By now, you’ve probably seen the term self-development floating around the internet. This is good news: it means that the people of today’s society are now shifting more of their focus toward their well-being and overall quality of life.
Naturally, when it comes to self-development, one of the biggest and most widely-discussed topics in this space is health. Whereas health used to describe mostly the physical body, it is now used in reference to your physical, emotional, spiritual, social, and mental health. When you shift more of your focus toward your personal overall health, you’ll be able to truly improve your quality of life, from the moment you wake up till the moment you lay your head down to rest.
There is a lot of varying advice out there in regards to improving your health, especially from all of the suddenly-appearing self-proclaimed health gurus. To help you cut through all the noise, here are 8 self-development tips to help you improve your overall health. These aren’t fads or opinions. Rather, they are fact-based tips that have been used by many healthy people, time and time again. Let’s dive in.
1: Drink more water.
This tip seems easy enough, but the truth is a majority of people simply do not drink enough water. In fact, in several studies, nearly eighty percent of Americans don’t drink enough water. Your body is mostly composed of water and it is vital in order for your body to perform most vital functions, so it only makes sense to drink it. Start by aiming for at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day. And no, soda doesn’t count. It actually makes you dehydrated.
2: Also, drink more tea.
Aside from water, tea – especially green tea – is easily the next best beverage for you to be drinking. However, instead of going for the sugar-laden bottled tea you find at stores, opt for buying tea bags and brewing your own instead. Tea has been shown to provide your body with a load of health benefits, including weight loss, reducing risk of heart attack and stroke, protecting your bones, improving digestive functions, and providing your body with healthy antioxidants.
While even one cup of sugar-free tea a day is good, up to five cups a day is even better. The Okinawans, some of the oldest-living people around, swear by it (they have the highest number of centenarians in the world).
3: Get enough quality sleep.
There has been a major shift toward being busy in today’s culture. Consequently, people tend to equate sleeping less with getting more done and being more productive. However, the opposite tends to be true. While you may be able to get by with four hours of sleep a night for a few weeks, your body will quickly rebel against this.
While one night of less sleep won’t harm you, a consistent lack of sleep leads to increased risk of stroke, obesity, heart disease, and a plethora of other serious medical conditions. So do yourself a favor and aim to get at least seven hours of sleep. You’ll feel great throughout the day and have more energy, which in turn will make you naturally more productive in your waking hours.
4: Meditate or take a stress-relieving break.
Meditation may seem like such a taboo trend that will eventually fade from existence, but it is actually a seriously healthy practice to implement into your daily routine. You don’t have to sit criss-cross applesauce and hum, but simply taking ten to twenty minutes daily to relax and focus on yourself works wonders. It is known to aid in reducing stress, improving your immunity, lowering blood pressure, and promoting longevity. Life is super busy and fast-paced in today’s society, so taking a routine break from it all will work wonders for your health.
5: Eat more plants.
If you didn’t want to eat your vegetables in your early years, you’ll want to change your mindset about plants from now on. Plants are arguably the best food you can possibly eat for many reasons. They’re rich in fiber and nutrients, provide your body with healthy antioxidants, are low in calories, and more. So many studies have shown that people who eat the most plant-based foods live the longest, so make sure you eat more plants.
While you don’t have to become a vegan (if you do, that’s great!), aim to eat at least a handful of vegetables and/or fruit with each meal. Your body will thank you for it.
6: Don’t smoke tobacco or abuse drugs.
Hopefully, this is an obvious tip, but it’s true that tobacco and other drugs are extremely addicting. Most people want to stop smoking or doing drugs, but they tend to fight a losing battle that goes on for years, if not decades. Before you focus any attention on improving your diet or exercising, quit tobacco and/or drugs first. Eating healthy and exercising won’t combat the negative effects of smoking if you never quit. If needed, consult with your doctor or family for help...seriously. Smoking and doing drugs wrecks havoc on your body, very rapidly.
7: Socialize often.
You don’t have to go around trying to talk to everyone (but it is a good practice), but simply spending time with your loved ones is enough. Spending time with people you have a real connection with has been shown to increase happiness, productivity, and longevity. So if you have been a hermit for quite a while, it’s time to get out of your shell. Call up a friend and have lunch or coffee.
8: Move. Everyday.
If you have an exercise regimen in place that you find easy to follow, then that’s great. However, for most people, developing a fitness regimen and sticking to it is often hard to do. Unless you have a high level of willpower, sticking to a fitness regimen can easily seem like work, which makes you much less likely to stick to it.
Regardless of how you do it, make it a plan to simply move for at least 45 minutes every single day. This can be in the form of running, walking, hiking, cycling, lifting weights, playing sports, swimming, working in the yard, the list goes on. Focusing on exercising for 45 minutes every day rather than following a strict workout plan, allows you to change up your workouts randomly and frequently, making the act of fitness much more enjoyable.