5 steps to a healthier and happier you!

5 steps to a healthier and happier you!

What is happiness and what does it have to do with health?

Happiness is a hard one to define. We’ve all heard the cliché “laughter is the best medicine”. It’s such a commonplace saying for a reason – relatively new research backs up the anecdotal link between happiness and health – the level of our happiness really can impact the level of our health.

What many of us want to know however is if happiness can solely come from living a healthy balanced lifestyle? If so, how is this happiness nirvana to be achieved…will shedding those few extra pounds get you on your way?

5 steps to a healthier and happier you!

 The foundations of a happier, healthier life

Having a positive outlook, surrounding yourself with friends and family, being able to manage life’s ups and downs and making healthy choices involving physical activity and eating well all contribute to our feeling of happiness.

It’s difficult to select only a few factors, as we’re all different and have our own opinions, but here are our 5 steps towards a healthier, happier you!

1. Feed your body

We all know its recommended to have 5 (or more) portions of fruit and veg in a day. But it can be difficult, and quite uninspiring unless you experiment a little. These days there is such a diverse range in supermarkets and local grocers, try selecting from the entire colour spectrum of fruit and veg. Not only will your plate look stunning (something for Instagram perhaps), but with the mix of colours, comes a mix of vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy.

Our bodies are on average almost 2/3 water,so  keeping hydrated is essential to function. Water is the most effective cleansing agent for your body – it eliminates unwanted food, toxins and waste, and can help with weight loss. Substitute fizzy drinks, sports drinks, juice, and even water-based drinks, with simple water from your tap. We suggest drinking 8-10 glasses a day, but herbal teas can also contribute to that! Try our Begu teas that are personalised to you whilst cleansing, refreshing and working with your lifestyle to achieve your goals!

Protein is an essential component which helps to feel fuller for longer. We recommend you combine 10-35% of your total daily calories from protein with foods high in fibre to keep you happily full on far less calories than sugar and sugary foods (High GI carbs). You don’t have to eat steaks everyday either, just add small amounts of nuts, low-fat dairy, beans, lean meat, poultry, or fish to your meals to give you the protein boost you need.

2. Feed your soul

Love is all you need! Living healthily is not only about eating right and exercising, it’s about your relationships too. It’s important to take time out from daily work and commitments to see the people you love and care about. Improving your existing relationships, or getting new ones will make a big difference. Introduce yourself to your neighbours, smile at a stranger, or tell your friends or family that you love them. A healthy mix of virtual (online) and face-to-face connections is key, but don’t do it all through social media!

Have a positive attitude: Believe in yourself and you will succeed! Being overly negative or complaining that life just doesn’t treat you fairly and you never get what you want is a sure fire way for failure. With the can do attitude, good networks of support and a positive outlook, you’ll be much happier, and those around you will be too.

Challenge yourself, but be realistic with yourself. Set some clear targets for the year, ones that can be achieved (with some hard work perhaps), and where make sure you define the clear end. Try writing them down, say them to yourself  and they will soon become reality giving you a great sense of satisfaction at setting a goal and reaching it.

3. Keep Moving

It doesn’t have to be hours spent at the gym, but it has to be something you enjoy and will therefore most likely keep doing. A walk with friends, taking a new fitness class or strap on your rollerblades: what’s important is to get your body moving. It will increase your physical fitness of course, but it will do wonders for your mood and energy too. There’s no value in forcing yourself onto the treadmill if you don’t like it, that won’t be sustainable. Keep a record of your achievements to remind and motivate and also set goals to build your confidence. Start small and treat yourself with flowers, a book or some music at the end of the week and work it into your day even if it’s just 10 minutes over lunch, it’s better than 0 minutes in the entire day.

4. And… Relax

Make it a daily routine to give yourself 10 minutes just for yourself. Doesn’t sound like much, but it can be hard to fit in, so make it a ritual and let everyone know it’s you-time and that you’re not to be disturbed.

You could meditate, do some yoga or just sit and clear your mind in the mornings to begin your day in the right way. Then do the same at night before bed, or read an inspiring book or have a hot soak in the bath. These will all unclutter your mind from the day’s events and anxieties and encourage a better night’s sleep. Treat yourself to the perfect accompaniment of a cup of Calm Begu tea while in this state of serenity.

Learning techniques to manage stress is really important to your overall health and wellbeing, of body and mind. Meditation, yoga and exercise are all well known to effectively maintain baseline stress levels. For unexpected stresses, taking deep breaths, checking perspective, or releasing negative energy through exercise can all help you breakthrough, and become a zen master!

5. Get your Beauty Sleep!

Many of us have trouble sleeping, or certainly of getting the recommended 8 hours (at least) of sleep a night. It’s essential to correct functioning both mentally and physically.

The science bit… published studies have shown that the amount of sleep you get might have an impact on body weight (BMI) and metabolism . Those sleeping for short periods had different levels of appetite regulatory hormones – reduced leptin (satiety “feeling full” hormone) and elevated ghrelin (hunger hormone) which are likely to increase appetite on waking and encourage overeating or poor food choices at the start of the day.

Additional to this, sleep reduces inflammation, lowers stress levels and allows your body to repair.

Sleep smart by turning off all your devices 1-2 hours before bedtime. Recent findings, such as reported in the Scientific American, provide warning for using such light-emitting devices before bed. Why? Well its put down to the amount of blue light compared to natural light which may affect your sleep-inducing hormone level, melatonin. This in turn can affect your natural body clock which contributes to often poor decisions when it comes to the daily routine.

So how do we sleep better? Other than trying to limit TV and devices before bed, avoid strenuous exercise just before sleep (which increases core body temperature), no caffeine (try a relaxing cup of Nightea Night instead), have a hot bath and don’t be ashamed to take yourself to bed early from time to time. Good quality sleep should be a priority, as much as diet and exercise is. Although working and playing hard are important in modern society, you will be in much greater control of your mind and body, if you get a good night’s sleep.

It’s all about you!

Are you happy with your current lifestyle? These are our suggestions on how to make your life a happier and healthier one, but we would love to hear your thoughts on what makes a real difference to your health and well-being. Contact us in the usual ways at begu, we’d love to hear from you.

Take charge of your life, the little changes you make can really lead to big improvements in your health and happiness!