Adulthood can be tough. Bills never sleep. Disease and unforeseen medical expenses lurk for susceptible individuals. To find happiness and success in life, we must learn to strike a balance between self-love and productivity. Unfortunately, in our daily rush to earn a paycheck, cover the bills, and take care of family, we forget about ourselves. It is vital to stay grounded in healthy daily routines. Read on for our list of five essential daily habits that will change your overall well-being from the inside out.
1. Two Chapters
It is no secret that reading is a valuable life skill. However, the benefits of consistent book reading go far beyond expectation. Research tells us that reading improves our lives in a number of ways. Regular reading will:
- Make you live longer (source: Yale study)
- Make you open-minded and creative (source: University of Toronto)
- Lead to success in life (source: successful executives)
Among many other benefits. Despite the undeniable benefits of regular reading, a lot of people are missing out. According to the Pew Research Center, 24% of American adults admit to not reading a book within the past year.
How can we incorporate regular book reading into our lives?
The key is in your daily ritual. We recommend reading two chapters per day of fictional or non-fictional text. Both fiction and non-fiction books have been shown to equally improve memory, concentration, and creativity.
We also recommend reading one chapter in the morning of one book, and read second chapter of another book in the evening. Combining books will keep your brain stimulated and will promote increased brain activity. Incorporating this simple daily habit into your routine will lead to 730 chapters of reading per year. Assuming 20 chapters per book, that is 37 books per year. Imagine the insights you will gain from reading 37 new books each year!
2. Keep Thinking Critically
Not only is it vital to read, but it is also essential to think critically each and every day.
So, what constitutes critical thought?
Completing puzzles such as crosswords, Sudokus, and solving complex word problems are just a few examples of critical thought. If you are stretched for time, you can even mix it up and listen to thought-provoking podcasts to stimulate critical thinking.
Why does critical thought matter? Isn’t that just the same as intelligence?
No! Intellect is not the same as critical thought. Research shows us that intelligence and critical thought are completely different. Unlike intelligence, which is mostly determined by our DNA, critical thinking skills are more influenced by your lifestyle.
Thankfully, critical thinking skills are far more predictive than intelligence for determining your life outlook than reading alone. Regular critical thought will keep you sharp, focused, improve mental processing speed, and improve your concentration.
For critical thinking development, repetition is key. Short, daily performance of thought-provoking tasks improves critical thinking skills far more than a few longer critical thinking sessions a few times per week. Thus, it is essential to practice critical thought as part of your daily routine.
We recommend you spend at least 20 minutes per day performing critical thought to achieve your daily goal.
3. Reshape Your Brain Chemistry
Gratitude is much more than just a feeling of thankfulness. In fact, by expressing gratitude daily, it reshapes your brain chemistry to promote positive thinking, success, compassion, and improve relationships.
So how can we creatively integrate gratitude expression into our daily routine? One suggestion is to begin journaling. Every day, set aside a few minutes to list three things you did to make others smile, and three things others did to make you smile. This quick routine promotes thoughts and feelings of gratitude for yourself and others. Another recommendation is to use a symbol of gratitude and keep it nearby. Keep a symbol of gratitude such as a gratitude rock at your bedside. This object acts as a symbol reminding you to remain thankful each day.
4. Battle Physical Deterioration
Sitting at a desk job for 8-10 hours five times weekly is physically deteriorating. Every day, your body provides you with energetic cues. Some days are better than others. No matter the day or the cue, it is essential to move your body daily to be at your best. On days where you feel especially tired, take a quick lap around your office during a break. Alternatively, each time you get out of the chair to go to the bathroom, walk the long route to boost your step count. Why is consistent activity important? By making efforts to move your body regularly, you are increasing your longevity.
When it comes to regular physical activity, we must be creative and inspired to consistently remain active. Furthermore, our genetic preferences for physical activity are not all created equal. Find what works best for meeting your physical activity needs and stick to it each day.
5. Get Energized, Naturally
Sunlight is a force of life. Light stimulates growth and provides essential energy to spark chemical reactions. Healthy sunlight exposure stimulates vitamin D synthesis. Vitamin D metabolism produces a number of health benefits, including better moods, reduced depression and anxiety, and improved productivity. Alternatively, vitamin D deficiency causes depression, fatigue, sickness, and is linked to some forms of cancer.
What defines “healthy” sunlight exposure? It depends on your skin type. Find an exposure amount that works for your skin color and enjoy the benefits of regular sun. Keep in mind that your vitamin D needs are also determined by your genetics. It is essential to know what levels of sunlight and vitamin D your body needs, as overexposure creates more harm than benefit.
Bringing It All Together
They say that in order to love others, you must love yourself first. When you find a balance of the five tips above, and fully consider what makes you unique, you will live a life that is physically, emotionally, and spiritually enriching from the inside out. Most importantly, consistent daily efforts to enrich your life will benefit society as a whole.