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In the year 2018, it’s hard to slow down and appreciate everything that is going on in your life.

With kids to look after, jobs, and everything that needs to be done around the house, it can be very difficult to focus on yourself and your wellbeing. But it doesn’t have to be like that. There are ways to get better that don’t take a lot of time, but you do have to have the willpower to start.

Let’s examine six things you should focus on if you want to lead a happier and healthier life.

  1. Your Diet

Your diet should consist of 50 to 70 percent nonstarchy vegetables, 10 to 15 percent best-quality proteins (wild-caught fish, grassfed beef, etc.) and 20 to 30 percent healthy fats.

This is what Dr. Frank Lipman calls the Perfect Plate. You’re going to have a lot of veggies on the plate when you sit down to eat, but it will stop you from over-eating, leaving you pleasantly full and not stuffed.

  1. Sleep

If you are middle-aged and suffer from sleep disturbances, you are more likely to suffer mental decline down the road than somebody who sleeps restfully through the night. While everybody encounters sleeping difficulties from time-to-time, it’s important to seek medical help if you have chronic sleep problems.

When you sleep, your brain flushes fluid through your gray matter to remove proteins that accumulate during the day. This works to keep the brain operating at high efficiency, but only when you are asleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, the fluid builds up and can lead to neurological problems down the road. If you struggle to get a good night’s rest, consider seeing a sleep specialist to determine the underlying issue.

  1. Movement

You don’t have to move a lot to experience the benefits. Even moving five to ten minutes a day is better than nothing. Of course, an hour-long WOD is the best kind of movement, but we just want you to get your body moving.

If you work in an office, consider taking your calls while you walk, or take a walk outside before lunch while the weather is nice. But above all else, just get up and move. You can’t spend your life being sedentary.

  1. Protect

You want to protect your body, even though it was built to eliminate toxins. In order to do this, you want to avoid as many toxins as you can. For instance, if something is not proven to be fully safe, don’t make a habit of using it. This goes for everything from shampoo to carrying your cell phone in your pocket.

Also: educate yourself as to what is and isn’t something you should use. If people show disdain for you because you are making an effort to reduce the amount of toxins around you, ignore them and carry on. It’s your body, so protect it.

  1. Unwind

Most of us are always “on”. The demands of work and relationships leave us feeling overwhelmed and unable to turn ourselves “off”, even for a few minutes at a time. Even sitting on the couch watching television at night means our brains are still working. In order to truly unwind, practice breathing techniques that help relax and restore mindfulness.

One tactic is the 4-7-8 breath. This is a built-in calming system. The next time you’re feeling stressed or anxious, place the tip of your tongue behind your front teeth at the gum line. Next, purse your lips as if you’re blowing out a candle, and then exhale completely through your mouth, making a whooshing or sighing sound. After that, close your mouth and inhale through your nose for four counts, hold the breath for seven counts, and exhale through the mouth for eight counts. Repeat this for 10 rounds, just like it’s a WOD at the gym.

  1. Connect

When you think of connecting with somebody, you think of interacting with people you know well. But random acts of kindness to strangers can leave you with a superior sense of well being.

Make a daily act of unsolicited kindness something you insert into your everyday occurrences. Surprise someone with an authentic compliment, or lend a hand to a stranger. Not only will these acts help a stranger have a better day, but it will add some pep in your step.

These tips were excerpted from the book “How to Be Well: The 6 Keys to a Happy and Healthy Life”.

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