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7 Tips to Live a Happier Life


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7 Tips to Live a Happier Life by Jolene Hanson, LICSW


Do you wake up feeling sluggish most mornings? Have caffeinated beverages become a necessity to help power you through the day?


If this sounds familiar, it's time to ditch the quick fixes you rely on, and develop an energy management plan. 


What is energy management?  Think of your energy as a limited resource, like money in an account. You begin the day with a certain amount to spend. The amount varies from person to person based on factors, such as age, sleep, stress levels, medical conditions and lifestyle.


Activities and interactions withdraw energy from or deposit energy into your account. While you may not always have control over activities that deplete your energy, you can take steps to deposit more energy into your account.


1. Eat nourishing food.  A well-balanced, healthy diet is at the core of well-being. But it's common to regard healthy eating primarily as a tool for weight loss. The 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that individuals need to consume a balanced diet that is high in fruits and vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and whole grains for optimal energy. You really are what you eat.  ...


2. Sleep seven to eight hours per night.  Prioritizing sleep is one of the best things you can do to set yourself up for a successful, energized day. Sleep deprivation can perpetuate serious health conditions, as well as negatively affect your mood, motivation, and energy levels. Getting quality sleep is a healthy habit many people need to improve. Most adults need at least seven to eight hours of shut-eye each night, so what prevents them from getting it?  ...


Try sleep strategies to improve your sleep, like creating a relaxing and restful environment, minimizing light and noise, establishing a bedtime routine, managing stress, and turning off electronic devices.  ...


Be consistent. Using the same sleep routine and sleep strategies will help develop your body's internal alarm clock and can lead to improved sleep quality. With improved sleep quality, people experience better health, and improved emotional well-being, lower risk of diseases, and are more productive.


3. Keep company with good people.  Maximize the time that you spend with people you enjoy being around. Connecting with others who radiate positivity and have similar interests will excite and energize you.


On the other hand, people you don't relate to or who have negative outlooks, complain often, or make poor choices will only drain your energy account. Be selective about the company you keep.


4. Avoid news overdose. Consuming news is an important way to stay connected to what's happening in the world. It can be educational, entertaining, and even uplifting.


Unfortunately, stories of suffering often dominate the news. These stories can skew your view of the world and cause you to focus on your worst fears instead of recognizing the good that surrounds you.


5. Get regular exercise.  Do you find yourself feeling lethargic halfway through the day? Have you ever gotten winded by simple everyday duties, such as grocery shopping or household chores? The Department of Health and Human Services recommends adults complete at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. Contrary to what you might believe, this will add to your energy account and not subtract from it.


Exercise relieves stress and tension, strengthens muscles and boosts endurance, and helps your body work more efficiently during other physical tasks or activities.


6. Do something meaningful each day.  What do you feel passionate about? Do you have a special talent that you'd like to practice more often or share with others? Do something you enjoy every day, even if it's a simple act like cooking a healthy meal or listening to your favorite song. Putting effort into the things that matter most to you will help you use and reserve your energy in ways that will bring out the best in you.


7. Think good thoughts for others.  Maintaining a compassionate mindset is another way to conserve energy. One example of practicing this way of thinking is called kind attention. For example, try to make eye contact with a stranger and smile while thinking, "I wish you well." This positive act can, instead, keep you from judging that person. Judging others can cause us to place judgment on ourselves, and that type of negative internal dialogue can be exhausting.



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