5 Habits That Will Help You Feel Amazing
Updated: Jul 15, 2019
In my last blog post I shared five ways that help me get out of an anxious moment or a funky mood. This time I'd like to talk more about habits and routines that make me feel more at peace with myself longterm. These are things I'm trying to implement every day, and as a result I have been feeling more balanced and overall happier with my circumstances. Here's how you can try to incorporate those things into your life as well, so you, too, will feel a real and lasting sense of peace.
1. Find a morning ritual that doesn’t include your phone for at least 30 minutes after you wake up
I still struggle to not look at my phone immediately after I wake up and to not check all my new messages and notifications, especially since all of my family and half of my friends live in Germany and there’s always plenty of things popping up on my home screen. Trying to stay away from my phone for the first half hour of my day makes me realize how addicted I am to it. However, there is a reward if you don’t give in to the urge to check your phone first thing in the morning. The first hour after waking up sets your day and if the first thing you do is check social media or stressful emails you set yourself up for even more stresses during the day.
I like to start my day with my “morning pages”. I have a simple notebook that I use to write down three pages of whatever comes to my mind in the morning. It doesn’t have to be in order, it doesn’t have to make sense, it doesn’t have to be pretty. But simply writing all my thoughts down clears my head and helps me organize my thoughts. (Julia Cameron talks about morning pages in her book “The Artist’s Way”.)
Your ritual could be tea, making your bed nicely, going for a walk, an amazing breakfast, or anything that makes you feel good. Also meditation is a great way to start out your day, which brings me to my next point.
2. Meditate, breathe, feel your body
Meditation can be tricky in the beginning, because it feels like you just can’t do it right. And what are you supposed to do anyway? You’re just sitting there.. And not thinking about anything just doesn’t work, you feel like a failure, so you stop. I’ve been there. Five minutes can feel long. But it’s a practice. The whole reason to practice meditation is the fact that most of us can’t turn off that constant stream of thoughts, that takes us out of the moment. To begin with, close your eyes and start by paying attention to your breath and how your body feels. Set a timer for a few minutes only and have the goal be to just sit there and observe your breath. When you notice your thoughts drifting away, don’t get upset, but simply bring the attention back to your breath.
Another great way to get started is with guided meditations through apps like “headspace” or also youtube, where you can find thousands of guided meditations. I personally love Sadhguru’s meditations, but they might take some getting used to if you’re new to this.
3. Find an exercise routine that works for you
My main reason for working out used to exclusively be the way I wanted to look. I was so obsessed with looking a certain way, like those fitness models in all those magazines I used to read. It’s not a bad motivation. However, if that’s your only motivation it’s a lot harder to stick with it. Now I work out because it makes me feel good. I feel energized and accomplished after a good cardio session or workout. If I don’t have much time I try to at least go for a 30 minute run. I feel best when I get my exercise out of the way early in the morning and on most days I do so, I feel like I can easily handle the rest of my day, because the most exhausting part is done. I notice how much exercise helps me to feel good and balanced, when I skip it completely for a few days. I then start feeling slower and more droopy. So go and try a few things that are fun for you. Do you enjoy lifting weights? Do you like to run? Or maybe dance or bike? What works best for me is running outside to the beat of the music, because it’s combining 3 things I love: music, exercise and nature.
(If you need a more scientific explanation on why exercise helps us feel more balanced and whole go ahead and do a quick google search. There’s lots of information out there. I’m only here to tell you: It works!)
4. Read more books, watch less TV (especially right before bed time)
I know. Another thing you’ve heard so many times before. But let me tell you what my experience with this is.
I tend to go down the Youtube Rabbit hole pretty far sometimes. I start with some singing video of some sorts and end up watching a 15 year old psychopath on Dr Phil. I have so many TV and Netflix shows I’m watching, on top of a daily german soap I’ve watched for years. Not only did watching this show take up a lot of my time, but I started living in that world a little bit. I personally am convinced that what we put in our brain, somehow shows up in our own reality. The things we watch are being processed by our brain while we sleep. And I don’t want the things I watch to become my reality. About a month ago I found myself putting more focus and importance on other things in my life and I also started to read more, especially before I went to bed. I started to notice that I felt calmer, I woke up in a better mood and I started looking at things that happened in my own life from a different perspective. It’s hard to explain, but something in my life absolutely shifted in a positive way when I started reading more and cutting down on my “nonsense watching”. Maybe that’s also something to do with me simply feeling more accomplished when I use my time to read or connect with real life people. Now I consciously take the time to watch things I really want to see. I enjoy them and move on to doing something else after, instead of getting caught up in an endless loop of watching things until I defeatedly fall asleep. A good way to accomplish this in the beginning can be to set a daily limit of how many minutes you allow yourself to watch movies, TV shows or other videos.
5. Eat foods that nourish you, stay away from foods that slow you down
THIS. IS. SO. BIG. Really! This comes from the girl who used to try countless diets, have eating disorders and in the end finally found a way to eat that makes her feel amazing 95% of the time. I’m not gonna give you a concrete “only way to do it” recipe. There isn’t. But: You become what you eat. Old saying, but so true. And not just on a physical level. Your thoughts are what you eat. Your mental wellbeing is what you eat. Don’t believe me? Google it and find out for yourself. I’m not a doctor and not claiming to be. But I do know that if we nourish our body the right way, not only will it fight off diseases by itself, but it will also start to give you mental clarity. The more junk you put in, the more your body, and your brain have to work to break things down. This makes you tired, sometimes groggy, depressed, gives you brain fog, and other unwanted things. (An amazing book on that topic is “How Not To Die” by Michael Greger.)
Here’s my way. (You might find your very own way of eating that makes you feel best.)
I live completely plant based, meaning I don’t eat any kind of animal products, not only because I love animals, but also because they don't make me feel good after eating them. They’re harder to break down for the body and because they don’t contain any fiber, they also take longer to come back out. I try to eat as many whole foods as possible and as little processed food as I can. I enjoy a vegan “junk” meal once in a while, but I feel a lot better, when I consume foods rich in fiber and water. Which are also known as fruits and Vegetables. I have a big smoothie every morning with superfoods, spinach, fruits and almond milk. It fills me up, but the fruit passes through fast and doesn’t weigh me down. That way I still have lots of energy when I go to work. I wait to have my heavier and cooked meals for later in the day, because they tend to fill me up longer and slow me down. I want to talk more about what I eat and why in another blog post, if you’re interested in reading it.
But for now let me tell you that a healthy diet won’t only benefit your looks, it will give you a clear headspace and make you feel more at one with yourself.
All of that being said, real change takes time. Building new habits isn't always easy. It is easy however to find excuses as to why you can't do it, why you don't have time etc etc. Start with one new thing at a time and commit to a week, or even better three weeks. See how you feel after that amount of time and once you've been disciplined with your new habit for a little bit, you'll see it becomes a whole lot easier and you'll love doing something that makes you feel amazing.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Have you tried any of these things? Do they work for you? What are your feel good habits that keep you balanced?