A calm, resilient mind. Balanced, steady energy. Your ability to bring the best version of you to your full and balanced life is charged/fueled by your daily mindset and lifestyle habits. Persistent low-grade stress can begin to feel all too normal when we begin to run on the fumes left from sleighing in your career and balancing a busy home life.
Taking time to create a sense of peace each day is a powerful practice to keep your body strong and your mind resilient to the demands of our modern lives. Cultivating a strong, healthy body is a great start to boosting your mental well-being. Sprinkle in a few daily, mindful habits—in no time at all, you’ll experience the benefits of a calmer day.
Make Mealtime Mindful
Your brain isn’t the only organ controlling how you think or feel. There’s a strong connection between your mind and microbiome1, called the gut-brain axis. It may sound bizarre, but think about the knot you feel in your stomach before a first date, or the butterflies flittering about as you prep for a big presentation. These feelings can be partially attributed to the trillions of bacteria in your belly. When they’re well-fed, you feel good.
Enjoy a balanced, gut-nourishing diet full of whole foods and the right ratio of macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Eating certain kinds of carbs, like whole vegetables and fruits, also ensures you’re filling up on fibre—an absolute all-star for feeding gut bacteria and maintaining regularity. You can also support a balanced belly with a probiotic supplement to add billions of friendly bacteria to your body’s microbiome.
Make Time to Move
Most individuals that exude a distinct sense of zen turn to exercise to stop frustrations from building up over time. Engaging in regular moderate aerobic activity is super beneficial for both your body and brain. Working up a sweat increases endorphins like serotonin and dopamine, making motion a great way to reduce occasional stress and increase mental resilience—a few of the many mental health benefits of exercise.
And working out doesn’t have to involve a packed gym or brisk 5:00 a.m. runs. Engage your whole body at home with a few affordable exercise equipment staples, like a kettlebell and yoga mat. Lots of other activities count as exercise, too, like hiking, gardening, and washing your car.
Review this Harvard Health Publishing article to see how many calories you burn with everyday movement.
Ten Minutes to a Calmer Day
Solid lifestyle habits provide firm ground to bring more peace to each day. Use these additional habits in your daily life. In just ten minutes or less, you can begin to break through overwhelming stress and anxiety2, and gain confidence in your ability to take on each day with a mindful approach that lets in a natural state of calm. Start with one or two that resonate with shifts that you can begin to make in your own life.
Ground Your Mind with Meditation
Meditation, a form of mindfulness, is shown to boost emotional intelligence. It also increases awareness, washes away unnecessary sources of worry, and allows your mind room to wander, often revealing a different point of view. One qualified study3 showed mindfulness-based therapy improved low moods in participants. It only takes a few months of mindfulness to see the brighter side of life.
Start with just 5–10 minutes a day to see benefits right away. It can help you gain a new perspective on stressful situations, increase self-awareness, and bask in the present moment. If you’re new to the concept of daily meditation, try downloading a meditation app4 to help guide you into a regular practice.
Outside of heated moments, purposeful breathing exercises produce physical changes in the brain. Deep breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing, practices deep methodical belly breathing to enhance relaxation and support resilience to stress. Find an area each day to sit or lie down and focus on your breath with a dedicated breathing technique that’s right for you.
Turn to Gratitude
A gratitude journal is another powerful tool to help you cultivate a positive mindset. List at least three things you’re grateful for each day. Spend time to connect with yourself and really reflect.
By focusing on gratitude you change the tone of your thoughts, which can boost your mood and attract more of the good things in life. Take just a few minutes out of your day to see calming results and beat back the daily burnout.
Spend Time Outdoors
A calmer disposition is right around the block. Take a walk on your lunch break, find a park after your work day, or explore beyond your favorite hiking trail on the weekend. Find an environment to get in touch with nature and connect with the present moment. Observe what you see, how the weather feels, what you hear and smell. Even a brisk foray in your neighborhood has the ability shift your mood and calm your mind.
Create More Calm
Your state of mind is more malleable than you could imagine. A calming presence isn’t gifted— it’s a garden. Living a balanced life, consuming the right foods, and engaging your body and brain in exercises, all contribute to cultivating a cheerful attitude. It’s also important to take time to clear our minds and bring peace into our day. Introduce a new calming activity to gain more perspective and presence to live your life to the fullest.