There’s many different pieces that make up a happy and healthy life. Having money or driving an expensive car don’t equate to happiness in life. Those luxury items may create short term fulfillment, but often they become stale and you’re off looking for the next “thing” to “make you happy”. True happiness is being content and at peace with your life. Sure, there will always be stressful times in your life and everyone deals with those things, however how you react to those stressful times can make you or break you.
Living with anxiety for some time now, I’ve learned a lot through many books while working on myself. There are 5 pieces to living a happy and content life that keep reappearing through my learning which are Fitness, Nutrition, Feeding Your Brain, Staying Present, and Surrounding yourself with positive people. All of these avenues need to work together because they all provide something unique in your life.
No surprise here coming from a CrossFit gym that exercise plays a key role in a positive and healthy life. When you look better and you’re clothes fit better, you feel better…hands down. Going to the gym doesn’t just affect your physical body, it affects your mind as well. It’s no secret that working out provides stress relief and promotes healthy hormone levels in the brain. What most people don’t know, especially about CrossFit, is that the mental fortitude that you build during each workout is tremendous. When you’re in the middle of a tough workout, you’re pushing yourself to keep going and you’re turning off that negative self talk inside your head. This process repeated over and over translates to your life outside the gym. When times are tough and you’re in a stressful season, your brain becomes more conditioned to fight through and operate on a high level. Always keep fitness a priority in your life. Invest time in it and it will pay you back 10 times over.
I’ll keep this one simple….eat responsibly and you’ll feel better. The body is like a finely tuned machine. If you put cheap fuel in it, it’s going to break down quicker. Your body needs the proper fuel to perform on a high level. The easiest way to look at is eat REAL food, and stay the hell away from processed food. Eat meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar. Our body was made to run on real foods, not cereal and fast food. If you eat this way 95% of the time, I promise you’ll see a difference. What about the other 5% of the time though? Be a human, enjoy the foods that you love like pizza or ice cream…..but in moderation. If you know that you’re going to order pizza tomorrow night, try your hardest to be super tight on eating wholesome foods leading up to the pizza so you don’t feel guilty. I’ve noticed that when my nutrition is off, my anxiety is higher and I can’t think as clearly. No food tastes as good as a high functioning body feels.
Feed Your Brain
This one is a straight Return on Investment (ROI) formula. Spend time developing your mind and it’ll run on a higher level. Spend time each day feeding your brain positive knowledge through learning. Reading 20 minutes each day can help you in more ways that you can imagine. Are you busy? Me too. The beauty is that there’s never been a time where content is more readily available. If you can’t commit to reading each day, spend your time listening to audio books or podcasts. These are often FREE ways to learn about topics that motivate you to become a better person. Whether you’re interested in fitness, nutrition, business, parenting, or gardening, there’s a podcast out there for you. I’ve learned so much through podcasts that if I miss a day of listening, I feel like I missed a workout. Put Facebook down and listen to a book or podcast. Does Jimmy’s Instagram post about his new shoes really make a positive impact on your life? What about learning how to be a better parent or friend or business person?
I work on this one multiple times each day. Something I read once really resonated with me and made a huge impact on me. The book said something like ““If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” Pretty powerful stuff that I think about all the time and I truly believe that it’s true. Dwelling on the past, you’re choosing to be blind to what’s happening right in front of you. If you’re in constant worry about things that could or might happen in the future, you’re also choosing to not see all the incredible things happening right now. Bottom line, if you’re with your family or friends….be there. Don’t be on social media scrolling, actually be present in the moment. If you’re working, just work. Give 100% to what you’re currently doing and stay present.
Surround Yourself with Positive People
Ever hear the phrase “You are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with” ? Studies show that we are influenced, like it or not, by the ones closest to us. Now, of course we are all individuals, but research has proven that we are more affected by our environment than we think. This is why it’s so important to work on your relationships with your spouse, children, and those closest to you so that they are a breeding ground for positivity. I was eating recently and watched a family sit down to eat. They all seemed to be having a great time until the waitress told one of them that they were out of their favorite beer. In an instant, I watched as their entire meal took a major turn for the worse. Everyone seemed to shut down and it was quite awkward. Be careful of how you react to situations and the people that you surround yourself with. Remember that you always have the choice on how to react to every situation, and that your reaction has an effect on those around you.
What you can take away from this article
At the end of the day, we are human and we’re not perfect. We stumble, we get off course, we make bad decisions, and we react poorly sometimes. The great news is that each day you can wake up and make a choice on how the day is going to be no matter what is thrown at you. You can choose how to react to every situation, you can choose to go the gym, you can choose to drive past the fast food restaurant and eat at home instead, you can choose to listen to a podcast, and you can choose to put your phone down at the dinner table when you’re eating with your family and friends.
Start today and pick one of the 5 avenues to work on.