5 Simple Ways to be Healthier and Happier, Guest Post by Casey Thaler of EatCleanTrainClean.com
The following is a guest post by Casey Thaler, B.A., NASM-CPT. Casey is a science-based writer, pursuing his degree in nutritional biochemistry. He runs a nutrition and fitness consulting company Eat Clean Train Clean www.EatCleanTrainClean.com. He is also a contributor to Paleo Magazine.
1. Eat Better
This one should be a no-brainer, but in reality, how much do we practice it? Though those in the “paleo” universe tend to eat more nutritiously on average, there is always room for improvement. And if you’re not eating “paleo”? You should probably start!
Multiple studies have shown that nutrient intake directly correlates with not only brain size, but body weight, as well as disease risk. Go heavy on the vegetables, quality sourced protein, and healthy fats. Leave out the processed food, grains and (non grass-fed) dairy.
2. Get Outside and Exercise!
Another no-brainer, but many in the blogosphere or those with desk jobs, families, etc. tend to forget this step. Exercise, even something as simple as walking for 45 minutes, has been studied to improve brain tissue growth, as well as depression rates and stress levels.
Exercising outside is by far the best option, if possible. Sunshine will give you a healthy dose of vitamin D3, the bioavailable form that humans need. Those who get more sunlight statistically have lower rates of depression and may live longer.
3. Get More Sleep
This step can be the hardest, as modern life has invaded our rest time with things such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. Add to that a struggling economy, and hyper stimulatory environments, and you have a recipe for poor sleep.
Quality and quantity are both important here, and blackout shades and limiting blue light exposure are vital steps to ensuring that the hormonal and biochemical effects of sleep loss don’t happen. Not only will you likely live a shorter life, but you will likely end up overeating and be less sharp, cognitively, if you don’t get some ZZZ’s.
4. Limit Caffeine and Stress
If these steps are seeming increasingly difficult, you may be correct! But if you want to live a happier life, limiting caffeine and stress, as much as humanly possible, is vital. If you think you’re stressed, your body reacts like you ARE stressed. This means that even if you’re just sitting in traffic, you can be experiencing the damaging effects of cortisol.
Meditation is one technique that can help to limit stress, as well as eliminating extra activities from your life. Caffeine intake has become so much of a problem in the US that IV drips filled with the stimulant exist for surgery patients who can’t handle the early stages of withdrawal. 1-2 cups per day of coffee is the limit, and keep in mind that even that amount may be too much for many people.
5. Laugh and Make Friends
Studies will back this up, but you shouldn’t need to read a scientific study to understand the importance of laughing and making friends. A great stress reliever, laughter is one of the best mental health remedies which won’t cost you a dime.
Socialization is vital to any human life, and these days it is important to make sure that it is FACE TO FACE contact, not online communication or text messaging. Studies show that isolation is linked to higher rates of depression and suicide, unsurprisingly. Humans are not meant to be alone, and you will notice an almost immediate difference when you start laughing and socializing on a regular basis.
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