both the aroma of flowers and the scent of various essential oils are great for physical, emotional, and mental health.
Just as you would take a vitamin supplement daily, healthy habits that energize your mind and body should be consciously practiced daily to maximize their benefit. If it is possible, try to create an exercise routine that leads to better sleep quality so that your mind and body can emerge refreshed each day. By taking the time to focus on these small steps for healthy habits, you can ensure that your strides continue for many years forward into the future.
Guest Post by Arleen Artienza