Think how you spent your last 24 hours. Were your actions and thoughts in line with what you imagine as the best version of your life? What else would you have liked to do in those 24 hours?” asks Geeta Magesh, a Hyderabad-based consultant clinical psychologist. Here are tips on unlocking your true potential, finding happiness and living your best life.
1. Savour every meal, eat mindfully
Be present when you eat, taste the flavours, chew slowly and be mindful of the meal that is nourishing your body. Research has shown that eating mindfully creates positive associations with food and that leads to greater psychological well-being and better physical health.
2. Get enough sleep to keep your social skills sharp
Prolonged wakefulness affects cognitive function including attention, performance, something that can come in the way of achieving your dreams. The study Negative Effects of Sleep Deprivation also finds that sleeplessness affects your capacity for social interaction. “The benefits of sleep are unparalleled, it amps up your energy levels and gives your body much-needed downtime to recuperate,” says Magesh.
3. Get ahead of stress to tackle it
A study in the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences finds that the better control one has over stress, the better one manages life and priorities. Quick tips to manage stress: Get a hug from your loved one, listen to your favourite tunes or practice box breathing.
4. Get moving to tap into happy hormones
It is easy to neglect exercise in a fast-paced world. But, exercise can lift your spirits and raise your fitness levels. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors of the brain and trigger a sense of well-being. Exercise also maximises oxygen consumption and increases muscle metabolic fitness. “Even if it is a working day, indulging in exercise for 10 minutes can help you live your best life,” suggests Magesh.
5. Accept your body with love, forgiveness and humour
Body positivity is the gateway to self-love. By embracing your inner critic, you develop a balanced, joyful relationship with your body. Some ways to work on body positivity include focusing on things you like about yourself, stop comparing with others and cutting out negative self-talk.
6. Invest in meaningful connections
Reevaluate your relationships—think about where you are heading and if it’s the one you still want to invest in. If you feel you haven’t given enough, add some spark and depth to strengthen your bond. Listen with attention, ask deeper questions, and engage in their emotions. “Your connections or relationships can make or break you. Choose and work on them wisely to forge deeper connections,” says Magesh.
7. Set time to reflect, be self-aware
“When you keep moving and don’t stop to reflect, you miss the chances of potential improvement,” explains Magesh. “It zaps your energy and you remain discontented.” All it takes is five minutes to sit in a quiet, comfortable corner to go over your day and reevaluate your priorities.
8. Spend time in nature
Walk aimlessly and slowly for a few moments in nature—be it in your garden, in the park nearby or in a forest. Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing is a Japanese physiological and psychological exercise. Studies have shown that time spent in nature can have a positive impact on your blood pressure, improve immune function and can boost your mental health.