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How I Work to be Well

by Beth on July 7th, 2022

Your happiness and health are determined to a great extent by lifestyle choices. Nearly half of all premature deaths in the U.S. are due to behaviors that can be changed. It takes work to be well, but small, daily well-being practices can help you live a longer, healthier, happier life.

There is agreement among different disciplines including positive psychology, functional medicine, and Blue zones findings that the following 6 lifestyle factors have the biggest impact on your mental and physical well-being: 1) good nutrition, 2) movement, 3) sleep, 4) stress management, 5) social connection, and 6) purpose.

Choosing daily behaviors that address these factors can drastically improve your life. Eat a handful of blueberries. Play your favorite song and dance around the house. Choose not to watch another episode and head to bed instead. Take a few minutes to stop what you’re doing, put your phone away, and sit quietly to still your mind. Send a quick text to a friend. Have coffee with a colleague you’ve been mentoring.

The best way to make sure you’re addressing all 6 lifestyle factors every day is to establish routines. Different well-being practices work for different people, so you need to identify things that you’ll be able to stick with. To give you some examples, here are the routines that I try to follow as I work to build greater physical and mental well-being:

Daily

  • Do 5 minutes of planks and stretches after brushing my teeth in the morning and at night (movement)
  • Drink a glass of lemon water (nutrition) and complete 5 to 10 minutes of Duolingo language lessons (purpose) while making my coffee (nutrition)
  • Get at least 7,000 steps in 2 walks (movement & stress)
  • Eat the following foods: berries, leafy greens, legumes, whole grains, nuts & seeds, olive oil, green tea, fermented food, dark chocolate (nutrition)
  • Connect with friends and family in person, on the phone, or via text (social)
  • Get at least 8 hours of sleep by going to bed at the same time every night in a cold, dark, quiet room with my cell phone downstairs (sleep)

5 days a week

  • Do a Peloton ride or practice yoga (movement & stress)
  • Meditate for 30 minutes (stress)
  • Eat all my meals in an 8-hour window (nutrition)
  • Learn more about well-being through reading and listening to podcasts; share what I’ve learned via social media and blogs (purpose)

Weekly

  • Eat 30 different plants; count plants not calories! (nutrition)
  • Work in the garden or yard (movement & stress)

What are some routines that you could adopt to build your well-being? It takes work to be well, but you can make it easier with small, daily behaviors!

2 Comments
  1. Doug Bentley permalink

    Hi Beth, what kinds of methods have you found success with mediation? Do use an app? Stay well. Thank you, Doug

  2. Beth permalink

    Hi Doug, when I started practicing meditation over a decade ago I signed up for Deepak Chopra’s 21-Day Meditation Challenge. It was helpful because I got a guided meditation in my inbox everyday, which was a great reminder. There are a lot of wonderful meditation apps that people find very helpful (Calm, Headspace, Insight Timer). I think they are especially good when starting out. Now I prefer to set an alarm so I’m not wondering about the time and just sit in silence.

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