6 Things You Can Do For A Happy, Balanced Life In 2021
After the turmoil that marked 2020, millions of people are looking to 2021 with a hopeful and somewhat anxious heart. If you are ready to make this year one of balance, harmony and happiness, keep reading to learn six strategies anyone can use to help.
1. Switch to a plant-based diet
Medical and nutritional experts largely agree that a plant-based diet is best for overall health and wellness. That doesn’t mean you have to embrace vegetarianism, but rather that the majority of your foods should come from plant sources. Think loads of nuts and seeds, fruits, vegetables and heart-healthy oils. It should not come as a surprise that plant-based diets help improve gut health. They are packed with digestive-friendly fiber and often are high in water to help you meet hydration goals. Why does that matter? It turns out that one of the simplest things you can do to bring your emotional and physical health into balance is to show your gut some love. Gut bacteria are linked to so much more than digestion. Current research indicates that they are also involved in the immune response, leading to fewer or less severe bouts with common illnesses.
2. Learn a new skill
There are many reasons to learn a new skill, and moving toward a happier, more balanced life is just one of them. Learning something new is a great way to push yourself and gain self confidence. It can also help you meet new people that share similar interests. For career seekers, certain new skills look great on a resume and may help you land that dream job. All of those positives can directly improve happiness and overall mental health.
3. Focus on positive solutions
For a happy and balanced year, be part of the solution instead of the source of a problem. While that might sound harsh, the reality is you are part of one or the other. How you choose to view the world and respond to it will determine where you fit in the overall picture. Focusing on positive and upbeat solutions will put problems into perspective so they are no longer overwhelming. Breaking them down into manageable portions that you can overcome empowers you to move forward instead of staying stagnant.
4. Give thanks
Giving thanks is about so much more than a fall holiday or writing a note after receiving a gift. It is a state of mind that you can embrace each and every day. In fact, cultivating gratitude creates a positive mindset that helps you find more things to be grateful for in everyday life. The effects of gratitude are compounded, so, you will notice greater benefits after continued practice. How do you start a gratitude practice? Try one of these ideas to get started:
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Write a personal thank you note
- Pray or meditate
- Make and add to a gratitude jar
5. Seek out opportunities for engagement
Humans are naturally social creatures, and you need interaction with others to truly thrive and find balance. The amount and intensity of that interaction vary from person to person, but everyone needs at least some on occasion. If you are not able to physically visit with others, a phone call or video chat can meet the need.
6. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness has gotten a lot of attention lately, and for good reason. While the scientific community resisted early studies about mindfulness-based practices, newer research shows a strong link between it and better mental health outcomes. Of course, balance isn’t just about mental health. There is also evidence that mindfulness reduces stress and improves physical health, allowing you to live a fuller, happier and more balanced life. If you are interested in starting a personal practice, try taking one of the many mindfulness courses online or download a few guided meditations to explore your options.
Whether you try one, a couple or all of these ideas, you will gain important tools to improve your overall life and restore balance to it.
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