Wellness Blog

6 Ways to Become Healthier and Happier

Posted by Ashlynn D.

July 7, 2015 at 12:00 PM

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Most of us are on a constant mission to find happiness. Some even go to great lengths and extremes to try and achieve this happiness by taking mood enhancing drugs and medications that can ultimately destroy their health. 

What people don’t realize is that in many cases happiness stems from practicing a healthy lifestyle. Ditching the drugs and medications and opting for healthier alternatives, such as the six below, is a surefire way for happiness to permeate.

Take Omega-3 Fatty Acids (DHA and EPA)

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential in that we need them or else our bodies will not function properly. Erase the notion that all fat is bad for you. Ingesting enough of these specific fatty acids has been associated with a happier demeanor, most likely due to the fact that these fats have a multitude of health benefits. Studies have documented that people who consume a diet containing copious amounts of DHA and EPA have severely reduced risks of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, ADHD, arthritis and heart disease.

While our bodies do not make omega-3 fatty acids, there are plenty of delicious foods that contain them including anchovies, mackerel, wild salmon, sardines, tuna and free-range red meat. Vegan sources of these health-promoting fats can be found in walnuts, flax and flaxseed oil and hemp and hempseed oil. The recommended daily allotment to reap the benefits of this fantastic fat is 1 gram (1,000 milligrams) of both DHA and EPA (combined), through food or supplementation. Of course, it’s always smart to speak with your doctor prior to starting any supplement.

Sleep

Think back to when you had a restless night of sleep. You most likely felt groggy, lethargic, and irritable the following day causing you to become grumpy and short-tempered. Getting quality sleep is paramount for a happier outlook and is also quite beneficial for overall health. While your brain may benefit tremendously from superior sleep, your heart, weight and immune system also adore when you get your 40 winks. Sleep regulates the hormones that control your appetite, your ability to fight off colds, the flu and other infections and the inflammation in your heart. Clearly getting a good night’s rest is a terrific way to achieve the happiness you may be searching for.

Exercise

You can thank endorphins for why exercise is the perfect prescription for when you’re feeling a bit moody or depressed. Exercise causes your body to release chemicals called endorphins, which interact with receptors in your brain that reduce the perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a “euphoric” feeling that is also known by many as a “runner’s high”. Exercise is beneficial for many other reasons, aside from elevated mood, for it has the ability to also strengthen your heart, increase energy levels, reduce blood pressure, build bones, reduce body fat and improve sleep. The best part is that you do not have to run a 10k or marathon to reap the benefits.

Be Social

Planning some time with friends is a dependable way to increase your mood. Your friends may be able to distract you from any issues that may be causing you depression. Friends may also be able to offer you advice to help you get out of the doldrums. Studies have even reported that by staying social has the same physical health benefits as exercise in that it makes you feel worth while, thus you pay more attention to balanced eating and other healthy habits. Honestly, who doesn’t love chatting with a friend?

Supplement with Vitamin D

If you tend to get depressed in the winter, you can blame it on a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is synthesized in our bodies through the sun’s rays, and in the winter there is far less sun that in the spring and summer months. Studies have documented that when deficient people got their recommended allowance of vitamin D, their symptoms of depression improved. Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to a whole host of other conditions as well, from heart disease and diabetes to cancer. While it has been widely debated as to how much sun exposure it too much, supplementing with vitamin D3 (about 1,000 IUs a day) or eating foods that contain the vitamin, such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, beef liver and egg yolks has been documented as extraordinarily beneficial. 

Relax/Meditate Often

While being social is extremely important, taking time for yourself is equally as imperative. When you take time for yourself, you get the opportunity to focus on what’s truly important in your life. In order to accurately benefit from meditation, it’s optimal that you turn off all social media and shut down electronics. Getting in touch with yourself may help you decipher why you may be feeling “down” and may help you focus on a remedy to the solution. Simply just slowing down can make you happier by reducing your stress level.

Happiness may seem harder to achieve than climbing Mount Everest but by implementing these healthy habits, achieving happiness will feel more like a stroll in the park.

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Topics: Nutrition, Wellness

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