Self Improvement Month–What’s on Your List

When I found out it was Self Improvement Month, I almost caught myself rolling my eyes. Just another reminder of more things I need to do and check off my list. But after giving it some thought, I decided that improving my well-being is not only important, it is fun and interesting! Everyone strives to feel “better.” But when you think of improving your health and happiness, what do you think about? Is it diet? Is it money? There are a lot of different tools, methods,

For health and happiness get 60 minutes of exercise in a day.

and practices that can help you jumpstart your wellbeing into the direction you desire. I will tell you some of my favorites.

1. Exercise. This doesn’t mean you have to pump iron at the gym to make a difference. Go for a walk with friends or family to get them moving too. Sixty minutes a day is recommended but it can be in small amounts throughout the day – every bit does make a difference.

2. Laugh! If I couldn’t laugh at myself I would probably go insane. The simple act of laughter releases endorphins and is shown to improve your mood. Even smiling will have that effect. Save funny jokes you have received in an email or watch a funny youtube video.

3. Eat Good Food. When I say ‘good food’ I don’t mean chips, soda and handfuls of candy. Eating healthy foods (i.e. foods that are nutrient rich) will make you feel better. Honest. Grab an apple for a snack, drink milk with your meals and make sure you have a vegetable on your plate. Getting the vitamins and minerals you need throughout the day improves your mood and health. Be sure to make it food you enjoy eating!

4. Enjoy Nature. Taking a walk in the park and basking in the sun can improve your mood, not only because your body produces vitamin D (a.k.a. the sunshine vitamin), but also because there’s something about nature and wildlife that is soothing and a great stress reliever.

5. Spend Time With A Pet. It’s been shown that pets can reduce cardiovascular stress by lowering blood pressure and helping release stress. Although my dog, Gunther, has destroyed his share of shoes, pillows and flowers–he still brings me plenty of happiness.

Laugh your way to good health!

6. Get Organized and Set Achievable Goals. I know when I feel overwhelmed, I can feel slightly depressed and stressed. Organizing our busy lives to be more manageable can help us find the thrill in accomplishing minor tasks – and checking them off our list.