As good as life may be, we can always get better. Here’s how.
Canadians are, generally, a happy and satisfied bunch – we are the sixth happiest country in the world according to the 2016 World Happiness Report – but we know we can always do better. In fact, a recent Ipsos Reid poll noted that 88 percent of Canadians are always on the hunt for ways to boost their well-being. Fortunately, increasing well-being doesn’t require radical change. Ready to get started? These five tips will help you turn that intention into a habit.
Ipsos Reid found that 65 percent of Canadians want to live a healthier lifestyle. Here’s an easy way to do just that: eat more greens, says registered holistic nutritionist Peggy Kotsopoulos. “Green veggies, sea veggies and algae are loaded with chlorophyll, which helps increase the number of energy boosting, oxygen rich and revitalizing red blood cells,” she says. So add a salad to your lunch routine, have some sautéed spinach alongside your breakfast eggs, or snack on roasted nori.
Find the Time
We all feel better when we spend time with friends and family – and, according to that Ipsos poll, 40 percent of those surveyed do want to spend more time with loved ones – but everyone knows that making time is easier said than done. Being around people you care about can actually do wonders for your mood, says Kotsopoulos, as it helps boost serotonin levels and reduces stress. If your schedule is packed, though, you’ll either have to take something away from your calendar or find a way to combine priorities, says Clare Kumar, a productivity coach for executives. For example, if exercise is one of your goals, a walk date with a friend might do the trick, she says.
Change Your Mind
The only thing stopping you from improving your life is you. That’s according to research done by Stanford University psychology professor Carol Dweck. Her theory is that people who think their talents are innate are likely to give up on a new activity if it doesn’t work right away. However, if you approach trying new things with what she calls a growth mindset – you have to see talent as something that takes effort and practice to develop – you’re more likely to keep at it even if you’re not successful the first time. Try something with that mindset and you’ll gain resilience along with a new skill.
It’s time to stop feeling guilty about clutter and embrace your untidiness, says Jennifer McCartney, author of The Joy of Leaving Your Sh*t All Over the Place, a paean to saying yes to mess that’s filled with practical, yet tongue-in-cheek, tips on how to do so. “We spend so much time trying to attain Pinterest or Instagram-worthy kitchens and coffee tables and it’s a waste of brain power,” says McCartney. “Plus, being messy can actually make you more creative.” If you’re naturally neat, you can get into messiness, too — you might find it liberating. “Don’t force it, but give it a try for a week or just a day,” she suggests.
Explore a Forest
As good as taking a walk is for you, talking a walk in a forest is even better. Research shows a stroll in the forest can lower stress hormones, decrease your pulse rate, boost mental health and improve blood glucose levels in diabetics. It’s something that the Japanese have been doing for decades and they’ve even given it a name: Shinrin-yoku. It’s a term the Japanese government gave to the concept of “forest bathing,” which means to commune with nature in a forest. It’s a big part of the country’s preventative medicine practices. Give it a try!