5 Simple Ways You Can Feel Better Today
Do you ever feel like you’ve fallen too far off the wagon when it comes to your health? Or feel like it would take a miracle to get you back on track? And in the midst of this internal chaos, do you find yourself holding your breath, just waiting to come up for air, and wanting nothing more than to wave your little white flag to surrender to it all?
Fortunately, wellness doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing experience. I like to follow the 1% rule in all areas of my life. When things feel heavy, far-fetched, or overwhelming, I ask myself - what can I improve by just 1% today?
Because contrary to what many people think, you don't have to completely overhaul your lifestyle to gain more energy, balance your hormones, or heal your gut. Small changes can make a huge difference in how you feel. I’ve seen proof of this within my own wellness journey, and the thousands of lives I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years.
Chances are the following five suggestions I have for you will most likely serve as gentle reminders, rather than mind-blowing epiphanies. But sometimes it’s the smallest things that we need the most reminding of, don’t you think? So go ahead and sink your teeth into these five super-simple ways you can feel better right now, and let the good feels roll!
1. Have veggies at every meal
There isn't a consensus on the best diet, but pretty much everyone agrees on one thing: eat more veggies. You'll be hard-pressed to find a single diet that doesn't think eating more plants is a good idea. As Michael Pollan so wisely said, "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants."
When you eat real, whole foods, you actually become happier. It turns out, the gut and the brain have a close relationship. Super close. In fact, 80-95% of serotonin (your happy hormone) is produced in your gut, and plant-based foods stimulate the production of this hormone. In fact, there's a 30% reduction in the risk of major depression and anxiety disorders for people who regularly consume an abundance of plants. Pretty amazing, right? So go ahead and load up on fresh produce! You can learn more ways to build a healthier gut here.
2. Take a deep breath
There’s a reason why many people eat as a way to cope with stress. Stress causes certain regions of the brain to release chemicals that tell us to seek comfort and safety by eating sugar and fat.
Instead of letting your brain call the shots, you can override that tiny voice and try this instead: check in - where is your body rising when you breathe? Are your shoulders lifting up to your ears? Try drawing air into your abdomen. When you do this (breathe like a baby), you’ll reduce the physical effects of stress in your body - meaning less emotional turmoil like stress eating, and less physical symptoms like tension headaches, belly aches, and stiff necks. Let’s face it, you can’t do anything about that work deadline, but it is wildly empowering that your breathing can change the way your body reacts to it. Bonus… it’s free and accessible to you at all times. Woohoo!
3. Drink more water
We are over 70 percent water. Even a slight reduction in our fluid intake will cause the body to seek equilibrium and hold onto fluids to maintain balance. Being in a state of dehydration never feels good. It causes us to be moodier and susceptible to viruses and nagging symptoms like bloat and headaches. To make matters worse, dehydration turns on your hunger hormone (ghrelin) and turns off your hunger-suppressant hormone (leptin), making you feel hungrier and more likely to overeat. Hint: If you feel thirsty, chances are you’re already dehydrated.
Go grab your favorite glass or water bottle and refill it throughout the day to stay hydrated. Your body will thank you and you’ll likely feel better immediately.
4. Take a hike (or walk outside) for 5 minutes
This will serve two purposes: movement and nature. We’re more sedentary and stuck indoors than ever before and our health is suffering because of it. Sitting is the new smoking according to some research.
Exploring the world around you provides a wide range of mental and physical benefits. Even researchers have begun to discover that wilderness excursions — known as “adventure therapy” — can promote weight loss, increase confidence, and improve your ability to interact with others. Go for a walk to the park, around your neighborhood, or heck - just to your mailbox and back. Start small by adding five minutes of new movement (preferably outdoors) to your routine and build yourself up from there.
5. Go to bed 30 minutes earlier
Fewer than six hours of sleep per day is associated with low-grade chronic inflammation and worsening insulin resistance, as well as increased risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Almost one-third of U.S. adults get less than six hours of sleep.
Striving for the recommended 8 hours of shut eye keeps cortisol in check, which prevents a sluggish metabolism and energy lulls. Getting better sleep also gives your body the proper rest to cleanse itself and restore balance.
There you have it… five simple ways you can feel better in this very moment. I told you it’s doable!
What’s your favorite way to keep your body in balance and feeling good? Share your favorite go-to’s with me in the comments below.
If you’re looking for more ways to feel good, I share with you some of the ways I keep my health humming at full velocity in my upcoming Fresh Start program. I've jam-packed this program with six weeks of bio-hacks that help me feel fresh, sharp and 100% ON.
Here's to feeling as great as nature intended you to!