To be honest, it’s difficult to write anything new concerning any topic related to habits. And the popularity of these articles ( and books) show how much we desire and recognize the importance of having the right habits.
You’ve probably read about the importance of drinking water and sleeping 7 hours. This article isn’t about that. These are much lesser told habits proven by research to be highly useful in building a healthy life.
1. Eat the rainbow
The term “Eat the rainbow” basically means eating foods and vegetables from different colors. It’s a good habit because different colors mean the fruits have different varieties of phytochemicals and also different health properties.
Some phytochemicals can help with cancer prevention, some help with the liver, some help with metabolism, and so on.
For instance, an article by the Healthline editorial team explained that red fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, watermelon, and grapefruits, get their redness from the plant pigments “lycopene” and “anthocyanins.” And studies have shown that diets high in lycopene reduce the risk of getting certain cancers.
2. Create a playlist
Music, especially the ones we like, has a tremendous impact on our minds. When we listen to them in our downtimes, our spirits get lifted. Workouts are better with music.
Studies by Johns Hopkins researchers found that one of the best ways to keep the brain younger and stave off age-related illnesses like dementia is to listen to music.
Maybe you already knew experientially, but studies interestingly reveal that good old music, the type that triggers nostalgia, has the remarkable ability to keep you warm on a cold day.
Furthermore, music was ― and still is ― a fundamental part of the lives of most creative geniuses like Alber Einstein and the legendary neurosurgeon, Ben Carson for a reason.
Ben, for instance, will always put on good classical music during his surgeries. Music is life, and it has a huge effect on our minds. As Albert Einstein would later say,
“I often think about music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music”
3. Brisk walk for 30 minutes a day
Though any form of walking is considered aerobic exercise and is good for your health, brisk walking is different from casual walks. According to Medical News, you need to be walking at a maximum speed of at least 3 mph for your walk to be considered brisk walking.
Furthermore, while your casual walk doesn’t require any specific posture, a brisk walk has to be done with an upright posture, with your back straight and shoulders relaxed.
Besides the obvious benefits of brisk walking, like burning calories and reducing the risk of heart diseases, it’s also a good way to get outside to get some fresh air, sunlight, and to be out in nature.
4. Nurture yourself with nature
Sometimes all you have to do to boost your mood, lower your stress, and relax is to take a walk in nature. It sounds easy, but is it? We get so busy nowadays that the mere thought of taking a walk may seem like a waste of time.
It also sounds boring. Who wants to find time to take walks when we have our gadgets and TV shows a few clicks away?
Besides the mounting evidence of the importance of nature for our wellbeing, we all can, through experience, attest to the connection between our wellbeing and nature.
Maybe you’ve heard or seen people who would rather ride motorcycles rather than take a car. They just want to feel the sun and the gentle breeze bounce against their skin.
Have you ever been traveling in a bus and couldn’t just stop marveling at nature as you look through your window? At that point, you’re in the moment, calm, grateful, and appreciative. It’s a great feeling, something that is worth deliberately carving our time to experience.
5. Eat more greens
According to Dr. Joey Shulman, in her interview with Cityline, green foods contain so many health benefits when consumed. In her words they…
- Reduce inflammatory response
- Optimize digestion
- Have low-calorie intake
- Rich in nutrient
- Are excellent for skin and vision
- Have anti-aging effect
When we picture health or nature, we see green. In fact, there’s hardly any health or wellness site that doesn’t have the color in their logo. Most of us grew up in homes where our parents or grandparents just incorporated a lot of greens into our meals. And eating them felt like you were eating health itself.
Several studies already show how eating greens, especially the dark ones, can greatly impact our health. Make a deliberate effort to incorporate them into your meal. You can incorporate a variety of them each time to get a different variety of minerals.
6. Deliberately maintain & build quality relationships
Building quality relationships is like investing in a business. It’s hard, and sometimes it may appear like there’s no pay off for you. Perhaps this is why we find it difficult to build strong relationships.
You see, we humans tend to build relationships based on what’s in it for us. We are used to transactional interactions. We are by nature more motivated when it appears like there’s something in it for us to get.
But building quality relationships may not fit into our transactional mindset because they are built for one major thing: Shared experiences.
The truth is, we are all dying to connect. The research linking quality relationships to better wellbeing is crystal clear because humans are by nature social creatures. We naturally want to spend quality time with people, but we hold back. Why?
Maybe we want people to think we are self-sufficient. Maybe we are afraid we might be rejected. Maybe we always expect others to take the lead. And maybe these are all valid excuses.
But as the saying goes, “Nothing great comes easily.” Being the one to pick up the phone to mend a damaged relationship entails risk, and so does being the first to reach out to the stranger sitting beside you. But the long-term benefits far outweigh the risk.
Before you leave…
Live deliberately. As bestselling author Robert Greene explained to Brian Eliot in an interview, “The reason you’re a mess is a lack of self-control.
We all love to read articles about habits because we know it’s good. Our habits determine how our lives turn out.
But the reason we keep going back to these articles is that we are not deliberate about how we live our lives. We are impulsive. We react, rather than respond to life. When chances come for us to implement the right habit, we don’t.
If you don’t learn to live deliberately, no habit will stick. It’s a sad reality, but it’s true: Things tend to fall apart when we let them be. Building something good always takes sacrifice and energy.